- When we sink, we become a revolutionary proletariat, the subordinate officers of all revolutionary parties; and at the same time, when we rise, there rises also our terrible power of the purse.
- - Der Judenstaat (1896)
Herzl was born in Pest, the Kingdom of Hungary (today the eastern half of Budapest, then a separate city) to a Jewish family originally from Zimony (in Serbian: Zemun), the Kingdom of Hungary (today in Serbia). When Theodor was 18 his family moved to Vienna, Austria-Hungary. There, he studied Law, but he devoted himself almost exclusively to journalism and literature, working as a correspondent for the Neue Freie Presse in Paris, occasionally making special trips to London and Istanbul. Later, he became literary editor of Neue Freie Presse, and wrote several comedies and dramas for the Viennese stage.
As a young man, Herzl was engaged in a Burschenschaft association, which strove for German unity under the motto Ehre, Freiheit, Vaterland ("Honor, Freedom, Fatherland"), and his early work did not focus on Jewish life. His work was of the feuilleton order, descriptive rather than political.
He is author of a book, The Jewish State that can be considered as a collection of policies for establishing a state for Jews.
Pope St. Pius X's Meeting with Herzl
In 1904, Herzl refused to kiss Pope St. Pius X's ring during his private audience with him, in which Herzl begged the pope to permit the creation of a Jewish State in Palestine, while keeping Jerusalem extraterritorial. Pope St. Pius X bluntly said:
The Jews have not recognized our Lord, therefore we cannot recognize the Jewish people.
If you come to Palestine and settle your people there, we shall have churches and priests ready to baptize all of you.