Letter in Judendeutsch

Judendeutsch letter • The Rothschild Archive

This is a letter written in Judendeutsch from Nathan Mayer Rothschild to his brothers in 1816. The five sons of Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812), wrote daily to one another, their letters detailing the day’s business, market opportunities and prices, and family gossip. The use of Judendeutsch (words written in the German language and committed to paper in Hebrew characters) for their letters provided a useful means of protecting their missives from prying eyes, for although not in itself a code, the comparative rarity of understanding of the script meant that they could not easily be deciphered.

This treasure is part of the Rothschild Archive, a London-based private archive holding the commercial records and personal papers of members of the Rothschild family, focusing on the records of London-based N M Rothschild & Sons and the French bank of M M de Rothschild Fréres. The archive is usually by appointment only and not open to members of the general public so we are delighted to feature it as part of Hidden Treasures. You can visit the archive’s website here.

Gifted to the Trustees of The Rothschild Archive London by N M Rothschild & Sons Limited.


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