Prominent emigre historian Henry Pachter was related

Prominent emigre historian Henry Pachter was related

There was email this morning from Rodney Down Under, as he calls himself. He was introducing me to another contact whose Kleeman family records in the Danzig civil records seemed to be connected to our family, both having members of the Paechter family in Tiegenhof, a town outside of Danzig.

Rodney had found a Danzig identity card for the other guy's ancestor, Rosa Kleeman, geb. Paechter, that showed she originated in Tiegenhof. Rodney remembered recently reviewing the death record of our ancestor, Frederike Wohlgmuth, geb. Paechter, that identified her birthplace as Tiegenhof. 

Two Paechters from Tiegenhof are very likely members of the same family, Rodney suggested. There is a 12-year age difference, with Frederike born in 1838 and Rosa in 1850. What might be their relationship?

I thanked Rodney for showing me about using the identity cards. I also replied with something I had already seen in my Danzig indexing work. The Kleeman-Paechter family in Danzig had four daughters who each married between 1902 and 1906. I made up a little table to show the names of the marriage parties.

Then I went to work to try to learn more about the Paechter family from Tiegenhof.  Googling "Paechter familie" returned an intriguing hit for "Family Tree Pächter in 19th-20th Century." On that page is an extensive family tree and footnotes related to a Pächter family in Bohemia, not West Prussia. It was compiled in Israel, probably in the early 1950s, by the former Heinz Pächter, now named Channoch ben Aris.

The tree is very interesting but it is all about the Bohemian Pächters. However, a comment in the footnotes grabbed my attention.

In Eretz [Israel], there exist four families named Paechter (three excluding ours) which as far as I know are unrelated to us. (1) The Paechter family of Tiegenhof near Danzig and Berlin. The wife of the late professor Hermann (?) Shunk was born Paechter. Her nephew, Dr. Heinz Paechter is known to me. He is (??) with me and is currently in the USA....

He then covers the other two unrelated Paechter families who are also in Israel, but it is this Tiegenhof group that we are following. Ben Aris mentioned the wife of the late professor who is now in Israel and Dr. Heinz Paechter who is now in the U.S. It is confusing because Heinz Paechter used to be the compiler's own name, and I think the question marks in the transcriptions are where he clarifies they are different people. So who was the other Heinz Paechter?

I googled some more and began to see hits for an academic of some sort who had written about the Spanish civil war and then about Nazi perversion of language. Then came more citations but one had Henry Paechter and a lot more had Henry Pachter.

It turns out that Henry Pachter was a prominent emigre historian and critic who was among the founders of Dissent magazine. He taught at The New School for Social Research and City College of New York. As a young man in Weimar Berlin, he had been active in left-wing political parties, then studied for his doctorate in political history before fleeing Berlin for Paris in 1933.  He died in 1980 in New York. Here's his Wikipedia page and there is a lot more you can learn about him online. 

I think it is clear that this is the Dr. Heinz Paechter referred to in the family tree footnotes as having descended from the Tiegenhof Paechters. The sources tell us he was born in Berlin in 1907, presumably after his parents settled there from West Prussia in the preceding years. We have seen how many Prussian Jewish families in this period were moving from smaller communities to cosmopolitan centers, mainly Berlin. 

On a first search, I have not found Paechter's Berlin birth record, and thus his parents' names and birth locations. I'll keep looking. Meanwhile, here is one scenario that would seem to fit the facts. Frederike was one Paechter sibling among several born in Tiegenhof between 1838 and 1850 or so. She had a brother who married and raised a family there. One of the sons of the brother moved to Berlin after 1900. His family there included a son born in 1907, Heinz Paechter, the future historian.

In that scenario, Frederike would have been a great-aunt to Heinz. Our grandmother Elly Wohlgemuth would have been a second cousin..