Paul’s Family


About Paul’s family

Paul’s maternal family had lived in Wiesbaden since at least the mid-1700s, when Wiesbaden was a town with less than 2000 inhabitants. His paternal Kleinstrass family came from Westphalia, about 300 km (180 miles) north of Wiesbaden. We have done research on the genealogy of the family, and have posted the results online.

Note that German Jewish families did not take family names until the early 1800s. Before that time they used patronymic names (e.g. “Issac son of Abraham”)

The Kleinstrass family (Paul’s last name was Kleinstrass before he changed it upon immigration to the U.S.). The Kleinstrass family originated in the town of Steinheim in Westphalia. The earliest record of a Kleinstrass ancestor in Steinheim that we have found is from 1705. Records for one branch of the family, the Bassevi family, go back to the late 1400s in Italy. One ancestor of the Kleinstrass family was Jacob Bassevi von Treuenberg, advisor to the Holy Roman Emperor and the first Jew in Europe to be made a member of the nobility.

One Kleinstrass brother, Selig, moved from Steinheim to the nearby village of Bredenborn around 1840. Paul’s grandfather and father were born in Bredenborn, and Paul spent his summers as a child there. Descendants of the family still live there (the daughter and grandchildren of Paul’s cousin Hubert). Read more about the Kleinstrass family HERE, and about the Bassevi family HERE.

The Baum family (Paul’s maternal family)  The Baum family came from the town of Schierstein, just outside of Wiesbaden on the Rhine River, now part of Wiesbaden. Seligman Baum, Paul’s great-grandfather, moved from Schierstein into Wiesbaden in 1867. His sons, Siegfried and Moritz, started the children’s clothing store Gebrüder Baum (the Baum Brothers), where Paul’s parents later worked and which was destroyed on Kristalnacht in 1938. Read more about the Baum family HERE.

The Baer family This is the family of Paul’s maternal grandmother, Emilie Baum. Part of the Baer family had lived in Wiesbaden, where they were shopkeepers,  as early as the mid 1700s. Another part of the Baer family came from the small town of Nassau, in the mountains above Wiesbaden.  Read more about the Baer family HERE.