Memorial Website of Ignaz Goldziher

The Family

“For my father, the memory of his parents was the subject of a real religious cult.”

The forefathers of Ignaz Goldziher (1850–1921), members of the Goldzieher family, were merchants in Toledo, then later in Hamburg. His great-great-grandparents, Moses Goldzieher (1710–1785) and Chaile Hildesheim settled down in the country-town Köpcsény (Kittsee), one of the so-called Seven communities (Sheva Kehilot) of Burgenland, under the jurisdiction of the Esterházy princes in the 18th century. The family lived there for some three generations (Moses, his son Yom-Tov Lippmann Philip (1730–?), and his grandson Vitus (1780–1844)) and were successful traders.

Adolf (1804–1874), the father of Ignaz and his five siblings, were also born in Köpcsény. Following family tradition, Adolf became a merchant. Thanks to the high social standing of the family, in 1838 he married Katharina, daughter of wholesale grain-merchant Marcus Berger. During these years, the Small-Burgenland region began to lose its economic significance, inducing Adolf to leave his place of residence. First, he moved to Székesfehérvár, where his three children were born, Vilmos Vitus (1844–1848), Ignaz and Maria (1852–1884), only two of whom survived to adulthood. Adolf Goldzieher proved unsuccessful as a businessman. Even when he moved to Pest, he failed to turn his leather company into a flourishing business. He foresaw a different future for Ignaz and supported his decision to devote his life to scholarship.

The Esterházy castle in Köpcsény
The Esterházy castle in Köpcsény (Kittsee), Matthias Greischer ca. 1680.
Székesfehérvár, Nádor Street
Székesfehérvár, Nádor street (today Fő street) in Goldziher's time. LHAS Oriental Collection, Goldziher/142/56
Birthplace of Ignaz Goldziher at Székesfehérvár
The birthplace of Ignaz Goldziher at 4 Ybl street (today 6 Oskola street) with the commemorative relief by Jenő Bory (1879–1959) inaugurated on 7 September 1924. LHAS Oriental Collection, Goldziher/142/59

Partly because of his studies, and partly due to personal reasons, Ignaz Goldziher only decided to marry in 1879, approaching the end of his youth. He married Laura Mittler (1854–1925), daughter of a physician in Aradszentmárton (Sânmartin). They had two sons, Miksa Adolf (1880–1900) and Károly (1881–1955). Miksa’s suicide as a law student cast a sad shadow on the life of the family.

Károly became a well-known mathematician, his father proudly recorded in his Diary when he got a university appointment. He also approved of his son’s marriage with Maria, the daughter of bank director Rafael Freudenberg, in 1913. Maria Freudenberg (1890–1918) had obtained a university degree in Egyptology, and her intelligence and knowledge greatly impressed her father-in-law. Maria died during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918. Károly contracted his second marriage in 1920, with the graphologist Erzsébet Herz (1893–1944). Their only son, Sándor (1922–1944) was born after Ignaz had died. His wife and son were victims of the Holocaust, Károly Goldziher, the last surviving direct descendant of the family, died in 1955. In the Kozma Street Cemetery of Budapest, Ignaz Goldziher, his wife, and sons rest in a family mausoleum.

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A Goldziherék családfájáról (kézirat)

Kézirat. MTA KIK Kézirattár, Ms 4244/77

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