Looking for IMI, the Blue Box's “Little Sister”- Can you help?

July 27, 2016 17:12

2 minute read.


Looking for IMI, the Blue Box's “Little Sister”- Can you help?. (photo credit:KKL-JNF)

The IMI, a smaller version of the Blue Box that could be carried in a handbag, was devised in Czechoslovakia in the 1920's and was widely used in Europe. KKL-JNF is seeking more information on this historic and special item.

Most of us recognize the Blue Box by now as one of the main symbols of KKL-JNF throughout its 115 years of activity, and while the Blue Box is almost exclusively identified with the fundraising efforts of KKL-JNF for the redemption of the land of Israel and for its development, it has a “little sister,” the IMI, which is much less familiar to the general public.

It is not clear what exactly the IMI was, or what it looked like, but it seems that the IMI was a special envelope for collecting money. Devised by the KKL-JNF bureau in Czechoslovakia, apparently in the 1920s, as a means for fundraising for the Jewish National Fund, its advantages over the blue box were its small measurements and its ability to be carried in a handbag, so it could be convenient when a blue box was not. The IMI envelope, which was invented by a member of the central committee of KKL-JNF in Czechoslovakia, was even patented to prevent imitations.

These IMI envelopes for collecting donations were distributed in the hundreds of thousands all over the world, mostly in central European countries such as Czechoslovakia, Germany and Poland. Beyond the European continent, hundreds of them were distributed in other countries, including China and Egypt and parts of the land of Israel. It seems like the name of the envelope was a play on words connected to the Hebrew language. The word IMI (which in Hebrew means “with me”) might signify the envelope’s ability to be available anywhere on its own. 

The advantages of the IMI were somewhat on account of its disadvantages. It is more than likely that its use was terminated because of the difficulty of collecting money from numerous sources dispersed in many places. 

The KKL-JNF Archive is seeking more information about the IMI donation envelopes and is hoping for assistance from the public in Israel and worldwide. If you have a picture of the envelope, or information about its use, or any other information about it, please contact us at [email protected]

For further information, comments or permission please contact
Ahuva Bar-Lev
KKL-JNF – Information and Internet Department

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