Querido, Israël

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QUERIDO, ISRAËL (1872–1932), Dutch novelist and author. He belonged to an Amsterdam Sephardi family and displayed a generally ambivalent attitude toward his Jewish background. In an early novel, Levensgang ("Life," 1901), he vividly portrays the diamond workers and merchants of Amsterdam and contrasts virtuous Christians with venal Jews. His autobiographical novel Zegepraal ("Triumph," 1904) was less successful. Aron Laguna (1916) is a lively recreation of Sephardi life which preserves the everyday speech of Sephardi Jewry of his generation.

His most important work was the cycle of novels published as De Jordaan (4 vols., 1912–25), a study of life in an Amsterdam working-class neighborhood. He wrote a number of novels and plays on biblical themes, including the lyrical drama Saul en David (1914) and a trilogy entitled De oude waereld ("The Old World"), which comprises three novels: Koningen ("Kings," 1918), Zonsopgang ("Sunrise," 1920), and Morgenland ("The Orient," 1921). Another biblical work was the novel Simson ("Samson," 2 vols., 1927–29). Toward the end of his life Querido published another novel cycle dealing with the Sephardim. It consisted of two books, Van armen en rijken ("Of the Rich and the Poor," 1931) and Menschenharten ("Human Hearts," 1932). They reappeared together as Het volk Gods ("God's People," 2 vols., 1932). Other works by Querido include Misleide Majesteit ("Misled Majesty," 1926), an animal story based on an Indian epic, and volumes of criticism.

His brother, the publisher emanuel querido (1871–1943), wrote a semi-autobiographical novel dealing with the development of Amsterdam during the years 1880–1910. This work, Het geslacht der Santeljano's ("The Santeljano Family," 10 vols., 1918–29), contains much important biographical material on his brother. After the Nazi occupation, Emanuel Querido was deported and died in the Sobibor death camp.


J.L. Boender, Israël Querido en het begrip literatuur (1927); A.M. de Jong, Israël Querido, De mens en de kunstenaar (1933).

[Gerda Alster-Thau]