The New York Times, September 21, 1958

Total Awareness

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.

New York.

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