Jewish History in Hamburg (part 2)

A number of illustrious people and families lived in Hamburg over the centuries and are buried in the Jewish cemetery.

When I visited, Inga, a young German student who works as a guide at the cemetery, mentioned one in particular. Thus the famous Glückel of Hameln (1646-1724) was born, grew up and lived in Hamburg until 1700 when she remarried and moved to France. She is called of Hameln (and not of Hamburg) as it is where her husband came from. Although Glückel herself is buried in Metz, a number of her relatives’ tombs can still be seen today.


Mordechai’s tombstone in the middle

Mordechai, her maternal uncle, who died of the plague is interred there and his tomb is easily identifiable as it faces the other way so that people could see what he died of.


Mata, Glückel’s grandmother

Glückel’s grandmother’s tomb – this lady was called Mata – stands near Mordechai while her own daughter’s tomb is just in its front.


Little Mata’s tombstone, with Glückel’s grandmother’s behind on the left

Here is what Glückel wrote in her memoirs about her daughter’s death:

My daughter Mattie, peace unto her, was in her third year, and a more beautiful and clever child was nowhere to be seen. Not only did we love her, but everyone who saw her and heard her speak was delighted with her. But the dear Lord loved her more. When she entered her third year, her hands and feet suddenly swelled. Although we had many doctors and much medecine, it suited Him to take her to Himself after four weeks of great suffering, and left as our portion heartache and suffering. My husband and I mourned indescribably and I feared greatly that I had sinned against the Almighty by mourning too much, not heeding the story of Reb Jochanan, as will follow. I forgot that there were greater punishments, as I was to find out later. We were both so grieved that we were ill for some time.


Glückel’s husband tombstone

Her husband – Chaym – died in 1689, and Glückel, who had already been involved in his business, took over and managed it by herself.

More about Glückel and her family here.

9 thoughts on “Jewish History in Hamburg (part 2)

  1. Thank you for sharing this!

    I’m wondering how it is that the tombstones are still intact – even after the Holocaust?

    BTW, I believe that Gluckel and her husband lived with her in-laws in Hameln for a while when they were first married. However, by the time their oldest was born, the young couple had moved back to Hamburg to be near her parents.

    • I also wondered why the tombstones were in such good condition but I didn’t find an explanation.
      From what I understood the spell in Hameln was quite short. Maybe I should edit the post to mention it.

  2. Very moving to see the the graves of Gluckel’s relatives, especially her daughter. Thanks for linking to my site where you and your readers can find reviews of Jewish memoirs, both current and classic, that really help give our lives a historical and cultural context. I’m curious to know which ones people have read and recommend for my (incomplete) list or others. Gluckel’s memoir is fascinating. I’m currently rereading Mary Antin’s The Promised Land, written in 1912, which I will post sometime soon. Monday I posted a review of Etty Hillesum’s diaries and Letters from Westerbork. She was a powerful writer. And given that she was a victim of the Holocaust, very tragic.
    Toby Bird

    Compelling Stories: Jewish Lives Lived

  3. Pingback: Jew Wishes Re: Skyscape, Books, Elsewhere, Shabbat « Jew Wishes

  4. Pingback: Yearly Review: Selected Posts of 2010 | Ilana-Davita

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s