Lazarus Levi
Lazarus Levi (1743–1806), Court factor

Lazarus Josef Levi was born on 17 November 1743 as the son of Josef Wolf Levi and Maria Koschel Moos in Hohenems. Already his father was successful as a merchant and Lazarus Josef Levi continued this way. His mother was the sister of Maier Moos, the longtime head of the community, under whom the Hohenems synagogue was built in 1771. From 1785 until his death in 1806 he himself held the office of the head of the Hohenems Jewish community.
Aron Tänzer portrayed him as a devout, profound expert on the Talmud, and his family owned an extensive library, in which the contemporary fine literature (from Schiller to Campe) was found as well as works of philosophy and enlightenment. As a patron, he made charitable institutions possible, such as the foundation for the poor, which he set up in 1803. In 1795, he was awarded the title and privileges of Court Factor, thus facilitating travel and residence throughout the entire Monarchy, and admission to the circle of leading Jewish families in the German-speaking world. He was married to Judith Daniel from Frankfurt am Main, with whom he had ten children.
Lazarus Levi was active in long-distance trade across the Alps and regularly visited the Bolzano trade fairs, as well as other trading centres. Together with his older brother Hirsch, he ran the trading company “Gebrüder Hirsch und Lazarus Levi” and soon became one of the leading merchants in the Alpine region, trading in Swiss and southern German textile products as well as silk, raw materials and colonial goods originating from Italy. These were often barter transactions, such as the exchange between German and Swiss woven goods of linen and linen for violet roots (1780), or textiles for wine from Cyprus (1783). Again and again he had to help relatives who got into difficulties, such as the Bolzano merchant Heinrich Hendle, who was married to his sister Susanna. At the peak of his career, Lazarus Josef Levi died in Hohenems on October 4, 1806, at the age of 62.


Picture: court factor Lazarus Josef Levi, 1795, painting by H. Kraneck