views updated


KISCH , family of British government officials descended from the *Kisch family of Prague. hermann michael kisch (1850–1942) entered the Indian civil service in 1873 and rose to become a deputy secretary to the government of India, postmaster-general of Bengal, and director-general of the Indian post office and represented India at four international postal congresses. He returned to England in 1904 and was active in Jewish affairs. His letters, A Young Victorian in India, were edited by his daughter Ethel A. Waley Cohen and published in 1957. Both of Kisch's sons followed their father into government service. Frederick Hermann *Kisch was a British delegate to the Versailles peace conference. His elder brother, sir cecil kisch (1884–1961), joined the Indian civil service in 1909 and in 1917 went to India with Edwin *Montagu, the secretary of state for India, as his private secretary. In 1921 he became secretary of the Indian finance department and promoted numerous monetary reforms including the establishment of the Reserve Bank of India. Kisch represented India at the monetary conference at Geneva in 1933 and later served on the supervisory finance committee of the League of Nations. From 1933 to 1942 he was assistant under-secretary of state for India and from 1942 to 1943 deputy under-secretary. A man of wide-ranging interests, Kisch translated Russian poetry into English, published a standard work (with W.W.A. Elkin) on central banking, Central Banksa Study of the Constitution of Banks of Issue (1928, 19324), and wrote The Portuguese Bank Note Case (1932), the story of a famous fraud of the 1920s. He was knighted in 1932. Another member of the family, daniel montagu kisch (1840–1898), English traveler, voyaged to Australia and from there went to Mauritius and South Africa, where he settled. He became manager of a Natal sugar estate and later joined an expedition to Matabeleland where he was chief adviser to King Lobengula. From 1874 Kisch lived in Pretoria and was auditor-general of the Transvaal during the British annexation from 1877 to 1881. He campaigned for civic equality for the Jews in Transvaal.

[Joachim O. Ronall]