Jewish fraternities

I mentioned in a recent post that Werner Weissenberg was a member of the Jewish fraternity at Breslau (the Kartell-Convent) – and that Lothar Nelken, the father of Stephen, who started the Kitchener gatherings with Clare Ungerson, was in the same fraternity.

There were other Jewish fraternities across the German university system, although I believe the Kartell-Convent (K-C) was the first and perhaps, in its day, the most notorious – mainly for its somewhat riotous drinking sessions and its members’ duelling scars …

We are interested in memberships generally, because it is possible – likely, even – that they provide part of the answer to ‘Why did my father get a place at Kitchener?’

If you believe that your relative was in a Jewish fraternity in Germany or Austria (in the Jedidayah/Yedidayah, for example), or in a German or Austrian Jewish training school, or in the Maccabis/Makkabis, or some similar group, please be sure to let us know.


It is a painstaking task, because the 1937 Kartell-Convent handbook has many names on many pages, but as an example, I have cross-referenced a handful of men who were in the Kartell who are also listed in the 1939 Register for Kitchener camp. I have triple checked, in a sense, because finding a name match is not sufficient to tell us that an apparent match is in fact a match, so I have also checked the Exemption from Internment cards online to match city of birth and occupation. This takes a while, as you might imagine!

The following information is in publicly available records online; the records are over 100 years old.

Above: the ‘colours’ ribbon of the Kartell-Convent – once belonging to Gerhardt Steiner, it then belonged to Werner Weissenberg

A few of the Kitchener camp men who were also in the K-C fraternity

Eugen Brandt, born in Berlin in July 1911 – a dentist

Erwin Lewek, born in Breslau in 1886 – a dentist

Salomon Freundlich, born in Gnessen in 1897 – a lawyer

Martin Hochstädter, born in Wurzburg in 1910 – a bank clerk

Max Kaiser, born in Beuthen in 1911 – a teacher

K-C students from the Department of Physics at the University of Breslau – 26 July, 1931
From the Weissenberg family collection

Some articles, links, and further information

The K-C

The K-C at Heidelberg

Images available online at the Leo Baeck Institute

Hasmonea, Hebronia, and Kadima

German Jewish training schools


Some information on Gut Winkel and other training centres

Brian Amkraut, Between Home and Homeland: Youth Aliyah from Nazi Germany, 2009


On this subject, we have recently received an incredible amount of information about the Berlin ORT boys, and as soon as I have some time I will be uploading this.

With membership of this training school, of course, we absolutely know it was the reason that over 100 people came to Kitchener camp.