personal data

Bamberger Friedel

Bamberger (Ayalon)
First Name
Friedel (Josef)
Date of Birth
Place of birth
Bad Kissingen
Other family members

Parents: Mendel and Rachel Bamberger née Winter
Siblings: Judith m. WallensteinMoses Löb (Martin)Ella Ruth m. Dotan
Ehefrau: Ruth née Schüler
Children: Hayim Nathan, Menachem, Shimrith, Oded


Ludwigstraße 13 (today 18)


1934 emigrated to Palestine

Date of death
Place of death


Josef Friedel Bamberger was born in Bad Kissingen on June 23, 1919 as the son of the dentist Mendel Menachem Bamberger and his wife Rachel, née Winter. In spite of the discrimination he had to suffer, Friedel Bamberger mostly enjoyed remembering his childhood: “Nearly all my memories of Bad Kissingen are beautiful and harmonious. I loved the town, its surroundings with the woods where we went on excursions every Sunday afternoon. Our family was popular with Jewish people as well as Non-Jewish people, which I realized as a child. Right from the beginning of elementary school we were only two Jewish children in our class but didn’t experience anti-Semitism till the end. On the contrary: The relationship with the Christian fellow-students and teachers was always good and remained to be so even after Hitler’s rise to power. Because of my Zionist education at home I always regarded myself as a proud Jew, and precisely that was the reason why my fellow-students respected me. In addition, I was a very good student (also in sports) and readily helped the others with their exercises and exams.” 

Josef Friedel attended Kissingen Realschule after Elementary School. He must have been an excellent student as his marks in the students’ register indicate. According to his teachers he was “full of enthusiasm in his science classes”, “very gifted in music”, but also “restless” and “cheeky” and “rowdy”. What is also emphasized are his frankness, “adroitness” and “kindness”. What Friedel Bamberger most clearly remembers is the celebration at school of May 1, 1934, because thanks to the irony of history, the celebration of the Nazi Parade Holiday took an unexpected turn for him: “In honour of the ‘festival of German youth’, there was a Sports festival to be held in all classes of the Realschule. Of all days it was held on a Saturday. We asked the rabbi if we should attend in spite of Sabbath Rest. He allowed it on the condition that we would not violate the commandments of Sabbath. After the Pentathlon the victors were honoured with a laurel wreath in the great gym. Suddenly my name was called as the award winner of class 5. I didn’t trust my ears! That was one year after Hitler had seized power and I as a Jew was awarded the laurel wreath at the ‘Festival of German Youth’.”

Bamberger’s family belonged to the few Zionists in Bad Kissingen. Their Zionist attitude prevented the family from nourishing the fatal illusion of hoping for an improvement of the political situation and encouraged the decision to leave Germany in time. Josef Friedel remembers April 1, 1933: “That was a Saturday which was declared as a boycott day of the Jewish businesses. We lived in Ludwigstrasse 13 (now Ludwigsapotheke), und beneath us there was the shop of Josef Kauders. Suddenly we heard people shouting in the street and saw a group of Nazis shouting anti-Semitic slogans and intending to persuade the Christian customers not to buy anything from the Jew Kauders. When that wasn’t successful, they smashed the windows.”

Two years after the boycott, all members of the Bamberger family emigrated to Palestine. The first one to settle in Palestine was 15-year old Friedel Bamberger. He left Bad Kissingen in 1934 taking just two suitcases with him. In spite of being a good student, he had prematurely aborted his education at Realschule in order to prepare for his emigration. Friedel Bamberger used the time before his departure to learn Hebrew and get a training with a farmer in Reiterswiesen to prepare for his job in agriculture in Palestine. He found his new home in Sdeh Elijahu, a religious kibbutz in the valley of Beith-Shean. In Palestine he married Ruth Schüler. They had four children: Hayyim, Menachem, Shimrith, and Oded.

After nearly 50 years in Israel, Friedel Bamberger, who called himself Josef Ajalon after his emigration, decided to pay a visit to his hometown. But when he walked along Maxstrasse and the synagogue was no longer in its place, he was so shocked that he left Bad Kissingen immediately. In the following years till his death in 1996, however, the Kissingen-born Friedel Bamberger revisited the spa town several times and established contacts with old and new friends. 

Friedel Bamberger, class photo 1927, taken in front of the sacristy of the Catholic parish church
Friedel Bamberger with parents and siblings: from left to right Ella Ruth, father Mendel, Judith, Friedel, mother Rachel, Martin



Largely based on Hans-Jürgen Beck: Bad Kissingen war unsere Heimat, pp. 445ff.
Meldeunterlagen der Stadt Bad Kissingen
Schülerakte Jack-Steinberger-Gymnasium
Family Tree & Gamily History at Geniexterner Link

Photo credits

Klassenfoto © Astrid Bürger-Häffner, Bad Kissingen
Familienfoto © Josef Ayalon
Passfotos Friedel und Ruth Bamberger © Datenbank Myheritage, Einwanderungsaufzeichnnungen Benzion Seligmann Josef Friedel Bambergerexterner Link