Captured Shadows

The German Goldschmidt's of the 17th and 18th Century

Nick, Dagmar

Dagmar Nick, a multiple literary prize-winner in her native Germany, has turned her considerable talents to researching her fascinating Jewish ancestry. She brings to life her family history through the letters, diaries and documents that they left behind, and shows how despite being excluded from society, forced to earn their livelihoods in 'unchristian' trades, and victimised over the centuries they rose through hard work and commitment to family to become not only wealthy, but also indispensible to the nobility as suppliers of luxury wares and as financiers and as advisors. They made it possible for the King of Saxony to gain a crown in Poland, and George I of England benefitted from their financial support. Nick uses the Goldschmidt archives in Denmark and Glueckel von Hameln's diary (also a relative) to describe their lives on a personal level. She explains the difficulties they faced in business, especially against a background of ostracism, and harsh taxation. They were cheated and suffered for being Jews, but still after each setback they recovered. The final chapters are much more personal. They show how under more liberal Prussian rule they were allowed to become doctors, lawyers, scientists, and even famous philanthropists such as Lina Morgenstern and Sigismund Asch. Then the descent into the terror of the twentieth century. Despite their prominence in the arts even her own parents were threatened. Nick describes not only the history of her own complicated family history, but also shows us that many families have similar shadows that can be captured. *** The reader is shown a sense of family and loyalty to their beliefs, despite a repressive environment against which only significant fortune offered protection. --Hans-Juergen Schings

224 pages

Due: 9/12/2018