Emin Pasha

By Gottfried "Geoff" Neuhaus, ulmithaca@gmail.com
17 Feb 2005

His real name was Eduard Schnitzer. He was our only relative who was Jewish, Christian and Muslim in one lifetime. His grandmother Margolis Pappenheim was the sister of my great-great-grandfather Itzig Pappenheim. Margolis married a banker named Joseph Schnitzer, and their son Louis (sometimes Ludwig or Loebel) Schnitzer married Pauline Schweitzer. Louis and Pauline had Eduard and Melanie, both born in Oppeln, where my grandfather Eugen Siegheim and my great-grandmother Nanny Pappenheim also were born.

Eduard studied medicine but was also interested in birds and other wildlife and in learning languages and in exotic adventure. He tried to enlist in Maximilian's expedition to become emperor of Mexico 1864, but didn't have enough money. He became district physician in Antivari, Albania (part of the Ottoman Empire), and later, personal physician to Ismail Hakki Pasha, governor of Antivari, and tutor to Ismail's children. He accompanied Ismail's family to Trebizond, Janina, Constantinople, and when Ismail died, had a daughter with Ismail's widow, Emilie. The daughter was named Pauline, after Eduard's mother.

He turned up in Khartoum, capital of the Sudan, and became chief physician under Gordon, the governor general. Then Gordon appointed him governor of Equatoria (not governor general of the Sudan). He was named a pasha -- a title like "lord" in Britain. He had adopted the name Mehmet Emin, because an Egyptian physician of that name was supposed to be the medical officer in the Sudan but changed his mind and returned to Egypt without accepting the post.

A revolt led by a religious fanatic, the Mahdi, swept all of the Sudan except Equatoria. Gordon was murdered, and Emin was cut off from communication with Europe. He had become famous in Britain and Germany for his explorations and his reports on the fauna and flora and native life. Expeditions to rescue him were mounted in both countries, the British expedition under Stanley, the German under Peters. The Stanley forces were decimated by disease, starvation and native attacks, and when Stanley arrived, he was entertained lavishly by Emin, who was still doing well and holding out against the Mahdi, but who had hoped to get the guns and ammunition that Stanley was supposed to bring him. Stanley had, however, lost most of these supplies. Stanley persuaded a reluctant Emin to accompany him to the east coast of Africa. From there, Emin led a German expedition into the Congo. He met the Peters forces who had come to rescue him but were much too late. In 1892 Emin was murdered by slave traders, because he had tried to stop the slave trade when he was governor of Equatoria.

His little daughter Ferida (by Emin's African wife Safaran) was adopted by Emin's sister Melanie. My aunt Idi was Ferida's classmate at the Lette school in Berlin in 1903. Ferida died in Berlin 1923, at age 39, and her aunt Melanie the following year, at 83.

[Wikipedia article on Emin Pasha]
Last modified: John Neuhaus, john@jneuhaus.com, Feb. 11, 2011