Hirschel, Levie

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HIRSCHEL, LEVIE (Louis ; 1894–1944), Dutch bibliographer and librarian. Born in Amsterdam, Hirschel graduated from the rabbinical seminary and the University of Amsterdam, later serving as a teacher at the seminary and at a grammar school in Alkmaar. In 1923 he was appointed assistant librarian of the Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana, succeeding J.M. Hillesum as chief librarian in 1930. He remained in this post until his dismissal by the German authorities during the occupation of Holland. He was also minister and later assistant rabbi of the synagogue Be'er Mayim Ḥayyim in east Amsterdam until his deportation, first to Westerbork concentration camp and then transported to Poland, where his death was registered on March 31, 1944.

Hirschel's field of specialization was the history of Dutch Jewry and Dutch Jewish writers of Hebraica and Judaica. He was secretary of the Society of Jewish Knowledge in the Netherlands and wrote an historiographical study of the Jews of the Low Countries. His system of a uniform transcription from Hebrew into Dutch was applied in many scientific studies, and he also compiled the bibliographical biographies of L. *Wagenaar (1925) and the historian A.M. Vaz Dias (1940), and edited a selection of the former's works (1932). Hirschel contributed many articles to Jewish and non-Jewish magazines, proving in Amstelodamum (1934) that Hebrew had been printed in Holland before 1627, the year in which Manasseh Ben Israel started his printing office. During World War ii he wrote for Het Joodse Weekblad, the only Jewish periodical permitted by the Germans. His last contribution was in November 1942. He prepared a systematic catalogue of the Rosenthaliana collection (five parts until 1940) and looked after some smaller libraries (Beth Hamidrash), private collections, and archives. Some fragments of his thesis about Dutch Christian Hebraists, which was written partly at the Westerbork concentration camp, were posthumously published in Studia Rosenthaliana (1967).


A. Druyff, Bij den honderdsten geboortedag van J.H. Duenner (1933), 50; J. Meyer, in: Maandblad voor de geschiedenis der Joden in Nederland (1947). add. bibliography: A.K. Offenberg, in: Studia Rosenthaliana, 20 (1986), 210–16; idem, in: Studia Rosenthaliana, 20 (1986), p. 230–41 (94 nrs.); H. de la Fontaine Verwey, in: Studia Rosenthaliana, 38 (2005).

[Jacob H. Copenhagen]