Der Judenstaat: Versuch Einer Modernen Lösung Der Judenfrage.


Der Judenstaat: Versuch Einer Modernen Lösung Der Judenfrage.

HERZL, Theodor.


Item Number: 123448

Leipzig and Vienna: M. Breitenstein Verlag-Buchhandlung, 1896.

First edition of Herzl’s landmark manifesto for an independent Jewish state, “one of the most important books in the history of the Jewish People.” Octavo, bound in cloth. In near fine condition. An exceptional example.

Having concluded that the Jewish people could not completely and successfully assimilate into the world's countries, Herzl proposed: "Let the sovereignty be granted us over a portion of the globe large enough to satisfy the reasonable requirements of a nation; the rest we shall manage for ourselves." First published in Vienna in 1896 as Der Judenstaat and in English that same year (in London by David Nutt), this work inaugurated Herzl's work in "transform[ing] Zionism from a weak and insignificant movement into a world organization and a political entity that Great Britain was prepared to accept as the authorized representative of the Jewish people. This in turn led to the Balfour Declaration and eventually to the founding of the State of Israel" (Encyclopedia Judaica 8:419-20). The first draft of the work, titled "Address to the Rothschilds", was to be a private communication not intended for publication. Herzl planned to show the Rothschilds that their wealth was "an ever-rising tower that was bound for collapse unless the base upon which it rested was proportionately widened... The Rothschilds' wealth, he argued, should be sanctified by the goal it serves. It should provide the financial basis of a vast program of migration and settlement, which Herzl set out to describe in detail" (Encyclopedia Judaica). "It was Herzl's book which really crystallized the idea of a national home for the Jews. Two conceptions had prevailed hitherto: either that of the ghetto, presupposing an unbridgeable gulf between Jews and Gentiles, or that of assimilation, which meant a complete acceptance by the Jews of their environment leading eventually to becoming among whom they lived. Herzl took a different view. By his work he transformed the Jewish people from a passive community into a positive political force" (PMM 381). It "has remained the single most important manifesto of modern Zionism and is one of the most important books in the history of the Jewish People" (Heymann, Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana—Treasures of Jewish Booklore 46:102-03).

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