Alexander Zuntz (May 15, 1742 - Oct. 15, 1819) was a Hessian Jew who was a noted figure in the early American Jewish community and was one of the founders of the New York Bank in 1784 and the New York Stock Exchange.
Early life[edit | edit source]
He was born May 15, 1742 in Westphalia, Germany.
Zuntz came to America in 1779 during the Revolutionary War with the British army. He was a civilian commissary, army supplier, and adjutant of the Hessian mercenary forces, that were employed by England's King George III, who was a German himself, to fight the revolutionaries.
Jewish community[edit | edit source]
Zuntz played an important role in saving the Congregation Shearith Israel, which was founded 1654 and the first Jewish congregation in America, by persuading the military leaders to not use the sanctuary as a hospital. During the time the Britain’s controlled New York, which was most of the time of the Revolutionary War, Alexander Zuntz replaced Gershon Mendes Seixas as hazzan in the Shearith Israel Congregation, because like many Hessian and British Jews, Zuntz, in contrast to Seixas preferred to stay in America and not go back to Europe.
Alexander Zuntz remained involved in the Jewish community and after he became treasurer, he took over the presidency of the Shearith Israel Congregation from Lyon Jonas.
Career[edit | edit source]
Zuntz worked as a merchant and was one of the founders of the New York Bank in 1784 and the New York Stock Exchange. In 1785 he had to post his insolvency, because of the economic crisis in the United States, that was caused by the British by flooding New York with manufacturers, but in 1797 he finally became successful as a broker and money lender.
Death[edit | edit source]
He died Oct. 15, 1819 in New York.
References[edit | edit source]
Hirschfeld, Fritz. “George Washington and the Jews.” University of Delaware Press, 2005.
Phillips, N. Taylor “The Congregation Shearith Israel. An Historcal Review.” Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society, no. 6, 1897, pp. 123-140. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/43058644.
Phillips, Rosalie S. “American Jewish Historical Quarterly, Band 18.” American Jewish Historical Society, 1909.
Sarna, Jonathan D. “The Impact of the American Revolution on American Jews.” Modern Judaism, vol. 1, no. 2, 1981, pp. 149-160. JSTOR. www.jstor.org/stable/1396058.
Kohler, Max J. “The German-Jewish Migration to America.” Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society, no. 9, 1901, pp. 87-105. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/43058848.
“Alexander Zuntz”. Find A Grave, findagrave.com. 9 Jul. 2017.
Rock, Howard B. "Haven of Liberty: New York Jews in the New World, 1654-1865, Volume 1." NYU Press, 08.01.2015.
Reiss, Oscar. “The Jews in Colonial America.” McFarland, 02.01.2004.
"Zuntz, Alexander". Encyclopaedia Judaica, Encyclopedia.com. 9 Jul. 2017.
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