Torah  |  Features  |  New  |  Search  |  E-mail Us


The Breuer Family Background

By Dr. N. Rosenstein, author of "The Unbroken Chain"

This article originally appeared in The Jewish Press Friday, May 2,1980, p.28D, and is reprinted here with their permission and the permission of the author.

Yiddish memoirs of seventeenth century Germany have survived in a unique form. Glueckel of Hameln (1645-1724) was born into a prominent Hamburg patrician family. Her sister Hendele was married to the Court Jew Mordecai Gumpel of Cleves, Purveyor of Brandenburg (died 1664). Her cousin was Schone, daughter of Ulik (Ulrika) and Elias Cohn, son of Hamburg's first Chief Rabbi, David bar Menachem HaKohen. They were the ancestors of HaRav Breuer. When Glueckel's parents married her off at the age of fourteen to Chaim Hameln, they united another ancestral kinship of HaRav Breuer. This was through Chaim's sister Jente (Jette) who was married firstly to Salman son of Sussman Gans of Hannover (died in 1654). On his death she remarried the Hannoverian Court Jew Leffman Behrens (1634-1714) who in turn established business and marital ties with the famous Viennese Oppenheimer and Wertheimer families. On the death of her husband, to overcome her loss and to preserve for her family their history, Gluekel of Hameln began to write her "Memoirs of Glueckel of Hamein", first translated into English in 1932. Her nephew Sussman Gans was the father of Salman Gans who married into the Warbur' family of Hannover whose descendants include members of the New York Banking House of Kuhn, Loeb and Warburg.

The next few generations saw a number of cousin marriages into the Herz family of Hildesheim, through which the torch of Orthodox German Jewry was kept alight. From this line was descended the mother of the leading and foremost exponent of Orthodoxy in nineteenth Germany, Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch.

Born in Hamburg like his ancestors before him, he was the son of Raphael Hirsch (1777-1857) and grandson of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Frankfurter (1742-1823), a member of the Spira family of Frankfurt-on-Main which settled in Hamburg. Mendel was also descended from the same Elias Cohn mentioned above. He was a student of Rabbi Jonathan Eybeschutz, Chief Rabbi of the triple community of Altona-Hamburg-Wandsbeck, where he later became the Head of the Altona Beth Din and established the Hamburg Talmud Torah. His grandmother was also a member of the Warburg family. Rabbi S.R. Hirsch studied under Hamburg's Rabbi Jacob Ettlinger and Rabbi Isaac Bernays. In 1830 he became Landrabbiner of Oldenburg, in 1841 Rabbi of Hannover communities, in 1846 Landesrabbiner of Moravia, and finally in 1851 leader of the Frankfurt-on-Main orthodox congregation of Adass Jeshurun until his death in 1888.

The youngest daughter of Rabbi S.R. Hirsch, Sophie (Zipporah) was named for her father's paternal grandmother who died in 1821. She married Rabbi Salomon Breuer (1850-1926) who succeeded his father-in-law on the latter's death. As a leader of German Orthodoxy he founded the Association of Orthodox Rabbis in Germany and was a cofounder of the Agudat Israel movement. On his death, HaRav Joseph Breuer became head of the Frankfurt Yeshiva and on emigrating to the U.S.A. in 1939 he headed the Washington Heights, N.Y. K'Hal Adath Jeshurun until his recent death at .the age of ninety-eight years. The community's Yeshiva Rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, established in 1944, was modeled after the Orthodox Jewish community of Frankfurt. The Kehillah also has its own kashrut supervision and Rav Breuer himself wrote extensively in support of Orthodoxy and on various biblical commentaries.

Family Ties

Rabbi Salomon Breuer had six prominent sons. Raphael (1881-1932) was district rabbi of Ashaffenberg; Rabbi Dr. Joseph married Rika, daughter of Jacob Eisenman and his wife, Dina, daughter of Eliezer Lipmann Prins (1835-1915) a merchant and scholar of Arnheim and Amsterdam. Prins was one of the financial contributors towards the research and publication of the Romm family edition of the famed Vilna Talmud. His own annotations to Tractate Hullin appear in this edition. By his second marriage Prins became related to Rabbi Marcus Lehmann of Haggadah fame, whose daughter Emma married his son, Maurits Prins (from his first marriage). Lehman was a son-in-law of Samuel Bondi (1794-1877). His father, Jonas Bondi ,of Mainz was descended from the Frankel-Teomim, Oppenheimer and Katzenellenbogen families. His mother was descended from the Scheuer and Brandeis families and the Maharal of Prague.

Maurits Prins was the father-in-law of David Sassoon, father of Rabbi Solomon Sassoon of Jerusalem and of Professor Adolf Frankel whose sister Else was married to the mathematician Professor Samson Breuer, brother of HaRav Breuer. The fourth son, Dr. Joshua, M.D. married Rosalie (Lilly), daughter of Eli Prins (son of' Lipman) and his second cousin wife, Bertha, daughter of Bertram (son of Samuel) Bondi. The fifth son, Rabbi Isaac Breuer (1883-1946), theoretician and one of the founders of the Agudat Israel, married Jenny, sister of Rika (who married HaRav Joseph Breuer).

Further numerous relationships exist between other members of the Bondi, Hirsch, Plato and other prominent German Jewish families. Of the children of Rabbi S.R. Hirsch, his oldest son, Dr. Mendel Hirsch, married Doris Ballln of the prominent Ballin family of Hamburg. Another son, Julius Hirsch married the sister-in-law of Rabbi Solomon Carlebach, head of this prominent Orthodox family of the daughters of Rabbi Hirsch, Sarah married Rabbi Joseph Guggenheimer of Kolin; Julie married Rabbi Dr. Hirsch Plato of Cologne (whose son married a Bondi), and Theresa married Benjamin Ros (whose granddaughter married a Bondi).

The tradition of the family ties carries on and it is no wonder that among current generations, family marries family. Thus a son of HaRav Breuer married a relative, and a daughter married a Bondi!!

Click here for family tree

Click here for biography of Rabbi Joseph Breuer tz"l

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Tzemach Dovid)

  Torah  |  Features  |  New  |  Search  |  E-mail Us