J. J. Benjamin

Benjamin II (Benjamin II, JI, JI = Josef Israel, actually Israel Joseph Benjamin or Joseph Israel Benjamin; * 1818 in Fălticeni; † May 3, 1864 in London ) was a Romanian- Jewish merchant and world traveler in Africa, America and Europe. He chose his name Benjamin II in reference to a famous Jewish explorers of the 12th century, Benjamin of Tudela.

Main purpose of his extensive travels was to obtain information about the fate of scattered all over the world Jews to check their life situation and help to improve it. His partially successful engagement was recognized both among the Jews and among the Gentiles.

Benjamin married young and had only worked in the timber trade, gave but after the loss of his fortune on. He decided to go on trips to clarify the fate of the lost tribes of Israel. About Vienna in 1845 he went to Constantinople, Opel, visited Alexandria ( 1847), Cairo, Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Persia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. In 1851 he was back in Constantinople Opel and Vienna. He remained there only briefly and continued his travels to Italy to Algeria and Morocco continued before he went to France, where he wrote a book about his travels ( he wrote it in Hebrew and had it translated into French ), which was published in 1856. The book was translated into German and English.

In 1859, he traveled for three years after America, which he also published a book on his return. He went to London to organize funds for further travel, died there but impoverished. His friends organized a collection to support his widow and his daughter.

He also published a German translation of the Jawan Mezulah of Nathan Hannover, which was published in Hanover in 1863.

Main work

  • Cinq années de voyage en Orient. Paris 1856. German translation: Eight Years in Asia and Africa, Hannover 1858 ( foreword by Meyer Kayserling )