Dori, the Life and Times of Theodor Herzl in Budapest (1860-1878)

Dori, the Life and Times of Theodor Herzl in Budapest (1860-1878)

Dori, the Life and Times of Theodor Herzl in Budapest (1860-1878)

Dori, the Life and Times of Theodor Herzl in Budapest (1860-1878)

Excerpt

Theodor Herzl spent much time in his youth trying to convince himself that he was the quintessential Germanophile and persuading his relatives and friends to think of him as one. He might have been surprised to learn that his persuasive powers were greater among those who did not know him in person and were not his contemporaries. Indeed, to describe him in any other terms would at present be regarded as something of a sacrilege. A letter that Herzl wrote from Budapest in the spring of 1882 to Heinrich Kana, his best friend in Vienna, is generally accepted as the one containing the most readily discernible proof of his true feelings as an adult on the subject. Clearly annoyed by the profound nationalism of the Jews in the country of his birth, their determination to speak only Hungarian, and the Magyarization of German family names, Herzl blurted out defiantly: "For my part I have taken great care to utter not one Hungarian syllable."

Herzl's biographers and the historians of Zionism have found no reason to doubt the sincerity and veracity of his remark. Some, like Amos Elon, accepted it at its face value and thus characterized the young Herzl as a "German boy in Budapest." Others carried this view into the realm of simple untruth: in his book on Zionism, Richard J. H. Gottheil, the American Orientalist and Zionist leader, who knew Herzl in person, not only managed to ignore Herzl's youth altogether, but actually described the founder of the movement as having been born in Austria. On the whole the most frequently recurring and generally accepted description of Herzl is . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.