The Jewish Families of Themar 1865-1943
On September 3, 1962 — almost 50 years ago — Oskar Stapf, the City of Themar archivist, drew up the list of the Jewish families who had lived in Themar after 1900. Stapf, born in 1885, had known most of these families personally, and most if not all of the children had attended the Volksschule of which he was principal.
Stapf identified the household head, the type of business or economic activity, and the number of children in the family. In the left-hand margin are some numbers that have not yet been successfully interpreted, and in the right-hand margin are additional names of one individual, [Klara] Eisenfresser, and two additional families. In all, he counted thirty-three (33) households, 74 children, and eight (8) ‘Mischlinge’ or children of Jewish/non-Jewish parentage. An estimate of the total number living in Jewish families is 147.
On its own, the Stapf list tells us some interesting things about what post-war Themar knew about the Jewish community. For example, Stapf believed that ‘S. J. Baer’ represented two brothers/2 Brüder when in fact the initials “S” & “J” stood for Samuel and Jette Baer, the husband and wife who founded the S. J. Baer department store that anchored Themar’s main square. The reference against Moritz Sachs’s name, “später Maler (Kunst)” indicates that Themar knew very early on of Moritz Sachs’s success with water colours, a pursuit Sachs embarked upon in the late 1950s in San Francisco.
Fifty years later, Stapf’s list served as the starting point to restore the names of the once thriving Jewish community of Themar. His knowledge and memory were accurate. Most, but not all, of the households identified have been found. (The column in the table to the right labelled 2011 indicates our success in finding the families on Stapf’s list.) The accuracy of Stapf’s memory means, of course, that we are still intent on finding missing family members. In some instances, such as Max Baer or Alfred Walther, we know of them as individuals. But we do not yet know who Alfred Walther’s three children were or Louis Walther’s five children.
Stapf’s list has also allowed a push back of the family histories into the nineteenth century, and we now have a fuller sense of the families who, in the late 1860s, created the Jewish community in Themar — the families of Samuel & Jette Baer, Löb and Jette Frankenberg, Samuel and Lotte Gassenheimer, Salomon & Karoline Müller, Abraham & Regina Schwab, the Gustav and Berta Betty Schloss family, and various branches of the Walther family. Looking at this fuller spread of time tells us that at least 210 Jews lived within family groups.
We now also have a sense of the chronology of when families came to Themar and left again: the Jewish religious official and teachers, the “Lehrer”, for example, often moved from appointment to appointment on a three-year cycle and we now know of several of these families — the Friedmanns and the Gustav Hofmanns — who formed part of the Themar tapestry during the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The links below take you to Ahnentafel of the Jewish families of Themar — included are those members who were born in Germany, their spouses, and their children. The total number of the people in this community is around 400.
The Max & Alma Heimannsohn BACHMANN Family
The Samuel & Jette Walther BAER Family
The Löb & Jette FRANKENBERG Family
The Hugo & Eva Kahn FRIEDMANN Family
The Samuel & Lotte Stein GASSENHEIMER Family
The Noa & Minna Friedmann GRÜNBAUM
The Josef & Hulda Walther KAHN Family
The Adolf & Meta Schwab KATZ Family
The Meier & Karoline Eisenfresser MAYER Family
The Solomon & Karoline Friedmann MÜLLER Family
The Simon & Marianne Friedmann SACHS Family
The Gabriel & Berta Schloss SCHLOSS Family
The Abraham & Regina Epstein SCHWAB Family
The Jacob & Bertha SECKEL Family
The WALTHER Families
The Nathan and Malwina Frankenberg WERTHEIMER Family