A Memoir of Jabotinsky
READING THE FIRST VOLUME OF Rebel and Statesman: The Jabotinsky Story by Joseph Schechtman has reminded me that it is now almost twenty-five years since I met Vladimir Jabotinsky, when in 1938 he visited our home in Kimberley, during a South African tour. I was then a boy of about eight years old; and it has become as rather a shock to me to realize that I can remember something which happened well over twenty years ago. And much of it I can remember vividly, for it was my first meeting with anyone whom I knew to be without question a great man. My father had told me many times how great a man Jabotinsky was.
The program–as I remember it-for Jabotinsky’s stay in Kimberley was that he was to arrive on the morning plane from Johannesburg, that he would be met by a small reception committee at the airport, and then come to our house for lunch. In the evening he was to address a public meeting in the Town Hall; he was to leave the next day for Cape Town. Kimberley is a small town, and no doubt Jabotinsky did not attach any special importance to his stay there; indeed, for the children in our family the awareness of our own unimportance helped to intensify our gratification at his visit. Nothing ever happened in Kimberley, we knew; yet it was to Kimberley that Jabotinsky was coming! And not merely to Kimberley, but to our own workaday commonplace house, which in its very familiarity was the obvious antithesis of anything which might have the name of greatness.
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