Aron Freimann

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Aron Freimann

Aron Freimann (born August 5, 1871 in Filehne , Posen Province ; died June 6, 1948 in New York ) was a German bibliographer , historian and librarian .


Aron Freimann grew up in Ostrowo and attended the Catholic grammar school there from 1881 to 1893. He received his religious instruction from his father, the community rabbi Israel Meir Freimann , after his death from the successor in office, Rabbi Elias Plessner, and from his cousin Jakob Freimann . 1893 enrolled him at the Royal Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin with the subjects History and Oriental Studies and attended the same time, the local Orthodox rabbinical seminary . Freimann received his doctorate in philosophy in Erlangen in 1896 .

Since 1898 Freimann, who received the titular professorship in 1919 , worked as a librarian at the Frankfurt City Library , today's university library. With the support of numerous donations from Jewish patrons , he expanded the library's Hebraica and Judaica collection into the largest on the European continent and one of the most important collections in the world. With the takeover of the Nazis Freimann in March 1933 after 35 years of service was immediately removed from his position and allowed the library no longer enter. He and his wife emigrated to the United States via England in April 1939 . In New York he worked in the New York Public Library and as a lecturer and was recognized as a bibliographer and scholar in the American academic community.

Aron Freimann was active in community politics. He acted as synagogue head of the Börneplatz synagogue and had been a representative of the conservative parliamentary group on the board of the Frankfurt am Main Israelite community since 1918, and has been deputy chairman of the board since 1928. In 1937 he was elected to the Presidential Committee of the Reich Representation of German Jews as a representative of community orthodoxy. From March 6, 1939 until his emigration , Freimann held the office of chairman of the Jewish community, which was forcibly united by the Nazis, and was thus the last chairman of the centuries-old Frankfurt Jewish community .

Freimann was married to Therese Horovitz , the daughter of the Frankfurt community rabbi Markus Horovitz . The couple had a daughter.


Aron Freimann comes from a family that has produced important rabbis for generations. His maternal grandfather was Rabbi Jakob Ettlinger in Altona , who is considered the founder of modern Orthodoxy in Germany. His father was Israel Meir Freimann , community rabbi in Filehne, then Ostrowo. In 1875, after the death of Zacharias Frankel , he was offered the post of rector of the Jewish Theological Seminary in Breslau , which he refused. Jakob Freimann , chief rabbi of the Posen Jewish community and from 1929 chief rabbi and chairman of the rabbinical court in Berlin , was the cousin and later brother-in-law of Aron Freimann. His son Alfred (Abraham Chaim) Freimann was a scientist and lawyer and was appointed lecturer for Jewish law at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1942.

Work areas

Freimann earned his living as a librarian of the Hebraica and Judaica collection of the university library and published the catalog of the Judaica collection of the university library, which is still considered to be the best and most extensive specialized Judaica catalog in a German library. He continued the bibliographical studies of Moritz Steinschneider , with whom he worked closely in the last years of his life. From 1905 to 1921 he published the Zeitschrift für Hebräische Bibliographie (ZHB), the periodical specialist bibliography of the science of Judaism , founded by Heinrich Brody , under sole responsibility.

Freimann published numerous bibliographies on important personalities in the science of Judaism , u. a. Abraham Berliner and Markus Brann , as well as on individual subject areas of Jewish studies. He cataloged the Hebrew manuscripts in the Vatican Library . Freimann compiled the first complete catalog of Hebrew manuscripts, a directory of the Hebrew incunabula of the Frankfurt University Library and the first type repertory of Hebrew incunabula as well as a directory of the first Hebrew prints and their local origin and spatial distribution . His list of publications includes over 400 bibliographical, historical and genealogical articles and books, as well as numerous book reviews.

In his function as the initiator and organizer of two major scientific projects, Freimann had a decisive influence on the development of German Jewish history after the First World War . On the one hand, he was responsible for the editing of the historical-topographical handbook Germania Judaica - an alphabetical index with the history of the Jewish communities in the localities of the German Reich - and on the other hand, from 1929 to 1939, he published the journal for the history of Jews in Germany out.

Freimann was committed to Jewish bibliophilia, was a member of the honorary committee of the Soncino Society of Friends of the Jewish Book and edited the Soncino Society's first publication . In 1909 Freimann was elected deputy chairman of the Mekize Nirdamim Association, which published Hebrew manuscripts in critical-scientific editions. From 1929 to 1942 he was chairman of the association, which was then taken over by Samuel Josef Agnon .

Freimann played a decisive role in the development of a network of internationally recognized researchers of Judaism and took a central position in it. He was in close contact with the librarians of the great Judaica collections around the world as well as with the important modern Hebrew writers Chaim Nachman Bialik and the later Nobel Prize winner Agnon. On Freimann's 60th birthday, his friends and colleagues wrote a commemorative publication that was edited by Alexander Marx and Herrmann Meyer and published in Berlin in 1935 with a delay .


The following list contains only a selection of the publications by Freimann in chronological order.

Hanna Emmrich has compiled a bibliography of his works up to 1935 : Hanna Emmrich: Aron Freimann Bibliography . In: Alexander Marx / Hermann Meyer: Festschrift for Aron Freimann on the 60th birthday, Berlin: Soncino-Gesellschaft 1935.

  • History of the Israelite community Ostrowo. Haym, Ostrowo 1896.
  • Exhibition of Hebrew printing works. 2nd, presumably edition Knauer, Frankfurt am Main 1902.
  • Family tables of the von Rothschild barons. Kumpf & Reis, Frankfurt am Main 1906.
  • Jews (after the destruction of Jerusalem). In: Annual reports of historical science. Volume 30,1, 1907, pp. 24-35.
  • Catalog of the library of the Israelite Religious School in Frankfurt am Main. Slobotzky, Frankfurt am Main 1909 ( online ).
  • Collection of small writings on Sabbatai Zebi and his followers. Itzkowski, Berlin 1912.
  • Contres Hamefaresch Haschalem. Bibliography of printed and unprinted commentaries on the Talmud by writers of the Middle Ages. (Hebrew). In: Festschrift for the seventieth birthday of David Hoffmann. Lamm, Berlin 1914, pp. 106-129.
  • With Markus Brann (Ed.): Germania Judaica. Volume 1.1. Frankfurt am Main 1917.
  • On the history of Jewish book illustration. In: Journal of Hebrew Bibliography. Volume 21, 1918, pp. 25-32 ( ).
  • (Ed.): Sēfer Maʿgal tôv haš-šālēm: hûʾ sippûr masʿôt hā-Rāv Ḥayyîm Yôsēf Dāwid Azzûlây / Ma'agal Tob Haschalem. Travel diary of R. Hayim David Azulai . Issue 1. Itzkowski, Berlin 1921.
  • Thesaurus typographiae hebraicae saeculi XV. Marx, Berlin 1924 ff.
  • From the family tree of the Ettlinger-Freimann-Horowitz families. Marx, Berlin 1925.
  • with Isidor Kracauer: Francfort. Philadelphia 1929.
  • Catalog of the Judaica and Hebraica. City Library Frankfurt am Main, Volume Judaica. Frankfurt am Main 1932.
  • (Ed.): Ma'agal Tob Haschalem. Travel diary of R. Hayim David Azulai. Issue 2. Jerusalem 1934.
  • Hebrew prints in Rome in the 16th century. In: Festschrift Dr. Jacob Freimann on his 70th birthday. Berlin 1937.
  • Manuscript Supercommentaries on Rashi's Commentary on the Pentateuch. In: Rashi Anniversary Volume. American Academy for Jewish Research, New York, pp. 43-114.
  • A Gazetteer of Hebrew Printing. New York 1946.
  • Union Catalog of Hebrew Manuscripts and Their Locations. 2 volumes. Volume 1 (1973) contains the index by Menachem Schmelzer, Volume 2 (1964) contains the photo print of the handwritten catalog by Aron Freimann.


Web links

Commons : Aron Freimann  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. This writing according to the scan of the program . The title page carries the writing journal for HEBREW BIBLIOGRAPHY . See ZDB ID 544109-2 .