Hardenberg, Karl August von°

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HARDENBERG, KARL AUGUST VON ° (1750–1822), Prussian chancellor from 1810, instrumental in enacting the edict concerning the civil status of the Jews (March 3, 1812). While administrating the principality of *Bayreuth-Ansbach for the Prussian king (1790/92–97), he had already dealt with the problem of Jewish rights and was in social contact with David *Friedlander and other members of the Berlin community. Considering that Jewish emancipation was a vital part of the general Prussian reforms, he stated that he was not prepared to approve any law which was based on more than four words: equal rights, equal duties. He did not, therefore, approve of the restrictions still contained in the edict. At the Congress of Vienna (1815) he once more advocated Jewish rights. While there, he was a frequent guest in Fanny von *Arnstein's house. He tried unsuccessfully to have Eduard *Gans appointed to Berlin University while Gans was still Jewish. D.F. *Koreff was his personal physician, adviser, and protégé. After 1815 Hardenberg continuously opposed the Prussian king and his reactionary ministers, who repudiated their promises of justice and equality for the Jews made during the Napoleonic wars, but since he remained in a minority in the cabinet his support was ineffectual. His diaries were published in 2000.


S.W. Baron, Die Juden-Frage auf dem Wiener Kongress (1920), index; H. Fischer, Judentum, Staat und Heer in Preussen (1968), index; F. Morgenstern, in: jsos, 15 (1953), 253–75. add. bibliography: Th. Stamm-Kuhlmann, in: Vierteljahreshefte fuer Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte, 83 (1996), 334–46; H.-W. Hahn, in: Th. Stamm-Kuhlmann (ed.), Bestandsaufnahme der Hardenbergforschung (2001), 141–62; I. Hermann, Hardenberg (2003).

[Meir Lamed]