Courtesy of Penelope Feinstein.



1852 Born in Brighton

1861 – Recorded on the census at 46, Buckingham Palace Road, Brighton

1872 – Worked as a Bookeeper in Breslau, Poland

1877 – Returned to England and worked as the head of the translation department in the Imperial Gas Association, London

1882 – Herbert Martin Loewe born

1888 – Louis Loewe died

1890 - Rose Louise Loewe born; James acted as a witness at the wedding of his uncle Hartwig Hirschfeld and Pauline Loewe

1891 – London representative for personal banking portfolios, based in London

1892 – Lionel Louis Loewe born

1895 – Published catalogue of Louis Loewe’s library and a biography

1899 – Colonial Trust established and James Loewe becomes secretary

1914 – Outbreak of First World War. His son Herbert was not well enough to fight and was stationed at a factory in India, but his son-in-law Basil Henriques fought at the front

1919 – Raphael Loewe born, James’ grandson

1935 – Near Eastern and Far Eastern Calendars Published

1940 – Herbert Martin Loewe died

1944 - James Loewe died, 28th April

1944 – Emma Loewe, James’ wife died 16th October

James Loewe: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 |


James Loewe - Biography and Timeline


James Henry Loewe (Lowe, Yaakov Hayyim ha-Levi) was born in Brighton in 1852. He was the father of Herbert Loewe and Raphael Loewe's grandfather.

His parents, Louis Loewe (1809-1888) and Emma Silberstein (1822-c. 1901), lived in the south of England for many years, had known Sir Moses Montefiore since 1835, and were associated with the Ramsgate Synagogue. When his father died in 1888, his oriental and theological collection was divided between James' brothers-in-law Hartwig Hirschfeld and Adolph Kurrein; James received the rest of Louis Loewe's library. He published a catalogue of the collection and wrote a biography of his 'lamented father' in 1895. James describes his father's work on hieroglyphics as 'highly important', and included his father's research in his Calendar for 1935.

James finished his formal education in 1872, aged twenty, and he took a position in Breslau, Prussia, and worked until 1876 as a bookkeeper and commissioner for the stock exchange in the Moritz Sachs Bank. Breslau was the hometown of his mother, Emma Silberstein, where her family were merchants. James' own wife, also Emma (née Immerwahr) was also from the Silesia region. In 1877 James returned to England and worked as the head of the translation department in the Imperial Gas Association, London. This company was set up by Sir Moses Montefiore in 1824 to help establish gas utilities in other countries, which is why James' linguistic skills were so valid. The family lived in 80 Brondesbury Road, North London.

James lived his adult life in London, where his children were born and attended the Machzike Hadath Synagogue. James was a witness at his uncle's wedding, Hartwig Hirschfeld, in 1890 as recorded in the Bevis Marks Synagogue records. He knew English, German, French, Hebrew, Spanish, Italian and Dutch. He worked for the Hebrew Compendium Publishing Company, and wrote a series entitled 'Lowe's English Tutorial Preparations for Rabbincs', including notes on the Mishnah, Gemara, Rashi and Talmud. In a letter written to Nathan Lamport, president of the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary at Yeshiva University, dated February 14, 1926, he explains his intentions for the project:

'[To] prove that Talmud and Rashi and other Rabbinic literature can be learned in English, and also to eliminate the use of Yiddish in Talmud Torahs and Yeshivos. In the letter, Lowe asks Lamport to subscribe to his "Rashi" and to distribute copies of the "Mishnoh and Gemoro" among schools in the United States'. [The letter is currently held at the Yeshiva University, New York Libraries]

His later works were more didactic, including 'Jewish essentials' and aimed to draw people to Judaism. He and his wife supported the work of their daughter, Rose Louise and their son-in law Basil Henriques, who established the Oxford and St. George's Jewish Youth Club in the East End of London.

James Loewe was actively involved in Jewish life and was secretary of the Jewish Colonial Trust from 1899 when the organisation was founded. The organisation provided international financial support for the Zionist movement but also supported Jewish activities including employment opportunities in Palestine and Syria (endnote 1). To commemorate the centenary in 1999 stamps were printed in Israel that included a reproduction of the share certificates which carry James Loewe's signature as the secretary. Raphael Loewe researched James' involvement in the Trust, and the archive contains a copy of the letter James sent to the Jewish Colonial Trust to apply for the position of director in 1898. At the VIth Zionist Congress, 1903, James Loewe was a delegate and considered himself to be a 'Mizrachi'. The Mizrachi group, established after the Zionist Congress in 1902, believed that Zionism should be based on the Torah.

James' wife Emma Immerwahr was born in Beuthen, Upper Silesia, Poland in 1854. They had three children, Herbert was the eldest (1882-1940), the second born was Rose Louise (1890-1961), who married Basil Henriques, and the youngest, Lionel Louis Loewe (1892-1989). James outlived his son Herbert by four years; he composed a Hebrew epitaph for Herbert, but this was not used on his gravestone.

James and his wife Emma died six months apart in 1944 and are buried together in Hoop Lane, London.



1. Share certificates signed by J. Loewe, 1902, Numbers 13-36. Link 1 and Link 2.