The April 24, 1942, issue of the JN is a very interesting one. When reading it, the first impression I had was that it was very hard to look past the large, emphatic headline for the issue: “Polish Jews Send Frantic Appeal to the World for Food.” There was also an ominous subtitle: “Nazis Seek Reduction of Jewish Births in Poland.” Of course, we now know these words hardly convey the actual extent of the horrible suffering of Poland’s Jews, as well as other European Jews, during the Nazi occupation.

On that same page, another storyline caught my eye. The JN had arranged with publisher G.P. Putnam’s Sons to reprint a short story, “The Lucky Touch,” by the eminent Jewish writer Sholem Asch.

Asch was indeed a prominent writer and essayist in his time, writing only in Yiddish. He was born in relative poverty in Poland in 1880, moved to America in 1938, spent a few years in Israel and died in London, England, in 1957. During his life, Asch was a most prolific writer. For example, per the Encyclopedia Britannica, in 1938, his stories, novels and plays filled 29 volumes. That is a lot of writing.

I’ll admit this was my first time reading a story by Sholem Asch. I’m glad I did. And, it was nice to be able to read the story in archives of the JN.

Mike Smith
Detroit Jewish News Foundation


Want to learn more? Go to the DJN Foundation archives, available for free at