German SIG #Germany Re: DEUTSCH and the adoption of local names as family names #germany


In a message dated 9/4/2002 herman.da.fonseca-wollheim@... writes:

"While transcribing the 1813 Judenmatrikel for Ichenhausen, . . . . we
stumbled over Joseph b. Simon adopting the name of Joseph ICHENHAUSER. For
both of us it is the first occurrence of a Jew adopting as his family name
one deriving directly >from the place where he lives.
. . . Have similar facts occurred in other places and with the name of that place ? If so, please give us the facts.

==It was not uncommon for someone who had obtained prominence in a certain
town, to be known by that town's name. This was especially common in
Rabbinic families where the family name was not the town of birth or
ancestry but of the town where the rabbi had risen to prominence.

==As a parallel, Rabbi Seligman Baer (Yitzhak Dov Halevi) Bamberger, a
leader of German Orthodoxy, born in Wiesenbronn in 1807, is known as the
Wurzburger Rav because he (and later his son Nathan) served there for many
decades. (Curiously, the Bamberger family history cannot explain the
Bamberger name--Wiesenbronn is a long distance >from Bamberg and no
connections to Bamberg are known, (I have my own theories) and Rabbi
Seligman Baer's father's surname was apparently Wiesenbronn.)

" . . Moses Jacob >from Frankfurt would become, in Hamburg, Moses Jacob
Frankfurter. But when he moved on to Breslau, he would be called Moses
Jacob Hamburger."

==funny you should mention Frankfurt and Hamburg in one breath. The
Wurzburger's even more eminent contemporary, Rabbi Samson Rafael HIRSCH of
Franfkfurt was born in Hamburg, the son Rabbi Raphael HIRSCH--who was the
son of Rabbi Mendel FRANKFURTER but had later adopted as family name
HIRSCH. It would be curious if a member of this FRANKFURTER family of
Hamburg ever reached Breslau . . . and why Rabbi SSR didn't take the name

". . . . I don't think that the name DEUTSCH was ever adopted outside the
German speaking countries. They would have used the translated name

==They might have been called DEUTSCH anywhere else that German was
spoken--especially by any Yiddish-speaking Jew anywhere. And the Jewish
family name GERMAN is actually a Russified variant on Hermann which is
usually derived >from Hayim via Hyman. Kaganoff says that Ashkenazi Jews
(Ashkenaz is the traditional Biblical name attributed to Germany) who
settled the Turkish empire were commonly referred to there as Ashkenazi,
and when they returned to Europe they translated the name back to DEUTSCH.

".. . I suggest that a Jew taking the name DEUTSCH wanted to indicate
that he was assimilated and had to be considered as a German
citizen .. . . I am just back >from Wroclaw (Breslau) where in the Jewish
cemetery one can see tombstones of that period for volunteers, killed in
action. It would be quite normal in this patriotic and optimistic time to
adopt the family name DEUTSCH"

==Yes, but surnames werre adopted during the first quarter of the 19th
century--a century before WW 1. And when surnames werer adopted, Germany
was still far >from coalescing into a nation; people identified themselves
by the town or village, duchy or principlaity. Deutsch at that time meant
little more than a language--and that, too, differed wildly according to
location and social class.

==Traditionally, it is believed, the Jewish Name Deutsch is a actually a
variant on Da-i"tz (as Katz is for Ka'tz), the initials for Dayan Tzedek,
a member of the local rabbinical court. That's not exactly an
assimilationist tendency. Alternative spellings included Daitch, Teitz;
many New Yorkers will probably remember the Jewish-owned chain of
neighborhood groceries/delis by the name of Daitch-Shopwell

==Incidentally, not every geographic name indicates current or former
residence: the families known as London were originally named Lamdan
(teacher) and some London-Lamdans were elevated to "Englander" by the
locals. Berliner was Berl's son, Paris was named after a Polish village,
Moscowitch was the son of Moses . . . And I have reason to believe that
in some families, the name of two quite different towns were born
concurrently--like Oppenheim and Uffenheim--because they were spelled
identically in Hebrew.

==When so inclined, I take the name of three famed Jewish musicians: call
me Meyerbeer Halevy Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Meyer is my Hebrew name, Ber is
my patronymic, Halevi is tribal affiliation, I used to live in Newcastle
(Castelnuovo) on Tyne where I was known as "the Yekke" (Tedesco). Which
just goes to prove there's little accounting for a name.

And so, Shanah Tovah to all of us, whatever we're called

Michael Bernet, New York <mBernet@...>

Join to automatically receive all group messages.