March 20, 1899

At the First Zionist Congress in Basel, Switzerland, in August 1897, the idea of a central fund to support the development of a Jewish home in Palestine was raised by Max Bodenheimer, a lawyer from Cologne, Germany.  In May 1898, an initial committee, consisting of Bodenheimer, David Wolffsohn of Lithuania and Dr. Rudolph Schauer of Germany, was organized to lay the foundation for the new enterprise. The committee established that the new bank’s purpose would be the economic development and strengthening of Jewish colonies in Palestine, the purchase of land for new settlements on a legally recognized basis, the development of trade and industry in the colonies, the loaning of money for the purposes of colonization, and the establishment of savings-banks in the colonies.

The proposal for the trust was approved at the Second Zionist Congress in Basel in August 1898, with Wolffsohn announcing that a significant amount of shares had already been subscribed.  Despite this initial success, Herzl and the other leaders faced significant opposition to the idea of the bank. despite initial setbacks, investment in the bank picked up sufficiently for its subsidiary, the Anglo-Palestine Bank, to be formed in 1902 to carry out the bank’s objectives in Palestine.

The photo shows a certificate of the Jewish Colonial Trust from 1907.

March 20, 2017