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Contributed Stories

Links to the stories of four Schmieheim Jews who either fled Germany or emigrated well before the era of terrors of Hitler are presented below. Unlike many Schmieheim Jewish families, these stories include not only their lives in Schmieheim, their immigration to several countries but their eventual rise to success and happiness in new lands.  All of these stories complete with precious photographs were written and contributed by readers of these pages, from someone like yourself.  Perhaps you have a contribution about a family or family member from Schmieheim that you could write and contribute, please contact me

Morris and Clara

Morris Baumann (1857- 1937) Contributed by Sandy Barnes
Morris Baumann, was born in Schmeiheim to Isaak, a successful cattle dealer, and Gutel Levi Baum Baumann.  He was the youngest of seven children and the only one of his generation to immigrate to the US.  Maier first became proficient in the manufacture of rubber products in Frankfurt.  After immigrating to the U.S. in late 1883 at age 25 and a brief stint as a foreman for Goodyear India Rubber Company in Naugatuck CT, he formed the Baumann Rubber Company in New Haven, CT, which prospered making as full line of rubber products.  The company employed almost 200 people, had manufacturing plants in New Haven and an office in New York City.
Isaac Wolfe Bernheim Contributed by Peter Dreifuss
I. W. Bernheim was perhaps one of Schmieheim's most famous Jews.  He immigrated to the US in 1867 with only about 4 dollars in his pocket and yet he amassed a large fortune and is remembered mostly for his philanthropy.  His many contributions include the Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest which he established in Kentucky 1929.   A brief history of I. W. Bernheim and his family is summarized here.

Gunther Karger Contributed by Gunther Karger
Gunther Karger, born in Schmieheim in March 1933, is the son of Ida Offenheimer of Schmieheim and Herbert Karger of Berlin.  He is the last survivor of the Offenheimer family dating back to 1767.   Gunther’s parents, grandparents and his aunt were among the last 14 Jews in Schmieheim that were rounded up and deported to the Gurs concentration camp.  However, with the growing persecution of Jews, his parents had previously sent six year old Gunther,  on a transport of children to Sweden in 1939.  Gunther's epic journey through Sweden as a young child, his immigration to the U.S. and struggles for security and happiness is describe here as are his contributions to the space program, national security and civil aviation. 
Rolf Levy - A Father's Story Contributed by Rolf Levy and Christina Ceballos-Levy
Rolf Levy, born in 1930 in Schmieheim, emigrated with his parents in 1938 to South America.  Together with his daughter-in-law Christina Ceballos-Levy, Rolf wrote down these memories of his childhood in Schmieheim, the excesses of the Nazis, his emigration and the trip to Colombia, the serious beginnings and finally the establishment of a bakery. Today Rolf Levy lives with his wife and children in Miami.
Gunther Karger and Hanna

Compiled by Pete Dreifuss (
Last updated 12 November 2013
Copyright © Peter A. Dreifuss 2012
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