Page 50 - Sale 2276 part 2 - Autographs

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(ISRAEL.) HERZL, THEODOR. Autograph Letter Signed, “Th. Herzl,” to an
unnamed recipient [author and activist Willy Bambus], in German, anticipating that the
Zionist conference he is planning for the summer would result in a stronger alliance with
the Berlin Zionists, approving the suggestion of a bank for Israel, and asking that he pur-
chase a newspaper in Berlin to begin discretely disseminating propaganda. 3 pages, “Neue
Freie Presse” stationery, written on a single folded sheet; loss to upper right corner of first
page (not affecting text), tissue repairs to fold intersection and ends, minor scattered soiling
touching text on first page, faint foxing along lower edge.
Vienna, 26 January 1897
. . . I want to reach an understanding with the Berlin Zionists. . . . [I]n the general Zionist
conference that I am planning for next summer, we will grow closer to each other. . . . The plan
for a bank for Eretz Israel especially seems to me . . . very healthy. After all I have known this
for some time.
But a project of this sort . . . has one prior condition: propaganda. First we must have propa-
ganda and afterward establish economic projects . . . . [T]ry to win influence at a Berlin daily
newspaper. . . . There is no necessity to immediately give the newspaper a Zionist imprint. On
the contrary, because of the cowardly suspicions (to my sorrow, of most of the Jews) of Zionism,
it would be wiser to keep things innocent. . . . Perhaps you can . . . purchase a Zionist paper in
Berlin, that will not be outwardly noticed as such.
Until now Zionism has been silent. We must free its tongue. This is the first order of busi-
ness. . . .”
Willy Bambus (1862-1904), a leader of the Berlin Hovevei Zion, corresponded with Herzl
two days prior to this letter, in which he proposed establishing an agricultural bank for Israel.