Glauben reunited with father’s paper, 72 years after last publication
By Jori Epstein
Special to the TJP
On the eve of his 89th birthday, Max Glauben still makes newspaper headlines.
He regularly speaks to groups at the Dallas Holocaust Museum/Center for Education and Tolerance, has traveled to College Station for two speaking gigs since the start of November, and he’ll embark on his 12th March of the Living trip to Holocaust concentration camps in Poland with Dallas teens this spring.
But Glauben’s connection to newspapers began long before he was the subject of stories himself. In fact, when 10-year-old Max was spending time in newsrooms, he couldn’t read the Yiddish emanating from the printing press or write in the language of the tabloid. But he would watch his father and grandfather at work publishing newspapers from the late 1920s to the Nazis’ invasion in 1939. Their goal: Keep Jewish communities throughout Europe informed in uncertain times.
“There was a hushness,” Glauben said of the 1930s climate. “The Jewish people were scared. Don’t say anything — someone might hear you and hurt you. What the papers tried to do was distribute the news to the public at large because families themselves were afraid to say anything for fear that if someone hears it, they’d harm them.”
By publishing in Yiddish, editors didn’t need to fear censorship. The Poles and Nazis never prosecuted articles because they couldn’t read them.
“They didn’t know the language,” Glauben said. “And in those days they couldn’t care less to translate and see what the Jews were saying.”
So Glauben’s father continued to publish The Jewish Daily and disseminate it throughout Europe. His grandfather simultaneously produced The Jewish Express. The Daily appealed to more secular, Zionistic Jews while The Express featured more traditional, Orthodox perspectives. Rather than compete for subscriptions, each found its niche.
“There were clannish groups,” Glauben said.
Finding a copy
It was one of his father’s papers — with worldly news, albeit through a Jewish lens — that Glauben found recently while in Poland on a March of the Living trip. At the Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Glauben was searching through a news archives exhibit when he came across a familiar paper name: Dos Judisze Togblat, Polish for The Jewish Daily.
The archive was a September 1938 edition of his father’s paper. He hadn’t seen any signs of the publication in more than 75 years.
“I was flabbergasted,” Glauben said.
He first spotted the paper on his 2015 trip, recognizing the address listed on the newspaper as where he used to visit his father at work. Museum staffers agreed to email Glauben a copy, but an expiring email and miscommunication left him without access to it. He requested a print version mailed to him during last year’s trip. Over the summer, it came in the mail.
The discovery of the paper led to discoveries about the papers’ goals and production that Glauben hadn’t known during childhood. The archive lists subscription fees for the Warsaw/Lodz areas, greater Poland, France, Belgium and “all other lands” — a much broader distribution than he had known of at age 10 while he played with printing machines on Saturday nights in the newsroom.
The wide expanse of topics covered in the Yiddish headlines mirrors the broad distribution. The archive cover page alone features one headline on British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain sending messengers to Adolf Hitler, another noting the Czechs rejected German demands. On the left is a full Yiddish translation of a letter from Czech president Edvard Benes to the Polish government. And above it lies an article on a Jewish Invalids Society informing the Polish government of its support for the unification of Silesia and Poland.
Jews stayed informed and involved even as they began to lose their civil rights, Glauben said.
“We were cultural people,” Glauben said.
Keeping Jews informed
The Jewish newspapers helped them remain that way.
“(The) objective of the Jewish publications was to bring news that was involving the Jewish people and letting them know of what was happening,” Glauben said. “Warning them about certain pogroms and certain unpleasant things that were done sometimes by their neighbors.”
Seventy-two years after the papers quit printing, Glauben continues his family legacy of bringing news and awareness to broad populations. He doesn’t write for the public, having never received much formal education after age 11. But as he delivers regular speeches detailing his life first in Warsaw and then through the ghettos and Holocaust concentration camps, Glauben’s talks have become his own platform for advocacy. He constantly strategizes ways to tell his stories without generating hate. And he stresses education as the key to a better world full of “upstanders” rather than bystanders. Education, Glauben says, belongs to the beholder.
“What you put in your brain can never be taken away from you,” he said. “The more knowledge you acquire, the better person you are because you understand other people better.”