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19 th century stories
The first Jews of Dorsten
Dorsten 1820: "Violence in
the synagogue itself"
Eisendrath Family in Dorsten
The family name
Julia Eisendrath - portrait of
a Jewish Mama
Eulogy at the grave of
Julia Eisendrath
Jewish real property in Dorsten
Nathan Eisendrath emigrates
David Samson Eisendrath
Establishing in the USA
Migration of Jews from Europe
to North America
20 th century stories
Simeon B. Eisendrath, architect
Nathan Wolff and the Eisendrath family
Strouss, Eisendrath & Company
Visits to Europe since the 1920s
1933: A Protest Letter to
President Hindenburg (1933)
The Letter in full text
The Eisendrath branch in Zaandam/Netherlands
The last jewish place in Dorsten
Rabbi Maurice Eisendrath
Charles R. Eisendrath: An
identity and family history that
are inextricably linked (1999)
21 st century stories
Adam Eisendrath: The German Heritage Quest - February 2000
Dorsten contacts and
visits 2001-2007
Family Reunion 2010
The journey of two prayer books
Stolperstein memorials for the Eisendrath family
Who and why?
The Dorsten research group
and the Jewish Museum
of Westphalia
* The signature in the header above
is that of Samson Nathan Eisendrath
(from the year 1840)
David Samson Eisendrath

David Samson Eisendrath was the fourth child of  Julia and Samson Nathan Eisendrath. He was born in Dorsten on 12 December 1816 and the records in the Dorsten archives even show that on 20 December he was circumcised by Levi Mich(a)el, school teacher of Bochum.

On 1 September 1852 the wedding of  David Samson and  Lisette (Jettchen) Loewenstein of Wadersloh took place in Münster.  She was born on 1 January 1822 and died on 30 August 1900 in  Racine, Wisconsin.  The couple had six children: Benjamin David, also called Baruch (1853), Rosalie (1855), Adelaide (1858), Leah (1860), Samson David (1863) and Joseph (1865). David Samson Eisendrath also had a son with Frederika Noah, David Noah who was born in Dorsten on 8 February 1848 but died after just a few months on 23 June 1848.  David Samson and Frederika Noah were not married. David Samson Eisendrath died on 21 June 1878 and was buried at the Hebrew Cemetery in Chicago, Illinois.

Like their father,  David Samson and his brother Moses Samson trained to be tanners. Later Moses had his own tanning business in Dorsten. A letter of 1859 from Mayor de Weldige shows that the father had a house and property but that his son David had no assets.  

In 1855 his parents Julia and Samson Nathan wrote a will in which they stated that 7 children – Baruch, David, Moses, Levi, Nathan, Oskar und Jeanette – were married and that on or after getting married each one of them had been given the sum of two hundred Thalers Preuss. Courant in money or in kind and had thus received their inheritance. The other four children,  Cosmann, Benjamin, Adelheid und Eva were still to receive this sum. The parents wanted all their children to sign the will. David and Moses did not agree and refused to sign.

David Samson was an active member of the Dorsten synagogue and from 1853 he was a representative.  On 27 January 1857 he was told to pay the chief rabbi his salary of 7 Silbergroschen.  On 13 March 1865 eight representatives of the synagogue gathered at the Dorsten town hall “to elect another member of the board for the local synagogue to replace Moses Eisendrath who had left.  When asked to vote the eight representatives present unanimously elected the tanner David Eisendrath of Dorsten who had previously been the representative.” The Royal Government regarded the vote as invalid and on 22 May 1865 it was repeated and David Eisendrath was voted by acclamation. He was not in his position in Dorsten for very long.

In 1867 David Samson, his wife Lisette and their children emigrated to the USA. On 27 May 1867 the family arrived at the port of New York on the emigrant ship Ottawa. At the same time the house in Dorsten with the number 325/2 was put up for sale with a note stating “left Dorsten surreptitiously.”

And 1867 also seems to be the year in which the Eisendrath leather industry was established in the USA. Years later they still used this date for advertising purposes. In the USA David Samson immediately started working as a tanner. According to the family chronicle, his factory on the northwest side of Chicago was one of the first leather manufacturers to dye sheep and calfskin.

The David Eisendrath family lived in Chicago on Fifth Street (Sangamon Street) close to other Eisendrath families.
In 1931 Samson J. Eisendrath, a nephew, reminisced: “Of course I remember Uncle David’s (one of the brothers of the twenty-three) family very well when they lived so near  to us on Sangamon Street. Every Saturday morning my brothers and I were always dressed very neatly and went over to Uncle David’s house for the blessing. Or as my Mother used to say, we went over to be ‘benched’. This I can always remember most distinctly because he used to put his hands on our heads and pronounce the blessing.

I can also recall distinctly the very fine spirit pervading in that house. I can still see Uncle David sitting with his two sons, reading Hebrew with them. I can still picture Tanta Setchin, the extreme busy-body that she was. And the wonderful kuchen at that house, - how vividly I can recall that! I remember the Schule Uncle David had in the basement of that house where Herman Eliassoff taught Hebrew to a number of Jewish children who would come there for instructions. (Note: Herman Eliassoff was the son-in-law, married to Rosalie Eisendrath, a rabbi, and a writer and editor of the ‘Reform Advocate’.)

The David Eisendrath family was always upheld to me by my Mother as being a ‘real model family’. And even afterwards, when we moved away from Chicago, my Mother constantly repeated her hope that I would grow up to be a man like Benjamin.

And then in 1875 or 1876 B.D. and W.N. Eisendrath started their Eisendrath Glove factory right opposite our house. I used to go and help them, although I was then only a little shaver, not more than five years old. You can imagine what my help was worth; I can’t remember what my pay check was at that time.”

For many years his son Benjamin David Eisendrath (born in Dorsten in 1853) ran the B.D. Eisendrath Tanning Company in Racine, on the shore of Lake Michigan between Milwaukee and Chicago. From its humble beginnings, the company grew to become one of the world’s major manufacturers of leather for footwear.  And his son, David Benjamin Eisendrath, who was born in Racine in 1890, a graduate of the University of Chicago, was the owner of the B.D. Eisendrath Tanning Company.  The name “Eisendrath“ became very well-known through the sale of leather. Leather production was closed in 1965/66.


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