History of the Jews

Move
Zoom

Text from Document

MEMOIR.
5
create an historical work, at once monumental and
popular; embracing thousands of years, the most
widely separated regions, and the most diversified
fields of human activity; retracing with all the
resources of learning and ingenuity the magic,
faded, illegible characters of the evolution of Juda-
ism, and illuminating them with colors of fairy-like
brilliance;—an historical work, which, by reason of
the warmth of its narrative style, has come to be a
book of edification, in the best sense of the word,
unto the author’s brethren-in-faith.
Heinrich Hirsch Graetz was born October 31
(Cheshwan 21), 1817, in Xions (pronounced Kshons),
a wretched little village of 775 inhabitants in the
eastern part of the Province of Posen. In a family
of two brothers and one sister he was the first-
born. His father, Jacob Graetz, was a man of tall
stature, who, dying in 1876, reached an age of over
ninety years. His mother, Vogel, of the family of
Hirsch of Wollstein, was of average height and
robust physique, with lustrous gray eyes. She died
in 1848 only fifty odd years old. To her the son
showed most resemblance, both spiritually and
physically. A little butcher-shop yielded them an
honest but paltry livelihood. In the hope of improv-
ing their material condition, the family removed to
Zerkow, a few miles off, some years after Heinrich’s
birth. At the time the village contained not more
than 800 inhabitants, among them a single person
able to read, a real estate owner, to whom all let-
ters were carried to be deciphered on the open
street in solemn public assembly.1 But the Jewish
congregation consisted of one hundred members,
and a remarkable increase in the population of the
little town seemed to give fair promise of a pros-
perous future. It is worthy of mention, besides,
that the scenery of Zerkow, wreathed round with
1 Wuttke, Stadtebuch des Landes Posen, p. 434.

About This Document

Uploaded:
Total pages:
678
Description:
This document has no additional description.