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Friday, December 21, 2007

1936 Jerusalem diary for sale on EBay

Almost makes me want to re-activate my EBay account. Nah, I can't afford this anyway.

There's a 1936 Jerusalem diary by a British girl for sale on EBay. Current asking price: $485,000. It's dubbed "a recording angel witness to Arab terror campaign."

Hat Tip: UberNerd
Evidential to the roots of Middle Eastern terror, this is the extraordinary handwritten diary of Miss Doreen M. C., daughter of General and Mrs. J. C., sister of Cynthia. This British family witnesses the very beginnings of the modern era of Middle East tensions and terrorism having been residents of Jerusalem from January 1st to mid-June of 1936. Doreen writes one of the most exciting, insightful and well written diaries we have ever come across [this diary screams to be published and filmed]. A girl of 16 or 17 we estimate (too young for boys - she detests them - and too old for the usual games that girls play [paraphrase]) writes of her time spent travelling throughout British mandated Palestine recording daily her comings and goings and more importantly all that goes on around her. She also does a great job drawing maps and other illustrations to further enhance her writings.

In a handwritten copy of a 1963 letter to the famed Leonard Mosley of the Sunday Times found in the book she admits to having in 1936 "a passion for keeping a large diary; I wrote down incidents of the strike, riots, and daily murders and ambushes like a recording angel!" She is being very modest. Historians and buffs will recognize 1936 as a very intense, very interesting and very disturbing year - Mussolini advancing against the Abyssinians in Africa, Hitler on the rise in Europe, Franco tearing apart Spain, the King of England dies, Edward VIII rises and starts to fall and Palestine is in foment as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem has taken money from the Italians and made his infamous, heinous pact with Hitler and called on the arab populous to strike - politically and through armed conflict murdering British soldiers and Jewish civilians and many, many of their own people.

Doreen is eyewitness - "recording angel" - to all this and more. She provides her thoughts, analysis and personal feelings on every single page. From January 1st until mid-June she is for the most part based in Jerusalem, living first at the King David Hotel before moving to Talbiyeh Colony in Jerusalem. There are very few idle days; many day trips, visits, shopping and when they move residence on 'Murhurrem', Jerusalem's famed moving days, which date changes yearly, and her description of the movers and hubbub are a delightful counterpoint to the atrocities she documents. Not a single day passes that she does not fully detail her travels around the country and the news/politics of the day - even a trip to the dentist is fraught with dangers to report. Her father is highly placed at Air Headquarters (research has found he ends his service a General and OBE recipient) with the British Air Department. [See historical notes that follow or email me.] He meets frequently with generals and 'big bugs' as Doreen calls them. She even admits that he is doing the "hush-hush work". Doreen names many of the British Colony and quite frequently makes comments - Mr. Such and Mr. Other 'complete scoundrels'.


Here are just a very few snippets:

"Mussolini is the greatest liar on earth. Hitler is number 2. Hitler is "bats" or something for he is daring to order every German Jew youth back to Germany (those who have been turned out included) for conscription." "[I] was told a few tales of storm troops that dared not to be published. They may sound a little far fetched but I do believe them as true. Poland is treating the Jews disgustingly." "I don't know what the Arabs have to grumble about...they were only too glad to sell their land to the Jews because they thought them useless and unpaying and were glad...then they saw the Jews making them pay the[y] get wild and demand them back. More Bombs thrown." "Arab watchmen bumped off by the strikers for not stopping work." "When I look at the finely built young Jewish blokes I cannot help wondering what holds them back, they could make mince meat out the Arabs. I cannot make sense of the Jews won't retaliate." "Every one of us knew there would be trouble in Acre. Two days ago the Grand Mufti was there he addressed a large crowd and said 'The Jews are doing their best to get us out of Palestine, they are killing our brother Arabs and burning our homes', up to date not a single case has occurred of an Arab home being burned but tons of Jews are homeless through arson and looting. He must be stopped." "An Arab tried to blow up a bridge today up near Nazareth and blew himself up by mistake...I expect PC 239 is chasing round finding bits of ears and toes..." "Big show at Acre, the Jew shot early this morning had been in the police station all night for breaking curfew and had just been released."
Read more here.


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