1919 SUPERB, SIGNIFICANT ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT LETTER HAND WRITTEN BY A YOUNG JEWISH LEGION MEMBER, LIKELY FROM HOLLAND, DETAILING THE ASPIRATIONS AND FRUSTRATIONS OF A ZIONIST ASSIGNED TO ONE OF THE MOST UNSETTLED AND CONFLICTED POST WWI AREAS ON EARTH

By: SHLOMO [a JEWISH LEGION MEMBER]

Price: $6,855.99

Quantity: 1 available

Book Condition: Fair


On offer is a powerful poignant letter written by an early Zionist and volunteer of the Jewish Legion in Damascus immediately after the end of WW1. The letter contains 2 double-sided sheets measuring 9' x 5.8', and an envelope measuring 5.9' x 4.9'. The envelope has no inscriptions or stamps, except a round sticker with bookseller's name - "Coles", the sheets are yellowed and torn in half at folds, but it does not affect the text, which is perfectly legible. The letter is written in Hebrew, addressed to Shimon and signed by Shlomo (Solomon). It seems from the context that they are very close friends. The first page bears the date and place: Damascus, August 20, 1919. It is also clear that the author was a Dutch Jew, who had lived in Eretz Israel for some time before joining the military. Based on the date when he joined the army (summer 1918) and other context, it can be said with high level of certainty that he was a member of the Jewish Legion. The Jewish Legion was the name of 39th through 42nd Battalions of the Royal Fusiliers in the British Army that were formed of Jewish volunteers. The formation of a Jewish Regiment was initiative of Zeev Jabotinsky and Joseph Trumpeldor promoted by John Henry Patterson. Among its members were also David Ben-Gurion, Dov Hoz, Yitzhak Ben-Zvi, Yakov Drori, Levi Eshkol, and other famous Zionist leaders, many later became members of Haganah and laid the foundation of the Israel Defence Army. The initial unit, Zion Mule Corps was formed in 1914 - 1915, in August 1917 formation of a Jewish regiment was officially announced, in spring and summer 1918 volunteers from Palestine joined 39th and 40th Battalions and started service. That's exactly when the author volunteered: "My Dear Shimon, some time ago I received your last letter, probably the first one that you wrote to me in Hebrew, and now I have a little more time and will answer to you when I am calm also in Hebrew - now I have been a soldier for over a year, but what we hoped for when we volunteered for the Army, was not realized...". There is something deeply moving in this letter full of thoughts about the future of Israel: "Until there is Jewish Army in the full sense of the word, probably a long time must pass. This moment has not come yet. Unfortunately, that's what we feel deep in our hearts. But anyway, these times have been times of very important and interesting experiments, and in this sense, this time [---] has not been lost" [p.1]; "...it is not possible yet to breathe freely, much is still missing, we can only hope that soon [...] the way out of the darkness, the uncertainty where we are now, will become clear, that it will be possible to start large, great, fruitful work, the giant work requiring all our spiritual and physical efforts, without a second thought, of each and each of us [...] to achieve our supreme goal, our people living in the Land of Israel - happy people in fertile land" [p.2]. He has acute interest in current affairs of the Zionist movement, writing about the convention of the Va'ad HaPoel HaZioni (The Action Committee) that was convening in London in the last week of August. The purpose of the congress was to work out principles of the Zionist movement in the era after the WW1 and the Balfour Declaration: "...Only when all great difficulties will be defeated, when the situation is settled. This is our heart hope! [....] the convention that will be now in London will contribute to clearing up the situation. Is this convention a sort of a congress of representatives from all countries, also from Germany and Austria? Otherwise, it is not a general convention, and it will not have any authority to make declarations in the name of all Zionism". He is particularly interested in developments in Zionist movement in Holland, mentioning names of some noted Dutch Zionists. He writes about his mood and frustrations from the army service and mentions his family: "I want for once to live like a human being, because life in the army is not life at the end. [---]. I have been sent to work at different army offices and now I am in Damascus. It is interesting to see some of the world this way, but that is not what I have volunteered to the Hebrew army for. But what to do? [----]. And I do not think that I will be able to get back to life until the next summer. I also wanted to go and see the mother, and everyone, and breathe a little different air after a while." He asks Shimon about his plans to come: "What do you think about coming to Israel? And what do they think about your preparations? [...] I have not seen any Dutch that came to Israel so far. Neither De Haan, nor Van Friesland, nor [....] I hope now to be near Jaffa and Jerusalem. What about the other that you wrote would come here". De Haan was a Dutch Jewish writer and journalist, who became interested in Judaism and Zionism, he actually moved to Israel the same year, later became close with Orthodox community and get into conflict with secular Zionists, 5 years later he was killed by Haganah members for his anti-Zionist activity. In the letter Shlomo also asks about his letters published by Handelsblad, the most important daily newspaper in Holland. This letter is an amazing historical document reflecting aspirations and frustrations of early Zionists, and their mood and concerns in the wake of the First World War and Balfour Declaration.

Title: 1919 SUPERB, SIGNIFICANT ORIGINAL MANUSCRIPT LETTER HAND WRITTEN BY A YOUNG JEWISH LEGION MEMBER, LIKELY FROM HOLLAND, DETAILING THE ASPIRATIONS AND FRUSTRATIONS OF A ZIONIST ASSIGNED TO ONE OF THE MOST UNSETTLED AND CONFLICTED POST WWI AREAS ON EARTH

Author Name: SHLOMO [a JEWISH LEGION MEMBER]

Illustrator: /

Categories: Books and Manuscripts General Overview, 20th Century Manuscript, 20th Century Ephemera, 20th Century Judaica,

Publisher: DAMASCUS PRE SYRIA POST OTTOMAN EMPIRE, 1919

Book Condition: Fair

Type: Manuscript

Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall

Seller ID: 0008194

Keywords: KEYWORDS: HISTORY OF; EARLY 20TH CENTURY; 1910S; WW1; FIRST WORLD WAR; GREAT WAR; MANDATORY PALESTINE; SYRIA; DAMASCUS; OCCUPIED ENEMY TERRITORY ADMINISTRATION, ARAB KINGDOM OF SYRIA, FRENCH MANDATE, STATE OF ALEPPO, STATE OF DAMASCUS, STATE OF SYRIA, ALAWITE STATE, JABAL AL-DRUZE, JEWS IN THE BRITISH ARMY; JEWISH VOLUNTEERS IN THE WW1; ZIONISM; EARLY ZIONISTS; ROYAL FUSILIERS; JEWS AND THE MILITARY; WARS; ERETZ ISRAEL; YISHUV; OCCUPIED ENEMY TERRITORY ADMINISTRATION (OETA); OETA SOUTH; BATTALIONS 39TH- 42ND OF THE ROYAL FUSILIERS; JEWISH REGIMENT IN THE BRITISH ARMY IN WW1; PALESTINIAN JEWS; IDEOLOGY OF ZIONISM; FIRST JUDEANS; THE ACTIONS COMMITTEE; VA'AD HAPOEL HAZIONI 1919 CONGRESS; DUTCH JEWRY AND ZIONISM; JACOB ISRAEL DE HAAN; ZIONIST MOVEMENT AFTER WW1; HANDWRITTEN, MANUSCRIPT, DOCUMENT, LETTER, AUTOGRAPH, WRITER, HAND WRITTEN, DOCUMENTS, SIGNED, LETTERS, MANUSCRIPTS, DIARY, DIARIES, JOURNALS, PERSONAL HISTORY, SOCIAL HISTORY, HISTORICAL, HOLOGRAPH, WRITERS, AUTOGRAPHS, PERSONAL, MEMOIR, MEMORIAL, ANTIQUITÉ, CONTRAT, VÉLIN, DOCUMENT, MANUSCRIT, PAPIER ANTIKE, BRIEF, PERGAMENT, DOKUMENT, MANUSKRIPT, PAPIER OGGETTO D'ANTIQUARIATO, ATTO, VELINA, DOCUMENTO, MANOSCRITTO, CARTA ANTIGÜEDAD, HECHO, VITELA, DOCUMENTO, MANUSCRITO, PAPEL