Altneuland: Herzl's Legend

German title page for the Jewish StateTheodor Herzl (1860-1904) founded the Zionist Organization at the First Zionist Congress in 1897. The establishment of this organization was pivotal in the formation of the political Jewish state, an entity that had not existed since ancient times. In fact, the Jews were not sovereigns over the land of Israel for two thousand years, despite a nearly continuous Jewish presence in the land through millennia of persecution and poverty. Hebrew title page for the Jewish StateIn his first pamphlet on Zionism, “Der Judenstaat” (the Jewish State), published in 1896, Herzl laid out the problems facing the Jews of Europe and proposed relocation to their ancient homeland as a solution to what he termed as “the Jewish question.” In his address to the Zionist Congress, he proclaimed that “Zionism is a return to Judaism, even before there is a return to the Jewish land,” in other words, that the emphasis on Jewish unity and our spiritual heritage needed to be the basis for return as a people to the Jewish homeland.

Cover image for AltneulandSix years after the publication of this pamphlet, Herzl wrote a German novel called “Altneuland” (Old New Land), providing a utopian vision of what a developed Jewish land would look like. In this story, a young Viennese intellectual travels to Palestine, a barren and useless wasteland, on his way to a 20-year seclusion on a remote Pacific Island. When he returns from this sojourn and stops in the nowTitle page of Altneuland established Jewish homeland, he is amazed at the verdant fields, scientific advances, and flourishing relations between Jews and Arabs. Herzl’s novel impacted Jews all the world over, with translations into Hebrew, Yiddish, French, English, and Russian. One can imagine that a work like this would have fully immersed the reader into a startling vision of what the Jewish homeland could offer – peace, prosperity, innovation. Herzl hoped to see Jews serving as a light onto the nations through their contributions to the developing world. Title page of AltneulandWhile this legend seemed far-fetched to readers in 1902, Herzl’s motto, which appears here on the title page reads, “Wenn ihr wollt, ist es kein Märchen” (If you will it, it is no fairy tale).

While the Klau Library has several early editions of Altneuland in various languages, the copy pictured here is quiteRussian title page for the Altneuland rare. This item is the Russian translation, first published in Kiev in 1903. It has been recently cataloged as part of the library’s initiative to make our older holdings more accessible to the public by updating sparse information from our physical catalog cards – which are only available on-site, to include as much information as possible in our online catalog – available world-wide. Included below is a list of authors whose works are included in this initiative. We encourage visiting researchers to reach out to us with any questions about our holdings from late 19th and early 20th century authors, as this project will take several years to complete.

Contributed by Laura Gutmark, Technical Assistant for Hebrew Acquisition/Cataloging

A selection of authors from our Post-1900 Freidus Collection
card catalogAgnon, S. J.Ka-Tzetnik 135633, 1909-2001
Aguilar, GraceKishon, Ephraim
Asch, Sholem 1880-1957Klausner, Margot
Babel, IsaacKorolenko, Vladimir G.
Barash, Asher, 1889-1952Lagerlof, Selma
Bashevis Singer, IsaacLasker Schuler, Else
Bellow, SaulLazaros, Emma
Berdichevsky, Micah Joseph, 1865-1921Lewisohn, Ludwig
Bialik, Hayyim NahmanLiebermann, Max
Brod, MaxMalamud, Bernard
Buber, MartinMann, Thomas
Buck, PearlMarx, Karl
Chagall, MarcMaugham, W. Somerset
Chatterton, Ruth, 1892-1961Meged, Aharon
Chomsky, NoamMendele Mocher Sforim (Scholem Jaakew Abramowitsch)
Clemenceau, GeorgesModigliani, Amedeo
Cohen, LeonardMore, Thomas
Delmont, JosephMossinsohn, Yigal
Dickens, CharlesNordau, Max
Disraeli, BenjaminOppenheimer, Franz
Doblin, AlfredPeretz, Y. L.
DoshProust, Marcel
Ehrenburg, IlyaRemarque, Erich Maria
Ehrlich-Levinger, ElmaRoth, Joseph
Einstein, AlbertRupin, Arthur
Eliot, GeorgeSamuel, Herbert Louis
Engels, Friedrich, 1820-1895Schnitzler, Arthur
Erikson, Erik H.Scott, Walter, Bart. (Sir)
Fast, HowardShamir, Moshe
Feuchtwanger, LionShaw, Irwin
France, AnatoleSheinkin,Menahem
Frank, BrunoShilansky, Dov
Frank, WaldoShneour, Zalman
Franzos, Karl EmilSholem Aleichem, 1859-1916
Freud, SigmundSinclair, Lewis
Fromm, ErichSpinoza
Glass, MontagueStein, Gertrude
Goldberg, LeahSzyk, Arthur
Golding, LouisTolstoi, Lev Nikolaevich, graf
Gordon, Samuel, 1871-1927Tschernovitz Avidar, Yemima
Handel, YuditWassermann, Jakob
Hazaz, HayyimWerfel, franz
Hecht, BenWiesel, Elie, 1928-2016
Heine, HeinrichWouk, Herman
Hermann, GeorgYung, C. G.
Herzl, TheodorZangvil, Israel
Hobson, Laura Z.Zola, Emil
Hurst, FannieZweig, Stephan
Jabotinsky, Vladimir Zeev
Kafka, Franz
Kaniuk, Yoram