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The Diaries of Bernhard Cahn: A Man of His Time
by Arline Sachs

From 1817 through 1871, Bernhard Cahn kept diaries recording daily life and thoughts of a German-Jewish citizen. He was a veteran of the Napoleonic War, and in his community of Kastel, Hesse, he served as teacher, schochet (ritual slaughterer), and religious leader for more than fifty years.

In addition to everyday life, Cahn describes activities such as the arrival of the steam engine and steamboats that would soon ply the Main River, the visits of dignitaries, traveling to visit family members, and secular and religious festivals. Cahn described interactions with the mayor and other officials, Christian officials who attended major Jewish community functions. He wrote much about America and the Civil War, about President Lincoln's assassination, as well as his views on Presidents Jefferson and Grant. Anti-Semitic events in Europe, the building of the Suez Canal, and migration of Germans to America are all described.

The diaries were written in Judeo-German; a form of writing using Hebrew letters to express German words and sounds. His great-great granddaughter, Arline Sachs, meticulously translated all 4,000 pages and presents excerpts from these diaries to give a picture of the life of a German-Jewish citizen in the 19th century.

6" x 9" 225 pp. hardcover $29.00

The Diaries of Bernhard Cahn: A Man of His Time


List of Figures	ix

Introduction - Uncovering the Past xi

Chapter I: 1700s
The Documents Passed on to Me 1

Chapter II: 1813 -1814
A Soldier in Napoleon's Army 13

Chapter III: 1814-1817
The Audition A New Life 27

Chapter IV: 1828
Mazel Tov 31

Chapter V: 1830-1856
A Time of Changes 44

Chapter VI: 1853 -1858
Religious Matters The Medal of St. Helene 58

Chapter VII: 1859 -1862
Signs of Aging The Dull Knife 66

Chapter VIII: 1859 -1860
Remembering the Past - Home and Community - Religious Matters 72

Chapter IX: 1861-1862
Family Matters - Bertha's Wedding 84

Chapter X: 1862
The Collapsed House 94

Chapter XI: 1862-1863
Life Goes On 105

Chapter XII: 1864
Jubilee 113

Chapter XIII: 1848 -1871
Americana 124

Chapter XIV: 1865 - 1870
Pfeifer's Nephew - The Visitor - Health Care 132

Chapter XV: 1866
The Religious Weapon - A Near Disaster 137

Chapter XVI: 1867
The Prisoner 144

Chapter XVII: 1868 - 1869
Retirement - New Beginnings 148

Chapter XVIII: 1867 - 1869
World Interests 155

Chapter XIX: 1870
Knas Mahl 160

Chapter XX: 1870 - 1871
Wars and Religion - A Light in the Heavens 164

Chapter XXI -Timeless Subjects 171

Chapter XXII - Afterward 173

Chapter XXIII: 1863 - 2002
Bernhard Cahn's Descendants 180

Acknowledgments 185

Appendix 1 - Glossary 188

Appendix 2 - Index 191

Bibliography 201

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