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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: 

HESS, KATZENSTEIN, LEVI, LEVISOHN, MARX, REGENSBURGER, SCHUSTER, STERN, TANNENBAUM and WILD.  

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!!

 

Family news
July 10, 2014
Sara Wild commented on event 33rd birthday of Michal Schmerler:
 IOM HULEDET SAMEACH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
July 03, 2014
tammy steimetz wild updated the details of <Private> Untrojb in family tree Diefenbach Nov 2010
tammy steimetz wild added the photo kev to album Family photos
 
June 02, 2014
Sara Wild commented on event 83rd birthday of Norbert Wild:
 mazal tov!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
May 31, 2014
Linda Silverman Shefler updated the details of Louis Ruault and <Private> Ruault (born Dalla-Via) in family tree Diefenbach Nov 2010
May 07, 2014
beny wild commented on event 38th birthday of Tamara Vinitzky:
 מזל טוב , בריאות ואושר 
Sara Wild commented on event 38th birthday of Tamara Vinitzky:
 TODA LA FELICIDAD DEL MUNDO !!!!!!!!!!!!!GRACIAS POR SER MI HIJA !!!!!! 
Samuel Vinitzky commented on event 38th birthday of Tamara Vinitzky:
 Que los cumplas recontra feliz.Lo mereces por ser exelente persona, pero sobre todo, buena hija y madre.Te amo. 
Apr 18, 2014
Linda Silverman Shefler updated the details of Abraham (Alfred) Hyams in family tree Diefenbach Nov 2010
Apr 07, 2014
Linda Silverman Shefler updated the details of Ahron Schuster and Hanni Schuster in family tree Diefenbach Nov 2010
Mar 22, 2014
Sara Wild said: OTRA VEZ MI APELLIDO NO SE TRADUCE ES WILD EN CUALQUIER IDIOMA
Sara Wild said: mi apellido es WILD Y en la traduccion pusieron salvaje pero es WILD
Mar 14, 2014
Linda Silverman Shefler added <Private> Melcher to family tree: Diefenbach Nov 2010
Linda Silverman Shefler updated the details of Senta Adler (born Regensburger) , Martin Adler , <Private> Melcher and Helene Melcher (born Regensburger) in family tree Diefenbach Nov 2010
 
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News articles
Media:'YEKKE RENEWAL: A NEW PROJECT 'TRACES' THE REMNANTS OF GERMAN-JEWISH CULTURE'
Posted by: Linda Silverman Shefler on Jan 5 2014 19:02

"The project, called “Spurensuche, Deutsch-Jüdisches Kulturerbe Weltweit” in German and “Traces, German-Jewish Heritage in the world” in English, will go live on the internet December 4th and include radio and television broadcasts in four languages".

This will be particularly interesting for those whose families left Germany during WWII.

Cut and paste the following link:
http://www.timesofisrael.com/yekke-renewal-a-new-project-traces-the-remnants-of-german-jewish-culture/
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Obituaries:TOM NEWMAN OF FLATS OXBOW DIED FACING SENTENCING - 22 FEB 2013
Posted by: Linda Silverman Shefler on Dec 2 2013 14:07
The former head of the Flats Oxbow Association died 12 days before a scheduled sentencing hearing for embezzlement and money laundering.

Tom L. Newman, 65, died Friday at University Hospitals after a long, undisclosed illness. He had pleaded guilty to siphoning more than $500,000 from the nonprofit community development corporation.

Newman was named executive director of Flats Oxbow in 2006, a job that paid him $50,000 a year. Before that, he chaired the group's board of trustees for many years.

Joseph Mazzola, executive director of the group during the 1990s, said Newman led a family aluminum business on the East Side back then.

"He was a great guy," said Mazzola. "Tom was able to run interference and sort through the variety of opinions and give me running room. He was able to navigate the political waters. He knew City Hall."

Newman was also president of the Edgewater Homeowners Association. Former Edgew...

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Important:WERE YOUR FAMILY'S BOOKS ILLEGALLY CONFISCATED BY THE NAZIS? A LIST OF RIGHTFUL OWNERS AND HEIRS IS INCLUDED BELOW.
Posted by: Linda Silverman Shefler on Sep 16 2013 19:55

The Nuremberg Municipal Library has about 10,000 confiscated books, today subsumed under the heading "Collection Jewish Community Nuremberg" (Sammlung Israelitische Kultusgemeinde IKG). The 10,000 volumes were part of the collection of Julius Streicher, the Nazis' chief propagandist and creator of the notorious anti-Semitic newspaper Der Stürmer.

Most of these books were taken illegally by the Nazis from Jews and other victims of Nazi persecution -- among them, Freemasons, clergymen and activists and institutions connected with the labour movement and left-wing political parties. The collection was placed in the hands of the Nuremberg Jewish community (Israelitische Kultusgemeinde) at the end of the war, which then gave it to the Library on permanent loan.

About a third of the books carry marks of provenance (signatures, book plates, stamps etc.) of former owners from over 400 locations, mainly in Europe. The librarian Leibl Rosenberg researched the books and compiled a list of the names of the former owners found in the books.

In January 2008 a first search list of 121 previous owners, predominantly from Nuremberg and Fürth, was published by the Nuremberg Municipal Library, and on the home page of this Central Registry which worked in partnership (together with the Registry's sister organization, the Commission for Looted Art in Europe) to assist those responding and to trace others. The list can be found at the end of this message.

The response to the first search request was enormous. Two thirds of the cases were resolved and taken off the search list by 2010. In total, 150 volumes were returned to the previous owners or their heirs in the USA, Israel, Great Britain, Austria and Switzerland.

In September 2010, a further list of 306 names of owners whose heirs are being sought was published, and a press release was issued by the Library.

Further details and the list of names can be found below.

http://www.lootedart.com/MVL06C739541

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Important:A NEPHEW SHARES HIS THOUGHTS ABOUT HIS UNCLE'S PASSING - IN MEMORY OF PETE STERN
Posted by: Linda Silverman Shefler on Sep 2 2013 23:23

Joel (Pete) Stern passed away this morning in his sleep, a week and a half after his 92nd birthday. He was the youngest brother of David Stern's father. David honored his beloved uncle by sharing these thoughts in response to the the condolences offered by his friends. Pete sounds like a man it would have been wonderful to know and it's clear he'll be sorely missed.

"No sense in being sorry, but thanks for the thoughts. He has done everything he wanted to do in his 92 years, and is surrounded by the people who care about him. He had a great day yesterday, organizing his affairs, like a Victorian gentleman. He was making bad puns, and doing his emails.

He retained his full faculties, and had a lot of joy. Sometime early this morning, he started slipping away.

I miss the old coot. He was the kind of uncle that you read about. He was the "go to" guy for family dirt, an off- color story or a bad pun. We became very close over the last few years, and he took his duties of oldest surviving member of the family pretty seriously. He came to visit me here, in Italy, at 91, and made many Italian friends while he was here.

He taught himself Italian, database usage and spreadsheets in his 70s, and was wired like a teenager. We joked a lot because he was a die hard liberal and I am more Libertarian, but he honestly believed that the wealthy have an ethical obligation to care for the less fortunate, and he was very generous, even when he wasn't flush with cash. He remained true to his beliefs, until the end.

Even just yesterday, you could have had an in depth conversation about Syria, and he would have been 100% up to date.

We got to say goodbye, with no beating around the bush or euphemisms. He knew what was going to happen, didn't fear it and made himself as prepared as possible.

I don't cry for him. I cry for those left behind who will miss him".

Our condolences to Pete's children, Roger and Carla, and their spouses, as well as his extended family.

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Media:AMERICAN JEWS AND THE CIVIL WAR
Posted by: Linda Silverman Shefler on Aug 9 2013 13:55

Mark Glickman shared this very interesting article with me, “Passages through the Fire: Jews and the Civil War” pertaining to an exhibit that is at the AJHS (American Jewish Historical Society) in New York, and is then moving to the Jewish Museum of Maryland.

"There has been a lot of scholarship on Southern Jews and the relationship between blacks and Jews, but on the Civil War per se, relatively little. Despite this neglect, the Civil War is kind of a crucible of American Jewish history. The Jewish population in 1840 was about 15,000, and in 1860 it was about 150,000, and there were probably about 10 or 11,000 Jews who fought in the Civil War — maybe about 7,000 on the northern side, 3,000 on the southern side. The war rapidly accelerated Americanization on both sides, and more than 50 Jews were commanders of regiments. The story we’re telling here is about rapid Americanization. In some way it’s a Jewish story, but it’s an American story in that it illustrates how America provided a framework for Jews to exercise their talents relatively unhindered by their Jewish identities".

Here is the link to the rest of the article.

http://tinyurl.com/lrgtbgg

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Genealogy:A SURPRISE RESULT OF DOING FAMILY RESEARCH!!
Posted by: Linda Silverman Shefler on Feb 19 2013 12:02

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!

Dear Linda,

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...

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Other:THE STORY BEHIND THE DEATH OF SIMON ABELES IN 1693
Posted by: Linda Silverman Shefler on Feb 6 2013 12:48

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!

From Peter:

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...

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Media:Research Scientist Joseph Hess Named Vice President of IALC
Posted by: Linda Silverman Shefler on Dec 11 2011 14:34

http://ag.arizona.edu/oals/IALC/press-releases/Sarina3.pdf

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Media:AN INTERVIEW IN THE JEWISH DAILY FORWARD WITH JOSEPH HESS - OCTOBER 2004
Posted by: Linda Silverman Shefler on Dec 11 2011 09:50

"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.

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Family stories:HOW JULIUS HESS MANAGED TO ESCAPE THE HOLOCAUST
Posted by: Linda Silverman Shefler on Dec 7 2011 04:13

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.

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