Monday, June 20, 2005


People are drawn to support of the Jewish people from many backgrounds and one such was Col. Richard Meinertzhagen and the following piece is by Barbara and Mordechai Goldman.

It was sent to Joseph Alexander Norland and Joseph posted it on Israpundit. Irish readers should learn about this important man. It begins with an introduction by Joseph. I am as yet unable to master the software moves to publish the map referred to. I will include it later.

Meinertzhagen Square, Jerusalem
On June 17, I posted on IsraPundit a tribute to Richard Meinertzhagen. Barbara and Mordechai Goldman, who e-mail historical material associated with Jewish/Israeli anniversaries, informed me that they, too, intend to e-mail a piece on Col Meinertzhagen; their piece is given below.
In the course of our correspondence I asked the Goldmans whether they could locate Jerusalem's Meinertzhagen Square, which was inaugurated in 1997 in the presence of Richard's son. In response, I receivd a section of a Jerusalem map showing the square at the center of the map

Col. Richard MeinertzhagenBy Barbara and Mordechai Goldman
Today, it is our privilege to honor one of the lesser-known righteous Gentiles, who was pro-Jewish, pro-Zionist, and vigorously acted upon his beliefs all his life.

Colonel Richard Meinertzhagen was a world-renowned ornithologist and an officer in the British army. His exploits on behalf of the Jewish people are too numerous for us to do them justice, but we will bring a few examples of his words and deeds.

Meinertzhagen's efforts on behalf of Jews began in 1910 in Odessa, which he was visiting, partly on holiday and partly on an espionage assignment from the War Office. He was dining with the British consul-general when they heard a commotion outside.

From the front doorway, they saw people running and shouting. A pogrom was in progress, said the consul, and they had best keep off the street. "Now you will see one of the vilest facets of the Russian character," he said. The consul had difficulty restraining the 32-year-old officer as they watched people being axed and stabbed.

At one point, a Russian dragged a girl of about 12 past the consulate by her hair. "She was screaming and the man was shouting," Meinertzhagen recorded in his diary. "I have no doubt that she would have been [raped] and then murdered. I could not help it, I heard old Hales' [his school headmaster's] voice shouting: 'Do something!' So I dashed out, kicked the Russian violently in the stomach with my heavy Russian boot and landed him a good blow on the jaw. He went down like a log and I carried the child into the consulate.... "I am deeply moved by these terrible deeds, and have resolved that whenever and wherever I can help the Jews, I shall do so to the best of my ability."

Meinertzhagen was motivated not just by a sense that the Jews had had a raw deal, as he put it, but by Christian sentiment. "I was much influenced by the Divine Promise that the Holy Land will forever remain Israel's inheritance," wrote Meinertzhagen.

Apropos the “Uganda Plan”, he wrote in 1904, "The Jews' home is in Palestine, not in Africa. G-d knows, there will be enough trouble here [Africa] in 50 years when the natives get educated. Why not persuade the Turks to give the [Jews] Palestine? The Arabs are doing nothing with it, and the Jews with their brains and dynamic force would be a great asset to Turkey."

He rejoiced in the creation of the Jewish State, and lived to see his confidence in the Jews' martial abilities - a view scoffed at by many - dramatically vindicated in the War of Independence. He visited Israel in 1953 as a guest of the state and was exhilarated by the country's vitality. He died at the age of 89, on June 17, 1967, a week after the Six-Day War. Meinertzhagen was honored in 1997 by Israel: a square was named for him in Jerusalem, and a conference held at Tel Aviv University.

Posted by Joseph Alexander Norland at June 21, 2004 07:00 AM

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