The New York Times, September 21, 1958
To the Screen Editor:
I was naturally very much interested in your letter-column
(Sept. 7) in relation to the film, "Me and the Colonel." I
was especially interested in Karen Waldauer's letter about
the nature of Jewish humor.
She made the point that it was based—great areas of it—on
catastrophe. Anyone with even a superficial knowledge of the
subject knows that this is true. Far from agreeing with
another correspondent that such humor is "morbid," I believe
it to be a strong element of survival—at least among those
who do survive.
There could not be a better proof of the truth of Miss
Waldauer's assertion than the origin of this film itself.
Franz Werfel, who told me the story, had just escaped with
his life by a very narrow squeak. Max Reinhardt, our host,
had lost everything he had—and he had a. great deal. Oscar
Karlweis, who played Jacobowsky in New York, had had an
experience almost as perilous as Werfel's. They all rocked
with laughter over this story.
But perhaps, in order to appreciate Jewish humor, or any
kind, you have to have a sense of it.
S. N. BEHRMAN.