המכתב שבו פרויד מזמין את הרצל לקרוא את ספרו "פשר החלומות"
The letter sent by Freud
Photo: Central Zionist Archives
Binyamin Ze'ev Herzl and Sigmund Freud

120 years later, Israel reveals letter sent by Sigmund Freud to Theodor Herzl

Letter, unveiled by Central Zionist Archives, indicates the two men never met, but the influential Jewish psychologist appeared to closely follow the Zionist leader, whom he called 'a poet and fighter for our people’s human rights'

Itamar Eichner |
Published: 08.16.22, 10:55
A letter written by the Austrian Jewish psychologist Sigmond Freud and sent to Theodor (Binyamin Ze’ev) Herzl, founder of the Zionist Organization, has been revealed by Israel some 120 years after it was written.
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  • The letter, dating to September 28, 1902, was found in the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem.
    3 View gallery
    זיגמונד פרויד ובנימין זאב הרצל
    זיגמונד פרויד ובנימין זאב הרצל
    Binyamin Ze'ev Herzl and Sigmund Freud
    (Photo: Central Zionist Archives, World Zionist Organization)
    The letter was written in German, and in it, Freud recommends Herzl read his book “The Interpretation of Dreams”.
    Herzl and Freud lived at the same street in Vienna for many years, but never met in person. Freud, nevertheless, is said to have been an avid reader of Herzl’s pieces published in the “Neue Freie Presse,” a paper where the latter worked in as an editor. Freud also expressed interest in the World Zionist Congress, established in 1897 as the supreme organ of the Zionist Organization.
    In 1898, Freud also apparently attended a play written by Herzl. However, the 1902 letter was the only recorded attempt made by the founder of psychoanalysis to contact Herzl.
    3 View gallery
    המכתב שבו פרויד מזמין את הרצל לקרוא את ספרו "פשר החלומות"
    המכתב שבו פרויד מזמין את הרצל לקרוא את ספרו "פשר החלומות"
    The letter sent by Freud
    (Photo: Central Zionist Archives)
    In the letter, Freud wrote: “Esteemed Dr, following a recommendation of your colleague, the editor Mr. M., I’ve allowed myself to send you a copy of my book, published in 1900, about interpretations of dreams, as well as a short lecture on the subject.
    “I don’t know if you’ll agree with Mr. M., but I beg you, keep it as a sign of my appreciation towards you, which I’ve felt – like many others – to the poet and fighter for our people’s human rights. With regards, Prof. Doc. Freud.”
    Herzl received this letter since he was considered a visionary and seer at the time. The letter still holds some unanswered questions about the subject Mr. M. thought about and how it relates to Herzl.
    3 View gallery
    "שלך בהערכה". למטה – חתימתו של פרויד
    "שלך בהערכה". למטה – חתימתו של פרויד
    Freud's letter and signature
    (Photo: Central Zionist Archives)
    Upon establishing the World Zionist Congress, Herzl convened a session on August 2 to discuss the founding of Israel.
    To commemorate the historic session, the World Zionist Organization will organize a series of events which will take place August 28-29 in Basel, Switzerland.
    The event will be attended by President Isaac Herzog, head of the World Zionist Organization Yaakov Hagoel, and 1,200 Jewish leaders from around the world.
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