125 years after the First Zionist Congress, an anniversary celebration will be held at Stadtcasino Basel, the original venue, on 29 August 2022. The WZO is organising the event in partnership with the SIG.
The First Zionist Congress took place in Basel in1897. On 29 August 2022, 125 years later to the day, an anniversary celebration will be held at the original venue, the Stadtcasino in Basel. It was the site of a meeting of global historical importance and key to Zionist and Jewish history. In conjunction with the World Zionist Organization WZO and the Canton of Basel-Stadt, the Swiss Federation of Jewish Communities SIG is today announcing the forthcoming commemorative event.
Theodor Herzl lays the foundations of a Jewish homeland
A non-religious Jewish national movement began to gain momentum in the 1880s. Since 1892 it has been known as Zionism. But it was the journalist and author Theodor Herzl (1860 – 1904) who transformed this initially marginal movement into one that had to be taken seriously. In 1896 he published an essay entitled ‘Der Judenstaat – Versuch einer modernen Lösung der Judenfrage’ (The Jewish State – proposal of a modern solution for the Jewish question), in which he laid out the basics for a Jewish state modelled on European nations. In 1897 he summoned the First Zionist Congress in Basel. Around 200 personalities followed Herzl’s invitation to Stadtcasino in Basel and there adopted what is known as the Basel Programme.
Grateful for support by the Canton of Basel-Stadt
A dignified celebration is to commemorate the historic event at the end of August this year. It is being organised by the WZO in partnership with the SIG and in close consultation with the authorities of the Canton of Basel-Stadt. “A development of global historical significance was initiated here in Basel 125 years ago, and it is moving to know that we will commemorate this at the original venue in 2022,” said SIG President Ralph Lewin. The SIG is pleased about the support from the authorities and is convinced that the city of Basel, Switzerland as a whole, and the Jewish community living in this country will all benefit from this international event. Further details on the programme will be published in the course of spring.