Dedicated to Jonathan Walter Friedrichs and Daniel Eitan Friedrichs - as they celebrate their first Chanukah
Table of Contents
Introduction: Our Jewish Roots - The New Rochelle Generation I. Brüll (Bruell)/Einhorn II. Herxheimer III. Sieskind/Herz/Oppenheim IV. Eger/Leidesdorf V. Koslin VI. Jaffe VII. Goldschmidt/Heilbut VIII. Kohn/Schiff/Wertheimer IX. Warburg
Charts and Appendixes (separate - not in Online edition) Chart A- A General Guide Chart B- Friedrichs-Bruell Family Family Charts I - IX Appendix 1 - The Biblical Connection (and C,D,E Rashi and his decendents) Appendix 2 - The Mendelssohn Connection Appendix 3.- A. List of Communities Associated w/Jewish Ancestors B. List of Surnames - Ancestral C. Selective List of Surnames - Collateral D. Ancestral Likenesses
OUR JEWISH ROOTS - The New Rochelle Generation
On August 11, 1937, in a farmer’s house in upstate New York, Kurt O. Friedrichs and Nellie H. Bruell were married. This marriage might be seen as the anti-thesis to the events then taking place in their ancestral homeland, Germany. In 1933, the year that they met - in fact, the very week they met - Adolf Hitler came to power as Chancellor. Their romance had as a background the growing intensification of the Nazi anti-Semitic campaign, with the notorious Nuremberg Laws placing Jews under severe restrictions. Before, during and after the marriage of these two individuals - he of purely German gentile stock going back hundreds of years, a documented Germanic ancestry of noblemen and serfs, ministers and merchants, craftsmen and professionals; she of purely Ashkenazic Jewish stock going back hundreds of years, a documented German/European ancestry of rabbis and merchants, bankers and craftsmen, scholars and tradesmen - tens of thousands of Jews were fleeing their native Germany. Thus, the merger of German Gentile and Jew in the very hour of the final and most deceive alienation of German Gentile and Jew. And the five children of this singular merger each with an equal share of German Gentile and German Jewish ancestry, each a citizen of "The Melting Pot” by birth and inclination - begin to appear during the very period when one demented, hate-filled segment of the German population had launched a systematic extermination of the German and European Jewish population: the Holocaust.
The synthesis then: new generations with Jewish and Gentile (Protestant and Catholic) heritages, some likely to be affiliated more with one religious tradition, some with the other, some not specifically with either but all one hopes, one believes, in the cherished tradition in which the New Rochelle generation was raised with a great tolerance for this diversity, a respect and interest in the different heritages and different religious practices. If the history of Europe over the past fifty years had been more like the history of the family how much extraordinary suffering, waste and destruction without end might have been avoided.
Although the New Rochelle generation were formally raised as Christians, and attended Presbyterian Sunday School, they were also raised by a Jewish mother, with a Jewish grandmother and a father who believed firmly in religious tolerance. Two of this generation married individuals with Christian, principally Catholic ancestry, three married individuals with Jewish (German, Eastern European, Russian) ancestry. The offspring of some of these marriages will probably grow up as Christians, of others as Jewish, and still others with no specific religious affiliation; all of these children should grow up with a strong sense of tolerance and an understanding of the varied traditions of their ancestry.
In the interest or preserving some sense of identity with and understanding of one branch of this family, the Jewish branch, I herewith present a preliminary sketch of some of what is presently known about the Jewish ancestry of the New Rochelle generation (the ancestry of Nellie Bruell Friedrichs). A significant amount of this information newly uncovered. It is presented in a very abbreviated form, subject to revisions, corrections, elaborations and the like at a later date, either by myself or other interested parties. It is thought to be reliable, although the possibility of error is always present in genealogi-cal research. Of some branches of this family, made up of humble craftsmen, artisans and small merchants, relatively little is known; other branches included rabbis and prosperous businessmen, and of these ancestors a great deal more is known. Rabbinical families tended to maintain extensive genealogical records and took pride, apparently, in being able to trace descent from prominent rabbis, talmudic scholars and wise men. Marriages through the nineteenth century were ordinarily arranged, and as a result there was a considerable amount of intermarriage within the rabbinical families; by the same token the well-to-do business classes dealt with each other, and their sons and daughters were often paired off. Thus many interrelationships between families can be established.
In this abbreviated “first edition” of a family history -Jewish branch - no systematic attempt is made to provide all the references or cite all the sources of information. Most of this information is in the possession of DOF, and will hopefully be incorporated into a later, more extensive "edition". The principal purpose here is to outline what is known and present the tables, with little attempt to fill in details on ancestors or especially, collateral relatives.
Note on Abbreviations:
NHF = Nellie H. Friedrichs; and so on, for other members of the immediate family EJ = Encyclopedia Judaica JE = Jewish Encyclopedia UJ = Universal Jewish Encyclopedia LBI = Leo Baeck Institute, NYC
I. Brüll (Bruell)/Einhorn Family
This family was concentrated in Southern Germany (Lichtenfels). We can trace several generations of tanners, or leather-workers, on the Bruell side. The father of NHF, Emil, moved to Lyon, France, changed the spelling of the name, and was a silk merchant and rare book collector. The more recent generations of this family were frequently in business, especially silk. An uncle of NHF’s grandmother, Rosa Einhorn, was he prominent 19th century American rabbi, David Einhorn (see EJ, JE). Relatives on this branch include Waterman, Lederman, Erlanger, Kromwell and - very indirectly - Gay. Louis (loulou) Hirsh was a first cousin of NHF on the Bruell side. Quite a number of rela-tives on this side, including two aunts and an uncle of NHF, ended up in Nazi concentration camps (Theresienstadt).
II. Herxheimer Family
This family was quite mobile, but must have originally come from the village of Herxheim in the lower Rhineland. The outstanding member of this family was the great-grandfather of NHF, Rabbi Salomon Herxheimer, known for his biblical translations and catechisms, interest in Jewish agriculture and various reforms (see JE; also, a biography in German by S. Saalfeld, DOF). The grandfather of NHF, Gotthold Herxheimer, was a businessman in London. Beyond the immediate ancestry of Rabbi Herxheimer - whose father was a cantor - we know little about the paternal line of this family. NHF’s mother, Ella our grandmother Didi - was a Herxheimer; she gave language lessons in Germany & the USA; her brother Walter was a businessman who died on the EMPRESS OF IRELAND, 1911; her sister Dora was a sculptress who lived in Czechoslovakia and later immigrated to the USA. Relatives on this line include the Freundlich family, Gerd Kaufmann’s family in Israel and various American Tachaus and Vizcayas (Illinois, Arizona and New Mexico). More distantly, the family of Herbert Herxheimer in London. Several Herxheimer brothers were prominent doctors in Frankfurt/M. during the 19th century. A fairly detailed tree of collateral relatives on this line exists (DOF).
III. Sieskind/Herz/Oppenheim Family
NHF’s great-grandmother Lea Sieskind, the mother of Gotthold Herxheimer, was a member of this family. This was for a long time a “lost” branch of the family, but substantial records exist in the Leo Baeck Institute, NYC. Our branch came from Ballenstedt, a small city not far from Dessau, presently in East Germany Central-west); earlier members of this family resided in Frankfurt/M and Worms. Oppenheim is an old Jewish family name, with records going far back; the relationship of our branch to others of this name, or Oppenheimers, isn’t always entirely clear NHF and her mother, Didi, had some contact with Oppe & Saalfeld relatives on this branch. Some live in Germany, others in England. Ancestors were crafts, trade & business people.
IV. Eger/Leidesdorf Family
Jeannette Eger, NHF’s great-great grandmother, and the mother of Lea Sieskind, was a member of this family. This is an especially interesting, well-documented branch. The Eger family - centered in Halberstadt, which is in East Germany (cen-tral), produced a number of celebrated orthodox rabbis - our ancestor Akiba Eger I and his grandson Akiba Eger II, for example (see EJ, JE). A later member of this family was the head of the Hasidic Jews. Rabbi Akiba Eger I was a descendant of Simon Wolf (d. 1682 - an ancestor of Mendelssohn-see appendix), and of the celebrated 16th century rabbi, Moses Isserles (see EJ, UJ). The family of Moses Isserles claimed to trace its ancestry even further back (the father of Moses Isserles was an ancestor of Karl Marx). The wife of Rabbi Akiba Eger I was Jutel Leidesdorf, a member of an old Jewish family of Vienna. One mysterious alleged member of this family played a prominent role in the early history of San Francisco. On her mother’s side Jutel Leidesdorf was a descendant of wealthy and influen- tial court Jews and army purveyors, the Margulies/Schlesingers. (See EJ, JE). There are no present day relatives from this branch of the family with whom our family is in contact.
V. Koslin Family
Jeannette Eger's mother was Hanna Koslin. Her ancestry has been traced back to several old Jewish families, including the Hellers, Spiras, Teomims, and Aschkenazis (information about all these families can be found in the JE). The most prominent member of this family was the 17th century Moravian Rabbi Yomtob Lippmann Heller (l579-l654), prolific Talmudic scholar and chief rabbi of Prague during the Thirty Year’s War period (see EJ, JE). Again, we have no contact with distantly related descendants of this branch,
VI. Jaffe Family
NHF’s grandmother was born Augusta Jaffe; she married Gotthold Herxheimer. The Jaffes are described in the JE as a family of rabbis, scholars and communal workers. The Jaffes, according to legend, were descended from the twelfth century Jew Samuel ben Elhanan, who claimed descent from Rashi. This can-not be clearly documented (but see appendix). Our branch specifically claims descent from a 15th century Jew of Bologna, Moses Jaffe. His son Abraham apparently settled in Bohemia and became prefect of Polish Jews in the early 16th century. A descendant of this Abraham was the celebrated Rabbi Mordechai Jaffe, author of “Lebushim”, an important code of rabbinical law (see EJ, JE). Through the eighteenth century our branch of the Jaffes was dominated by rabbis, with Mordechai Marcus Jaffe of Berlin, later rabbi at Schwerin, the most prominent (see JE). A grandson of Mordechai Marcus was Isaac Joseph Jaffe, who with his brother Daniel established a very successful linen import/export firm, Jaffe Brothers, with branches in a number of European cities. One son of Daniel became Sir Otto Jaffe, Lord Mayor of Belfast (see EJ) and a daughter, Caroline, married the Orientalist Jules Oppert (see JE). Isaac Joseph married Pauline Goldschmidt and settled in a large house on the river in Hamburg (the house still stands; DOF owns a watercolor of this house). They had eleven children, with NHF’s grandmother, Augusta, being the youngest - her mother died not long after her birth. Vera Falk Spickernagel and her offspring, the late Ilse Silvers (Art Historian - NYC), Sonia in Switzerland, and Erich in Africa, Chemist George Jaffe and his son John, an accountant in California, the Askenasys of Chile (later Detroit), and Behrens and Prentice in England are relatives on this side. By a second wife, Charlotte Bär, Isaac Joseph Jaffe had four more children; one of them, Edgar, became an economics professor in Heidelberg, married Else von Richthofen (sister of D.H. Lawrence’s wife, Frieda; see Martin Green's "The Von Richthofen Sisters"), became an associate of sociologist Max Weber and served as Socialist Finance Minister of Bavaria in the 1920’s. Two sons, a businessman Frederick (Jeffrey) and a physics professor, Hans, immigrated to the USA. About the Jaffe family in general, a large and interesting clan, a good deal more is known, and will sometime be set down on paper.
VII. Goldschmidt/Heilbut Family
NHF’s great-grandmother Pauline Jaffe was born a Goldschmidt. This family traces its ancestry to the earliest Jewish settlers in Altona and Hamburg, through the Heilbut family. The early environment within which this family lived can be read about in the celebrated memoirs of Glückl of Hamelm, whose family was interrelated with this family. This family was primarily in business, apparently quite prosperous, and intermarried with other prominent Jewish families of Hamburg, especially the Warburgs.
VIII. Kohn/Schiff/Wertheimer Family
Pauline Jaffe’s father was Selig David Goldschmidt: According to genealogical research (Leo Baeck Institute) commissioned by a descendant of his, Harry Lamm, the mother of S. D. Goldschmidt was Hanna Kohn (the Warburg tree gives her name as Fanny Salomon, but this information is specifically rejected by the records in the LBI). Hanna Kohn was descended from another old Jewish family of the Hamburg area, with her great-grandfather Isaac Bar Kohn mentioned in Glückl’s memoirs. On the Kohn side she was also apparently descended from the very old Jewish family Schiff of Frankfurt, which has records of ancestors extending back into the l4th century (see JE). The American financier Jacob Schiff and his family claimed descent from the same ancestors. Hanna Kohn’s grandmother, another Hanna, was a daughter of the celebrated 18th century Viennese Court Jew Samson Wertheimer (see EJ, JE), who originally came from Worms.
IX. Warburg Family
The great-great grandmother of NHF and the mother of Pauline Goldschmidt Jaffe was born Jette Warburg. Extensive documentation relating to this family exists: there is a formidable Warburg Family tree (DOF/KOF), a book has been written about this family and some of its more celebrated descendants (David Farrer - The Warburgs), and additional information can be found in the Jewish Encyclopedias. The family may have originally come from Spain and Italy, with the earliest identified ancestor coming from the German city of Cassel and settling in the Westphalian village of Warburg in the 16th century. By the middle of the 17th century the family had settled in Altona and long before the Rothschilds - established themselves as prosperous moneylenders and merchant bankers. Later descendants of this family distinguished themselves in a great variety of occupations in many parts of the world, and included one Nobel Prize winner. The best known branch, the sons of Moritz Warburg of Hamburg - especially Aby, Max, Felix and Paul intermarried with other prominent Jewish families in the United States (Schiffs and Loebs) and achieved some distinction in art history, banking and philanthropy. One member of this branch, James, was an important advisor of FDR another descendant was for a time married to his son, FDR, Jr