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February 14: Frederick Douglass’ Lover

Abolitionist champion Frederick Douglass was born a slave in Maryland in February, 1818 and chose this date as his birthday. He had a twenty-eight year love affair with Ottilie Assing, a writer and journalist who was the daughter of a prominent German Jewish doctor and a Lutheran mother. Assing emigrated to the U.S. in 1852 […]

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December 10: Sherman’s March

Frederick Knefler, a teen veteran and refugee from the failed Revolution of 1848-49 against Hungary’s Hapsburg Dynasty, arrived at the outskirts of Savannah, Georgia on this date in 1864 with the Union troops he led under the command of General William Tecumseh Sherman. Knefler was among hundreds of Hungarian Jewish immigrants, recently arrived, who fought […]

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July 14: Wilhelm Rapp, Abolitionist

Wilhelm Rapp, an emigré from the 1848 revolution in the German states who became an active abolitionist in the U.S., was born in southern Germany on this date in 1827. Rapp edited German-language newspapers in Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and Baltimore, where his anti-slavery views made him a target of mob violence in that Confederate-sympathizing city; during […]

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March 12: Husband of the Grey Lady

Adolph S. Ochs, the publisher who built the New York Times into an international newspaper of record and renown, was born in Cincinnati on this date in 1858. Ochs was the eldest of the six children of parents who “belonged to the group of German liberals and intellectuals who had been driven from home by […]

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February 24: The French Abraham Lincoln

Adolphe Cremieux (Isaac Moïse), a French lawyer, statesman, and human rights activist, was named French minister of justice on this date in the revolutionary year of 1848. Although only briefly in office, Cremieux secured decrees that instituted freedom of the press, freedom of association, and freedom of worship, abolished arrest for debt, ended punishment by […]

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May 6: The First American Children’s Clinic

Dr. Abraham Jacobi, who established the first children’s health clinic in the United States and pioneered the field of pediatrics, was born in Westphalia on this date in 1830. Jacobi was jailed for three years for his participation in the 1848 revolutionary movement in Germany before coming to the U.S. in 1853. His career here […]

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August Bondi and the Abolitionist Movement

by Yankl Stillman FIFTY YEARS AGO, when Jewish Currents was called Jewish Life, the Jewish Young Folksingers, in association with the magazine, commissioned poet Aaron Kramer to write “The Ballad of August Bondi.” This was their contribution to the celebration of the 300th anniversary of Jewish life in the United States. The current year marks […]

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