Jan Steinitz

Web Site Stories

Paper presented at the reunion 21 April 2000


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In summer 1997 I started searching for Steinitz's on the Internet. I found about 70 e-mail addresses and started a circular. Half of the 40 people who responded over the years turned out to be related in that they are descendants of Salomon Steinitz. Since nearly all of them are here (or at least are well known to you) I'd like to tell you a bit about the non-related Steinitz's and the related non-Steinitz's.

The latter first.

(1) Peter Silton

How did I come to you? Some three years ago I was going thru the Warburg tree and by chance noticed the name Adnan Waly.

One of the chess club members was Adnan Waly so I called him and asked him if he was born in 1910 and if he had a wife by the name Marianne. The answer was yes. We visited her, she lives about a little over an hour from us. That was three years ago. Then last week we visited somebody in that area and decided to visit her again. She mentioned that Erika was involved in family research, she also told me that Sascha and Katja were in the US (I had met Ulla in 1945 in Rome). So I called all three of them and they all gave me your names. I found your addresses on the Internet, so here we are.

Peter contributed a substantial part to the non-Steinitz section of the family tree. He also is a regular provider of Jewish jokes over the internet.

(2) Stephen Falk

This afternoon I met your cousin Katja Tenenbaum. She told me about your Steinitz website. I am almost related to your family. My great grandmother's brother married a Steinitz. Through that connection, I met Stefan Steinitz about 13 years ago.

From the family tree from Wolfgang Perl, I can report that Ernestine Friedenstein and Selma Friedenstein were sisters. So, some of your Steinitz cousins are also my cousins. That means we are related twice.

What you notice is that Katja plays a significant role in stitching the family rags together. Certainly, she prefers the personal contact. You hardly ever get an e-mail out of her. Also, Stephen is an example of how far people go in order to be connected to the Steinitz family.

Now for the non-related Steinitz's. In many cases this could mean not-yet-related, but first here are some examples of positively non-related namesakes.

(3) Sarah Zevey Steinitz

I am from a branch of the Steinitz family that came to the USA from Berlin in 1940. I can tell you that my family is descended from a man named Samuel Schmul Samuel (1808-1884) who was born in Posen, Prussia (with the name Samuel ben Salomom Hacohen). Eventually he moved to Janowitz and had five children. His children (Benno, Hedwig, Hermann, Wolff, and Leo) did not adopt the name Steintz until 1922 after the family had moved to Berlin.

That made me curious and I found out from Sarah and the following Edgar Steinitz that the name was adopted by several jewish families when they came from the East to Germany. It was one of a finite list of names that migrants could pick from in order to assimilate into a non-jewish society. I don't know if Jews at any time were forced to take on a different name.

(4) Edgar S. Steinitz

Thanks for your inquiry...While my last name is Steinitz, that was not the last name of my ancestors. My father's family changed their name to Steinitz upon emigrating to the United States at the beginning of World War II. Therefore, I do not believe that I, or any of the Steinitz's that I know of in the United States, are related to any other Steinitz's.

Most of my Dad's family grew up in Posen which was the swing land between Poland and Germany depending if it was before or after the wars. For school, my Dad's parents went to Berlin where my father graduated high school, in fact it was graduation day when it was announced that Hitler was nominated chancellor. My Dad briefly went to school in Brussels, and the family was very lucky to make it out of Germany and Europe before it was to late...and to a large degree this occurred as I had a great uncle who had been in the United States already since the colonial days and who had settled in Chicago, and had enough money to bring one family member at a time out of Germany and Europe starting with the youngest, with my grandfather the last one to get out just before it was impossible to get out anymore...

A few years ago Spielberg made hundreds of hours of video tape of Holocaust survivors and my dad who has an incredible memory for historical detail and is a walking encyclopedia of days, dates and stories, chronicled his stories from childhood through his teenage years with subsequent travels from Germany through Europe and to another continent.

Apart from non-Steinitz and non-relatives I even got responses from non-Jews (or so it seemed...).

(5) Emil Steinitz

Glad to hear that my brother Charlie responded to you , I suspect that since you are of Jewish heritage and we were raised as Slovaks in the Lutheran religion you feel there is no connection.

Since I am Charlies older brother I would like to enlighten you as to my feelings, our mother definitely came from Slovakia and was a member of the Lutheran church all of her life, but my father was in a different situation altogether.

I remember that my father could read several languages and read the Jewish daily forward every day and was not as active in the Lutheran church as was our mother. I always felt deep down that maybe our father had a Jewish background which is still to be determined when and if my brother gets back to Europe ...

Incidentally, I am married to a Jewish girl for 49 Yrs. and am close to all members of my wife's family.

So much for the non-Jewishness of a Steinitz.

Now I can offer you something exotic. It's the nature of exotic things though, that you don't know much about them.

(6) Hans Steinitz (Quito, Equador)

This is the third Hans I know of (the Steinitz's not being very imaginative with their children's names). He did a lot of genealogy research. Unfortunately, his daughter Anita who still lives in Equador cannot be reached by e-mail. I used to be in touch with Eva and Miriam but somehow lost contact again. There's still room for research - maybe Katja goes to Quito one day...

(7) Alfredo Steinitz (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

Franz moved from Austria to Germany, his son Walter from Germany to Brazil before WW II. That's all I know of them.

The following Steinitz's could be (and should be) related. They are of similar descendance and very nice people, too.

(9) Lucy Steinitz

Lucy's forefathers came from Upper Silesia (the area of Katowice) like ours. Her grandparents and parents emigrated to the U.S. after internment in Switzerland. Her father Hans was an editor of the German Jewish newspaper "Der Aufbau" in New York.

Lucy is very special to me. We made friends over the Internet and one day they bought a house where they live and invited me to come over for a holiday. They live in Namibia in the southern part of Africa, and for me and Stevie it was the most beautiful and exciting holiday we ever had.

Lucy not only moved from the States to Namibia. Being a Jewish American, she first married a German Catholic and then adopted two Indio children from Guatemala.

Finally, there's another Steinitz family in Israel who is certainly not related but very nice, too. They own an industrial plant in Caesarea (Steinitz Engineering) and snatched the Internet domain www.steinitz.com before I could even think of it. Some of you must know them.

(10) Ayelet Steinitz

We are three siblings - Gal Ori , Shachar, and Ayelet (me), Gal was born in the U.S., and my sister and I in Israel. Our parents - Gabriel and Dalia Steinitz were born in Israel.

Gabriel's parents are Latzi Arie Steinitz and Miryam Steinitz. Latzi was born in Hungary and lived in Czech and then immigrated to Israel during world war II. His wife, Miryam, is currently living in Jerusalem.

Latzi and Miryam had another son - Michael Steinitz. (my uncle). His three children - Chen, Ori, and Roni all live in Israel.

What I must say at the end ist that my Steinitz research has brought the world closer to me and has earned me a couple of new relations, if not relatives.