Behr (Baer), Issachar Falkensohn

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BEHR (Baer), ISSACHAR FALKENSOHN (1746–1817), Polish poet who wrote in German. Born in Zamosc, Behr was raised in a traditional, Yiddish-speaking home. He was a failure as a petty tradesman and, leaving his wife and family in order to seek an education, wandered to Koenigsberg and reached Berlin in 1764. There he learned German, Latin, and French, and studied mathematics, philosophy, and medicine. Daniel *Itzig became his patron and introduced him to the Berlin intellectuals. He soon wrote excellent German verse and in 1772 published his Gedichte von einem polnischen Juden, a pioneer achievement for an East European Jew. Goethe reviewed this strange collection of lyrics in the Frankfurter Gelehrten-Anzeiger. In 1773, Behr completed his medical studies at the University of Halle and devoted himself to medical practice in Courland; thereafter, he wrote no more poetry.


M. Kayserling, Der Dichter Ephraim Kuh (1864), 43–47.

[Sol Liptzin]