My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt

Text Size: Small Text Normal Text Large Text Larger Text

ST. MORITZ, Switzerland—The day before we left Israel we visited the library of the Hebrew University, which is one of the great libraries of the world. I was astonished to find so many copies of books dealing with my husband, with Theodore Roosevelt and with Abraham Lincoln. I hope that someday Carl Sandburg will visit this library and see that even in this small and far away country the feeling for Lincoln which he has tried to inspire is being encouraged.

I was very grateful to the director, Curt Wormann, who gave us a considerable amount of his time, and I was happy to meet also the rector of the university, Professor Racah, and to see the lecture room which has been named for me. From the university there is a wonderful view, which is true for so many of the public buildings in Jerusalem. One of the rather sad things we saw in the library were some books from the old university on Mt. Scopus—one book with a bullet buried in it and another that had been badly marred. This must have happened during the fighting, though it is hard to understand now fighting could have gone on practically within the old university itself. Today, by arrangement, the new library is allowed to bring a load of books once a month from the old library.

It was a great pleasure also to call on Prime Minister Ben-Gurion in his office for a short time. He was in fine form—as vigorous and as dynamic as any man could be. I believe that among those in the younger generation who understand him and follow him so staunchly, he is affectionatly called the "old man," but I think this is used in the sense that to them he seems quite ageless, belonging as much to their own generation as to any other.

Minister of Education Abba Eban was kind enough to invite us to a very delightful dinner the very last day, which was filled to overflowing with pleasurable experiences. Mr. Eban's dinner took place in the King David Hotel, where we were staying prior to our early morning departure, and during it I had the pleasure of sitting by the Attorney General, who amusingly recalled the hectic round of public appearances on his only visit thus far to America. Earlier in the day, at lunch at the home of Foreign Minister Golda Meier, I was glad to see our own ambassador, Mr. Barber. He is still new in Israel, but I am sure they are going to like him.

One of the things which impresses me most about one's friends in Israel is the way they come to the airport when one arrives or departs. Mr. Baratz, coming all the way from Degania, was at the airport at 8:30 in the morning to say a last word of good-bye. Esther Herlitz, always such a kind friend and now busy on the Tel-Aviv Council and with other interests, not only met us but saw us off, as did Gideon Tadmor and his wife, who had been with us during the entire trip.

It was an all-day trip on the 28th, the first part by plane to Zurich and then by train to St. Moritz. That train trip is one of the most scenic in the world and we enjoyed every minute of it. I kept being reminded of the trip from Denver, Colorado, up to Aspen. Both are beautiful, but this one for us was more dramatic because of the snow on all the mountains.

I had never seen St. Moritz in winter before. I remember it as a girl of 15 and then again driving from Augsburg up here with a pair of horses in a victoria when my husband and I were in Europe the summer after our wedding. This is considered to be the end of the season, but there is still snow on all the mountains, people are skiing and you still get the full flavor of winter. When the sun is out in the daytime, you are warm despite the crisp and cool air. Only as the sun goes down do you realize that this is really winter and that you are several thousand feet above sea level.

E.R.
TMs, AERP, FDRL