Jewish Families from Germany and the Austro-Hungarian Empire


The History of the Goldschmidt Family in Oberlistingen
*The following is excerpted and translated from Geschichte beider Listingen by Dieter Carl


The village of Oberlistingen, Germany
Philip the Generous (1518-1567) under pressure from Luther, had the Jews of Hessen expelled from his lands. In 1592, the Lord Moritz of Hessen, allowed a handful of Jews to settle. The number of Jews in his region grew quickly. The Jew Falcke"

The Goldschmidt Family Tree

Goldschmidt Family Photos


In particular the titled landowners in this area protected the Jews in contrast to more frequent anti-Jewish policy of other parts of Hessen. Herein we must look at the cause of why in the Adeldorf of Oberlistingen these few Jews lived.

Until 1787, the village of Niederlistigen  was under the rule of a Duke who did not permit Jews to live in his domain. The unique position of the Jews derived from the nature of their religion, on one hand.  On the other hand, it stemmed from the nature of a people who had no citizens rights, who were not fully free, and stood outside of the established Christian society.

Meyer Goldschmidt
Meyer Goldschmidt

Seligmann Goldschmidt
Seligmann Goldschmidt

Therefore, the Jews had gained the special protection of the feudal lords needed for their security and livelihood for economic activity and housing. Originally this protection was in the hands of the Kaiser, but in time it transmitted down to local dukes.  They let the protected people earn their money “schutz”.  
This also applied to the Dukes of Hessen who gave to certain families a letter “schutzbriefe” of protection--the legal basis for living in these rural areas.  The receiver of the schutzbriefe had to pay a reasonable sum, besides had to provide other services for the Lord.  The protection letter gave the Jews the legal right to trade and lend money.  For a long time Jews could not become artisans, farmers or civil servants, but only moneylenders or traders.  In order to limit the number of Jews in Hessian towns and villages, the letter could not be inheritable.  In reality though, the letter was passed down from father to eldest son with a small sum paid in order to continue that right.  This was beneficial for the right to do business and who could establish a family; hence, the authorities could control the size of the Jewish population.  All the Jews, for whatever reason, did not possess the Schutzbrief, the youngest sons and unmarried daughters were the so-called “Unvergleitete” or disinherited.  From these large groups were created the Jewish under classes or “Unterschicht”.  These consisted mainly as the “knechte, or the worker/servants; the men and women who served the Shutzjuden in their employ.  In part they lived in great poverty and some resorted to begging for their livelihood.

"The Jew Falcke"

In 1724 we have the first official protected Jew of Oberlistingen—The Jew Falcke 

This document is found in the archives of the town of Oberlistingen: 

I, the undersigned am writing because I am protected by the esteemed sires of Malsburg.  I wish to become a member of the Oberlistingen community with permission to reside there.  I have obtained all of the rights to function in this community as a Jew and who has officially received these rights along with your right to cancel my contract.  Furthermore, I am obligated, if the community is in need of money, and if I have the means to provide a loan without interest without damage to myself, I will make an advance to them if the need arises.  All of what is said here and recorded is based on free will and opinion, which my signature authenticates.

  Signed 19 October 1724

  Juden Falcke  
(The Jew Falcke--signature in Hebrew)

There exists additional information about the Jew Falcke and his descendants.  One can discern from the state archives in Marburg: “Following a decree of 31 March 1808 all Jews in the Kingdom of Westfalen must adopt family names.  These names of which cannot be changed without permission.”   The list of family names that were created as of this decree in Fulda District still exists.  Unfortunately, the list of names of the Canton of Niedermeiser that Oberlistingen belongs to are not available as proof of identity.  One can discern from other sources that an Oberlistingen Jew by the name of Jacob Goldschmidt was the same person who carried the name Jacob Falcke, the son of the Jew Falcke.

According to the town records, Jacob Falcke was the son of the original Falcke Jacob (born in 1696 and died in 1764)-and whose wife was named Sara (born 1704). From this marriage the son Jacob was born in 1729, another son Joseph born in 1735, followed by a daughter, Blume, in 1740.  The sons Jacob and Joseph were taken in as Shutzjuden in 1764 and 1770, paying their schutzgeld (Jew tax) regularly to the Renterei Zierenberg. 

Jacob Falcke was first married to Bela___, who bore his first son, Elieser Goldschmidt (who married Roeschen Braunschild from Nieheim) He then married Judith Arons (also known as Juette or Juetchen), he produced one child, Jude Jacob, who later moved to the Netherlands and married Dina Levi.  After Judit died, Jacob married Eva, the daughter of Selig Ruben from Warburg. The marriage contract between the two was sealed on the 24th November 1780.   Out of this marriage a number of children were produced: 

1.  Lehmann Goldschmidt, who married Ranchen Frank daughter of Eva Goldschmidt from Warburg (relative?)

2.  Seligmann Goldschmidt, who married Hincka Schoenschen Alexander from Wolfhagen

3.  Meyer Goldschmidt, who married Lea Katzenstein from Grebenstein

4.  Simon Goldschmidt, who married Lea’s sister Edeline also from Grebenstein

5.  A daughter ?, who married David Grunewald from Pombsen near Driburg. 

 In the archival records Meyer was registered as an “ellenwarren handle” (yard goods trader) and Simon was a “schneidermeister (journeyman tailor).  The fact that the family of Jacob Falcke was not rich in 1794 can be deducted that he only paid half of the tax that was dictated by the authorities.  Moreover, in 1794, he borrowed from the hunter’s guild of Breuna, 30 reichtaler with his residence as collateral.

He bought his residence in 1768 from a Jew named Herz Juda.  In the contract, the name of his wife was Bela. We believe that Jacob Falcke (Goldschmidt) died in 1815.  This surmise stems from the fact that in 1815 his widow, Eva, declined to pay his residence tax for which she only paid a reduced rate.  Between the heirs of Jacob Falcke, a probate occurred in 1849, in which the other sons ceded the residence bought in 1768 to their brother, Lehmann Goldschmidt.  The latter sold the house in 1859 to the teacher Karl Rohner and his wife.


*Chapter III- Die Juden
Geschichte Beider Listingen by Dieter Carl
Published by Herausgegeben vom Gemeindevorstand der Gemeinde Breuna, 1999. Translation by Joseph Voss




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