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OBJECT OF THE MONTH – October 2008

Habonim Flag

Habonim Flag Silk, yarn, embroidery
Great Britain (?), after 1929
Provenance: unknown, found in the depository of the Jewish Museum in Prague in 1972.
Accession No. ˇMP 1972/0731

Judging from the motifs (man with hammer, cogwheel, ears of corn, man with shovel, power plant) and the Hebrew inscriptions habonim (‘builders’) and solelim (‘pathfinders’), it may be assumed that this flag belonged to members of the Zionist youth movement Habonim, which was founded in Britain in 1929. Freely affiliated with the institutions of the international Zionist workers’ movement, this halutzic movement (from the Hebrew word halutzim, meaning ‘pioneers’) expanded particularly in English speaking countries. Like other similar youth movements, its aim was to support the building of a national home for Jews in Palestine (establishing settlements for immigrants and kibbutzim, etc.). In 1980 Habonim joined forces with Dror, a similarly oriented movement that was founded before the First World War in Kiev (in what is now Ukraine). Habonim – Dror is still in existence to this day. The flag on display probably came to the Jewish Museum in Prague from a Jewish organization in Bohemia or Moravia, which may have acquired it as a souvenir at the international Zionist Congress that was held in Prague in 1933.


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