Jewish Families from Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire







Of Noble Origins-The Children of Meyer and Lea Goldschmidt 
Meyer GoldschmidtMeyer Goldschmidt  1787-1858

From the book Selig Goldschmidt, written by Sally Cramer:

Grebenstein, a small town not far from Cassel, Germany, was the birthplace of Meyer and Lea's children.  Here, in a simple home of a poor trader was raised a noble family.  The place was small, the home modest and the rooms narrow.  Meyer Goldschmidt, combined self reliance with a deep trust in the help and support of Hashem.  Without this, he could not have pursued with such perseverance and cheerfulness the hard struggle in which he, as provider for a wife and six children, had to earn a modest living.

What else could have strengthen his arm and let him bear all discomfort, allowing him to find inner bliss at the thought of being able to provide bread for his family and even a little meat for the Sabbath, the longed for and sincerely loved day of rest?

The Goldschmidt Photo Album

From his proud search for independence within human limitations, there grew a deep need to accept everything as coming from the hand of G-d, and only from His hand.  When prolonged illness resulted in poverty which almost forced him to rely on human aid, it preyed heavily on his mind.  However, the resulting financial crisis provided a valuable incentive for the ten year old Selig and his brother Jakob, two years his senior.  They were determined to undertake the obligation of providing for the family, and in so doing, developed an ideal which they would refine in their later years.  Hence they grew up caring for the needs of others.

Meyer's almost never failing strength was complemented by the gentleness of his wife, Lea.  She was a comforting companion for the children, and stored within her, thoughtful kindness and genuine goodness.  These qualities were transmitted to her children who would later dispense them so generously.

Pure was the soul of Meyer Goldschmidt when he passed away to follow the soul of his departed wife.  In spite of adverse circumstances his mind had managed to attain the tranquil and unshakable repose of genuine Jewish wisdom.  He realized that the pursuit of earthly comforts and physical pleasures are not the main content and aim of life.  Only the acquisition of the goods which G-d desires, namely the fulfillment of Mitzvos can bring lasting peace of mind.  Thus, the existence of the village dweller had gradually become enriched and ennobled, until his life drew to a worthy end with an almost heroic act of Jewish humane love. He already enjoyed the good fortune of reaping what he had sown together with his wife.  He saw the wealth that poured in from all sides, abundant honors bestowed especially on his son Selig, who had not only preserved but developed the qualities that had spurred him on.  With sincere gratitude  the Donor of all that is good, he was already able to live as an independent man in congenial Jewish atmosphere of Frankfurt, where this son had found evident fullfilment for his shining personality.

At this juncture he receive a simple and plain letter full of grief and longing.  A friend from Eschwege, who was blind and whom he had frequently accompanied on his walks, complained in moving words that, after Meyer Goldschmidt's move to Frankfurt, he missed not only his physical support, but above all he lacked spiritual guidance and inner direction.  Then, Meyer Goldschmidt, following the prompting of his best inclination, quickly made up his mind and moved back to Eschwege in order to provide comfort and light for his unfortunate blind friend to the end of days.  He ignored the appeals and wishes of his children who had treated him with tender affection, as well as the attractions of the big city where the powerful new "Israelitische Religionsgesellschaft" had developed.  He was not motivated by mere surge of pity not by a passing emotion, but by the fundamental conviction that he could not make better provisions for his own journey to the next world than this act of kindness to a blind man.  


Grebenstein House

x marks the Meyer Goldschmidt House in Grebenstein 


Meyer's Headstone

Meyer's headstone in Eschwege

Meyer and Lea's children were:
(to see the next generations please click on the name of child)

Ella Goldschmidt, born 26 Mar 1823, Grebenstein, Germany, married in Baltimore 26 April 1846 to Albert Sigmund from Bavaria.  Ella died 19 March 1904, and is buried in the Sigmund Plot at the Har Sinai-Erdman Avenue Cemetery. Ella came to the U.S. in the 1840's with her cousins to Philadelphia.  She was the only one of her siblings to emigrate to America. 

Sarah Goldschmidt, born 26 December 1823, Grebenstein, married 1 August 1849, to Salomon A. Stern from Ziegenhain, (son of Abraham Stern and Keile Meyer)  Sarah died 1 February 1889 in Frankfurt am Main.

Jacob Meier Goldschmidt, born 26 October 1824, Grebenstein, married Henriette Cahn in Frankfurt (daughter of Aaron Simon Cahn and Minna Gamburg).   Jacob died 20 January 1864 in Frankfurt. Jacob along with his brother Selig, founded the firm of J & S Goldschmidt.  This art and antique firm
ranked with the famous antique businesses of London, Paris, and New York, and it was the royal purveyor to the Tsar of Russia before WWI. 

Malchen (Amalie) Goldschmidt, born 19 June 1826, Grebenstein, married 7 June 1853 in Eschwege to Juda Callmann (Julius) Katzenstein, of Eschwege (son of Kalman Katzenstein and Jettichen Wertheim).


Selig Meier Goldschmidt, born 16 March 1828, Grebenstein, married 27 May 1857, in Frankfurt to Clementine Fuld (daughter of Herz Salomon Fuld and Caroline Schuster)  Selig died 13 January 1896 in Frankfurt. Selig was a successful businessman, philanthopist and patron of the arts. >more...

Joseph Goldschmidt, born 25 December 1830, Grebenstein, died 27 November 1836 in Grebenstein.

Falk Goldschmidt, born 28 April 1836, Grebenstein, married Pauline Babette Carlebach, in  Frankfurt. Falk died 4 June 1901 in Frankfurt, Germany.

(For an overview of the Frankfurt Goldschmidts, see Jewish Families of Frankfurt am Main)

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