Herbst, Karl

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HERBST, KARL (1865–1919), one of the founders of the Zionist movement in Bulgaria. Born in Czernowitz, Bukovina (according to one source his place of birth was Brno, Moravia), he grew up in Adrianople, where his father served as a railroad inspector. Later he moved to Sofia, became a senior Bulgarian government official, and for a time served at the Bulgarian embassy in Istanbul. He became one of Theodor *Herzl's first adherents in Bulgaria and, together with J. *Kalef, translated Der Judenstaat into Bulgarian (1896). He attended the First Zionist Congress (1897) and was the chairman of the first Zionist conference to take place in Bulgaria in Plovdiv (Philippopolis), December 1898. Herbst became the chief spokesman of Zionism in Bulgaria and, together with J. Kalef, he established and edited Kol Israel, the organ of the Zionist organization in that country, which appeared in Bulgarian and Ladino. He was known as "the father of Bulgarian Zionism."


A. Romano et al. (eds.), Yahadut Bulgaryah (1967), index; L. Jaffe (ed.), Sefer ha-Congress (19502), 215–6, 369.

[Getzel Kressel]