GELDERN, SIMON VON:
Traveler and author; born 1720; died 1774. He was the great-uncle of Heine, who describes him in his "Memoirs" as an adventurer and Utopian dreamer. The appellation "Oriental" was given him because of his long journeys in Oriental countries. He spent many years in the maritime cities in the north of Africa and in the Moroccan states, there learning the trade of armorer, which he carried on with success.
Von Geldern made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and during an ecstasy of prayer, while upon Mount Moriah, he had a vision. Subsequently he was chosen by an independent tribe of Bedouins on one of the oases of the North-African desert as their leader or sheik, and thus became the captain of a band of marauders. He next visited the European courts, and subsequently took refuge in England to escape the consequences of the discovery of his too gallant relations with a lady of high birth. He pretended to have a secret knowledge of the Cabala, and issued a pamphlet in French verse entitled "Moïse sur Mont Horeb," probably having reference to the above-mentioned vision.
- Memoirs of Heinrich Heine, ed. Evans, pp. 167-172;
- Kaufmann, Aus Heinrich Heine's Ahnensaal, 1896.