Siblings: Kehla, Seligmann Bär, Iyras m. Adler, Simcha Simon, Moses Löb, Adelaide m. Jutkowski
Spouse: Dr. Aron Neuwirth
Children: Paul (Shaul Yacheskel), Simon (Simcha Elieser), Jocheved, Yirat, Jehoshua Jeshaya, Moshe Arie (Leib) Gavriel and Josef Reuven Rafael
Promenadestraße 17 (today's count)
1939 emigrated to the Netherlands
survived in the underground
1947 emigrated to Palestine
Sara Neuwirth, née Bamberger was the daughter of Dr. Seckel Bamberger, the last but one Kissingen Rabbi, who held this office between 1902 and 1932, and his wife Nannette. She was born in Schwersenz (near Posen/ Poznan). In 1902, the family moved to Bad Kissingen where her father took on the post of a District Rabbi. The Bambergers lived in Promenadestrasse in close vicinity to the Jewish Community House and the Synagogue in “Villa Adelaide” that had been named after Dr. Seckel Bamberger’s mother. Nannette Bamberger ran a spa boarding house that was highly appreciated by orthodox guests.
Sara Bamberger married the Rabbi Dr. Aron Neuwirth who had been born in 1881 in Alistàl in Hungary. His mother was a descendant of Rabbi Jakob Ettlinger and a great-granddaughter of the Würzburg Raws. After his education at the famous Rabbi Seminar in Berlin, Dr. Neuwirth worked as a teacher of the religious community of the Rabbi Jonas Bondi in Mainz. Then he was appointed Rabbi of Halberstadt. He had seven children with his wife.
After the November Pogrom of 1938, the parents had sent their 12-year-old son Jehoshua and two of his brothers on a children’s transport to Belgium. In 1939, the rest of the family fled to the Netherlands in the treacherous hope to be safe from Nazi persecution there. The family lived in Amsterdam together. When the German occupation started in 1940, the situation for the Neuwirths became dangerous once more. They were supported by the Underground: they were given food ration cards and Dr. Aron Neuwirth was given a salary as a Rabbi.
Because of the dangerous situation, the two oldest sons decided to leave Amsterdam. Paul Neuwirth fled to Shanghai where about 20,000 Jews had sought shelter. During the Japanese occupation of Shanghai, the Jewish refugees were kept in a ghetto. Paul Neuwirth died there in 1944 at the age of 25, before the ghetto was liberated. His younger brother Simon went to France and was arrested after the occupation by German troops, imprisoned in the camps of St. Cyprien and Drancy and deported on to Auschwitz/ Oświęcim Extermination Camp and murdered there.
Sara and Aron Neuwirth and the children who had stayed in Amsterdam lived in permanent fear of being detected and imprisoned by the Nazis. The Neuwirth’s apartment was situated directly opposite the German headquarters in Amsterdam. Time and again, there were razzias by the occupation troops searching for hidden Jews. The Neuwirths were hiding in their apartment which they didn’t leave in the next three years. They kept their windows closed and stayed absolutely calm to make the apartment appear uninhabited and empty. Whenever they got to know of a razzia, they withdrew into a hiding place in a mezzanine floor. People from the Underground clandestinely provided them with food. In addition, Yirat who looked “Aryan” bought food and daily needs for them.
But in 1943, the National Socialists decided to liquidate the Jewish community of Amsterdam. One day, the Germans stood in the yard in front of the house where the Neuwirths lived with deportation lists and shouted: “Are there any Jews here?” The Neuwirth family went rigid from fear and were waiting for the unavoidable knocking at their door. But one of the non-Jewish neighbours called out to the Germans: “We don’t know anything about any Jews here!”, and the Nazis really moved on.
Like a miracle, the Neuwirths survived, and Sara Neuwirth and her husband Aron emigrated to Palestine with their surviving children after the war. Her husband found an office as a Rabbi in Jaffa. Bnei Brak, a town north-east of Tel Aviv that is very famous in orthodox circles, was to become the center of his life. There he died in 1957. Sara Neuwirth died at a very old age around 1990 at the age of nearly 100.
Die Rabbiner im Deutschen Reich 1871-1945
Hans-Jürgen Beck, Kissingen war unsere Heimat, Stand April 2017, S.431ff
Hamodia, The daily newspaper of Torah Jewry, Hagaon Harav Yehoshua Neuwirth, zt”l, 11.06.2013
Die Informationen über das Schicksal der Familie Neuwirth in Amsterdam beruhen überwiegend auf dem Vorwort, das Rabbiner Yehoshua Neuwirth für die dritte Auflage seines berühmten Buches über die Beachtung der Schabbatgesetze verfasst hat. Dr. Shaul Yutav war so freundlich den hebräischen Originaltext ins Englische zu übertragen und zusammenzufassen.
© Dr. Shaul Yutav, Tel Aviv