Charles A. Blech

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Charles A. Blech
Zelma Blech, 1915
L'Histoire, 1933

Charles A. Blech (1855-1934) was General Secretary of the Theosophical Society in France from 1908-1934. One of his most noteworthy efforts was writing Contribution á L’Histoire de la Société Théosophique en France, a history of the TS in France.

Blech family

Charles Blech was the son of Charles Blech, Sr. of Alsace. According to Annie Besant, the Blech family - "la famille Blech" - "have been the rock in France upon which The Society's activities were based... a household word, not only in France, but in every country where Theosophy is known."[1] Their "beautiful flat at 21, Avenue Montaigne, Paris, was always a home for touring Theosophists, and in the earlier days Madame Zelma and Mademoiselle Aimée were the most gracious of hostesses."[2]

Charles Blech, Sr. (1826 - July 6, 1903) - Known as the "Father of Theosophy" in France. He donated the Alsace Grove to the Theosophical Society headquarters at Adyar.
Charles A. Blech (1855 - March, 1934) - The son was a mill owner and manufacturer. As a young boy he and a friend ran away from his boarding school in Lausanne, Switzerland to join a military camp, sliding out of a window on a bedsheet. It took Blech père several weeks to locate the boys. During World War I, Blech did serve in the military, earning the 1870 medal, the Croix de Guerre, and in 1918, the Rosette Chevalier de la Legion d'Honneur. After his retirement from business in 1905, he devoted his remaining years to the Theosophical Society.[3].[4]
Aimée Blech (1862 - January 9, 1930) - Lecturer and writer, known for her "graceful and lucid expositions of Theosophical truths." She served in a military hospital; conducted elementary Theosophy classes in Paris for over 25 years though in constant pain from a lingering illness; and formed "The League of Unity" to promote goodwill between disciples of different Teachers.[5]. She translated Krishnamurti's At the Feet of the Master into French, and also wrote Theosophical novels under the pseudonym Lionel d'Alsace.[6][7]
Zelma Blech (1854-1944) - "A quiet strength and unfailing devotion which makes her a center of steadfastness and peace."[8] She engaged in E. S. work and was involved with the Order of the Star in the East.

Theosophical Society work

Charles A. Blech

Charles A. Blech married young, at 24 years of age. After the birth of their second daughter, his wife became paralyzed. His daughters drowned in Lake Como three months after the death of their mother, but Blech found peace through Theosophy, which he had just discovered. He moved back to his childhood home, and was united with his father and sisters in the work of the Theosophical Society. He traveled continually across France, Europe, and India, and was on very familiar terms with Colonel Olcott, Annie Besant, George S. Arundale, Charles Leadbeater, C. Jinarājadāsa, Krishnamurti, and other international figures in the Society.[9]

Charles Blech and Clara Codd on ship to India

At the point of his retirement in 1905, Charles A. Blech became a member of the General Council of the Theosophical Society[10] He served jointly with Théophile Pascal as General Secretary of the French Section in 1907-1908, then took over the office in 1908 and held it until 1934. He oversaw "the construction of the impressive headquarters building situated in the heart of Paris and still owned by the TS today."[11] The building at Rapp Square was dedicated during the first Theosophical World Congress in 1921.[12] He visited Adyar on November 10, 1925. On May 8, 1933, White Lotus Day, members of his Société surprised him with a joyous celebration of the silver (25th) anniversary of his tenure as General Secretary.[13]

Writings

Several members of the family are represented by articles written by or about them, according to the Union Index of Theosophical Periodicals. Most were published in Le Lotus Bleu, the journal of the French Section. This is a list of Blech articles. Charles Blech is noted for writing a history of Theosophy in France, meticulously researched using his collection of archival documents:

Notes

  1. "Who's Who in the Theosophical Society" The Theosophical Year Book, 1938 (Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1938), 169.
  2. G. S. A. [George S. Arundale], "Charles Blech," The Theosophist 55.7 (April 1934), 83.
  3. "Who's Who in the Theosophical Society" The Theosophical Year Book, 1938 (Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1938), 169.
  4. "A Charles Blech," Revue Théosophique 45.1 (Mars, 1934), 34-36.
  5. "Who's Who in the Theosophical Society" The Theosophical Year Book, 1938 (Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1938), 169.
  6. "Called Home: Madame Zelma Blech" The Theosophist 66.1 (October 1944), 19.
  7. "Souvenir," Revue Théosophique 41.11 (Janvier, 1930), 434-436.
  8. "Who's Who in the Theosophical Society" The Theosophical Year Book, 1938 (Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1938), 169.
  9. "A Charles Blech," Revue Théosophique 45.1 (Mars, 1934), 34-36.
  10. Memorandum of Association and Rules and Regulations of the Theosophical Society as incorporated at Madras, India, 1905. Published online at KatinkaHesselink.net.
  11. "France, Theosophy in" in Theosopedia.
  12. "Called Home: Madame Zelma Blech" The Theosophist 66.1 (October 1944), 18.
  13. "A Charles Blech," Revue Théosophique 45.1 (Mars, 1934), 34-36.