Martin Gilbert

Family Circle Drawn Tighter by Tragedy

Victor Erlich, born in 1914, was the offspring of two giants of the Jewish intellectual stage: Simon Dubnow, his grandfather, and Henryk Erlich, his father. In his new memoir, “Child of a Turbulent Century,” Erlich brings us into his heady family circle and to the interwar flourishing of Jewish literary and political creativity. And hard though it is for readers, and more for the writer, to forget the ending of grandfather and father — Dubnow, the famed Jewish historian, was killed by a Nazi bullet in Riga in 1941, and Erlich, a leading figure in the Polish Bund, took his own life in one of Stalin’s prisons in 1942 — it is the vigorous, warm, hopeful world that dominates these pages.