This site is built around the history of three families whose family names were Cassirer, Cohen and Falk. When I embarked on putting this information on the web it was with the idea that if I found it interesting it might be of interest also to my relatives. I also hoped that improving it could become a collective exercise. And so it has, benefiting enormously from information, photographs and corrections from an increasingly large number of contributors.
One attraction of the idea of a collective history is the possibility that by accessing it we can better understand why we came to be where we are. For the families here this understanding has been disrupted by emigration, the holocaust, expansion of empire, and much else. But it is precisely because of the severity of that disruption that helping bridge it seems worthwhile. From my point of view the impetus to explore this history was in part to gain a clearer picture of the Cassirer and Falk sides of the family, which seemed to me so mysterious, because the knowledge of it departed with my father and his mother, Betty Falk (ne Cassirer), in 1957 when I was eleven years old.
Of course there is no single history of a family, or even a person and so I have also collected together many key document and other accounts elsewhere in this site. What follows is just one overview of the histories of these families. This starts where the stories mysteriously begin together, more than four hundred years ago, with two men living near what is now the Polish border with Germany.
|A tale of two men - Cassirer and Cohen 1530-1800|
|Schwientochlowitz to Breslau; Breslau to Berlin; Music, Publishing and Art; Continuing the Entrepeneurship; Daughters; The Scattered Generations.|
An imaginable but impossible gathering: Cohen and Cassirer brothers gather under the benevolent gaze of paintings of their fathers (Markus Cassirer, top left and Henry Cohen, top right). Left to right Julius Cassirer (sitting), Philip Cohen, Salomon (Salo) Cassirer, Eduard Cassirer, Samuel Cohen (sitting), Lewis Cohen, Louis Cassirer, Joseph Cohen, Eduard Cohen (sitting), Max Cassirer, and Isidor Cassirer (sitting).
(If , defying constraints of time, space and language, the gathering had taken place, then perhaps the somewhat grim expressions, and in particular Eduard Cohen's pensive look [front right] and Isidor Cassirer's tense expression [back right], could conceivably reflect discussion on the suitability of a proposed future match between Werner, gandson of Isidor, and Eduard's great granddaughter Barbara.)
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