Josef Weil (1899 - 1949)
Josef Weil was born on June 18, 1899 in Steinsfurt ◊ as the third of four children of the couple Leopold Weil (*1863, ✡1917, both in Steinsfurt) and Klara nee Kern (*1870 in Wollenberg, ✡1938 in Steinsfurt). The eldest child Karoline (*1893) died only a few days after her birth ◊. His sister Irma (*1894), who married the cattle trader Julius Maier in 1919, is remembered on the Weil-Memorial-Plaque together with her husband and her children Ilsa and Manfred, since they were all murdered in Auschwitz. Joseph's youngest brother Karl (1905 - 1978) emigrated to the USA in time.
After primary school Josef attended the Realschule Sinsheim from 1908 to 1915. He left with the normal certificate „Zeugnis über die bestandene Schlußprüfung”. His recorded occupational goal was „merchant” ◊. Later he followed in his father's business as a cattle trader. He also delt in tobaccoes and had a smallholding. The „Nuremberg laws” by the Nazis against Jews restricted his trading severely in 1935. It was finally closed down in 1938◊.
Josef Weil was known in the village as the „Roter Seppl” (Red Joe). He was chairman of the local sports club until he was ousted in 1933 by the Nazis.
On November 7, 1931 he married Alice Frank. She was born on February 16, 1905 in Kehl as the daughter of Salomon Frank (*1874 in Nonnenweier, ✡1976 in Chicago) and his wife Babette nee Wertheimer (1882 in Bodersweier, ✡1942 Auschwitz). Josef and Alice Weil had one daughter, Susanne, born on October 24, 1933 in Karlsruhe.
Josef Weil was chairman of the Jewish congregation in Steinsfurt up to the end. Hence he signed the contract for the sale of the synagogue on October 25, 1938.
Eyewitnesses recall how he was beaten up in the so called „Kristallnacht”. His house was looted and vandalized. His mother suffered a stroke and died a few days later. She is remembered on our Shoah page.
Josef was taken to the KZ Dachau, where he was imprisoned from November 12, 1938 to December 28, 1938 as prisoner No 21964 ◊.
After returning home he prepared his emigration. He sold his properties and went to Great Britain with his wife Alice and his daughter Susanne, misusing a temporary passport. Only a few weeks after their departure the authorities got notice of it ◊. The family was interned in England could reemigrate to the USA in February 1940 ◊.
Josef Weil died in Dubuque (IA) on April 9, 1949.
His widow Alice later married Simon Meier, she died in Chicago in 2002.
His parents in law who were staying in Steinsfurt since the beginning of WWII left only in October 1940 and were seized a week after leaving Steinsfurt. Babette Frank was transported to Auschwitz and murdered. She is remembered on the Weil memorial plaque.
HStA Stuttgart, EA 99-001_Bü 162, Questionaires for the family
Town Archive Sinsheim, „Steinsfurt”, A 524, A 239, A 564, A 568
Grundbuchamt Sinsheim, Documents for the property of the synagogue
The image is from GLA Karlsruhe, 377, No 19106. The archive kindly gave us permission to use it.