Song About Pity: The Kehilla, in the 1930s by Avigdor Dagan
Translator: Patrik Munzar
Song about Pity, written by the Czech Israeli author and diplomat, Avigdor Dagan (1912-2006), portrays the life of a Jewish community in a small pre-war Czechoslovakia town during the economic downturn and drought in the 1930s.
The main protagonist, young Daniel Menasse, questions his family’s faith and traditions as he thinks about God and his plans and actions.
He has two wonderful grandfathers who are both profoundly religious. One views God as strict and harsh, whereas the other sees God as merciful and full of compassion.
Daniel listens to their deliberations, tries to understand the tragic events unfolding around him from both perspectives, but remains unsure of what the truth is.
Years after the war, Daniel returns for the first time to his childhood home to revive his memories and find solutions to his search. He is the only one from the entire Jewish community who survived the Holocaust, but his life experience does not help answer his philosophical questions. However, his journey back to his childhood home allows him to find meaning and gain new hope.
Year first published: 2023