Memoirs of Gluckel of Hameln by Gluckel von HamelnBegun in 1690, this diary of a forty-four-year-old German Jewish widow, mother of fourteen children, tells how she guided the financial and personal destinies of her children, how she engaged in trade, ran her own factory, and promoted the welfare of her large family. Her memoir, a rare account of an ordinary woman, enlightens not just her children, for whom she wrote it, but all posterity about her life and community. Gluckel speaks to us with determination and humor from the seventeenth century. She tells of war, plague, pirates, soldiers, the hysteria of the false messiah Sabbtai Zevi, murder, bankruptcy, wedding feasts, births, deaths, in fact, of all the human events that befell her during her lifetime. She writes in a matter of fact way of the frightening and precarious situation under which the Jews of northern Germany lived. Accepting this situation as given, she boldly and fearlessly promotes her business, her family and her faith. This memoir is a document in the history of women and of life in the seventeenth century.
What Glikl of Hameln Reveals about Her Jewish Identity and Values
This makes an interesting comparison to The Book of Margery Kempe, reviewed earlier. Memoirs of Gluckel of Hameln. Begun in , this diary of a forty-four-year-old German Jewish widow, mother of fourteen children, tells how she guided the financial and personal destinies of her children, how she engaged in trade, ran her own factory, and promoted the welfare of her large family.
Gluckel von Hameln
Glikl of Hameln
Written in her native tongue of Yiddish over the course of thirty years, her memoirs were originally intended to be an ethical will for her children and future descendants. Despite being referred to by many different variations, her preferred name would have most likely have been "Glikl bas Judah Leib," meaning "Glikl daughter of Judah Leib," in keeping with Jewish naming traditions of her time. Her father was a successful diamond trader and parnas , a leader in the Jewish community; her mother was also involved in business. Although she had rejected a number of proposals, she finally acquiesced as she believed that remarrying would ultimately benefit her children by protecting their future. She lived through, and subsequently wrote about, many other notable historical events, including but not limited to Charles X Gustav of Sweden 's war on Denmark,  the Khmelnytsky Uprising of ,  the Black Death ,  the expulsion of the Jewish population of Hamburg to Altona ,  the scandal of the "Messianic pretender" Sabbatai Zevi ,  the Franco-Dutch War ,  and the War of the Spanish Succession. She was explicit that the works were to be preserved for future generations, fearing that her children's children or grandchildren would one day know nothing of their family history.
Glikl of Hameln , born , Hamburg [Germany]—died , Metz , Lorraine [France] , German Jewish diarist whose seven books of memoirs Zikhroynes , written in Yiddish with passages in Hebrew, reveal much about the history, culture , and everyday life of contemporary Jews in central Europe. Written not for publication but as a family chronicle and legacy for her children and their descendants, the diaries were begun in Glikl completed the first five sections by and resumed writing in , finishing the final two sections in With her family, she returned to Hamburg in Upon his death, in , she lived with a daughter in Metz. Interspersed with family history and visits to such cities as Hanover and Berlin Germany and Amsterdam Netherlands are pious sayings, devotional prayers, folktales, and parables.