The Forgotten Ally is a beautifully written book, as the New York Times review describes it - “The expression of one of the most passionately generous hearts in the writing profession.”
“Van Paassen writes with the power and fervor of a latter-day prophet, without forgetting the need for facts, figures and documentation.” - Review of Chicago Sun Times.
Shortly after World War One, Van Paassen started his career as a journalist at The Globe, a Canadian newspaper in Toronto. His next job as a journalist was at the great southern liberal newspaper, The Atlanta Constitution. This is where Van Paassen actively became interested in Jewish affairs after interviewing a Rabbi from New York who had just returned from Mandatory Palestine. From this point on, Van Paassen took a great personal interest in the issues of Palestine and the plight of European Jewry. In 1925, he became the foreign correspondent for the New York Evening World, which placed him in Paris. The stage was being set for World War Two and the rise of fascism in Germany and Italy from which Van Paassen passionately reported.
In 1931, the New York Evening World stopped publishing; Van Paassen remained in France and wrote for The Globe and its competitor the Toronto Star. In 1933, Van Paassen, a fluent German speaker, reported on the Nazis and courageously exposed the doctrines and policies of Hitler’s fascist regime. His news reports greatly upset the Nazis, and the Toronto Star became known as “atrocity propaganda.” The newspaper was banned from Germany and Van Paassen was expelled but not before he was imprisoned by the Nazis for several weeks, which included some physical blows to Van Paassen’s own person.
Van Paassen spent quite some time in Palestine and wrote extensively for his newspapers and wrote many books and articles on the subject. When one reads this book today, one notices how profound and ironic it is, that the times which Van Paassen describes of his generation are now repeating themselves, the only differences are the players’ names.