WINDMUELLER WINDOW  (A family journal of the Windmüller Family)



Jack Raphael (1897-1971)

By Zeev Raphael, Haifa, Israel


Jack Raphael would, no doubt, have been amused by the title 'minister', as it appears in the caption of the Alfred and Ida Windmueller wedding picture on page 163 of the Chronicle.  


My father, Jack Raphael, had been a teacher, a graduate of the Juedisches Lehrerseminar of Cologne. In the smaller Jewish communities of Germany it was customary in those days to have a teacher who in addition also served as Hazan (cantor) and was authorized to perform weddings and to officiate at funerals.


The Windmueller clan might like to read this eyewitness report of the wedding.  On 26.05.1929 my father wrote to my mother Lilly (who together with myself, two years at that time, happened to be on a visit to my grandparents in Fuerth):


"Die Beerdigung (of a certain Rosenbaum) ist Mittwoch.  Und Dienstag habe ich die Trauung von Ida Stein. So kommt alles zusammen."  And a few days later (31.05.1929) he added: "Die Hochzeit verlief wie ueblich, mit dem ueblichen Schmuss und dem guten Essen und den Tischreden.  Zuletzt wurden wir zusammen geknipst. (With the resulting photograph in the Chronicle!)  Das junge Paar trat die Hochzeitsreise im Auto an, und als sie abfuhren, fuhren wir in einem anderen Auto ein Stueck auf der Hammer Strasse mit. Es war sehr nett."


[Translation: "The funeral (of a certain Rosenbaum) will be on Wednesday.  And on Tuesday will be the wedding of Ida Stein. Thus everything happens together."  And a few days later (31.05.1929) he added: "The wedding went off as usual, with the usual small talk, the good food and the speeches. In the end, we were all photographed.  (With the resulting above-mentioned photograph!)  The young couple set out for their honeymoon by car.  We followed them for some distance in another car, along the Hammer Strasse. It was very nice."]


At the time of that Windmueller wedding in May 1929, ten years had passed since Jack Raphael had returned from service in the Kaiser's army, to his parents in his hometown Posen on 19 January 1919 (which is duly recorded in the population register of Posen!).  Ten years hence, in December 1939, he was to commence his second military stint, this time in England, as a soldier in the British army.


Jack Raphael was the first teacher of Inge Horowitz, Alfred and Ida's daughter, at the Jewish Elementary School in Beckum.  He was also my own first teacher, and thus Inge and I were school friends, until we both left Beckum in 1937.


After Beckum, my father served for one year each, with the Israelitische Gartenbauschule Ahlem (near Hannover) and with the Jewish community of Zwickau.  It was in Zwickau that we experienced the Reichspogromnacht  of November 1938.  My father was taken to KZ Buchenwald.  He was released after four weeks, among the first, as he had been a WW1 veteran ('Frontkaempfer').


After his release from the British army in 1946 Jack worked as a clerk in a London publishing office.  Ten years later, in 1956, he and Lilly joined us, his son Zeev and Alice, here in Israel, after his first granddaughter Judy was born in Jerusalem.  Although he had grown to love England, it was the natural thing for him to do, to settle in Israel. He had been a life-long active Zionist.  In fact, he had been teaching us modern Hebrew, way back in Beckum!


Here in Israel, at the age of 59, Jack Raphael started a new career, this time as news correspondent.  He wrote for a number of British industrial journals, among them 'The Mining Journal' and the 'Petroleum Press Service'.


Since 1924 Jack had written numerous articles, and also some poetry, for the Jewish press, first in Germany and later in Israel.  But his real interest and life-long hobby was Heinrich Heine research.  The bibliography on this subject includes 69 entries.  Several of his articles were published in the yearbooks of the Heinrich Heine Gesellschaft in Duesseldorf.


A friend wrote of Jack Raphael:  "Not many people are privileged to retain so much spirit and interest and creative activity right up to the end of their lives - as he surely did."


Back to Main Page