The German and Jewish surname of EHRKE was a nickname or ornamental name, derived originally from the German word EHRLICH, meaning honourable and honest, or from the Yiddish word ERLEKH meaning virtuous, respected and honoured. The name is also spelt EHRLICH, ERLICH, ERLICHMAN, ERLICHSON and ERLICHGERECHT. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. A notable member of the name was Paul EHRLICH (1854-1915) the German bacteriologist, born of Jewish parents in Strehlen (now Strzelin) Silesia. A pioneer in haematology and chemotherapy, he was the joint winner of the 1908 Nobel prize for physiology and medicine. Between 1880 and 1914, almost three million Jews left Eastern Europe, representing the most extensive migration in Jewish history since the expulsion of Jews from Spain at the end of the 15th century. Most of the emigrants fled from Russia, where pogroms had raged, and where the laws of Czar Alexander III had oppressed Jewish life. Most of the emigrants departed from Hamburg and went to the United States, but some emigrated to Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada and South Africa. While the vast majority of the immigrants to America came through Ellis Island from 1907 to 1914 thousands of East European Jews participated in a little known episode in American Jewish history. They migrated through the port of Galveston, Texas and then were routed to towns throughout the Midwest where lodging and jobs awaited them.
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