Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The gravestone of Alexander & Rosa Lorig

Gravestone of Alexander and Rosa Lorig found in the Jewish cemetery at Gemünden, Rhein-Hunrück, Germany
[photo: sim friedhof.htm]

Here is something else that may be of interest to the Lorig Family Group. This is a Jewish gravestone from the village of Gemünden, Rhein-Hunsrück, Germany showing Alexander Lorig born 29 January 1824 in Butzweiler died 28 October 1916 [buried in Gemünden] and his wife, Rosa [maiden name appears to be Viktor], born 11 June 1832 in Sp---- [not legible] died 7 January 1917 [buried in Gemünden]. They are related to the noted sociologist Louis Wirth who left Germany for America in 1911. He became a leading figure in the Chicago School of Sociology and is especially known for his essay “Urbanism as a Way of Life,” published in 1938. His parents were Rosalie Lorig and Joseph Wirth. There are several other Wirths buried in this same cemetery in Germany. See Wirth for more information.

Even though this couple is living some distance away from Trier and closer to Frankfurt at the time of death we can see from the gravestone that Alexander Lorig was born in Butzweiler which is near to Lorich, Beßlich, Kordel, Biewer, Trier and about 23 miles from Kesten. At this point I am not sure if we can prove that Alexander is connected to our other Lorigs, it will depend on the availability of searchable records, but geographically his birthplace certainly fits in with the rest of them. It will be interesting to see if we can find anything that connects this family with the others.

Section of road map with small towns highlighted
[map: Auto Atlas 1989/90 Bundesrepublik Deutschland 1:200.00]

Stephan Lorig pointed me toward a couple of Jewish websites [that fortunately had English version buttons] and I will paraphrase material found on them--Gemünden had a small community of about 100 Jews in the early 19th century that peaked to about 147 persons in the mid to late 1850s. Most of these people were engaged in trade. They had their own Jewish school with the lessons taught in German and following the same curriculum as the Christian schools. In 1874 the Jewish school was closed and the children were transferred to a Protestant school. By 1930 the Jewish population had dwindled to 60 persons most of whom dealt with cattle. The synagogue was set on fire during Kristallnacht in 1938 and five people were deported east. Please see sim synagoge.htm for the complete text. [reference: Article from "The Encyclopedia of Jewish life Before and During the Holocaust". 
First published in 2001 by NEW YORK UNIVERSITY PRESS; Copyright © 2001 by Yad Vashem Jerusalem, Israel.]

The old cemetery at Scholssberg was used up to about 1815 and then a newer cemetery was in use from that time until approximately 1942. The cemetery has been an historical monument since 1992 is maintained and is in good condition. The grounds cover about 26 acres.

The picture of the gravestone at the top of the post is the original photograph as it appears on Thanks to Stephan who sent me the photo and the link via email. I took this photograph to my neighbor, Will, who is a Rabbi and asked him to look at it for me. He was not able to translate all the text because the Hebrew letters were not distinct enough on the photo to read but he was able to read enough to tell me it basically says something like “Here lies Alexander son of Mordecai and the dates including the month of Tevet [the 10th of the 13 Jewish months].” The Hebrew portion of the text on the stone would have the dates in the Jewish calendar and the German writing at the bottom of the stone has the dates in the Gregorian calendar. It would be a typical inscription on a Jewish headstone such as this. He asked if there was a town by the name of Lorig nearby and then said that most of the Jews took the name of towns as their surnames rather than use a patronymic or other descriptive names. He did not think there were Jews living in this area of Germany earlier than about 1700 or 1750 so if we find that there were some here in the 1600s I think he will be very interested in that. He kindly offered to help with Hebrew translations and historical background if we find more.

Here’s what had to be done to the image to help read the inscriptions.

Step one—inverse the image

Inversed image of gravestone
[photo: sim friedhof.htm]

The letters on the right side of the stone are still not clear enough to read.

Step two—change to a black and white image and sharpen

Black & White image of the headstone
[photo: sim friedhof.htm]

Unfortunately it is still not clear enough to read but it is a little better than the original full color image. I personally think that the inverse is a little clearer than either the color or the black and white. We will continue to investigate this and post results at a later date.


  1. Here's a translation of the Hebrew inscription: Here lie the man Alexander son of Mordechai who died on the 3rd of Tevet (4th month of the Jewish year)and his wife Reisechi (?) daughter of Palter who died on 9th of Tevet of the (Jewish) year 5677.
    Beloved and pleasant in their life and in their death they were not parted (Samuel B, chapter 1, verse 23).
    May their souls be bound in the bundle of the living (Jewish equivalent to R.I.P.).
    From Ruth Mueller (Jacoby)- a Lorig descendant.

    1. Thank you Ruth for that information, trying to keep it safe , as I am also related to Lorig,

  2. Thank you so much for sending this translation to me. It is much appreciated! I will put it in the blog as an update so others in the Lorig Family group can see it too.