The Marcus Harmelin Travel Prize

The Marcus Harmelin Travel Prize supports travel for St Cross members’ research in Austria, Germany, Poland, or Ukraine. This annual prize, worth up to £1500, is intended to further research in the humanities and social sciences, particularly for projects exploring Jewish life and culture. Acceptable projects may be linked to a degree or current research project or may consitute a standalone project due to personal interest. The Prize was established by Rosemary Preiskel, the great, great, granddaughter of Marcus Harmelin.

History

The Leipzig firm of Marcus Harmelin was one of the foremost European trading houses in the 19th and early 20th centuries and was a large trader in furs. Jacob Harmelin, the father of the company’s founder Marcus, travelled regularly to Leipzig for the trade fairs and was appointed an official broker for the City of Leipzig from 1818 onwards. This gave him permanent right of residence in the city which, for a Jew, was highly prized. He was succeeded as an official broker in 1830 by his son Marcus who founded the family firm. Together with his descendants and their in-laws, the Garfunkels, they would travel on sledges deep into Russia in search of supplies to places such as Nijsky Novgorod and deepest Siberia. The firm prospered and grew and was able to purchase and develop prominent buildings in the centre of Leipzig. One of the buildings which it commissioned is listed and survives to this day.

In 1930 the firm celebrated its 100th year, receiving letters of congratulations from many business, social and city organisations, amongst them a letter from the then mayor Carl Goerdeler, who was later to be executed for his role in the Stauffenberg plot. As part of its celebration the firm endowed a scholarship for city officials and employees of Leipzig businesses to enable them to travel and widen their horizons-a scholarship which has since disappeared. In 1939 the partners of the firm left Leipzig for England, a country with which they had strong trade links, and the firm was taken over by an administrator appointed by the National Socialist Regime. Other family members were not so fortunate. Three died in concentration camps and a fourth survived Theresienstadt to die shortly after the war in Leipzig. 

This travel prize has been established by Rosemary Preiskel, the great, great, granddaughter of Marcus Harmelin to enable travel for research in the countries where her family firm had connections. Rosemary's generous endowment will fund the  Prize into perpetuity.

Application

The deadline for this prize has been extended until 18 March.

Members of College interested in applying should complete this application form and return it to academic.secretary@stx.ox.ac.uk before midday on 18 March. Successful applicants will be expected to give a short talk about their project.