Auction 42 - Rare and Important Items

An Archive of Letters Written by David Wolffsohn and His Wife, Beginning of the 20th Century

Opening: $10,000
70 postcards and letters in David Wolffsohn's handwriting, a telegram written by him and eight letters from his wife Fanny. The letters were sent from different locations around the world (Germany, Hungary, Lithuania, England, and other places); addressed to Max, Fritz and Henny Schatz in the city of Bonn, Germany ca. 1902-1907 (a number of postcards are from earlier or later dates). German.
David Wolffsohn (1855-1914) was a businessman, Zionist-leader and activist, the second president of the World Zionist Organization. Following his reading of Herzl's "Judenstaat", he has decided to travel to Vienna, where he became the close friend and personal assistant of Herzl. In 1897 he was elected to the position of chief secretary of the Zionist Organization in Germany. He joined Herzl in his voyage to Eretz Israel and Turkey, during which he established the bank of the Jewish Colonial Trust. As a result of their close relationship, Herzl has named the main character in his novel "Altneuland" - "David Litvak" - after Wolffsohn. Furthermore, Herzl has ordered that Wolffsohn would be appointed legal guardian of his children after his death. After Herzl's departure, the heads of the political Zionist movement, led by Max Nordau, entreated Wolffsohn to take Herzl's position. In 1905, during the 7th Zionist congress in Basel, Wolffsohn was officially elected to serve as the congress deputy chairperson and as chairman of the Zionist General Council. In 1907, during the 8th Zionist congress in Hague, Wolffsohn was accepted as one of the Zionist movement's unquestionable leaders, and he was elected its president.
Wolffsohn served as the congress chairman until 1911, when he resigned his position. He passed away on September 15th 1914, and was buried in Cologne. In 1952 his and his wife’s bones were brought to Mt. Herzl, where they were laid to rest in a dedicated plot, very close to the plot of the Herzl family. In his will Wolffsohn asked that his fortune will be dedicated to transferring Herzl and his wife’s bones to Israel, and that the rest of the estate’s fortune will be dedicated to the advancement of “Zionistic purposes in Eretz Israel… which will serve the entire nation”. In January 1922, following Heinrich Loewe’s recommendation, the board of trustees has decided to use the dedicated fortune in order to establish the David Wolffsohn House on Mt. Scopus, initially serving to house the national and university library. Today this building serves as the Law faculty.
Wolffsohn’s wife, Fanny (Fruma) nee Judel, born 1859, died two years before her husband, in 1912. The two got married in 1880; their first born son died after his birth and the couple did not have any other children ever since. From the letters included in the collection it seems that Fanny was the addressees Aunt.
The archive presented here includes 67 postcards in Wolffsohn’s writing, three letters in his writing and a telegram he sent to the Katz family (letting them know of Fanny Wolffsohn’s death) and 8 postcards written by Fanny Wolffsohn.
Enclosed is a photo of Wolffsohn, taken by a Hungarian photographer in Budapest (19X29 cm. framed).
Varying size and condition. Overall good condition.
Rare and Important Items