Rachel Neiman
November 17, 2013

This coming Wednesday, a very important auction will take place when collector Arnie Druck will be selling off a significant historical items at the Kedem Auction house. The items and subjects listed in the double catalogue are diverse, ranging from art to wine, with a special emphasis on Israeliana and Zionist memorabilia including a number of particularly rare items, a few of which we present here.

There is, for example, the calling card from 1895 of one Dr. Theodor Herzl, with a dedication in his handwriting. According to the catalogue notes, Herzl thanks a Mr. Fritz Engel (possibly the German-Jewish poet and author Fritz Engel) for their friendly talk about Herzl’s book, “Das Palais Bourbon, Bilder aus dem französischen Parlamentsleben” (Bourbon Palace – pictures of the Parliamentary Life of France), which was written at the same time as Herzl’s “The Jewish State”.

In his biography Herzl wrote, “When I traveled through Spain N.F. Press offered me to serve as their permanent correspondent in Paris. I accepted this post in spite of the fact that I was tired of politics and despised it. In Paris I had a chance to learn to know how people could understand politics and I expressed my views in a small book “Bourbon Place“. In 1895 I had enough of life in Paris and I returned to Vienna. During the last two months of my life in Paris I wrote my book ‘The Jewish State’…”

It was in the pre-State yishuv that photographer Avraham Soskin set up a studio at 24 Herzl Street in Tel Aviv. The Druck auction includes an album of 46 original photos by Soskin portraying the first 13 years of Tel-Aviv, from the days of the city’s establishment (April 11 1909) until the year 1922. These include a rare original print of the historic lottery of the land parcels acquired by the city’s first settlers (“Shell Lottery”, April 11, 1909).

Druck tells Israel21c that there are very few original copies of this image and that the glass plate negatives have not been found and apparently no longer exist.

Other images in the Avraham Soskin album: Leveling sand dunes (three different photos); Herzl street in 1910; Streets of Yehuda Halevy, Lilienblum, Ahad Ha’am, Montefiore, Hashachar, Nachlat Binyamin, Gruzenberg and Allenby; Rothschild Boulevard (in the years 1910-1911, 1917, 1920); the first water-tower of Tel-Aviv (Rothschild corner of Nachlat Binyamin); Herzlia Gymnasium; ceremony of “laying the first stone in Hevra Hadasha land”; First Tu Beshvat in Tel-Aviv; inauguration of Herzlia Gymnasium in 1910; an old sycamore tree; members of Tel-Aviv Committee and guards in 1913; reception for the Zionist Commission; ceremony of returning Torah Scrolls to Tel-Aviv in 1919 and photos of the ceremony of presenting a Torah and a flag to the Jewish Legion “Harishon BeYehuda” with the participation of Chaim Weizmann and religious dignitaries (five photos); reception ceremonies for Lord Allenby (1920), High Commissioner Herbert Samuel, Sir Alfred Mond, Baron James Rothschild and his wife and Winston Churchill (1921); bathing cabins on the beach and “cafeteria next to the bathing cabins” and the “Galei Aviv” Casino during its construction (1922).

The ‘HaGina’ series of childrens books from the 1920s and 30s included not only an original story but also original music and illustrations and are seen seen as a very important contribution to Hebrew children’s literature. All the books in the series were printed in Jerusalem by the Bezalel Printing House  — not in Russia or Germany as was generally done at the time. Three of the of the five illustrators — artists Zeev Raban, M. Gur Arie and Nahum Gutman — were associated with the school of Bezalel – and represented the essence of the “new Israeli”.

The film “Adama”, directed by Helmar Lerski during the years 1947-1948, was the first full-length film produced in Israel. The film concerns a young Holocaust survivor living at the  Ben-Shemen Youth Village who tries to overcome the traumas he experienced during the war through working the land. The poster for “Adama” was done by graphic designer Richard Levi (1899-1992), also known as Errell, who worked as a theatre designer, photographer and graphic designer and eventually the graphic counselor of the Israeli government whose designs included flag of the State of Israel and some of the first symbols of the state.

The auction also includes 75 items pertaining to the 1979 peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, and other peace treaties of State of Israel: postcards and postmarked envelopes, a portfolio of original documents from the 1978 Camp David Accords; invitations and dinner menu for meal of Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat, which took place on April 2nd 1979 in Koubbeh Palace in Egypt; the business card of Anwar Sadat and photographs from his visit to Eretz Israel, signed photographs of Sadat, Carter and Begin and other items.

This collection also includes an official letter with signature of Yitzhak Rabin dated July 9th 1995, pertaining to matter of “territories in exchange for peace” and additional items.

Auction no. 34 – The Arnie Druck Collections will take place on Wednesday, November 20, 2013 17:00,  Hechal Shlomo building – 58 King George St. Jerusalem. Viewing beforehand: Sunday – Tuesday;  November 17-19;   11:00-20:00. Wednesday (day of auction); November 20;  11:00-14:00. For more information: http://www.kedem-auctions.com/en

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