Lévy, Samuel

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LÉVY, SAMUEL (b. 1678), rabbi and financier. After studying in Metz and in Poland, in 1702 Lévy was appointed rabbi of Upper Alsace (later the Haut-Rhin department) by Louis xiv and served there until 1709. Subsequently he engaged in financial transactions, purchasing abroad corn and species on behalf of Duke Leopold of Lorraine. In 1715 Lévy was appointed tax-collector for Lorraine, where he effected cuts in public expenditure and introduced new taxes which antagonized the nobility. In 1716 he was removed from office at the instigation of his opponents and faced total bankruptcy. His creditors, whose claims amounted to three million livres, had him arrested, together with his wife. He was imprisoned for several years; following his release in 1722, he was expelled from Lorraine and moved to Paris, where he died in abject poverty.


H. Baumont, Etudes sur le règne de Léopold (1894), 400f., 493–4; M. Aron, in: rej, 34 (1897), 107–16; M. Ginsburger, ibid., 65 (1913), 274–300; 66 (1913), 263–84; 67 (1914), 82–117, 262–87; 68 (1915), 84–109; C. Pfister, Histoire de Nancy, 3 (1909), 316–7.

[Encyclopaedia Judaica (Germany)]