E. Randol Schoenberg
Viktor KOHN was a leader in the Jewish Community in > Prague, one of thefounders and supporters of the Jewish Day School, a > representative of
the Jewish minority to the Czech Parliament,> representative of Keren Kayemet
and Keren Hayesod, founder and supporter of > a refugee center for Polish
Jews, publisher of Der Judenstaadt - a Zionist > publication, and a friend
of Max BROD, Vladimir JABOTINSKY, Franz WERFEL,
etc. He took his entire immediate family to Palestine in 1936 where he
I knew that Max BROD and Franz WERFEL were >from Prague, but did not know
that Vladimir JABOTINSKY lived there. Did he? I can see on the web that
there were Zionist and Revisionist congresses in Prague. 4th World
Conference of the Zionist Revisionists, Prague, 17 Aug. 1930. Eighteenth
Zionist Congress, Prague, 18 August 1933. Perhaps that is the connection.
I would love to know more. My grandfather Arnold SCHOENBERG was invited to
attend the Zionist congress in Prague in 1933 but could not go because of a
visa problem. At the time he was already in France, having fled Berlin in
May 1933, and had decided to dedicate himself to Jewish issues. Prof.
Alexander Ringer speculates that SCHOENBERG was influenced by JABOTINSKY,
because many of my grandfather's writings on Jewish affairs post-1933
express views similar to the revisionists. For example, "We don't have
time like the Zionists. The immigration of 14 million Jews at 50,000 per year
would take 280 years." And also in his prescient October 1938 essay "A
Four Point Program for Jewry" where he wrote:
500,000 Jews >from Germany, 300,000 >from Austria, 400,000 from
Czechoslovakia, 500,000 >from Hungary, 60,000 >from Italy - more than one
million and eight hundred thousand Jews will have to migrate in how short a
time, one does not know. May God provide there will not be an additional
3,500,000 >from Poland, 900,000 >from Rumania, 240,000 >from Lithuania and
100,000 >from Latvia-almost 5,000,000; and Yugoslavia with 64,000,
Bulgaria with 40,000 and Greece with 80,000 might follow at once, not
to speak of other countries, which are at present less active.
Is there room in the world for almost 7,000,000 people?
Are they condemned to doom? Will they become extinct? Famished?
Every keen and realistic observer should have known this beforehand, as
I knew it almost twenty years ago. Even one who does not overrate Jewish
intelligence in political affairs will admit that every Jew should have
known at least that the fate of the Austrian and Hungarian Jews was sealed
years ago. And can a man with foresight deny that the Jews of Rumania and
Poland are in danger of a similar fate.
What have our Jewish leaders, our Jewish men with foresight, done to
avert this disaster? What have they done to alleviate the sufferings of
the people already stricken by this mishap? What have they done to
find a place for the first 500,000 people who must migrate or die?
My grandfather SCHOENBERG of course knew WERFEL very well after he married
Alma MAHLER in 1929, and especially when the WERFELS came to live in Los
Angeles. My mother's parents -- Eric and Trude ZEISL -- also met and were
befriended by the WERFELS in Paris in 1939. The story of WERFEL's
rescue by Alma and escape >from France over the Pyrenees is incredible.
It led to WERFEL's "Song of Bernadette." Strangely, WERFEL seems best
known today in the Armenian community because of his 1933 novel Forty Days
of Musa Dagh about the Turkish massacre of Armenians.
Max BROD is the one we have to thank for the rescue and publication of most
of Franz KAFKA's works. BROD was KAFKA's executor and refused to follow
the instructions in KAFKA's will to burn all of the unpublished manuscripts.
BROD managed to bring the manuscripts to Palestine, and later prepared them
for publication, making KAFKA one of the most influential writers of the
last century. Incidentally, BROD also wrote music reviews including very
early favorable reviews of SCHOENBERG performances in Prague.
I would be curious to hear more about BROD, WERFEL and JABOTINSKY.
Los Angeles, CA