1a[Rosenstein, Neil, 1990, The Unbroken Chain: Biographical Sketches and the Genealogy of Illustrious Jewish Families from the 15th-20th Century, Revised Edition, CIS Publishers, New York, pages 5-9]

King for a Night

The story of the life of Saul is most interesting one, its tradition being both an oral one passed on from generation to generation, and a written one as recorded in the works of R. Phineas, son of Moses Katzenellenbogen, a descendant of Saul (1734)

My grandfather, Rabbi Samuel Judah of Padua, had a son who was the illustrious Saul Wahl of blessed memory. The surname Wahl, according to those versed in history, was conferred upon him because he was chosen (Wahl means choice or elect in the vernacular) King of Poland by the unanimous vote of the nobles of the country. I heard from my father and teacher of blessed memory that this extraordinary event happened in the following manner:

Saul was beloved by the great princes of Poland and esteemed for his remarkable ability. While he was at the peak of his influence, the King of Poland died. It was the custom of the great nobles to assemble for the election of a new ruler on a specific day on which it was prescribed that a decision must be reached. When that day came, the nobles, disagreeing among themselves, were unable to decide who should be king. The debated until evening when it appeared that it would be impossible to elect a new king on the day prescribed by law. In order not to permit the day to pass without appointing a ruler and thus transgress their own enactments, all the nobles agreed to make the illustrious Saul Wahl king for the remainder of the day and the following night, thereby conforming to the letter of the law. Immediately they crowned Saul, shouting in their own tongue, "Long live our Lord, the King." They loaded him with royal honors, and he reigned all that night.

[later, a more detailed description of the events..

When Steven Bathory (Istvan Bathory) died on the twelfth of December 1586, numerous pretenders for the throne of Poland, including Archduke Maximillian of Austria, the Duke of Ferrara, and the people of Poland were divided into two factions, the Azmoiski and Zborowski, the two dominant Polish families.

The date for election was set for the 18th August, 1587. Nevertheless, by nightfall it seemed that they would not arrive at any definite decision. Prince Radziwill tried to settle the differences, but no compromise was reached, and he therefore suggested that Saul Wahl Katzenellenbogen act as Rex Pro Tempore, a compromise king until a definite decision was reached. The following day, the 19th August, Sigismund III, son of John, King of Sweden, was elected, and crowned later during that same year.

honorific 'zikhrono livrakha' ='of blessed memory']

1b[Personal communication, Graham de Vahl Davis, grandson of Abraham de Vahl Davis, November 2011]

Graham said that 'Saul the Jew' was a 'faktor' (advisor?) to the court

Abraham's father was Ze'ev Katzenellenbogen; he changed his name to Woolf Davis in 1857