The Last of the Just

The Last of the Just Published in sixteen languages and winner of the prestigious Prix Goncourt Andre Schwarz Bart s The Last of the Just is considered by many the single greatest novel of the Holocaust On March

  • Title: The Last of the Just
  • Author: André Schwarz-Bart
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 420
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • The Last of the Just

    Published in sixteen languages and winner of the prestigious Prix Goncourt, Andre Schwarz Bart s The Last of the Just is considered by many the single greatest novel of the Holocaust.On March 11, 1185, in the old Anglican city of York, the Jews of the city were brutally massacred by their townsmen As legend has it, God blessed the only survivor of this medieval pogrom, RaPublished in sixteen languages and winner of the prestigious Prix Goncourt, Andre Schwarz Bart s The Last of the Just is considered by many the single greatest novel of the Holocaust.On March 11, 1185, in the old Anglican city of York, the Jews of the city were brutally massacred by their townsmen As legend has it, God blessed the only survivor of this medieval pogrom, Rabbi Yom Tov Levy, as one of the Lamed Vov, the thirty six Just Men of Jewish tradition, a blessing which extended to one Levy of each succeeding generation This terrifying and remarkable legacy is traced over eight centuries, from the Spanish Inquisition, to expulsions from England, France, Portugal, Germany, and Russia, and to the small Polish village of Zemyock, where the Levys settle for two centuries in relative peace It is in the twentieth century that Ernie Levy emerges, The Last of the Just, in 1920s Germany, as Hitler s sinister star is on the rise and the agonies of Auschwitz loom on the horizon This classic work, long unavailable in a trade edition, is one of those few novels that, once read, is never forgotten.

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    One thought on “The Last of the Just

    1. Jonathan

      “ It is said that at all times there are 36 special people in the world, and that were it not for them, all of them, if even one of them was missing, the world would come to an end. The two Hebrew letters for 36 are the lamed, which is 30, and the vav, which is six. Therefore, these 36 are referred to as the Lamed-Vav Tzadikim. This widely-held belief, this most unusual Jewish concept is based on a Talmudic statement to the effect that in every generation 36 righteous "greet the Shechinah," th [...]

    2. Lawyer

      "THE LAST OF THE JUST," Andre Schwarz-Bart's novel of remembranceAs an under grad at the University of Alabama, I often spent my time between classes at a college bookstore, Malone's, or at The Alabama Bookstore. Malone's was ultimately gobbled up by their competition. However both stores offered shelves of literature that frequently caught my eye and my meager funds.The Last of the Just by André Schwarz-Bart was one of the many books I bought during my college days. I skipped lunch that day to [...]

    3. Jonfaith

      How common is a phase of Shoah exploration? I found it rather odd and off-outting when I fell into a period in my early 20s, I was nearly obsessed and read constantly from scholarly analyses, memoirs and novels. I found the subject nearly untenable for most people in Southern Indiana: why would you want to read about that? Since then I have encountered a half dozen kindred souls who likewise went inexplicably overboard on this darkest of subjects.I read this novel in 1994 and was ripped as if by [...]

    4. Grasped in Thought

      One of my favorite pieces of realistic fiction, Schwarz-Bart's book is nothing less than a masterpiece. The book examines antisemitism throughout historic Europe up to WW2. The story goes through several pogroms throughout Europe's history and ends with the worst act of evil to ever befall the Jewish people of Europe, the Holocaust. The story is heavily based on the Tzadikim Nistarim, a notion prevalent within mystical Hasidim. Having some background knowledge about Europe's history after establ [...]

    5. Jim Fonseca

      This book, written in 1959, was one of the early accountings of the atrocities inflicted on Jews in Europe during World War II. The novel caused a sensation in France when it was released just five years after the end of WW II and the blurb says the Prix Goncourt was awarded early specifically to recognize this book. The author, who just became a teenager as the war began, lost both of his parents in concentration camps. The main character is a young boy who is so humiliated by his teachers and [...]

    6. Gaye

      it is difficult to find words to describe a book that i look back upon as one of the most brilliant yet difficult reads of my life. andre' schwarz-bart, winner of the Prix Goncourt, is an author extraordinnaire. a genius of a writer who might not appeal to the "average" reader (please forgive the sound of arrogance) yet will titillate the juices of the discriminating, deep reader. i cannot say too much nor do i want to write so-called "spoilers." this work of genius and art ranks as one the more [...]

    7. Paul

      All I can say is that this book made me weep. Literally. If you read this book and are unmoved by the terrible inhumanity we are all capable of exhibiting, you may not have experienced a healthy dose of love in your life and therefore have no heart. Seriously. This book follows the Jewish experience through pograms to an entire family's extinction during the Holocaust. It examines anti-semitism and an all-too-human reaction to atrocity of "not my problem." It is tough to read, but worth it.

    8. Kressel Housman

      Amongst the literature of the Holocaust, this is an absolute masterpiece. It's based on a twist of the Chassidic legend that there are 36 righteous people hidden in the world whose very existence justifies the existence of the rest of it, even evil. The author made mistakes with the concept, though. In his book, the status of being one of the righteous is passed from father to son, which is NOT part of the Chassidic tradition. Also, they seem to know that they are the hidden righteous, which is [...]

    9. James

      An absolutely essential read for anyone who has any interest whatsoever in trying to understand the Holocaust. It is a singular work and one of the most powerful novels I have ever read. The ending is something that I will never get out of my mind. Devastating.

    10. Ted Hovey

      This is an exceptional book. The story of the persecution of Jews is structured with the legend of the 38 Just Men. From the death of Rabbi Yom Tov Levy in York, England, in 1185, to the end of Ernie Levy's life in the gas chamber at Auschwitz, we follow the sufferings and joys of Jewish people over the centuries, through the lineage of one of the Just Men.Schwartz-Bart created characters that drew me into the story. He shows human suffering so effectively that I found myself pulling out of the [...]

    11. Isabelle

      The legend says that there are 36 just men who take on the world suffering onto their own shoulders, a kind of pact with God whereby He allows the world to continue.Ernie Levy is one of those Justs, and while the book nominally covers eight centuries, Ernie's destiny is at its center, a destiny that will set him adrift through WWII Europe with an inevitable ending in a concentration camp.This is one of the great books of my life, so powerful, moving and shocking that I literally had recurring dr [...]

    12. Sarah

      God only knows why this book isn't taught in every school. Okay, so on the surface, it's a story of Jewish oppression in WWII, but it's so much more.

    13. Dov Zeller

      "Our eyes register the light of dead stars. A biography of my friend Ernie could easily be set in the second quarter of the twentieth century, but the true history of Ernie Levy begins much earlier, toward the year 1,000 of our era, in the old Anglican city of York. More precisely, on March 11, 1185." So begins "The Last of the Just," a novel in the form of a biographical accounting of the life of Ernie Levy. It opens and ends with a tale of massacre and survival, to the tune of the sad, mystica [...]

    14. Anne

      this is a hard book to characterize. it begins in the 11th century with a Pogrom against the Jews. The family Levy who have one man each generation called the Just Man, travels all over East Europe searching for a place to call home and finally settle in Zemyock, Poland and find peace for a few generations. When the last son of the family, Ernie is born, it is the beginning of the 20th century, and most people knwo what happened to the Jews in the thirties in Germany and other countries invaded [...]

    15. Mark Drew

      This is one of the greatest books that addresses the Holocaust. The book is the generational story of Ernie Levy, who is one of the 36 Lamed Vav Tzadikim (just men) that exist at any and all time that keeps the world from ending by justifying the purpose of mankind (unknown as such by Ernie himself). A tall metaphysical order when facing life under Nazi Germany. Of course Ernie's existence is both difficult and very different from other men as he tries to relate to the world in general and final [...]

    16. Jim

      This is an epic book. Okay 383 pages isn't that epic but it covers a long period of time, from the 12th through to the 20th centuries. I have to say, from my point of view, the Jews vanished from history by the end of the first century and then reappeared just in time for the Holocaust. I never had any idea what happened to them and I was never that interested. This book redresses the balance. I would not pretend for a moment that it's an easy read but I would say it is a necessary one.

    17. Kim Guisness

      One of the most beautifully written novels of all time So sad, but one of those books you must read in your lifetime.

    18. Ana'

      "There is no room for truth here" p.376I just finished reading this beautiful novel, crying and I am once reminded how almost impossible is to accept, understand, grasp : yes, indeed, an Holocaust occurred in our mist.I discovered this novel through an Holocaust online class offered by Coursera (can't recommend it enough!).This is a very unique novel enrapt of figurative narrative giving a tribute to the victims of the Holocaust. How did the author accomplish such mission? By sharing the legacy [...]

    19. Pgricchi

      This book narrates the life of Ernie Levy, who in 1942 turns up at a concentration camp where Jews are being processed for extermination and seeks admission. But the novel starts more than 800 years before his birth. Out of necessity it is long, and it sprawls; but in its English translation from the French, the prose is beautiful, and the story accelerates. To me the book is timeless and perfect. I know that the impression it made on me is indelible.

    20. Lynnnadeau

      The story of one man caught up in the Shoah, sent to the gas chamber. One man, one of the lamed vavs one of 36 special people who are chosen by God in each generation to experience the world around them fully - as if they have no particular ego but become the container of all that happens to those around them.

    21. Ksenia

      À part de sa significance culturelle et historique, ce roman est incroyablement bien écrit. Et je pleurai beaucoup, c'est ne pas humainement possible de ne pas le faire. Pourtant je pris du temps pour lire cette livre, et les dernières pages étaient les plus dures à lire. Des semaines et des semaines pour lire la part Plus jamais. Et je vais le relire, une fois, deux fois ou encore plus.

    22. Larry

      I came to this classic latterly -- as in a few months ago (mid-2014). Great, great ending. Painful but characters written with such humanity that it earns the right to be on the bookshelf of those titles capable of changing a life.

    23. Gregg Narber

      I read this when it was new in the 1960s. With Exodus by Leon Uris, it was my introduction to the Holocaust, something about which I knew little in high school. Scenes from Last of the Just have stuck with me all these years and after reading it again that is no surprise. It is a powerful story that follows a family, the Levys, through centuries with especial emphasis on what happened to Jews in Germany in the years after World War I through the extermination in Auschwitz and elsewhere. The Levy [...]

    24. Jennifer Smith

      This is a very strange book. It is a book about the idea of the "Lamed-Vav"nicks, the 36 Just Men. It is a story of suffering by members of the Levy family through the ages, starting with the 1190 massacre of the Jews of York, but progressing quickly through to the late 19th century, and focusing on the early 20th century. The language of the book is somewhat stilted. It's hard to know if the reason is that it was written in 1959, or if it's because it was translated from the original French.The [...]

    25. Shelley

      I wish I could say that I liked this, or thought it was just OK, but I cannot lie. I really disliked it because the premise was so promising and I was disappointed. I was looking forward to learning something about my Jewish heritage and the Levy family. Unfortunately, I learned nothing beyond the original description of the origin of the 36 Just Men. My brow was furrowed the whole time trying to figure out "what is going on with this?" and "What is the point of this?". I guess I couldn't apprec [...]

    26. Kathy Sebesta

      I don't remember where I ran into mention of this book but it must have been intriguing because the book's been on my to-be-read pile forever. It may be because I'm not into all the Jewish stories, but this story seemed so incredibly pointless that it didn't take long before I gave it up. I'm at a loss to tell you what the purpose or story is actually about.

    27. David

      A very slow story, describing the lives of various Jewish "Just Men". Only one per generation. The common thread seems to be anti-semitism. And suffering. So it doesn't sound very appealing on the face of it. But it is SO powerful. Especially the ending.

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