By: Benjamin Kaufman  | 

No Future for Biro-Bidjan As a Jewish National Home, Says Sholom Asch, Noted Author (Vol. 1, Issue 2)

Walking along Fifth Avenue with Sholom Asch, internationally renowned Jewish novelist was indeed a rare treat and experience. There beside me was wide attention because of his profound the man who was commanding world understanding of the Jewish soul as evidenced in the recent best sellers “Three Cities” and “Salvation.” Critics almost unanimously attached the adjective “great” to his works which, they admitted, could truthfully be said of very few books today. 

The informal conversation centered primarily on some problems besetting Jews and Judaism at the present time. 

"When asked whether Biro-Bidjon could possibly alleviate the plight of Jews, he replied that, in his opinion, it could hardly serve as a place of refuge or a haven of national pride for the Jew. Palestine, however, he was quick to assert, is the greatest hope of the world, especially for German Jewry. Asch is avowedly an ardent Zionist, and his various writings bear witness to the fact and stamp him as a national writer. 

To Asch, a whole-hearted proponent of democracy, Fascism is merely a transient phase in world history which after the War appeared to offer solace to the masses disillusioned with democratic hopes. Though democracy seems to be desperately challenged on all sides, it will eventually outlive and surpass other forms of government, he contended.

That Sholom Asch is a peace-loving man can be readily surmised from his appearance and demeanor. He is modest and kind. His speech is slow and deliberate, having the warmth and understanding, rather than the heat of those who would see the emancipation of humanity through’ “regiments” and “legions.” In his eyes one can see an ideal of “Salvation” and the Jewish conviction of “only with the spirit, saith the Lord.” 

As a resident of France for the past few years, he spoke optimistically of the French attitudé toward the Jewish population and harbored no fear of anti-Semitism. He did admit, however, that owing to the recent influx of Jews from Germany, a movement is on foot to curtail Jewish privileges, but, these conditions do not present any grave problem over which to be unduly concerned.