No 94 - April 2008




From Lengnau to New-York : the Guggenheim family, part two
How to make use of one’s wealth

Jacques-Henri GOUGENHEIM

As announced in the first part, the increased number of descendants, and thus heirs, and the fading of brotherly togetherness brought an end to an apparently endless increase in wealth and power. J.-H. Gougenheim portraits most of the descendants, mainly those members of the second, third and fourth generation who were talented and successful in their business. Almost all of the Guggenheims devoted a significant part of their money to charitable, artistic and scientific foundations that bear the name Guggenheim. Their most remarkable success is to have found outside of the family capable and devoted trustees to manage and develop these foundations.



A genealogical-biblical round trip

A then unknown Israeli genealogist contacted the author because he had located his great-grandfather’s (in fact his great-great-grandfather’s) family Bible with an also unknown lady. The Bible was published in 1837 by German scholars directed by Leopold Zunz, the father of German and American Reform Judaism. The copy bears handwritten notes by the owner, recalling the main events of his family life. It has been generously presented to Ernest Kallmann. In the meantime the few uncertainties arising from its thorough examination have been cleared. All persons involved in the discovery and the return of the book, though not related, are linked by a genealogical circle that is almost closed.



Searching for the ancestors of Todrosse from Schalbach (Moselle)

While helping a researcher who has hit a brick-wall with the marriage record of his ancestor Todrosse in 1804, Pascal Faustini progresses several generations back perusing the existing research tools, mostly developed by volunteer members of our society. His paper exemplifies how Jewish genealogy can be conducted back to the late 17th century in Alsace and Moselle from one’s desk, provided sufficient flair and cross-checking is applied.




How a small group of Thessalonian Spanish Jews survived the Holocaust

Isaac Revah was deported from Salonika in 1943 at the age of 9, and survived because his family owned a Spanish passport. Salonika, nicknamed "a mother in Israel”, accepted Jewish immigration coming from all parts of Europe over the 12th to the 19th century and became a thriving religious, cultural and commercial center. Things began to degrade with the transfer from Turkish to Greek domination in 1912. In 1924, Thessalonian Jews speaking Judeo-Spanish, thus originally from Spain, were allowed to request Spanish passports.
During WWII, the Germans offered the Jews from “friendly nations”, among which the Turks and Spaniards, relative protection, until 1943. At that time they gave these countries the choice between repatriating them and having them treated as ordinary Jews, i.e. deported.
Spain, under Franco, would not accept them on its territory. In August 1943 Revah’s family was deported to Belsen-Bergen in a convoy of 367 Spanish Jews, where they received a softer treatment than normal inmates. They were finally released after seven months, returned to Spain and after four further months expelled to Gaza via Morocco and Egypt. They finally settled in Tel Aviv, and later returned partly to Greece and France.