The History of Dr. Med. Alfred Grünebaum (1900-1980)

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Alfred Grünebaum* was born on February 9th 1900, in the small village of Homburg Am Main (Pictures, 1- Picture below on the left, showing Alfred infront of the Grünebaum family house in Homburg a.M in the 1930's, 1A- the Grunebaum house in 2010, 2- Map of the Homburg Am Main, and 3- Map of the Frankfurt-Würzburg area). 

Alfred was the 4th son of a conservative Jewish family that originated from Züntersbach (Pictures, 4- painting of the house in Züntersbach, 5-Map of Züntersbach and 6-Map of the Frankfurt-Würzburg area). More details on the origins of the Grunebaum family in Züntersbach and Homburg Am Main are provided in a separate page.

Alfred’s father, Mendel Grünebaum (Picture, 7- Mendel),  a businessman, was born in Homburg Am Main, on May 20th 1860, several years after his father, Schmaya, arrived from Zuntersbach and married Margareta (geb Heimann, born 1831).  
Alfred's mother, Fanny, came from the wealthy Schlossberger (Schloßberger) family in Hollenbach (Picture, 8- Fanny). The Schlossberger  family owned a big Butchery store in Hollenbach (Picture, 9- Schlossberger Family house in Hollenbach) and possibly a Blankets factory.

Fanny, born in 1863 (Picture, 10- Birth document), had several siblings, including Rudolf, which  married Mathilde, the daughter of Eli Neter from Gernsbach (picture below, shows Eli Neter standing on the 2nd floor balcony in his Gernsbach home).

The times, at the beginning of the 20th century, were financially difficult for the Grünebaum family. Nevertheless, Alfred’s parents insisted that he should obtain high education, especially as Alfred proved himself as an able student. Initially, a local priest volunteered to teach Alfred Latin and Greek. This allowed Alfred to enter directly into the 4th grade of school. 

In 1913, Alfred was sent to the Realgymnasium in Würzburg, where he studied for almost 6 years (Picture, 11- Würzburg archives). A year later, in 1914, his grandmother, Margareta Grünebaum died (Picture, 12- Death Certificate, Würzburg). After graduation, at the beginning of 1918, Alfred enlisted into the Bavarian army, which was part of the German Heer, where his older brother Max served. Another brother, Moritz, died during World War I, while serving as a soldier in this army (Picture, 13- Plaque in memory of Moritz)

Fortunately, World War I ended that year, and at the end of 1918, Alfred began his Medical studies at Würzburg. In 1920, Alfred’s father, Mendel, died. During Alfred's medical studies in Würzburg, he first encountered anti-Semitism, when Alfred was asked by one of his professors to compare the worms in Palestine to those in Germany. Therefore, Alfred decided to leave Würzburg. He initially headed to Berlin, and eventually graduated from the prestigious Medical Faculty of the Heidelberg University, on July 26 1923, becoming the youngest doctor at the age of 23 (Picture, 14- Medical Diploma). 

Alfred’s thesis was about lymphangiomas of the oral cavity with special reference to lymphangioma of the tonsil”. Dr. Alfred Grünebaum file in the Heidelberg Faculty of Medicine was H-III-862/39.

In Heidelberg, Alfred met Simon Baer (Picture, 15- Alfred and Simon). During a motorcycle ride through Germany, Simon introduced Alfred to his older sister, Ritta (Picture 15A). Rita had married Emil Nachmann and they were living in Gernsbach, on the Murg river. Ritta was born in Kuenzelsau to the Baer family (Picture, 16- The Baer Family at the wedding of Emil and Ritta). 

The Nachmann family, originally from the nearby Hörden village (see separate page on the Nachmann family from Hörden) owned a large merchandise store, named “Emil Nachmann” (Pictures, Emil Nachmann Store - 19, 19A, 20 and now- 21). The store and the premises were renovated by Emil in 1907-08 as it was also the family's home. (Picture, 22- city plans for the Nachmann home on Iglestrasse 8, 23- The bank standing in place of the Nachmann home). Nearby was the home of Emil's sister, Thersa Ochs, and her husband Julius, who eventually was also a partner in the merchandise store.

Alfred fell in love with the Nachmann’s oldest daughter, Ruth (Gertrud-Sofie), a tall, beautiful and elegant lady (Picture- 23A, Ruth at masquerade in 1922, Picture- 23B, Emil, Gretel, Ruth, Hans 1925), who had just completed her high school education. The couple become engaged in 1927. A year later (12 January 1928), the Alfred and Ruth got married (Picture, 24-Marriage certificate). The wedding was a very large and happy event, reflecting the prosperous time of the family and the Jewish community in the late 1920's (Pictures, 2526- Alfred and Ruth Wedding and 27, 28- Wedding gifts). Alfred and Ruth bought an 8-room apartment, at Murgtalstraße (later Josefstrasse) 6, at the nearby city of Rastatt (Pictures, 29, 29A- House in Rastatt). The apartment was on the second floor of a two story house with a garage in the yard, with a balcony overlooking the Murg river. Alf

red established in one of the apartment’s rooms, a successful practice as a family physician and obstetrician. One of the children whom Alfred helped to deliver was Roger Dreyfus, who is currently living in StrasburgIn another room of the apartment, stood a "grand-piano", used by Ruth to practice for concerts. The rest of the rooms were furnished with precious fine furniture and pictures. Alfred also purchased a car, which he used often for visiting his patients in the near-by villages

On December 16, 1929, Alfred and Ruth had their first son, Ernst-Max (Nicknamed Bobby, Picture- Yochanan 29B). Bobby was later known as Yochanan. On March 2, 1932 the second son, Gerhard-Hans, known as Michael, was born (Pictures 29C, 29D30-The two boys in arms of Rita, 30A- Yochanan and Michael sitting in an arm-chair in Rastatt, 30B, 30C, 30D, 30E). The life in Rastatt and the close proximity to the extended Nachmann family in Hörden, Gernsbach and Rastatt (Picture, 32-Map of Rastatt- Gernsbach) during the early 1930’s were very warm and comfortable. 

The family traveled across Germany and Europe (Pictures 33, 34, 35). On occasions, Alfred and his family also drove to visit his mother Fanni, as well as his brother Max, a sadler, and his beloved niece and nephew, Margot and Martin, which shared the Grünebaum's family 2 story house in Homburg Am Main. The arrival of Alfred in his fancy car (Picture 35A- Alfred in car), was always a haapy event in the streets of Homburg Am Main. Although most of the streets were narrow, the street where the Grünebaum house stood was quite wide. They family enjoyed porridge with butter and cauliflower dishes, prepared by Fanny and by Max's wife, Bertha (born Rotschild), while the grandchildren searched for chocolate that Fanny used to hide under her bedroom's pillow, a tradition that Ruth Grünebaum also continued for her grandchildren.  

However, dark clouds were looming with the increasing Nazism in Germany.  Alfred’s older brother Sali, who was a journalist, was humiliated and arrested by the Nazi soldiers (Picture, 36- Sally arrested) Leaflets were distributed in Rasttat calling to “boycott the Jewish-Yid Dr. Alfred Grünebaum”. Therefore, Alfred and Ruth, decided that it was time to leave Germany, even though it meant a significant change in their life style. Departure from Germany also meant leaving most of their belongings and close family behind. The family decided that Alfred would leave first in 1935. Alfred had also a visa to Argentina, however, he decided to follow his older brother Sali, who fled from Germany to Palestine (Israel), already in 1933. Ruth and the 2 young sons followed Alfred, on May 1936 (Picture, 37- Ruth and children on the Galilea boat in Brindizi Italy and 38- Picture of the Galilea Boat). 

During the year in which Ruth stayed behind in Germany, with the help of the family in Gernsbach, she packed a "wooden lift" (a large wooden box) with some furniture, belongings and other important inventory items and sent it to Palestine. The remaining furniture, pictures and items including the treasured grand-piano, were given away at no cost to the first floor neighbour, a dentist by the name of Pflaumer, who assisted Ruth during this difficult time. Amazingly, the Pflaumer kept some of the furniture, and in 2015, Eyal found the arm-chair described above in the attic of the house (see separate site "the return of the arm-chair" by Michael Grunebaum in Hebrew).

In Palestine (Israel), the Grünebaum family settled in a 3-room apartment, at 44 Stampeper Str., Petach-Tiqva, which was about 15 kilometers from Tel-Aviv, where Sali and his family lived (Picture, 39- Alfred Grunebaum on Balcony in 1936).

Finding a job as a physician in Palestine, at that time, proved to be very difficult. On the same boat that brought Alfred to Palestine in 1935, there were close to 300 additional physicians, who were expelled from their positions in Germany. Many of these physicians became farmers in the new settlements in Palestine. Alfred, with his sensitive sense and talent for languages, quickly learned Hebrew and was able to communicate with the Jewish residents. Nevertheless, to make a living, Alfred had to travel to the northern swamps of Hedera and Kfar-Vitkin and ride a horse to reach patients with deadly Malaria and Dysentery (Picture, 40- Alfred on horse)

In Petach-Tiqva, Ruth and the 2 children organized the apartment, which was too small to accommodate all the belongings, so the “lift” and most of the furniture, stood in the yard of the apartment house. When Alfred was unemployed and there was no money, the "treasures" from the "lift" were sold for pennies, known as "Mils"  in order to buy food (Picture, 41- Mils). Sometimes, one orange, divided into 4 parts, was the meal for the whole family. Although Yochanan and Michael belonged to a family of "Yekkes" (Jewish-German descend), the boys quickly adjust to the climate and attitude of Palestine (Picture, 41A- Yochanan and Michael on the grass in Petach Tiqva)

Emil Nachmann died on April 28th 1937 and was buried in the Jewish Cemetery in Kuppenheim (Picture, 42- Emil’s grave). On the eve of Ritta's departure from Germany, she planted a Christmas tree (Pine tree) on Emil's grave to help identify the site (Pictures 43 and 44). Symbolically, the tree was later hit by lightening. The death of Emil Nachmann, and the events of the "Cristal Night" on November the 9th, 1938, finally convinced Ritta to leave Germany. Ritta decided to join her oldest daughter Ruth and Alfred in Petach-Tiqva, Palestine (Israel) in 1939

Ritta’s decision to leave Germany was strengthened by the previous departure of her younger daughter Amsi (Nurit) to Palestine (Israel). Nurit immigrated in 1937 through the "Youth Immigration of the Jewish Agency" in Jerusalem. Nurit learned horticulture in the "Agriculture School for girls" in Petach-Tiqva. Ritta's other two children, Gretel (Margarete) and Hans (John), immigrated to the USA in 1937 and 1938, respectively, with the sponsorship of Simon Baer from Detroit (Pictures, Boat manifests for Gretel- 45, Hans- 46)

Ritta, already from previous experience with the furniture and belongings of Ruth and Alfred, also packed a wooden "lift", which was shipped to Petach-Tiqva. Ritta arrived in Palestine on 1939 and lived in one of the 3 rooms. However, most of Ritta’s belongings remained also stored in the "lift". The rest of the Grünebaum family concentrated in the other two rooms.
In Palestine, being hired by the Health Medical Company of the Jewish Labor Organization for a mini-minor daily salary, Alfred had to travel around the Jewish settlements, in order to replace other physicians, who went on vacation, or were sick. During the summer of 1939, Alfred stayed for several months in the Kibutz "Degania", located in the Valley of Jordan (Pictures, 47 and 48, 2 sides of Alfred’s Residence card in Degania "B"). Working in the Jordan Valley meant ridding a motorcycle to visit the many communities during the summer, when temperatures were 40-43 degrees Celsius.
 World War II brought new challenges to the Grünebaum family. After Kristallnacht, the pogrom by the German Nazis on 9th and 10th of November 1938, Fanny and Max's family took refuge in Frankfurt. Max was arrested and taken to Lohr Am Main and Dachau concentration camp, from which he was able to escape. In 1939, Max and his family left Germany hoping to reach Argentina. After a torturous journey, they crossed the ocean on board the Conte Biancamano ship through Puerto Rico to Bolivia. After several years in Bolivia, during which Bertha died, in 1944, Max and his daughter Margot finally arrived in Argentia. Max died in Buenos Aires in May 1963, while Margot lives still in Buenos Aires not far from her son Jacobo Leon MejlachowiczWhile Alfred’s older brother Max, was able to leave Germany to Argentina, Fanni, Alfred’s mother, stayed in Frankfurt and died in Terezienstadt on September 9th 1942 (Picture, 49- death notification of Fanny from Yad Vashem). 
In Palestine (Israel), in 1941, the war was also rapidly approaching and Alfred was hired through the Health Medical Company, by the British Army, to work in the British Camps at El-Arish, in the Sinai Peninsula (Egypt). The British were building up forces in preparation for the battle with the German forces. In El-Arish, Alfred organized a military clinic and a small hospital. Alfred came home only infrequently, leaving the burden of the family on Ruth. Nevertheless, Alfred and his family survived also these difficult times. 

In 1943, Alfred was offered a permanent employment contract by the Health Medical Company as a physician, in a small village called Kfar-Saba, about 15 kilometers north of Petach Tiqva (Picture, 50- Map of Kfar Saba). The whole family, including Ritta, moved to Kfar-Saba and lived initially in a rented apartment on Herzel Str. Despite the distance, the family connections with Alfred's brother Sali and his 2 twin daughters, were maintained (Picture, 51- The families of Sally and Alfred). 

In Kfar-Saba, Alfred joined Dr. Mordechai Freund, as the only 2 physicians in the villageIn 1945, Alfred was appointed the Regional Chief-physician. With this new job, Alfred received also "transportation facilities", a carriage of two wooden wheels, with a donkey. In 1946, the joint family settled in their own private house, that included 3 and a half rooms with land around it. Finally, the remaining contents from the 2 wooden “lifts” could be accommodated within the walls of the house.

Michael completed his studies in Kfar-Saba, initially at the "Ushiskin Elementary School" and then, at the "Katzenelson High School" (Pictures- 5253 Michael as teenager). Yochanan, the eldest son of Ruth and Alfred, learned agriculture in The "Mikve-Israel School", near Jaffa (Picture, 54- Yochanan and Michael). 

On March 25, 1948, Sali Grünebaum died, after an eye operation. Sali's twin daughters, Gertrude and Elizabeth, who served as nurses in the British Army in Egypt, during WWII, decided to leave Israel and immigrate to the US in 1949. Gertrude and Elizabeth still managed to say goodbye to their cousin Michael Grünebaum, before he left for 3 years in order to complete the first part of his Medical studies in Strasburg, France. In Strasburg, Michael renewed the ties with the Dryfus and Leiblich families, who also originated from Rastatt, Germany.

In the meantime, in Israel, Alfred got a chance to help the young independent country, as the first physician in the liberated Um-Rashrash, an oasis at the beach of the Red Sea, later known as Eilat. Alfred founded the first civil medical clinic in Um-Rashrash and planted the first trees around this clinic.

 After completing studies in the Agriculture School, Yochanan Grünebaum went with his class to kibutz "Gvat" and there, he joined the PALMACH (the unofficial army of the Jewish Agency during the Brirish Mandate in Palestine). In one of the underground operations, Yochanan was injured and was left with paralysis in 3 fingers of his left hand. After the Liberation War of Israel in 1948, Yochanan was one of the founders of Kibbutz "Yiftach", near the border of Lebanon. In 1954 Yochanan married Neta (born Anabi), and the young couple settled in Kibbutz "Ashdot Ya'akov", in the Valley of Jordan, not far from the Sea of Galilee. On December 16, 1955, Yochanan and Neta’s oldest daughter, Dalit, was born. Ritta Nachmann even had the opportunity to hold in her hands her great granddaughter (Picture, 56- Ritta, Alfred, Ruth and Dalit). Ritta Nachmann passed away on the 18th of April 1957 and was buried in the Cemetery of Kfar-Saba in the Nordau Str. (Picture, 57- Rita’s Tombstone). 

Michael Grünebaum returned from Strasburg to complete his medical studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where he met Sara (born Horowitz), who was learning Occupational Therapy. Michael and Sara got married in 1956 (Pictures, 58, 59- Wedding). Michael and Sara moved to Petach Tiqva, where Michael began his training as a Diagnostic Radiologist, at the Belinson Hospital (link to Dr. Michael Gruneabum Web page. On the 9th of April, 1959, Michael and Sara's oldest daughter, Irit, was born.

Although times were still tough and rough in Israel, the country was in a severe recession, the Grünebaum family finally enjoyed some stability. Alfred had a flourishing family practice, which provided much needed medical services to the local community. He treated people of all stripes with dignity, staying true to the Hippocratic Oath that he vowed many years earlierAlfred advanced in the administrative hierarchy of the Health Medical Company and was the major pivot of influencing the authorities to build the "Meir Community Hospital" in Kfar-Saba. He is still remembered by many of the veteran citizens for his kindness, good manners, and above all, for his contribution to develop and organize the various Medical Health Institutions in the City of Kfar-Saba. Ruth, took charge of establishing a warm and welcoming home on the Ha'ma'apilim Str. However, since leaving Rastatt, Ruth refused to touch the keys of a piano, or even approach such an instrument. Ruth’s original piano-chair is still with the family and nobody sits on it. Ruth managed to create an amazing garden around the house (Pictures, 60- Ruth on Balcony, 62, 63- Ruth in Garden). The garden contained flowers, such as Calla, many types of Viola, the once-a-year-night-blooming Cereus as well as palm and fruits trees. Benches were elegantly mixed in the Grünebaum garden (Picture- 61, Ruth and Nurit on garden bench). Ruth and Alfred spent much of their time surrounded by their children and grandchildren in Kfar Saba and Ashdot Ya'akov Ichud (Pictures, 63B- Ruth in the fields of Ashdut Yaakov, 64, 64A, 64B- Extended family). The couple also enjoyed the company of Ruth’s sisters. Ruth’s youngest sister, Amsi-Nurit, who married Tzuli Reicher, lived in Kibbutz "Evron", not far from Naharia in Northern Israel (Picture, 65- Reicher family in Evron and 65A- Ruth and Nurit in Evron, 65B).  Ruth's other sister, Gretel- Margaret, married Walter Singer and lived in North Arlington, New Jersey (Pictures- 6667 Walter and Gretel,  68 Walter, Gretel and Kathy Ochs). Gretel came twice to visit her sisters in Israel and also stayed with Ruth for several weeks after Alfred's death (Picture, 69 Ruth, Gretel and Nurit in Irit's Wedding) . Gretel-Margaret died on the 10th of February 1998 in North-Arlington (USA) and her memory is engraved together with her beloved sister (Picture, 70- plaque in Kfar-Saba Cemetery). Amsi-Nurit died on March 2000. Ruth’s only brother, John-Hans Nachmann, worked as the Chief-Photographer of the Ford Car Company in Detroit and was known for his amazing photos (Pictures, 71, 72, 73). Hans visited the Grünebaum 's family in Israel, in 1961. John-Hans died in the late 1960’s in Detroit (USA).


Alfred Grünebaum officially retired from the Health Medical Company of the Israel Labor Organization, at the age of 65, in 1965 (Picture, 74- Dr. Alfred Grünebaum Retirement party). Alfred continued to practice medicine, at his home office, until his very last day of life. In addition, Ruth and Alfred traveled frequently to Europe and the USA. In the USA, Ruth and Alfred even had a chance to meet Sali’s daughter Elizabeth and her daughter Rita, as well as other family members including the Baer's, Kirchheimer's, Ochs's, Roche's, Wachter's and Ettlinger's (Picture, 75- Judy Ettlinger-Brown Wedding). Ruth and Alfred also spent time with Gretel Singer-Nachmann (Picture 75a- Gretel, Alfred, Ruth and the grandchildren)
Alfred was also one of the founders of the Rotary Club in Kfar-Saba and served as the local President of the club during the years of 1962-1963. Alfred died in his bed, on May 24, 1980. A Scholarship was established in the honor of Alfred Grünebaum, in the Kfar-Saba Rotary Club. Ruth succeeded to see and enjoy the company of her grand-grandchildren, and died on April 2, 1990. Ruth was also honored by a Scholarship established in her name, by the local Rotary Club. Ruth and Alfred Grünebaum are buried side by side, in the Kfar-Saba Cemetery at the Nordau Street (Picture, 76- Alfred and Ruth Grünebaum Tombstone).


*- The Grünebaum family name was also spelt Grunebaum without the umlaut above the “u” as well as Gruenebaum with an “e” after the “u”).


Additional information about members of the Grünebaum, Schlossberger, Nachmann and Baer families is available at the Geni and MyHeritage web sites or may be obtained by directly contacting Eyal at


Special thanks to all the family members and friends from across the world, who contributed the information and pictures, which enabled the creation of this site. 

(By Michael, Sara and Eyal Grünebaum, February 2010, and updated February 2016)