The Boys from the „Gush“. A Jewish Book for Young Adults, Berlin 1936, pp. 22-23

English Translation

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    |22 : 22|
    Meanwhile Kurt was attending the afternoon meeting at the clubhouse.
    The group was complete. Julle’s
    uncle had come, too. This the walls of this
    little room had not seen since the
    boys had rented the room and decorated it as their clubhouse:
    an uncle at the afternoon meeting!

    But Julle’s uncle was no ordinary
    uncle. He knew every Hebrew song which the group
    sang and full-throatedly sang along. The twelve
    boys marveled at this.

    “I have only recently returned from my journey to Palestine,”
    Mr. Siegler explained. “That
    is where I learned the songs.”

    When Moshe, the group leader, addressed the main topic
    and informed the others of the invitation,
    their enthusiasm was boundless. They all jumped up
    at Mr. Siegler and shook his hand. Atze,
    the best gymnast among them, in his joy even attempted a hand-
    stand on the table, and Tippel, the group clown,

    “Gee whiz, gosh and golly and whatnot,
    now we will go to summer camp after all!”

    Mr. Siegler said: “You don’t have to call me
    Mr. Siegler, boys. Just call me ‘Leo.’ — Now
    Kurt also noticed that Julle’s uncle had not put on a
    tie, but instead wore a soft collar.
    He looked like the Jewish laborers
    from Palestine Kurt had often seen in pictures.

    |23 : 23|
    Now the details were discussed. How much
    money each of them would be given by their parents, how
    much the train ride to the farm would cost, which tents and sports
    equipment the Chawerim friends would bring, and
    all the many other questions a group has to discuss
    when they set off for summer camp. — Then Moshe asked
    for suggestions for camp activities.

    “Gee whiz, gosh and golly and whatnot — “
    now we will go to summer camp after all!”

    “Let’s go on lots of hikes while
    we’re at camp,” Zwi suggested.

    “We want to cook our food ourselves.” This
    of course came from Maxi, the Baal-Guf bearer of a body.

    “We want to play lots of scouting games,” said
    Zappel. Zappel was the youngest of the group. He
    could not sit still for five minutes.

    Source Description

    This double page is taken from the Zionist young adult book “Die Jungen vom Gusch” [“The Boys from the Gush”] written by Bernhard Gelbart and published in 1936 by the Berlin-based Kedem Verlag. The 125-page novel is addressed to youths. The excerpt presented here describes a meeting of a Zionist youth group led by the book’s protagonist, Kurt. While discussing their next outing, the group is visited by Leo Siegler, the uncle of one of the group’s members, who lives in Palestine. The text is accompanied by an illustration showing the uncle with the boys, who are romping about joyfully. At the time this novel was published, both readers and creators of German-Jewish children’s literature were subjected to considerable restrictions. The establishment of the Reich Chamber of Literature  Reichsschrifttumskammer in 1933 created conditions in which Jewish authors could only publish with Jewish publishers and write for a Jewish audience. Texts depicting a German-Jewish culture were suppressed by censorship. By contrast, Zionist texts advocating emigration, initially favored by the National Socialist state, were even supported. This political and thematic narrowing led to a brief flourishing of German-Jewish children’s literature and especially Zionist literature. The key goals of this literary movement, which had become dominant within German-Jewish children’s literature since the early 1930s, can be identified quite clearly in the selected excerpt.
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    Recommended Citation

    The Boys from the „Gush“. A Jewish Book for Young Adults, Berlin 1936, pp. 22-23 (translated by Insa Kummer), edited in: Key Documents of German-Jewish History, <> [July 19, 2024].