Sunday, September 14, 2008

News Item on UK Sale of Irgun Archival Material

Rare Mandate murder poster goes up for sale

By Candice Krieger

A collection of rare artefacts of Jewish interest, including documents from the right-wing Irgun militia which operated in Palestine during the British Mandate, will go to auction on September 25.

The papers, now belonging to an Israeli collector, will go under the hammer at Mullock's Auctioneers' next specialist sale in Ludlow, Shropshire. Among them is what is thought to be the only copy of a "Wanted for Murder" poster, demanding the death of the British High Commissioner, Sir Harold MacMichael. This is expected to make around £2,000.

Historical documents expert Richard Westwood-Brookes at Mullock's said: "This is perhaps the most important group of Irgun documents to be seen for many years.

"They show the bitterness of the Irgun against the British and the lengths they were prepared to go to in order to achieve their goal of the establishment of the state of Israel."

The sale is taking place following a recent auction where a typewritten Irgun propaganda leaflet sold for £1,600 - double the estimate.

The Israeli collector is also auctioning the only known photos of the visit of Polish-Jewish children's author Janusz Korczak's to a kibbutz in the 1920s, and what is believed to be the only known etching of Thomas Mann done by Max Lieberman - signed by both. Both items are expected to make around £5,000.

But a spokesman for the Begin Centre in Jerusalem cast doubt on the provenance of the MacMichael poster, since it relates to the ship, the Struma.

He said: "The sinking of the Struma was in February 1942. Irgun was not operative at that time, having adopted a ceasefire in 1939 for the duration of the war, and did not publish any broadsides at the time". He believed the poster was more likely to have been produced by Irgun's breakaway group, Lehi.
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