Ticket to a Congress

 You are invited to a journey through time, with the photographs and documents that are kept at the Archives, to the most important meetings in the Jewish world at the beginning years of the Zionist movement. Even without an entrance ticket, you may view the main events of the first congresses, which Herzl led, until his death in 1904.
New World Congress
After a year-long campaign of persuasion and preparations, an impressive ceremony took place in the magnificent casino building in Basel. The delegates were required to arrive in black suits and white ties for the occasion. The Congress aroused great interest and received extensive media coverage, both in the world press and in the Jewish press.
Participation card in the First Zionist Congress for Mrs. Eva Cohen, Basel, 1897 (DD1\1) | Herzl on his way to the Congress building, Basel, 1897 (PHG\1010462)
The building in Basle where the First Congress took place, 1897 (PHG\1023260)
Participants of the First Congress, 1897 (PHG\1023320) | A painting of Herzl speaking at the First Congress (PHG\1052657)
The plenum at the First Congress (NHL\336323)
Die Welt
As a journalist, Herzl attributed importance to the publication of a newspaper, which would provide a forum for the Zionist Movement to lay its course. He founded the Zionist weekly, Die Welt, in June 1897, and it operated until 1914. Herzl worked as a reporter for the Neue Freie Presse and did not want to endanger his position, so he appointed his brother-in-law, Paul Naschauer, as the publisher of the new Zionist newspaper. The photograph shows the meeting between Herzl and the leaders of the Zionist Movement, held at the Louvre cafe in Vienna, where it was decided to establish the newspaper (PHPS\1338335).
Second Zionist Congress
The second congress was also held in the casino hall in Basel. There the organizational structure of the movement was set up, and the Jewish Colonial Trust was established, in order to fund the activities of the WZO. There was a discussion about future Hebrew culture, and the first Zionist women's conference was held.
Max Bodenheimer’s Delegate Card at the Second Zionist Congress, Basle, 1898 (A15\1)
A handbill with the address of the office of the Second Zionist Congress (KRU\1543) | Delegates and guests on their way to the Zionist Congress (PHPS\1339748)
Herzl gives the opening speech at the Second Congress, 1898 (PHG\1001313) | A New Year card, Nahum Sokolow collection (PHNS\1410283)
Political Zionism
The third, fourth and fifth congresses dealt with various initiatives by Herzl to find a place for the establishment of a Jewish national home. Herzl held conversations with the German Kaiser Wilhelm II during his visit to Palestine, with the Ottoman Sultan in Istanbul, and with representatives of the British Government. (The Fourth Congress was held in London with the aim of exerting pressure on Britain). These congresses also dealt with Hebrew culture and the situation of the Jews in the world. In addition, the Jewish National Fund was established.
Invitation to the Third Zionist Congress, Basle, 1899 (DD1\8) | Max Bodenheimer’s delegate card for the Forth Zionist Congress, London, 1900 (A15\1)
The Fourth Zionist Congress delegates, menu at Langham Place, including: Mock Turtle, boiled salmon, roast gosling and lemon jelly, 16.8.1900 (DD1\7)
Right: Delegates sitting outside the Crystal Palace, on the opening day of the Fourth Congress, London, 1900 (PHG\1023510) | An invitation to a garden party with the participation of Zionist leaders and representatives of the Fourth Congress in London, 1900 (DD1\7) | Left: The Fourth Congress wine list, 1900 (DD1\7)
Postcard of the Fifth Zionist Congress, Basle, 1901 (DD1\5)
Congress of Uganda
The last Zionist Congress with the participation of Herzl, unveiled a conflict. Herzl presented the British Government's proposal to establish a Jewish state in Uganda. The opponents rejected any proposal to establish a Jewish state outside the borders of the Land of Israel. Max Nordau called the proposal "a night shelter", and saw it as a temporary solution for Jews who were persecuted at the time, in Kishinev and Morocco. The plan was accepted, despite the objections, and Herzl ended his last speech at the Congress with the sentence "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget it".
Theodor Herzl with his mother, Janet, and Israel Zangwill, in front of the Sixth Congress building, in Basle, 1903 (PHG\1002036) | Max Bodenheimer’s delegate card at the Sixth Zionist Congress, Basle, 1903 (A15\1\4)
 PHG\1017128PHG\1016388Herzl among a group of Zionist journalists, Sixth Zionist Congress, 1903 (PHG\1017128) | The leaders of the Sixth Zionist Congress and the German delegates. Sitting in the front row (right): Jeanette Herzl, Fanny Wolfson, David Wolfson, Max Nordau, Theodore Herzl and Max Bodenheimer (PHG\1016388)
Delegates on their way to the building of the Sixth Congress (PHG\1012342) | Delegates from the Caucasus outside the Sixth Zionist Congress (PHG\1012341)
A group of Jewish gymnasts and athletes at the Sixth Zionist Congress (PHG\1002329)