Unlike Wellington, Bonaparte had, it seems, a better opinion of Jews. He believed in Jewish emancipation, after all. Égalité was one of the the pillars of the revolution.
Indeed, we could see Napoléon as a progressive fighting the forces of conservatism which wanted to retain hereditary monarchies and the privileges of class. Napoléon’s army was led by the sons of the petit-bourgeois, not by dukes and princes.
Anyway, notwithstanding, I think Boney, despite his good points, was, at the core, a more successful version of Mussolini: an Italo-Frenchman who thought he was Julius Caesar but without the fasces, as it were.
But I digress.
The connection, you say, what’s the connection?
Well it’s even more tangential than Wellington. You may be surprised to know that my great-grandfather – my father’s father’s father was born in around 1800. He lived to 102 and my grandfather was the offspring of his third marriage. My grandfather was born in 1880. Do the math, as they say. the old boy was still at it when he was about 80 years old!
However, do the math again. When he was about 12 there was a bit of a war on. the French had marched on Moscow in 1812, succumbed to the Russian winter and the Grande Armeé marched all the way back again – including through Poland.
And that’s where Koppel Kuchcik comes in – he’s my great-grandfather. The family story is that he witnessed part of that terrible retreat, as a boy, in Poland, probably in Kalisz or somewhere nearby.
So there you have it – a connection to both great men.