Gabriel and Minna Bach (The parents of Doron Zeilberger's Paternal Grandmother)

Written by Doron Zeilberger: July 19, 1996.

Last update: March 2, 2023

Gabriel Bach (July 9, 1861- Jan. 28, 1921), and Minna (b. Vorchheimer) Bach (Thungen, Feb. 3, 1862- Tel-Aviv, Dec. 15, 1945) lived in Unsleben, a village in Bavaria, Germany. Gabriel was a horse merchant. Here is a picture of Gabriel Bach with his helper (courtesy of Angela Bungert).

The Bach family is mentioned in (p. 370, col. 3, lines 7-10, "Im Haus Wilz..") Rosa Seufert's Chronicle of Unsleben Jewish names [in German], [kindly sent by Angela Bungert].

[Added April 21, 2022: Here is a map of the map of the Unsleben cemetery (kindly sent by Angela Bungert).]

Their children were: Hedwig, Rosa, Victor, Arthur, Martha, Selmar, Robert, and Hugo . Martha(1899- Oct. 21, 1918) died from the flu epidemic, and Arthur (August 1899 – April 1925)) also died young.

The first-born was my paternal grandmother Hedwig Bach Zeilberger (July 7, 1890- June 1975). (See about her son Yehudah, and Yehudah's sons Doron and Gil).

After Hedwig, came Rosa. Rosa married Arthur Benscher. They had one child:

After Rosa, came Victor Bach. After tenth grade, Victor entered the Hirsch Copper and Brass company, one of the greatest metal companies in Germany. Starting out as a clerk, he rapidly climbed the executive ladder, until he became General Director. Victor Bach was very active in the Zionist movement in Germany, serving as director of Keren Hayesod. He married Erna Benscher Bach (sister of his sister Rosa's husband). Victor Bach and Erna Benscher Bach had two children Ruth Bach (Jan. 15, 1923 - Sept. 17,2020) and Gabriel Bach ("Gabby") (March 13, 1927- Feb. 18, 2022). Right before the war, in late 1938, Victor and his family escaped to Holland, two weeks before Kristalnacht, and in 1940 emigrated to Palestine, after he managed to transfer a large part of his fortune, by putting it under his relatives' names, who were already there. Thanks to him, many of his relatives were able to emigrate from Germany before it was too late. In Palestine, and then Israel, he became a member of the Board of Directors of Bank Leumi, and founded and directed the first Israeli company for mutual funds, PIA.
Added Oct. 3, 2012: Erna's brother-in-law, Georg H. Shikmoni, wrote a fascinating essay (in German) called Humanistisches Judentum (with a forward by A. Einstein).

Victor and Erna's daughter, Ruth Bach, had a very interesting life. Between 1940 and 1945, she worked under Richard Graves, the commissioner of labor in the British mandate to Palestine. Between 1951 and 1953 she worked in the Israeli consulate in New York, and between 1953 and 1959 she was executive secretary of Teddy Kollek, who was then Chief of Staff in the prime minister's office, who was also in charge of tourism. She was then appointed to be in charge of entertainment and culture in the Israeli cruise-boats Jerusalem (1959-1962) and Shalom (1962-1967). She later became public relations officer of Tel-Aviv Hilton, then moved to the Jerusalem Hilton, and before retiring, she managed the guest-house for creative artists, of the project Mishkanot Shaananim, an artist colony in Jerusalem, where the famous windmill stands.

Added Jan. 15, 2022: Orli Bach kindly sent me the photo of Ruth Bach's gravestone

Victor and Erna's son, Gabriel Bach (Halberstadt, Germany, 13 March 1927 – Jerusalem, Israel, 18 February 2022) studied Law in England. He is a graduate of University College, London, from where, in 1998, he was awarded Fellowship. In 1949 he was awarded the Buchanan prize from the Lincoln Inn for the best student of the year. In 1953, he entered the office of the Israel State Attorney, rising through the ranks, ultimately becoming Israel's chief State Attorney between 1969 and 1982. When he was Deputy State Attorney, in the early sixties, he was a member of the prosecution team of four in the trial of Adolf Eichmann. In 1968, 1970, and 1980, he represented Israel at United Nations conventions in Switzerland, Japan, and Venezuela. From 1982 until his retirement, he was a Supreme-Court Justice. In 1997 he was awarded the honorary title of "Yekir Yerushalaim" (Distinguished Citizen of Jerusalem). In November 2000, he visited Berlin, and interviewed with Engelbert Sauter for German TV.

Gabby was married to (another) Ruth, Ruth (b. Arazi) Bach. Ruth Arazi Bach is the daughter of Yehuda Arazi (1907-1959), Haganah leader and organizer of "illegal" immigration to Palestine (see his entry in Encyclopedia Judaica, and Yael Rosemann's 1995 book (in Hebrew), about him, called "Melekh Hatkhbulot"). Gabriel and Ruth (b. Arazi) Bach have 3 children:

The next child of Gabriel and Minna Bach was Hugo Bach (1901- Oct. 11, 1946). Hugo was married to Magda Levine Bach. He was an active Zionist and emigrated to Palestine already in 1922. Hugo and Magda had two children: Miriam Bach (b. 1942) and Gideon Bach (b. April 4, 1940). Miriam is a lawyer, who lives in Tel-Aviv, and who is the single parent of Michal. Gideon Bach was the Chair of the Dept. of Human Genetics at the Hadassah Medical School of the Hebrew University for thirty years, and an expert in the Jewish genetic disease Tai-Sachs. Gideon has two daughters: Irit Bach (b. Feb. 1971), and Galia Bach (b. Oct. 1974). In 2004 Gideon became a grandfather.

The second-youngest child was Selmar. He was born on March 28, 1898 in Unsleben. He served in World War I in the 5. Infanterie-Regiment, 2. Ersatz Bataillon, 1. Kompagnie (we still have his Militar-Pass). Between Oct. 11, 1938 and Dec. 3, 1938, he was a prisoner in the notorious Buchenwald Concentration Camp, near Weimar. Thanks to his brother Victor, he got out and made it to Palestine, where he lived in the same Building as Hedwig. He was married, but did not have any children. He died in the early 1950s.

The youngest surviving child of Gabriel and Minna Bach was Robert Bach (1902- c. 1984). Robert was the most cheerful and fun-loving of his family, always cracking jokes, and in a good mood. With his brother Selmar, he ran the family business of horse-trading, first in their native Unsleben, and between 1933 and 1939, in nearby Meinigen (their address was 2 Feodoren Str., and the business was at Leipziger Str. 18). In 1934, he married Liesel (b. Stiefel) Bach (Aug. 12, 1910- ca. Feb. 5, 2007). Liesel is the daughter of Karl Stiefel (who was killed in WWI), and Frieda (b. Kahn) Stiefel. Robert and Liesel immigrated to Palestine in the late thirties, owning and running a dairy farm outside of Jerusalem. When Jerusalem expanded, and their dairy farm became part of the suburbia, they were forced to move out. They went to Sa'ar Heffer, in the Sharon, growing citrus. Robert and Liesel have one daughter: Esther Bach Yerushalmi (Esti) (b. Meinigen, 1938). Esther was married to Yehuda Yerushalmi (?-2006), who was a member, and later director, of the Dan Bus cooperative. Esther and Yehuda have two children:

As mentioned above, Robert passed away in the mid eighties. and Liesel died when she was 96. She celebrated her 90th birthday on Aug. 12, 2000, and swam daily until her death.

Gabriel Bach's parents were Meier and Zerlina Bach.

Last Update: Jan. 15, 2018 (correct minor errors)

Previous Update: July 2, 2014: To put a link to Chronicle of Unsleben Jewish names (Thanks to Angela Bungert); Aug. 12, 2000. [Thanks (again) to my first-cousin-once-removed Gabriel Bach and my great-aunt Liesel Bach.] Aug. 20, 1999 (thanks to Larry Fried); April 6, 1999 (thanks to Gabriel(Gabby, grandson of the above Gabriel), for many corrections and some additions of previous version); Jan. 2, 2000. April 14, 2003. (Thanks to Angela Bungert for the picture of Gabriel Bach; Jan. 11, 2007 (to report the death of Yehuda Yerushalmi); Feb. 14, 2007 (to report the death of Liesel Bach); July 4, 2009 (to report the birth of Ma'ayan Bach); Oct. 3, 2012: To put a link to Humanistisches Judentum by Georg H. Shikmoni (the husband of Elsa (b. Benscher) Shikmoni, the sister of Erna Bach).

Ancestors of Doron Zeilberger

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