Sara, the wife of Isaak Steinhardt, is listed as the daughter of Fradel Lazarus of Suzbach on page S of Höpfinger, Renate. Die Judengemeinde von Floss, 1684-1942 : die Geschichte einer judischen Landgemeinde in Bayern. Her stepfather is also listed.

The use of the name Lazarus would indicate that Fradel's father's name was Lazarus. Since they were probably not many jews in Sulzbach (now known as Sulzbach-Rosenberg) we are making the assumption, not necessarily correct, that this is the same Lazarus who was the father of Joseph Lazarus Seligman who has been researched by our presumed cousin Ralph Baer.

A translation from the Höpfinger, book says "Duke Christian August (1634-1708) studied the Hebrew language and Jewish history. In 1666, with his permission, Jews emigrated to Sulzbach, which soon brought further immigration from the east, thereby developing into a strong community." (from the history of the Floss jewish community)

The following is part of a document written by Ralph N Baer, published with his permission, which is a terrific example of researching one's German jewish ancestors. Much of this article was also published in Issue 30 of Stammbaum in 2006 which is now available on line at

KLEIN Family of Jöhlingen Landkreis Karlsruhe, Baden
The Descendants of
Joseph Lazarus Seligmann
(about 1727 – between 1808 and 1813)
Bella Jacob
married 1752 Sulzbach in der Oberpfalz

The first mention of Joseph Lazarus Seligmann that I found [on his son Wolf’s (3., below) marriage record] designated him as Joseph Seligmann. With this name, one would expect his father to have been named Seligmann. However, information that I found later, outlined below, indicates that Joseph Lazarus Seligmann (that is Joseph, son of Lazarus and grandson of Seligmann) was his correct name. Bella Jacob’s father was probably named Jacob.

I am not 100% certain that Bella was the mother of my ancestor Seligmann Joseph KLEIN (1., below), because the only place that I have seen her name is on the marriage record of her other son whom I know by name, Wolf Joseph Seligmann (Joseph SONNENTHEIL after 1808) (3.). Similarly, I am only certain that Wolf was born in Sulzbach in der Oberpfalz — not Seligmann.

Seligmann Joseph chose the family name KLEIN in Jöhlingen in 1809. Why, I do not know — perhaps because he was short. (“Klein” is German for little.) Interestingly, Seligmann’s brother Wolf, living in Landau when Jews in the Pfalz were required to assume family names in 1808, took a different name — SONNENTHEIL. The latter also changed his first name to his father’s given, Joseph, thus becoming Joseph SONNENTHEIL. The reason for this choice of name is also unknown to me.

The fact that Seligmann Joseph KLEIN and Wolf Joseph SONNENTHEIL were brothers is discussed in an article which I wrote for the German-Jewish genealogical periodical Stammbaum in 2006 (Issue 30). It is now available on-line through the Leo Baeck Institute website.

The book A Dictionary of German-Jewish Surnames by Lars Menk mentions that there were also people named SONNENTHEIL living in Regensburg. I have not yet had the opportunity to look at Regensburg Jewish vital records, but there is some information available on the internet. From that I was able to deduce that Emanuel SONNENTHEIL (Mendel Joseph) (2.) was indeed a son of Joseph Lazarus Seligmann. The crucial link was provided by the website of the Oberpfälzer Kulturbund ( U p p e r P a l a t i n a t e C u l t u r e A l l i a n c e ) a t t h e s p e c i f i c p a g e : 3 – 1 r.php. It states that Emanuel SONNENTHEIL was “aus Sulzbach stammend” (hailing from Sulzbach).

Note also the use of both the names SONNENTHEIL and KLEIN by Emanuel’s known children. This information was taken from a death notice and an obituary of his first wife as well as a notice of his second marriage from Volume 10 of the Regensburger Wochenblatt for 1820 which is now on line at the Google Books website. Listed are the family names and initials of three children (A, C S, and M). Emanuel is listed as M J SONNENTHEIL in one place and Emanuel SONNENTHEIL, Vorsänger (cantor), in another. Some data was also taken from the book Regensburger Juden by Siegfried Wittmer.

Both Joseph Seligmann and Bella Jacob were still alive when Wolf (3.) married in 1806. (They are listed on the marriage record as consenting to the marriage.) The fact that Wolf waited until his fifth child, and fourth son, to name a child after his father indicates that Joseph Seligmann was still alive in 1808. This is in agreement with the absence of the name Joseph among Seligmann’s known children. He must have passed away prior to Wolf’s son Josef’s (35.) birth in 1813. [Actually, the child that was named Seligmann was apparently the fourth child and third son, because Isaac (31.) was most likely adopted by him as is discussed in his entry below.]

As stated in the first paragraph, above, Joseph Seligmann is the father’s name as it appears on Landau records for Wolf. A letter that I received from the Bavarian Staatsarchiv (state archives) for the Oberpfalz in Amberg states that Joseph Seligmann and his wife Bela were mentioned in Sulzbach in 1807. Joseph Seligmann was also mentioned in 1798. On 12 November 1787, Joseph Lazarus Seligmann petitioned the Sulzbach court to have his yearly 2 Gulden Schutz payment reduced. He stated that he was 60 years old (thus born about 1727). It goes on to state that his wife (unnamed) had been bedridden for six years, and only one of their six children could help support them. (It may be that he still had to support one of his children. I am not 100% sure of the proper translation.) It thus is very possible that Joseph Seligmann was really Joseph Lazarus Seligmann, and his father was not named Seligmann, but instead Lazarus Seligmann. Naming patterns make this actually more likely because both of Joseph’s known sons named sons Lazarus. It is also possible, but very unlikely, that Joseph Lazarus Seligmann was a different person from Joseph Seligmann.

In a second letter that I received from Amberg it is stated that on 24 May 1805 Joseph Lazarus Seligmann again petitioned to have his payments reduced. This time it is stated that he was 80 years old (thus born about 1725) and his wife was bedridden for 20 years. He was supported by a son, whose name and residence location was not given, and the Jewish community of München.

I do not know what significance should be drawn from the fact that he was supported in part by München.

On 1 September 1755, Joseph Lazarus Seeligmann asked the Sulzbach government about the amount of his tax payments. His parents had died within the previous three weeks (thus August 1755). He had been married since 1752. The parents had left behind eight children.

In the book Geschichte der Juden in der Oberpfalz, V, Herzogtum Sulzbach (Sulzbach und Floss), by Dr. Magnus Weinberg, Rabbi of Neumarkt (Oberpfalz), 1927, there are several lists of the Jewish heads of families. In 1801 is listed Josef Seligmann and in 1765 and 1787 Josef Lazarus. Again, I strongly suspect that these are the same person — Joseph Lazarus Seligmann. In an earlier list for 1745 is Lazarus Seligmann, again agreeing with my assumption. However, there also is an entry for “Laz. Josefs Erben” (Lazarus Josef’s estate) in 1745. Probably, Lazarus Josef was not related, or if related, the relationship is more distant.

On the 1801 list, besides for Josef Seligmann, there is a “Emanuel Seligmann, Vorsänger in Regensburg.” This must be his son (2.). Because Seligmann was the name of Emanuel’s greatgrandfather, I imagine that it was considered as being a family name at that time, not a patronymic. Conceivably some branches retained this name.

The Amberg archives also informed me that from 18 August 1786 through 20 September 1786 a Betteljude (beggar Jew) named Joseph Lazarus from Frankfurt am Main was imprisoned because of theft. This may be the same person as Joseph Lazarus Seligmann or it may be a different Joseph Lazarus who was just passing through town. If it was indeed the same person then sometime between Joseph Lazarus Seligmann’s birth in about 1725 to 1727 and the first mention that I have found of his father’s presence in Sulzbach (1745) the family moved from Frankfurt am Main to Sulzbach. A search through the voluminous Frankfurt records contained in Ele Toldot, compiled by Fritz (Schlomo) Ettlinger, at the Leo Baeck Institute in New York did not yield any information on this family. Ele Toldot has been digitized and it is now available on line through the LBI website.

Rabbi Weinberg’s book (pages 39 – 40) states that Josef Lazarus was an Army supplier during the Seven Years’ War. In 1760, he delivered supplies to a Kurpfalz military hospital in Kunersdorf (assuredly Cunnersdorf near Dresden). He was later imprisoned by Prussian troops near Leipzig who brought him after a week’s travel to Torgau where he was given Prussian passes but was forced to surrender his money and valuables. For this he claimed recompense from the Sulzbach government, in whose employment he was.

On a list of heads of families for the village of Reilingen for 1801, contained in the Berthold Rosenthal collection in the Leo Baeck Institute in New York, is “Seligmann Joseph ein emigrierter Franzos. Schulmstr.” (Seligmann Joseph, a schoolmaster who emigrated from France). This Seligmann Joseph was not listed as living in Reilingen on a list for 1815. Because Reilingen is less than 20 miles from Jöhlingen, and the name Seligmann Joseph is not common (and even less common considering that he also was a school teacher), I deduced that this was most probably the same person as my ancestor. The Seligmann Joseph who was my ancestor definitely was in Jöhlingen by 1805 because his daughter Babette, my great-great-grandmother, was born there.

Furthermore, there are records in the Berthold Rosenthal collection at the Leo Baeck Institute of a cemetery list for Obergrombach where the Jöhlingen Jews were buried at the time. This list shows that a Jochanan Lema, son of the cantor Seligmann of Jöhlingen, apparently died on 19 Iyar 5563 (11 May 1803). Thus, it appears that Seligmann moved to Jöhlingen between 1801 and 1803. The original, still in Generallandesarchiv Karlsruhe (77/3034), states that Seligmann had four people in his family. Like Ele Toldot, the Rosenthal collection has been digitized and it is now available on line through the LBI website.

In the SCHNEEBERG(ER) chapter, I noted that Raphael Lehmann SCHNEEBERG (Raphael, son of Lehmann), the father-in-law of Seligmann Joseph, signed his name in Hebrew characters as “Raphael ben Jochanan”. I would thus assume that Jochanan Lema, mentioned above, had the common name Lehmann. Most probably Lema is the same as Lehmann.

In Pfaffenhoffen, where Seligmann Joseph’s wife was born, there was a cantor Seligmann Joseph in 1793, however his age was given as 28 indicating he was born around 1765. It would not surprise me at all if this was the same Seligmann Joseph and the 1765 was more accurate than the 1751 listed below, and this would also explain the designation “Franzos.” in Reilingen. (The 4 May 1751 date was calculated from an age in years, months, and days given on his death record.) On the 1809 name adoption list for Jöhlingen, Seligmann Joseph was listed as 50, indicating that he was born around 1759. There is thus a large variation even between the 1751 and 1759 dates which are definitely for the same person.

The above paragraph does, however, indicate a significant difference between the birth dates of Seligmann and his brother Wolf (about 1774 calculated from his age on his marriage record and 1767 calculated from his age on his death record), which lessens the likelihood that Bella Jacob was Seligmann’s mother. I would have thought that Seligmann’s daughter Babette (Buhle) (14.) was named for Bella Jacob (indicating that Bella was the mother of both brothers) but Bella was still alive when Babette was born in 1805. Perhaps Babet (Barbara) (16.) was named for her instead. It is also possible that Bertha (Blume) BAER (253. in BAER chapter) was named for her, as well as Babette (111., below)..

The following information about Jöhlingen is taken from the book Die jüdischen Gemeinden in Baden written by Franz Hundsnurscher and Gerhard Taddey, published by the Land (state) of Baden- Württemberg.

Jewish population in Jöhlingen:

  • 1825 85
  • 1875 99
  • 1900 66
  • 1925 18
  • 1933 15

The last Jewish child was born in Jöhlingen in 1935 (Alfred KLEIN 113311.). A synagogue was built in the nineteenth century which was destroyed on Kristallnacht in 1938. There were also a Jewish Volksschule and a Mikvah. As stated above, the Jewish dead from Jöhlingen were buried in the large nearby cemetery in Obergrombach which served many Jewish communities in the vicinity.

In 1888 Jöhlingen established its own cemetery. Large sections of the Obergrombach cemetery were destroyed during the Nazi period.

[... long lists of descendants not included here ...]

I know nothing for certain about Joseph’s siblings although I have discovered two people who may be his brother and a sister (1:2? and 1:3?).

1:1. Joseph Lazarus Seligmann about 1727 – between 1808 and 1813, married to Bella Jacob (descendants above)

1:2? Seligmann (Pinchas) SULZBACH, died 22 August 1801 Fürth, married 1. to Gitel GUTMANN 1745 – 13 September 1764 Fürth, married 2. to Matle (or Sorle) GUTMANN, died 1 March 1784 Fürth, married 3. 29 June 1784 Sulzbach to Hannele Josel Sulzbach

1:3? Fradel Lazarus, lived in Sulzbach and had an apparently illegitimate child Sara who married Isaak STEINHARDT and lived in Floß. 

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