One of my surnames is Peterfreund (Nowy Sacz, Austria/Poland). We have always
assumed that this should be interpretted as "Friend of Peter (the Great)." I
am attempting to see if this makes sense and what it could mean for my research.
Peter the Great was not particularly wonderful to the Jews. There were three
Jewish men he was close to (Lacosta, Shafirov and Devier) - I believe that all
three outwardly converted (meaning they may have been secretly still Jewish).
I'm pretty sure they were all sephardic (I am genetically not),
In 1708, Peter the Great led his troops through Mstislavl (Mogilev, Blearus) to
fight the Swedes. His men began a pogrom and Jews were killed and injured.
Peter the Great went to the synagogue and stopped the pogrom. He then hung
the leaders of the pogrom.
Does anyone else have any other theories regarding how a devout Jew would have
this surname? The top of my Peterfreund tree is Alexander Peterfreund - who was
the private Shochet (butcher) for the Seer of Lublin (before he was in Lublin.)
He was a member of the Kahal in Nowy Sacz by 1809.
Thanks in advance for any insights!