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Holocaust Survivor and Last of the Old World Humanists
on 27 August 2002
A fine, absorbing read by a great man, the late Professor Israel Shahak, who survived the Belsen Death Camp and lived for decades on the firing line in Israel, and who consistently made humane, rational, secular arguments that will appeal to cool-headed readers interested in the sadly never-ending conflict between Israel and its Arab neighbors, which especially right now seems to increasingly preoccupy the rest of a concerned world. Shahak especially reminds me of the wonderfully sane writer Primo Levi, another survivor (of Auschwitz) like Shahak and also another great Citizen of the World. I also was reminded by this book of the humanist philosophy contained in so many of the stories of Italo Calvino (*Marcovaldo,* *Invisible Cities* especially), and of the Israeli character "Shuki" in Philip Roth's novel *The Counterlife.*. I found Gore Vidal's brief introduction here also fascinating.
Raise a glass to one of the last of the Old World humanists.