Description

    Menachem Begin, Archive of Thirty Signed Photographs and Nine Typed Letters Signed. An amazing collection of material chronicling the political career of one of the most significant leaders in the short history of the State of Israel. This archive includes numerous fine content letters concerning some of the most important matters during Begin's (1913-92) long tenure in the Knesset and as Prime Minister from 1977 to 1983. The letters, all typed in Hebrew on Knesset letterhead (one page each), are addressed to noted Nazi hunter and director of the Institute for the documentation of Nazi War Crimes in Haifa, Tuviah Freidman. Dating between 1965 and 1979, the correspondence highlights some of the more important events not only in Israeli history, but the aftermath of the Second World War and the Holocaust. On February 26, 1965 Begin thanks Friedman for "...the Memorial Volume you were kind enough to send me...I looked at some of the photos and believe it is impossible to express in human language the emotions they arouse...However, allow me on remark: while one would never deny anybody's merit, it is not at all clear why you found it necessary to accord all of the 'credit' for the capture of Eichmann to the then Prime Minters, and failed to make any mention of the Director of the Security Services who planned the action and did the work..." Begin, who was a natural politician, could not resist the opportunity to take a dig at a rival Labour leader, Levi Eskol. A staunch conservative, neither Eskol, nor his successor, Golda Meir, weighing in against her proposal to foster closer ties between Israel and West Germany. On February 15, 1972 he urged Friedman to forward his letter opposing the move to "Madam Prime Minister. May it influence her...It would certainly be useful if the organizations of survivors and partisans appeal directly to the Prime Minister to try to influence her to give up the pans for arranging mutual visits between Israel and Germany..." He was echoing comments made the previous year to Freidman, writing on November 15, 1971 that "the generation of the exterminated must not fraternize with the generation of the exterminators..." Begin's comments became tragically ironic following the murder of the Israeli Olympic team by Palestinian militants at Munich later that year. Writing on September 12 1972 he writes concerning a proposed "establishment of a parliamentary investigation committee after the Munich atrocities, but you know from the press, the government and the majority which supports it decided not to accede to our demand..." The correspondence also concerns Begin's past, and in particular, his activities in Irgun. It also addresses the possibility of his autobiography The Revolt being made into a film. Begin, writing on February 26, 1975, insisted on his "prerogative to approve the script...so that, God forbid, the facts will not be distorted for the sake of the 'good impression, as is common in the film industry..." His elevation to Prime Minister in 1977 did not weaken his historical memory, but did impact his schedule. On August 29, 1979 Begin apologized to his Friedman for being unable to participate "in the meeting marking the 40th anniversary of the outbreak of Word War Two...For every one of us it is an unforgettable day and I personally Remember that Friday as though it was yesterday..." The correspondence, spanning nearly 20 years is complemented by a series of 19 signed photographs, all signed in English and Hebrew, highlight his tenure as Prime Minister including a fine set of candid images from the historic meetings at Camp David in 1979 that resulted in the first peace treaty between Israel and one of her immediate neighbors including pictures of Begin with Jimmy and Roslyn Carter, Anwar Sadat, Moyshe Dyan, Ezer Weizman (who signs the image with Begin) and others. Also includes images of Begin with Rabbi Meacham Schneerson, Ronald Reagan, and Ariel Sharon who also signs his name with Begin. Several of the portraits bear some minor faults but overall this wonderful collection is very clean and in overall fine condition.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2007
    25th-26th Thursday-Friday
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