Selected Documents

After the death of Herzl in 1904, the guardianship of his personal archive was transferred to a committee that comprised a number of his close acquaintances. Herzl's study and his personal documents remained in the home of his widow, Julie. When she died in 1907, the study, with all its furniture, was moved to Cologne, Germany, by David Wolffson, at the time president of the World Zionist Organization. The study was transferred to Palestine in 1928, and today it is kept in the Herzl Museum. On the death of Julie Herzl, Herzl's archive was moved to the home of Johann Kremenezky. In that period, the archive's existence was well known to the heads of the World Zionist Organization, but it had not yet been thoroughly examined, and not all the documents had been exposed.
In 1919, the Central Zionist Archive was founded in Berlin, and from that point on, George Herlitz, its director, worked toward transferring the Herzl archive to the CZA.
In 1931, after the death of Hans, Herzl's son, his father's youth diary was found among his belongings. It was sold to the Jewish Research Institute in Vilna by Trude, Herzl's daughter, in order to cover some of Hans' debts. This incident raised public awareness with regard to the Herzl archive, and the importance that it be kept in a professional and official institute.
In 1933 the CZA was transferred to Palestine. Three years later, Moritz Reichenfeld, the only living member of the committee set up to carry out Herzl's will, agreed to move Herzl's archive to the CZA. The transferring of the archive to Palestine was, in accordance with the times, an adventurous one. It was decided that in order to keep to a minimum, any unnecessary meddling by the Austrian authorities, the writer Joseph Kastein, who was on his way back to Palestine from a European speaking tour, would bring the archive as his personal luggage. When the writer arrived in Haifa port, he was met by George Herlitz, who then transferred Kastein's "personal luggage" to Jerusalem by truck via Nablus and Ramallah. In this way, Herzl's personal archive arrived at the Central Zionist Archives.