Jews of the Black Holocaust:
[A Note on Terminolgy]
Joseph Ottolenghe emigrated from London in 1752 for the purpose of teaching
Black people a false version of Christianity while himself, holding slaves and plantations.
Jacob Ottolengui was a Charleston Jew who claimed to hold about 1000
Black African men, women and children who worked his rice plantation near the Savannah River. An 1857 advertisement in the
Charleston Courier offered for sale the below listed:
November, aged about 65, a carpenter
aged 30, a market woman
Jane, aged 25, a cook and house servant
Joseph, aged 30, a drayman (horse carriage driver)
aged 26, a drayman
Sandy, aged 26, a drayman
The above negros can be seen at my office, 22 Broad street, and treated
for at private sale, previous to the day of sale...
Esther Pachecho of St. Michael, Barbados, owned and bequeathed "one
negro woman named Quasheba & her increase" to her daughter to her & her heirs "forever."
Rebecca Pachecho owned four slaves in 1680 in Barbados.
Rodrigo Pacheco; In May of 1732, he instructed his partner to load their
vessel (probably the Albany or the Leghorn) in New York with "choice flour, bread, pork, pease, tarr, staves and what more
else is proper"; to proceed then to Jamaica to sell the cargo and take "Sugar, Rum, Limejuice, Negros and Cash to the value
of about £800"; then on to South Carolina to exchange for rice to then sail to Lisbon. Ann Evits bequeathed a "negro girl"
to him in her will.
Joseph de Palacios of New Orleans, Louisiana, bought a plantation called
Lis Loy near Mobile, Alabama in around 1765 in partnership with two other Jews, Samuel Israel and Alexander Solomons using
three of their Black captives as collateral.
David Pardo of New York purchased five Africans at a public auction
in Curaçao in June of 1701.
Sara Lopez [also Sarra Lopes] Pardo of New Orleans, owned an African
whom she named "Martine."
Moses Petaete was noted as the owner of a "negro."
Moses H. Penso left 403 slaves including 53 house slaves to his Jewish
Thomas Nunez de Peralta owned a slave named "Sebastion Domingo," alias
Manuel Bautista Perez was arrested in Lima in 1639 by the authorities
of the Spanish Inquisition. Historian Frederick Bowser wrote that Perez
may well have been the wealthiest merchant
in Peru at the time of his arrest and who certainly dominated the colony's slave trade....At the time of his arrest Perez
had accumulated a fortune of close to half a million pesos and had begun diverting his assets from trade to more gentlemanly
pursuits, including silver mines in Huarochiri and plantations around Lima.
Isaac Pesoa (1762-1809) of Philadelphia is considered by Jews to be
a humanitarian. Although he arranged to have his captives liberated, he reserved the right to keep them as indentured servants.
Alexander Phillips (d. 1839) of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, held captive
four Blacks in 1820 and ten in 1830, according to the United States census. At the time of his death he held 3 Africans valued
Jonas Phillips (1736-1803) was born in Germany and moved to Philadelphia
where he was an advocate of religious equality at the Constitutional Convention while enslaving an African woman named "Phillis."
He was a fur trader, auctioneer and Mason and was the first president of the reorganized Congregation Mikveh Israel in Philadelphia.
Isaac Pinheiro (d. 1710); A prominent New York merchant and plantation
owner in Charleston, he enslaved at least 14 Black humans including some who he named "Bastiano," "Andover," "Sharlow," "Tom,"
"Mingo," "Piero," "Ventura," "Toby," "Peter," "Manuel," "Will," "Jack," "Cattoc," "Lewisa," "Doggu," "Fanshow," "Black Sarah,"
and "Maria." On February 13, 1707, his wife Elizabeth [Esther] purchased from Lord Cornbury for £40, "a Negro woman called
Bastiana." Pinheiro stipulated in his will that no one should disturb his heirs "from the quiet peaceable possession and enjoyment
of the said Negroes."
To my son Moses £100 when 18 years of age
and a negro boy....I leave to my sons Jacob and Moses a certain Plantation...also a cafemill now standing on the Plantation...with
14 negroes...and by a deed of gift some years past, I gave to my son Jacob and my son Abraham, 7 negroes, 3 of whom are dead
and lost by the late French invasion, and the other 4 are now in my possession....I leave to my wife Elizabeth [Esther] the
use of all the above named Plantation and negroes and mill until my son Moses is of age.
Jorge Homen Pinto was a Brazilian planter and one of the settlement's
wealthiest Jews. He owned nine sugar mills in 1650 with at least 370 Black African slaves.
Myer Pollack of eighteenth century Newport, Rhode Island was, according
to Jewish historian Max J. Kohler, "heavily interested in the West India trade in molasses, which was brought from there to
Newport, manufactured into rum in the latter place, and exported to Africa, the vessels commonly returning to the West Indies
Solomon Polok was a member of a prestigious Philadelphia family, and
worked as an overseer on a Mobile, Alabama plantation in the late 1830s.
Diogo Dias Querido, of Amsterdam, was reportedly involved in "large-scale
operations on the west coast of Africa," employing 10 ships and "many smaller ships and boats." He held "several Negro slaves"
whom he trained to be interpreters of African languages for his operation. In 1611, the authorities of the Inquisition charged
Querido with instructing the Africans in, and converting them to, Judaism.
B. L. Ramirez owned Indian slaves and was factotum of his Mexico City
Moses Raphael was a commercial lawyer and owner of a plantation called
Esquiline Hill near Columbus, Georgia. Forty-seven Blacks raised peaches and plums for him in chattel slavery.
Solomon Raphael of Richmond held Blacks captive named "Pricilla," "Sylvia,"
and her child "Nelly."
Rabbi Morris Jacob Raphall of Congregation B'nai Jeshurun in New York
was America's most prominent rabbi. He gave a sermon on January 4, 1861 which was used extensively by Jews and Christians
in their defense of slavery. Raphall said, in part:
...it remains a fact which cannot be gainsaid
that in his own native home, and generally throughout the world, the unfortunate negro is indeed the meanest of slaves. Much
had been said respecting the inferiority of his intellectual powers, and that no man of his race has ever inscribed his name
on the Parthenon of human excellence, either mental or moral.
Samuel Reese worked with the notorious Davis brothers in their slave
Zalma Rehine (1757-1843) of Richmond, "became the nucleus around which
the first Jewish congregation in the state was formed." According to the 1830 census, he owned 2 slaves.
Pedro Gomez Reinal was granted the exclusive right to import slaves
into the colonies by King John IV of Portugal. The contract contained a clause permitting Gomez to have two Portuguese on
his ship who would be in charge of the sale of the Africans and do anything else necessary "among the people of the sea."
Judith Risson of Barbados, owned two slaves in 1680.
Jacob Rodriguez Rivera (1717-1789) was the president of the Newport,
Rhode Island's Congregation Jeshuat Israel in 1760, notorious African slave dealer and was considered to be the second wealthiest
Jew behind his son-in-law Aaron Lopez. His diverse connections included work with the Monsantos of New Orleans as well as
with Samuel Moses and Isaac Elizer to outfit slave ships with leg irons and handcuffs and other hardware of bondage. At his
home he had twelve slaves serving six people.
Gaspar de Robles was born in Portugal and was raised by his aunt and
uncle. When he was fourteen:
his uncles, Vicente Enriquez and Gaspar Mendez,
took him to Angola, from where they brought Negroes and transported them to Brazil, Jamaica, and New Spain. While in Angola,
his uncles taught him about Judaism and persuaded him to leave the Christian faith. His uncles taught him...many details of
how to live as a Jew.
Ruben Levin Rochelle was a prominent Louisiana Jew whose estate included
"some slaves." There is one recorded sale of an African man in 1807. Dr. Korn described an incident at the commission brokerage
house in New Orleans, operated by Rochelle and Hart Moses Shiff, in which a slave working there (but owned by a Louisiana
judge) had escaped. The judge demanded the slave's return and Rochelle & Shiff placed the following notice in the Louisiana
Gazette of January 18, 1812:
20 Dollars Reward. Absconded from the house
of the subscribers, on the night of the 16th inst. a mulatto boy, named Ovid, (the property of Judge A. Trouard, of the German
Coast) about 17 years of age, about five feet high, he had a grey coloured coate, with black velvet collar and plated buttons,
a grey waistcoat, white nankeen pantaloons, and short boots. Whoever will deliver him to the subscribers, or to his owner,
or secure him in any Jail, shall receive a reward of twenty dollars, besides all reasonable charges. Masters of vessels are
forewarned from harboring or carrying off said boy at their peril.
Fernando Rodriguez was the leader of of the Veracruz Jewish community.
"He was a broker and trader of Negro slaves."
Sam Rothschild; His Jewish partner, Philip Sartorius, recalled that
in 1850, Rothschild:
gambled all our money off and sold [our trading]
boat and stock to another flat boat man for a Negro girl, took her to New Orleans and traded her off for tobacco.
Philip Moses Russell (c. 1745-1830) held Blacks as slaves in Philadelphia,
was a surgeon, merchant and prominent member of his synagogue.
Hyman Samuel, a watch and clockmaker from London, resettled in Petersburg,
Virginia and in 1792, he is listed as the owner "1 negro over 16 years of age."
Francis Salvador (1747-1776) was born in London to a wealthy Jewish
family. In 1773, he left his wife and four children and came to South Carolina where he owned a 6 or 7 thousand acre indigo
plantation with "at least thirty slaves." He was the first Jew to hold a South Carolina State office and was considered one
of "the foremost men of the Commonwealth." In 1776, "Salvador was shot and falling among the bushes was discovered by the
Indians and scalped."
Philip Sartorius (1830-1913); Between 1853 and 1857 he owned several
slaves. He once joined a posse of slave hunters in pursuit of a dozen Africans who had run from the Jeffries plantation in
Jefferson county. When they found the Blacks the 12 bloodhounds severely attacked them. Sartorius claimed to be repulsed by
Abraham Sarzedas (d. c. 1779) lived in Newport, New York, the West Indies
and Georgia where his plantation was absolutely dependent upon the forced labor of kidnapped Africans. He claimed that he
owned just three slaves to tend his 500 acre farm and in 1774 he and his wife Caty enslaved four Blacks while living in Newport,
Sasportas Family owned plantations in the South where many Black captives
Wolf bar Schemuel (alias Samuel) was an overseer of "94 Negroes" on
the plantation of Stephen Boyd (see above). He complained in an 1820 letter that, "I had to work in the water...with three
Niggers, for a whole month." When he returned to the big house, he wrote: "my old master and mistress gave me black looks."
Henry Seessel (1822-1911) was a German Jewish immigrant migrated to
New Orleans in about 1843. He went to Memphis as a businessman and bought four Africans "for our own use," for $3,100.
Abraham Mendes Seixas (1750 or 1751-1799); The brother of the famous
colonial New York Jewish leader, Gershom Mendes Seixas, he was typically reprobate in his attitude about the Black man and
woman evidenced by this poem he authored and published in the South Carolina State Gazette, September 6, 1794 (Seixas rhymes
All so gracious,
again does offer
His services pure
For to secure
Money in the coffer.
He has for sale
Some Negroes, male,
suit full well grooms.
He has likewise
Some of their wives
Can make clean, dirty rooms.
For planting too, He has a few
all for the cash,
Of various price,
To work the rice
Or bring them to the lash.
The young ones true,
May some be had of him
To learn your trade
They may be made,
Or bring them to your trim.
The boatmen great,
Will you elate
are so brisk and free;
What e'er you say,
They will obey,
If you buy them from me.
David G. Seixas; and partner Benjamin S. Spitzer owned three slaves;
"a woman who cooked their meals and kept house for them, and two males who worked in their store." Seixas is reported to have
smuggled Africans into the United States after the government ban on the importation of slaves.
Eleanor Cohen Seixas, the daughter of Philip Melvin
Cohen of Charleston wrote in a diary about her resentment of the abolition of slavery:
I believe deeply in the institution of slavery
[and] regret deeply its being abolished. I am accustomed to have them wait on me, and I dislike white servants very much.
David and Jacob Senior were slave "entrepreneurs" who came to Curaçao
from Amsterdam in 1685. Jacob and his wife Esther are recorded as having sold two slaves in Barbados on March 7, 1694 or 1695.
Dr. John de Sequeyra (1712-1795), a Williamsburg, Virginia physician
who treated the governor of that state, held at least 2 Africans as slaves. He was a leading physician for 50 years.
Simon Vaez de Sevilla was a 17th century Jewish Mexican slave shipper.
Sheftall Family was one of the most enterprising Jewish slave dealing
operations of Savannah, Georgia. At 27, Benjamin (1692-1765), owned 1,000 acres and nine Africans. In 1756, he claimed to
have 2 hostages for his 200 acres though it is probable that he had dozens. In 1763, he claimed that 5 Black human beings
slaved over an additional 50 acres. Benjamin also participated in the family's slave enterprise. His property was once attacked
by the British who carried off some of the Africans to Florida.
In 1766, his brother Levi (d. 1775) reported 9 Black slaves for his 350 acres and by 1769, he claimed
to have 15 slaves and was granted another 300 acres. This is how Jacob Rader Marcus describes the "indefatigable industry"
of Levi Sheftall:
Taking the advice of Captain John Milledge
of the Georgia Rangers, Sheftall - then about eighteen years of age - finally entered into the butcher business with a German
Christian partner. In order to acquire capital, he saved every cent he made, never spending a shilling on himself except for
the barest necessities, literally working day and night, and reducing his sleep to an absolute minimum. In the first year
of his partnership he saved £150, working with a slave - and like a slave. By the early 1760's Levi owned a house, a lot,
and six or eight Negroes, and could boast that in a period of six years he had never spent a penny on himself and had not
tasted his first drink till he was twenty. Then he turned to another business, and the £1,500 he had saved disappeared. In
1768, after a couple of unhappy love affairs, he married and soon lost his second fortune - through no fault of his own, for
he had forfeited it very likely by signing notes for the family or close friends. Once more he addressed himself to making
money. He continued in the butcher business, opened a tanyard, acquired a wharf, a plantation, and forty-four slaves - all
this in four years. Then came the Revolution and once more Levi lost everything, a fortune he valued at more than £10,000.
He was then about thirty-five years of age
The son of Benjamin, Mordecai (1735-1797), enslaved at least nine Blacks to work his 1000 acres.
Three of those he named "Joe," "Anthony" and "Phillis," were disposed of in the following contract:
And the said Modicai Sheftall for the considerations
herein before mentioned, hath bargained, sold, and delivered, and by these presents doth bargain, sell, and deliver, unto
the said Isaac Dacosta, his heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns, all those three negroe slaves known by the names
of Joe, Anthony, and Phillis, together with the future issue and increase of Phillis; and also all his estate, right, title,
and interest, whatsoever of, in, or to the before mentioned real estate and every part thereof, and of, in, and to the before
named negroe slaves, to have and to hold the said parcel of six hundred and fifty acres of land, and two town lots hereinbefore
mentioned, or intended to be hereby bargained and sold, and every part thereof, with the appurtenances and also the three
before named negroe slaves, together with the future issue and increase of the female slave, unto the said Isaac Dacosta,
his heirs, executors, administrators, and assigns.
Mordecai also issued warrants against runaway slaves. Sheftall, while in custody of the British,
received a letter from his wife Frances that read in part:
...I am obliged to take in needle work to
make a living for my family, so I leave you to judge what a living that must be. Our Negroes have every one been at the point
of death, so that they have been of no use to me for this six weeks past...
Esther Sheftall (b. 1771) directed the executors of her estate in her
will of 1828:
I order and direct that my Negro woman Caty
be sold by my Executors at private or public sale, and the proceeds of the sale to go toward the payment of my debts and the
erection of a stone over mine and my late sister Perla's grave. The surplus if any to be divided between my brothers Sheftall
Elias Silva of New Amsterdam (New York) was charged in 1656 with "having
a carnal conversation with a Negress slave."
J. Da Silva of Jamaica joined two other Jews, J. Adolfus and L. Spyers,
in the 1812 attack on a Jamaican assemblyman's house because he advocated rights for Blacks.
Joseph De Silva a merchant of the parish of St. Peter, Barbados, "knowing
the uncertainty of Humane life" prepared his will dated April 17, 1725 which dispensed "my two niggers Peggy a woman &
Gracy a girl."
Joseph Simon (1712-1804) was a wealthy shopkeeper operating as an Indian
trader out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He was involved in no less than 12 partnerships in the regional trade and is considered
to be one of the first white men to reach the Mississippi from the Pennsylvania area during the 1740s and 50s.
In 1759, Simon is listed as the owner of "a slave age 20, one horse and one cattle." By 1763, Simon
had "three slaves aged 10, 15 and 20, one horse, two cattle and a tenant." Ten years later he owned three, ages 12, 30 and
40. He once owned a Black man named John "who had to be chained and thrown into jail after almost killing a man." Simon eventually
sold him at a loss. There is a deed dated December 25, 1793, in which Simon sold to Christian Barr "a Negro boy named Cudago,
age 15, weight 65 pounds, to be held until age 29." Among his correspondence there is a reference to Simon's sending slaves
to Fort Pitt for various people. In 1776, a Philadelphia newspaper ran an ad seeking to locate "A Negro named John, slave
of a Mr. Bogle, of Cumberland County, formerly belonging to Joseph Simon of the Borough of Lancaster."
Among his varied array of merchandise he sold drugs, and medicines, silk, wampum, tomahawks, lumber,
white indentured servants, "Negroes" for sale or hire, ships, lottery tickets, and an item of uncertain description listed
in one transaction called "Negroe knives." Simon himself is recorded as having claimed to have a monopoly on such trade in
Simon came under suspicion for aiding the British war effort during the American Revolution by
trading in banned British goods including tea. By the 1780s, Simon and fellow Jew Michael Gratz of Philadelphia became joint
owners of vast tracks of land west of the Susquehanna.
Joseph Simon, described as a "Confederate veteran" from New Orleans,
purchased a slave according to a receipt. Slavery was presumed, however, to have ended in 1865.
Michael Simon helped his brother-in-law, Simon Frank, establish a dry
goods store in Woodville, Louisiana in 1850, under the name S. Frank & Company. By 1853, Michael Simon was "sufficiently
well off to have bought a small plantation worked by about ten slaves."
Benjamin Simons, of Charleston placed several advertisements for runaway
slaves in local papers. In the South-Carolina Gazette and Country Journal, April 19, 1774:
RUN-AWAY from the subscriber about the 23d
day of July last, a negro man named PRINCE, he is about 30 years of age, 5 feet 5 or 6 inches high, has a blemish in one eye,
which was caused by the small-pox; he had on when he went away, a blue waistcoat, and a pair of light coloured breeches. He
was brought up to the blacksmith's business in New-York. He was seen a few days after he absented himself, with a cart, about
five miles from town. Whoever will deliver said negro man to me in Charles-Town, or to the warden of the work-house, shall
receive FIVE POUNDS currency reward, and all reasonable charges, from Benjamin Simons.
Simons apparently sought "Abraham" in an advertisement in the South-Carolina Gazette, November
9 to November 16, 1767. The South-Carolina and American General Gazette of April 17 to May 1, 1776:
RUN away about the first of April last, a
stout, well made Negro Man named JUNE, formerly belonging to James Witter of James Island, and used to attend the Market,
but was employed in the Ferryboat from Scott's Ferry in Town; he has been seen in Town, where he is harboured, and on James
Island. Ten Pounds Reward will be paid to whoever will apprehend and deliver him to the Warden of the Workhouse.
Moses Simons was the nephew of Savannah's Saul Simons. In his will,
the elder Simons stipulated that his executors were to hire out four Black slaves and the total annual income, $200, was to
be used to keep young Moses at school.
Samuel Simons (d. 1824) of Charleston, enslaved Africans named "Maria
Chapman," "Pompey" and "Peggy." There is some evidence that "Maria," described as "a free woman of color," was sexually exploited
Nathan Simson (d. 1725) was a New York merchant and shipper born in
Germany. In 1717 and 1721, two of Simson's ships, the Crown and the New York Postillion,
...sailed into the northern harbor with a
total load of 217 Negroes. The shipments came directly from the African coast, two of the largest slave cargoes to be brought
into New York in the first half of the eighteenth century.
Sampson Simson "appears to [have been] the largest trader among New
York Jews," and "one of the most prominent members of the New York Chamber of Commerce." He was one of the drafters of New
York's constitution, served repeatedly as a member of its arbitration committee for grievances of New York merchants, was
on its Committee on Regulation of Coinage and its Fishery Committee. According to historian Myer Isaacs, "He retained in his
household several old family servants, some of whom had been slaves..."
Benjamin Solomon; In 1798, according to Richmond, Virginia court records,
he accused an African woman named "Polly" of stealing two dollars worth of sugar. She was sentenced to five lashes on her
bare back and the branding of her left hand.
Ezekiel Solomon participated in the 1776 sale of a Black female child
Haym M. Solomon (b. 1740) held as hostage a 10 year old Black child
Henry E. Solomon; In 1825, he used 6 Black people as collateral on a
debt owed to Morton Waring.
Moses Solomon; In 1802, he was Charleston's constable whose job was
to punish freedom seeking Blacks.
Myer Solomon of Lancaster, Pennsylvania "had two houses, two horses,
one cattle and one slave."
Victor Souza of New Orleans skipped out on some debts in 1834 for which
four of his African slaves were auctioned. He was caught, tried, convicted and sent to prison.
Benjamin Solomon Spitzer of St. Louis, along with Gershom
Mendes Seixas, held three slaves who kept their house and ran their store. Spitzer also invested in the slave ships
Nancy and Jane.
L. Spyers of Jamaica joined two other Jews, J. Da Silva and J. Adolfus
in the 1812 attack on a Jamaican assemblyman who advocated equal rights for Blacks.
Emanuel Stern (d. 1828); A Jew from New Orleans who ordered his 12 year
old Black child "Mathilda" to be auctioned off after his death. She was sold for $400 though valued at $250.
Louis Stix, according to Stanley Feldstein,
expressed sympathy for the plight of blacks
but did nothing to promote their liberation. Though he classified himself as an "outspoken" opponent of all involuntary servitude,
he still advocated gradual emancipation and a government indemnity for "[his] southern neighbors" for their pecuniary losses
in parting with their slaves.
A. F. Strauss of New Orleans was a major dealer in Black and White humans
and would advertise the sale of as many as a hundred at a time.
J. L. Tobias purchased a slave from David Derrick on January 26, 1857.
The receipt reads, in part:
I, David Derrick, for and in consideration
of the sum of One Thousand and Fifty Dollars - to me - in hand paid, at and before the sealing and delivery of these Presents,
by J. L. Tobias has bargained and sold, and by these Presents, do bargain, sell, and deliver to the said J. L. Tobias the
Negro slave Stephen Warranted Sound to have and to hold the said Negro slave Stephen unto the said J. L. Tobias his Executors,
Administrators, and Assigns, from and against all persons, shall and will Warrant and forever defend by these Presents.
Joseph Tobias (1745 or 1764-1810) of Charleston, bought a Black woman
named "Jenny" from Dr. James Cletherall for $500 on July 23, 1798.
Joseph Tobias (1684-1761) was a shipowner in Charlestown and president
of Beth Elohim synagogue. He was the purchaser of six Black slaves, two men and four women, "probably all households servants."
Judica Torres, a Barbadian Jewess, owned two slaves.
Simja De Torres (d. 1746) was a New York slave trader, who imported
seven Blacks from Jamaica on at least two recorded occasions in 1728 and 1742. One of the Africans was a three-year-old child.
Another was named "Menasseh Perirei." She was also one of the leading benefactors of the Mill Street Synagogue (Shearith Israel)
in New York City. She left to her nieces Rachel, Rebecca and Sinya, "one negro girl" each.
Judah Touro (1775-1854) was born in Newport and became the hazzan (minister)
of Yeshuat Israel Synagogue which he bought and renovated. Jewish historians claim that he was a humanitarian who abhorred
slavery to such an extent that he bought slaves just to free them. Contrarily, wrote Leon Hühner, he bought slaves "to wait
on him, or to work in his various enterprises." In 1809, he profited from the auctioning of 12 African people, and in 1812,
advertised rewards for the apprehension of seven Black runaways. He also did extensive business in merchandise, such as rag
clothing, specifically to be used by slaves.
He was "one of the earliest of prominent American philanthropists," but Jewish
historian Morris U. Schappes notes that "Negro institutions and causes, perhaps needing assistance most, were not among Touro's
beneficiaries." As late as 1947, Blacks were not admitted to the hospital facilities of the Touro Infirmary in New Orleans.