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The Frankenberg & Wertheimer Families

“I become quite dizzy with all this Frankenberg/Wertheimer ‘highway intersections,’ writes one of the descendants. “Each time I find myself peeking back at the website pages, in order to see if what I understood or conclude makes any sense. Sometimes I’m right, and sometimes I start drawing again a kind of tree, to see if its boughs will lead me someplace.”

Like the Baers, Gassenheimers and Grünbaums, the Frankenberg & Wertheimer families were ‘core’ families in the story of the Jewish community of Themar; that is, they were there at the beginning in the 1860s and 1870s and there at the sad end in 1942. As well, there was always significant inter-marriage among and within families.

Yet the intertwining of the two families — through marriage and migration patterns — is distinctive among the Jewish families of Themar and easily leads to the ‘dizzying confusion’ of descendants — and others — two hundred years later!

The following information may not eliminate the confusion but may provide a context within which to look back at the families’ histories.

1. The Patriarchs: Jacob Samuel Wertheimer and Nathan Jonas Frankenberg
• Both were born and raised in Wüstensachsen in Hesse: Jacob Samuel Wertheimer was born in 1768. Nathan Jonas Frankenberg was born in 1770,
• Both men decided to leave Wüstensachsen at about the same time and therefore at the same age — in their thirties.
• Both moved to Marisfeld, about 65 km. east of Wüstensachsen.
• Both married women born elsewhere in Germany: Jacob Samuel married Betti Köhler, b. 1786 in Walldorf a/d Werra. Nathan Jonas married Reckla Neuberger, b. 1788 in Mühlfeld.
• Both were living in Marisfeld and forming families in the first decade of the 1800s. The Wertheimers had five (5) children; the Frankenbergs had eight (8) children, although only 6 survived infancy to become adults
• Both died in Marisfeld: Nathan Jonas Frankenberg in 1846, age 76. Samuel Jacob Wertheimer in 1852, age 84.

2. The Descendants: Migration
Members of both families left Marisfeld in the 1870s, when the formation of a united Germany allowed Jews to settle in urban centres.
• 1860s/1870s: The first move was from Marisfeld to Themar, 12 km away.
• 1890s: The second move for some family members was from Themar to Coburg in Bavaria.
• 1900-1930: Family members moved around within eastern Germany pursuing economic opportunity.
• 1933-1939: Many family members left Germany, seeking refuge in Holland, the United States, South Africa, Shanghai, and Argentina.
• 1937-1945: about 30 members of the Frankenberg and Wertheimer families were murdered in the Holocaust.

The Ongoing Confusions:
Marriage among cousins: There was frequent marriage between cousins of the Frankenberg and Wertheimer families. Marriage between cousins was a pattern of both Jewish and non-Jewish communities.
Repetition of names: This is one of the most ‘dizzying’ aspects of the family trees. “Nathan” is probably the name that confuses most.

The following pages include outlines of the families of Jacob Samuel Wertheimer and Nathan Jonas Frankenberg, and detail about the stories of some of the families:
Descendants Lists:
Nathan Jonas and Reckla (née Neuberger) Frankenberg
Jacob and Luise (née Mai) Frankenberg
Löb and Jette (née Hermann) Frankenberg
Jacob Samuel and Betti (née Köhler) Wertheimer
Jonas and Mathilde (née Frankenberg) Wertheimer
The Stories:
The Frankenbergs in Themar
The Family of Max and Meta (née Rosenthal) Frankenberg
The Family of Mendel and Sarah (née Gutmann) Wertheimer
The Family of Nathan and Malwine (née Frankenberg) Wertheimer
The Story of Rosa (née Wertheimer) and Jacob Edelmuth
Learning the Story of Rosa (née Wertheimer) and Jacob Edelmuth
Milton and Bella (née Wertheimer) Wertheimer
“Summer 1921 — Minnie & Lloyd visit the rellies!”

Any comments that will contribute to our understanding of these families are welcome. Please contact Sharon Meen @ [email protected]