Eisler, Edmund Menahem

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EISLER, EDMUND MENAHEM (1850–1942), writer who envisioned a Zionist utopia. Born in Tyrnau, Slovakia, Eisler was active for many years in Jewish literature and journalism. He contributed Hebrew poetry to the literary annual Kokhevei Yiẓḥak (1877) but later wrote only in German. In 1882 he wrote a vision of a Zionist utopia in the form of a novel entitled Ein Zukunftsbild, which he published anonymously in 1885. The book relates the exodus of Jews from Europe and the establishment of a Jewish state under the rule of a king (the one who had conceived the idea of the exodus and the state was chosen as a monarch). It includes a detailed description of the constitution, how Hebrew functions as the official language of the country, and the division of the country into tribes according to the biblical account. There is even a description of the war that the young country must wage against those who threaten to destroy it, and its total victory followed by peace. Eisler prophesied a Europe without Jews after anti-Jewish legislation and terrible persecution and predicted the path of the German "hob-nailed boot." The novel fell into obscurity until it was rediscovered by Perez Sandler who identified its author and reprinted it in a Hebrew translation (by Y. Tolkes) in an anthology of Zionist utopias, Ḥezyonei Medinah ("Visions of a State," 1954), with a monograph on this utopia and its author. The work predates *Herzl's novel Altneuland by 17 years, and a copy of it was found in Herzl's personal library.

[Getzel Kressel]