Itzig, Daniel

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ITZIG, DANIEL (also called Daniel Jaffe or Daniel Berlin ; 1723–1799), German banker, entrepreneur, and leader of the Berlin Jewish community. The son of a horse merchant, Itzig married into the wealthy Wulff family and began his career as purveyor of silver to the royal mint. This activity reached its peak during the Seven Years' War (1756–63) when *Frederick ii gave Itzig and V.H. *Ephraim contracts for financing the war through the issuance of successive series of debased coinage. In 1761 Itzig received the rights of a Christian merchant. After the war he invested his money in manufacturing leather and iron goods, built himself a palace, and established a bank. Itzig was appointed chief representative of Prussian Jewry by Frederick ii and in 1787 was head of the commission which prepared suggestions for the improvement of the status of Prussian Jewry. From Frederick William ii, whose confidential financier he was, he received, on May 2, 1791, the coveted Naturalisationspatent, bestowing full citizenship on him and his entire family. He was the first Prussian Jew to be so honored. In 1797 he was appointed court banker and inspector of road construction. In 1798 *Frederick Williamiii refused the Berlin Jewish community's 1795 request, in which Itzig was first signator, for improved conditions.

In 1761 Itzig envisaged a school for poor children where secular and religious subjects were to be taught. Such a school was set up in 1778 by his son Isaac Daniel. At the request of Moses *Mendelssohn and David *Friedlaender, Itzig's son-in-law, he prevented R. Hirschel *Levin from declaring a ban on N.H. *Wessely's Divrei Shalom ve-Emet (1782–85). As conversions to Christianity increased, Itzig stipulated in his

will that any of his descendants who were converted would be disinherited.

Of his five sons, isaac daniel (1750–1806) was the most talented. With David Friedländer he founded the *Juedische Freischule of Berlin, which he also directed. In 1796 he declared himself bankrupt after the French government defaulted on a payment for 10,000 horses. His son, moritz jonathan (1787–1813), caused a sensation by publicly thrashing the romantic poet Von Arnim, who had declined Moritz's challenge to a duel for deriding the admittance of Jews to upper classes of society, considering that a Jew was hardly a worthy opponent. Moritz died, a volunteer, at the battle of Lützen. elias daniel (1756–1818), son of Daniel, changed his name to Hitzig, "Itzig" being the pejorative nickname applied to Jews. His son, julius eduard (1780–1849), was a friend of the romantic authors A. von Chamisso, Z. Werner, and E.T.A. Hoffman, as well as the Berlin police director. The Bible scholar Ferdinand *Hitzig (1807–1875) was a descendant of this family. Of Daniel Itzig's ten daughters, one married David *Friedlaender, another Bernhard von *Eskeles, and a third daughter, Fanny von *Arnstein, presided over the most brilliant salon at the Congress of *Vienna. Virtually none of Daniel Itzig's descendants remained Jews.


H. Rachel & P. Wallich, Berliner Grosskaufleute und Kapitalisten, 2 (1938), index; H. Schnee, Die Hoffinanz und der moderne Staat, 1 (1953), 121ff., 169–76; 5 (1965), no. 14, 15, 21, 22; S. Liptzin, Germany's Stepchildren (1944), 17–20. add. bibliography: K. Cauer, Oberhofbankier und Hofbaurat (1973); O. Stieglitz, Die Ephraim (2001), 239–56.