Tag Archives: Winston Churchill

Jew of the Week: Sir Martin Gilbert

Martin John Gilbert (1936-2015) was born in London to parents of Russian-Jewish background. Soon after World War II broke out, the family was moved to Canada by the British government. Returning to England after the war, Gilbert finished his schooling and served for two years in the British Intelligence Corps. He then went to Oxford to study history. While a postgraduate in 1962, Gilbert was asked by Winston Churchill’s son Rudolph to assist as a researcher for Churchill’s biography. Randolph died a few years later, having brought forth just two volumes on Churchill. Gilbert took over and became the official biographer for Churchill, working on the project for over twenty five years, publishing many volumes along the way. (Currently, there are 31 books encompassing over 25,000 pages, and Gilbert had plans for more.) It was said that “Whoever made the decision to make Martin Gilbert Churchill’s biographer deserves a vote of thanks from the nation. Nothing less would suffice.” Aside from Churchill, Gilbert’s primary interests were studying the World Wars and the Holocaust, as well as producing historical atlases (his were among the very first produced). He also wrote a great deal of books and histories of Jewish communities, of Russia, Israel, and the Arab-Israeli conflict, as well as to assist the plight of Soviet Jewry. All in all, Gilbert published an astounding ninety books, many of which were highly acclaimed. His abilities as a scholar and writer were praised. His first volume on Churchill had an original rough draft with two million words (which Gilbert narrowed down to 300,000 for publication), while the short “precis” version of the biography was a mere 981 pages! Gilbert also wrote for The Sunday Times, and for a number of films and TV programs, did research for the BBC, lectured at the White House, and stood before the UN Human Rights Commission. Since 2009, he served as the Privy Counsellor of the British commission inquiring into the Iraq War. Gilbert won numerous awards and honourary degrees, and was knighted in 1995. Sadly, he passed away last week after a lengthy illness.

Words of the Week

Everything happens by Divine Providence. If a leaf is turned over by a breeze, it is only because this has been specifically ordained by God to serve a particular function within the purpose of creation.
– Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov

Jews of the Week: Siegfried Marcus, Emil & Mercedes Jellinek

Car Inventors

Siegfried Marcus - Car Inventor

Siegfried Marcus – Car Inventor

In 1870, German-Austrian Jew Siegfried Marcus (1831-1898) had the bright idea of putting a combustion engine on a handcart, creating the first-ever self-propelling vehicle powered by gasoline. In 1883, Marcus received the patent for the ignition system, leading to the first official automobile as we know it, called the “Second Marcus Car”. Thus was born the automobile industry, the internet of its day that immeasurably revolutionized the world. Meanwhile, fellow (non-Jewish) Germans Daimler and Maybach created the first car for market.

Son of a rabbi, Emil Jellinek made it happen

However, they could not sell their version until Emil Jellinek (1853-1918), the son of Hungarian-Czech Rabbi Aaron Jellinek, took over the business. He convinced Maybach to build a new and improved car, to be called Mercedes, named after his daughter Mercedes Jellinek. (“Mercedes” is a Spanish name that was given to the girl by her French-Sephardic mother, whom Emil Jellinek married during his time in France.) The Mercedes quickly shattered all records, going 60 km/h and easily winning the competitive Nice races. It was branded “the car of tomorrow” and took the world by storm. In the 1930s, the Nazi Ministry for Propaganda attempted to rewrite history by expunging any evidence of Marcus being the inventor of the car and giving credit to Daimler and Benz.

This is Mercedes – Jellinek that is

First Marcus Car of 1870

 

Words of the Week

No two cities have counted more with mankind than Athens and Jerusalem. Their messages in religion, philosophy and art have been the main guiding light in modern faith and culture. Personally, I have always been on the side of both…
– Winston Churchill

Second Marcus Car of 1888