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FLESCH , family widely distributed throughout Central Europe. It originated in Frankfurt where a house named "Zur Flasche" ("The Flask") was built by Jacob of Prague in 1530. His son, akiva ben jacob frankfurter (d. 1597), was a liturgical poet, and rabbi and preacher of the Frankfurt community. Another son, abraham von schlesingen, with his sons, continued to live in the "Zur Flasche" house. Later descendants were merchants, ḥazzanim, and teachers in Frankfurt; they were also named Birnbaum and Flesch-Birnbaum.

A grandson of Akiva, the scholar abraham flesch (c. 1560–1640), was the first to bear the name in Austria, settling in Vienna in 1620. His descendants were scattered after the 1670 expulsion from Vienna.

mordecai (gumpel) flesch settled in Neu Raussnitz (Rousinov), Moravia, after 1670. One of his descendants, philip (solomon) flesch (1780–1852), founded a tannery in Brno (Bruenn). The descendants of Philip's 16 children were active in commerce and the professions; some settled in Brno. One of them, adolph (1813–1879), continued the leather business and made it highly successful. Mordecai's great-grandson, abraham (1755–1828), was rabbi in Raussnitz, Moravia, and studied under Ezekiel *Landau. Abraham's son, joseph (1781–1841), a merchant in Neu Raussnitz, was a pupil of Baruch Jeiteles, and among those who spread Haskalah into Moravia. He translated several of Philo's works into Hebrew and published exegetical and philological notes to Scripture (in Bikkurei ha-Ittim, 7, 9, and 11). He also provided the edition of the Bible published by M. *Landau with a list of Jewish exegetes and philologists, including modern scholars. Another member of the family was heinrich flesch (1875–1942), historian of Moravian Jewry. A native of Mattersdorf (now Mattersburg, in Burgenland, Austria), he was rabbi of Dolni Kounice, Moravia, from 1894 until his death. After World War i he was in charge also of the communities of Ivancice and Moravsky Krumlov. He published many articles on Moravian Jewry both in the local Jewish press and in learned journals, also editing the takkanot and records of several communities. He was a coeditor of Hugo *Gold's books on the communities of Moravia (1929), of Bratislava (1932), and Bohemia (1934). His archives are preserved in the Jewish State Museum in Prague. He also wrote a family history Die Familie Flesch (1914). His son joseph had a Jewish bookstore and publishing house in Prague (the only one opened after 1918). Joseph perished in Auschwitz.


L. Loew, Gesammelte Schriften, 2 (1890), 219–52.