In 1940, just before the Germans entered Paris, Haim Sloves, an Eastern European Jewish intellectual, finished writing a play in Yiddish, Homens mapole, or The Downfall of Haman. It was an act of resistance, as Haman, the great enemy of the Jews, was a transparent reference to Hitler, but within and beyond that, it continued a project that had absorbed many Eastern European Jews since the second half of the nineteenth century. Rabbinic tradition, they felt, was dying. It was urgent to discover a new source of inspiration for the Jewish people. In 1944–45, when Sloves and other Jewish survivors returned to Paris, where they had immigrated years before the war, the task of rebuilding seemed more urgent still. To continue to search for a new, secular mode of expression was intimately tied to the very revival of the Jewish people. Between 1945 and 1949, Homens mapole, considerably shortened and somewhat modified, played to resounding acclaim not only in Paris but also in several cities across three continents.