Sessa, Karl Borromaeus Alexander°

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SESSA, KARL BORROMAEUS ALEXANDER ° (1786–1813), Breslau physician and antisemitic author. His first dramatic effort, Unser Verkehr, a crude farce ridiculing post-emancipation Jewry, achieved instant and widespread success.

The play was first presented in 1813 and published in 1815 (Breslau). It portrays a shabby young Jewish peddler who entertains ambitions of developing his artistic talents and thus make his way into society. Through an error he finds brief acceptance by a ludicrous nouveau riche Jewish banking family. The play was widely performed in rural southern Germany (it was banned in Austria, Saxony, and Berlin) and inspired numerous imitations. Both the original work and its imitators expressed the resentment and opposition of the population to the emancipation and to the new breed of Jewish "upstarts," which was also the excuse for the *Hep! Hep! disturbances in 1819.


L. Geiger, in: azdj, 67 (1903), 78–81; V. Eichstaedt, Bibliographie zur Geschichte der Judenfrage (1938), 57–9; E. Sterling, in: hj, 12 (1950), 115; K. Goedeke, Grundriss zur Geschichte der deutschen Dichtung, 11 pt. 1 (1951), 435–8; E. Frenzel, Judengestalten auf der deutschen Buehne (1940), index.