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Archive for May 19th, 2009

By a series of chances, I happened upon a couple of interesting web pages about the Jewish sites in the town of Ziegenhain, Schwalmstadt in Germany. Ziegenhain is the town where my father’s family came from. We know of two generations of Sterns from Ziegenhain as well as a whole lot of other Sterns from there who are somehow our relations as well. 

Our earliest Sterns are the couple Abraham (1772-1827) and his wife Keile (1784-1852) Stern who lived there. Their son Salomon (1814-1870?) moved to Frankfurt Am Main and married into the Goldschmidt family who hailed from Eschwege and Oberlistingen (also in the same area) who had also moved to Frankfurt at the same time when Jews were first allowed to live outside the Judengasse.

I was in Ziegenhain in 1987 and visited the Jewish cemetery there. My brother had been in Ziegenhain previously but had not known of the cemetery. He enquired in the local museum who also didn’t know but they later sent a map by post which I used to find the site. If you want to take a look, it is at [50°55’9.96″N, 9°15’10.28″E]. Anyway it turns out that there is a web page all about the Jewish cemetery (or here translated to English). Looking at the pictures, I remember some of the tombstones and I have pictures of some of them as well. Another picture I have that they don’t show is the stone of Keile Stern my great-great-great-grandmother which reads:

אשת חיל עקרת
הבית תפארת
פעלה מרת
קיילה אשת
אברהם שטערן
נפארה ר”ח אב
תריב לפק

While I was looking I also saw the page about the Ziegenhain synagogue (or here translated into bad Google English). This shows photos as well as reconstructions of the interior and some documents related to the community. In an article that the local museum sent to my brother (photocopied from “Die Steuerpflichtigen des Jahres 1840 in den Synagogengemeinden des Kreises Ziegenhain” by Alfred Höck from “Schwälmer Jahrbuch 1978”) is a list of synagogue dues paid in 1840 including by “Abraham Sterns Witwe” – i.e. Keile Stern, but this list isn’t shown in the web page.

Two action items:

  1. Digitize the photos I took in Ziegenhain, post them here and send them to the “Alemannia Judaica” web site
  2. Scan the article “Die Steuerpflichtigen des Jahres 1840 in den Synagogengemeinden des Kreises Ziegenhain” and do the same.
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