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Fischer

FISCHER

FISCHER , Czech family. moses (1759–1833), son of Meir *Fischels, was active in the *Haskalah movement in Prague. Fischer signed with Raphael *Joel a petition (1790) to allow Jews to serve in the army, stating that fulfillment of military service was more important than the meticulous observance of religious commandments. He corresponded with Moses *Mendelssohn on his commentary on the Pentateuch, among other subjects, and was a member of the *Gesellsehaft der jungen Hebraeer. Later he became Orthodox and from 1816 served as rabbi in Vienna and as kashrut supervisor. In 1829 he settled in Eisenstadt.

Moses' son marcus (Meir, Maier; 1788–1858) moved from Vienna to Prague around 1810 and became a clerk in the Bohemian Jewish tax administration. Influenced by Baruch and Ignaz *Jeiteles, Marcus began to write in both Hebrew and German on historical themes. In 1812 he published two parts of a history of Rome in Hebrew, Korot Yemei Kedem (the published parts covering the period until the fifth century b.c.e.), which he stated could teach devotion to duty, heroism, and patriotism. In 1817 Fischer published in Hebrew a history of Moroccan Jewry between the seventh and the ninth centuries based on historical material written in several languages.

Marcus falsified a manuscript, the so-called Ramshak or Wallerstein chronicle. He put German "translations" from the Aramaic and Yiddish sections that it allegedly contained at the disposal of Moses Wolf *Jeiteles who incorporated them in Zikkaron le-Yom Aharon (1828). These quotations show that there were good relations between Jews and gentiles during the *Hussite period, and attest to the existence of customs which the Prague maskilim were then intending to introduce. Fischer's falsification was apparently influenced by the nascent Czech national ideologies, which led the Czech patriot priest Wenceslas Hanka around the same time to falsify old manuscripts in order to demonstrate the antiquity of Czech literature. Fischer also published the Historisches Taschenbuch fuer Israeliten und Israelitinnen (1811), as well as a collection of poems, and several articles in Sulamit. His writings reflect his sympathies for republicanism, his appreciation of *Joseph ii, and his opposition to the French Revolution.

bibliography:

I. Gastfreund, Die Wiener Rabbinen (1879), 110–12; B. Wachstein, Grabinschriften … Eisenstadt (1922), 217–20, Heb. part, 153 no. 713; S.H. Lieben, in: jggjČ, 1 (1929), 369–409; R. Kestenberg-Gladstein, Neuere Geschichte der Juden in den boehmischen Laendern, 1 (1969), index.

[Meir Lamed]

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