Theodore Herzl: A Biography

Theodore Herzl: A Biography

Theodore Herzl: A Biography

Theodore Herzl: A Biography

Excerpt

The ancestral background of Theodore Herzl, like that of many another national hero, is very imperfectly known. According to a family tradition his father was descended from Spaniolo Marannos. Far back in the line two brothers had been compelled by the Inquisition to abjure their Judaism and enter a monastic order, but they clung in secret to the faith of their fathers. Having attained positions of importance in the order, they were sent abroad on a confidential mission and took advantage of this long awaited opportunity to flee. After sundry adventures they reached Turkey, and there renounced the religion which had been forced upon them. From one of these brothers, the legend tells, Herzl's father was descended.

Research so far has failed to transform this legend into anything more substantial. What we do know is that the ancestors of Theodore's grandfather, Simon Loeb Herzl (1805-1879), came from Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia. They settled in Belgrade after that city had passed under Austrian rule with the Treaty of Passarowitz (1718); there they achieved a moderate degree of affluence and married into local Spaniolo families. But Belgrade became Turkish again in 1739, whereupon the Herzls, together with thirty . . .

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