Israel's Cactus Industry…

…. was started with seeds smuggled out of Nazi Germany in a matchbox. It sounds practically mythical, but that’s what Israelity tells us they learned from,

this wonderful old gardening book by Walter Frankl the other day

Here’s the quote in question.

The first importer of the many ornamental cacti you can now find at virtually every nursery in Israel today was a man called Israel Hebel, from Darmstadt in Germany.

He was a bank clerk by profession, and an amateur gardener and cacti lover by hobby.

When Hitler came to power, Hebel managed to escape Germany for Palestine, but the Nazis forced him to leave all his possessions behind. The only thing he did manage to smuggle out, however, was a matchbox full of hundreds of tiny cactus seeds.


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