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May 15, 2022 6:14 pm

Original Manuscript of Theodor Herzl’s Novel Exhibited to the Public for the First Time

avatar by i24 News

Theodor Herzl, considered the father of modern-day Zionism, leans over the balcony of the Hotel Les Trois Rois (Three King’s Hotel/Hotel drei Könige) in Basel, Switzerland, in 1897. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

i24 News – The original German manuscript of Theodor Herzl’s novel “Altneuland” is on public display for the first time at the Herzl Center in Jerusalem, as part of a new exhibition celebrating 120 years of its publication.

This utopian novel, published in 1902, describes the vision of the Jewish state of the founder of Zionism.

According to the center’s website, the new exhibit featuring the manuscript stands alongside a second exhibit linking Herzl’s vision of a Jewish state to the modern state of Israel.

“It’s like touching the handwriting of one of the writers of the Old Testament, maybe even Moses,” Herzl Center president Uri Zaki told Israel’s Channel 13, to explain the value of the manuscript.

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“Each of its pages is insured for a million dollars and ‘Altneuland’ has 396 of them,” he said.

Susan Burns, curator at the Zionist Central Archives, who loaned the manuscript to the museum, said Herzl envisioned a future society with light rail as a mode of transportation and electronic newspapers read by an enlightened public.

“Some of what he wrote is like a prophecy,” she said.

“Altneuland” was published six years after Herzl’s political pamphlet “Der Judenstaat” (The Jewish State), setting out the author’s vision of the return of the Jewish people to their homeland.

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