No 153 - March 2023


Claude-Alexis Gras
An old Headstone from The Westhoffen Cemetery : Itele, Daughter of Rabbi Isaac Brilin
A headstone from the early 1700’s bearing the carvings of a bucket and a pair of spectacles raises questions not only about the identity of the deceased but also about the meaning of these iconographic features in Jewish funeral art. The investigation reveals the relationship that a little-known Weil family from Westhoffen (Bas-Rhin) entertains with a few families of Court Jews and Rabbis from Palatinate and Vienna : The Brilin, Oppenheimer and Wertheimer families.

Pierre-André Meyer
Sergeant Leon Cain, Fencing teacher (1842-1918). A genealogical investigation in Paris
The story of how a poor Jewish pastry cook from Paris became a renowned fencing teacher, to the point of giving his name to one of the main fencing halls of the capital during the Belle Époque. A passage through the Army at the time of conscription and through the little known and not very glorious category of “replacements”.

Michèle Klein and Alain Chenu
A photo album of a French-Polish family around 1890. Parents and friends of Caroline Szulc and Jacques Bertillon

Caroline Schultze (Karolina Szulc), born in Warsaw in 1867 to a Jewish family of musicians, came to Paris to study medicine. In 1888, she defended her thesis on women doctors in the 19th century before a large audience. She married another trained physician, Jacques Bertillon, a republican demographer who was to become one of Alfred Dreyfus’s supporters, but whose brother, Alphonse Bertillon, a forensic identification specialist at the Paris Police Headquarters, was to work hard to “prove” the guilt of the innocent captain. The Schultze-Bertillon photo album, created after the couple’s marriage in 1889, serves here as a catalyst in the search for other primary sources for the construction of the family tree of Caroline’s Jewish family.

Joëlle Allouche-Benayoun and Jean-Paul Durand
Jewish names and surnames in the 18th and 19th centuries in Constantine (Algeria)

The authors present here some results from their study on the matrimonial registers established by some rabbis of Constantine between 1795 and 1929.

Raquel Toledano
Peregrinations of a Sefer Torah

Set against the backdrop of a Sefer Torah and its wanderings, this story brings together a Jew of Moroccan descent who lived in the 18th century, an American Jewish soldier based in the Azores, a bar owner and a Portuguese prelate who can read Hebrew without vowels. The action takes place on the island of Terceira in the Azores and partly in a fishing village with an evocative name, Porto Judeu, the Port of the Jews.

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