Appeal by Dr. Hirsch Marcus Cohn, published in: Allgemeine Zeitung des Judenthums (AZJ), Leipzig, April 30, 1849, vol. 18, pp. 236-237.

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In its edition of April 30, 1849, the Allgemeine Zeitung des Judenthums (AZJ) published a five and a half-page article from Hamburg written by physician Dr. Hirsch Marcus Coh(e)n Both spellings are possible. (1800-1874). The AZJ was the most widely read weekly newspaper among German Jews. Covering topics such as society, literature, religion, and politics, it mainly attracted readers from liberal, reform-minded, middle class circles. In the first part of the article, headlined “appeal,” Coh(e)n solicited readers’ support for a project that had been agreed upon two months earlier by a group of progressive Jews. The initiators belonged among the protagonists of the emancipation movement, and they knew each other from Jewish and political associations where they campaigned for equality for Jews and for a new, democratic constitution. Due to their professional achievements and social position, they displayed a middle class habitus. Yet Hamburg’s citizenship law Bürgerrecht: The right of self-government; the precondition for acquiring civil rights was inherited real property, the swearing of a citizen's oath, and the one-time payment of "Bürgergeld" [citizenship fee]; members of the nobility were excluded from this; until 1814 citizenship was granted exclusively to members of the Lutheran church [see: Helmut Stubbe-da Luz, Bürgerrecht, in: Franklin Kopitzsch / Daniel Tilger (eds.), Hamburg Lexikon, Hamburg 1998, pp. 92f., which was tied to the Lutheran faith, denied them crucial rights and opportunities. By this time, Jewish life had opened up to general society through several reforms. One of the most prominent champions of the Jews’ political emancipation both at the local and the national level was Dr. Gabriel Riesser. Since the 1820s he had repeatedly petitioned Hamburg’s senate on behalf of the Jewish community and campaigned for equality in several publications. At the same time Christian citizens increasingly demanded constitutional reform, which was to include legal equality for the Jews. However, the hesitant senate was ultimately unable to prevail against opposition in the city assembly and the citizens’ councils   bürgerliche Kollegien. Until February 1849 all initiatives proved unsuccessful, and the Regulation on Jews of 1710  Judenreglement and its special regulations remained in effect.
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Recommended Citation

Appeal by Dr. Hirsch Marcus Cohn, published in: Allgemeine Zeitung des Judenthums (AZJ), Leipzig, April 30, 1849, vol. 18, pp. 236-237. (translated by Insa Kummer), edited in: Key Documents of German-Jewish History, <> [July 19, 2024].