A RABBI REMEMBERS by Marcus Melchoir


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The somewhat puzzling memoir of the Chief Rabbi of Denmark from his early student days and rabbinate in Germany, his removal to Denmark before World War II, his escape with his family to Sweden during the Nazi occupation, and return to Denmark and appointment as Chief Rabbi. It is certain that Dr. Melchoir is not self-effacing; that he has an active organizational, even political mind, but it seems his editor has not been kind. Some remarks concerning contemporaries might have been left unsaid. (Concerning the Chief Rabbi of Stockholm. ""His least appealing quality was a far advanced egotism."" On the honoring of then Denmark's Chief Rabbi Friedliger at a rededication function: ""I felt it to be shameful, unjust and bitter that not a shade of even the very smallest function was left to me."") It is unfortunate that samples of the Rabbi's very real contributions in drawing together Jews and Gentiles through talks and writings were not included--too much deals with inter-administrative conflict. The war years and the anguish Jewish Danes must have suffered is not convincingly conveyed. Obviously a controversial man--his early withdrawal from Zionism after the establishment of Israel, refusal to condemn the German people, will antagonize some, intrigue others. A parochial and curiously unrevealing account.

Pub Date: July 6th, 1968
Publisher: Lyle Stuart