2 pages | SMC 332
- Theodor Herzl
Theodor Herzl (1860 - 1904) was born in Pest (currently the Eastern part of Budapest), Hungary, in 1860 to an assimilated Jewish family. When his elder and only sister Pauline died in 1878, the family moved to Vienna to escape their grief. There, Herzl pursued a law degree before devoting himself to the writing of all forms; plays, essays, tracts, novels, and feuilletons. He also met his wife, Julie Naschauer, whom he married in 1889. The marriage produced three children, though it was an unhappy one. Herzl was often away from his family and was, for the most part, a distant father. He was the Paris correspondent for Central Europe’s most prestigious newspaper, Die Neue Freie Presse, from 1891-1895, where he reported on the Dreyfus trial. That year, he returned to Vienna to accept his promotion to literary editor of the newspaper (a position which he maintained until his death in 1904). Though Theodor Herzl’s Zionism was predated by other Zionist thinkers and movements, he is acknowledged in the Israeli Declaration of Independence as the spiritual father of the State of Israel. Herzl catapulted Zionism onto the world stage as a serious nationalist movement by uniting various Jewish Zionist movements under the umbrella of the Zionist Organization. Furthermore, his reputation as one of Europe’s most distinguished journalists granted him access to many heads of state to plead his cause. Herzl presaged his early death, which happened in July of 1904 of cardiac sclerosis when he was only forty-four years old. He was first buried in Vienna, and later, as his will stipulated, his remains, and those of his family, were reinterred in Israel in 1949 (one year after the State of Israel was declared) on Mount Herzl, which subsequently became the country’s national cemetery, and the resting place of many of its prime ministers.