Chaim Weizmann to Lorna Wingate on the Jewish Brigade: "There is No Shortcut to Jerusalem"

January 23, 1941

Add to History Board Share Print
Back to The Collection
Manuscript
See full images and transcript
Chaim Weizmann to Lorna Wingate on the Jewish Brigade: "There is No Shortcut to Jerusalem"
Autograph Letter Signed
2 pages | SMC 375

Quick Reference

      Background

      Weizmann has tried to persuade the War Office to allow Orde Wingate to organize a Jewish Brigade to fight in Europe against Hitler – but both Wingate, on account of his “ferocious belief” in Zionism, and the Palestinian Jews, by dint of Jewishness, are not in favor. “That,” Weizmann declares, “brings us up to the crux of the problem - the great disparity between our views and those and who are in control.” Lorna and Orde are suffering from it, he says, and he himself can boast of “fifty years work, disappointment, frustration and achievement and those fifty years are merely a tiny fraction of the age long suffering” of the Jewish people. But “after a good deal of suffering”, he predicts, the Jewish Brigade will be organized and Orde will lead it. Patience, unfortunately, is key; “You may scorn at the patience with which we bear it,” he tells the gentile Lorna Wingate, “but it is difficult to revolt against such an old heritage...

      ...In this cold and somewhat brutal world the Jew has learnt to divest himself of heroic gestures which nobody would understand and which would only provoke frown on the faces of the multitudes. This multitude is hostile; I never forget it. You for understandable reasons, may sometime overlook it...


      The Jewish revolt in Palestine will only be successful, Weizmann says, when it “assumes the force of a constructive effort - bricks… land, cows, trees, roads, forests, schools, books, universities, etc!” This is a long road, but he has come to the conclusion, “there is no short cut to Jerusalem.”


      Autograph Letter Signed (“Chaim”), 2 pages, octavo, recto and verso, The Dorchester Hotel, London, January 23, 1941. To Lorna Wingate.
      Read More

      all pages and transcript

      Page 1/2

      Page 1 transcript
      THE DORCHESTER HOTEL
      LONDON
      TELEPHONE MAYFAIR 8888

      Jan. 23. 41

      Dear Lorna, I find it somewhat difficult to reply to your note as your behavior during our last meeting has left an indelible impression on my mind. That I was subjected by you to the same treatment as your husband or your mother is perhaps flattering but not comforting.  But let us pass on to the [...] subject. As much as you I regret it that Orde is not with us and will not organize the Jewish Force ab initio. Need I repeat it that I have tried my best to secure his presence here, but the failure to achieve it is due partly to the attitude of the W.O. towards the whole problem and partly to Orde's differences with some of the mighty in that office. I realise that these differences are usually caused by Orde's ferocious belief in our cause which is not shared by the others and that brings us up to the crux of the problem - the great disparity between our views and those of the majority of the people with whom we have to deal and who are in control.  You and Orde are suffering from it as you [...] for four years. I can boast of fifty years work, disappointment, frustration and achievement and those fifty years are merely a tiny fraction of the age long suffering of my people. 

      Page 2/2

      Page 2 transcript
      We are "doyeur du  martyr." [sic] You may scorn at the patience with which we bear it, but it is difficult to revolt against such an old heritage. It may sound a paradox, but our revolt is only successful when it assumes the form of a constructive effort - bricks, dounams of land, cows, trees, roads, forests, schools, books, universities, etc! This is a long road, but I have long come to the conclusion that there is no short cut to Jerusalem and every body who has in the course of our history tried to "bruler les staffes" has proved to be a false Messiah. Our history abounds of them.

      The Jewish Force will be organized after a good deal of suffering, Orde will come to it. If we win the battle of Lybia - I am sorry, but we shall still be in line for another and perhaps more decisive engagement! It may all seem "pedestrian" to you, but in this cold & somewhat brutal world the Jew has learnt to divest himself of heroic gestures which nobody would understand and which would only provoke a frown on the faces of the multitude. This multitude is hostile; I never forget it. You for understandable reasons, may sometime overlook it. 

      Forgive this dry letter. I hope to see you before leaving for the States.

      Chaim