Projects of AHB (selection)
Synagogue Book of Hesse

The Synagogue Book of Hesse is a joint project of the Commission for the History of the Jews in Hesse and the Hesse State Office for Historic Preservation. The goal is to research, document and describe all known synagogue sites in Hesse. The publication in the internet portal LAGIS (State of Hesse Historical Information System) is in preparation. The Kultur-Büro AHB has been commissioned to research and write the texts for the synagogues of the counties of:  Bergstraße, Groß-Gerau, Darmstadt-Dieburg, parts of Offenbach and Odenwald counties, Limburg-Weilburg and Lahn-Dill.

Wiesbaden Jewish Family Book

The first volume of the Wiesbaden Jewish Family Book published in 2017 covers the inhabitants of Breckenheim and Delkenheim, two previously independent rural townships. It is the first step in a genealogical assessment (covering all districts of contemporary Wiesbaden) of numerous historical sources, which were assembled by a team of volunteers from the Paul Lazarus Foundation and the Active Museum Spiegelgasse. An additional source was the list of Jewish citizens which was compiled by the city archive of Wiesbaden.
The family book records all Jewish persons who were either born, wed and/or died in Breckenheim or Delkenheim. The time frame usually begins with the introduction of systematic records around the year 1820. By analyzing additional kinds of sources it was sometimes possible to extend the time frame back to the beginning of the eighteenth century. The vast majority of the records ends in 1946 with the reestablishment of the Jewish community in Wiesbaden.

Jewish Health Spas in Wiesbaden

Since the second half of the 19th century at the latest Wiesbaden has advertised itself as a world class spa city. Numerous publications addressed this subject and described the daily spa routine in the city. Up until now these publications usually did not include the important contribution Jewish spa guests made to Wiesbaden’s reputation and that there were many Jewish-run establishments which catered to this clientele. The study we now present is based on extensive archive research and focuses on the details of  public baths and the social conditions affecting their historical development. The Jewish spa and bath culture is portrayed in all its aspects, starting with the first bath houses which were run by Jews immediately following the 30 Years’ War up until its end shortly after the beginning of the 2nd World War. The relevant findings were then compared with the rivals in the region, Bad Ems, Bad Schwalbach and Schlangenbad.
One of the surprising results was that even after 1933 Jewish spa guests were not automatically excluded. On the contrary even at the end of 1938 the regulatory authority for baths and spas was instructed to be lenient.  Not until after 1940 were the Jewish establishments expropriated.
A further surprise was that there was no ban which required Jewish guests to frequent certain hotels or clinics or required Jewish-run spas to be open only to Jews. Presumably due to these circumstances there were more than 40 spas run by Jews during the period of investigation. For this reason the study also  contains a map of Wiesbaden showing the most important Jewish spas which are presented separately with a “biography” and, whenever possible, a photograph.

A Genisa Discovery in Delkenheim
A palm branch and documents were found during clearing work under roof planking of an old house in Wiesbaden-Delkenheim. Among the papers was a writ of protection, a sales agreement for the house, a marriage contract, as well as documents that covered the merchant activity of the house's Jewish owner between 1802 and 1832. AHB's task was to find out about who Genisa was, and to place the Jewish owner into the historical context of Delkenheim in the early nineteenth century. Moreover, we also sought to trace the construction and historical use of the house.

Holocaustmuseum Houston, Texas, USA
The Houston Holocaust Museum opened a special exhibition on the history of euthanasia on 9 September 2007 entitled "How Healing Becomes Killing". In 2006, the AHB historical anthropology research office was commissioned with making contacts at memorials in Germany for this museum for the purpose of assisting with selecting artifacts and conducting archival research. In 2007, we were charged with collecting individual objects from the memorials and securing their safe transportation to the exhibition location.

Research Objective
The Spielgasse interactive Museum, working in cooperation with The Judaica Museum of The Hebrew Home for the Aged at Riverdale, placed an object on display at the Wiesbaden City Hall in April 2004 with a mystery to be solved.
The Passover Seder Plate from 1755, a recent gift to the Judaica Museum from a private donor, was likely given to the donor's aunt, Cilly Joachims, a Wiesbaden resident, by a family that was later deported and probably killed during the holocaust.
This is the first time that two museums have collaborated internationally to display such an object with the hope of learning more about it, and possibly returning it to the original owners or their heirs. AHB was commissioned to search the history of the Passover Seder Plate.

History of the Jewish unions in Wittlich

The former Jewish bathing house "Zum Rebhuhn" in Wiesbaden

The former Jewish bath house "Zum Rebhuhn" in Wiesbaden lies in the part of Wiesbaden here the springs originate, which presumably dates back to a building first mentioned in 1547 that was known under the name "Zum Rebhuhn" or "Zum Rephinkel". In 1724, it was one of two Jewish bath houses in the city. The synagogue was moved to this site in 1732. In the 18th century, the small Jewish community had two rabbis in succession, who were also the owners of the bath house. It can be surmised that a ´Mikveh´ also existed on this site. After renovation work in 1760, it was one of the most modern bath houses in Wiesbaden.
In 1831, the "Rebhuhn" and a neighbouring house were sold and demolished. A new three storey hotel with modern bathing facilities as built in their place, and was renamed the "Pariser Hof". The new building had 60 guest rooms and 26 bathing cabins, and was thus also one of the biggest and most modern bath houses in the City. It has been in non-Jewish ownership since 1837. In the following years, ownership changed frequently, mainly due to the rapid changes in Wiesbaden´s bathing culture. These changes are marked by the various building alterations that followed: the bathing cabins were regularly renovated, and after a typhoid epidemic in 1880, it was joined up to the canalisation system of the city. In 1882, it received a new thermal water reservoir, and in 1900 the façade was renewed. In the nineteen twenties, the bathing cabins were again modernised and remain in the same condition to this day.

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Genealogical research
In Essingen and Berlichingen

It was known that the ancestors of this client came from Berlichingen and Essingen, and that they emigrated to the US during the latter half of the 19th century. We could present a complete family-tree for both sides of the family for the time between 1770 and 1900, including the relatives who had remained in Germany. Further investigations were carried out in Essingen. During the client's visit in this village, he was shown the original houses of his family and the synagogue (now a barn). The gravestones of two ancestors were discovered in the cemetery in Essingen, which is one of the largest in the Palatinate.
Here is what this client wrote about this trip: "Just wanted to let you both know how successful my trip to Germany was. Wolfgang was superb. He is nice, thoughtful & very knowledgeable. In Essingen, he located the town historian who spent one full day showing me/us all the historic Jewish places and produced a town plan from 1830. That enabled us to find the house where they lived. ... Again I cannot speak too highly about Wolfgang. He is really good and interested in doing more projects on Jewish genealogy."

Metternich / Koblenz
In 1848 and 1868 respectively, two Jewish families emigrated from Metternich, near Koblenz, to the United States of America. The life histories of the German ancestors were traced on behalf of one of the descendants. These included not only a complete description of the family relationships, right up until the early 19th century, but it was also possible to look at copies of some of the original documents i.e.: birth, marriage and death certificates. The work was completed by undertaking an overall history of the Jewish community, focusing respectively on the geneology of the two families.
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