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Alfonsi, Petrus (fl. 1106–1126), scholar and translator of scientific works, was born in northern Spain, to Jewish parents. He was baptized a Christian on 29 June 1106 in Huesca, Aragon, with the names of the apostle on whose feast day the baptism took place and of his godfather, ...

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Bassano, Alvise (d. 1554), musician and instrument maker, was presumably born in Bassano, near Venice, in the late fifteenth century, the second son of Maestro Jeronimo (d. 1539?), known as Piva (‘bagpipe’). By 1515 he was playing in Venice, and he served in ...

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See Bassano, Alvise

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Bauer, Peter Thomas, Baron Bauer (1915–2002), economist, was born on 6 November 1915 in Budapest, the son of Aladár Dezsö Bauer (1883–1944), bookmaker, and his wife, Anna, née Grossmann. He attended the Scholae Piae (a Gymnasium of the Piarist order) and enrolled for a law degree at the ...

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Peter Thomas Bauer, Baron Bauer (1915–2002) by Nick Sinclair, 1992 © Nick Sinclair; photograph National Portrait Gallery, London

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Peter James Henry Benenson (1921–2005) by Carolyn Djanogly, 1999 © Carolyn Djanogly; collection National Portrait Gallery, London

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Benenson, Peter James Henry (1921–2005), barrister and human rights campaigner, was born on 31 July 1921 at 6 Albert Court, Knightsbridge, London, the only child of Lieutenant-Colonel Harold Josiah Solomon (1885–1930), army officer, and his wife, Flora (1895–1984), daughter of the Jewish Russian banker ...

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Bernhardt, Sarah Henriette Rosine (1844–1923), actress, was born, probably on 22 or 23 October 1844, in Paris, the first of the three daughters of Julie Bernhardt (d. 1876), a Jewish courtesan from Amsterdam. The identity of her father remains unknown, although he is sometimes given as ...

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Sarah Henriette Rosine Bernhardt (1844–1923) by Histed private collection

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Henri Georges Stephan Adolphe Opper de Blowitz (1825–1903) by Henri Dochy © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Blowitz, Henri Georges Stephan Adolphe Opper de (1825–1903), journalist, was born at Blovice in the Plzeň district of Bohemia, on 28 December 1825, the elder son of Marc Opper or Oppert, a tradesman, and Anne Hartmann. The exact circumstances of his early life are uncertain; the account that he dictated for his posthumously published ...

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Brampton, Sir Edward [Duarte Brandão] (c. 1440–1508), soldier and merchant, was born in Lisbon c.1440, reputedly the illegitimate son of Rui Barba and the wife of a Jewish blacksmith. About 1468 he travelled to England and converted to Christianity. As was usual in such cases, the ...

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Carvajal, Antonio Fernandez (d. 1659), merchant, was probably born in Portugal, for in his youth he seems to have lived in Fundão. He may have fled to Spain at some time, and apparently owned land in the Canary Islands. By the early 1630s he was in ...

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Cassel, Sir Ernest Joseph (1852–1921), merchant banker and financier, was born on 3 March 1852 in Cologne, Germany, the youngest of the three children of Jacob Cassel (1802–1875) and Amalia, née Rosenheim (d. 1874). Jacob Cassel had a small banking business, founded by his father, ...

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Sir Ernest Joseph Cassel (1852–1921) by Anders Leonard Zorn, 1909 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Costa [née Mendes], Catherine [Rachel] da (1679–1756), miniature painter, was born in London in 1679, the eldest daughter of Dr Fernando (Moses) Mendes (1647–1724) and his wife, Isabel (Rachel) Henriques (d. 1691), daughter of Diego Rodrigues Marques. Mendes's parents were born in ...

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Ferdinand, Philip (1556–1599), Hebrew and Arabic scholar, was born of Jewish parentage in Poland in 1556. In his youth he studied the Talmud in the traditional Jewish manner and, judging from his elegant Latin, his command of Greek, and his fine handwriting, also received a humanist education. After about 1580 he was in ...

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Fonseca, Alvaro da [Jacob Jessurun Alvares] (1657?–1742), diamond merchant, was born in Lisbon, the second of three children of Manuel Alvares and Brites Gomes. His full name was probably Alvaro da Fonseca Alvares. The family were New Christians from Trancoso in northern Portugal...

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R. J. Minney

revised by Clare L. Taylor

Frankau, Gilbert (1884–1952), novelist and poet, was born on 21 April 1884 in Gloucester Terrace, London, the eldest of three sons and one daughter of Arthur Frankau (1849–1904), a principal partner of the firm of J. Frankau & Co., wholesale cigar merchants, founded originally in 1837 to import leeches from ...

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Frankel, Benjamin (1906–1973), composer, was born on 31 January 1906 at 705 Fulham Road, Hammersmith, London, the second of three children of Charles Frankel (c.1871–1935) and his wife, Golda Dora Adler (c.1869–1958). His father, born in Warsaw, served in the tsarist army before settling in ...