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Dublin: 14 °C Wednesday 30 July, 2014

Another surprising fact about Muammar Gaddafi: he had a pen-pal

The former Libyan leader corresponded with a Jewish florist in New York for decades.

Gaddafi in 2006.
Gaddafi in 2006.
Image: YOUSEF AL-AJELI/AP/Press Association Images

HE WAS A Liverpool fan, he owned a golden gun and he was reportedly worth US$200 billion – these are just a number of surprising facts about Muammar Gaddafi that have emerged since his death last month.

Another has been revealed this week – it now seems that the former Libyan leader had a pen-pal in Brooklyn, New York.

According to The Telegraph, an 81-year-old Jewish florist exchanged letters with Gaddafi for decades.

The correspondence began with a letter from Louis Schlamowitz to Gaddafi in the 1960s. Oddly, he received a reply from the Colonel, as well as a number of Christmas cards over the years.

However, Gaddafi was not the only world leader that Schlamowitz carried on a epistolary affair with.

The New York Times reports that the florist possesses letters and photographs from Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, Syria’s Bashar Assad and Palestinian Yasser Arafat.

He also boasts about a collection of letters and signed photos from every American president since Harry Truman.

There seemed to a more on-going rapport between Gaddafi and the Brooklyn native. In 1981, the florist received a rambling letter about Israel and the USA, while every year until 1988, Schlamowitz sent a Christmas card.

In the last piece of correspondence from Gaddafi in 2000, the leader thanked Schlamowitz for his “friendship through the years”.

Six months ago, Schlamowitz sent his final letter but it was returned unopened.

“I wanted to give him a lift, with all he was going through so I wrote him a letter saying, ‘If you don’t take care of your people, your people will take care of you,” reports the New York Post.

In the life of the strongman, the truth was indeed stranger than fiction.

In pictures and videos: the life of ‘mad dog’ Muammar Gaddafi>

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