Salomon Zerkowitz (Kohn-Zerkowitz) (c.1743 - 1809)

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Birthplace: Zvěrkovice, Třebíč District, Vysočina Region, Czech Republic
Death: Died in Household #866, Prague, Hlavní město Praha, Hlavní město Praha, Czech Republic
Managed by: Robert Bruce Hanscom
Last Updated:

About Salomon Zerkowitz (Kohn-Zerkowitz)

Salomon Kohn-Zerkowitz was the eldest son of Juda Lobl Kohn-Zerkowitz. As a young adult, he moved to Prague where he was to remain for the rest of his life. Records show that he was a wealthy merchant and a prominent member of the Jewish community. His name often appears as a witness in birth and marriage records. In 1788, 1790, and 1792, he and his family are seen living in household #187 in Prague's Jewish community, but, in 1795, they were residing in household #217. Salomon was married twice. By his first wife, Bella (Schneiber), he had three surviving daughters, Maria, Rebeka, and Amalia. By his second wife, Sara (Lucka), he was the father of eight more children: Anna, Ludwig, Rozsa, Wilhelmine, Samuel, Lea, Jacob, and Benedict.

When he married his second wife on 20 December 1786, his age was given as 45. However, he was likelier 43 at the time. The marriage record also spells his surname as ZEREKOWA. Earlier, when his first wife died in December 1784, he is seen as "Salomon ZERKAWA", and when his eldest daughter was married in May 1785, he is listed as "Salomon SERKOVA". In all other records, however, he appears as "Salomon ZERKOWITZ".

Salomon became a devoted follower of the false Messiah, Jacob Frank. In 1798, the Frankists required him to hand over to them his entire wealth, leaving him a pauper.

Prague, 1792 (Vol. VI/1, p. 58) House CLXXXVII Salomon ZERKOWER, married, money negotiator, living with: Rachel Samuel LUCKA, Schnittwarenhandlerin Wittwe, Wolf Low KARPELES, Papierhandler [*later his son-in-law], Aron Beer Markus SEKELES, married, Leinwandhandler, Rachel Samuel LUCKA, Brandweinhandlerin

Prague, 1794 (p. 223) Salomon ZERKOWITZ, married, money negotiator, resides in Prague, wife, Sara, money negotiator, son, Lewie (single), daughters, Maria (married), Amalia (married), Anna (unmarried), Rosa (unmarried) [daughters' husbands are not named]

From the book "Militant Messiah", by Arthur Mandel [Humanitarian Press, 1979] -- the biography of the false Messiah, Jacob Frank (1726-1791) -- there are three passages that reference Salomon Zerkowitz (b. c.1743):

[page 102] "Contrary to the Polish Frankists, who mainly came from the poor and uneducated, those of Prague belonged to the rich and highly educated, with several physicians among them. Yet they went on frequent pilgrimages to Frank, as did their fellow-Frankists in Poland, or as the Hassidim went to their tsaddik. Jonas Wehle once took his son-in-law, Loew Hoenig von Hoenigsberg, on such a pilgrimage and the latter returned all bewildered by the rituals and ceremonies of 'the court'. The pilgrims had to approach 'divine Eva' [Jacob Frank's daughter] on their knees and elbows ('like dogs did they crawl before her,' in the words of Eva's lady-in-waiting, Paulina Pawlowska). Shedding tears of joy, they deposited gifts and money at her feet, although the tears were not always pure joy, as the Franks, claiming divine command, did not hesitate to rob their visitors of their last pennies. Some Frankists testified before a rabbinical court at Feurth, Germany, that one Mendel Yitshin had to give up 'many thousands of florins'. The same happened to Rosl Eger, Jonas Wehle's sister; although an admirer of Frank, she resisted at first, but then 'was forced' to hand over her money. The Wehle family once was ordered to procure 3,000 florins within three days; Aaron Baer Wehle actually delivered the money to Eva Frank and prostrated himself before her, moved to tears for being blessed to see her with his own eyes. This elicited from her the affable words: 'What does he cry about? I am a poor girl." SALOMON ZERKOWITZ had his beard forcibly shaved off on the Sabbath and had to pay for this 'privilege' 660 florins cash, a promissory note of 2,000 florins, and all the gold and silver he had with him..."

[page 163 -- many years later, the youthful Moses Porges was a disciple of Jacob Frank's daughter, Eva, and recalled this encounter that occurred in 1798:] "That year, Mr. SALOMON ZERKOWITZ came to Offenbach also. He used to be very rich and brought with him all that remained of his wealth, which he was ordered to give up. His wealth consisted of Austrian government securities which I took to Frankfurt to be turned into cash by the old Rothschild. ZERKOWITZ was a fine, honest man and cried when forced to give up his last belongings...."

[page 166] [A passage here references the fact that SALOMON ZERKOWITZ had a son-in-law living in Fuerth, Germany in 1798-1799. It does not, however, provide the son-in-law's name.]

Salomon Zerkowitz died in Prague [household #866] on 21 April 1809. His death record gives his age as 70, but he was likely only about 66 at the time.

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Salomon Zerkowitz's Timeline

1743
1743
Zvěrkovice, Třebíč District, Vysočina Region, Czech Republic
1765
1765
Age 22
Prague, Hlavní město Praha, Hlavní město Praha, Czech Republic
1766
1766
Age 23
Prague, Hlavní město Praha, Hlavní město Praha, Czech Republic
1767
1767
Age 24
Prague, Hlavní město Praha, Hlavní město Praha, Czech Republic
1772
1772
Age 29
Prague, Hlavní město Praha, Hlavní město Praha, Czech Republic
1786
December 20, 1786
Age 43
Prague, Hlavní město Praha, Hlavní město Praha, Czech Republic
1788
June 22, 1788
Age 45
Prague, Hlavní město Praha, Hlavní město Praha, Czech Republic
1790
February 14, 1790
Age 47
Prague, Hlavní město Praha, Hlavní město Praha, Czech Republic
1792
January 23, 1792
Age 49
Prague, Hlavní město Praha, Hlavní město Praha, Czech Republic
1793
September 14, 1793
Age 50
Prague, Hlavní město Praha, Hlavní město Praha, Czech Republic