Searching my roots

After a nearly 30 year absence, I visited Germany twice in the past two years:
In 2017 I made many genealogical discoveries that were then complemented during my 2018 trip.

Once I retired, and had Shira home on a one month break waiting for her visa to Turkey to be issued, I had her take the family tree, which my father had manually entered during many years, and digitise it by entering the information into an online website named MyHeritage.com

Comparison of manual and digital
From Manual to Digital
Uploaded picture
Uploaded picture

One of the features of MyHeritage is that it regularly checks for matches between my family tree with other people's trees, and if such a match does eventuate, you get informed by email about it and you can then copy new data into your own tree.
In this way, the tree my father built got expanded and on many branches reached back to the 16th and 17th centuries.

Another feature is receiving notifications when somebody else has uploaded a photo to a member of your tree.
So it happened that I got notified of a picture that had been uploaded which depicted the tombstone of an ancestor of mine, 14 generations back!

Knowing that I would be leaving for Europe soon, I added visiting this tombstone to my trip's to do list.

Frankfurt has two cemeteries, the "Old Cemetery" where many of my ancestors and their close family are buried and the "New Cemetery" which is not that far away from it.
What a disapointment when I was told that the cemeteries were both closed due to it being a Jewish Holiday!
Sylvia and I went on a long walking tour through old Frankfurt, following a tourist guide book and visiting amongst others the ""Judengasse museum", a museum showcasing the area of the first Ghetto ever (even older than the one in Venice, where the word "Ghetto" originated)
Not only was this museum open, but included in the entry price, was the option to visit the Ghetto's cemetery next door, which actually is a third cemetery and much older than the "Old Cemetery".

Outside the walls surrounding this cemetery are little boxes embedded in the wall, with the names of all of Frankfurt's victims of the Holocaust.
Sadly it includes a few members of my family

Once inside the walls, I immediately was sure that this is where I would find the above-mentioned tombstone. Luckily the picture on MyHeritage included a reference number (0760) and noticing that each stone had such a number, encouraged me to look for it. Also, the wall you see in the background gave us a slight indication as to where to look, but after an hour of searching we nearly gave up!
We did find stone 761 and we also found 759, but not 760!
Finally, looking further back and beyond stones marked within the 740's, there it was! It was a very emotional moment for both Sylvia and me!

Rebecca Sarah Oppenheimer lived between 1519 and 1578, May she rest in peace and hopefully be visited by other descendants too!

Daniel next to his ancestor
Daniel next to his ancestor's grave
Ancestor's tombstone by the wall
Gutlin's tombstone by the wall, 15 Generation ancestor

While we were searching for Rebecca's grave, a German lady who was picking up her granddaughter from a Kindergarten on the other side of the fence told us that the Nazis wanted to use these tombstones as building material, but that a famous art collector managed to convince them that even though the tomb stones are meant for Jews, the stones themselves were made by Christians, and as such they should be considered as collectible art. He even went ahead and bought quite a few. After the war he returned them anonymously, but as nobody was able to determine where exactly the stones were taken from, they were placed alongside the cemetery walls.
Unfortunately, due to American bombings during WWII, other tombstones were destroyed, and a large rubble can be seen in one area of the cemetery. (I was unable to confirm either story within the museum)

On my return visit, a year later, I was able to identify the tombstone of Rebecca's mother Gutlin (1505?-1580), one of the stones alongside the wall.

Searching my roots, page 2 (out of 2): Visiting Hungen, where my paternal grandfather's family lived for 5 generations
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Comments:
By Tommy Friedmann from Tucson, AZ
Date: 2021-04-05

Very interesting.
Check out ccjcolombia.org Confederación de Comunidades Judias de Colombia.
Recently they featured Enrique Martinez who is writing a book describing the trail of Leo Kopp and his relatives from the old ghetto in Frankfurth to England to Curacao to Bogotá in the 19th century. Leo Kopp founded Banvaria, Banco de Bogotá, the first Colombian Bank. This family are the forefathers of the Kopp the Kopels the Michelsens and many other now assimilated Colombian families
CCJC publish a periodical newsletter with a schedule and links to their interesting talks.