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Zionist Congress in Basel: foundation stone for state of Israel

Published on 8/5/2016 by
Zionisten Kongress Basel 1946 im Festsaal der Mustermesse (MCH Group)

The Basel Zionist Congresses changed the world. In 1897, the "Basel Programme" for the creation of a Jewish state was adopted. After the Second World War, the Congress reiterated its demand again in the festival hall at the Swiss Sample Fair – and was successful.

August 1897, Basel City Casino. In the music room at the Casino, where the first Sample Fair was to be held in 1917, some 200 participants met for the first Zionist Congress. The initiator was Theodor Herzl, a journalist from Vienna and the founder of modern Zionism. The delegates adopted the "Basel Programme" which was aimed at the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine.

The plan remained unrealised to begin with, and nine further congresses were held in Basel in the period up to 1946. After the genocide of the Jews in the Second World War, 357 delegates and 2000 visitors gathered in the festival hall of the Sample Fair once again in December 1946. They remembered the victims of the war and vehemently demanded the creation of a state of their own. This was a moment in which world history was written. Their demand convinced the majority of the community of nations. In May 1948, the wish was fulfilled: Israel was founded.

Photo: ETH Archiv für Zeitgeschichte, Z jüdische Periodika / JR-1946-16

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