funny stories

Behind the Laughs

ephraim kishon ap
Ephraim Kishon at his house in Switzerland, in 2003.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Germans and Israelis take different lessons from the Holocaust, and it affects how they see the world.

  • Facts


    • Ephraim Kishon’s works sold 43 million copies – 31 million in Germany.
    • After the Six-Day War in 1967, Mr. Kishon wrote a satirical collection, “So Sorry We Won,” portraying Israel as David and the Arabs as Goliath.
    • Israel-born Tuvia Tenenbom is author of the 2014 German bestseller “Alone among Jews.”
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Two decades after Nazis deported Jews for mass extermination in Germany and Europe, one of the major architects of the Holocaust stood in a Jerusalem courtroom behind bulletproof glass.

German newspapers reported on the 1961 trial of SS Lt. Col. Adolf Eichmann and called for information on anyone who might have helped in the systematic slaughter. But most Germans stayed silent and everything became more difficult. Only 16 years since Auschwitz had been liberated, how else could it be?

Then a book by Israeli satirist Ephraim Kishon was translated and published in Germany. While the world was discussing Mr. Eichmann’s guilt, Germans were reading “Look Back, Mrs. Lot” – and laughing about something that Jews found funny too.

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