London: NP, 1917-18; 1936-37. Manuscript. Hardcover. Rare collection of two Minute-Books from the North London Zionist Society (1917/18), and the Council of the British Section of the World Jewish Congress (1936-37):
- Minute-Book from the North London Zionist Society (1917/18) [SIGNED]. Quarto. Unpaginated.  leaves. Original half decorative cloth over moire covered boards. This minute-book contains the manuscript notes pertaining to the meetings (34) held by the North London Zionist Society between January 7, 1917, and December 31, 1918. The notes are written on the first 39 leaves. Affiliated to the English Zionist Federation (EZF), the North London Zionist Society supported the reestablishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, then an area controlled by the Ottoman Empire.* This minute-book is particularly interesting in the sense that it was written at a turning point in the history of Zionism. World War I was in its fourth year, and the conflict raised hopes among Zionists that the crumbling Ottoman Empire will eventually break up. They hoped to attain support from one of the Great Powers for increased Jewish immigration and eventual sovereignty in Palestine, and they eventually succeeded thanks to their chief spokesman, Chaim Weizmann, a bright statesman and a scientist highly respected in Great Britain and well versed in European diplomacy. In support of the Zionist cause, his skillful negotiations with the Foreign Office were climaxed on November 2, 1917, by the letter from the foreign secretary to Lord Rothschild, which became known as the Balfour Declaration. This document declared the British government's "sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations," viewed with favor "the establishment in Palestine of a National Home for the Jewish People," and announced an intent to facilitate the achievement of this objective. The Balfour Declaration radically changed the status of the Zionist movement. It promised support from a major world power and gave the Zionists international recognition. That day, Zionism was transformed by the British pledge from an utopy into a legitimate and achievable undertaking.
The minutes of the 34 meetings featured in this manuscript indicate this event (see the entry for November 25, 1917), and discuss the following projects and resolutions: decision to reorganize the Society and place Zionist propaganda in the North of London on a firmer basis (1/7/1917); the announcement that Mr. Nahum Sokolow (Zionist leader, author, translator, and a pioneer of Hebrew journalism) has agreed to address the first public meeting of the Society (1/31/1917); the announcement that Dr. Weizmann has agreed to address the next public meeting of the Society (3/28/17)... followed by a protest made at the London Council in connection with the non-appearance of Dr. Weizmann (4/25/1917); Proposal to obtain Mr. Israel Zangwill's services as lecturer at a public meeting (4/11/1917); the question of Jewish military action in Palestine (6/13/1917), and the question of raising a Jewish Legion (12/23/1917); the appointment of Nathan Lazarus and Maurice L. Perlzweig as delegates to the special conference of the EZF (10/1918), etc.. Each entry is dated, and hand-signed by Chairman Nathan Lazarus. By order of appearance, the following members' names are mentioned in the minute-book: Nathan Lazarus (Chairman); Maurice L. Perlzweig**; Miss Cohen; Mr. B. Grad; Mr. Morgenstern; Mr. Kersch; Mr. Scher; Miss P. Slowe; Mr. Ginsburg; Mr. Benson; Mr. L. Wainstein; Mr. Traub; Mr. A. Levine (warden of the New Synagogue, Stamford Hill); and Mr. Charles Kauffman. Some rubbing and abrasion to moire. Sporadic smudges to endpapers. Minor age-toning throughout. Binding in overall fair to good-, interior in very good condition.
* After almost two millennia of existence of the Jewish diaspora without a national state, the Zionist movement was founded in the late 19th century by secular Jews, largely as a response by Ashkenazi Jews to rising antisemitism in Europe, exemplified by the Dreyfus affair in France and the anti-Jewish pogroms in the Russian Empire. The political movement was formally established by the Austro-Hungarian journalist Theodor Herzl in 1897 following the publication of his book "Der Judenstaat." At that time, the movement sought to encourage Jewish migration to the Ottoman Palestine.
** Rabbi Maurice Perlzweig (1895-1985), was a founder of the World Jewish Congress, and served as the first chairman of the British Section. He was born in Poland and was educated in England where he received acclaim for his oratorical skills and his athletic abilities as a world-class runner at Cambridge. He was founder and chairman of the University Labor Federation of Great Britain and president of the World Union of Jewish Students. After receiving his ordination he officiated at the Liberal Synagogue in London. Joining Nahum Goldmann and Stephen Wise at the founding assembly of the WJC in Geneva in 1936, Perlzweig shortly thereafter was elected chairman of the British Section. During the critical war years, Perlzweig was appointed director of the WJC international affairs department in New York. In the post-war years he represented the WJC at the Economic and Social Council of the UN, drafting many documents submitted to the Commission on Human Rights. Notably, he served as a chief spokesman and negotiator at the UN on behalf of the rights of the North African Jewish communities during the turbulent period in the 1950’s when the Maghreb states were achieving independence.
- Minute-Book from the Council of the British Section of the World Jewish Congress (1936-37) [SIGNED]. Folio. Unpaginated.  leaves. Original half red cloth over moire covered boards, with hand-written title label pasted on front board. This minute-book contains the typed notes pertaining to the meetings (6) held by the Council of the British Section of the World Jewish Congress*, between December 8, 1936, and March 8, 1937. The typed notes are pasted on the first 11 leaves. They all deal with difficult issues regarding the condition of Jews in pre-WWII Europe, such as: the desperate situation of the Jews in Danzig; the desperate position of the Jews in Spain, under Franco (Jews in constant danger), and those living within the jurisdiction of the Government (held as hostages on account of their German nationality) (see page 3 of the entry for Dec. 8, 1936); conditions affecting the Jews in Tripoli, and Silesia (1/5/1937); proposal to take strong measures to protect the Polish Jews against the anti-Jewish attitude of the Polish government; withdrawal of the Uruguayan legislation against the Jewish cultural rights (1/25/1937); call for a political action for the defense of Polish Jewry (2/8/1937); mass meeting against Hitlerism in New York; statement made by the Franco government in the Anglo-Jewish press that it was not anti-Jewish (2/22/1937); proposed resolution on the rapid deterioration of the political and economic status of Polish Jewry, resulting from the failure of the Polish government to afford adequate protection to Polish Jews against physical outrage (3/8/1937). Each entry is dated, and hand-signed by Chairman Rabbi Maurice L. Perlzweig. By order of appearance, the following members' names are mentioned in the minute-book: Rabbi Maurice L. Perlzweig (Chairman); Mrssrs. B. A. Bagnari, L. Bakstansky, Dr. N. Barou, Councillor M. H. Davis, Barnett Janner, J. Podrushnik and Gabriel Cohen; Morris Myer; W. N. Williams; Councillor J. L. Fine; Rabbi Unterman; J. Letchinsky; Mr. Schupakevitch; Mr. Rollin; P. Horowitz; J. Makower; Dr. Levinson; Mr. Nathan, etc.. Rubbing along edges of binding. Front hinge starting. Leaves age-toned (not affecting the typed notes). Binding in overall fair, interior in good- to good, typed-notes in very good condition.
* The World Jewish Congress (WJC) was founded in Geneva, Switzerland, in August 1936 as an international federation of Jewish communities and organizations, in reaction to the rise of Nazism and the growing wave of European anti-Semitism. The main aims of the organization were “to mobilize the Jewish people and the democratic forces against the Nazi onslaught,” to “fight for equal political and economic rights everywhere, and particularly for the Jewish minorities in Central and Eastern Europe,” to support the establishment of a “Jewish National Home in Palestine” and to create “a worldwide Jewish representative body based on the concept of the unity of the Jewish people, democratically organized and able to act on matters of common concern.”. g to vg. Item #39319