PRINCES WITHOUT A HOME by Ilse Sternberger

PRINCES WITHOUT A HOME

Modern Zionism and the Strange Fate of Theodor Herzl's Children, 1900-1945
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

 The sad fate of three children whose youth was sacrificed to the cause of Zionism. Theodor Herzl, the charismatic leader of the Zionist movement, died in 1904 when he was in his early 40s. Because of his brutal work schedule, Herzl was unable to devote much time to his children, Pauline, Hans, and Trude, while he was alive. But his death left a hole in their lives that was bigger than the half-hour a day they saw him whenever he was in Vienna. Herzl had sunk much of the family's money into his Zionist activities, and at his death, his wife and children were thrown upon the mercy of the World Zionist Organization. The organization's leaders, also Herzl's good friends, took their charge seriously, sending out a plea to the Jewish community on behalf of the Herzl family. ``The Children's Fund'' was thus established, but not at small cost to the young Herzls, who were mortified by the public ``begging.'' Julie Herzl, Theodor's wife, was another source of embarrassment. She was an extravagant and unstable woman, and she threatened the Zionist leaders with scandals and lawsuits if they didn't meet her unreasonable financial demands. She died a few years after her husband, breaking up her children's home still further. Pauline was soon married off, left her husband, lived with various lovers, and abused drugs between bouts in an asylum; she died in 1930. Hans was a loner, subject to the same violent mood swings as his father, and unable to bear the burden of being heir to the ``King of the Jews'': He committed suicide immediately following Pauline's death. Trude was unhappily married to a much older man and also spent much of her time in asylums. She died in 1943 in the Theresienstadt concentration camp. A well-told story of a public family's tragic private life. Sternberger's unobtrusive narrative allows the characters to speak for themselves in extensively quoted letters, diaries, and published writings. (photos, not seen)

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 1-883255-39-2
Page count: 350pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1995




SIMILAR BOOKS SUGGESTED BY OUR CRITICS:

NonfictionHERZL'S VISION by Shlomo Avineri
by Shlomo Avineri