Jerusalem: A short handwritten letter by Mahatma Gandhi 80-years-ago on the same day the World War II broke out, wishing the “afflicted (Jewish) people” an “era of peace”, has been unveiled for the first time by the National Library of Israel. Gandhi wrote the letter to Head of the Bombay Zionist Association (BZA) 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. Writ-ten on the occasion of Rosh Hashana (Jewish new year) on September 1, 1939, the letter also marked the beginning of the World War II when Germany invaded Poland, setting the stage for the despicable atrocities of the Holocaust.
“The timing of the greeting reflects the extent to which Nazi persecution of Jews was of concern to global citizenry at the time. In hindsight, it also presents a chilling portent of the horrors to come,” said Zach Rothbart, incharge of communications at National Library of Israel .
Gandhi's greetings came to light as part of a major initiative launched by the NLI, with support from the Leir Foundation, to review and describe millions of items in its archival collections from many prominent cultural figures. The letter, for the first time, has been posted online by the NLI.
“Dear Shohet, You have my good wishes for your new year. How I wish the new year may mean an era of peace for your afflicted people. Yours sincerely, M K Gandhi,” the letter reads....