About Bertha Ochs (Levy)
Bertha Levy, the plain-faced daughter of a merchant and tailor from Landau, Bavaria. Bertha was as determined and inflexible as Julius was dreamy and accommodating. As a fifteen-year-old student at Heidelberg Seminary during the revolutionary movement of 1848, she had defiantly dipped her handkerchief in the blood of an executed comrade to show her sympathy for the cause. To escape arrest, she fled to Natchez, Mississippi, to live with an uncle. Her parents soon followed, and by 1854 the family had settled in Nashville, Tennessee. It was there that Julius, then working for a cousin, became engaged to Bertha on the evening of Yom Kippur.
Bertha's youthful liberalism proved to be deceptive. In Natchez she had embraced a contemptuous antebellum view of blacks, and for the rest of her life was dogmatically conservative, even reactionary.