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The Berthold Rosenthal Collection and communities in the Pfalz #germany


Michael Rubin
 

The Rosenthal collection is best known for its documentation of communities in Baden and it seems fairly clear that Rosenthal had access to official name change documentation from the 1809-15 timeframe as he made his notes. But Rosenthal also made notes on a fair number of communities in the Pfalz. There, name changes resulted from the French occupation and it does not seem that his notes resulted from access to those documents.  I'm seeing much earlier dates in those notes, such as from the mid 1700s. I’m posing the question to this forum around your understanding/conclusions/guesses as to the original documents he used.  The simple answer is that he used Jewish communal records which have been lost.  But it’s tricky to interpret his notes without understanding what he was looking at. Your input based on experience with Pfalz research is appreciated.  Thank you.

Michael Rubin
Boston, USA


Eva Lawrence
 

 I believe that  some of the records that Berthold Rosenthal saw still exist in the Pfalz and they are probably in the same dusty boxes in which he would have found them  The documents haven't been lost, what has been lost is the the ability to read faded hand writing, to pick out the relevant  records.and to extract the  data, not to mention a willingness to grant access.... 
Jewish vital records pre-1808, would be mainly in Hebrew, and no post-war German archivist knows enough to deal with any that survived.  The  patronymic system has muddied interpretation of the French or German records, too,  now that the people with enough local knowledge to sort things out have passed away..  . 
 
Rosenthal had  excellent language skills including Hebrew,  and the leisure to ask questions and to concentrate on his research...  There were others of his type,  but I  don't know any who left a comparable body of work about  the Pfalz. I have a considerable collection of notes made by my father, also a Pfalz researcher.   My father didn't read Hebrew. .and..I suspect that most of Rosenthal's  information from before 1808 would have depended on synagogue records, .like my father's mohel list from Reichsbischofsheim, received in  1937.. It covers the years 5478 to 5955, (early 1700s)  and Dr Jesselson had helpfully transcribed the Hebrew names.
Some of my father's information must have come by word of mouth   He habitually kept letters, but keeping an image of every archival record was not an option before the digital age.. In Rosenthal's case, perhaps supporting correspondence was discarded after the files had been edited to send to Leo Baek?  .       
 
Eva Lawrence
St Albans, UK

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Eva Lawrence
St Albans, UK.


Marc Friedman
 

Many thanks for the reminder of this great collection!

I went back in to the collection (I still need to dig into the Pfalz sections), but in Baden I saw the Obergrombach cemetery collection, which lead me to the date of death for my 4G grandmother - which was just before the surname adoptions in 1809.

Marc Friedman
Irvine, CA

Researching - MAYER (Nierstein, Rheinpfalz); LAUMAN (Spachbruecken, Hesse-Darmstadt); KAHN (Rimbach, Hesse-Darmstadt); PFEIFER (Eberbach, Baden); APFEL (Bretten, Baden)