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Romania: Herzl death commemoration token by Negreanu, circa. 1904
Item code: 0130910

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Romania: Theodore Herzl death commemoration token, circa. 1904; cast in gilded bronze(?); by O(?) Negreanu; size: 30.25mm x 34.75mm; weight: 8.65g.

Obverse depicts left-facing bust of Herzl with his name, year of birth and date of passing, and Biblical except in Hebrew below, "If I forget thee O Jerusalem may my right hand forget its cunning". The letter "Mem" at the end of the words is oddly designed out of the letter "Pay".

On reverse, a biblical image looking forth (at Palestine); immediately above and below are the names of two of Herzl's works, "[Der] Juden Staat" ("The Jewish State"), punctuated by a 'Zion' emblem, and "Altneuland" ("Old-New Land"). Around the upper and lower edges are quotations of Herzl's: "The Jews should be Jews and Remain Jews" and "If you will it it is no fairytale".

The same person who helped put Herzl in touch with the German Kaiser six years earlier, the Anglican German clergyman William Henry Hechler, was also present at Herzl's bedside at his final hours (when he died of pneumonia), and recorded some of his last words: "Deliver my greetings of peace to the Holyland. Tell her that I gave my heart's blood for the sake of my people".

The curious connection to Romania (vis. the medallist) may be due to the city of Focşani, where in 1881 the First Congress of all Zionist Unions in Romania for the promotion of settlement in Eretz Israel (Palestine) was held, and marked in a formal sense the beginning of the 1st Aliya (first Jewish immigration wave to Palestine). Although it pre-dated Herzl's involvement in Zionism, his later involvement in the movement - and the instant identification of his image with the movement as a whole - was seen as an extension of this original foundation. In VF.

מילות מפתח: סיכות מדליות מדליה סמלים תגיות מזכרות מזכרת הרצל הרצליאנה דמויות מנהיגים תנועה ציונית רומניה