Liefmann Calmer

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Liefmann Calmer, Baron of Picquigny and Viscount of Amiens (1711, in Aurich, Hanover – December 17, 1784, in Paris) was an important personage in French Jewry of the eighteenth century. His full synagogal name was Moses Eliezer Lipmann ben Kalonymus — in German, "Kallmann," whence the family name "Calmer" is said to have been derived. From "Lipmann" undoubtedly came "Liefmann." Calmer first moved to The Hague, and later left Holland for France, where he made a fortune in commerce and became official purveyor to King Louis XV. In 1769 he obtained French letters of naturalization. He exerted considerable influence in public affairs and became administrator of the "German" Jews in Paris.

On April 27, 1774, Pierre Briet, lord of Benapré, as front man for Calmer, bought from the creditors of the duke of Chaulnes the barony of Picquigny and viscountcy of Amiens in the Somme for 1,500,000 francs. A little later it was declared that the purchase was made in the name of Liefmann Calmer, full citizen of The Hague and naturalized Frenchman. He thus became baron of Picquigny and viscount of Amiens, and the first French Jewish nobleman. The titles included feudal privileges, among which was the appointment of priests. This led to the fierce opposition of the Catholic Church to the sale.

Calmer had three sons, two of whom were guillotined during the Reign of Terror in the French Revolution. The third died without issue in 1824.

References[edit]

  • (French) Isidore Loeb, "Un Baron Juif Français au XVIIIe Siècle", in Annuaire des Archives Israélites, 1885-1886, p. 136
  • (French) Léon Kahn, Histoire de la Communauté Israélite de Paris, 1886, Appendix, p. 189.
  • (French) Léon Kahn, Les juifs de Paris pendant la Revolution. VII, 369. Paris: Ollendorff, 1898, 267ff. (reprinted New York: B. Franklin, 1968)

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