Monday, August 17, 2015

Reminiscences of Rabbi Joseph Samuel Bloch penned by Charles Duschinsky in a copy of his Reminiscences

In the free-end of Charles Duschinsky's ( Jewish Historian 1878–1944) copy of My Reminiscences by Dr Joseph Samuel Bloch, appears a lengthy interesting handwritten entry as follows:

Nov 1929
[Received], from Dr. Grunwald, Rabbi in Vienna, and son-in-law of the late Dr. J.S. Bloch. The latter was a great friend of my Uncle Oberrabbiner Wilhelm Reich ז"ל of Baden bei Wien, who died on 17th of Tammuz 5689-1929. When my uncle visited me a few years ago, just after the death of Dr. Bloch, he told me that B. was running about from library to library with books under his arm working on his last two books, The story of his life “My Reminiscences” and Israel u. die Volker (also translated “Israel and the Nations”). “That,” he said, “probably killed him”. He (my uncle), being then just over 70, said, that at that time in life things must be taken leisurely. He would like to write more books, “but it’s no use killing yourself”. Nevertheless he died “killing himself”. The heat last July in Vienna was very terrible, and on the 16th of Tammuz he attended a funeral where he delivered a “Hesped” (funeral oration). As he bent down afterwards to throw the first earth upon the coffin, he collapsed either from a sun-stroke or heart failure and never recovered consciousness. He died the same night at the age of 76. – I can for myself, truly say: deeply mourned. זכר צדיק לברכה
C. D.

Dr. Bloch was a great friend of mine. – He encouraged me when I was a very young man, and printed articles & notes from me, while I was still at Pressburgh in the Yeshivah, and I was a constant contributor to his “Oesterreichisthe Wochenschrift” even while in London right till the outbreak of the war in 1914. – A clever and learned man, very jovial and friendly. He was, at one time, a great power in the Vienna Jewish community. As a journalist he was not liked by everybody, but he had a great following. It was through his influence that his son-in-law Dr. Grunwald was elected Rabbi in Vienna. There are a good many bon-mots still in circulation from & about him.
C. D.

hat-tip: Yitzchak Stroh

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