In the footsteps of Wilhelm II

Some of the additions and improvements the city saw in 1898 for the kaiser’s iconic visit can still be viewed today.

November 29, 2012 14:48
Mamilla Mall in Jerusalem

Mamilla Mall. (photo credit: SHMUEL BAR-AM)


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Theodor Herzl, the father of modern Zionism, heard that Kaiser Wilhelm II planned to visit Jerusalem in 1898 to inaugurate the Church of the Redeemer. True, the kaiser, emperor of Germany and king of Prussia, wasn’t in the least interested in creating a home for the Jews in the Land of Israel, but Herzl hoped that if they met on the soil of the Holy Land he might be able to win him over.

Herzl docked at Jaffa port on October 28 and traveled by train to Jerusalem. Although a carriage was sent to bring him from the train station to his hotel, Herzl decided to walk – as it was Friday and Shabbat had already begun. (According to another source, there were so many people waiting for the emperor to arrive the next day that there wasn’t a carriage to be had.) Already ill when he landed, his fever rose as he made the trek from the station to his overnight lodgings at the Kaminitz Hotel.


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