Library > News > Newsletter > 2015 > Ruth Bondy

Ruth Bondy

The Personal Archives of an Israeli Renaissance Woman

 

The National Library holds the personal archives of hundreds of leading cultural and intellectual figures including Martin Buber, Stefan Zweig, Gershom Scholem and many others. This rich collection recently received a noteworthy addition in the form of the personal archive of Israeli renaissance woman Ruth Bondy, a prominent journalist, translator, author and much more.

ruthbondy.jpgA Holocaust survivor, Bondy immigrated to Israel in 1949, quickly mastering the Hebrew language and becoming a professional writer just two years later. As an indefatigable journalist, Bondy immediately began compiling what would become the foundation for her personal archives, a fascinating collection which attests to the changing world in which she lived and worked. Bondy was a true pioneer in the Israeli media, never shying away from expressing herself in her own personal and feminine voice in a field overwhelmingly dominated by men. Bondy later went on to become a prodigious and prolific biographer, translator, historian and genealogist, as well as a key figure in cultivating cultural connections between Israel, the Czech Republic and Slovakia following the fall of the Berlin Wall.


Keeping meticulous records throughout her long, distinguished and diverse career, Bondy's archive is an extraordinarily well-organized treasure trove of primary source information, containing one-of-a-kind archival items related to notable historical figures in Israel and across Eastern Europe; the history of Czech Jewry; the development of the modern Israeli press; and much more.


As a leading cultural and literary figure it should come as no surprise that Bondy's connection to the National Library goes back decades. In 1990 she was responsible for bringing the archive of Miriam Singer to the Library – a collection which includes significant materials related to Singer's time as part of the "Prague Circle", a group of German-speaking Jewish intellectuals including Franz Kafka, Max Brod, Felix Weltsch and others. Bondy has also long-benefited from the Library's physical space in which she has written a number of books over the years.


The Bondy archive, now holding a permanent place among the National Library's rich collections, will no doubt serve as a fruitful resource for researchers of all stripes interested in any of the many fields in which this true renaissance woman excelled throughout her illustrious career spanning more than half a century.