Stephen Theodor Norman

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Stephen Theodor Norman (Neumann)

Death: November 26, 1946 (28)
Washington, DC, United States (Jumped to his death from the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge in Washington, D.C., Buried initially in Washington D.C. 1946-2007)
Place of Burial: Jerusalem, Israel
Immediate Family:

Son of Richard Neumann and Margarethe Trude Neumann

Managed by: Yigal Burstein
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Stephen Theodor Norman

Stephan Theodor Neumann (1918–1946) was sent to England, 1935, for his safety, at the request of his father Richard Neumann to the Viennese Zionists and the Zionist Executive in Palestine. The Neumann's deeply feared for the safety of their only child as rabid Austrian anti-Semitism expanded. In England, he read extensively about his grandfather. Zionism had not been a significant part of his background in Austria. Stephan became an ardent Zionist. He was the only immediate descendant of Herzl to be a Zionist. Anglicizing his name to Stephen Norman, during World War II, Norman enlisted in the British Army rising to the rank of Captain in the Royal Artillery. In late 1945 and early 1946, he took the opportunity to visit the British Mandate of Palestine "to see what my grandfather had started." He wrote in his diary extensively about his trip. What impressed him the most was that there was a "look of freedom" in the faces of the children, not like the sallow look of those from the concentration camps of Europe. He wrote upon leaving Palestine, "My visit to Palestine is over... It is said that to go away is to die a little. And I know that when I went away from Erez Israel, I died a little. But sure, then, to return is somehow to be reborn. And I will return."

Norman planned to return to Palestine following his military discharge. The Zionist Executive, through Dr. L.Lauterbach had worked for years to get Norman to come to Palestine. He would be the symbol of Herzl returing.

Operation Agatha of June 29, 1946, precluded that possibility: British military and police fanned out throughout Palestine and arrested Jewish activists. About 2,700 individuals were arrested. July 2, 1946, Stephen wrote to Mrs. Stybovitz-Kahn in Haifa. Her father, Jacob Kahn, had been a good friend of Herzl and a well know Dutch Banker before the war. Stephen wrote "I intend to go to Palestine on a long visit in the future, in fact as soon as passport & permit regulations permit. But the dreadful news of the last two days have done nothing to make this easier."

He never did return to Palestine.

Demobilized from the British army in late spring 1946, without any money, or job and despondent about his future, Norman followed the advice of the Dr. Selig Brodetsky. Norman secured, through influence, a very desirable, but minor position with the British Economic and Scientific mission in Washington, D.C. in late August 1946. Shortly after arriving in Washington he learned that his family had been exterminated. Norman had reestablished contact with his old nanny in Vienna, Wuth who informed him of what happened. Norman became deeply depressed over the fate of his family and his inability to help the Jewish people "languishing" in the European camps. Unable to endure the suffering any further, he jumped to his death from the Massachusetts Avenue Bridge in Washington, D.C., November 26, 1946. Norman was buried by the Jewish Agency in Washington, D.C. His tombstone read simply, 'Stephen Theodore Norman, Captain Royal Artillery British Army, Grandson of Theodore Herzl, April 21, 1918 - November 26, 1946'. Norman was the only member of Herzl's family to have been a Zionist, been to Palestine, and openly stated his desire to return.

After 61 years of forgetful neglect, he was reburied with his family on Mt. Herzl, in the Plot for Zionist Leaders, December 5, 2007.

In Jerusalem, on Mt. Herzl, the Stephen Norman garden/park is being completed in Stephen's honor and memory. It will be the only memorial in the world to a Herzl, other than to Theodor Herzl. The Stephen Norman garden/park will be dedicated May, 2011 by the Jerusalem Foundation, the Jewish Agency and the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation.

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Stephen Theodor Norman's Timeline

April 21, 1918
November 26, 1946
Age 28
Washington, DC, United States
December 5, 2007
Age 28
Jerusalem, Israel