Missives and kisses from Nahum

A new book brings to light the love letters from World Jewish Congress founder Nahum Goldmann to the author’s mother, Ilse Hirsch

By ILANA STUTLAND
June 1, 2018 10:35
MICHAEL OFER, son of Ilse Hirsch and author of ‘Myself, My Mother and the National Home,’ relaxes

MICHAEL OFER, son of Ilse Hirsch and author of ‘Myself, My Mother and the National Home,’ relaxes. (photo credit: MEIR VAKNIN)

‘My dearest love, I’ve just received your latest letter. You know I will see you soon. Are you aware of the fact that because of you, 15 respectable Jews will now have to fly to Palestine? The American representatives were opposed to holding the meeting in Jerusalem, and most were in favor of gathering in Paris, but I insisted we meet in Palestine. Surely you know the reason why. Are you happy? Confused? Let’s hope that there won’t be a curfew or a terrorist attack that will disrupt the meeting. I miss you like a child wishes for his dream to come true. Yours, N.”

This letter, dated February 19, 1947, which was addressed to Ilse Hirsch, appears in the book, Myself, My Mother and the National Home (Olam Hadash Publishing House) written by Michael Ofer, Hirsch’s son. This candid biography recounts Ofer’s life story as it intertwines with the fascinating life of his mother, including many quotes from his mother’s letters. The most interesting aspect of the story is, however, the identity of the letter writer: Dr. Nahum Goldmann, one of the founders of the World Jewish Congress. Goldmann is remembered as the architect of the Partition Plan and the Reparations Agreement between Israel and Germany.

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