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?
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
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
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.
x marks the Meyer
Goldschmidt House in Grebenstein
headstone in Eschwege
and Lea's children were:
(to see the next generations please click
on the name of child)
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).
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
(For an overview
of the Frankfurt Goldschmidts, see Jewish Families of Frankfurt am Main)