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Sir Otto Moses Jaffe

Sir Otto Moses Jaffe

Male 1846 - 1929  (83 years)

Personal Information    |    Media    |    Sources    |    Event Map    |    All    |    PDF

  • Name Otto Moses Jaffe 
    Prefix Sir 
    Born 1846  Altona, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Biography Otto Jaffe was a descendant of Mordechai b. Abraham Jaffe. He was taken as a child to Belfast, where his father, Daniel Joseph Jaffe (1809-1871), founder of the Belfast Jewish community, established a linen business of considerable size. Otto Jaffe extended the firm, making it one of the chief industrial concerns in Northern Ireland and the largest linen exporter to the continent of Europe. In 1899 and 1904 he was Lord Mayor of Belfast and in 1901 was high sheriff of the city. He received a knighthood in 1900. As president of the Belfast Hebrew congregation, Jaffe was instrumental in uniting the Russian immigrants and the German founder families into one community. He built a second synagogue for Belfast in 1904. Like his father before him, Jaffe made numerous benefactions to non-Jewish causes, notably to Belfast's Queen's University and an elementary school named after him. However, during World War I he was the object of considerable hostility because of his German origin and he and his family left Ireland for England in 1915, never to return. His son, Arthur Jaffe (1880-1954), was an authority on international law and honorary secretary of the Grotius Society.


    The Jaffe contribution to education, local government and culture


    In many ways, however, it is the legacy of his Daniel Joseph’s son – Otto – that often overshadows his father’s testimony. Louis Hyman’s account of Sir Otto’s life records this most distinguished of Daniel’s children as “shrewd, sharp-witted, far seeing and [whilst] almost parsimonious in business, he is lavish in unostentatious charities”.11 Otto was elected a city councillor in 1879, was elected as Belfast’s first Lord Mayor in 1899 (as mentioned the first incumbent of the title under the new status of the city as a county borough). He was knighted after his first term, served as High Sheriff and was reelected as Lord Mayor in 1904. Sir Otto’s interest in education extended not only to the primary education of Jewish children in the Cliftonville Road School. He was also a pioneer in the foundation of Belfast’s Technical College and contributed £4000 to Queen’s University.
    Otto Jaffe made a huge contribution to the consolidation of Judaism in the province. As life President of the Belfast Congregation he contributed the majority of the funds required to build a new synagogue to house the two separate Great Victoria Street and Regency Street congregations. On 31 August 1905 Sir Otto opened the new synagogue in Annesley Street, Carlisle Circus.
    As JP, member of the Harbour Board, member of the first senate of Queen’s University, Governor of the Royal Victoria Hospital, British Consul for Germany, twice Lord Mayor and knighted, Sir Otto Jaffe was the representation of Jewish civic virtue, a fully integrated philanthropist, leader of both his co-religionists and non-Jewish citizens. Yet Otto Jaffe has no headstone in Northern Ireland. Instead a tall marble pillar stands chipped and graffitied, both the memorial of a remarkable life and a testimony to the sad story of intolerance in Belfast. Sir Otto returned to England in 1916, after 25 years of service in the Belfast Corporation, following intimidation and suspicion leveled at the family during the First World War because of their German roots.12 The family’s loyalty was without question: they returned to support the war effort in the mainland with Otto’s son Arthur Daniel serving in the British army. The destructive intolerance and ignorance that Sir Otto fled from was prophetic of what would become of his father’s memorial at the end of that century. The only visible memorial to both Daniel Joseph the commercial giant and Otto the stalwart of civic duty, are the desecrated ruins of anonymous headstones and graffitied memorials. Yet very few will every see the empirical evidence of this sight, as the graveyard is unsafe to visit for more than a very short period of time.
    The Jaffes were a fascinating family. They represented the upper echelons of Jewish society. The headstones which ought to represent in tangible form the memory of the Jaffes may now be desecrated: but the continuing existence of a Belfast Hebrew Congregation, its organisation and place of worship is perhaps a more lasting testimony to the lives of these men while they continue to be denied a memorial of their death.

    Jaffe Bros, Ltd., linen manufacturers and merchants, 10, Donegall Square South
    Capital £50,000 in 5000 ord. shares at £10 each
    Directors: Sir Otto Jaffe (Chairman), Wm. Jaffe, 10, Donegall Square South
    Arthur Jaffe, 17, Vale Avenue, Chelsea, London SW3
    Secretary: J. M. Small, A. C. I. S  [1, 2
    Hebrew Death 19 Nis 5689 
    Immigration Belfast, Northern Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Immigration London, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Residence Hamburg, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Residence Belfast, Northern Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Residence London, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • 3 Upper Phillimore-Gardens Kensington
    Died 29 Apr 1929  London, England Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I5255  Blank Family
    Last Modified 19 Jan 2011 

    Father Daniel Jaffe,   b. 10 Aug 1809, Schwerin, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 21 Jan 1874, Nice, France Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 64 years) 
    Mother Friederike Rika Josephy,   b. 1 Jan 1819, Parchim, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 30 Oct 1909, Belfast, Northern Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 90 years) 
    Married 6 Oct 1838  Parchim, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F1462  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Paula Hertz,   b. 1846, Braunschweig, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 16 Aug 1929, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 83 years) 
    Married 8 Mar 1879  Braunschweig, Germany Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Children 
     1. Arthur Daniel Jaffe,   b. 26 Jan 1880, Belfast, Northern Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1954, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 73 years)
     2. William Edward Berthold Jaffe,   b. 1883, Belfast, Northern Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 1963, London, England Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 80 years)
    Family ID F1463  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 1846 - Altona, Germany Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 8 Mar 1879 - Braunschweig, Germany Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsImmigration - - Belfast, Northern Ireland Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsImmigration - - London, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - - Hamburg, Germany Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - - Belfast, Northern Ireland Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - - London, England Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 29 Apr 1929 - London, England Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 
    Pin Legend  : Address       : Location       : City/Town       : County/Shire       : State/Province       : Country       : Not Set

  • Photos
    Otto-Jaffe
    Otto-Jaffe
    Sir Otto Jaffe
    Sir Otto Jaffe

    Documents
    Otto Jaffe and Queens University
    Otto Jaffe and Queens University

    Histories
    Jaffe coat of arms
    Jaffe coat of arms
    Researching Jewish Belfast Families
    Researching Jewish Belfast Families
    Sir Otto Jaffe Bio City Matters Nov 2009 28
    Sir Otto Jaffe Bio City Matters Nov 2009 28
    Belfast Jewish Community
    Belfast Jewish Community
    Jaffe Peforated Stamps
    Jaffe Peforated Stamps
    Otto Jaffe Bio by Emma Dunn
    Otto Jaffe Bio by Emma Dunn
    Sir Otto Jaffe Bio City Matters Nov 2009
    Sir Otto Jaffe Bio City Matters Nov 2009

  • Sources 
    1. [S65] Yad Vashem, The Central Database of Shoah Victims' Names.

    2. [S265] Belfast and Northern Ireland Street Directories 1920s .


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