De sefardiske slægter Italiaender og Moresco i Holland og Danmark


  • Allan Falk


The first persons with the names Italiaender and Moresco both came to Amsterdam from Venice. Abraham Levy Vitoria, called Italiaender, came to Amsterdam probably around 1660, whereas the first documentation of a person with the last name Moresco is from 1708, from a wedding between Obadia Moresco and Sara Orobuena Isaac Granada. Abraham Italiaender’s original family name Vitoria indicates that the family derives from Vitoria, a town in northern Spain, whereas Moresco is a town in Lombardia in Italy. Abraham Italiaender founded a flourishing tobacco company, not only based on imported tobacco but also on tobacco grown in Holland. He had ten children with two wives. Two sons from the first marriage moved to Nijkerk in 1709, and two other sons likewise from the first marriage moved to Amersfoort in 1711. Both towns were centers for locally produced tobacco. It was Abraham’s grandchild, Jacob Benjamin Italiaender, who moved to Copenhagen after the company “Jakob Italiaender Benjamin & Gebroeder” had been granted an allowance in 1743 to found a tobacco company both in Aalborg (in Jutland) and in Christianshavn, a part of Copenhagen. In Christianshavn the company acquired a house built in 1626 – one of the oldest houses in Copenhagen – in which the family lived for four generations and in which, or more likely in a smaller house in the backyard, the tobacco spinning took place. The family also founded a Portuguese-Jewish community, a synagogue was organized in the house in the backyard. In Amsterdam several marriages between the Italiaenders and the Morescos took place in the 18th century, but in Copenhagen the first one took place in 1827 between Maximilian Moresco, born 1791 in the Hague, and Adelaide Italiaender, born 1802 in Copenhagen. Maximilian – originally Moses – was educated as a dentist in Kiel. He was a successful dentist and became a dentist for the royal court. Maximilian and Adelaide were second-grade cousins. Marriages between cousins were rather common in the Italiaender family, most likely with the purpose to keep the family values within the family. Maximilian and Adelaide had five children. One died young. Two girls – one year after their father’s death in 1846 – converted to Christianity: according to the English magazine “Children’s Jewish Advocate” it was due to mission from a Jewish convertite, Johan Christian Moritz. In 1856, the oldest son Jacob Heinrich founded a company, first selling haute couture to ladies, but later he took up production of ladies’ clothes on a larger scale, using the new wonder of the time, sewing machines. The Moresco company became the largest company producing ladies’ clothes in the Nordic countries. Jacob Heinrich built a large villa in a northern suburb of Copenhagen, and having no wife or children, he named it “Villa Adelaide” after his mother. After his death in 1906, his nephew Carl Moresco took over the villa as well as the factory. After Carl’s death in 1940 the villa was sold to the municipality of Gentofte which used the villa after the war had ended as a camp for Jewish refugees returning from Sweden and having no accommodation.





Falk, A. (2021). De sefardiske slægter Italiaender og Moresco i Holland og Danmark. Rambam. Tidsskrift for jødisk Kultur Og Forskning, 28(1). Hentet fra