The Memoir of Julius Loewenthal Part II: The Cholera Epidemic and Moving to Eschwege

Last time I shared the first part of the memoir of my cousin Julius Loewenthal, graciously shared with me by his granddaughter Joanne. We saw that Julius grew up in Frankfurt in the midst of the large and loving extended Goldschmidt family with his uncles and his grandmother and his grandmother’s siblings. They were a successful and wealthy family, but also a family that observed Jewish law and holidays. And Julius was a hard worker—both as a boy in school and then as an apprentice starting when he was fourteen.

The next section of his memoir describes his young adulthood, starting with a description of his experience with the cholera epidemic in 1892, an experience that strikes such a familiar chord in these days of the COVID19 pandemic.


After 2 years of apprenticeship I joined my father in his small wine business. It was small, and at the age of 17 I was forced to go out travel and sell. It was very hard for me; a lot of effort was needed to get business. The main customers of the business was the family, who however used large amounts of wine.

I travelled to Hannover, Berlin, and Hamburg, where in the year of 1892 I went through the Cholera epidemic. The town official withheld the information as to the serious nature of this sickness from the population. Thus, when it became known, panic set in and as hundreds died, everybody fled town, and I was unable to buy a railroad ticket for several days. The train went through several medical check points where we were examined and were only allowed to travel until Hannover.

Cholera epidemic at a hospital in Hamburg, 1892, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cholerabaracke-HH-1892.gif

We arrived in the middle of the night and unable to get a Hotel room I went to an all-night Coffeeshop where because of lack of sleep and food I passed out. Fortunately, the Doctor on duty was my cousin Dr. Rafael Hirsch who took me into his home where I recovered. There is no question that he saved my life because had it not been for him I would have been sent to the Clinic which received all the late Cholera cases which were diagnosed at the check points. Most of the people sent to that Clinic never did come out.

After recovery I continued on to Eschwege to visit my dear uncle Levy Brinkmann and his lovely wife. [Levy Brinkmann was married to Lina Stern, sister of Kiele Stern Loewenthal, Julius’ mother.] …The Police made me stay in a Hotel in quarantine for 3 days and then I continued on to Frankfurt.

During this time I made up my mind not to stay in my father’s business but to join a larger Firm where I could find success and fortune. I joined with the permission of my father the firm of Sahl & Co. in Reudesheim and travelled and sold wine for 2 years. I visited Paris, Baden Baden and did nice business.

I was only 19 years old and not in strong health. I learned foreign languages and was an enthusiastic love of nature. Thus, I made the decision, and upon completion of my trip, to walk through the Black forest and the Odenwald back to Frankfurt. [See map below—this is a 158 miles walk that Google Maps estimates would take 53 hours.] This I did alone. It was wonderful and I found other tourists who walked with me for several days. I slept in small villages in order to save money because I had little money to spare. I sketched the mountains and the castles which I saw and saved some of those drawings to this day. I was indeed talented in drawing and played the piano well. It was my first vacation ever. [Editorial comment: I was amazed by how a young man who left school at fourteen was able to engage in so much self-education.]

When I was 20 years of age my uncle Levy Brinkmann visited with us in Frankfurt and offered me a position in his business LS Brinkmann in Eschwege. I was unsure and after several discussions I agreed and moved to Eschwege. In this beautiful little town surrounded by beauty of nature the Brinkmanns became my second parents because they treated me and surrounded me with love and kindness which gave me the opportunity to open up, and Eschwege became my home, my real home, where I felt protected and comfortable until I was forced to leave forever.

Eschwege, Germany
User: Celsius at wikivoyage shared / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

…The Jewish congregation of Eschwege had a nice Synagogue, a Jewish school, and a Rabbi…. Jewish life in Eschwege was not like I had been accustomed to in Frankfurt. Kosher meat was purchased at the gentile butcher, whose assurances had to be accepted that the meat was kosher….The strict Jewish life as was known in Frankfurt was not known in Eschwege.

….The congregational life in Eschwege however was a very close one. We had meeting hall, and every Saturday night everybody met to play cards, talk, and the youth danced and had fun…We had a large number of young people, mostly well to do, well mannered and educated. During the summers …the young people made excursions into the forests and mountains of the surrounding [area] which was blessed with nature’s beauty… It was a happy and carefree time and only later when everything was over with, the memory remained like a fairy tale.

In the house Brinkmann lived on the second floor the partner and brother-in-law of Levy Brinkmann, Max Werner.

[Ed.: Max Werner was married to Helene Katzenstein, who was in fact a first cousin of Lina Stern, Levy Brinkmann’s wife. Helene and Lina were both granddaughters of Meyer Goldschmidt, the great-grandfather of Julius Loewenthal.]

In addition, as Julius describes, Helene Katzenstein had previously been married to Levy Brinkmann’s brother Moritz, who died six years after they were married in 1872; Helene then married Max Werner. So Helene was both Levy Brinkmann’s sister-in-law and the first cousin of his wife Lina.]

[Julius then described the business of Brinkmann and Werner—a wholesale business manufacturing stockings that were sold in the nearby villages.]

Max Werner was a beautiful human being. He contributed much to the happiness of all our lives. He was a personality, a very good businessman and a deeply religious Jew. Soon my uncle [Levy Brinkmann] expanded the business.  We tried to export and were successful with business transactions with England. It has to be considered that my uncle was born in a tiny village without a proper education and had deep drive and ambitions. In addition, he stuttered when he spoke which often caused much laughter in which he always participated. He knew how to tell stories and everyone was spellbound by it.

….I was 20 years old when I came to Eschwege. I was full of ideals and saturated with the teachings of Rabbi Hirsch. My Jewish education was extensive. Thus, every Saturday afternoon the Werner children had to come to my room and I had to teach them in Jewish history. All the children of the Werner household became religious Jews, even though the opportunity to became thus in Eschwege was not of the best….The third daughter Elsa, who was an extremely happy child, became my wife because I fell in love with her. The oldest son Moritz Werner became my partner….

After I had been in the bookkeeping department for better than a year events took place which brought me to new opportunities. One of our salesman left the firm and his post became available. My Aunt made the suggestion that I take his place and sell for the firm. …

I had opened a new sales territory in southern Germany…To travel was not an easy thing for me. I was young and could do it but to travel and remain strictly kosher was indeed a difficult task. I only lived on Eggs and Bread. … I was forced to fast more often than not….

Through my sales activity I acquired knowledge and feeling for the merchandise I was selling. I was exposed to the world…. This motivated me at the age of nearly 30 years old to study at the Textile School and Institute in Reutlingen, which remains one of the top schools to this day. My uncle became upset when I spoke of this plan. However, I knew that I had to have the technical knowledge if ever I wanted to become a success….and when I returned at the end of the year I was able to take charge with my newly acquired technical knowledge. I was very proud.

The original building of the Reutlingen Textile School and Institute, Vux / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)

[Julius described how he convinced his uncle to purchase knitting machines and modernize the business as well as expand its product line from stockings to other knit goods.]

I don’t really know why I bother to write all that down because the Lord managed to take it all away again. However, I take the time to write it down so that our children know how big we once were, brought about through hard work and prayer.


I will end this segment here with Julius not yet thirty years old, but already a leader in his uncle’s business, a self-educated and self-made man whose ambition and intelligence helped him become a business success. In the next post I will post the sections from Julius’ memoir that cover the first three decades of the twentieth century from 1900 to 1930.

 

 

Sarah Goldschmidt’s Descendants: The Family Expands 1889-1909

As seen in my last post, Sarah Goldschmidt Stern was survived by four children, Lina, Keile, Abraham, and Mayer, and by eleven grandchildren: Keile’s five children, Abraham’s four children, and Mayer’s two children. Lina did not have children.

Before the dawn of the 20th century, Keile had herself become a grandmother. Her daughter Selma Loewenthal married Nathan Schwabacher on August 1, 1890, in Bornheim. He was born on December 30, 1860, in Feuchtwangen, Germany, to Elias Baer Schwabacher and Jette Gutmann. Notice that Levi Brinkmann, husband of Selma’s aunt Lina, was one of the witnesses.

Marriage record of Selma Loewenthal and Nathan Schwabacher, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 9490
Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Selma and Nathan’s first child was Alice Therese Schwabacher, born December 29, 1891, in Frankfurt.

Alice Schwabacher birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_9093, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Next came Julius Schwabacher, born May 17, 1893, in Frankfurt.

Julius Schwabacher birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_9120, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Their third child Gerhard Schwabacher was actually born in the 20th century. He was born in Frankfurt on June 27, 1902.1

Keile and Abraham Loewenthal’s second oldest daughter Helene also married in the 1890s. She married Eduard Feuchtwanger on April 4, 1897, in Frankfurt. He was the son of Jacob Loew Feuchtwanger and Auguste Hahn, and was born in Munich on April 21, 1862. Keile’s brother Abraham Stern was a witness to this marriage.

Marriage of Helene Loewenthal and Eduard Feuchtwanger, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

But the happiness brought by the marriages of Keile’s daughters Selma and Helene and the births of her grandchildren between 1891 and 1902 was unfortunately darkened by the death of her husband Abraham Loewenthal on January 28, 1903. He was sixty years old.

Abraham Loewenthal death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10570,Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

The first decade of the 20th century brought one other loss to the family when Lina’s husband Levi Brinkmann died on September 14, 1907, in Eschwege, Germany. He was only 65.

Levi Brinkmann death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 11044, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Thus, both Keile and her sister Lina were widowed during that decade.

But that first decade also brought new members into the family as more of the grandchildren of Sarah Goldschmidt Stern began to marry and have children. First, Julius Loewenthal, Keile’s son, married Elsa Werner on November 16, 1903, in Eschwege, Germany. Elsa was the daughter of Max Werner and Helene Katzenstein, and she was born on June 27, 1883, in Eschwege.

UPDATE: Thank you to David Baron for pointing out that Elsa Werner was a second cousin to Julius Loewenthal. Her mother Helene Katzenstein Werner was the daughter of Malchen Goldschmidt Katzenstein, younger sister of Sarah Goldschmidt Stern. Thus, Julius and Elsa were both the great-grandchildren of Meyer Goldschmidt.

Julius Loewenthal and Elsa Stern marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 923, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Julius and Elsa had two children in the first decade of the 20th century. Ruth Loewenthal was born on October 22, 1905, in Eschwege,2 and Herbert Loewenthal was born on September 2, 1909.3 Two more children would come in the next decade.

Keile and Abraham Loewenthal’s daughter Martha also married in this decade. On November 8, 1904, she married Jakob Abraham Wolff, son of Abraham Wolff and Hannchen Wolff, in Frankfurt. Jakob was born in Aurich, Germany, on December 20, 1875. Keile’s brother Abraham Stern was once again a witness to this marriage.

Martha Loewenthal marriage to Jakob Wolff, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Martha and Jakob had three children.  Anna was born on July 23, 1905,4  Hans Anton was born on December 1, 1906, and Hans Walter on December 6, 1909. 5

Martha’s brother Siegfried Loewenthal also married in this decade. Siegfried married Henriette Feuchtwanger, daughter of Amson Feuchtwanger and Roeschen Oppenheimer, sometime before 1908. Henriette was born in Furth on October 13, 1881.6  Siegfried and Henriette had three children born between their marriage and 1910: Rosel on February 14, 1908,7 Albert on March 25, 1909,8 and Louise on December 25, 1910,9 all in Frankfurt. They would have two more children in the next decade.

Thus, by the end of 1910, Keile Stern Loewenthal had eleven grandchildren, Sarah Goldschmidt’s great-grandchildren, Meyer Goldschmidt’s great-great-grandchildren. My fourth cousins, once removed.

UPDATE: Thank you to my cousin Carrie for sharing this photograph of her great-great-grandmother, Kiele Stern Loewenthal.

Grandma Caroline Stern Born July 11, 1852

Keile Stern Loewenthal. Courtesy of her family

Keile was not the only child of Sarah Goldschmidt Stern to have grandchildren in the first decade of the 20th century. On April 14, 1909, Abraham Stern’s daughter Clementine married Siegfried Oppenheimer in Frankfurt. He was born in Hannover on October 16, 1882, the son of Wilhelm Oppenheimer and Jettchen Cramer. He was a physician.

Marriage of Clementine Stern and Siegfried Oppenheimer, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Clementine and Siegfried had twins on December 23, 1909. Sadly, one was stillborn. The other twin Erika survived.10 Given that Clementine and Siegfried were married just eight months when Clementine gave birth, I wonder whether the twins were born prematurely, thus contributing to or causing the death of one of those babies.

Death record of Oppenheimer infant, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10652, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Clementine and Siegfried would have more children in the next decade, as would Clementine’s siblings and her first cousins. But with the growth of the family tree during the twenty years that followed Sarah Goldschmidt’s death in 1889, it’s time to focus on each of her children and their children and grandchildren separately as we move forward into the 1910s and beyond.


  1. National Archives at Boston; Waltham, Massachusetts; ARC Title: Naturalization Record Books, 12/1893 – 9/1906; NAI Number: 2838938; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Ancestry.com. Connecticut, Federal Naturalization Records, 1790-1996 
  2.  Certificate Number: 12, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 923; Laufende Nummer: 1913, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930 
  3.  Arolsen Archives, Digital Archive; Bad Arolsen, Germany; Lists of Persecutees 2.1.1.1; Series: 2.1.1.1, Reference Code: 02010101 oSm Source Information
    Ancestry.com. Europe, Registration of Foreigners and German Persecutees, 1939-1947 
  4. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, DC; Name Index of Jews Whose German Nationality Was Annulled by the Nazi Regime (Berlin Documents Center); Record Group: 242, National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized, 1675 – 1958; Record Group ARC ID: 569; Publication Number: T355; Roll: 9, Stern, Johanna (Löb) – Zysmann, Judith, Ancestry.com. Germany, Index of Jews Whose German Nationality was Annulled by Nazi Regime, 1935-1944 
  5. I encountered trouble finding birth records as I began to research children born in Frankfurt after 1901 because the online records for Frankfurt births end with 1901. Although these birth dates are listed on trees on Ancestry and MyHeritage, the trees do not cite to specific sources.  I never rely on these unsourced trees unless I can find a source to verify the information. In this case, there is also the extensive research done over many years by my cousin Roger Cibella and his husband David Baron, both on the website they created in 1998, The History of the Jewish Community of Frankfurt am Main, and in the updated family report they shared with me more recently. Roger and David’s research has always proven to be thorough and accurate, so I have faith in their work, even though I do not have access to their sources for these birth dates.  Where I have relied on Roger and David’s research, I will cite to their work as “Cibella/Baron,” either in the text or in a footnote. That is the case for two of the three children of Martha Loewenthal and Jakob Wollf, Hans Anton, and Hans Walter. 
  6. Arolsen MArchives, Digital Archive; Bad Arolsen, Germany; Lists of Persecutees 2.1.1.1; Series: 2.1.1.1, Reference Code: 02010101 oS, Ancestry.com. Europe, Registration of Foreigners and German Persecutees, 1939-1947. Several unsourced trees on Ancestry and MyHeritage provide a wedding date of May 16, 1907, in Wuerzberg. 
  7. Rosa Loewenthal marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930 
  8. Albert Loewenthal immigration and naturalization papers found at the Israel Archives at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/archives/#/Archive/0b07170680034dc1/File/0b07170680fd584e 
  9. SSN: 122285989, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. 
  10. National Archives at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois; ARC Title: Illinois, Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1991; NAI Number: 593882; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Description: Petitions for naturalization, v 1185, no 296351-296550, ca 1943-1944,
    Ancestry.com. Illinois, Federal Naturalization Records, 1856-1991 

Meyer Goldschmidt: A Man with a Pure Soul

After Meyer Goldschmidt’s wife Lea died in 1839 in Grebenstein, Germany, Meyer and his children worked together to support each other. At that time the oldest daughter Ella was about seventeen and the youngest child Falk was only three.  The two sons, Selig and Jacob, were still young boys, but went to work to help the family, and Ella ran a millinery business from their home.1

But Ella eventually decided that she had to leave Grebenstein and seek a better life in the United States. In remembering her decision to leave, her brother Selig wrote that “Ella, who had received many compliments for her beauty while she was learning her trade in Cassel had, perhaps, become a little more selfish.”2

Selig continued:3

After she had run her own little business for about a year, during which time she probably encountered many difficulties, she realized that she would have no future in Grebenstein. Conditions were bad indeed for all of us; so she quickly decided, I believe even against our father’s wishes, to emigrate to America, together with several cousins. For me it was a great shock at that time. I borrowed as much money as I could from school friends in order to help her with her travel expenses. I think it only amounted to two and a half Groschen. After she had been gone for about one hour, I told myself I had to see her just once more. I ran after for two hours, weeping softly, but did not meet her again. 

Selig’s description of his emotions about her leaving moved me and brought home the reality of the impact these departures had on a family.

Ella Goldschmidt was the only one of Meyer Goldschmidt’s six surviving children to leave Germany and settle permanently in the US. According to the 1900 US census, Ella immigrated in 1849, but that cannot be right because she married Albert Sigmund, another German immigrant, on April 26, 1846, in Baltimore, Maryland:

Marriage record of Albert Sigmund and “Helena Goldsmith.” Maryland County Marriages, 1658-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F4JC-GYH : 16 March 2018), Albert Sigmond and Helena Goldsmith, 25 Apr 1846; citing Baltimore, , Maryland, United States, clerk of the circuit court from various counties; FHL microfilm 13,694.

I will be devoting many posts to Ella and her life in the US, but for now let’s return to Grebenstein and the rest of Meyer’s children.

Selig wrote that once Ella left, times were challenging for the rest of the family.4

Our dear father was very weak and sickly. His constant prayer was “G-d Almighty do not let me die before I have repaid my debts.” This constant prayer gave us an added incentive to work day and night with all our energy. The just and noble man did not realise how the future prosperity of his children would spring forth from hidden roots. 

But Meyer’s financial burdens were reduced as the children became adults and married and moved away. Sarah, or Sarchen, whom Selig described as “our angel of a sister,” married Salomon Stern on August 1, 1849. Salomon was born on May 24, 1815, in Ziegenhain, Germany, to Abraham Stern and Keile Maier.

In 1852, Falk Goldschmidt, Meyer’s youngest son, who was only sixteen at the time, traveled to the US5 and in 1860 was living with his older sister Ella and her family.6 Falk did return to Germany, however, by 1870, as we will see in a later post.

Meyer’s youngest daughter Malchen married in June, 1853, according to David Baron’s research. Malchen married Juda Callman Katzenstein of Eschwege, Germany. He was born there in 1824, the son of Callman Katzenstein and Jettchen Katzenstein. As Selig wrote in the Selig Goldschmidt book, after marrying Juda, Malchen moved to live with him in Eschwege.5

Her brother Jacob married Jettchen Cahn one month later in Frankfurt. She was the daughter of Aaron Simon Cahn and Minna Gamburg, and Jettchen was born on April 13, 1830, in Frankfurt.

Marriage record of Jacob Goldschmidt and Jettchen Cahn, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Selig wrote that after Malchen married and moved to Eschwege, the family sold everything they had in Grebenstein, and Meyer moved to Eschwege to live with Malchen and Juda. Selig noted that they did this because Selig and his brother Jacob were traveling often for business and not able to be in Grebenstein to care for their father. Selig described the outpouring of love Meyer received when he moved away from his long-time home in Grebenstein:6

Poor and rich came to the station to see him off, and when the train departed, the sound of sobbing and weeping could be heard. Wealthy neighbours had offered to give him whatever he wanted if he would stay there. However, we did not wish him to stay in Grebenstein all by himself. 

Selig was the next child to marry. On May 27, 1857, he married Clementine Fuld in Frankfurt. She was born in Frankfurt on January 8, 1837, to Herz Fuld and Caroline Schuster.

Marriage record of Selig Goldschmidt and Clementine Fuld, Certificate Number: 30
Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

After marrying, Selig and Clementine settled in Frankfurt and soon moved Meyer to Frankfurt to live with them. Selig wrote:6

I was determined to let him live with me as soon as I married, in order to brighten the days of his old age and give him joy, with G-d’s help, and in order to compensate him for all the suffering he had endured. I was enabled to do this, thanks to my good and noble wife who loved and admired by dearest father so sincerely. Clementine arranged a beautiful and comfortable room for him.  He moved in with us in Frankfurt and we, as well as he, were extremely happy together. 

Meyer was not destined to stay in Frankfurt for very long. Selig told the heartwarming story of why his father returned to Eschwege. Meyer had befriended and taken care of a blind man while living in that town, and the man wrote to Meyer, asking him to return to Eschwege. The man said that Meyer had given him comfort and restored his spirit and that without him, he was lost. Meyer was determined to move back to Eschwege so that he could help this man who needed him and asked for his help. He felt it was the most important thing he could do at that point in his life.7

But sadly Meyer did not live much longer himself. He died on November 5, 1868, in Eschwege. He was 74 years old, according to his death certificate, and was deeply mourned.

Meyer Goldschmidt death record, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 146, p. 36

His children set up a foundation to honor their parents, Meyer and Lea, and his congregation in Eschwege wrote this about Meyer in their obituary for him:8

The deceased had gained the love, respect and admiration of all members of the congregation through his exemplary way of life, his generosity and his sincere Jewish religious dedication. Hence, all of us endeavored to bring him relief on his sickbed, to cheer him up with friendly advice and, finally, to provide the last rites.

The editors of the Selig Goldschmidt book, Meyer’s descendants, wrote this about their ancestor:9

Pure was the soul of Meyer Goldschmdit when he passed away to follow the soul of his departed wife. In spite of adverse circumstances his mind had managed to attain the tranquil and unshakable repose of genuine Jewish wisdom. He realized that the pursuit of earthly comforts and physical pleasures are not the main content and aim of life. Only the acquisition of the goods which G-d desires, namely the fulfillment of the Mitzvos can bring lasting peace of mind. Thus, the existence of the village dweller had gradually become enriched and ennobled, until his life drew to a worthy end with an almost heroic act of Jewish humane love. 

From Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life, p. 15

UPDATE: One reader asked for a translation of the headstone, and Leah of the Tracing the Tribe group kindly provided this translation:

An upright man who enlightened/educated the poor
“He left behind him a legacy of blessings (?)
“He established a good thing for the poor, H”H (HaRav HaGaon)
“K”H Meir, son of K”H Yaakov
”When his days were full
“He returned to his palace? at a ripe old age
“On the even of Shabbat, the 25th, and he was buried
“In an ‘auspicious hour’/with a good name on Day 1 (Sunday), the 30th
“Of MarChesvan, on the first day of Rosh Chodesh
“[Kislev?] . . .”

Meyer Goldschmidt was clearly a good and well-loved man by his family and his community. His children and descendants carried on this legacy in Germany and in the United States, as we will see as I now examine the lives of each of them, starting with Meyer and Lea’s oldest child, Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund.


  1. “The Story of A Ring,” Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life (1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies), p.19-21 
  2. “The Story of A Ring,” Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life (1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies), p. 21 
  3. “The Story of A Ring,” Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life (1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies), pp.21-22. 
  4. “The Story of A Ring,” Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life (1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies), p.22. 
  5. Juda Callman Katzenstein death record, Certificate Number: 175, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 923; Laufende Nummer: 1941, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958. Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life,(1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies)  p, 22. 
  6. “The Story of A Ring,” Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life (1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies), p.23. 
  7. Ibid. 
  8. “Obituary,” Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life (1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies), p.15. The use of the term “last rites” should not be confused with the Catholic tradition of giving last rites; under Jewish law there are certain rules and practices for the treatment of the deceased’s body between the time of death and burial. That must be what the obituary meant by “last rites.” 
  9. “Of Noble Origins,” Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life (1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies), p.10.