Paper prepared for the UC-Utrecht Symposium on Jewish Politics and Political Behaviour
This is work in progress and should not be quoted without the author’s permission.

Karin Hofmeester

International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam/ University of Antwerp
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‘Oh! May the almighty God be blessed. Praised be he, His Holy Name, for ever and ever! Two Jews for the government in The Hague! Oh, Hear O Israel! First let’s drink to that. Lekhayim. To the health of the two Jewish members of government and to the Naye Kille, and all of the Patriots’.[1]

This toast was proposed by the imaginary figure Gumpel to his imaginary companion Anshel, on a track boat between Gouda and Amsterdam. It was part of a dialogue that was published in the Diskursn of the Naye Kille, a new congregation formed as protest against the oligarchically ruled traditional congregation. The two Jews Gumpel and Anshel spoke about were real. In 1797 Hermanus Leonard Bromet and Hartog de Hartog Lémon were elected in the National Assembly of the Dutch Republic. They were the first Jewish parliamentary representatives in Europe and in a way they were harbingers, representing quite a few of the issues later Jewish representatives also had to deal with.

Bromet and De Lémon were members of the Jewish patriot club Felix Libertate that had been active on two fronts: from the new patriot leaders they had demanded full citizenship rights, from the parnassim of the existing congregation (alte kille) they required the abolishment of the – in patriot terms – undemocratic rules [takkanot]. They won on one side: in 1796 Jews had gained full citizenship in the Netherlands. They lost on the other: the powerful parnassim did not want to abolish the rules and part with the power it gave them, so Bromet and De Lémon stayed with the new congregation (naye kille) they had helped to form.[2]

Within the National Assembly, De Lémon more than once stood up for Jewish interests. He presented amongst others a request asking for protection of Dutch Jews against the discriminating Judenleibzoll in several German states. The National Assembly supported the request and promised to have its foreign committee do its best to change the situation. In a debate on a request from the Dutch Reformed Church, De Lémon criticized some of its phrasings, stating they were ‘very offending for a part of the Nation that was also represented in this body’.[3]

In the Diskursn and the reports of the meeting of the National Assembly we see a number of characteristics of Jewish politicians and the way they were looked upon, that can also be seen in later periods. One is the pride within the Jewish community for ‘their’ political representatives, who were a visible symbol of Emancipation. Another is the double role of the Jewish representatives: they were active in both the administration of the Jewish community and in the political representative body of the nation. Finally there is the expectation - and its fulfilment - that Jewish politicians would defend Jewish interests in parliament.

Bromet and De Lémon’s political careers were too short (a coup in 1789 ended them) to lead to the type of discussions later Jewish politicians evoked. These were debates within and outside the Jewish community about Jewish politicians defending Jewish interests and the desirability of ‘doing Jewish politics’. The issue of ‘representation’ was also going to play a more important role later on, especially the tendency within non-Jewish circles to see Jewish politicians primarily as representatives of the Jews. As we will see, this can sometimes be interpreted in a positive way, as part of the Dutch political tradition to give each religious group its own voice in politics through a representative of their own group. It could also be translated in a negative way. Jewish politicians could also be seen solely as Jews even if they never defended Jewish interests. In these cases Jewish representatives were taken as a pars pro to to criticize the whole Jewish group. In this paper I would like to analyse these discussions and representations by focussing on the group of Jewish members of the Dutch Lower House in the period from 1848 till 1914.

Making an entrance into parliament: the makeup of the Jewish MPs

After a series of regime changes (including the reign of Louis Napoleon and the annexation by France) a period of Restoration started in 1813. This meant a serious setback to representative democracy and as a result of it no Jews were found in parliament for a long time, until a liberal constitutional change took place in the Netherlands in 1848. One of the most important consequences of this change was the introduction of a system of direct elections. Suffrage was based on the amount of tax people paid, this came down to an electorate of 7.3% of the total Dutch adult male population.[4] At the end of 1848, new members of the Lower House were elected and more than fifty years after Bromet and De Lémon another Jew entered Dutch parliament.

Michel Henri Godefroi, son of a well-to-do broker, was elected in the Amsterdam electoral district 1 in 1848. Michel Henri had received a thorough Jewish as well as secular education through private lessons.[5] He studied law at the Atheneum Illustre in Amsterdam and wrote his PhD in Leyden. He spent - at least part - of his spare time with Jewish friends from the famous Asser family. In 1837 the ties between the two families became even closer when Carel Asser married Michel Henri’s sister Rosette Godefroi. That same year, Michel Henri married Judith (Julie) Machiels, born in 1814, daughter of the well-to-do merchant Jacob Abraham Machiels, and Violette Hartog. After his studies Michel Henri established his own lawyer’s office. In 1842 he became deputy public prosecutor at the Amsterdam court of Law, and in 1846, by royal appointment, judge of the provincial court of North Holland, a function he would keep until 1860.

Godefroi had several important functions in Jewish public life, so we can assume that in private life he followed a Jewish lifestyle though presumably as liberal as the other, assimilated middle class Jews with important functions in society. Orthodox members of the Jewish community found these Jewish administrators ´freethinkers´, unfit to protect ´the true interests of Judaism’.[6] Despite these critics, Godefroi was a member of the Hoofdcommissie tot Zaken der Israëlieten since 1844 and from 1854 till 1860 he was president of this organisation. This ´temporary´ institution was formed by the Dutch government in 1814, a year after the ending of the French annexation. The main tasks of the Hoofdcommissie were the dismantling of the French consistorial system and the development of a set of regulations for a new national umbrella organisation. This was not an easy process. By 1848 this new set of regulations was still lacking at a time when a reorganisation was all the more needed, since the new constitution demanded a complete separation of church and state.[7] Only in 1870 the final reorganisation from the Hoofdcommissie to the Nederlands-Israelitisch Kerkgenootschap (NIK) [Netherlands Israelite Church Community] took place. 7 In 1870 Godefroi took up a position in the Permante Commissie [executive committee] of the NIK. Besides his function in de Hoofdcommissie and later the Permanente Commissie, Godefroi was also an active member of the Alliance Israélite Universelle.

From 1849 till 1881 Godefroi sat in the Lower House, interrupted only by the years he was cabinet minister of Justice in 1860-1862 and a short break for health reasons in 1870. He entered the Lower House during the period of ‘classical liberalism’ when the Constitution was interpreted and canonical laws were developed, a process in which he played an important role. In 1861 his Wet op de Raad van State, an organic law on the composition and competencies of the Raad van State, was passed.[8] He was also actively involved in the revision of the penal code and a law on the Legal organization. Apart from his ‘constitutional’ qualities and activities, the liberal front man Thorbecke praised Godefroi as a man who ‘was honest and amiable, (…) and: he did not belong to any exclusive political party (…) he was neutral and independent’[9] Godefroi himself stated more than once that he did not like political strife. When he re-entered the Lower House in 1871 after a short break, he wrote his brother in law Carel Asser that he wanted to work as legal specialist, and enter the political battle field as little as possible.[10] In spite of his preference for legal and constitutional reform and his aversion to political battles, he more than once addressed the Lower House on other than legal matters, and more than once on specific Jewish political interests, domestic as well as foreign, as we will see.

In the period from 1848 to 1914, the Lower House counted a total number of thirteen Jewish members. With the exception of the period 1883-1887, when no Jewish MP was elected, at least one and at the most five Jews were elected. On average they formed 2 % of the total number of MPs, whereas in this period the Jewish share of the total population rose from 1.91 in 1849 to 2.04 in 1914. (See figure 1). (In 1849 the total Jewish population of the Netherlands was 58,626, of which 25,156 lived in Amsterdam, in 1920 the total Jewish population in the Netherlands was 115,223 of which 67,249 lived in Amsterdam).[11] Numerically, there was no significant structural under or over representation. However, if we look at the chronologically ordered list of names (see figure 2) we see that for a long time Godefroi was the only Jewish MP. Up until his dead he sat in parliament as sole Jew, only twice shortly accompanied by another Jewish MP: A.S. van Nierop. There were a number of other Jewish candidates, but they were not elected.

The second Jewish MP, Ahasverus (Asser) Samuel van Nierop first entered the Lower House in 1852 as candidate for Hoorn, his place of birth. He was a son of a well to do merchant. He studied law in Amsterdam and Leyden, wrote a PhD and became lawyer and solicitor. He married upwards to Lady Rachel Salvador, a descendant from a noble Sephardi family.[12] Van Nierop was actively involved in the reorganisation of the Hoofdcommissie and in the final formation of the NIK. In 1870 he became the first chair of the Permanente Commissie of the NIK.

After being elected in the Lower House in 1852, Van Nierop only served a short while, as the cabinet fell and the newly formed cabinet dissolved the Lower House.[13] In 1864 he was elected once more, but also this time he only sat for two years, as the Lower House was again dissolved after a conflict between the Lower House on the one hand and cabinet and King William III on the other. All in all, Van Nierop only served in the Lower House twice, in total for three years, too short to give a detailed characterisation of his political activities. He can however be characterised as an advocate of tax reforms, census lowering and a firm extension of suffrage and he should therefore be classified as a progressive liberal.

When Godefroi died in 1882, the structural Jewish presence in the Lower House was in a way taken over by Abraham Frans Karel Hartogh, who was elected in 1886 for the first time in the Amsterdam district and would remain in office till 1901. He came from a distinguished family; his father was lawyer and later officer of the district court of Amsterdam.[14] Abraham Frans Karel was married to Kitty Enthoven, daughter of a Jewish industrialist. Like many other MPs Hartogh studied law in Amsterdam and Leyden, wrote a PhD and became a well known lawyer with his own office in Amsterdam. In 1883 he was elected for the Provinciale Staten of North Holland, where he remained in office till 1896. He also held several administrative functions within the Jewish community: he was a member of the Jewish Poor Relief Board and a board member of the Jewish Poor School.[15] After his first election in the Lower House in 1886 he was re-elected four times. Just like Godefroi he mainly concentrated on legal subjects in the lower House, amongst others developing a ‘Wetboek van Burgerlijke Rechtsvordering’ which was passed in 1896 and is known as the ‘Lex Hartog’.[16]

Hartogh was a progressive, left-wing liberal and in that sense he was a link between Godefroi and Van Nierop on the one hand and the left-wing and social liberals of Jewish descent that were elected in and after 1887. We could see these three Jewish politicians as ‘the first generation’. They were from well-to-do families, were not that orthodox in their private lives, but followed halakha in most important life decisions and had very important functions within the administration of the Jewish community, especially Godefroi and Van Nierop. Not only were they builders of the legal framework of the liberal nation, they also transformed the most important Jewish administrative bodies according to the 1848 constitution. The next generation Jewish politicians was different.

In the 1870's the so called young or left-wing liberals entered the political arena. They attacked the ‘old’ Thorbeckian liberals and their laissez-faire economic ideals and pleaded in favour of more state intervention to protect productive citizens; extension of suffrage; tax reforms and improvement of education. Since debates on education were closely linked to debates on the role of religion in society, they stirred up emotions and spurred people to become politically active, as we will see later on. Part of the left-wing liberals developed into social liberals who were in favour of extended social legislation to protect the citizens that were not able to be productive. [17] The Jewish MPs A.F.K. Hartogh, A. Kerdijk and I.A. Levy were all important in the left-wing and later social liberal movement.

Arnold Kerdijk’s father was a merchant and the family was well-to-do.[18] When Arnold turned thirteen, his family changed their name from Polak Kerdijk to Kerdijk, after they had already converted to the Evangelical Church.[19] Arnold became an important man in the left wing and later social-liberal movement. He was elected in 1887 and re-elected in 1891, 1894 and 1897. Arnold studied law and humanities in Utrecht and wrote a PhD in law. His financial background enabled him to take up honorary posts, such as chief inspector of primary education in South Holland. He was influenced amongst others by the English socialist movement and became a social liberal. He became the national secretary of Vereniging Volksonderwijs (a society dedicated to the defence of public education).[20] Kerdijk never took on functions in Jewish public life, which is not very surprising if we take his background as a converted Jew into consideration.

Kerdijk, like Hartogh was also four times elected in the Lower House and was in function during the same period. The two not only met in the Lower House (in several liberal clubs and ‘parties’) but also in the editorial boards of journals. In the Lower House Kerdijk mainly took the floor on social legislation, the electoral law and education.

Isaac Abraham Levy was born in a humble Jewish family, his father was a tanner. Thanks to financial support of a Maecenas he could follow higher education and study law and humanities. He wrote a PhD in law in Leyden and became a lawyer with his own firm in Amsterdam. In 1868 he married upwards to Mathilde Rosenthal, daughter of one of the founders of the Lippmann Rosenthal bank. Levy had several functions in Jewish social organisations: amongst others he was member of a committee to improve the faith of Rumanian Jews and a board member of the non-clerical Sophie Rosenthal kindergarten in the Uilenburgerstraat, in the middle of Amsterdam’s Jewish quarter. Levy was a very active and actively publishing lawyer and next to that also an active social liberal politician. He published several brochures on child protection; collective labour arrangements, trade unions, the dismissal of married female teachers and on the extension of the divorce law

Levy was elected in 1887 and in 1891. He had been the initiator and first chairman of the Liberale Unie, a moderately progressive federation of voters’ associations.[21] Within liberal circles opinions about the extension of suffrage, tax reform and state intervention started to diverge in the 1870´s and the foundation of the Liberale Unie was an attempt to unite the liberals. Its main goals were extension of suffrage, progressive tax reform, social security, improvement of the position of women and public education. Hartogh and Kerdijk joined the Unie and many of the ideas of the Unie about social legislation were based on Kerdijks’ publications.[22] Within the Lower House Levy took the floor on legal, financial, colonial and educational matters and on the electoral law.

We should see the election of this ‘second generation’ Jewish MPs within the context of the formation of left-wing liberal and social liberal groups, paying also attention to the constitutional change that took place in 1887. This change led to an expansion of suffrage, mainly because of a lowered census. As a consequence about 14% of the adult, male Dutch population was entitled to vote in 1890.[23] The constitutional change also led to an increase of the number of Lower House members. As the numbers of voters increased, the number of Jewish voters grew and along with the increase of the number of Lower House members, the number of Jewish Lower House members also increased. (See figure 1). Lower House members also started to come from different social backgrounds.[24] From the total number of thirteen Jewish MPs who were elected in the period from 1848 to 1914, nine worked as lawyers, one was an industrialist (elected in 1905), two were journalists (elected in 1913) and one was a former diamond worker who had made career as a trade union leader (elected in 1913).

A third generation of Jewish MPs entered the Lower House in 1913. After the ‘classic liberals’ and the left-wing and social liberals, now socialist Jewish MPs entered the stage. The three newly elected Jewish MPs in 1913: H. Polak, A.B. Kleerekoper and M. Mendels, were all socialists, candidates for the Sociaal Democratische Arbeiders Partij (SDAP) formed in 1894. Their election was a direct result of the extension of suffrage made possible by the electoral law of 1896. People´s eligibility to vote was now no longer solely determined by the amount of tax they paid, but could also be based upon wage, savings, passed exams or house rent. In 1900 this led to an electorate of 49% of all adult males.[25]

The 1887 constitutional change brought Jewish candidates to the Lower House that no longer held the typical Jewish bourgeois administrative functions within the Jewish community (for a complete list of all the names, see figure 2). As we have seen, the first three elected Jewish MPs, Godefroi, Van Nierop and Hartogh all had a series of important functions in Jewish public life, even though in private life they interpreted Jewish law in a liberal way. From the second generation only Isaac Abraham Levy and Samuel van den Bergh and Zadok van den Bergh took on several functions in Jewish (social) organisations. The functions of Levy are mentioned above, Samuel van den Bergh was active in several international socio-political Jewish organisations, amongst others the Internationaal Joodsch Emigratie-Comité (International Jewish Emigration Committee) founded in 1915 to channel the expected exodus of Eastern-European Jews after World War I. Through this work he met several Zionists and became enthusiastic about the developments in Palestine. In 1920 he took up an administrative function in the Keren Hajesod (Palestina Opbouwfonds) and gave lectures about his travels to Palestine for Jewish societies. In 1930 he would become the Dutch representative of the International Jewish Agency.[26] Zadok van den Bergh was a member of the board of the Jewish Home for the Elderly in Netherland and the Colonies and of the School for deprived Jews in the Rapenburgerstraat, in the middle of the Jewish quarter, He was even asked to become a member of the church council of the main synagogue.[27] The other Jewish members of the Lower House in the period from 1887 to 1913, that is to say Arnold Kerdijk, Henry David Levyssohn Norman, Eduard Ellis van Raalte and Joseph Limburg held no, or no important administrative positions within the Jewish community.

The ‘third generation’ of Jewish politicians, the socialists that entered the Lower House in 1913, did have functions within Jewish public life, albeit in another type of organisation that the ‘first generation’ Jewish representatives. Henri Polak, son of a diamond cutter and later – trader, was first and foremost known as the leader of the general diamond workers trade union ANDB. This was a well organised trade union, that managed to unite the different groups of diamond workers within one union (from the low paid journeyman polishers to the highly esteemed cleavers, from the non-Jewish workers who received piece rates to the Jewish workers who were paid by the hour). The union was very successful in securing the economic rights of its members but also paid attention to the cultural developments of its members. Polak in particular paid special attention to the edification of the Jewish workers who saw a real leader in him. After World War I, Polak became a member of Keren Hajesod, though he did not consider himself to be a Zionist. In an interview he stated he felt “Dutchman among the Dutchmen and Jews among the Jews’.[28] In the thirties he would become a vehement opponent of anti-Semitism.

Asser Benjamin Kleerekoper, son of rabbi Samuel Chananja Kleerekoper, worked as a journalist and was editor in chief of De Joodsche Wachter the journal of the Dutch Zionist Union (NZB) from 1905 to 1909. Until his break with this Union he was a very active member.[29]His most important objection against the NZB was the neglect - in his view - of the Jewish working classes. Subsequently, Kleerekoper became an active member and administrator of the SDAP. Kleerekoper, like Polak, combined his socialist - Dutch and Jewish identities seemingly smoothly. Like Polak he wrote series of articles in the thirties, warning for the dangers of anti-Semitism.

Maurits Mendels was the son of a shammas (sexton of the synagogue). He studied law in Leyden and also wrote his PhD there. He became a lawyer, solicitor and journalist. In 1899 he became a member of the SDAP and started writing for its journal Het Volk. His relation to his Jewish background is often characterized by a poem Mendels wrote in 1895: ‘Nu zoodje, dat nog wordt geheten. Met beurzen vol en harten leeg’ [30][Now there is the whole lot, we still call Jews, with full purses and empty hearts´].Often this is interpreted as a sole manifestation of Jewish self-hatred, but one could also read it as a sign of an intra-group class conflict. Whatever the interpretation might be, in the thirties his dormant Zionist sympathies came to the fore and he became a Zionist. An unpublished manuscript from Mendels on Heinrich Heine is characterised by a deep empathy for Heines’ position and approvingly speaks of Heines’ return to the faith of his parents.[31]

Amongst the total group of Jewish MPs in 1848-1914 we see a variety of attitudes towards Jewishness in private life. Of all thirteen Jewish MPs only two married a non-Jewish wife: Levyssohn Norman and Kerdijk. (Zadok van den Bergh after a divorce remarried a non-Jewish wife). Arnold Kerdijk came from a family that had converted and had its name changed, other MPs neither changed their first, nor their last names, though quite a number of them were given non-Jewish first names by birth. Apart from Kerdijks parents, conversions amongst these MPs are not known. Out of the thirteen MP’s four were buried in a Jewish cemetery, not surprisingly these belonged to the ‘first’ and ‘third generation’ Jewish MPs. (Godefroi, Van Nierop, Kleerekooper and Polak). The burial place of the two Van den Bergh brothers who died in France is unknown, but we might assume that they were buried in a Jewish cemetery. The seven other were buried in a ´general´ cemetery or cremated. Now that we have an overview of ‘the Jewishness’ of the MPs in private life and in Jewish organisational life, it is time to see how they operated and were looked upon in political life.

Jewish politicians – Jewish politics?

Godefroi´s election in 1848 immediately led to discussions in Jewish circles on the desirability of seeing Jewish politicians as representatives of ´the Jews´ ‘doing Jewish politics´. The first Jewish newspaper started to appear in 1849, so we have no Jewish press comments on Godefroi’s first election. However, we do have a pamphlet on the 1848 elections written by Jhr Mozes Salvador, a descendant from a distinguished, noble Sephardic family who had first followed a military career and was now getting involved in politics. In this pamphlet he criticized Godefroi’s candidacy. For Salvador it was obvious that Godefroi was put forward as a candidate because he was Jewish and the Jewish part of the electorate now was supposed to vote for him because he was their coreligionist. Salvador objected to this line of reasoning. No one knew the political ideas of Godefroi or his willingness to defend the interests of his country, his fellow country men and his coreligionists; maybe he just wanted to enter politics to have a good career. Though Salvador would like to see one or more Jewish representatives in the Lower House, they should be elected because of their abilities, not because of their religious background:

‘Liever zal ik geen enkele Israëliet in ’s Lands-vergadering zien verschijnen, dan te weten dat hij alleen als zoodanig daarin opgenomen wierd.’[32] [ ‘I rather saw no Jew in parliament than to know he was only included as such’]

We have to make some comments on Salvador’s critical words. First of all, there was political animosity: Salvador was a radical liberal, whereas Godefroi was a moderate liberal. Another possible explanation for Salvador’s disliking of Godefroi can be found in Salvadors’ description of Godefroi’s Jewishness: ‘a religion he only professed for appearances sake’. He used this expression when hinting at Godefroi’s position as a member of the Hoofdcommissie tot zaken der Israëlieten, which Salvador called ‘a commission that up until now had done very little to nothing for the well being of its coreligionists’[33] Here we see how the connection between Godefroi’s function within the Jewish community and his political aspirations was made and how objections were made against the lobby for the Jewish vote, and the idea that Jewish representatives should be elected as Jews. In later discussions within Jewish circles we encounter the same objections, however in the case of Godefroi, Salvador’s ideas were not broadly shared in Jewish circles.

In November 1849 the first Jewish weekly in Dutch started to appear. The Nederlandsch-Israelitisch Nieuws-en Advertentie-Blad (NINA) was made possible by the freedom of the press the 1848 constitutional change had brought. In the opinion of the editors, the reorganization of the Hoofdcommissie was the immediate cause of the new publication: this was a very important issue for the Jewish community, which asked for a forum.[34] The NINA was very much in favor of emancipation, assimilation and religious reform. Right from the beginning, NINA’s editorials stated that Jews should have more representative functions and public offices so they could defend Jewish interest. In one of these editorials it says: “Wanneer wij zelven niet onze belangen behartigen, wie zal dan voor ons optreden?” [If we do not stand up for our interests, who will?] This specific editorial was inspired by the complaints of Catholic representatives during the budgetary debates on their under representation in public offices.[35]NINA praised the fearless attitude of the Catholic representatives in the fight for their rights. “zij vreezen niet, van onverdraagzaamheid of eigenbelang beschuldigd te worden, wannner zij ondervinden, dat er redenen zijn, die hen tot spreken dwingen”.[36] [They are not afraid to be accused of intolerance or self interest, if they feel there are issues that force them to speak up].

As a consequence of this opinion, the NINA explicitly supported Jewish candidates for representative functions. In August 1850, because of the periodical dissolution of the Lower House, new elections were held.[37] NINA published several editorials on this matter. As a consequence of a new electoral law, Amsterdam changed from five electoral districts into one. The one district where the majority of Amsterdam Jews lived, had elected Godefroi in 1848, and now all franchised inhabitants of Amsterdam had to choose five candidates. NINA feared that Godefroi would not be elected under these new conditions. It assumed that the unified Amsterdam district would not put a Jewish candidate forward because the non-Jewish majority would not vote for him. (This was somewhat of a misconception. The number of Jewish voters in Amsterdam, where census was at its highest and the Jewish population on average not well-to-do, was too low to send the Jewish candidates to the Lower House by themselves time and again: in 1854 Ashkenazic Jews supplied 7.4 % of all voters whereas they formed 10% of the total population. Sephardic Jews formed 1.2 % of all voters, while they made up 1.1% of the total population).[38] According to the NINA elsewhere in the Netherlands, where Jews formed an even smaller part of the population, Jewish candidates stood no chance at all of even being put forward as a candidate. The editors of the Jewish weekly praised Godefroi as a ‘firm and independent member’ and expressed the hope he would be elected again.

“Vraagt men ons nu, stelt gij er hoog belang in, dat een Israëliet daar zitting heeft? Wij antwoorden volmondig ja. Maar is het niet strijdig met den geest der grondwet, om van de Israëlieten te spreken, daar waar sprake is van keuze voor het gehele Nederlandsche volk? Wij anwoorden volmondig neen”. [ It is important that there is a Jew in parliament. It is not unconstitutional to speak of Jews where the whole Dutch population should be represented].[39]

Of course the Jewish MP should guard the interest of the total population and not just that of the Jewish part. But, since other denominations were not too eager to support Jewish interests, a Jewish MP was a necessity.

”wij achten het van het grootste belang, niet alleen voor de Israëlieten in Nederland, maar ook voor de leden der Staten-Generaal, dat daar een Israëliet zitting hebben zal” [Not only for the Jews, but also for parliament it is important to have a Jewish member]

The editorial specifically stressed the problems concerning the reorganization of the Hoofdcommissie and the role of a Jewish MP in the process. Apart from that: since Jews formed 1.6 % of the total population (according to the NINA, 1,9% according to the census) [40], they were at least entitled to one representative.[41] In the next issue the editors of NINA had to admit they had misjudged the situation. A number of Jews was nominated as candidates: next to Godefroi in Amsterdan, A.S. van Nierop van was nominated in Hoorn and A. de Pinto was nominated in Gelderland. This proved that “men in ‘s lands vergadering bekwame mannen wil brengen, onverschillig van welke gezindheid’ [people wanted to bring able men into parliament, irrespective of their religious background].[42] Of these three Jewish candidates only Godefroi was elected. The NINA not only lobbied for the vote on Godefroi, it did the same for Van Nierop and subsequent Jewish representatives. However, an editorial change (also expressed in a change of name, the journal was now called Weekblad voor Israëlieten) made it a less politically oriented journal after 1855, though its editor was still in favour of reform. From 1865 onwards another, competitive Jewish weekly started to appear, the Nieuw Israëlitisch Weekblad . This journal was much more oriented towards orthodox Judaism than its competitor. Even though the editors of both journals often stated that a Jewish journal should not write about politics, they often did. [43]

Apart from rallying for votes, the writing in the Jewish weeklies also came down to explicit expectations that ‘their candidates’ would defend Jewish interests in parliament, for example during budgetary negotiations, or during discussions on specific laws such as the funeral law and to work behind the screens on a good reorganisation plan for the Hoofdcommissie.[44] Godefroi more than once lived up to these expectations and defended Jewish interest in the Lower House. In 1858 Godefroi, as president of the Hoofdcommissie, asked the Lower House to interfere in the so called Mortara Affaire.[45] His political activities took place behind the screens of the public debates, he did not take the floor on this issue in the Lower House. The outcome of this debate which was short and very calm - unlike the noise the Mortara affair had caused in the press[46]- was that the government ordered the Dutch ambassador in Rome to report about the Dutch indignation to the Papal authorities.[47] Eventually the official Dutch protest was brushed aside by the Vatican. Disappointed about the results of this activity, Godefroi refused to interfere in a similar case a couple of years later. In 1864, in Rome, an eleven year old Jewish boy called Coën was converted to Catholicism under the influence of his master shoemaker. The Hoofdcommissie again asked the minister of Justice to interfere, pointing at the Mortara affaire. During the debate in the Lower House, the Roman Catholic MP Charles Bieberstein stated that the same things happened in hospitals in Amsterdam, where Jewish children were converted to Protestantism. He ‘invited’ the representative from Amsterdam (i.e. Godefroi) to give his opinion as co-religionist on this matter. Godefroi, who had kept silent up until then, stated he was ‘Reluctantly dragged into this debate’. After denying the possibility of conversion in hospitals (Jewish children went to Jewish hospitals in Amsterdam) he stated he abhorred the situation in Rome, but believed that interference was useless, and he disliked spending time on useless cases. However he praised and supported the two MPs who had suggested to withdraw the Dutch representative in Rome.‘[48]

Diplomatic cases concerning the faith of Jews that did seem winnable were more than once taken up by Godefroi. In 1863, during debates on a commercial treaty with Switzerland, he spoke about the discriminative laws against Jews in that country. As a consequence the treaty was not signed. ‘Voilà un deputé qui ne rougit pas d’être israélite’ wrote the French Jewish weekly Archives Israelites.[49] Though the Minister of Foreign Affairs felt that the Dutch government was not in the position to demand the Swiss to change their constitution, other MPs whole heartedly supported Godefroi’s suggestion not to sign the treaty and they won the case.[50] In 1872 Godefroi pleaded for a protests of the Dutch consul in Rumania against the persecution of Jews in that country, in order to ‘bring improvement in the sad situation of my co-religionists in Rumania’. Stressing his own Jewishness, Godefroi stated that consuls from other countries had already undersigned such a protest. [51] The Minister of Foreign Affairs assured Godefroi that in the meantime the Dutch consul (who had been abroad for a while) had signed the protest. [52] A few years later, in 1876, Godefroi successfully argued that the Netherlands should not sign a commercial treaty with the country where Jews were discriminated. To enforce his arguments he pointed at the fact that also Dutch Jews, travelling to or through Rumania were discriminated and that there was a clear precedent in the case of the non-ratification of the Swiss commercial treaty.[53]

In none of these discussions on the fate of Jews abroad Godefroi met real opponents, and if MPs had any reserves, they where of a general nature, not directed against Jewish interests, nor did they use arguments ad hominem. He also took the floor on domestic ‘Jewish affairs.’ During debates on the budgets of religious communities he pleaded in favor of an increase of the budget of the Jewish congregations and for an increase of the salary of the new chief rabbi of Amsterdam.[54] During the debates on the Funeral act of 1869 he proposed several amendments which made certain demands more in accordance with Jewish laws.[55] In this debate Godefroi explicitly presented himself as a Jew, explaining that people ‘belonging to my religion’ bury their death in simple rough wooden coffins that could not meet de legal demand of waterproofness. The act was adapted according to his wishes. [56] However, his proposal to oblige municipalities to ‘hear’ members of several denominations who had to bury their members on general cemeteries was turned down with 42 against 13 votes. Most MPs felt that Dutch law and the Dutch tradition of respect for dissenters already gave sufficient guarantees that the cemeteries were made in accordance with all religious wishes.[57] Deputy Jhr.Mr. W.M. de Brauw (a conservative protestant) stated he was pleased that Godefroi threw himself into the breach for his co-religionist though also he felt that the existing law offered enough possibilities.[58]

Even though not all Godefroi’s proposals were supported by a majority of the Lower House, the fact that he as Jew defended the interests of his co-religionists at home and abroad, was widely accepted. It fitted in the general Dutch political tradition that representatives of religious minorities were represented in local administrative bodies in order to defend the interests of their co-religionists. Long before the 1851 bill was passed that implemented direct elections for municipal councils, Jews had been members of these local representative bodies. Sephardi Jews were represented in the Amsterdam municipal council since 1814, in The Hague since 1811, in Rotterdam since 1824 and also in smaller towns such as Oldenzaal, Amersfoort and Almelo Jews were members of the local administrative elite.[59] These Jewish members can be viewed more or less as ‘appointed’ prominent members of the Jewish community, who were supposed to represent that community[60]. The same goes for the Provincial States where up until the 1870's the tradition to have a Jewish member to be followed up by another Jewish member was also prevailing. In the Amsterdam voting district two seats were reserved for Jewish members of the Provinciale Staten of North Holland.[61]In the Lower House these local interests could of course not play such an important role, though via the constituency voting system local interests did enter this national representative body.

Generally speaking, Jewish representatives were accepted in the Lower House, and after the extensions of suffrage in 1887 and 1894 they almost became a structural element. It was also more or less accepted that these Jewish representatives would try to defend the interest of their co-religionists and more often than not their specific demands were complied with. Thing could become problematic however, if Jewish interests did not fit the interests of other religious groups, as was the case in the school funding controversy.

Jews and the Politics of Education

No other political issue could stir up emotions like religion and the position it should have in society, as became clear in the school funding controversy. Since freedom of education was one of the basic rights of the 1848 constitution, schools could be established based on the ideological convictions of its founders without government permission. However, the state would remain responsible for the supervision of these schools and for the quality and morality of its teachers. At the same time, article 194 of the constitution stated that it was the plight of the government to provide ample public education, and to do so in a way that it would not hurt the religious feelings of people. All of this should be specified in an Education Act. In 1857, after long debates between liberal and confessional politicians, a compromise was reached over an Education Act which provided for state subsidized primary schools, non-denominational but based on a vaguely formulated Christian identity captured in the ‘Christelijke en maatschappelijke deugden’(Christian and social virtues) formula: a remainder from the 1806 law. When this act was passed, Godefroi had accepted the formula, since – in his words – ‘for the general good, in order to reach an agreement on the educational law, I am willing to offer that to which I am entitled by law’, i.e.: public schools without any reference to Christian norms and values. [62] The public school, open to all children would help Jewish children, especially those from poorer families, to assimilate, according to this line of reasoning many Jewish parents, journalists, teachers and rabbis were in favour of the act.[63] Jewish weeklies therefore often called upon their readers to vote for Jewish politicians since they were advocates of the liberal educational law. [64]

However, Catholic and orthodox-Protestant protests against the law grew, and became a constant factor in the parliamentary debates from the late 1860’s onwards. An important impetus for the vehement Catholic responses to the liberal Education Act was the Episcopal charge of 1868 in which the bishops spoke out against public education as envisaged by the liberals. They were advocates of a state supported educational system that not only respected, but also actively taught Catholic religion.

In the heated debates on school funding, positions were taken in, confessional differences were underlined and the tone of the debate grew harsh. Godefroi, still defending the state-subsidized non-denominational public schools, had to put up with a lot of resistance. During these debates, his Jewish background was more than once related to. In December 1873 during the debates on the budget for the coming year, education was touched upon. The orthodox-Protestant MP Jan Messchert van Vollenhoven referred to the ´Oostersch gebied´ and ´Oostersche begrippen´ (oriental values) of Godefroi, and stated that if he would become more involved in Western values, he should admit that religion as such was disappearing from the public schools.[65] Jews should therefore be in favour of state subsidized Jewish schools for Jewish children.

Godefroi responded:

‘Ik heb geen mandaat van mijne geloofsgenooten, om dat geschenk aan te nemen of te weigeren; maar ik geloof als negotium gestor in hun belang te handelen, wanneer ik namens hen voor het aangeboden geschenk beleefdelijk bedank’[66] [I have no specific mandate of my coreligionists, but if I were to speak for them, I would refuse the offer].

Godefroi repeated his pedagogical argument: one school should be usable for all children but also, the public school was a kenmerk van de eenheid der natie’. [ A sign of the unity of the nation]

The Catholic representative Johannes Haffmans disagreed:

‘gedwongen vereeniging baart geen eenheid’ (...) ‘die geachte spreker heeft, naar ik meen, zijne geloofsgenooten te uitsluitend op het oog. De Israëlieten zijn een vreemde volksstam, en uit dankbaarheid voor de gastvrijheid die zijn in ons land genieten, laten zij veel over zich heen gaan. Wij Katholieken daarentegen, wij zijn hier te huis’.[67] [forced association brings no unity, Godefroi thinks too much as a Jew, they are strangers here and out of gratefulness for the hospitability, they accept everything. We Catholics are at home here]

In the same debate the Catholic Christianus Heydenryck had called Jews cosmopolites.[68] Godefroi reacted in a fury and spoke of the pitiful remarks of Haffmans and Heydenryck. The speaker of the Lower House asked him to restrain himself...Subsequently Godefroi pointed out that Jews were ‘Dutch citizens of the Jewish faith and no guests’.[69] The Jewish press, the liberal press and quite some MPs responded indignant to these reactions.[70] The news of the debate even reached France where the Archives Israelites spoke of two Catholics who had ‘publicly attacked the Jews’ and called it a ‘spectacle assez rare’ in the Netherlands.[71]

In 1878 a new, liberal Education Act was passed, aimed at improving the quality of the education on elementary schools (smaller classes for example). Also denominational schools (that received no funding from the state) had to meet these demands. Again, the protest of Catholics and orthodox Protestants against the law also hit on Godefroi and the Dutch Jews. Haffmans stated that Godefroi was the hero of the public schools, what was taught in these schools was determined by Jews, because only their interests were guarded ‘Dus, de Israëlitische haan kraait victorie’.[72] [It is done the Jewish way] Again Godefroi’s ‘Oosteschen gloed’[73] (oriental glow) was mentioned. So, all of a sudden, Godefroi’s Jewish background did matter and was mentioned time and again, not only in parliament, but also in Catholic and Anti-revolutionary (orthodox-Protestant) newspapers.

Already in 1853 (see reference 13) it had become clear that religion like no other issue could mobilize the masses for politics. The liberal Education Act of 1878 again led to a people’s petition, asking the king not to approve the law. Though this time the King refused to sign the petition, the mass mobilization led to the subsequent formation in 1879 of the first Dutch political party, the Anti-Revolutionaire Partij (orthodox Protestant) led by Abraham Kuyper, who also had his own journal De Standaard. For quite some time Kuyper used anti-Semitic arguments to gain popular support, as was also done in other European countries at that time. In a series of article he wrote in 1875, he blamed Jews – amongst others – for keeping Christianity out of public education[74] for having an upper layer that was over represented in press, the stock markets and law [75]whereas the rest of the Jews kept apart, like a separate nation.[76] Jewish politicians were elected as such, and Godefroi sat in the Lower House as Jew, not as representative of the Dutch nation.[77] Since Jews formed a considerable part of the Dutch population they should be represented in parliament, but since they so stubbornly kept apart, they should be represented as a national entity, as a ‘corporation’.[78] In 1892 De Standaard claimed that Jews were overrepresented in politics.[79] Even though Kuyper did not maintain his anti-Semitic politics till the end of his political career - anti-Semitism turned out not to be the best means to gain mass support and he had plenty of others - [80] it is a clear sign that there were issues which made the position of Jewish politicians debated in certain circles, to say the least.

In the school funding controversy liberal Jewish politicians (in 1887 Hartogh stood up for ‘neutral’ public education, as did Levy later on) truly fought a hard battle for State funded public education with as little religious influence as possible.[81] In a way, we could call this battle ‘Jewish politics’ even though it was a combat for a public good. Enemies of public education without religion most certainly saw it as ‘Jewish politics’.

Jewish politicians as representatives of the Jews revisited

Up until now, we have primarily looked at the discussions Godefroi evoked as Jewish politician. This is not very surprising if we look at the length of the period he was in office. Not only did he ‘sit’ for more than thirty years, during his ‘reign’ a lot of issues that were important for Jews were dealt with. He had been the quintessential ‘Jewish Lower House member’. When in 1881 his bad health withheld him from another candidacy, the Weekblad voor Israëlieten published an editorial, stating that this Jewish Lower House member would have to be succeeded by another Jew.[82] This did not immediately happen, it would take six year to have a successor, but then there were three of them (Hartogh, Levy and Kerdijk). His immediate successors were less concerned with Jewish interests. They belonged to the ‘second generation’ of Jewish politicians who were less attached to Jewish life and held less or no functions in Jewish organizations. The left wing and social liberals wanted to reform society as a whole and did not single out specific groups. This changed the opinion in some parts of the Jewish community towards Jewish politicians.

Letters to the editors of the NIW started discussions about the desirability to support these ‘non-Jewish Jews’. Referring to a candidate for the Amsterdam municipal council who was recommended as a Jewish candidate, one of the letter writers stated that this candidate had never showed a trace of solidarity with Judaism or the Jewish community, and ‘Nu komt een vacature in de raad en nu herinneren zich die mannen eensklaps dat zij zijn’[Now there is a vacancy in the council, and now all of a sudden these men remember they are Jews’].[83] In reaction, the editors wrote that they, as a Jewish journal, would not make propaganda for one politician or the other. They should not interfere with politics, since ‘naar de stembus gaan wij niet als , maar als Nederlanders’[We vote as Dutchmen, not as Jews]

In 1897, when there were several Jewish social-democratic candidates for the Lower House, the orthodox and slightly bourgeois editors of the NIW even wrote that they did not care about the number of Jewish representatives in the Lower House. As long as Church and State were separated, it did not matter whether the members were Jewish, Catholic or Protestant. A remarkable difference in tone with the earlier NINA and the Weekblad voor Israëlieten and even the earlier years of the NIW itself! At the same time, the NIW published advertisements for all Jewish candidates, from liberals to social-democrats… Clearly, a whole range of opinions about Jewish politicians as representatives of the Jews and the desirability of ‘doing Jewish politics’ had come into being at the end of the nineteenth century. All of them had a ‘voice’, publishing competing journals, a tendency that only increased in the 20th century and could be read as a sign of true emancipation.


In the meantime, in non-Jewish, especially ultra orthodox Catholic and orthodox Protestant circles, resistance against Jewish politicians increased. Especially I.A. Levy, who more than once ventilated his anticlericalism, was heavily attacked in parliament as well as in the journals of these two political-religious groups. Levy was one of the founders of the Liberale Unie, a political party that was characterized by the the anti-revolutionary MP Levinus Wilhelmus Christiaan Keuchenius as:

‘dat tweeslachtig kind geboren uit het huwelijk van eenen joodschen vader en eene heidensche moeder’ (...) (a hermaphrodyte child born from a Jewish father and a pagan mother. Also, he called the Liberale Unie the party of liberals or Levy-ites .

Levy was a very outspoken person, but the criticism went further than just personal offenses against him. In 1891 De Standaard signalled the function of Van Raalte in the Liberale Unie, next to that of Levy and pointed at the ‘ongemeenen invloed, dien het kleine Joodsche element in onze natie op de Côterie uitoefent’[the enormous influence that this small Jewish element has in our nation on the coterie]. In one sweeping statement, Jewish political influence in the Liberale Unie was criticised, or should we say Jews and liberalism were equated, and at the same time the liberal movement was depicted as a coterie.

Paradoxically enough, when it became easier for Jewish MPs to be elected and to enter government, their position became more debated, in Jewish as well as in non-Jewish circles. Several Jewish journals voiced a variation of opinions within Jewish circles and not all of them wholeheartedly supported all Jewish politicians as representatives of the Jews. On the other hand, the easier it had become for Jewish candidates to enter the Lower House, the easier they became a pars pro toto for the whole Jewish community, who were all abject liberals in the eyes of ultra orthodox Catholics and Protestants. The position of Jewish politicians was clearly revisited since 1848.

Figure 1: Number of Jewish Lower House members as percentage of total number


Total number of members

Jewish members

% Jews of Lower House

% Jews of total population



























































































Figure 2: Names of Jewish Lower House members 1848-1914

1848 M.H. Godefroi

1852 M.H. Godefroi; A.S. Van Nierop

1856 M.H. Godefroi

1860 M.H. Godefroi

1864 M.H. Godefroi; A.S. Van Nierop

1868 M.H. Godefroi

1871 M.H. Godefroi

1875 M.H. Godefroi

1879 M.H. Godefroi

1887 A.F.K. Hartogh; I.A. Levy; A. Kerdijk

1891 A.F.K. Hartogh; I.A. Levy; A. Kerdijk; H.D. Levyssohn Norman

1894 A.F.K. Hartogh; A. Kerdijk

1897 A.F.K. Hartogh; A. Kerdijk; E.E. van Raalte

1901 E.E. van Raalte

1905 E.E. van Raalte J. Limburg; Z. van den Bergh; S. van den Bergh

1909 J. Limburg

1913 J. Limburg; E.E. van Raalte; H. Polak; A.B. Kleerekoper, M. Mendels

Diskursn of the naye kille 2 quoted in: J. Michman and M. Aptroot (eds), Storm in the Community. Yiddish Polemical Pamphlets of Amsterdam Jewry 1797-1798 (Cincinatti: Hebrew Union Colle Press 2003), 80.

It would take a complete reorganisation of the congregation led by Louis Napoleon to finally change the rules of the congregation.

S. Bloemgarten, Hartog de Hartog de Lémon, 1755-1823 (Amsterdam: Aksant 2007), 99-102.

See L. Blok, Stemmen en kiezen. Het kiesstelsel in Nederland in de periode 1814-1850 (Groningen:Wolters-Noordhoff/Forsten 1987), 250 ff; R. de Jong, Van standpolitiek naar partijloyaliteit. Verkiezingen voor de Tweede Kamer 1848-1887 (Hilversum: Verloren, 1999), 14-15.

He received his Jewish lessons amongst others from S.I. Mulder a famous teacher, Hebraist, translator and school inspector. S.I. Mulder was thanked by Godefroi in a booklet, published on the occasion of his bar mitzvah. M.H. Godefroi, Uitboezeming van dankbetuiging aan mijne teedergeliefde ouders, den Wel Edelen Heer Henry Godefroi en Mevrouw M. Godefroi, geboren Salomons, op mijnen dertienden verjaringsdag, den dag mijner toetreding als lid tot het Mozaïsch kerkgenootschap (Amsterdam: Van Embden & Co 1827), 11.

J. de Pinto in Nederlandsch-Israelitisch Nieuws-en Advertentie-Blad 11 October 1850.

For the history of the Hoofdcommissie, its leaders and activities see: Bart Wallet, Nieuwe Nederlanders. De integratie van de in Nederland 1814-1851 (Amsterdam: Bert Bakker 2007).

The Raad van State, formed in 1531, is the most important advisory body for the Dutch government.

All of this can be read in Thorbecke’s recommendation of Godefroi as potential minister of Justice. See C.W. de Vries, Grondwetting Koningschap onder Koning Willem III 1849-1870 (The Hague: Martinus Nijhoff 1946), 83.

Letter from M.H. Godefroi to Carel Asser, d.d. 7 December 1871, NAA Asser Family Archive 34.

J.A. de Kok, Nederland op de breuklijn Rome-Reformatie. Numerieke aspecten van protestantisering en katholieke herleving in de Noordelijke Nederlanden 1580-1880 (Assen: Van Gorcum & Comp N.V.1964), 292-293.

At that time a marriage between as Sephardic and Ashenazic partner was still considered a ‘mixed’ marriage and implicitly as misalliance for the Sephardic partner.

The cabinet fell because of the strong Protestant and conservative protest movement against the re-establishment of Catholic dioceses. Since the 1848 constitution had separated Church and State it opened the way to re-establishing Catholic dioceses and the appointment of bishops. All of this was announced by a Papal letter which offended part of the Protestant Dutch population. This led to strong Protestant and conservative protests amongst the population, known as the April movement of 1853. A petition was drawn up containing 250,000 signatories against the papal letter. Thorbecke’s cabinet asked King William III to reject the petition which he refused. Consequently the cabinet resigned and the new cabinet dissolved Lower House.

P.H. Enthoven, Kroniek van het geslacht Enthoven (Zutphen: Walburg Pers 1991)160-161.

NIW 9 July 1880.

‘Hartog, Abraham Frans Karel’, in: P.C. Molhuysen, PJ Blok and F.K.H. Kossmann (eds), Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek vol VI (Leiden: A.W. Sijthoff’s Uitgevers-Maatschappij 1924), 714. See also NIW 7 August 1925 and biographical data on

S. Stuurman, Wacht op onze daden. Het liberalisme en de vernieuwing van de Nederlandse staat (Amsterdam: Bert Bakker 1992), 368-370.

Arnold Polak Kerdijks’father Simon Andries Polak Kerdijk was a brother of Henry Polak Kerdijk, who together with Lodewijk Pincoffs founded the Afrikaansche Handelsvereeniging).

Arnolds father first added Kerdijk to his original name Polak, and subsequently had Polak removed from his name in 1859, R. Vuurmans, ‘Polak Kerdijk, Arnold’, Biografisch Woordenboek van het Socialisme en de Arbeidersbeweging 4 (Amsterdam: Stichting beheer IISG 1990), 160-163. For the conversion see Schepel, Polak, Polak Kerdijk, Kerdijk, 44. Since Kerdijk was born as a Jew and did not decide upon his conversion himself I have included him in my selection of ‘Jewish politicians’. This decision is of course debatable.

Taal, Liberalen en radicalen in Nederland, 33-34.

Levy left the governing board of the Unie that same year, because he felt its ideas about the way the Liberale Unie should make propaganda for its principles was too limited Taal, Liberalen en radicalen, 110 and 535

For an overview of his publications see:


J.T.J. van den Berg, De toegang tot het Binnenhof : de maatschappelijke herkomst van de Tweede-Kamerleden tussen 1849 en 1970 (Weesp : Van Holkema & Warendorf, 1983), 232.


Doreen Arnoldus, Bergh, Samuel’, in: R. Fuks-Mansfeld e.a. (eds), in Nederland in de Twintigste Eeuw. Een biografisch woordenboek (Utrecht: Het Spectrum 2007), 21-22, Doreen Arnoldus, Family, Family Firm and Strategy. Six Dutch Family Firms in the Food Industry 1880-1970 (Amserdam: Aksant 2002), 351-352 S.R. Italie-Hausdorff, ‘Senator en Groot-Industreel. Interview met den heer S. Van den Bergh jr’, Vrijdagavond, 4 June 1926, 148-151; and biographical data on

NIW 15 March 1901

Salvador Bloemgarten, Henri Polak. Sociaal democraat 1868-1943 (The Hague: SDU 1993), 613.

Edna de Levita (ed.), ABK. ‘Oproerige krabbels’. Hoekstukjes van A.B. Kleerekoper (Haarlem: Uitgeverij Tuindorp 1994), 10-11.

Quoted in L. Brug, ‘Mendels, Maurits’, in: Biografisch Woordenboek van het Socialisme en de Arbeidersbeweging (Amsterdam: Stichting beheer IISG 2001) 159-162, see:

See E. Gans, De kleine verschillen die het leven uitmaken. Een historische studie naar joodse sociaal-democraten en socialistisch-zionisten in Nederland (Amsterdam: Vassallucci 1999) 110, Brug, ‘Mendels, Maurits’, and the Maurits Mendels archive, part of the Mendels-Stokvis collection, IISH, no 19.

Jhr. M. Salvador, Iets over de Amsterdamsche verkiezingen (Haarlem: J.B. van Lochem jr 1848),10

Salvador, Iets over de Amsterdamsche verkiezingen, 7.

NINA 27 December 1850

‘Katholijke stemmen in de Tweede Kamer’, NINA 28 December 1849 and 4 January 1850

NINA 28 December 1849

Every two year, half of the members had to resign and could be re-elected straight away.

For the number of Jewish voters see B. De Vries, Electoraat en elite. Sociale structuur en sociale mobiliteit in Amsterdam 1850-1895 (Amsterdam: Gemeentelijke Archiefdienst/De Bataafsche Leeuw 1986), 53.

NINA 16 August 1850

Kok, Nederland op de breuklijn Rome-Reformatie, 292-293.

NINA 16 August 1850

NINA 30 August 1850

For more information on twe two journals and their editors see I. Lipschits, Honderd jaar NIW. Het Nieuw Israëlitisch Weekblad 1865-1965 (Amsterdam: Polak & Van Geneep 1966)

See for example NIW 26 February 1869; NIW 4 March 1869; NIW 16 April 1869

That year a six-year-old Jewish boy named Edgardo Mortara was seized forcibly from his Jewish family by papal force, because he had been secretly baptized by a sixteen-year-old hired domestic, when he was very ill. A storm of protest raged through the European Jewish communities and Moses Montefiore, leader of the English Jewish Board of Deputies contacted the leaders of other communities, a.o. the Dutch Hoofdcommissie, to protest against this action.

W.M. de Lang, ‘Weerklank van de Mortara-affaire in Nederland’, Studia Rosenthaliana vol XIX, no xx (1985), 159-173

Handelingen Tweede Kamer, meeting of 8 December 1858, 318 and 322.

The two MPs were the liberal S. van Heemstra and the Anti-revolutionary W. van Lynden. Handelingen Tweede Kamer, meeting of 29 November 1864, 223.

Archives Israélites vol XXIV 15 July 1863.

See R.G. Fuks-Mansfeld, ‘Mensenrechten in de Nederlandse buitenlandse politiek. Het Zwitsers-Nederlandse handelsverdag van 1863tot 1878', Studia Rosenthaliana, vol XII, no 1-2, 133-157.

Handelingen Tweede Kamer, meeting of 23 September 1872, 35-39.

Handelingen Tweede Kamer, meeting of 23 September 1872, 35-39.

Handelingen Tweede Kamer, meeting 18 December 1876, 667-668.

NIW 16 October 1868 and 22 November 1872.

Handelingen Tweede Kamer, meeting 23 February-26 February 1869, 891-952.

Handelingen Tweede Kamer, meeting 23 February-26 February 1869, 893-894.

See for example Fock, in idem 948 and De Bosch Kemper, in idem, 951

Idem, 974.

For Amsterdam see: Hofland, Leden van de Raad, 19; for The Hague: P.R.D. Stokvis, De wording van modern Den Haag. De stad en haar bevolking van de Franse Tijd tot de Eerste Wereldoorlog (Zwolle: Uitgeverij Waanders 1987) 322-323 and, Rotterdam, Michman, Beem and Michman, Pinkas, 502. For the smaller towns see, Brasz, ‘De joodse stem in de Nederlandse gemeente-politiek’ 300. See also: Bart Wallet, ‘Political Participation of Dutch Jews in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century 1814-1848', Zutot 3 (2003), 173-177.

Brasz, ‘De joodse stem in de Nederlandse gemeente-politiek’ , 303-304.

H. van Felius and H.J. Metselaars, Noordhollandse Statenleden 1840-1919 (Den Haag: Stichting Hollandse Historische Reeks, 1995), 29.

Handelingen Tweede Kamer, meeting 9 July 1857, 1105

For more information on Jews and the educational laws see K. Hofmeester, ‘”Een teeder en belangrijk punt”. Opinies over openbaar onderwijs in joodse kring, 1857-1898’, in: H. Te Velde and H. Verhage (eds), De eenheid en de delen. Zuilvorming, onderwijs en natievorming in Nederland, 1850-1900 (Amsterdam: Het Spinhuis 1996), 157-176

See for example NIW 8 June 1866: in this issue Jews were called upon to vote for Godefroi; The Weekblad voor Israëlieten 31 January 1868 called its readers to vote for a series of advocates of the liberal educational law, amongst others A.S. van Nierop. The Weekblad voor Israëlieten 7 February 1868 called upon their readers to vote for the non-Jewish liberal J. Heemskerk – an advocate of the 1857 Act - who had to be re-elected.

Handelingen Tweede Kamer, meeting of 6 December 1873, 592 and 600.

Idem, 598

Idem, 621.

Idem, 614

Handelingen Tweede Kamer, meeting of 8 December 1873, 622.

For the Jewish press see NIW 12 December 1873 and NIW 20 February 1874, for the liberal press it was the Nieuwe Rotterdamsche Courant that protested loudly. For the MPs see Handelingen Tweede Kamer, meeting of 8 December 1873, 623

Archives Israélites 1 January 1874

Handelingen Tweede Kamer, meeting of 26 June 1877, 1070.

Idem, 8 July 1877, 1228

De Standaard 14 October 1875

Idem, 12 October 1875

Idem, 4 October 1875

Idem, 8 October 1875

Idem, 14 Oct 1875

Idem, 31 August 1892

H. Te Velde, Stijlen van leiderschap. Persoon en politiek van Thorbecke tot den Uyl (Amsterdam: Wereldbibliotheek 2002) 92-93.

For Hartogh see Handelingen Tweede Kamer, meeting of 1 June 1887, 1850-1852.

Weekblad voor Israëlieten, 30 September 1881 and 14 October 1881.

Nieuw Israëlitisch Weekblad 22 September 1893


Idem 6 August 1897

See for example Idem 23 July 1897

Handeling en Tweede Kamer, meeting 2 June 1885, 1027.

Idem, 1028

De Standaard 20 April 1891