Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Jewish Knowledge (9)

Topic: Jewish Tid-Bits Brooklyn #3

Among the Jewish residents of Brooklyn in the 1850s and 1860s were three refugees from the 1848 revolutions in Europe who helped make American history: Dr. Joseph Goldmark, Sigismund Kaufmann and Michael Heilprin.

Physician, chemist and leader in the March 1848 revolution in Vienna, Goldmark fled to America in 1850. He resided in Brooklyn from 1858 until some years after the civil war, manufacturing percussion caps and cartridges in a Brooklyn factory for the Union Army. In 1863, draft rioters set fire to the factory. One of those detailed to protect the premises from further attack was Solomon Furth, first president of Congregation Beth Israel and a member of a National guard cavalry regiment. Goldmark's daugher, Alice, became the wife of Louis D. Brandeis.

Kaufmann, who had participated in the German revolution of 1848 and settled in Brooklyn about 1849, was a founder of the Republican Party in Brooklyn, as was Goldmark. Employed in a pocketbook factory by day, he taught French and German at night and also studied law. When General John Fremont became the Republican Party's first presidential nominee in 1856, Kaufmann campaigned for him. He was one of the draft board judges in 1863 when New York and Brooklyn were bedeviled by draft riots. Three years prior to that he had been named a Lincoln presidential elector. When Lincoln became President, he offered Kaufmann an appointment as minister to Italy, but Kaufmann declined.

In 1869, Kaufmann was an unsuccessful candidate for the state senate from Brooklyn, and the following year he was defeated as the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor. A key figure in the German-American Turn Verein, Kaufmann presided over the meeting that resulted in the establishment of the Brooklyn Hebrew Orphan Asylum in 1878.

Heilprin, a political refugee from Hungary, was a well known Jewish scholar. Morris Hess was one of Brooklyn's most ardent supporters of Lincoln. Frederick Loeser and Abraham Abrahams, founders of well-known mercantile establishments, were in Brooklyn by 1865. (28)

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