October 19, 1896

Theodor Herzl, Hurt and Frustrated, Considers Quitting – in 1896, the First Year of the Zionist Movement

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Herzl, hurt and frustrated, considers quitting – in the very first year of the Zionist movement. He requests from the Lemberg Zionists a copy of a letter in which he reputedly said that an English millionaire was willing to sacrifice 150 million guilders – a gross distortion or silly misunderstanding of what he actually said. He is also hurt by the tone in which he was discussed in this connection - so much so, in fact, that he is considering resigning from the Zionist movement. “If Jews are capable of accepting my efforts in such an undignified manner,” he declares, “than I regret the time, effort and sacrifice of all kinds [that I have made.]”

Autograph Letter Signed (“Herzl”), in German, 2 pages, octavo, IX, Berggasse 6 , Vienna, October 19, 1896. To “Dear Doctor.”

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Transcript

Vienna, 19 X 96
IX., Berggasse 6.
 
Dear Doctor,
   
I would like to ask you immediately to turn to the Lemberg Zionists, in my name, with the request to send me a copy of the alleged letter, in which I was said to have mentioned, that an “English millionaire is willing to sacrifice 150 million guilders,” etc.    Unless this is a gross distortion or a silly misunderstanding of my words, it is inexplicable to me.


Please also pass on to the gentlemen that the tone in which I was spoken about on this occasion hurt me most deeply.

When this sort of thing happens among the Zionists, I will have to consider my resignation from the movement. If Jews are capable of accepting my efforts in such an undignified manner, than I regret the time, effort and sacrifice of all kinds [that I have made].
           
With Zion’s greetings
Yours
HERZL