A Jewish family which derived its name from a place near Navarre, Spain. There were Francos at Amsterdam, Venice, Tunis, Constantinople, Adrianople, Silistria, Magnesia, Smyrna, Brusa, and in the islands of Crete and Rhodes. According to the family traditions, the Francos of Constantinople, who are Austrian subjects, are the descendants of two Jews of Prague, the brothers Abraham and Moses, who settled in Constantinople in 1780.Daniel Franco:
Rabbinical judge of Tunis about 1797 (Cazès, "Notes Bibliographiques").
Hebrew poet; born at Amsterdam Aug. 13, 1713; died there Oct. 10, 1792. A business man, he devoted his leisure hours to the study of the Talmud, in which he became very proficient. He knew several languages, and was especially well versed in Hebrew. For six months preceding his death he was honorary secretary of the Spanish-Portuguese community at Amsterdam.
David Franco Mendes was, next to Moses Ḥayyim Luzzatto and Naphtali H. Wessely, the most important Neo-Hebraic poet of his time. Delitzsch describes his poems as traditional in subject, national in spirit, and artistic in form. He followed Racine in his historical drama "Gemul 'Atalyah," Amsterdam, 1770; Vienna, 1800; Warsaw, 1860. Under the title "Teshu'at Yisrael bi-Yede Yehudit" (Rödelheim, 1840) he translated into Hebrew Pietro Metastasio's "Betulia Liberata." He was a frequent contributor to "Ha-Meassef," in which he published some poems and short biographies of eminent Spanish-Portuguese coreligionists. He left several manuscripts, written partly in Hebrew, partly in Portuguese and Spanish, most of which are in possession of the seminary of the Spanish-Portuguese community at Amsterdam. They include: "Bi'at ha-Mashiaḥ," on the advent of the Messiah; "Nir le-Dawid," responsa, several of which are printed in the collection "Peri 'Eẓ Ḥayyim"; a collection of Hebrew epitaphs; and "Kinnor Dawid," a large collection of poems by him and others. His "Memorias do Estabelecimento e Progresso dos Judeos Portuguezes e Espanhoes nesta Famosa Cidade de Amsterdam: Recapilados de Paneis Antigos Impressos e Escritos, no Ao. 5529 = 1769 "(MS. No. 220, pp. 4)," Memorias Succintas da Consternaçaõ de Nosso K. K. de Amsterdam nos Tribulaçoõs desde Cidade e Provincia, no Ao. 1787" (MS. No. 34, pp. 4), and "Collecaõ de Antiguidades" (manuscript) are of historical value.
- Ha-Maggid, xii. 77, 85, 109, 157, 269;
- Delitzsch, Zur Gesch. der Jüd. Poesie, pp. 111 et seq.;
- Grätz, Gesch. xi. 134 et seq.;
- De Castro, De Synagoge, p. xvii.;
- Kayserling, Bibi. Esp.-Port.-Jud. p. 47.
President of the Portuguese Jewish community of Amsterdam about 1684.Moses Franco:
Historian and schoolmaster in the employ of the Alliance Israélite Universelle; born at Constantinople 1864. He studied at the Ecole Normale Orientale Israélite, Paris, was principal of several Jewish schools in the East, and founded the Jewish schools at Safed, Palestine. In collaboration with Col. Rushdi Bey he has compiled three French readers that have been officially introduced into the Turkish schools of the Ottoman empire, namely: "Alphabet Français," 1889; "Premier Livre de Lecture," 1888; and "Cours Moyen de Lecture," 1889. He is the author of "Histoire des Israélites de l'Empire Ottoman," Paris, 1897; and "Les Sciences Mystiques chez les Juifs d'Orient," ib. 1900. In 1901-02 he published "La Communauté Israélite de Safed" (in "Revue des Ecoles de l'Alliance Israélite Universelle"). For sixteen years Franco has contributed to two Anglo-French periodicals of Constantinople,"Stamboul" (1886-97) and "Le Moniteur Oriental" (1897-1903). He is now director of the Alliance Israélite Universelle School at Shumla, Bulgaria.
Dutch mathematician; lived at Amsterdam in the seventeenth century; author of the astronomical work "Lunario Perpetuo Calculado," Amsterdam, 1657 (Kayserling, "Bibl. Esp.-Port.-Jud." p. 47).Raḥamim Franco:
Talmudist and chief rabbi of Hebron; born 1833; died 1896. In 1851, when Rhodes was devastated by a terrible earthquake, Franco went to Europe to collect subscriptions for the victims of the disaster. On his return he settled at Jerusalem, and toward the end of his life at Hebron, where he officiated for seven months as chief rabbi. He was the author of three works, two of which are still in manuscript. The third is a book of responsa entitled "Sha'are Raḥamim," Jerusalem, 1881.Samuel Franco:
Turkish cabalist, and chief rabbi of Salonica in 1492.Solomon Franco:
Printer at Constantinople, and founder of a press which existed there for nearly fifty years. Rashi's commentary on the Bible without the text was the only work printed during Solomon's lifetime (1639). Joseph of Trani's responsa, which appeared next year, were published by his son Abraham. In collaboration with his brother Jacob Gabbai, he printed the "Bet Aharon" of Aaron Souroujon, 1678, and other works. The last book printed by him was the "Zehab Sebah" of Solomon Algazi (1683). Abraham Franco was enabled, through the generosity of Nissim ben David, to cast a new set of fonts for the "Leb Sameaḥ" of 1652. Before that time, he states, none in Constantinople but his father Solomon had known how to cast type.
- Steinschneider, Cat. Bodl. Nos. 8100, 8101;
- idem, in Ersch and Gruber, Encyc. section ii., part 28, p. 63.