Breaking News

Robert Morgenthau Donates Great-Grandfather’s Diary to Jewish Archive

Category: Art & Culture,Arts & Design

In 1842, a prosperous clothing salesman named Lazarus Morgenthau recorded memories of his impoverished, nomadic childhood in the territories that later became modern-day Germany. Mr. Morgenthau, then 27, used a small brown notebook to record begging for food, barely attending school and apprenticing with cruel bosses. He wanted his relatives to understand their humble origins, he wrote, so that “neither pride nor arrogance may gain a foothold in my family.”

On Wednesday, his great-grandson Robert M. Morgenthau, 99, the district attorney in Manhattan from 1975 to 2009, donated the document to the Leo Baeck Institute at the Center for Jewish History in New York after recently unearthing it in his files.

In 1866, Lazarus Morgenthau packed the memoir into his luggage when his family moved to New York. In 1933, one of his granddaughters, Louise Heidelberg, published a translated and edited version of the notebook’s contents along with a biographical sketch of her forebear. In America, she wrote, he prospered in various businesses and supported charities while gradually growing estranged from his wife, Babette, and other family members, because of “his eccentricities and his violent temper.”

Robert Morgenthau said he remembers hearing relatives’ stories about his ancestor, who “had great trouble adapting to life in the United States.”

Renate Evers, the Baeck Institute’s director of collections, said that Lazarus Morgenthau, despite being “constantly hungry and miserable” as a young man, had managed to develop “beautiful handwriting” that will assist researchers studying his life and milieu.


Source link

No comments