ISAAC STEIN RABBI OF MEMEL

 

narrated by Rolf Hofmann , based on own research

 

 

 

When little Isaac in 1877 was born in Harburg, nobody might have anticipated how short and meaningful his life would be. His father Gerson Stein for many years was the well respected principal of the jewish community. He had a small income from his shop at market square, and he also had been a co-founder of the local fire brigade.

 

Later Isaac went to the college in nearby Noerdlingen, but as he was not very successful, his father sent him to the Benedictine patres at Saint Stephans College in Augsburg. The patres there likes him, and Isaac made great progess in his education. In 1898 he finished college and continued his studies at the University in Berlin and in 1902 obtained the title of a Dr phil "cum laude" at the University of Rostock. His thesis on "The jews in the swabian towns of the German Empire at times of King Sigmund (1410-1437)" became an outstanding publication, that still can be found in libraries today.

 

Dr Isaac Stein went on with his studies at the Rabbinic Seminar in Berlin and in 1904 became District Rabbi of Memel. By this time he was just 27 years old. For the next ten years he was the religious master for the communities in this far eastern part of the German Empire, even at hard times finally, when World War I started and russian troops invaded Memel in 1914 and Isaac Stein with his wife and two children were forced to escape under terrible circumstances.

 

Dr Issac Steins death came suddenly and unexpectedly. He died in Berlin in July 1915, after having been hospitalized because of severe kidney problems. He was buried in Harburg with great sympathy. Funeral sermons were held by Rabbis from Ansbach and Tilsit. Isaac Stein left behind a wife and two children. His grave monument has disappeared. A detailed report on Isaac Stein's funeral comes from his brother Siegfried Stein, who for a long time worked for the Harburg newspaper as an editor.

 

 

 

 

 

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