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Tombstones of Joseph and Bertha Stein in the old Jewish cemetery in Dobrodzień

Anyone interested in finding traces of the large Stein family around Lubliniec, may enjoy a visit to the old Jewish cemetery in Dobrodzień (formerly Guttentag). Of particular interest are the weathered tombstones of Joseph Stein (May 11, 1815 – June 13, 1890) and his wife Bertha, née Ring (December 27, 1819 – July 22, 1906).

Joseph Stein – a half-brother of Edith Stein’s father Siegfried Stein– came from a numerous family. Joseph and Siegfried’s father, the wood merchant Samuel Salo Joseph Stein, married three times and had – as far as known – twenty-three children. With his first wife Charlotte Sara Aaron Schlesinger he had two daughters and seven sons, one of them being Joseph Stein. His half-brother Siegfried (September 11, 1844 – July 10, 1893), being one of eight children from their father’s third marriage, was almost twenty-nine years younger than Joseph!

Joseph Stein and his wife Bertha were undoubtedly part of the large Stein family clan. However, when looking at old documents, we are confronted with name variants: In Joseph Stein’s birth record, Samuel Joseph Stein and Charlotte Aaron are named as Joseph’s parents. Other documents indicate their full names, being Samuel Salo Joseph Stein and Charlotte Lotte Sara Aaron Schlesinger. More importantly, Samuel Salo Joseph Stein’s three marriages led to some confusion in the records. When Joseph died in 1890, it seems there was no close relative alive or available, as the merchant Franz Swieca, presumably an acquaintance of the deceased, reported Joseph’s death. According to Swieca’s report, Joseph’s parents were Salo Stein and Johanna. Swieca must have been unfamiliar with the family of the deceased, as he was not able to indicate Johanna’s maiden name. Johanna Waldau was Samuel Salo Joseph Stein’s second wife, so Swieca was obviously unaware of his previous marriage with Charlotte Aaron Schlesinger. He assumed that Johanna, Joseph’s stepmother, was his birth mother, and there was no one to correct the record.

We would like to thank Mr Ingo Paul who kindly volunteered to do the research needed to clarify the family relations. Mr Paul has built up a steadily growing family data base “Jews in the German Reich” with meanwhile almost 450 000 entries. The usage is free of charge.