A family tree hidden in a list of books (in French))
(with Isak Gath, who won't be there)
Towards the end of his life Bernhard Kahn (1793-1877) compiled a list of the books he had in his personal library. With a great pride he marked those books whose author had a family relationship with himself. Bernhard Kahn was born in Balbronn, Alsace, France. Drafted in the Napoleonic army, he stood out in his adherence to Jewish precepts. On the retreat of Napoleon, he did not go back to his native Alsace but settled down in Kastel, across the Rhine from Mainz, Germany. There he served as a cantor, teacher and slaughterer of the Jewish community until his death in 1877. His life is now well documented thanks to diaries he wrote from 1817 to 1871. They were transcribed, translated, commented on and published in 2003 by his descendant, Arline Sachs.
In 1874 he prepared the list of his Hebrew books. This manuscript was found after WWII in a bulk of Jewish items gathered by the Nazis and was sent to the Manuscript Department of the National and University Library in Jerusalem, Israel. There it was spotted by Moshe Catane (a.k.a Paul Klein), who decided to publish an article on this manuscript. He did so mostly by a sense of common fate due to the Alsatian origin of the author. However, Moshe Catane had no access to the afore mentioned diaries and did not pursue his research to the full identification of the owner of the books and his biography.
This study presents the up-to-date pedigree of Bernhard Kahn and sorts out his various family links to the author.
Isak Nethanel GATH
|Ella Fitzgerald A|