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Acquired in 2006, the archive in greater part consists of some 350 letters written to Sir Moses Montefiore between the early 1820s and his death in 1885. These reflect his deep involvement in political aspects of Jewish affairs and include letters from the Foreign Office lending support in his efforts to defend Jews in peril and to enhance their lives. There is also a range of diaries and travel reports –the earliest dated 1827– by Sir Moses, Lady Judith and others, equally illuminating. Of particular interest is his report on a journey to Russia in 1872 to intercede with Tsar Alexander II on behalf of the Jews. The archive also contains extensive documentation on the ‘Damascus Affair’, in which Jews were falsely accused in 1840 of the ritual murder of a Capuchin monk, and on the ‘Mortara Case’, the abduction and forced conversion of a Jewish child in Rome. Sir Moses’s intervention in Damascus resulted in a Firman being issued by the Sultan in Constantinople disclaiming the ritual-murder libel and ensuring protection for the Jews. Other documents include letters from King Louis Philippe of France and Prince Carol of Romania.

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To browse the Sebag-Montefiore Archive, check our our online catalogue.

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