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Book Notes: Dutch Jewish History Vol. III, Joseph Michman (ed.)

Edgar Samuel

<plain_text><page sequence="1">Dutch Jewish History, Vol. Ill, Proceedings of the Fifth Symposium on the History of the Jews of the Netherlands, Jerusalem, November 25-28, 1991. Edited by Joseph Michman (Van Gorcum &amp; Co, Assen 1993) 410 pp. Fl 97:50; US $60:00. This book resembles Jewish Historical Studies in that it is one of a series, and it consists of twenty-three essays in English by different authors on a single theme, ranging from 1595 to 1942 and arranged in chronological order. However, unlike our Transactions it is a hardback. Inevitably there are a couple of weak contribu? tions, but the general quality is very high. Its interest to British readers is strong because of the close connections between the English and Dutch Jewish commu? nities over several centuries. It is of course impossible to review all the papers in the volume. I shall just mention a few which impressed me. It opens with five seventeenth-century studies based on fresh research. Arend H. Huussen Jr's 'The legal position of the Sephardi Jews in Holland circa 1600' includes two most interesting appendices: the text of the privil? eges granted to the Portuguese Jews by the City of Haarlem in 1605, and a comment? ary of 1617 ascribed to Isaac Franco Mendes on the legal position of the Jews in the Netherlands. Odette Vlessing's 'New light on the earliest history of the Amsterdam Portuguese Jews' is an important discussion of the evidence concerning the founding of the Amsterdam Jewish community, together with an attempt to deduce the volume and nature of the Jewish merchants' foreign trade from the imposta or consulage they paid to their community. Adri K. Offenberg's 'Spanish &amp; Portuguese books published in the North Netherlands before Menasseh ben Israel (1584-1627)' cuts new ground as an original study of the early history of the establishment of the Sephardi Jewish community in the Netherlands and of the books printed for it. Nissim Yoshua's monograph on the kabbalistic philosophy of Haham Abraham Cohen de Herrera fascinatingly shows how Renaissance Neoplatonic hermetic 270</page><page sequence="2">Book Notes philosophy was integrated into the mainstream of kabbalistic teaching. There are three papers on different aspects of art history. Dr Michman's paper is about 'Jewish soldiers in the Batavian Republic and under French Rule'. The volume closes with three papers concerning World War II. It ends with Johannes Houwink ten Cate's 'Heydrich's Security Police and the Amsterdam Jewish Council (February 1941-October 1942)', a chilling article of first-rate quality about the squabbles in the Nazi bureaucracy before the mass deportations of the Jews of the Netherlands. Like the earlier two volumes in the series, this is a most important publication. Edgar Samuel</page></plain_text>

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