A short handwritten letter by Mahatma Gandhi 80-years-ago has been unveiled for the first time by the National Library of Israel, NLI. Gandhi ji was wishing the “afflicted (Jewish) people” an “era of peace” in the letter, written on the same day World War II broke out.
Gandhi wrote the letter to Head of the Bombay Zionist Association, A E Shohet, who was trying to enlist support of Indian leaders in favour of the movement to establish a national home for the Jewish people.
Written on Rosh Hashana (Jewish new year) on September 1, 1939, the letter also marked the beginning of the War when Germany invaded Poland. It also set the stage for the despicable atrocities of the Holocaust.
Zach Rothbart, incharge of communications at NLI said, the timing of the greeting reflects the extent to which Nazi persecution of Jews was of concern to global citizenry at the time.
Gandhi’s greetings came to light as part of a major initiative launched by NLI, with support from Leir Foundation, to review and describe millions of items in its archival collections