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Did Theodor Herzl equate the Jewish People with the airship and the movement with Zionism? It is most unlikely that Herzl knew about Schwarz who labored in Coatia, a backwood of the Hungarian Empire. However, he certainly associated the upward floating airship, not as yet built, with the Zionist dream.

Schwarz called upon the Austrian and Russian military establishments to interest them in his invention. He even demonstrated one in Russia but without success. Eventually he approached the German General Staff which accepted his invention. The German War Ministry provided funds to build a newer airship, which eventually flew for over four hours at the Tempelhof Airfield near Berlin on November 3rd 1897.

However Schwarz did not live to see his ship fly for the Germans. The excitement of receiving the telegram informing him that his invention had been accepted by Germany was too great, and he died of a heart attack. His widow Melanie continued with the task of construction. Count Von Zeppelin, who had watched the first flight, purchased the patents from her and Carl Berg on February 10th 1898. This arrangement was made by Berg and the transaction is well documented.

Over a period of years, while reading everything I could on David Schwarz, the idea came to mind that he should be recognized with a medal. There are hundreds of medals of Count Zeppelin, as the builder, and of the Graf Zeppelin, but Schwarz is never mentioned. After all, his invention created a milestone in aviation equal to the Wright Brothers.

Several months ago, I called Alex Shagin, the well known medallist who came to this country from Russia and now resides in Los Angeles. I inquired if perhaps he would be interested in striking a medal for David Schwarz. After becoming aware of the entire story, he decided to become involved and struck the pictured placquette.

The obverse shows a portrait of Schwarz, the years of his lifespan, the words inventor and name. In the lower right hand corner are the initials SH and the year of the design work 90. The reverse shows a model of the first dirigible as designed by Schwarz in the clouds, although it never did reach these heights. In the upper corner left is the year of the first flight and on the bottom, the words First Rigid Airship. The size is 7cm x 7cm x lcm.

Each plaquette is individually signed A. Shagin and the year of completion 1991. In the lower right hand side. each plaquette is numbered 1-500. My own initials are seen on the lower left, the letter M with a cross bar.

In my research on Schwarz, I was greatly helped by Mr. Fred Blau from Chicago, but who was born in Vienna. He is an expert on Holy Land Airmail Philatelic history and has written a book on the orient flight of the Graf Zeppelin in 1929 during which this famous great airship flew over Jerusalem. It was through him that I became familiar with a book about David Schwarz written by the late Dr. Zvi Rotem in Israel. His exhaustive research into the life of David Schwarz and his invention has been an inspiration and was responsible in part, for the creation of this medal.

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