Meet Colonel Gadaffi's Jewish pen-pal

Colonel Gadaffi

Colonel Gadaffi

A Jewish florist from New York has recalled his lengthy correspondence with his "pen-pal" Colonel Gaddafi.

Octogenarian Louis Schlamowitz has spent decades writing to a host of leaders and despots, from President Harry Truman to Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini.

When Colonel Gaddafi seized power in Libya in 1969, Mr Schlamowitz took the chance to add another leader to his "Middle East collection" of letters.

Over the following 40 years, the pair exchanged many letters and even entered a debate about the future of the state of Israel. Mr Schlamowitz told the New York Post that they had "different viewpoints" but still continued to send Christmas cards and letters to each other. He said: "I don't go along with what everybody sends me,"

Mr Schlamowitz's hobby prompted the CIA to investigate, but they concluded that there was nothing to be concerned about.

He stopped corresponding with his pen-pal after Libya was incriminated in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing, but sent a letter once again in March as Libya descended into civil war. He warned Gaddafi that "if you don't take care of your people, your people will take care of you". The Libyan dictator, who was killed earlier in October, never replied.

Last updated: 2:21pm, October 31 2011