This paper examines Bernardo Dessau’s activities within the Zionist movement in the years between the end of the Nineteenth century and the first two decades of the Twentieth century. Dessau’s important contribution is still little-known and under-explored even by the most recent historiographical studies on Zionism in Italy.
More specifically, this essay will investigate Dessau’s intellectual and propagandistic commitment towards the realization of the Zionist ideal, his views on the main concepts and issues put forward by the Jewish movement of national rebirth and his responses and reactions to the major historical events which affected, both directly and indirectly, the Jewish community in Italy and abroad in the period before the outbreak of the First World War.
In this research two different types of source have been scrutinized and evaluated: on the one hand, printed publications such as articles and pamphlets, and on the other, the private correspondence between Bernardo Dessau and Felice Ravenna, President of the Italian Zionist Federation, all of which is kept in the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem.

issue 08 / November 2015 by Marco Bencich