Wednesday, January 4, 2017

"In Basel I founded the Jewish State."

For ABC Wednesday, Z is for Zionism.

While I was volunteering at the monastery in Switzerland, a nun-friend took me to Basel on the train and guided me around the beautiful city for a whole day.
We made it into a kind of Zionist "pilgrimage."
We walked over to the Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois, also known in German as Hotel drei K├Ânige, famous since at least 1681.

This is where Theodor Herzl stayed while he chaired the First Zionist Congress in 1897.

Perhaps this balcony is where he stood when the famous photograph was taken of Herzl gazing over the Rhine and into the future, envisioning a future homeland for the Jewish People.

Indeed, the wide river flows right next to the hotel.

The meetings of the First Zionist Congress took place in the ballroom of the Stadtcasino, another famous building in Basel.
(It is closed for now, undergoing renovations.)

It was here that the Basel Declaration was formulated and Hatikva adopted as the Zionist anthem.

On September 3, 1897,  Dr. Theodor Herzl wrote in his journal:

"Were I to sum up the Basel Congress in a word - which I shall guard against pronouncing publicly - it would be this:  At Basel I founded the Jewish State.  If I said this out loud today l would be greeted by universal laughter. In five years perhaps, and certainly in fifty years, everyone will perceive it."


Hels said...

When my grandmother was married, she didn't know how women became pregnant. Nor did she know what to do during pregnancy to make the baby healthy and clever. So she put a photo of Herzl leaning over the bridge and looking at the water below (exactly as you have on your stamp) and stared at it throughout her pregnancy. It must have worked... my mother was very healthy and clever.

William Kendall said...

The architecture- and that view- are beautiful!

Sandi said...

50 years...he was almost exactly right!

He lived until 1960, so he got to see it. I suppose there are books written about what he thought of it.

Just today my boys and I watched a documentary about some American pilots who volunteered and fought in the war in 1948. Amazing story. It is called "Above and Beyond." Some surprises: Paul Rubens' (Pee Wee Herman) father was one of them! Also, one of the men (Al Schwimmer) lost his citizenship for fighting in a foreign army.

Alice said...

I love this post , Dina

Jackie @travelnwrite said...

Dina, as always I love this post of yours because as always, I learn something by reading your writings and viewing your photos. Happy New Year!

Cloudia said...

We are the only People who's word for self determination has been turned into a controversial term! Oy

Dina said...

Hels, now THAT'S a story!! Love it!

William, true. I'll have to post more pics of wonderful Basel.

Sandi, yes, you can visit his tomb on Mt. Herzl. But the story of Herzl and the new State of Israel was, well, complicated.
Yes, I remember that movie about the brave American pilots. What an inspiring story!

Alice and Jackie, thank you. I am glad to hear that.

Cloudia, yeah, it is sad. But I still think of Zionism in the old, idealistic way. Like when I immigrated to Israel; the State was only 19 years old.

Melody Steenkamp said...

A religion I know nothing about.... doesn't matter I thin....every person has the right to believe and follow any religion he wants...
if only we all could respect another for that.... the world would be a very much happier place.

Have a nice ABC-Wednesday / _ Week
♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫ (abc=w=team)

Klara S said...

Amazing view with the bridge and you captured it.

Linda said...

A fascinating post and accompanied with beautiful photos! Dina, thank you so much for sharing and I would like to wish you a very Happy 2017.

Roger Owen Green said...

interesting bit of history!