GHDI logo

Theodor Herzl meets Wilhelm II in Jerusalem (1898)

page 3 of 3    print version    return to list previous document      next document

Bülow said sweetly: “As Your Majesty the Kaiser was kind enough to say, water is the main thing. Herr Herzl will know better than I the words of the Greek poet: "Water is best."

“We can supply the land with that. It will cost billions, but it will also earn billions”

“Well, you have plenty of money,” the Kaiser called out jovially and tapped his boot with his riding crop. “More money than the rest of us.”

Bülow abondait dans ce sens [echoing this]: “Yes, the money that causes us so much trouble, you have plenty of.”

I pointed out what one could do with the water power of the Jordan and drew Seidener into the conversation as the engineer. Seidener spoke of dams, etc. The Kaiser listened eagerly and carried the idea further. He then spoke of the health conditions, eye diseases, and so on, which occurred especially at the time of the fig harvest. At this point I brought in Schnirer, who spoke briefly about the subject.

I managed to mention my idea about handing the old city over to charitable organizations, cleaning it up, and building a new Jerusalem that one could survey from the Mount of Olives, the way Rome can be surveyed from the Janiculum.

I was not able to get Wolffsohn and Bodenheimer involved in the conversation, since the Kaiser ended the audience by briefly shaking my hand once more.

I went out first, and then gave one more sidelong glance behind me. The emperor stood in profile facing Bülow with whom he was speaking, and he looked like he wanted to give himself a contenance [an appearance].

Count v. Kessel asked as we were leaving: “The audience already over?” He was less obliging than he had been in Constantinople, from which I concluded that our prospects were less favorable.

I said to Schnirer as we left: “Il n’a dit ni out ni non” [He said neither yes nor no].

Once again, they did not wish to let us pass the gate. But outside stood the secret police officer and supposed Zionist Mendel Krämer, who has been accompanying us since Jaffa – by order of the Turkish government, it seems to me – and had them open it for us.

Source: Theodor Herzl, Theodor Herzls Tagebücher [The Diaries of Theodor Herzl], 1894-1904. 3 volumes. Berlin, 1922-23, vol. 2, pp. 222-26.

Translation: Thomas Dunlap

first page < previous   |   next > last page