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Celina Sokolow Dead at 97

May 7, 1984
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Dr. Celina Sokolow, daughter and secretary of Nahum Sokolow, one of the giants of the Zionist movement, died here last Thursday only a month before her 98th birthday. She will be buried on Tuesday at the Progressive Jewish Synagogue’s cemetery in Golders Green in London, alongside the grave of her late brother Florian.

She died in a hospital after being admitted suffering from bronchitis. She had remained alert and involved in Zionist activities until shortly before her death. Dr. Sokolow’s death severed the last direct personal link with the generations which secured the Balfour Declaration.

Born in Warsaw, she was the fourth of seven children of Nahum Sokolow, whose Zionist activities as writer, journalist and politician left a deep imprint on her earliest memories. Her elder sister Maria had accompanied their father to the first Zionist Congress in Basle in 1897.

A gifted artist, Celina Sokolow had initially wished to be a painter, but at her father’s instigation, she studied medicine, qualifying as a pediatrician in Zurich, Switzerland. It was from there, in the middle of World War I, that she moved to London to join her parents, who had settled in England in December 1914.

Until the war broke out, Nahum Sokolow had been the secretary general of the World Zionist Organization which had been based in Berlin.

After her father’s death in 1936 at the age of 76, she devoted herself tirelessly to keeping his memory alive, supported by her eldest brother Florian. This was no simple task, since Nahum Sokolow, the author of more than 30 books, left a vast literary estate and private and political archives filling the house from top to bottom.

Celina Sokolow always felt that her father’s contribution to Jewish life and letters had been given insufficient recognition by the leaders of modern Israel. After much persuasion she finally permitted his papers to be transferred to the Zionist archives in Jerusalem. But the State of Israel has yet to honor her request that they should be housed in a special building facing the Knesset in Jerusalem.

Nevertheless, she never allowed such disappointments to cool her enthusiasm for Israel. In a Jewish Telegraphic Agency interview to mark the 60th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration in 1977, she saluted the then Premier Menachem Begin as a worthy political heir of Zeev Jabotinsky, for whom whe had an undying affections and admiration.

Her final satisfaction came a year ago when hundreds of people came to her house to witness the unveiling of a plaque commemorating its historic connection with her late father.

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