D O C . 3 7 9 T R A V E L D I A R Y N O V E M B E R 1 9 2 2 3 0 3 ten with a friend in the service at the behest of the Zionist Association in Singapore. The address that was supposed to be ceremoniously handed over to me was on silk and in a valuable silver case (Siamese ornamental relief), was quite clever in content but far too solemn and—as their father himself with a grin let on— concocted with the aid of Meyer’s Convers. Lexikon.[26] At 11 o’clock a journalist joined us and I had to tell Mr. Montor, his friends, and the newspaper man, among other things, the beetle story about spherical space. After the splendid midday meal our friendly hosts took us to a guestroom where we were allowed to sleep under a mosquito cage. Next door was a lavatory with chamber pots and a big washing tub. Elsa was appalled, I a little also, because of such unaccustomed installations. Well rested, we drove in Montor’s car at 4 o’clock to Meyer, the Jewish Croesus of Singapore.[27] His palatial house with Moorish-like halls is situated on the peak of a hill with a view of city and sea directly below it, a sumptuous synagogue essen- tially for contact between Croesus and Jehovah, built by the former. Croesus is a still quite upright, slim, strong-willed ancient of 81 years. Gray goatee, narrow flushed face, thin Jewish hooked nose, clever, somewhat sly eyes, a black skull cap on his well-arched brow.[28] Similar to Lorentz, just with his shining kindly eyes exchanged for cautiously shrewd ones and the facial expression speaking more of planned order and work than—with Lorentz—philanthropy and civic sense.[29] It was the fortress that, according to Weizmann’s designs, I was to conquer for the benefit of the Jerusalem University. His daughter, narrow black , pale noble face, is one of the finest Jewish female figures I have ever seen. She proves Looking at her, one is tempted to take seriously the joke of the “oldest aristocracy.”[30] So when we arrived up there, first came the business of picture taking. Croesus next to me, surrounded by his family and many Jewish couples, a group photo.[31] After this enormously important act came filing into a big oriental refreshment hall. Malaysian band played Viennese and Negro music in European schmaltzy coffee- house manner. I sat with Croesus and the—archbishop (beside spouse), a seasoned, exclusively English-speaking slim, big-nosed English nobleman, who not in vain flirts with Croesus’s money, without the least weight on his conscience.[32] Dread- ful linguistic calamity with tasty cake. Then Montor brought us (Croesus and me) to two raised [seats] with lectern set up at the end of the hall, sat down to one side, delivered his address with a convincing voice, with my reliably translated reply safely in his pocket. I responded freely, during which he simulated taking notes, in order to be able thereupon to read out my answer, composed that morning and translated by him and his friend, which he gave off as an improvised translation of my free address, the slick operator. Then endless handshaking, reminiscent of America. Genuine cordiality among Jews everywhere. When I managed to get away, already quite seasick, and the sun had already hidden itself, we quickly drove [p. 9] [p. 9v] [p. 10]
Previous Page Next Page