herzlOctober 18, 1898.

Eight o’clock in the evening, at the hotel

After the audience with the Kaiser, which I will enter tomorrow en route.

I had arranged with the Kaiser and with Bulow that this very evening I would submit the draft of my address in Palestine.


Your Imperial and Royal Majesty!

Most Gracious Kaiser and Lord!

With deepest reverence a delegation of sons of Israel approaches the German Kaiser in the country which was our fathers’ and no longer belongs to us. We are bound to this sacred soil through no valid title of ownership. Many generations have come and gone since this earth was Jewish. If we talk about it, it is only as about a dream of very ancient days. But the dream is still alive, lives in many hundreds of thousands of hearts; it was and is a wonderful comfort in many an hour of pain for our poor people. Whenever foes oppressed us with accusations and persecutions, whenever we were begrudged the little bit of right to live, whenever we were excluded from the society of our fellow citizens-whose destinies we have always been ready to share loyally-the thought of Zion arose in our oppressed hearts.

There is something eternal about that thought, whose form, to be sure, has undergone multifarious changes with people, institutions, and times.

Thus the Zionist movement of today is a fully modem one. It grows out of the situations and conditions of present-day life, and aims at solving the Jewish Question on the basis of the possibilities of our time. Indeed, we believe that we may finally succeed now, because mankind has grown so rich in means of communication and technical achievements. Enterprises that would have seemed fantastic as recently as half a century ago are commonplace today. Steam power and electricity have altered the face of the earth. Humane conclusions should be drawn from this as well.

Above all, we have aroused the national consciousness of our scattered brethren. At the Congresses of Basel the program of our movement was formulated before all the world. It is- The creation, under public law, of a home for the Jewish people.

This is the land of our fathers, a land suitable for colonization and cultivation. Your Majesty has seen the country. It cries out for people to work it. And we have among our brethren a frightful proletariat. These people cry out for a land to cultivate. Now we should like to create a new welfare out of these states of distress-of the land and of the people-by the systematic combination of both. We consider our cause so fine, so worthy of the sympathy of the most magnanimous minds, that we are requesting Your Imperial Majesty’s exalted aid for the project.

But we would not venture to do so if our plan contained anything that could offend or encroach upon the ruler of this land. Your Imperial Majesty’s friendship with His Majesty the Sultan is so well known that there can be no doubt as to the intentions of those who are turning to Your Majesty for the most gracious transmission of their desires.

We are honestly convinced that the implementation of the Zionist plan must mean welfare for Turkey as well. Energies and material resources will be brought to the country; a magnificent fructification of desolate areas may easily be foreseen; and from all this there will arise more happiness and more culture for many human beings.

We are planning to establish a Jewish Land-Company for Syria and Palestine, which is to undertake the great project, and request the protection of the German Kaiser for this company.

Our idea offends no one’s rights or religious feelings; it breathes long-desired reconciliation. We understand and respect the devotion of all faiths to the soil on which, after all, the faith of our fathers, too, arose.

Oct. 19, 1898

On board the “Imperator Nicholas II”

(This is as far as I got. for it was already 8-45 and we had to hurry to the harbor to embark for Smyrna-Alexandria. Therefore, in all haste, I wrote at the end that I would add the conclusion in Palestine.)

I accompanied the draft for the address with (roughly) the following letter to Bulow-

Your Excellency-

I beg to enclose herewith the draft for my address to His Majesty. I have spent a very bad night with all sorts of pains in my heart and am virtually incapacitated for work. I shall append the conclusion later. I am leaving at ten o’clock, shall be at Smyrna on Thursday morning, at Piraeus on Friday, at Alexandria on Sunday, Port Said on Tuesday, Jaffa on Wednesday. Any messages should kindly be sent via the Legation of the city concerned, where I shall call immediately if a line is left at Thomas Cook’s Office. Above all, I request most respectfully that word be sent me at Alexandria as to when and where the deputation is to present itself to His Majesty, and also as to whether Palestinian Zionists are to be added to the deputation (which consists of five European Zionists). I would have to know this as early as Alexandria, in order to make the necessary arrangements.

If the proposed draft of my address is not satisfactory, I shall make the desired corrections in Palestine.

Begging Your Excellency to accept the expression of my deepest respect, I am

Very sincerely yours,

Dr. Th. H.

October 21, 1898

One more recollection. Most of the time the Kaiser looked me full in the face. Only when I spoke of the new overland route to Asia-Mediterranean, Persian Gulf- did he stare into space as though lost in thought, and the thoughtful expression on his fine, serious face revealed to me that I had fully gripped him.

October 27, 1898

Rishon-Le-Zion, 6-00 a.m.

No entries were made during those sunny days at sea. They were halcyon days. Everything worth noting moved past my unclouded spirit without leaving any traces. And yet there were noteworthy things- the ship that took us to Alexandria, that floating cosmopolitan city which contained all sorts of things, from a cattle market to a French salon- Smyrna, picturesque filth and varia miseria, assorted misery in red, yellow, blue colors; Jews-Ashkenazim and Sephardim-from allover the world, cast up in this Asia Minor town. And once again over the wine-colored sea, past the epic isles of the Greeks, to the Piraeus, which was a disappointment. Up through the dust to the Acropolis, which likewise says so much to us only because classical literature is so powerful. The power of the word! Then raced through Athens in a matter of minutes, but that seemed enough for this modern city.

Evenings on shipboard, long talks with the French writer Rene Bazin. My judgment of the French was not a gentle one. I told him, among other things, that a powerful literature can also disseminate weak ideas throughout the world. On the other hand, powerful ideas (such as the 18th century ideas about reforming the state) can also spread a feeble literature an over the world. But present-day France, I said, has neither great ideas nor great writing.

The Frenchmen Bazin, Lamy, Mille, etc., took down their impressions throughout the voyage. I did not. Now I am sorry I didn’t; but the soul, too, must have its fallow season in order to become fertile again. And I have so many projects ahead of me that I can forgive myself for not making a literary harvest from my journey.

Hot days in Alexandria and Port Said. Alexandria shows how a clever European administration can draw a habitable, comfortable city even out of the hottest soil.

At Port Said I greatly admired the Suez Canal. The Suez Canal, that shimmering thread of water stretching away toward infinity, impressed me much more than the Acropolis. Human lives and money, it is true, were taken and squandered on the Suez Canal, but yet one must admire the colossal will that executed this simple idea of digging away the sands. In Panama this will had grown senile; this, and not the natural obstacles, evidently wrecked that second project.

The last two nights of our voyage, which we spent on a smaller vessel, the “Russia” (sailing from Alexandria), it was unbearably hot in the cabin which the five of us shared. I was up on deck by three o’clock in the morning. The last night I even slept a la belle etoile [under the open sky] from midnight on. At night and in the morning the sea was wonderfully still and shimmered in variegation. When it grew light, we began to peer toward the Jewish coast. Toward seven o’clock the first bit of land, two dots of mountains on the right, was sighted by Wolffsohn. We approached the land of our fathers with mixed feelings. Strange what emotions this desolate country stirs up in most people- in the old German pastor from South Africa, in the Russian muzhik in the foul-smelling steerage, in the Arabs who have been traveling with us from Constantinople, in us Zionists, in the poor Rumanian Jewess who wants to join her sick daughter in Yerusholayim and who has reason to fear that she will be turned back on account of her Rumanian passport. Incidentally, our companion Seidener is in the same situation with his Russian passport.

Thus the landing shaped up as rather uncomfortable, when Jaffa hove in sight. In any case, I had made my plans for the eventuality that the Turkish port authorities refused to let us pass. I drafted a telegram to the Kaiser informing him of the trouble that was being made for us. But it turned out differently. When we were on the big Cook landing-boat, which I had asked the Rumanian woman to board also, I learned that German police would be at the pier. I jumped ashore, and while the Turkish police were snooping about our tezkerehs, I took the German official aside and told him that we were here on the Kaiser’s orders- the five white cork-helmets should be allowed to pass through at once. This was done. I turned the Rumanian woman over to Mme. Gaulis, the wife of a French journalist, who was sitting in the next boat; she was to pass off the Rumanian as her servant. Mme. Gaues did so, the poor old soul clung to the Frenchwoman’s skirt and thus slipped through the cordon-so happy at being in Palestine where she was going to visit her mortally ill daughter. What forms happiness takes!

And we were in Jaffa!

Again poverty and misery and heat in gay colors.

Confusion in the streets, at the hotel, not a carriage to be had. I was already on a horse, to ride to Rishon, but dismounted again when Dr. Joffe procured us a conveyance.

We drove- in the terrible heat- first to Mikveh Israel. This is an excellent school of agriculture. Bunting over the gate in honor of the Kaiser, who will pass by here tomorrow on his way to Jerusalem. I will try to persuade him to visit the institution.

From Mikveh, through the countryside neglected in Arab fashion to the much-praised Rishon-le-Zion. For a poor village this is a fairly prosperous place. But if one has imagined it as more than a poor settlement, one is disappointed. Thick dust on the roads, a bit of greenery.

The administrator received us with a frightened air, obviously dared to be neither amiable nor unamiable. Fear of Monsieur le Baron hovers over everything. The poor colonists have swapped one fear for another. We were shown through the wine-cellars with elaborate ceremony. But I have never doubted that with money one can set up industrial establishments no matter where. With the millions which have been poured into the sand here and stolen and squandered, far different results could have been achieved.

Meanwhile, news of our arrival had spread through the village. A deputation came to invite me to the Beth Ha’am. We were welcomed by music which, unfortunately, wasnonly well-intentioned. Again a lane of faces such as I have seen in London, Berlin, Brunn, everywhere. Someone made a speech in which he tried to harmonize their obligations toward the Baron and their love for me, a harmony just as impossible as the one the conductor tried to achieve between the violin and the flute. The big drum had to cover up everything. I also spoke a few words, advising them to be grateful to the Baron, although his aims were different from mine.

Then I inspected the house of a colonist who had made good. Large rooms-habitable, anyway. But faded faces.

Next I saw the house of some day-laborers. Wooden plank-beds and squalor.

Finally I spoke to the physician of the colony, Dr. Mazie. He gave it to me straight. Fever! All of the colonies suffer from fever. Only large-scale drainage operations and the elimination of swamps, he said, could make the country habitable.

This is also my view and intention.

It will cost billions, but create billions of new wealth! Such Arabs as are immune to the fever might be used for the work.

October 29, 1898


Conclusion of my Address to the Kaiser-

This is the fatherland of ideas which do not belong to one people or to one creed alone. The farther men advance in their morality, the more clearly do they recognize the common elements in these ideas. And thus the actual city of Jerusalem, with its fateful walls, has long since become a symbolic city sacred to all civilized men.

An emperor of peace is making a great entry into this eternal city. We Jews greet Your Majesty at this exalted moment, wishing from the bottom of our hearts that an age of peace and justice may dawn for all men. Including ourselves.

October 29, 1898


Sent the Address to August Eulenburg with the following covering letter-

Your Excellency-

I have the honor most humb1y to submit the enclosed Address of the Zionist Deputation. I beg Your Excellency to be kind enough to inform me, when returning the manuscript, of the changes desired by His Majesty the Kaiser, or else to convey his gracious approval to me. I shal1 read it as bidden when the audience takes place.

At the same time may I request that I kindly be notified of the day and hour appointed for the reception of the deputation.

Begging Your Excellency to accept the expression of my deepest respect, I remain

Your Humble Servant,

Dr. Th. H.

October 29, 1898


I must add what has happened since the day before yesterday, when we left Rishon-le-Zion. We drove away from Rishon in the morning. About half an hour’s distance from there is the Jewish hamlet of Wad-el-Chanin. There we were met by the entire population- singing children; an old man presented me with bread, salt and wine from his own vineyard. I had to visit almost all the homes of the colonists. .

We drove on. A cavalcade came galloping toward us from the settlement of Rehovot- about twenty young fellows who put on a kind of fantasia, lustily singing Hebrew songs and swarming about our carriage. Wolffsohn, Schnirer, Bodenheimer and I had tears in our eyes when we saw those fleet, daring horsemen into whom our young trouser-salesmen can be transformed. Hedad! they cried, and dashed away cross-country on their little Arab horses. They reminded me of the Far-West. cowboys of the American plains whom I once saw in Paris.

At Rehovot, an even greater demonstration- the whole village awaited me in rank and file. The children sang. With the resources of the poor, a princely reception.

Back in the brooding heat to Jaffa, which I reached exhausted. My good Hechler had arrived. I related what had happened since our last meeting and asked him to tell Count Eulenburg that I would await the Kaiser the fol1owing morning on the highway outside Mikveh Israel.

Early yesterday morning I drove out to Mikveh Israel. I was already unwell, but with an effort managed to stay on my feet. The picture of the trainees at their farm implements was a pretty one. Among the curious the somewhat baronially arrogant Rothschild administrators turned up also. I told Niego, the director of Mikveh, that I would introduce him to the Kaiser, should the latter recognize and speak to me. Niego begged me to refrain from doing this, because it might be regarded as a Zionist demonstration and could harm him. I was there as the guest of Mikveh and therefore should not introduce him, the director. Actually, this was a mild reprimand, but I did not resent it from the otherwise amiable man.

At nine o’clock a commotion on the highway, which was lined with a mixed multitude of Arab beggars, womenfolk, children, and horsemen, heralded the approach of the Imperial procession. Fierce-looking Turkish cavalry came galloping toward us at full tilt, rifles at the ready and shooting even more threatening glances all around. Then the outriders of the Kaiser. And there, among a grey-clad group, including several ladies, the Kaiser himself.

I gave the schoolchildren’s choir of Mikveh the signal to intone “Heil Dir im Siegerkranz.” I stood beside one of the ploughs and took off my cork-helmet. The Kaiser recognized me even at a distance. It gave him a bit of start; he guided his horse in my direction- and pulled up in front of me. I took two steps forward; and when he leaned down over the neck of the horse and held his hand down to me, I stepped up quite close to his horse, stretched up my own hand, and stood before him with my head bared.

He laughed and flashed his imperious eyes at me.

“How are you?”

“Thanks, Your Majesty! I am having a look at the country. And how has the journey agreed with Your Majesty so far?”

He blinked grandly with his eyes-

“Very hot! But the country has a future.”

“At the moment it is still sick,” I said. .

“Water is what it needs, a lot of water!” he said from above me.

“Yes, Your Majesty! Irrigation on a large scale!”

He repeated- “It is a land of the future!”

Perhaps he said some other things which have escaped me, for he stopped with me for several minutes. Then he held down his to me again, and trotted off. The Empress, too, had ridden forward a bit and gave me a nod and a smile. Then the Imperial procession moved on to the strains of “Heil Dir im Siegerkranz” from the children’s throats.

I noticed the Kaiser drawing himself up more proudly in the saddle and saluting his hymn, as, back in Breslau, he had saluted the statue of his grandfather.

Among those riding behind him I recognized Court-Marshal Eulenburg, who greeted me affably.

The spectators at Mikveh Israel were quite dumbfounded. A few of them asked who it was. They simply wouldn’t believe that it had been the Kaiser. The Rothschild administrators looked timid and out-of-sorts.

Wolffsohn, that good soul, had taken two snapshots of the scene. At least he thought he had. He patted his kodak proudly- “I wouldn’t part with these negatives for ten thousand marks-”

But when we got to the photographer’s at Jaffa and had the negatives developed, it turned out that the first picture showed only a shadow of the Kaiser and my left foot; the second was completely spoiled.

Then we took the train in the frightful heat to Jerusalem. Just the departure from the Jaffa station took an hour. Sitting in the cramped, crowded, scorching compartment was torture.

While crossing the dismal, desolate countryside I developed a fever and grew more and more feverish and weak as we rode further into the Sabbath. For, because of the delayed train, and to Wolffsohn’s extreme chagrin, we found ourselves traveling into the Sabbath. The moon was full when we arrived in Jerusalem. I would have gladly driven the half hour’s distance from the station to the hotel; but the gentlemen made long faces, so I had to resign myself to walking to the city, weak with fever though I was, I tottered all over the place on my cane- with my other arm I braced myself alternately against Wolffsohn’s and Schub’s arm.

In spite of my weariness, Jerusalem by moon-dust with its grand outlines made a powerful impression on me. Magnificent the silhouette of the fortress of Zion, the citadel of David.

The streets were crowded with groups of Jews strolling in the moonlight.

I was very sick before falling asleep. I took quinine and vomited after it. Then Schnirer rubbed me with spirits of camphor, and slept that night in my narrow little room.

Wolffsohn was beside himself with excitement. Maybe he had already given me up.

In the morning I awoke feeling better. But I’m still quite feeble today. It is now evening, and I have not stirred from the house all day. I only look out the windows and conclude that Jerusalem is magnificently situated. Even in its present decay it is a beautiful city, and, if we come here, can become one of the most beautiful in the world again.

From my hotel window, this afternoon, I saw the Kaiser pass through the triumphal arches, first the Jewish and then the Turkish. He is said to have stopped a little longer at the Jews’ arch. I haven’t been to the Jewish arch, because there are two factions there. One wanted me to deliver the communal address to the Kaiser. The other apparently wished me to stay away entirely- me and my Zionism. Since, as I was informed, the Hakham bashi of Constantinople has proposed to the Chief Rabbi here that I be put under the great bad, I preferred not even to go near these carping Oriental objectors.