Joseph Roth

“The Eastern Jew looks to the West with a longing that it really doesn’t merit.”

“The Eastern Jewish laborer, in his love of work, his sober cast of thought, his quiet life, is comparable to the German.”

“Zionism and nationhood are by their nature Western European ideals, even if what they aspire towards may not be. Only in the East do people live who are unconcerned with their “nationality,” in the Western European sense. They speak several languages, are themselves the product of several generations of mixed marriages, and fatherland for them is whichever country happens to conscript them. The Armenians of the Caucasus were for a long time neither Russians nor Armenians; they were Muslims living in the Caucasus, and yet they furnished the czars of Russia with their most loyal bodyguards. Nationality is a Western concept. It was an invention of Western European scholars, who ever since have struggled to explain it.”

The Wandering Jews by Joseph Roth

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