Theodor Herzl

Theodor Herzl

Theodor Herzl
Writer, father of the Zionist movement, creator of the Jewish State.

He was born in Budapest; his birthplace was located where nowadays the Jewish Museum can be found, in the Dohány Street (currently). He was educated inReformed atmosphere (following the modern religious tendency’s characteristics of Hungarian Jews), he graduated from the Budapest Lutheran High School.

While his studies, he was influenced by spirituality and intense national feeling as well. In 1878, his family moved to Vienna where he was learning law and writing. He became a journalist, and he started to work for the ’Neue Freie Presse’, with some liberal influential attitudes.The anti-Semitism appeared in his life for the first time while his studies at the University of Vienna, but his first real confronting happened in Paris, in connection with the so-called Dreyfus-lawsuit (a Jewish officer of the French Army was accused of treason in 1894). Herzl himself was an eyewitness of the angry crowd’s reactions while their waiting for the verdict, with exclamations like ’Death to Jews’.

As a result, he created his drama in 1894 with the title ’The Ghetto’, dealing with tasks like if assimilation and conversion to Christianity were real solutions or not. For the same result, he wrote a thesis with the title ’Der Judenstaat’ (The Jewish State), in which he suggests Jews from all over the world to return to Palestine, the ancestral homeland, from where they were expelled at that time. Herzl believed that the main problem of the Jews is not individual but international. He emphasized that the Jewish people can appeal to other nations only if nobody consider them to be “unusual”. He suggested to obtain support for creating a global fund, which would be owned by shareholders and would work for the political implementation of this goal. This was the birth of the Zionist Organization. The first Zionist Congress was organized by Tivadar Herzl in 1897, and later he became the president. In Herzl’s opinion, there is power of these words, that “if you will, no fairy tale,” which became the motto of the Zionist movement.

Before he died, the Turkish government has reached to allow the Jews to settle Palestine, but this has than provoked displeasure for the local Arab population. Herzl imagined the Jewish State as a neutral, secular and peace-loving country. In his mind, future of the Jewish State was a model of a socially welfare state, which was an ideal for a modern, enlightened one; he wrote about his dreams in his novel, ’Ősújország’ in 1902. He died in 1904, Vienna because of his cardiac failure and pneumonia. He was buried in Döbling, near to his father, and his mortal remains were transported to Israel in 1949, and lastly he was buried on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.

The Great Synagogue (Dohány Street Synagogue)
Address: Budapest, VII. Dohány Street 2.
It is the largest synagogue in Europe and the world’s second largest Jewish temple, following Temple Emanuel-El in New York. The buildig was designed by a German architect, Ludwig Förster, teacher at the Vienna Academy; it shows features of Moorish style.