Israel’s national library has unearthed an 80-year-old handwritten letter that Mahatma Gandhi sent a Jewish official upon the outbreak of World War II.
The father of modern India wrote the Jewish New Year greeting to the head of a local Jewish organization on Sept. 1, 1939 wishing him “an era of peace for your afflicted people.”
The letter sheds a new light on Gandhi’s complex attitude toward the Nazi persecution of Europe’s Jews.
While the famed pacifist expressed his sympathies, he also faced criticism for rejecting the war and advocating only non-violent resistance to the Nazis. He famously sent a conciliatory note to Adolf Hitler, saying he didn’t believe the German dictator was “the monster described by your opponents.”
The National Library of Israel is publishing the letter online Tuesday.