In the aftermath of World War II, virtually all European countries struggled with the dilemma of citizens who had collaborated with Nazi occupiers. Jewish communities in particular faced the difficult task of confronting collaborators among their own ranks—those who had served on Jewish councils, worked as ghetto police, or acted as informants. European Jews established their own tribunals—honor courts—for dealing with these crimes, while Israel held dozens of court cases against alleged collaborators under a law passed two years after its founding.
Born into poverty in Russian Poland in 1911, Zosa Szajkowski (Shy-KOV-ski) was a self-made man who managed to make a life for himself as an intellectual, first as a journalist in 1930s Paris, and then, after a harrowing escape to New York in 1941, as a scholar. Although he never taught at a university or even earned a PhD, Szajkowski became one of the world's foremost experts on the history of the Jews in modern France, publishing in Yiddish, English, and Hebrew. His work opened up new ways of thinking about Jewish emancipation, economic and social modernization, and the rise of modern anti-Semitism.
David A. Wacks examines the works of Sephardic writers from the 13th to the 16th centuries and shows that this literature was shaped by two interwoven experiences of diaspora: first from the Biblical homeland Zion and later from the ancestral hostland, Sefarad.
This portrait of Cyril Harris' years in South Africa, and his background, gives a glimpse into one of the most fascinating moments in South African history, the spirit of the times, and the Jewish thread which he weaved through those years of change.