Posted by: rlustig1952 | December 8, 2011

Die schwartze Katz ist lustig

One of the fun things about a blog is that you can have a random thought pop into your head during the day, spend some time later on the Internet where you have access to the entire sum of human knowledge (or so it seems), and by the time you go to bed you’ve posted an entry that reads like you’re an expert on the topic. (Or so it seems.)

As we are going soon to Germany, I was thinking about the German origin of so many Jewish surnames. I have one myself – Lustig. While my background is Austrian, both the Austrian empire and the many German states in the late 18th and early 19th centuries followed a similar policy of requiring Jews to adopt surnames in an effort to assimilate them into civil society. As I understand it, if you had money or influence you could obtain a more “attractive” name, but if you didn’t, you took what you were given.  That would suggest that my forbears were either poor or unbearably cheerful.

I found this to be a particularly interesting article about German-Jewish surnames.

Update from yesterday’s post. We received an updated program of our tour, and we will in fact be attending Friday evening services at the Pestalozzistraße Synagogue, so we will hopefully have the opportunity to experience Lewandowski’s music in its intended context.


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