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BURMANIA, BARTHOLD DOWE:

Dutch statesman and ambassador to the court of Vienna; lived in the eighteenth century. He was a man of broad humanitarian sympathies and an especially stanch friend of the Jews. When, on Dec. 18, 1744, Maria Theresa ordered the expulsion of the Jews from Prague (to take place before the end of Jan., 1745) and from all Bohemia (before the end of June, 1745) Burmania, at the request of the Jewish communities of Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and The Hague, exerted all his influence at the court to have the edict revoked. He was assisted by the English minister, Sir Thomas Robinson. The result of his efforts was the postponement of the date of exile to the last day of Feb., 1745. Again the Jewish communities of Holland appealed to Burmania, and again he pleaded, urged, and remonstrated with the Austrian Reichskanzler, that "sovereigns, more than other persons, are responsible to God and man for their deeds." Another month of grace was granted, but on March 31, 1745, the Jews of Prague were exiled. Thereupon, Burmania, upheld by the ambassadors of England, Poland, and Turkey, directed his energies toward averting a still greater impending catastrophe—the expulsion of the Jews from the whole of Bohemia, which was to take place in June.

A royal edict was issued April 8, 1745, ordering all Jews of Moravia also to emigrate within a short time. Again Burmania pleaded for the unfortunate people, and the edicts were modified (May 15, 1745), the Jews being allowed to remain in Bohemia and Moravia "until further orders." Burmania endeavored to have the edict repealed which was issued June 25, 1746, prohibiting all Jews from coming within two hours' distance of Prague; but he was not successful. For two years the condition of the Bohemian Jews was miserable. Finally, however(July 14, 1748), Maria Theresa revoked the edict of Dec. 18, 1744, "on account of the pressure from the foreign ambassadors," and the Jews were allowed to return to Prague.

Bibliography:
  • Kaufmann, in Grätz Jubelschrift, pp. 279-313;
  • Krengel, Die Englische Intervention zu Gunsten der Böhmischen Juden, in Monatsschrift, xliv. 177 et seq. For an account of the expulsion of the Jews from Prague, Wolf, Die Vertreibung der Juden aus Böhmen, in Jahrbuch für Gesch. der Juden, iv. 145-261.
G. A. R.
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