Per Ahlmark 1939-2018

Today, Israel and the Jewish world as well as friends of Israel and the Jewish people from across the globe unite in thought and prayer with the family of former vice Prime Minister of Sweden Per Ahlmark as he is being laid to his eternal rest.

The love for Israel of Per Ahlmark was boundless and unique. His identification with the struggles and destiny of the Jewish people, appreciation of the miracle of the rebirth of the State of Israel and support for its existential struggles command awe and admiration while serving as the greatest example for all of us.

Ahlmark himself often wrote that his encounter with Jewish tradition and civilization was the most enriching experience of his life. The depth of his knowledge was truly astounding. A beautiful and lasting testimony to this uniquely fruitful encounter were the superb translations made by Ahlmark of Yehuda Amichai’s poetry. Amichai and Ahlmark were like brothers – their friendship incredibly close.

Indeed, Ahlmark – himself a remarkable thinker and intellectual of the greatest moral integrity – was fully integrated into the community of leading Jewish thinkers and intellectuals worldwide.

Also, up until the very most recent years, there is not a leading Israeli politician of note that was not personally known to Ahlmark. Many of the greats in the founding generations of the State were close personal friends of Per Ahlmark.

With great lucidity, Per Ahlmark knew how to convey to vast Swedish audiences the astounding achievements of Israeli society and the Israeli democracy against impossible odds. Generations of friends of Israel have found their way to support for the Jewish State through the remarkable writings of Ahlmark.

Per Ahlmark spent his last years in the wonderful care of the Jewish Old People’s home, among old friends, indeed – one would have to say – with his adopted people. Those included many survivors of the Holocaust – that single historic event which more than any other had marked the thinking and philosophy of Ahlmark.

As we bid farewell with gratitude and love to a unique and wonderful man and beloved person, we should all rest assured that his works and legacy will remain truly immortal. Our debt of gratitude is larger than can be truly expressed. Yehi zikhrono livracha!

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