A documentary film (in Hungarian)


‘In countries where the Jews get along well, they will deny that assimilation is not feasible. They will only realize the truth of that when the persecutions of the Jews resume. And the longer anti-Semitism is delayed, the wilder it will be when it breaks out… No son of man is powerful or rich enough to move a people away from its habitation. Only an idea can do it. The idea of a state has such force… We will build wonderful cities, provided with all the achievements of modern technology… We must create a movement. Our motto is a simple one: we want to go home.’ (From the notes of Theodor Herzl, 1895)

Paris, 1895. A 35-year-old Vienna journalist writes a book that makes history. The author, Theodor Herzl (1860–1904), is a leading journalist in Vienna and less successful playwright, who was born Tivadar Herzl in Budapest’s Dohány utca. After completing secondary school, he moved to Vienna with his family. Later, while a correspondent in Paris, he experienced at first hand the Dreyfus Trial and the wave of anti-Semitic hysteria that followed it, and wrote in a matter of weeks his historic programme, a book called The Jewish State.

Who was Herzl? Where did he come from? What intellectual and spiritual influences did he imbibe? How did it get to the point of writing the book and then taking on an active role in politics? What was the milieu into which he broke with his ideas? What was his real historical role and importance? This biographical, historical film undertakes to depict the intellectual development of this typically Central European intellectual and recall the events, junctures, successes and failures in the life of this extremely exciting, passionate and talented man. As a writer, at times a graphomaniac, he recorded almost every incident in his life, in diaries, letters, notes and literary works. These materials have been taken as the main source material. The film was shot is Austria, Israel and Hungary.

Cast: András Gerő, Benjamin Netanjahu, Simon Peresz and Sándor Szakácsi
Length: 55 minutes

The makers of the film:
Editor: Kata Juhász
Sound engineer: István Sipos
Co-production adviser: János Edelényi
Cameraman: Gábor Halász
Writer and director: Éva Pataki
Producers: Tibor Janklovics, Réka Sárközy and Zafrir Kochanowsky
Sponsor: Hungarian Cinema Public Foundation
The film was co-produced in 2003–4 by the 1956 Institute, the Europe Theatre, and TTV of Israel.

Stills of shooting in Israel in April 2004:

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Copyright © 2000 National Széchényi Library 1956 Institute and Oral History Archive
Last updated:  Monday, 18-September-2006

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