My name is Linda Silverman Shefler and I started this site.
This site encompasses the combined efforts of several cousins who have been researching their specific branch of the family, unaware of the existence of each other until several months ago.All of the cousins descend from the various children of Bailli Diefenbach and Joseph Stern, except for me.I descend from Bailli’s sister, Hanche (Henriette) Diefenbach and her husband Joseph Meier Marx.
There were two additional sisters that I am aware of, but to date cannot trace their descendants.These four sisters were the daughters of Aron Diefenbach and Scheine (Schönchen) Goldschmidt (of Uttrichshausen).The records indicate that this Diefenbach family was living in Sterbfritz, Hessen as far back as the 1780s.It can be that they were living there prior to that, but I’m not yet aware of any records to prove that.
Aron had a brother, David Löw Diefenbach, who was married to Telz.Aron and David Löw were the sons of Jüttel (Jehuda) Diefenbach, who was probably born about 1730 and is our earliest documented ancestor.
Our combined efforts have yielded us a tree that includes 723 descendants from Jüttel (Jehuda).There is still a tremendous amount of unknowns for this family and it is my sincere hope that by having our family tree online, other descendants from this family will discover us.
There is another Diefenbach family from the area.They changed their name to Regensburger and lived in Zeitlofs.The earliest documented member of that family was David who was probably born about 1725 and was probably the brother of Jüttel (Jehuda).David was a Hazan (cantor).
I worked with two highly experienced researchers in Germany who both separately commented that they feel that the Diefenbach and Diefenbach>Regensburger families are one and the same.This assessment is due to the uniqueness of the name, the proximity of where they lived, the closeness of their ages and the repetition of the name David in both families.Because of that, and solely for the purpose of this site, I’ve decided to connect Jüttel (Jehuda) and David as brothers, again, in the hope of attracting the attention of researchers from the Regensburger family.It is not generally considered genealogically correct to connect families without documented proof, so I want to be clear that the connection is based on the assessments of a couple of researchers and not yet on fact.
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, this work is the combined effort of several cousins.While each of us is working extensively on various branches of our individual families, the following is relevant to the Diefenbach family as a whole:
Jeffrey and Peter Dreifuss, brothers from Maryland, have been working on the family of Hannah Stern and Salomon Hess.Hannah was a daughter of Bailli Diefenbach and Joseph Stern, and the 2nd great grandmother of Pete and Jeff.
Gail Leonard Fallender, hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, many years in California, has been working on the family of Henrietta (Jette) Stern and Jacob Katzenstein>Fell.Henrietta is another daughter of Bailli. Jacob and Henrietta were cousins and immigrated to America in 1859, settling in Uniontown, Pennsylvania.
Elizabeth Ida Posva of Sao Paulo, Brazil also descends from the Hess family and has been researching the descendants of Ferdinand Wild and Sara Hess.
David Stern, formerly of Pennsylvania, currently of Italy, is also working on the Stern family.David descends from Julius Stern and Rebecka Levy who also settled in Uniontown, Pennsylvania in 1866.
Linda Silverman Shefler, hometown of Providence, Rhode Island, presently in Israel.I learned three years ago that Hanche (Henriette) Diefenbach was my 3rd great grandmother, since then I have been attempting to piece together the Diefenbach family as a whole.Hanche’s son Aaron Joseph Marx, my 2nd great grandfather, immigrated to America in 1853 and settled in Cleveland, OH.He also had a sister who immigrated to America.
Some of the more prevalent surnames found within the site are:
The main towns and villages where our ancestors lived are:
Flieden, Harmuthsachsen, Hintersteinau, [possibly] Romsthal, Sterbfritz, Zeitlofs and Züntersbach.
As one who has done a tremendous amount of research on my various family lines independently, or with other researchers not necessarily connected with my specific family, I have to say that the opportunity to connect to and work together with cousins towards the common goal of creating an accurate family tree and history is a real treat!
It is my sincere hope that everyone will expand upon the tree as our knowledge increases, as well as share stories and pictures of the family.The more stories and pictures we have, the more the family will come alive for us.
It is with pleasure that I introduce you to the Diefenbach family!!
I recieved the following email yesterday from a 4th cousin, Dr. Efrem Goldberg. Efrem is from another branch of my family, but his story made my day and is a perfect example of one of the amazing benefits of family research! With his permission, I'm sharing his email to me!
I want to share with you an interesting story.
Last night, I was at a wedding of a friend of mine (the groom). Suddenly, in walks a Nulman cousin (Mordechai Adelman). When I greeted him and asked him what his connection to the wedding is, he said, "What do you mean? We're family with the bride!" Of course, nobody could figure out how we were related, if indeed we were at all.
Then today, I suddenly remembered the website you run. Sure enough, the bride (Simone Shapiro) is my 4th cousin. Of course, I took the liberty of adding the new groom to the family tree.
So, thank you for all of your hard work, which connec...
Peter Abeles just shared the following story with me. While I usually prefer to keep the information in the site relevant to the Diefenbach family (this story is from Peter's paternal line, which is not Diefenbach), I found the story fascinating and wanted to share it with you. It's these types of stories that make our history come alive! Please consider sharing family stories, it's a wonderful way to memorialize our ancestors!
Cleaning out a shelve I came across a small book I bought, years back, at the Jewish Museum in Prague. As I had expected and hoped for; there it was, a fairly descriptive explanation of the death (likely by accident but during a beating) of young Simon Abeles in 1693. Simon had been attracted to a better after life deal or dinner in this life by the local Jesuits’. His father found out which led to a beating and then death. His death was followed by the suicide of his father and the conviction (death on the r...
"Hess is the representative of the Jewish National Fund on the board of the International Arid Lands Consortium, and in his job he hobnobs with Jordanian and Egyptian leaders on a matter that provides them all, quite literally, with some common ground: the desert".
Click on this link to read the interesting interview with Joseph Hess, son of Max and Frida (nee Katz) Hess.
The following is an abstract from a recorded discussion between Leonard and Ruth Dreifuss, Ilse Hess, Jules Hess and another person. Jules is telling the story of how he happened to travel to Palestine and escape much of the Holocaust.
It seems that Elsbeth (sister of Jules), had obtained a certificate to move to Palestine in 1924. This set in motion a long term activity on the part of Jules to move and he urged other Jews to immigrate to Palestine. In 1936 he was still in Fulda. One night he ignored an 8PM curfew and went to town with a Jewish girl, where he was attacked and hit over the head by a group of a dozen or so SS men. In the group he recognized a German man who had picked a fight with him earlier and who he had knocked down. One of the SS men took out a knife and Jules said he jumped over the men and outran them to his house. Later that evening an SS officer came to the house and told Jules’ father, Josef, that he had just issued an order that Julius Hess is to be killed on sight. Later that night, at 4AM, he caught a train to Berlin to meet with a group that arranged immigration of Jews to Palestine.
The following link will take you to information about Meier and Ricka Heller in the German Jewish online page for Leutershausen. The page includes a picture of the couple. The following is a translation of what it says. Translation courtesy of Gabriel Moeller.
Regarding teacher Meier Heller (1919 to 1936 teacher at Leutershausen).
Teacher Meier Heller (photo, left his wife Rickchen – source: : Schnurr s. Lit. S. 20) was born July 22, 1869 in Bretzfeld. He was married to Ricka (Rickchen) Heß, who was born July 9, 1856 in Hintersteinau.
Meier Heller was a teacher in Leutershausen from 1919 up to 1936. He was very respected by all of the inhabitants of the village and was a leading member of some associations (clubs).
The couple lived in the house of the former Jewish school in Mittelgasse 15. They then moved to Fulda, there they lived in in the home for old aged of the kehillah. Mrs. Heller passed away November 5th 1939 and was buried in the cemetery in Fulda. Meier Heller was deported on September 7th 1942 via Kassel to Theresienstadt where he died September 19th 1942. (translated from Schnurr, page 20)
Steven Hess was born in Amsterdam, Holland in 1938. A graduate of Columbia College, Class of 1960, Mr. Hess majored in American history. He served on active duty with the U.S. Navy for four years (1960-1964) first as a line officer on board a destroyer and later as a public relations officer with the Third Naval District. He separated from the service with the rank of Lieutenant.
Following military service, he was employed at The New York Times and then as a public relations specialist with the Western Electric Company. In 1967 he joined Berkey Photo and served in a variety of assignments leading to the presidency of their professional manufacturing division. In 1975 Mr. Hess moved to Rochester, NY as president of Saunders Photo/Graphic, at the time a six-person photographic equipment company. The company grew to one of the most successful and recognized U.S. manufacturers and distributors of photographic accessories, reaching $16,000,000. in annual sales and over 100 employees. In ...
Marion Ein Lewin is a Holocaust survivor. According to available records, she and her twin brother, Steven Hess, are thought to be the youngest surviving twins of the Holocaust.
Marion Ein Lewin serves as a special projects health policy consultant and has written extensively on a wide range of health care topics.
Until September 2001, Marion Lewin served as Senior Staff Officer at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies of Science and headed its Office of Health Policy Programs and Fellowships. In this position, she directed The Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellowships and other related programs. Ms. Lewin has also served as study director for major IOM reports including, “Balancing the Scales of Opportunity: Ensuring Racial and Ethnic Diversity in the Health Professions,” Improving the Medicare Market : Adding Choice and Protections” and "America’s Health Care Safety Net: Intact but Endang...
As we all know, we descend from Aron Diefenbach and Scheine (Schönchen) Goldschmidt. Scheine Goldschmidt is the daughter of Meir Goldschmidt of Uttrichshausen. A friend that I work closely with, particularly researching Mittelsinn (which is relevant to my Marx family), found another descendant of Meir Goldschmidt! Her name is Fanni Vögel Goldschmidt (1781-1854) and she is the sister of Scheine! Fanni married Mordechai Mordche Goldschmidt of Mittelsinn.
I've just added their descendants to the tree and am attempting to connect with some of them. Their numbers have increased out tree to close to 1000 people! If you are looking for them in the tree, they can be found under the surnames of: GOLDSCHMIDT, LEVI, NUSSBAUM, BAUMANN and LOWENTHAL.
There are still several missing branches of the family and I hope to be able to fill them in shortly.
Not only is Hans the Cantor-in Chief of the main Synagogue of Amsterdam, he is also a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and is considered as one of the first most prominent Dutch biochemists in Molecular Life Sciences.