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|  Thursday 13th Jun 2024


Origins of the Jewish families in Roth

by Annegret Wenz-Haubfleisch

Nameless Jewish inhabitants of Schenkisch Eigen, an area including the villages of Roth, Wenkbach, and Argenstein, are first recorded in 1594-95. We do find records of family names in the 17th century, but their settlements were apparently not continuous. The ancestors of the Jews living in Roth in the 20th century can first be identified beginning in the 18th century.

Of the nine Jewish families living in Roth in 1744, only the families of Salomon Susmann and Loeb Juda (also known as Loeb Salomon) received rights to continue living in the village. There is no further record of the Salomon Susmann’s family, and Loeb Juda’s family name died out without a male heir at the end of the 18th century.

A son of the evicted Seligmann family, Aron Seligmann, apparently either stayed in the village or returned to it later. He and his wife Scheile were childless, so they adopted a nephew (the son of Scheile’s sister) from Breidenbach in the Grand Duchy of Darmstadt. During the Westphalian Period, from 1806-1813, this nephew took on the name Stern and became the forefather of the three Stern families still living in Roth in the 20th century.

The founder of the Höchster/Höxter line, which also existed into the 20th century in Roth, was Meyer Isaac. He was Swabian by birth and moved to Roth from the County of Wittgenstein with his wife in 1775. His wife, whose name we do not know, was a sister of Aron Seligmann who had been working there as a servant. Meyer Isaac was granted a residence permit – a document known in German as a  Toleranzschein, lit. a certificate of tolerance. They had three children: Sara, Reitz, and Isaac. Isaac took on the name Höchster.

Isaac’s sisters married men who permanently settled in Roth from elsewhere. Reitz married Seligmann Bergenstein from Leihgestern. He had worked in Roth as a servant. Sara wedded  Marcus Wäscher from Ziegenhain, who moved to Roth in 1815. The latter family-line died out the end of the 19th century.

In the first half of the 19th century two daughters of the Stern family married two sons from the  Höchster family, with the result that all Jewish families in Roth were blood-relatives.

The widowed Giedel Höchster, née Stern, married Baruch Nathan from Lohra in 1855, thus establishing the Nathan family in Roth.

The family lines of Stern, Höchster, Bergenstein, and Nathan were the basis of the Jewish community in Roth from the 19th century onward. Markus Roth from Nieder-Ohmen married into the family of Herz Stern II in 1922. This Stern family’s only son Hermann died in the First World War. Markus Roth started a family with the Sterns’ daughter Selma.


Jewish Families in the 20th century

In the 20th century, nine Jewish families and a single person from the Bergenstein family lived in Roth.

To those Jewish families who were expelled from Roth to other countries or deported and murdered during the Nazi era, the working group has dedicated stumbling blocks and a commemorative brochure with in-depth biographical information to 2010 and 2013.

Memorial Stones - "Stolpersteine"

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