The author has the fond hope that there may still be readers from whom the Eastern Jews do not require protection: readers with respect for pain, for human greatness, and for the squalor that everywhere accompanies misery; Western Europeans who are not merely proud of their clean mattresses.
Written in 1926, The Wandering Jews is Joseph Roth’s personal account of the plight of Jews from Eastern Europe in exile in the aftermath of the First World War and the Russian Revolution.
As a journalist and a Jewish writer, Roth describes both his own sense of homelessness as well as setting down the testimonies of refugees he encountered scattered amongst the cities of Europe and across the Soviet Union.
Roth’s is an unflinching account of the aftermath of diaspora upon a culture and a community - their poverty, their towns and trades, their feast days and the mysticism of their rabbis. He was acutely conscious that this was a community living under the threat of extermination.
The first English translation of Joseph Roth's portrayal of the Jews of Eastern Europe is a timely reminder of appalling discrimination meted out upon the dispossessed that is ever-more relevant to a contemporary Europe being shaped by its own responses to a modern refugee crisis.
Best known for his fictional saga The Radetzky March, the author Joseph Roth grew up in East Galicia and his experiences as a soldier on the Eastern Front in WWI as well as witnessing the collapse of the Hapsburg Empire and being forced to flee his home in Berlin in 1933, inspired his work as a journalist and author. He was prophetic in his foreboding about the coming of the Second World War, in 1933 writing to his friend Stefan Zweig he warned ‘They have succeeded in establishing a reign of barbarity. Do not fool yourself. Hell reigns’.
‘The Wandering Jews was a timely and important book, one that Roth was supremely well qualified to write.’ – The New York Times
Publisher: Granta Books
Number of pages: 224
Weight: 289 g
Dimensions: 190 x 135 mm
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