Observations on Immigration to Germany 200 years ago

In October 1685 revoked Louis XIV, the grandson of Henry IV, the Edict of Nantes and drove an exodus of Protestants to neighbor Germany, Great Britain and Switzerland. When in 1800, John Moore, a Scottish MD, visit Germany, he made the following observations:

John Moore, 1729-1802

John Moore 1729-1802

“There is a very considerable number of Calvinists in this place ; it is generally thought they are the most industrious. They unquestion-ably are the richest part of the inhabitants. This may be partly owing to a circumstance that some of them consider as a hardship- their being excluded from any share in the government of the city. Many of the Calvinist families are defendants of French Protestants; who left their country at the revocation Book cover A view od society and mannerson of the edict of Nantz. There are some villages near Frankfort consisting entirely of French refugees; who, deserting their country at the same time, have settled here in a cluster. Their descendants speak French in their common conversation and retain many of their original customs to this hour.”

further on page 388:

“The number of Jews in Frankfort is prodigious, considering one dismal inconvenience they are subjected to, being obliged to live all together in a single street built up at one end: There is a large gate at the other, which is regularly shut at a certain  hour of the night, after which no Jews dare appear in the streets; but the whole herd must remain cooped and crowded together, like fo many black cattle, until morning. As this street is narrow, the room allotted for each family, small, and as the children of Israel were never remarkable for their cleanliness, and always noted for breeding, the Jews’ quarter, you will believe, is not the sweetest part of the town. I scarce think they could have been worse lodged in the land of Egypt. The Jews in Frankfort are obliged to fetch water when a fire happens in any part of the city; and the magistrates, in return, permit them to choose judges out of their own body for deciding disputes among themselves ; but if either party refuses to submit to this, an appeal is open to the magistrates. They must unquestionably enjoy some great advantages by the trade they carry on, to compensate for such inconveniences. During the day time they are allowed the liberty of walking all over the town; a privilege which they improve with equal assiduity and address. They attack you in the street, ply at the gate of your lodgings, and even glide into your apartments, offering to supply you with every commodity you can have occasion for And if you happen to pass by the entrance of their street, they entreat your custom with the violence and vociferation of fo many Thames watermen. I was twice at their synagogue. There is nothing magnificent in their worship but much apparent zeal and fervour. I saw one of their most important rites performed on two children. It was impossible not to feel compassion for the poor infants, thus cruelly initiated into a community, who had formerly the misfortune of being despised by the Heathens, and now are execrated by all pious Christians.”


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