Auction 68 Jewish and Israeli History and Culture
Thursday, 19.9.19 (Your local time)
Israel
 8 Ramban St, Jerusalem.
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LOT 22:

Collection of Letters and Paper Items – Interesting Documentation of the Lives of Palestinian Jewish Refugees in ...

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Collection of Letters and Paper Items – Interesting Documentation of the Lives of Palestinian Jewish Refugees in Egypt, 1915-1918
23 paper items, most of them letters, documenting the living conditions of the Palestinian Jewish refugees in Egypt; sent to Yehoshua Gordon, a Zionist activist and the secretary of the Refugees Administration of the British government in Egypt. Alexandria, Cairo and Port Said, ca. 1915-1918. Hebrew, English and French.
When the Ottoman Empire joined World War I, alongside the Central Powers, all subjects of the Entente Powers in Palestine became enemy subjects and were required to accept Ottoman citizenship or leave the country. In the winter of 1914, Jamal Pasha ordered the deportation of all Russian subjects to Egypt; hundreds of residents of Jaffa and Tel-Aviv were taken violently from their houses and deported to Egypt on board of the SS Florio. In Egypt, an "Aid Committee for the Exiles of Palestine and Egypt" was established to support the refugees. The British-Egyptian authorities also helped the refugees, housing them in large facilities where they could maintain their community, cultural and educational systems.
The items before us document the hardships of the exiles, their poverty, and how difficult it was for them to make a living as well as their hope to return home and their efforts to establish Hebrew-national life on Egyptian land.
Among the items:
• Letters to Yehoshua Gordon by David and Ya'akov Marcus; handwritten, some on the official stationery of the Refugees Administration (of the British Government). The letters, which were sent to Gordon during ca. 1915-1918, contain reports about events in Egypt and the living conditions of the Jewish refugees. One of the letters describes the arrival of refugees of the Armenian genocide in Alexandria.
In a letter from September 1915, David Marcus describes the arrival of two new refugee ships in Alexandria and writes: "the old hope of organizing Hebrew institutions in Alexandria was reborn. The thirst to do something returned" (Hebrew). Later in the letter, Marcus relates the establishment of a first, temporary, committee of the Jews of Alexandria: "Yesterday a temporary committee was established, with five members and two advisors, whose goal is to organize the Hebrews that are located in Alexandria for everything that belongs to the national-Zionist 'trio': country, nation, language" (Hebrew).
In a letter from October 1915, Ya'akov Marcus reports on Hebrew lessons in Alexandria.
• A letter by Bezalel Yaffe, handwritten on the official stationery of the Repatriation Committee Jaffa. In the letter, Yaffe announces that "the Repatriation Committee wants to visit the places where there are still residents of Jaffa, to arrange their return…" (Hebrew).
• Three receipts of the Port Said Hebrew Association 'Herzlia'; a French booklet issued by the association (1915); and a French handwritten letter on the association's official stationery.
• And more.
Yehoshua Gordon (1885-1943), a member of a family of pioneers, founders of Rechovot, studied at the London University and was involved in Zionist activity in England. When he returned to Palestine, he received British citizenship and during World War I, was appointed an official of the British Government in Egypt, serving as the secretary of the Refugees Administration. Due to his ties with the British, he succeeded in greatly assisting the Palestinian refugees in Egypt. He founded the "Herzlia" Hebrew school in Port Said and taught Hebrew there. He was also involved in establishing the Zion Mule Corps in Egypt and active in the camp of Armenian refugees who were brought to Port Said from Musa Dağı. After the war, he returned to Palestine and when it was conquered by the British was appointed liaison officer between the British military government and the Jewish Yishuv.
23 items. Size and condition vary.

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