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Zionist Congresses/Herzl & Kokesch signatures: original mimeograph of handwritten letter in German (20.4 x 27.7cm / 8.4 x 10.9in) on very thin “Type Writing Paper” watermarked stationary, written 5 weeks before the 5th Zionist Congress in Basel (26 Dec.) and in preparation for it, and dated "Vienna, 18 November 1901"; addressed to "My Esteemed Colleague" the letter refers to Dr. Yaakov Bernstein-Cohen (a member of the Zionist General Council, and one of Herzl’s first assistants) & Menachem Ussishkin (the head of the Jewish National Fund, and one of the founders of the BILU Zionist movement), and is signed at the bottom right by Herzl (original signature using ink) as the "Obmann" (Chairman), and on the bottom left by Oser Kokesch as the "Schriftfuhrer" (Secretary). The translated content of the letter reads: "Mr. Dr. Bernstein-Cohen, wants to know clearly that the minutes of the AC [“Antes Congress” - “pre-congress”] meeting contain four excerpts that imply that post offices will fill the place [Bernsten-Cohen served as the head of the Zionist movement’s “postal department” – one of 4 bureaus which led the movement]. The Viennese AC is not going to make any decision about the big AC, and we are bringing here his request with the addition of a note that already, according to the first sections, we can see that this is not a decision but a free exchange of ideas. By doing so, the decision to conciliate was unanimous. On the other hand, no objections were raised. From here we think we are entitled to express our opinion to the Assembly regarding the proposal. We agree with Dr. Bernstein-Cohen that this question of the pre-election of representatives from Russia will be brought to a final decision, but we also say that Ussishkin was a member of the Committee of the big AC.” The letter is complete, with minor creases and tiny tears on the edge + 1 larger tear 2 inches from the top left into the blank left margin. Kokesch (1859-1905), whose original signature appears on this letter, was a Zionist activist and lawyer in Vienna; one of the first members of the 'Kadimah' fraternity and a co-founder (1890) of the Viennese Admath Jeschurun society (the first Viennese Zionist society). He was one of the first and most loyal supporters and collaborators of Herzl's, who prepared the first Zionist Congress for him and was elected there to serve as the its treasurer and secretary; he was virtually in charge of the Congress Office in Vienna until his death; a governor of the Jewish Colonial Trust (1899), promoted the establishment of the Jewish National Fund - and nevertheless an opponent of Herzl's Uganda plan. One of a legion of obscure but accomplished activists behind the scenes of modern Zionist history.


CR006, Vienna