September 30, 1944

Chaim Weizmann, in 1944, on the Jewish Brigade, and Rumors of a Jewish State

Autograph Letter Signed
3 pages
SMC 379
What Weizmann had wanted from the very beginning was the right to fight, as Palestinian Jews, against Nazi Germany – and even then, the notoriously anti-Jewish British Foreign Office quibbled, objected and obstructed. By September of 1944, however, and in the face of 30,000 Palestinian Jewish enlistments, the British government finally allowed the formation of the Jewish Brigade, under both the Union jack and the Zionist flag. In this letter to Lorna Wingate, Weizmann notes this milestone, but with regret:

Now, at last that some sort of a Jewish Brigade has been belatedly sanctioned I'm thinking all the time of Orde. At present, it is a small thing. If he were with us it might have become a powerful force.

Orde, had he not died five months before in Burma, would have been the natural choice to lead the Jewish Brigade, and his loss is much on Weizmann’s mind. He recalls the “wonderful hours which we have all spent together and which can never come back”; inquires after Lorna’s infant son, born after Orde’s death; and asks about memorials for Orde in Palestine. But mostly, Weizmann waits “to hear what is going to happen to us after the war. There are rumours: partition, a Jewish State in the whole of P. minus Samaria, but all that is merely guesswork.” Churchill, he concludes, “would like to deal generously with us but the rats are nagging at the roots. Great vigilance is indicated at present.”
Autograph Letter Signed (“Chaim”), 3 pages, octavo, recto and verso, The Dorchester Hotel, London, September 30, 1944. To Lorna Wingate.
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