David Ben-Gurion Autograph Letter Signed.
Autograph Letter Signed by David Ben-Gurion regarding his meeting with Angelica Balabanoff, a close associate of Benito Mussolini
David Ben-Gurion Autograph Letter Signed.
Item Number: 110631
Autograph letter signed by the founder of modern day Israel and first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion regarding his controversial meeting with Angelica Balabanoff, a close associate of Benito Mussolini. Addressed to German-Israeli Holocaust survivor Walter Zvi Barak and dated October 26, 1968, the letter translated from Hebrew into English reads, “Shalom and greetings. I learned of the photograph only from your letter. Indeed, I exchanged a letter with Ms. Balabanova, but I do not remember ever meeting her or being photographed with her. I know that Mussolini was once a socialist. I would not have been ashamed to have a picture taken together with Balabanova, but as far as I can recall, I never met her, and in any case, I do not know how this picture got into a book about Mussolini. It is very possible that this is not my photograph, but I see no crime in being photographed with Ms. Balabanova. Yours sincerely…” Accompanied by the letter from Walter Zvi Barak to which Ben-Gurion is replying which reads, “As a man who is professionally engaged in teaching and studying the history of the new era, I have recently come across a finding that forced me to draw your attention to. I have purchased the book: Mussolini – a Study in Power by Ivone Kirkpatrick Pocket book, Disensbooks published by arrow books Febr-1968. The book is accompanied by a series of photographs from the fascist world, including many pictures of Hitler and the famous picture depicting the hanging corpse of Mussolini. Among these pictures, much to my surprise, is a photograph of your honor with Ms. Angelica Balabanoff, a Jewish socialist whose influence on Mussolini was great even before he became a fascist, during his days as the editor of “Avanti”. I was shocked to see a photograph of your honor in the framework of fascist illustrations, and by publishing the picture with such a combination, I doubted that it had been done without your knowledge and without the consent of your honor? As a Jew in general, and as a survivor of the Holocaust in particular, I was deeply saddened by the matter and I feel the affront expressed here towards your dignity as the leader of the Jewish people, the victim of fascism. Another interesting fact stands out. In all the pictures, the characters are identified by name and function, but in this photograph, in which also your honor appears it was stated: “Angelica Balabanoff, a socialist acquaintance of Mussolini” I deliberated with doubt that this might not be the picture of your honor at all, so I asked certain friends for identification, and indeed no one doubted that this was a photograph of your honor. There are three options available now: a) That your honor is aware of the existence of this photograph and agrees to its publication. In such case – will you please accept my expression above as a personal response stemming from deep sorrow. b) That your honor does not know about its existence and its printing – then my hope that my referral will be beneficial for your honor. c) That this is not the picture of your honor, and then would you please be kind enough to inform me of the regrettable mistake and accept my heartfelt apology. I would be happy to receive an answer from your honor. With great respect and honor, Zvi Barak.” Born in Russia and educated in Belgium, Angelica Balabanoff (1878-1965) joined the Italian Socialist Party after settling in Rome in 1900, becoming a close associate of Benito Mussolini (1883-1945), the future Fascist dictator of Italy. Balabanoff returned to Russia in 1917 to support the Bolshevik cause but again went to Italy in 1922 having grown disillusioned by Russian Socialism. Ben-Gurion met Balabanoff in Tel Aviv in 1962 and a photograph of their meeting was included in Kirkpatrick’s 1964 book Mussolini: Study of a Demagogue. The letters are in near fine condition. A unique association.
David Ben-Gurion was the primary founder of the State of Israel and the first Prime Minister of Israel. Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946. As head of the Jewish Agency from 1935, and later president of the Jewish Agency Executive, he was the de facto leader of the Jewish community in Palestine, and largely led its struggle for an independent Jewish state in Mandatory Palestine. On 14 May 1948, he formally proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel, and was the first to sign the Israeli Declaration of Independence, which he had helped to write. Ben-Gurion led Israel during the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and united the various Jewish militias into the Israel Defense Forces. Subsequently, he became known as "Israel's founding father."