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Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Controversy Surrounds Burial Of Herzl’s Children In Israel

Arutz 7 reports:
The remains of two of Theodore Herzl's children will be brought to Israel this week from France for reburial, according to the wishes of the Zionist leader. Herzl's remains were brought to Israel in 1949.

The children, Paula and Hans, will be reburied in the Mount Herzl Cemetery in Jerusalem. The coffins will be flown to Israel on Tuesday night and the remains will be reburied the following day. A third child died in the Holocaust.

Although I consider Arutz 7 to be the best source of news from Israel, I think that here they have committed the sin of omission. It is no simple matter that Herzl’s offspring, in particular his son Hans, are being buried next to their father, as Charles Bremner reports from Paris:
The transfer ends decades of delays and wrangling over the remains of Pauline Herzl, who died in Bordeaux of an apparent drug overdose in 1930, and Hans Herzl who shot himself dead there the day after in an act of grief.

Herzl, who died in Vienna in 1904 at the age of 44, wanted his descendants to be buried in the Jewish state that he hoped would one day be created.

The three Herzl children, who were brought up to be future “royalty” of a Zionist nation, were long an embarrassment to Israel’s founders.

The religious establishment opposed the return because suicide is forbidden in Judaism and because Hans had converted to Christianity.

Herzl’s other daughter, Trude, who was also mentally disturbed, died in 1943 in the Nazi concentration camp of Theresienstadt in Czechoslovakia. Her remains were never identified.
This article from the Jewish Agency web site covers Hans’ spiritual wanderings in more detail:
Hans lived in London, alone and destitute, eking out a living mainly by translating his father's writings. In 1924, 20 years after his father's death, Hans, desperate for a change in his life, joined the Baptist Church; then, in rapid succession, became a Catholic, a Protestant, a Unitarian and a Quaker, oscillating wildly between the delusions of grandeur that had gripped his father and bouts of depression brought on by his sense of abject failure.
So how is it that Hans is being brought to burial in a Jewish cemetery if he converted to Christianity and committed suicide? Back to the Bremner article:
Investigations showed that Hans, who was educated in England, had reverted to Judaism and joined a London Synagogue.

Chief Rabbi Shlomo Ammar approved the reburial on Mount Herzl, the national cemetery where the Zionist founder was buried in 1949, after being convinced of Hans’s reconversion. His mental illness mitigated his act of suicide, the religious leaders decided.
Speaking of controversy, MK Zevulun Orlev gets the “anti-democracy” award by trying to prevent the distribution of a CD which exposes the negative side of Herzl and other Zionist leaders. Read the article and don’t miss the talkbacks. The knee-jerk reaction of some people, and their inability to deal with the issue at hand are truly amazing.

Update: Here's the video that Orlev is upset about. (It is a simplistic and one-sided view of these leaders, nevertheless certain facts about these leaders that have been hidden from the general public and are worth knowing are presented here.)

1 comment:

Julian said...

No Hans or his sister expressed ever a wish to 'rest in peace Israel' or in 'jew land' after their deaths. Not one of them were ever connected to zionims, instead Hans often talked his father her Theodor was 'wrong' over a jew state. To me, take a body, unburied it, and re buried it in a land it never footed or knowed is exactly 'to stole' a corpse and to give it a 'favor' he never asked for it.

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