By Victor Erlich
Erlich inspires what it used to be wish to be a Bundist, the depth of Socialist existence on the time, the pondering after the Nazi invasion of Poland-before the pact among Hitler and Stalin turned obvious. Figures comparable to Eleanor Roosevelt, Wendel Wilkie, Marc and Bella Chagall make appearances, in addition to the recognized truth seeker Tarski, flunking Erlich in math. all through, regardless of the darkness, even the horror, of a lot of what he describes, the writer keeps the beguiling tone and the nice and cozy demeanour of 1 who has reached the recent millennium with infrequent and hard-won perception into the human comedy of his time.
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Additional resources for Child of a Turbulent Century (Jewish Lives)
Since the ZNMS was consistently to the left of its mother party, the PPS (Polish Socialist Party), our alliance, though limited in scope, was less impeded than was the relationship between the Bund and the PPS. There were many issues on which Ogniwo and our Polish counterpart saw eye to eye. No issue was more pressing to the socialist and liberal students in Warsaw in the 1930s than the rising tide of fascism and bigotry. During that decade, most notably in the late 1930s, the major Polish universities became hotbeds of right-wing hooliganism and blatant anti-Semitic discrimination.
Whenever the family would get together in the evening around the kitchen table, sometimes no earlier than midnight, both Alex and I would have an opportunity to try out on Father some of the positions we had just taken in an intraorganizational dispute. One such instance comes to mind: Ogniwo was asked to respond to a statement issued by a Ukrainian student group decrying the repressive ofﬁcial policy toward Poland’s Ukrainian population. Our personable secretary, Yasha Zlatin, mindful of the antiSemitic strain in Ukrainian nationalism, thought our support of this declaration was unwarranted.
Finally, since no other option was available, out of sheer desperation, I was offered the part. To everyone’s surprise, I carried it off. I could be heard in the last row. I was a success. The local barber’s wife was moved to tears. Actually, what happened could be easily explained. I found my voice by being someone else, by impersonating a character very much unlike myself. What matters is that my playing a part in a minor play proved a turning point for me vocally. From then on I had no trouble projecting, even if for a while the circumstances under which I found my voice exerted some inﬂuence.
Child of a Turbulent Century (Jewish Lives) by Victor Erlich