German SIG #Germany Re: old German occupation "Schmuser" [4 answers- topic now closed] #germany

JewishGen German Research Division Coordinator

In a message dated 9/9/2007 writes:
"I have come across the occupation in the 1700-1800 of a "schmuser".
Does anyone know what that would be?"

1. ==Schmuser is >from the Hebrew word pronounced in German "Sh'mues"; in Israel
as "Shmu`ot"; literally something that's been heard, more specifically in
common usage, hearsay, rumors and ultimately idle chatter. This gives us the
Judaeo-German word "Schmusen" to chatter, and in modern German [kiss and]
cuddle--[hence American Eng. "smooch"] and "Schmus", twaddle, nonsense
[i.e. rumor not to be believed]

==As a profession, a Schmuser is an often itinerant go between, who picks up
local information and peddles it in neighboring villages for a commission
from buyer, seller or both. The information may be in real estate, produce,
employment, or matchmaking. The itinerant Schmuser might be a peddler on the
side, but he earns his name by passing on information of animals to be bread or
sold; farms, barns, homes to be sold or leased; young adults seeking a mate;
produce, industrial products and especially by-products for sale or wanted.
Among itinerants, the Schmuser held probably the highest social rank.
Essentially, he fulfilled the role of a walking advertisement page.

==Unlike other itinerant workers, the Schmuser did not carry goods with him
and did not "own" wares to sell--only information.

Michael Bernet, New York ================

2. This is the rare case of a Yiddish word to be used, at times, even in German
official records (of the 19th century, at least). "Shmues" is the news one
has heard. A Schmuser capitalized on such "Shmues", acting as a go-between
in all sorts of businesses, including the brokering of business partnerships,
marriages, etc.

Itinerant teachers, cattle dealers or pedlers usually made good Schmusers as
they often covered large distances. Being a Schmuser without any other primary
source of income, on the other hand, usually meant being quite poor.

Stefan Rohrbacher, Duesseldorf, Germany. <>

3. Dear Sandy,
My father told me about the schmuser who would come to his small town in
Southern Germany during the 1920's and 1930's - I do not know if it is the
same occupation as in 1700-1800 as you are inquiring about, but perhaps it
will help.

The schmuser was used by cattle dealers who would come to purchase cattle.
The schmuser worked for the dealers and would tell the sellers of the cattle,
that the dealer was offering a good deal, the seller should take the dealer's
offer, etc. The schmuser was on the buyer's side, not the seller's side.
He would shmooze with the seller and try to get them to sell to the dealer.

Shanah tovah to all! Janet Kirchheimer New York, NY <>

4. [Thank you!] I received many answers to what a "schmuser" could be.
Thank you all for your responses, [both on and off list.]
I was asked to let you know what I found out. I believe MBernet's answer
[N. 1 above] was the most complete one. <>

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