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Jacobi – the Man and his Work
Paul J. Jacobi (Könisberg, 1911 – Jerusalem, 1997) came to Eretz Israel/Palestine in 1919. He trained as a lawyer in Germany and England and was called to the Palestine Bar in 1936. During World War 2, he was a member of the Haganah. Involved in multiple public activities and also active in local politics, he ran unsuccessfully for Mayor of Jerusalem in 1965.
A polymath, Jacobi’s deepest passion was for Jewish history and, in particular, for Jewish genealogy. He was a founding member of the Palestine Jewish Genealogical Society when it was formed in 1937, and enjoyed international renown as an expert in his speciality, the genealogical origins of Ashkenazi Jewry.
Jacobi held that a core-group of some 80 élite families dominated Ashkenazi Jewry from its beginnings. To test his theory, he meticulously investigated over 450 families to varying levels of detail, using the considerable resources available to him in Jerusalem. Of these, he took over 100 studies, representing the key families, to completion. They are now (March 2019) being published for the first time. The balance of his researches, altogether a staggering amount of work, is deposited in manuscript form in the National Library of Israel.
Click here for an article on “Dr. Paul J. Jacobi (1911–1997) – Biography and the Leading Families Hypothesis” by Dr. Neville Lamdan.