Chaim Weizmann on the Jewish Brigade and Jewish State in 1944

September 30, 1944

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Chaim Weizmann on the Jewish Brigade and Jewish State in 1944
Autograph Letter Signed
3 pages | SMC 379

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      Background

      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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      THE DORCHESTER HOTEL
      LONDON
      TELEPHONE: MAYFAIR 8888

      Sept. 30th. 44

      My dear Lorna, Dr. Kunin has shown me some remarks of yours in your letter to him. On the face of it you are right, but it would be wrong to interpret the silence as indifference or callousness. You know yourself that it cannot be true. What is there to say after all that has happened. I hate clichés. 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's a small thing[.] If he were with us it might have become a powerful force. I hear from time to time that all is well (at least physically) with you and the child [.] I can scarcely say the same about us, but we

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      Page 2 transcript
      THE DORCHESTER HOTEL
      LONDON
      TELEPHONE: MAYFAIR 8888

      2

      are old people. We are preparing to go to Rehovot end of next month. This again will bring up memories of wonderful hours which we have all spent together and which can never come back!.. Veras [sic] trip to Glasgow was as much as she could stand. I was opposed to her going because she is not at all well, but it did her some good in the end to change surroundings. She has worked very hard there, but she could not possibly risk any more journeys. I am afraid you would find her much changed.

      I don't ask you any questions. I hope that you will write to your old & devoted friends.

      We are now waiting 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.

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      Page 3 transcript
      THE DORCHESTER HOTEL
      LONDON
      TELEPHONE: MAYFAIR 8888

      3

      I believe the P.M. would like to deal generously with us but the rats are nagging at the roots. Great vigilance is indicated at present.


      I suppose you cannot get away from Aberdeen at present. Is the baby like Orde? Do you want me to do any thing special [text is crossed out] in Palestine. I know of the various projects. please let me know and I might be able to set things going. But write to both of us now.

      Much love from Vera & myself

      Chaim

      My fondest love to Mother!