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Simson, Martin Eduard von

SIMSON, MARTIN EDUARD VON (1810–1899), German lawyer and politician. He was born in Koenigsberg into a distinguished Jewish family which converted to Christianity and he was baptized at the age of 13. In 1831 Simson was appointed lecturer in Roman law at the University of Koenigsberg and in 1836 was made professor. An active member of the Frankfurt National Liberal movement, he was also a member of the Frankfurt National Assembly in 1848–49 and its chairman from December 1848. In 1849 he led the delegation from the National Assembly which offered the crown of the German Empire to the king of Prussia, Frederick William IV. Von Simson was elected a member of the North German Parliament and subsequently of the Reichstag in which he sat as a National Liberal and became known as a brilliant orator. In 1870 he was leader of the parliamentary delegation which asked the king of Prussia to accept the crown offered by the princes as William I. Von Simson was president of the German High Court which sat in Leipzig and in 1888 he was ennobled. A distinguished and highly cultured personality, he was a founder and first president of the Goethe society.


B. von Simson, Eduard von Simson (1900); Wininger, Biog, 5 (1930), 535f.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.