RARE LETTER OF ZIONIST FOUNDER THEODORE HERZL
DISCUSSING BERLIN’S THEATERS AND WRITING HIS NEW WIFE ABOUT BRINGING OPERA TO THEIR LOCAL THEATRES
HERZL, THEODORE. (1860-1904). Founder of the Zionist movement, whose advocacy of a Jewish state in Palestine led to the creation of Israel. Rare Autograph Letter Signed, “Herzl”, in German, on Hotel Vier Jahreszeiten lined paper. Two full pages, octavo. Berlin, October 21, 1890. Very fine condition. To his wife. Herzl writes:
“Dearest! In a great hurry. I have not yet received the letter announced by telegraph, nor the wine that was with Hasemann. Ask immediately for more detailed news. Yesterday I was in the Thomas-Theater. Very pretty house, looks elegant, but audience and exposition like the Fursttheater. In the public opinion, the Thomas-Theater has the standing of our Josefstadters (Josefstadt Theater). I spoke with Thomas, who seemed to misunderstand this point of view and believes that we should bring opera to him. I asked him to give me his terms in writing. He hinted that the engagement of Palmay does not permit him to bring further operas for the play and the décor. At the time being, I am waiting for his terms. As soon as I can, I am going back to the Friedrich Wilhelmstadtische Theater. I know Hasemann’s strengths from the past. How was the honor (ceremony)? How is it going? Warm regards from your hasty Herzl.”
Although Theodore Herzl is known as the founder of the Zionist movement he was also a popular playwright. Herzl wrote between 16 and 32 plays and sketches, several of which were staged through-out the German speaking world. It was also during this period in his life that Herzl was also formulating the writing of his Der Judenstaat. This early letter to his young wife, Julie Naschauer, whom he had just married, reveals his artistic bent, attributes often dwarfed by his dynamic political work. While later TLS’s and signed circulars are sometimes available, full holograph letters are rarely seen, in our experience. This letter of the Zionist founder is just a perfect example for the Judaica collector who wants a truly unique item.