Birnbaum, Menachem, Chad Gadjo, Berlin: Welt-Verlag, 1920. One volume, 28.5 cm, frontispiece in Aramaic, title-page in German. Printed at the Spamersche Buchdruckerei, Leipzig. Cover title in Aramaic and German, with a lamb (“lämmchen”) stamped between the Aramaic title above and the German title below. The same image of a lamb appears stamped inside the front cover in green. Unpaginated, 15 leaves: Leaf 1 (L1a) with yellow and green decoration, with the young lamb, verso (L1b) with copyright and printer’s name;( L2a) with printer’s device, verso (L2b) with half-title: “Die Welt-Drucke/Das Fünfte Werk”; (L3a) is blank, (L3b) has the frontispiece in Aramaic; (L4a) has the German title-page: “Chad Gadjo/ Zeichnungen von / Menachem Birnbaum / Welt-Verlag, Berlin 5680”; (L4b) “Deutsche Űbertragung von Uriel Birnbaum”; (L5a) dedication: “Meiner lieben Frau”, (L5b) bi-lingual Aramaic-German text begins; (L6a) first color woodblock of a Chasidic father holding a sacrificial lamb, with a pleading barefoot child reaching up towards the animal; (L6b) bi-lingual text; (L7a) woodblock of a large black cat killing a lamb, with its blood flowing out; (L7b) bi-lingual text; (L8a) woodblock of a large canine shaking the bloody carcass of the much smaller black cat, throwing its blood across the image from top to bottom; (L8b) bi-lingual text; (L9a) woodblock of a huge club smashing the dog in a pool of its own blood; (L9b) bi-lingual text; (L10a) a large fire; (L10b) bi-lingual text; (L11a) woodblock of rain extinguishing a small fire; (L11b) bi-lingual text; (L12a) woodblock of an ox drinking from a pool of rainwater; (L12b) bi-lingual text; (L13a) woodblock of the ox being killed by a man with a ritualistic knife; (L13b) bi-lingual text; (L14a) woodblock of the ox-killer himself being claimed by the Angel of Death (“Und es kommt der Todesengel”); (L14b) final page of bi-lingual text; (L15a) the Almighty is suggested by a shaft of white light, dividing the blackness of the final woodblock and striking down the Angel of Death; (L15b) is blank.
This book was formatted as a Western European book, from front to back, with the front cover ties. The front cover is detached and the remaining ribbon ties frayed and worn. A collaboration between two brothers, Uriel Birnbaum (1894-1956) did the German text. There are hand-colored illustrations (10 in-text and 3 prefatory). Menachem Birnbaum was the second son of the Jewish philosopher Nathan Birnbaum and his wife Rosa Korngut. Menachem Birnbaum lived in Berlin from 1911 – 1914, then returned from 1919-1933. He emigrated to the Netherlands, where he was arrested in 1943 by the Gestapo and deported to Poland, where it is believed he perished in Auschwitz in 1944.
The Spamersche Buchdruckerei is also well-remembered for printing illustrations of the German Expressionists, later denounced by National Socialist propagandists as “Degenerate.” The interior condition of this rare bilingual German-Jewish imprint is fine.