Wolgemuth-Spektor connection?

One more quickie and then I have to get back to work. While we're waiting for Walter's trip report, I'll pass on this tidbit he shared with me by phone from Vilnius. While researching Rabbi Spektor in Kaunus, he learned of yet another person who claimed to be a descendant. That in itself is not surprising, but the kicker is that this gentleman's last name is Wolgemuth, which is also the maiden surname of our grandmother Elly on Helga's side of the family.

Now, Wolgemuth (with its various alternate spellings) is a fairly common name in those parts, but it does present an intriguing possibility. Our Wolgemuths came from Konigsberg in East Prussia, which is now Kaliningrad, a disconnected enclave of Russia. As I have pointed out to Walter in the past, Konigsberg and Rzeszow, where Elly's husband Herman Ringel's family originated, are not far removed from Grodno in Belarus, where the Spektor/Rabinowitz family was from.

Further, Kaliningrad is a short distance from the Lithuanian coastal city of Memel, which was an early outpost of Jewry in the region, and to which I had tentatively traced the history of our Wolgemuths. So that raises the interesting possibility that our Wolgemuths and our Spektors were actually related and that we modern-day Rubys are the result of some kind of extended family inbreeding (which could explain some things ).

The other thing interesting about it is the light it sheds on the disdain of many German Jews, including Elly Wolgemuth Ringel, for so-called ostjuden, supposedly less-cultured Jews from places like Poland and Russia. It seems that Elly's own family was separated from ostjuden-ness by a hair's-breadth accident of geography.

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