Schija was a fishmonger?

Schija was a fishmonger?

As already reported, Betty (Pessel) Ringel's marriage record identifies her deceased father's profession as "fishmonger." This is the first time we have seen Schija Ringel described this way. All the German records identify him as Kaufmann (merchant) or Handelsmann (dealer), without mention of the type of goods he dealt in. 

So my first reaction is that we will want to find other confirming evidence of Shija's involvement in the fish markets before accepting this as a certainty. However, the fact that Betty called him out specifically in that profession is a compelling bit of information and possibly a powerful clue. 

So my second reaction was that I should learn more about Jewish fish sellers in Berlin in the 1880s to 1910s when Schija would have been plying his trade. 

The list of Jewish fish dealers in the image covers the later period in the 1930s and '40s when Nazi authorities expropriated their businesses. What we get is a snapshot of the categories of fish they dealt in: herring, smoked fish, crabs, oysters, caviar, salads and delicatessen. I was surprised to see non-kosher shellfish on the list, but Jewish fish dealers did not sell exclusively to Jews, of course, but to the general German market. Also, contrary to our image of a fish market, they did not deal in fresh fish but on various kinds of conserved. 

The chart also gives us the location of the listed businesses that we later seized by Nazi authorities. About half are located in Mitte and Prenzlauer Berg, the neighborhoods Schija probably worked. Others are in the more upscale Wilmersdorf and Charlottenburg, where our family later lived. The two locations in Lichtenberg are not retail outlets but canning factories. 

One fish dealer on the list that caught my eye was Hirsch Solländler, who operated a retail fish shop out of a double-wide stall in the Central Market Hall in Mitte. That better fit my image of how Schija may have done business, and it got me started looking into the history if market halls in Berlin.