Writing after Hitler: The Work of Jakov Lind

By Andrea Hammel; Silke Hassler et al. | Go to book overview

3
Jakov Lind and Zionism as a Literary Phase

MARK H. GELBER

IN order to evaluate the career of Jakov Lind within the framework of Zionism, it is necessary to reconstruct the historical and ideological contexts. This process of contextualization has to take account of a serious methodological difficulty, which requires careful discriminations – the difficulty, namely, that our chief source of information concerning Lind and Zionism is his own autobiographical writing, which touches on this subject. Each of his autobiographical texts is important in this regard – Counting My Steps, Numbers, The Trip to Jerusalem and Crossing – but the problem of verification and the difficulty of locating reliable alternative or complementary sources of information are serious limitations.

This makes it all the more important to take a close look at sources which do exist independently of Lind’s retrospective recall. After a preliminary analysis of contexts, I propose to examine the most important text composed by Lind during his Zionist phase and try to sketch the parameters of the relationship between his literary career and his attitude towards Zionism. The text to be analysed is his early novel, written and set in Israel, published in Hebrew in instalments in December 1949 and early January 1950 and referred to as The Diary of Hanan Edgar Malinek in the first volume of his autobiography Counting My Steps. Actually, the title in the original Hebrew is a little different, and this difference is potentially significant, hence the need to present a reading of the original text which is somewhat at odds with his retrospective description of it in the autobiographical writings some twenty years later. Finally, I shall try to suggest a way to understand Jakov Lind, even today, albeit tentatively, within the tradition of certain kinds of Zionist writing. My thesis is that despite ‘changing tongues’, that is, while taking account of the displacement of the linguistic medium from

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