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Letter to Theodor Herzl’s Former Assistant

Item: 22797
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WEIZMANN, CHAIM. (1874-1952). Russian-born chemist, Zionist leader and first President of Israel. TLS. (“Your Chaim”). ½p. 4to. London, February 3, 1937. On the Zionist Organization’s Central Office London stationery. To ISIDOR SCHALIT (1871-1953), Theodor Herzl’s assistant and the first secretary of the Zionist Office. In German with translation.

“After my return from Palestine I found here your letter of the 21st of the previous month. I understand from your explanations that there might now be the possibility of filling a position in the Keren Hayesod office in Vienna. In accordance with your wishes, I would like to write to Kurt Blumenfeld and ask him to do his best to help you. I very much wish that it will be possible to bring about a positive settlement…”

Photo of Weizmann

Chaim Weizmann

After lecturing on chemistry at the University of Geneva, Weizmann immigrated to England where he accepted a position at Manchester University. While there, he gathered a group of Zionists that came to be known as the Manchester School whose main purpose was to disseminate information about Zionism through the publication of pamphlets, books and newspaper articles. Weizmann was instrumental in convincing the British cabinet to support a Jewish settlement in Palestine and became Israel’s first president on February 16, 1949, a position he held until his death three years later.

In addition to his service to the state of Israel, Weizmann made several important contributions to science, including the invention of the acetone-butanol-ethanol fermentation process which produces acetone through fermentation. In 1934, Weizmann founded the Weizmann Institute of Science, near his home in Rehovot.

Although born in Ukraine, Schalit was raised in the Zionist atmosphere of Vienna where he trained as a dentist but became a prominent Zionist, earning a place on the editorial board of Herzl’s Zionist newspaper Die Welt and as Herzl’s secretary. He helped organize the First Zionist Congress at Basel in 1897, which he officially opened by hammering down a gavel, fulfilling the same duty at all subsequent congresses as well as the opening of the first congress in the state of Israel in 1951. After Herzl’s death in 1904, Schalit was elected head of the Zionist Organization in Austria, settling in Palestine in 1938.

German Zionist Kurt Blumenfeld (1884-1963), a close friend of Hannah Arendt, served as secretary general of the World Zionist Organization from 1911-1914 and president of the Zionist Federation of Germany from 1924-1933, fleeing Berlin after his home was searched by the Nazis in March 1933, becoming one of the earliest victims of Nazi persecution. Blumenfeld had been instrumental in the establishment of Keren Hayesod (United Israel Appeal) at the World Zionist Congress in 1920, devoted to raising funds for the establishment educational, medical and other institutions in Israel. Our letter was written a year prior to Germany’s annexation of Austria on March 12, 1938.

Two file holes in the left margin. Folded with some light creasing. In fine condition.

Letter to Theodor Herzl’s Former Assistant

$850 • item #22797

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