The story of the Grünbaum family in Themar contributes much to our understanding of the dynamics of the small city of Themar in the late 1800s/early 1900s. We learn more about one of Themar’s ‘core’ Jewish families, the Grünbaums, members of which were in Themar from the beginning in the late 1860s/early 1870s until the end of the Jewish community in the Holocaust. It tells us how the rapid growth of the Jewish community was the result of in-migration of Jews from other communities rather than natural increase. We learn more about the internal dynamics of Themar’s economic structure: how Jewish businesses were established, closed, and/or passed into the hands of other family members.
Within a larger context, the family’s story contributes to our knowledge of why and how many German families — Jewish and non-Jewish — changed location, moving within their home state from one urban centre to another, perhaps the same size, frequently larger, and then still larger in search of economic prosperity, or left Germany altogether.
And, with particular reference to the experience of Jewish families during the Holocaust, the story of the Seckels highlights the strategies families pursued in order to escape the Nazi terror. In so doing, the story challenges some long-standing assumptions about Jewish Germans — such as the belief that older Jewish Germans resisted or refused to consider emigration.
In the late 1860s/early 1870 two sons of Hirsch and Golde (née Kahn) Grünbaum Löser (b. 1838) and Noa (b. 1841) moved from Walldorf (Werra) to Themar. The small city—its location, its trading routes by train and water, and its role as an administrative centre—offered greater opportunities for economic prosperity than did Walldorf. The Jewish community in Walldorf was in decline: in the first half of the 19th century the community had grown from 238 in 1810 to 562 in 1849 (34% of the town’s population of 1637), but then the number had started to fall; by close to 100 by 1855 and then in a flood by the end of the century when only 108 Jews lived in Waldorf.
The Grünbaums decided to stay in Germany and in their home state. Both men were relatively young, in their thirties, married with children when they made the move. Both men remained in Themar for the rest of their lives: Noa died first in 1901; Löser died three years later. Both men and their families had made significant contributions to the life of Themar.
The Descendants List of Hirsch and Golde (née Kahn) Grünbaum
The family of Löser and Joanna (née Bergmann) Grünbaum
The family of Noa & Minna (née Friedmann) Grünbaum
The family of Berta (née Grünbaum) and Jacoby Seckel
The Family of Karl & Hulda (née Schlesinger)
The Family of Abraham & Fanni (née Fuchs) Schlesinger
We would like to thank the families of Karl and Hulda Grünbaum, their children and grandchildren, who have shared their family archives with us.
If you have any information or questions about the Grünbaum families of Themar, which you would like to share, please contact Sharon Meen
@ firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. We would be pleased to hear from you.