Margaret Rottem, the eldest daughter of Jack Lunzer, recently shared her experiences growing up with her father in this "Real talk" episode filmed before October 7th.

Jack Lunzer, born in Antwerp in 1924, had a unique background. His British father worked as a diamond dealer for De Beers, and he was a great-grandson of the scholar Eliezer Liepman Philip Prins.

Moving to London as a child, Jack Lunzer received his education there. During World War II, he worked in a Spitfire engine factory manufacturing diamond tools. Disliking working for De Beers, he went on to establish his own firm, the Industrial Diamond Company, specializing in industrial diamonds. In 1949, he took over his father's dealer business and expanded into mining. By the 1980s, his company achieved annual sales of $100 million.

In 1948, Jack Lunzer married Ruth Zippel, the Italian-born daughter of a Polish merchant. Ruth's father had a collection of Hebrew books that became the foundation for the Valmadonna Trust Library, a collection that Lunzer and Ruth took to London. The couple had five daughters: Margaret, Myra, Fiona, Alison, and Caroline. Unfortunately, Ruth Lunzer passed away in 1978.

Jack Lunzer's legacy extended beyond his business ventures. He played a significant role in the establishment and growth of the Valmadonna Trust Library, which became a valuable repository of Hebrew books. At the age of 92, Jack Lunzer passed away peacefully at home on December 18, 2016. His daughters, including Margaret Rottem, continue to be the beneficiaries of the Valmadonna Trust, preserving and carrying forward their father's contributions and legacy.

The Valmadonna Trust Library is a treasure trove that spans works from around the world, with a particular emphasis on Italy, where Hebrew printing originated. Encompassing four and a half centuries of typography, the library includes many rare or unique items, including some of the earliest Hebrew printed books. Jack Lunzer resided in Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, and held the collection in his home since 1982.

In December 2015, a significant event occurred at Sotheby's New York when the Daniel Bomberg Babylonian Talmud (1519-1523) from the Valmadonna Trust was sold for an impressive $9.3 million. This particular copy had been obtained by Jack Lunzer in a trade with Westminster Abbey in 1980. Lunzer's connection with this Talmud can be traced back to 1956 when he, as the custodian of the Valmadonna Trust, attended an exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum celebrating 300 years of Jewish resettlement in England. It was during this exhibition that he first learned about Westminster Abbey's complete and magnificent copy of the Talmud.

For almost 25 years, Lunzer persistently sought to acquire this valuable Talmud from Westminster Abbey. His efforts culminated in persuading the Trustees of the Valmadonna Trust to purchase a 900-year-old copy (which was actually an early medieval forgery) of Westminster Abbey's original charter. Lunzer presented this along with supporting endowments to the Abbey as a gesture of gratitude. In acknowledgment of this generous act, Westminster Abbey awarded Lunzer the magnificent copy of the Bomberg Talmud.

In January 2017, the entire Valmadonna Trust Library underwent a significant transition. The library was sold to the National Library of Israel through a private sale arranged by Sotheby's. This transaction marked a pivotal moment in the ongoing legacy of the Valmadonna Trust Library. David Blumberg, chairman of the board of directors of the National Library of Israel, played a role in this acquisition, highlighting the importance of preserving and maintaining such invaluable collections for the broader historical and cultural heritage.

The National Library is now open and the Valmadonna can be visited.