Deutz, Simon

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DEUTZ, SIMON (1802–1852), French politician and son of Emmanuel Deutz (1763–1842). Emmanuel Deutz was rabbi of his native city of Coblenz then under French occupation. In 1806 and 1807 he was a member of the *Assembly of Jewish Notables and of the Napoleonic *Sanhedrin, and sat in the Central *Consistory formed in 1808. From 1822 until his death Deutz was Grand Rabbin of France.

Simon Deutz converted to Catholicism at the age of 23, but in his later years returned to the Jewish faith. Upon his conversion he adopted the name of Hyacinthe de Gonzague and worked for the amelioration of the condition of the persecuted Jews of Rome. Deutz was asked by Pope Leo xii to prepare a memorandum on the Jews of Rome, and he was secretary of a special commission appointed by Pius viii to prepare a charter for them. However, the chairman, Cardinal Cappellari, known for his anti-Jewish views, consistently ignored Deutz's memoranda. In 1832 Deutz met the Duchess de Berry, then actively engaged in a legitimist conspiracy against Louis Philippe of France, and went to Spain and Portugal on her behalf to obtain arms and men. She also entrusted him with the delicate mission of securing a promise of Russian military assistance. In the end, however, Deutz, fearing civil war in France, denounced the duchess. Her arrest in 1832 was the signal for a public outcry against Deutz, the "Jewish traitor, " few believing that he was activated by motives of loyalty to France. Adolphe *Crémieux asked Deutz's father to protest against his son's "shameful" act, on behalf of the Jewish community. The chief rabbi refused, but in 1835 Deutz published a memorandum Arrestation de Madame describing his conversion and his patriotic motives in his denunciation of the duchess. By this time Crémieux and others had become convinced of Deutz's sincerity.


Szajkowski, in: jjs, 16 (1965), 53–67; C. Roth, ibid., 17 (1966), 83f.; P. Klein, in: Revue de la pensée juive, 2:7 (1950/51), 87–103.