The date and place of Zundel Hirsch's birth are not known, but there are extant documents which confirm that he lived in St. Petersburg during the eighteen twenties. Hirsch was a wealthy merchant who was contracted to supply silver to the Petersburg Mint situated in the Peter and Paul Fortress. The silver was delivered in several stages, which was why Hirsch often came to the Russian capital, and stayed for a long time. Eventually he moved his family to Petersburg and lived there together with them, his partner, and servants who were presumed to be also Jewish.
The Russian court badly needed silver, and only because of this did Hirsch get special Senate permission to live in Petersburg. Other Jews who were not of such importance to the Russian tsars were expelled in 1727 from the country by a decree of Catherine I. Only a few individuals were permitted to stay - physicians and financiers. Among them was Zundel Hirsch. In the beginning of 1728 the Secret Council and ministers decided to grant his stay in the capital only until he supplied all the contracted silver.
The Petersburg Mint