Saturday, July 16, 2016

Karff Visiting Israel

Image Credit: Chess Review, June/July 1942

We have occasionally mentioned Mona May Karff in this blog. Our correspondent, Moshe Roytman, notes that in the same article from Al Ha'Mishmar noted in the previous post (August 12th 1949, p. 8), Karff is mentioned -- in the language typical at the time for the Israeli press -- as the 'famous Israeli player', which apparently just happened to be 'USA [women's] champion for many years'. The article also adds that  and is 'currently in the country' (presumably on a family visit).

The implied, though not explicitly stated, reason for treating Karff as an Israeli "temporarily" in the USA despite the fact that she had left then-Palestine in the late 30s and settled in Boston for the rest of her life, is made clear by her obituary (see link above): she was the daughter of Aviv Ratner, a noted Zionist who later became one of Israel's richest citizens. It was at the time considered almost heretical to admit publicly that a person -- especially from a prominent Zionist family -- would prefer to live abroad.

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