The Business of Emancipation

The German-Jewish struggle for legal equality and economic prosperity

Itzig

Early modern era

Daniel Itzig (1723-1799) was a successful mint master, banker, investor in iron mines, leader of the Jewish community of Berlin (1764-1799), and a “court Jew” (Hofjude) serving Prussian king Frederick II the Great and his successor, Frederick William II. Itzig made his fortune during the Seven Years War (1756-1763) by minting and, on Frederick the Great’s orders, debasing Prussian coinage. Frederick the Great naturalized Itzig and his family for his services to the crown, granting them residency and other privileges, but not citizenship. Itzig was also an important philanthropist, providing funds for Jewish education and founding a school (Chevrat Chinuch Ne'arim) with his son-in-law, David Friedländer, a leader of the maskilim (Jewish Enlighteners), that provided poor Jewish children with a foundation in Jewish and secular studies.  

Daniel Itzig, 1787. Public domain.

David Friedländer, 1833. In: Katalog zur Ausstellung deutscher Kunst aus der Zeit von 1775–1875 in der Königlichen Nationalgalerie Berlin.“ F. Bruckmann AG: München, 1906.

Public domain.

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