Family Background Jewish or Not? Solf, Nagler, and Rucktäschel from Würzburg and Bamberg, Bavaria #germany #hungary #israel #holocaust


Hi Philipp Jonathan, 

Have you tried DNA testing? Maybe that would help with your questions. I don’t know that much about it, but maybe others will chime in. 

I find your empathy moving and to your credit, although it is hard for me to understand how people cannot have that reaction—i.e., the current anti-semites, neo-Nazis, and Holocaust deniers. I am Jewish and have spent periods of my life thinking about the Shoah every day, too. It is just so hard to comprehend that something so terrible and so immense could be done by supposed human beings.  Anything else I say will seem trite and others have expressed it better—I can barely think of words for this. I am named for my grandmother’s sister, Leah Zabludowicz, z”l, murdered by the Nazi beasts in 1942. I am currently listening to testimony by one of her sons. So yes, I think about it every day, and try to remember the people who were tortured or murdered—read about them, remember their names, wonder about them as real people, imagine the communities before the war, and never forget. And I was not a survivor—one who has the actual memories tormenting them. 

Whether you have Jewish ancestry or not, you sound like a mensch. And that is what is really important.  And you certainly do have a complicated background and identity—be proud of who you are. 

May you have good luck in your searching, and peace no matter what you find. 

Lillian Meyers


Hello Phillip, I think that DNA testing would be a helpful start, if possible one male and one female. You may also find relatives this way, and maybe they would have some answers for you. I recognize Nagler as a Jewish name but there would Christians with that name also. Good luck and I hope you find some answers. Frayda Zelman NY.

Feige Stern

Hi Philipp,

Have you tried looking in the Jewishgen Wuerzburg database, which is a database of names found in the book "the Jews of Wurzburg"?

I found some Naglers there.

It may give some description that would help you to follow up further with the Wurzburg archives.

Aside from doing that, I think DNA is the shortest route to determine ethnicity.

Best of luck,

Feige Kauvar Stern
Cleveland, OH

Linda Higgins

I definitely agree that your first step should be to have your DNA tested.  You will learn whether you are Jewish or something else. Good luck!

Linda Gordon Higgins
Spring, Texas


Philipp, I agree with others who have said that DNA information will help you gain clarity on your situation. I can recommend this FAQ page about "Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing", which includes not just ancestry testing -- finding out about your genetic heritage - but also health-related testing. 

Ancestry testing is described here: 


Good luck!

Catherine Arnott Smith
Stoughton, Wisconsin, USA


DNA testing will almost answer your questions. However you must get a test that will show your latest DNA history. That means the last 200-300 years. It should be enough but you might not know where or exactly when the contribution to your overall DNA was added. A company called Crigenetics opened my eyes. Although my mother's family came from a town in Poland and had lived there for at least 300 years my DNA showed that I had among other things, Vietnamese DNA! Through research I found that my maternal Great Grandfather's father was born in Vietnam to a Polish Jewish male (my 3rd Great Grandfather) and a Vietnamese woman. Surprise! The boy was named Jacob, went back to Poland with his father and life went on. So I'm a Jew with Vietnamese DNA... so don't be surprised at anything!
Also test for your parent's Haplogroups. It will give you a larger albeit fuzzier picture.
It's a blessing to seek knowledge and a blessing to give knowledge. 
Keep asking...
Eric Warren

Shelley Mitchell

Through DNA testing, my family discovered a cousin who no one knew about from a mother no one heard about. If your parents are unwilling participants, do you have a female cousin who might help. Fortunately my mother tested. She couldn’t spit for Ancestry so she was swabbed for FTDNA. To determine which side a match was on, I had a cousin on my father’s side test. We’re all females because I couldn’t convince my mother’s nephew to test. But second in importance is a tree. I have many matches without a tree. Unless they are a close match, I don’t follow up with a message. For close matches I do. Even a small tree helps. Good luck!

Shelley Mitchell, NYC 

Evelyn and Christopher Wilcock

Families of mixed Jewish/nonJewish descent in Germany will often be connected to  non Jewish men who served in the German Army (conscripted) or who volunteered in 1938-1939 in the mistaken belief it might save their Jewish relatives. Men with one Jewish parent were also conscripted and served till 1942. Men with one Jewish grandparent may well have remained in the army after 1942 and have served until the end of the war. Or been killed in action.

Jewish refugees  did escape to Argentina. The 1939 census database on line lists 1077 people who emigrated to Argentina (not all of them will be Jews).
Evelyn Wilcock
London SW15