The Alfred Goldschmidt Collection
New Permanent Exhibit at The Alexander Museum of Postal History & Philately
The collection was donated to the museum by Ms. Ruth Rappaport.
The permanent exhibit and the publication of the book of the collection were made possible by the generous donation of the Rappaport Family Fund.
The collection, including dozens of albums containing thousands of envelopes, traces the history of air mail delivery to and from Eretz-Israel, and is known to be the largest of its kind. The earliest item in the collection is an envelope dated March 1919, which was delivered on a British Air Force flight; it is the first physical evidence we have of a letter reaching Eretz Israel by air. The collection ends with covers dating from the 1970s. The envelopes, cachets and stamps found in the collection also document the history of aviation in Eretz Israel, depicting, among others, the entry of foreign airlines operating in the country during the 1920s, flights carried out during the 1930s and World War II, the activities of the young Israel Air Force during the War of Independence (1948/9) and the broad range of flights to and from the State of Israel.v
Alfred Goldschmidt was born in Berlin in 1895 to parents who were native Berliners. On the eve of World War I,
Alfred was recruited to serve in the army, but refused to comply with an order to shoot, not wanting to fire upon Jewish
soldiers fighting on the side of the enemy. He was then sent to serve on the Polish front as a punishment for his refusal.
Prior to the war, young Alfred had been active in the Zionist youth movement "Blau-Weiss" (Blue-White) and in "Bar Kochba," the Zionist sports organization in Berlin. From then on and throughout his life, he was an ardent Zionist and leader, who foresaw the future and bravely fought for the goals he set for himself.
Besides being a man of culture, with a particular interest in music and design, Alfred was blessed with a sharp aptitude for business. He married Kate Schwabe and established the "Goldschmidt-Schwabe" company for lighting, fixtures and Bauhaus furniture. The company was widely known for its innovative concepts and uncompromising quality, gaining respect over the years for its unique manufacturing culture and artistic creativity. In April of 1933, with the rise of the Nazis in Germany, Alfred gathered his family together - 14 members in all - and, along with several of his employees, immigrated to Palestine. There he proceeded to establish two branches of his company, one in Haifa and the other in the Wolowolsky Center in Tel Aviv, testament to the firm's widely known reputation in Palestine and in neighboring countries.
For fifty years, "Goldschmidt-Schwabe" designed and produced lighting and fixtures for national institutions such as the Knesset building, the Hebrew University, the office of Israel's president Dr. Chaim Weizmann, and for well-known hotels such as the Kate Dan Hotel on Hayarkon Street (today's Dan Hotel), which was the first hotel established along the Tel Aviv seashore, the Sharon Hotel in Herzliya, and the King David Hotel in Jerusalem. In many private homes, some of the firm's fixtures can still be found today.
The lamps and fixtures Alfred designed and manufactured would later be shown in collections exhibited in museums such as the Metropolitan in New York, the Berlin Museum, and the Bauhaus in Berlin. Many generations of architects and interior designers fashioned their ideas and creations based on the quality craftsmanship and cultural innovations first introduced by "Goldschmidt-Schwabe."
Alfred was also a recognized philatelist who began his collection when his son Gideon lost interest in a stamp album he had received as a Bar Mitzvah gift. The album marked the beginning of Alfred's interest in collecting stamps, the majority of which were air mail editions, particularly those related to Palestine, and about which he wrote numerous articles that appeared in philatelic publications. Eventually, he began traveling around the world with his extraordinary collection and was invited to exhibit in philatelic exhibitions in Spain, Austria, Belgium and France. He received numerous awards and medals which may be seen today in the Alfred Goldschmidt Library at the Rappaport Family Institute for Research.
Design: Architect Ori Glazer