By Dave Sim (writer, artist)
Judenhass is the most sobering experience I’ve had in a comic book this year. It’s a painful reminder of the past – more specifically, the atrocities that happened to the Jews during World War II. Dave Sim, gives us a running narrative of this event, shedding light on worldly views of the Jews then and before. It’s not just about Nazis, but about how people have negatively perceived Jews throughout history.
From the opening pages, Sim points out that without Jews, there wouldn’t be a comic book industry. Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Joe Shuster, Bob Kane, Will Eisner, Jerry Seigel – these are all Jewish creators and key pillars to the kingdom of comics. Can you imagine a Marvel or DC Universe without their guidance or souls? Me neither.
After making this note, Sim brings the grim reality of the Holocaust to the page. Using many photographs for reference, he painstakingly renders horrible images from concentration camps with an eerie sense of accuracy. What we see isn’t pretty, nor is it supposed to be. What happened is real, and I can’t imagine how hard it must have been to work on these pages. The eyes of many of the persons illustrated in this book tell a story by themselves. At many moments, Sim begins at one point of a person like the face, and slowly brings the camera back over a series of panels, revealing the defeated, tortured soul for us to see. It’s heart wrenching and moving.
And while the imagery in this book is powerful stuff, the narrative and quotes researched and provided by Sim are more so. He’s done a lot of homework for this book, making sure to point out every acknowledgement and source with his bibliography. Quotes taken from famous persons like Mark Twain, H. G. Wells, Russian proverbs, Voltaire, and even the Catholic Church. You’d think what they have to say might be inspiring, but it’s less than flattering. These quotes purely show that even the most highly regarded persons and institutions in society have had their share of anti-Semitism, or as Dave Sim poignantly notes, “Judenhass” or Jewish Hatred.
This book is a real eye opener, and is something that needs to be read and shared. It’s too important to ignore, and it’s something we all must come to understand so that something like this never happens again… to the Jews or any other race. (Grade: A)
– J. Montes