A Distinguished Drohobycz Family

The Sternbachs

The Sternbach family had deep roots in Drohobycz. The earliest recorded member was Mordechai Sternbach (ca 1790-ca 1858). As a grain dealer, he would have been well off. He and his wife, Chaje Tille (ca 1790-ca 1843), had a large family. Their sons and daughters married into other wealthy and influential families in the town, many of them in the petroleum industry. Their daughter Esther's daughter, also called Chaje Tille, married Moses Gartenberg, one of the oil magnates of Drohobycz. See The Oil Magnates of Drohobycz. For the family of their daughter Pessel who married Eliakim David Feuerstein, see A Lumber Merchant's Family. Their son Osias/Yehoshua, who owned an oil refinery in Borysław, was the the head of the kehilla in Drohobycz and in around 1864 was one of the first four Jews to be made citizens of the town. The family was also distinguished by several members who were renowned scientists and scholars.

Joseph Hersh Sternbach,
born in 1841 in a portrait taken in Krakow, not long before his death in 1937.

Joseph Hersh Sternbach, born in 1841, was a bank official. He was the son of Osias Sternbach and Feige Rachal Kupferberg, daughter of Samuel Kupferberg and Silke Schutzmann.

Joseph Hersch and his wife Taube Goldhammer had seven children. Three of these children are shown here with their families.

In this family group, to the right of Joseph Hersch is Deborah Kluger, the widow of Joseph's brother Mordecai (Marcus) and her son Karol and on his left, Piroska Cohen , the wife of his son Michael. In the back row, is the caregiver of Joseph, his daughter, Celina (Cesia) (1877-1945) and his son Michael (1870-1940).

Professor Leon Sternbach

Professor Leon Sternbach

Portrait of Leon Sternbach with an inscription from his mother-in-law, Flora Epstein.

Joseph Hersch's eldest son was Samuel Leib, called Leon. He was a celebrated professor of classical philology at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, specializing in Byzantine Studies. A Jewish private school for boys in Drohobycz was named for him.

When the Germans invaded, the younger professors from the Jagiellonian University entered military service. Leon who was retired, volunteered to teach and was taken when the Nazis rounded up all the professors in the early stages of the occupation. He was taken to Oranienburg concentration camp and later to Sachsenhausen where he died in 1940.

Leon and his wife, Leontyna Epstein, with their daughter, Helena.

Leon Sternbach with the Epstein Family


Michael Sternbach

Michael Abraham Sternbach



Michael Sternbach, Joseph Heshch's second son, who was a pharmacist, settled in Abbazia, a resort town in Italy at that time, now Opetija, Croatia, where he opened a pharmacy. There he met and married Piroska Cohen, a young lady who was spending her summer vacation at her Hungarian grandmother’s villa.

After the turmoil of the First World War, Michael moved back to Drohobycz in 1927 to open another pharmacy. He died in 1940 of lung cancer. His wife Piri survived the war and died in New York in 1975.

Michael and Piri had two sons, Leo Henryk (1908-2005) and Julius (1911-1926).

Piroska Cohen Sternbach

Leo Sternbach (1908-2005) achieved fame as the inventor of the drug Valium. Before the Second World War he was working for the firm, Hoffman Laroche, in Switzerland. He managed to escape to the U.S.A. with the company's other Jewish scientists.


Edward Sternbach

Edward (Eliakim) Sternbach 1874-1943) and
Flora Amster (d .1979)

Joseph Hershch's third son, Edward (Eliakim) (1874-1943) married Klara Amster who was born in Romania.

Edward and Klara had one son Ludwik. He was a graduate of the Sorbonne and an expert in Sanskrit. He also was a lawyer who worked for the United Nations. EdwardSternbach joined his son in India and died there in 1943.

Edward and his son Ludwig

Ludwig Sternbach (1910, 1981)

The Family of Mordecai Sternbach

Karol Sternbach with his granddaughter Heidi.

Joseph Hersch's brother Mordecai (b.ca 1850) and his wife, Deborah Kluger had ten children. Chaim David Karol was a medical officer in the Austrian and Polish armies.

Karol married Karolina Bałaban. They had two sons, Kazimierz, a fine pianist who died in 1943 and Stanisław who survived the war. Here Karol is seen with Stanisław's daughter Heidi.

Karol died in Kraków in 1930.

Karolina with her granddaughter Heidi


Submitted by Marie Zielinska, Joseph Hersch Sternbach's great granddaughter and the granddaughter of Leon.

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