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BURG, MENO:

German military officer; was born in Berlin Oct. 9, 1789; died there Aug. 26, 1853. His father was in very poor circumstances, but his cousin, S. Sachs, had secured an official position as government building inspector, and received the boy as apprentice. In 1807 Burg was advanced to the position of field-surveyor.

At the outbreak of the Napoleonic wars, Burg wished to join the army; but his application at Breslau to serve in the Guards was refused on account of his being a Jew. His acquaintance with Prince August, however, secured for him admission to the artillery; but his desire to go to the front was not fulfilled, and he had to be content with service in the fortresses. At the end of the war he was appointed instructor at the provisional military school at Danzig; and when the school at Berlin was established, in 1817, he was transferred thither. Burg's principal subject of instruction was geometry, on which science he wrote a text-book that attained great popularity, being frequently republished and translated into many modern languages. He was promoted to a first lieutenancy, and in due course became eligible for a captaincy; but the appointment was withheld by the king, who expressed the wish that Burg should first adopt Christianity. Burg, who was supported by Prince August, demurred, and defended his course with such courage and vigor that the king finally conceded the point and sanctioned the promotion.

Burg was honored with the Medal for Merit, the Gold Medal for Art and Science, and the Order of the Red Eagle. In 1847 he became a major. During the years 1847-49 Burg was engaged in writing his autobiography, which was published in 1854 in Berlin under the title "Geschichte Meines Dienstlebens."

For a year Burg was one of the elders of the Jewish congregation in Berlin, and was active on various committees.

Bibliography:
  • L. Geiger, Gesch. der Juden in Berlin, p. 197.
S. M. Co.
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