Biographies of Jews from Vöhl, Marienhagen,
Basdorf and Oberwerbe
assembeld by Karl-Heinz Stadtler
Lebensläufe Vöhler Juden
Why is this compilation put on the web? and preliminary remarks
continueThe most important reason is that again and again inquiries come, which refer to persons and families from Vöhl. Mostly Jews inquire who are looking for ancestors and relatives from other countries. Sometimes they are also persons who are working on the Jewish or common past in their German home community - similar to what happens in the Vöhl Förderkreis Synagoge - and are therefore on a "search for traces".
However, the information contained in this directory may also be of interest to all citizens of Vöhl and of the North Hessian region who would like to know how people used to live and how Jews and Christians lived side by side and sometimes also together.
Due to the abundance of available information, the data can only be put online bit by bit. It is intended to do this in alphabetical order. Furthermore, where possible, the information will be supplemented by photos and documents.
Furthermore, family trees will be compiled where it seems reasonable. They are interactive. By clicking on the individual names, you can also access further information about the person in question from the family tree.
This directory of Vöhl Jews is "in progress". That means above all: it is not complete and cannot become so.
For several years the author has collected data and facts from various sources (State Archives of Marburg, Municipal Archives of Vöhl, various reference books from the region, conversations with contemporary witnesses, etc.) and compiled them according to persons.
Initially, there was the assumption that there was only little information altogether, because it was said that shortly before the arrival of the American occupation troops in April 1945, the Vöhl baker's ovens had not gone out for a few days. In fact, there are not many records in the Vöhl archives from the twelve years of the Thousand Year Reich.
But citizens of Vöhl still knew a few things to report from memory. And then there are also those Jewish fellow citizens who survived the Holocaust, with whom there is active contact, not only since we had many of them as guests in Vöhl.
Incidentally, those twelve years of National Socialist rule are a relatively short period of time compared to those 260 years from 1682 to 1942 during which Jews were verifiably living in Vöhl.
The directory is not free of errors. There are several reasons for this:
Until the 20th century Jews had not only their civil, but in addition a religiously motivated first name. The latter was not used publicly, but sometimes it was; and therefore it cannot be excluded that persons appear who are identical with others.
Also sometimes cose forms (e.g. Malchen for Amalie, Rickchen for Friederike, Jettchen for Henriette and Johannette) were used or names were modified almost arbitrarily. That a "Moses" was sometimes only called Mose, that there was the "Isaak" also as "Isai", "Isak" or Isack", may still be comprehensible; if a "Feist" appears however also as "Veit" or even "Uri", then the assignment is already more difficult. In Korbach there was a family Kugelmann, where almost every female person was called "Rickchen"; one of them, who was actually called "Helene", married to Vöhl, where there were also several families Kugelmann.
In addition, persons with the same first name and surname often lived at the same time. So it cannot be excluded that information was assigned to the wrong person. In at least one case the author suspects that there were such two persons of the same name at the same time; but the source situation is still too vague to assert the existence of the second person. So, possibly, information that actually refers to two persons is assigned to only one.
Also, officials of the municipal or district authorities were by all means not always as conscientious as they are said to be today. For example, a name was spelled one way and another another; sometimes there are several birth or marriage dates for the same person in the files; tax data were sometimes carried over to the next year without exact verification.
And, despite all the care taken, there may well be errors due to negligence or error on the part of the author of this compilation.
All these possible sources of error are the reason why this directory has been described in the introductory sentence as being "in progress". Even after it has been "put online," it will continue to be researched, changed, and added to.
In one point the information is intentionally incomplete: For the period of persecution of Jews in the Third Reich, so-called perpetrators - i.e. persons who were actively involved in acts against Jews in the region - are not named. They are no longer alive, their descendants are not responsible and should therefore not be incriminated by public mention of their names.
Legal involvements of Jews from Vöhl, on the other hand, have been presented. They provide valuable information about the position of the Jews in society, but also generally give important insights into life in Vöhl in the 19th century.
Conclusions from this information should be drawn with all caution, because the conditions at that time cannot be compared with those of today. For example, for several decades there were a great many seizures, both with and without the participation of Jews. Often there were administrative fines for violation of the Sunday rest, of course exclusively against Jews. In cases of fraud due to false weights, Jews were more often affected than Christian merchants, but this imbalance corresponded approximately to the different share of members of the two religions in the trading business. During one of these official inspections of weights, five merchants were found to have tampered with weights on the same day and were punished. Two traders were Christians, three were Jews. In the 1920s, there were also punishments for price gouging. Here, resentment as a result of growing anti-Semitism may also have played a role in legislation.
Information was provided by Christiane Kupski and Jürgen Evers. Especially with regard to the Frankenthal family, research by Carol Davidson-Baird, a descendant of Jews from Vöhl living in the USA, could be used.