Part 51: Tuesday, 26th January 1960, 10p.m.

JOURNAL  VOLUME 2

26 JAN 1960 TO 31 DEC 1963

 

Journal Vol 2 coverA sad opening to the new volume of this diary. My uncle by marriage, Menachem Kessler (husband of my mother’s sister Doar/Devorah) died in Petah-Tikva. He had been ill for some time, but the death came as a surprise. He was a fine man; simple, sincere, one of the early Chalutsim [pioneers] embarrassingly proud of me when I visited him during the war. I am afraid his widow will not long survive him, she is unable to write. Sarah, the deceased’s only child, says she hopes her mother will shortly be able to write to mine. Halvai [would that it were so].

Mrs Sugarman, a lantzfro of my mother’s (or perhaps the wife of a lantzman of my mother’s) also died. Again, a sad loss. On reflection, I think she was English —, or almost-English — born. She was forthright, and according to my mother, wanted to die. She had been a diabetic for some time, and her eyesight was poor. In the end, in spite of her four children (I make no moral pronouncements) she was living on her own in furnished rooms. Ceste unique fable et tragique comedie de la vie as I remember Rabelais having said.

In Germany there has been swastika daubing which has proved contagious, but I can’t get worked up. Incidentally, another tragic death not so long ago: Lionel Rose, whose leadership of the immediate post-war Ajex [The Association of Jewish Ex-Servicemen and Women] defamation campaign I vividly remember.

Joseph Witriol: one of the speaker's in AJEX's campaign against antisemitism and Fascism AFTER WW2

At Speakers’ Corner

He gave every ounce of himself to the campaign. I remember his saying once at an open-air meeting that he had a vested interest in the fight against Fascism, his two children. I too now have a vested interest, in the shape of Philipil, in the fight against Fascism and Anti-Semitism, but there’s not much I can do about it. (In fairness to myself, L.R. was a paid official – not that the intensity or quality of his speeches should be measured in financial terms – while I: yesterday home at 10.30 p.m. after evening institute session, this morning on P.G. duty, craft, P.E., no free periods, etc.) Anyway, I just can’t visualise myself on a platform in Hyde Park, as I used to be in 1947/48. Or can’t I? I think not. Then I was with Sam. Now, I think I might not want the notoriety that would attach to me at school.

In Algeria, the colons are behind barricades, against De Gaulle’s proposal for (eventual) Algerian independence. Have started on La Peste (Camus) – Camus another recent death.

Es ist ein Schnitter, heisst der Tod – and he seems to have been putting in overtime lately.

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