185
185
A Collection of Eighty-Nine Postcards Sent by Heinrich Cohn to His Family While Studying at the Famed Pressburg Yeshivah, Pressburg: 1908-1909
Estimate
5,0007,000
JUMP TO LOT
185
A Collection of Eighty-Nine Postcards Sent by Heinrich Cohn to His Family While Studying at the Famed Pressburg Yeshivah, Pressburg: 1908-1909
Estimate
5,0007,000
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Important Judaica

|
New York

A Collection of Eighty-Nine Postcards Sent by Heinrich Cohn to His Family While Studying at the Famed Pressburg Yeshivah, Pressburg: 1908-1909
89 postcards (5 1/2 x 3 1/2 in.; 140 x 90 mm) on paper; two (nos. 83-84) on cheaper, slightly smaller blue-hue paper; cards numbered in pencil in Arabic numerals in upper-right corner of recto; written in small cursive German script in blue or black ink with interspersed Hebrew phrases, often continuing onto front of card; parts of recto and/or verso taped over with writing on top of the tape on postcard nos. 61-67, 69, 72-73, 75-76, 78, 87, presumably because, as Heinrich writes, paper was scarce in Pressburg; some strikethroughs and corrections in pen or pencil. Many stamped “Heinrich Cohn. stud. phil./Pressburg Ungarn/Klarissergasse 10” in purple on recto; almost all stamped by post office in Pressburg (Hungarian: Pozsony), some also in Basel, one (no. 89) in Munich; on several, the day of the week and time of day when the postcard was written appear in the upper-right corner of verso. Intermittent smudging of ink and/or dampstaining; some minor creasing; small tears in one of the outer edges of nos. 13, 89; nos. 58-59, 87-89 seemingly numbered out of order. All cards housed in plastic sleeves divided by month of postmark.


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Catalogue Note

Heinrich A. (Chaim) Cohn (1889-1966), son of Basel rabbi and leader of Swiss Orthodox Jewry Dr. Arthur Cohn (1862-1926), was a prominent rabbi in Berlin from 1918 until 1939, when he and his family escaped to Britain, eventually settling in London. After having graduated from the Basel gymnasium in 1907, he began his university studies in philology and philosophy at Neuchatel, Basel, and Strasbourg but decided the following year to spend the winter zeman (semester) at the famed yeshivah ha-ramah (advanced rabbinical academy) of Pressburg (present-day Bratislava, Slovakia). Founded in the eighteenth century, the seminary would in due course become the leading yeshivah of Hungary, attracting students from across the region and beyond. At the time of Cohn’s stay, it was headed by Rabbi Akiva Sofer (1878-1959), great-grandson of the Hatam Sofer (1762-1839) who had also been dean of the school, and was undergoing a period of expansion and growth.

The present lot is a collection of eighty-nine postcards sent by Heinrich Cohn to members of his family in Basel (and Hamburg; see no. 7) throughout the period of his studies at the yeshivah from late October 1908 through mid-March 1909. Since at various points he wrote almost daily, these notes read somewhat like diary entries. Not only do they shed light on Cohn’s own biography and current events, they also contain valuable information about the yeshivah, its faculty, and students, as well as interesting reflections on the cultural differences between the wealthier and more acculturated Jews of Switzerland and their more insular, indigent Hungarian brethren, e.g., with respect to Zionism. For the recently-published account of another Western European young man studying at a different Eastern European yeshivah, see Ernest Gugenheim’s Letters from Mir: A Torah World in the Shadow of the Shoah.

Literature

Michael Brocke und Julius Carlebach (eds.), Biographisches Handbuch der Rabbiner: die Rabbiner im Deutschen Reich 1871-1945, vol. 1 (Munich: K.G. Saur, 2009), 141 (no. 2084).

Heinrich A. Cohn, “The Jewes Tragedy von William Hemings” (Ph.D. diss., University of Strasbourg, 1913), v.

Abraham Fuchs, Yeshivot hungaryah bi-gedullatan u-be-hurbanan, vol. 1 (Jerusalem: Abraham Fuchs, 1979), 54-63.

Aron Grünhut, “Jeschiwa Horomo – die öffentliche Rabbinatsschule von Pressburg,” Katastrophenzeit des slowakischen Judentums: Aufstieg und Niedergang der Juden von Pressburg (Tel Aviv: Aron Grünhut, 1972), 170-173.

Ernest Gugenheim, Letters from Mir: A Torah World in the Shadow of the Shoah, ed. Claude-Annie Gugenheim, Martine Bendavid, and Menachem Genack, trans. Ken Ritter and Charlotte Lucy Latham (New York: Orthodox Union Press, 2014).

Important Judaica

|
New York