Sunday, April 19, 2009

Jew, Do Your Duty

Jud, mach mores! Jew, do your duty!

If a Jew heard these words he was obliged-even if uttered by a mere boy- to doff his hat and step to one side.

This was only one of many restrictions placed on the Jews of Frankfurt. The population of the ghetto was restricted to 500 families. Only 12 marriages were allowed a year and the age of marriage was 25. No more than 2 Jews from the outside were allowed to settle in the ghetto each year.

Jews were not permitted to live outside the ghetto. They had to wear an identifying insignia, were confined ever night, on Sundays, and Christian holidays.
They were not permitted to walk in town more than two abreast. They were barred from entering parks, inns, coffee houses, promenades, or near the town's ancient cathedral.

They could only go to the market during set hours and were forbidden from touching vegetables and fruits.

The fight for Jewish rights is central to the story in The Rothschilds.
Even after they become bankers to royalty they are still forced to live behind the ghetto gates.

Amshel expresses this frustration when he says:

This whole experience has taught us what we can do and what we can't. We thought we were Moses leading our people out of slavery. We're not. We're only merchant bankers. We have no miracles at our disposal.

They put their entire fortune at risk to force Metternich to follow through on his promise to eliminate the Jewish restrictions.

Nathan: Metternich's group has its monies invested in a new peace bond, counting on the rise in price. What if, just as they release their new bond...we dump our old bonds on the market, driving the price down....

Solomon: Nathan, if you're're advocating suicide.

Nathan: No we can force Metternich and company to give us everything we've been promised.


Joseph said...

Lest you think I was not actually on the blog, I am!!

Sarah Sonnenberg said...

Me too, Jane! You haven't posted in awhile so I didn't want you to actually think that people didn't check it! -Sarah