By: Gotthard Deutsch
A name frequent among German Jews. From the twelfth, or at any rate from the fifteenth century, the name Bacharach, in various spellings—as Bacharach, Bachrach, Bachrich, etc.—is found among the Ashkenazim in all parts of Europe. All individuals bearing the name hardly form one family, for the name merely indicatesthat the family either derived its origin from the city Bacharach in Rhenish Prussia, or that one of its ancestors was at one time a resident of that place (see on this point the Austrian law on the names of the Jews, dated July 23, 1787, in Anton Cramer, "Vollständige Gesetzessammlung für die Judenschaft in den Königlichen Staaten," pp. 248, 258, Prague, 1793).
The first mention of any Bacharach is that of Samuel Bacharach () in 1175 (Solomon Luria, Responsa, No. 29; Heilprin, "Seder ha-Dorot," ed. Maskileison, p. 211, Warsaw, 1878), but it is questionable whether the reading in this case is correct, as the words of Luria may mean, "Samuel in the city of ."
The second mention of a scholar of this name, Ephraim Gumprecht Bacharach of Frankfort-on-the-Main, quoted by Moses Minz in the fifteenth century (Responsa, No. 39), is less liable to doubt. In the beginning of the sixteenth century there is a Menahem Man Bacharach, rabbi in Worms (Responsa of Joseph ha-Kohen of Cracow, "Sheërit Joseph," No. 36; and Responsa of Moses Minz, Nos. 25, 37). In the Responsa of Moses Minz there is the further mention of David, Asher (Anschel), and Moses Bacharach. From the end of the sixteenth century the name Bacharach occurs more frequently in western Germany. In Frankfort there is a Mendel, son of Isaac Bacharach, who died there Aug. 23, 1599. His son Moses, a prominent member of the congregation, died there Sept. 11, 1620. Moses' son, Issachar Baer Gans Bacharach, a member of the rabbinate, died Aug. 24, 1678. Issachar's son, Naphtali Herz Gans Bacharach, endorses the Responsa of Jair Ḥayyim Bacharach, but does not mention that they are related, which goes to prove that, though bearing the same name, they were not of the same family. Naphtali died July 8, 1709.
The other Bacharachs may be divided into two families; of which the one is to be traced back to Tobias ben Joseph Solomon Bacharach, who died as a martyr in Rushony (Russia) Sept. 19, 1659; while the other is distinguished by the great Talmudist, Jair Ḥayyim Bacharach, of Worms. To the former family belong Judah and his grandson Jacob; to the latter, besides the three generations of rabbis at Worms, Samuel (died 1615), Samson (died 1670), and Jair Ḥayyim (died 1702); the latter's grandson, Michael, a famous Talmudist of Prague, who died there Jan. 16, 1801; Baer Bacharach, who died at Nikolsburg Sept. 12, 1806, and was a great-grandson of Jair Ḥayyim. A brother of Michael Bacharach was Meïr, a Hebrew poet, who died in Presburg Jan. 4, 1729. The descendants of the latter abbreviated their name to Bacher, and his great-grandson was the Hebrew poet, Simon Bacher, the father of Professor William Bacher of Budapest. The details in these genealogies can not, however, always be verified, inasmuch as the congregations did not keep official records of the births and deaths, and as family traditions are not very reliable, owing especially to the custom of naming children after their grandfathers, from which fact errors in identification easily occur. The following is an attempt to draw a family tree of the two best-known Bacharach families:
- Kaufmann, Jair Chajim Bacharach und Seine Ahnen, Treves, 1894;
- Kaufmann, in Monatsschrift, 1899, pp. 37-48;
- Hock, Die Familien Prag's, Presburg, 1892;
- Eisenstadt-Wiener, Da'at Ḳedoshim, St. Petersburg, 1897-98, where other sources are mentioned.