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The Official Records
Official records in various archives — the State Archives of Thüringen in Meiningen, the Themar City Archives/Stadarchiv Themar and others housed in online databanks such as Das Bundesarchiv, Gedenkbuch — are allowing us to compile a list of Themar’s Jewish citizens. For example, all newcomers to the city had to register their arrival with the City Police. As well there were occasional censuses, which might or might not identify the religion of individuals.
The lists are as follows:
- Births in the Jewish Community of Themar 1876-1937. State Archives of Thüringen in Meiningen
- Jüdisch-politische Einstellung: neutral-assimilatorisch-zionistisch-orthodox, 1 Oktober 1935/Jewish-political Orientation: neutral-assimilationist-zionist-orthodox, 1 October 1935. pdf
This is the first ‘census’ of the Jewish population taken after the passage of the Reich Citizenship Law of September 15 1935, defining who was or was not a German citizen.
- Mitglieder der Kultusgemeinde Themar/Members of the Jewish Community of Themar, 7 March 1938.
In this list, one sees the column “Staatsangehörige.” This indicates that, according to the Reich Citizenship Law, Jews are “subjects of the state,” not citizens or “Reichsbürger.” It was also a means of identifying those Jews not born in Germany, as persecution of the “Ostjuden,” those Jews not born in Germany, was steadily increasing in 1938, resulting in the expulsion of Polish Jews living in Germany in late October 1938.
- Names of Jews who applied for Identity Cards, 17 January 1939.
- Namen der Noch in Themar wohnenden Juden. 6 Oktober 1939/Names of Jews living in Themar, 6 October 1939 pdf
The Unofficial Records
The best known of these records is the list compiled by Oskar Stapf, the city archivist, in 1962. See
“Finding the Jewish Families of Themar,” and
“The Jewish Families of Themar.”
The Research Records:
The 1871 Census and Themar’s Jewish Community
Themar’s Jewish Community, 1850-1943/Name, Birth & Death Dates & Places
Research in public and private, family archives, as well as in the databases made available in the increasing number of genealogical websites (such as Ancestry.com and MyHeritage, etc), are allowing us to identify and document the presence of the Jewish citizens of Themar. At present, September 2015, the number of Jews who were born or died in Themar or who lived for some significant period of time in the small city is 336. The full list is available here.
- Most of the members of the Jewish community lived in the family groupings identified here. And individuals who at first glance might seem to be outside of families can often be identified as relatives of families: Klara Eisenfresser, for example, was the sister of Karoline Mayer, née Eisenfresser. Klara came to Themar sometime in the late 1920s or early 1930s and stayed until she left with her sister for Berlin, where the two women, both in their 90s, died in 1940. Nanny Steindler, née Rindsberg, was the mother of Pauline (née Steindler) Müller, co-owner of the S. M. Müller department store. Bertha Nussbaum, née Stern, whose name appeared on the list of the Jewish community of January 17, 1939, was the mother of Clara (née Müller) Nussbaum, and grandmother to Herbert, Meinhold and Willy. She lived in Themar for a period of time after Kristallnacht 1938 and early 1939.
- Some individuals bear the name of families associated with Themar and may well be members of those families but as yet we don’t know the exact family link; we know, for example, from Oskar Stapf’s 1962 list that Alfred Wather had three children but as yet we cannot actually name those children.
- Other individuals have links to existing families as cousins or as employees: Edith Wertheim of Walldorf, for example, was nanny to Elly Plaut and her daughter, Hanna, born in 1935. We can locate Edith within her own family in Walldorf and follow her journey out of Germany to the United States in 1939 and subsequent marriage. Hanna Isner was a niece of the Ernst Gassenheimer family.
- But in the end there are several people, listed below, about whom we know little or nothing and would like to know more. Should you have any information, please send it to Sharon Meen @ firstname.lastname@example.org.
Albert Katz, b. 1889 in Themar, deported from Drancy, 1942 with Josef Katz, murdered Auschwitz. It is the entry in Gedenkbuch at right that tells us of Albert Katz as to date nothing in the Themar records have brought anything to light.
Karoline Mayer. This is not the wife of Meier Mayer) Karoline’s name is included in the Census of Themar in early 1939. The Gedenkbuch entry tells us her fate. But her connection to Themar and Why she was in Themar in 1939 is yet unknown.
Human, Rudolf Armin. Geschichte der Juden im Herzogtum Sachsen-Meiningen-Hildburghausen. Hildburghausen: Kesselring, 1898/reprinted Weimar: F. Fink, 1939.
Roß, Karl-Heinz & Hans Nothnagel, „Die jüdische Gemeinde Themar — ein fragmentarischer Rückblick,” in H. Nothnagel, ed., Juden in Südthüringen geschützt und gejagt (Verlag Buchhaus Suhl, 1995), Bd. 2.
Salier, Hans Jurgen. Themar: Geschichte in Daten, 2008.
Wolf, Siegfried. Juden in Thüringen 1933-1945: Biographische Daten, Band 1 & 2, 2002.
Ancestry.com. and Ancestry.de [databases on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006.
Das Deutsche Bundesarchiv, Gedenkbuch: Opfer der Verfolgung der Juden unter der nationalsozialistischen Gewaltherrschaft in Deutschland 1933 -1945.
Private Family Archival Collections/Privatbesitz Familien
Staatsarchiv Thüringen Meiningen. Jüdische Geburtsregister Themar 1876-1937
Stadtarchiv Themar/City of Themar Archives, Files 68a-d; Ordner 109.
Zeitung für Themar 1893-1934.
Yad Vashem, The Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names.