Sternberg Family History

Click the links below for…

– Betti and Bernard Sternberg, recalling their memories of Herborn.
– Betti and Bernard Sternberg recalling Herborn, emigration, and more.
– an audio interview Ken held with Doris Schnittert, whose family’s relationship with the Sternbergs goes back generations.
– film reels of the Sternberg family throughout the 1950s.

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The lineage of Josefina Rosenthal (Ackerman), circled far left. The children of her sister Johanna (circled center), Ken’s cousins once removed, can be seen below.
Samuel Rosenthal
Samuel Rosenthal, Ken’s great-grandfather

Ken’s maternal family, the Sternbergs, trace their lineage to the town of Herborn, Germany. Ken’s maternal grandmother, Emma Rosenthal, was daughter of Josefina and Samuel Rosenthal. Josefina was born Josefina Ackerman, daughter of Wolf Ackerman and Gretchen Levi. Curiously enough, both Josefina and her sister Johanna would take the surname Rosenthal in marriage.

Emma Rosenthal
Ken’s grandmother, Emma Rosenthal.
Herman Rosenthal
Herman Rosenthal, Josefina’s brother-in-law.


Ludwig Rosenthal, WW1
Ludwig Rosenthal, cousin of Emma.

March in Herborn c1920s

Rosenthal ancestor photos-2
Marriage ceremony of Meta Frank and Ludwig Rosenthal, 1920.



Herborn is a town in central Germany’s state of Hesse. The Rosenthal family owned a cattle farm outside of town, and traded in livestock, as well as operating a butcher shop within town. Samuel and Josefina’s daughter, Emma Rosenthal, would marry Heinrich Sternberg in Herborn.

Emma and Heinrich would have three children: Leo, Bernard, and Betty.

Click here for interviews of Herborners recalling their memories from Betti Fuchs Sternberg’s birthday celebration.

Click here for a brief history of the Jewish community in Herborn.

Emma Sternberg (Rosenthal) in the middle with her husband Heinrich to the right. Back row: Betty and Nathan Sternberg (Heinrich’s parents), Josefina Rosenthal far right. Front row: Bernard, Betty, Leo Sternberg. The girl on the left is unknown.
Sternberg Family
The Sternbergs. Emma, Bernard, Betty (Ken’s mother), Leo, Heinrich.
Meta, Rolf, Ludwig, and Ruth Rosenthal
Painting by Ilse Staab
A painting of the Herborn countryside, by Ilse Staab. Ilse was a friend to Betty Sternberg in Herborn. After the war, Betty sent Ilse care packages from the U.S. Mrs. Staab sent her paintings such as this one, which graced the dining room of Ken’s youth

Sternberg Family on Emigration
Unidentified folks on the boat to America with Leo Sternberg, right


As the Nazis rose to power in Germany, it became clear to Jewish families across the country that emigration would be soon necessary. In 1937 the Sternberg family began their journey to the United States. Bernard would first expatriate to Amsterdam, before following his family to America. Their home in Herborn would be taken by a Nazi family.

Please click here more information about the Jews of Herborn taken by the Shoah

Bernhard Sternberg in Amsterdam after leaving Germany
Bernard with two unidentified women in Amsterdam
Heinrich Sternberg Passport, pg 2
Heinrich’s passport information, noting his job as a livestock handler. Note the 1935 date and Nazi iconography in the stamps.
Heinrich Sternberg - US Visa
Heinrich’s visa to emigrate to the US. Note the date of 1936; the Sternbergs emigrated in 1937 before deportations began at large.
Fina and Heinrich
Josefina Rosenthal and Heinrich Sternberg, on a ship bound for America.
Sternberg Family emigration
A photo taken before the boat-ride across the Atlantic. Leo Sternberg is in the top left, Betty Sternberg in the bottom right, others are unidentified.

Betty and Carol Sternberg
Betty Sternberg and her daughter, Carol, in America


The family lived in the West End, where Leo and Bernard would become quite successful in the handbag business. Betty would meet Irving Schoen, and they would be married before 1941 (as indicated by Betty’s naturalization papers in which her surname is “Schoen”). Betty and Irving would lose their first child in childbirth, but would go on to have two children: Carol Eva (Hanna) and Ken (Yekutiel).

Betty Sternberg's Naturalization
Certificate of naturalization for Betty Schoen (Sternberg), dated 1941. It’s understood that Betty’s marriage to Irving – then an American citizen – expedited her naturalization.
Heinrich Sternberg's Naturalization
The certificate of naturalization for Heinrich, dated 1944.
Bernard Sternberg's Naturalization
Bernard’s certificate of naturalization, dated 1944. Bernard had moved to Ohio by this time, but one can see that his application was filed from Queens NY.
Heinrich, Carol, Patsy
Heinrich with his two granddaughters Carol and Patsy (Leo’s daughter)
Bernard and Leo with Lesco-Lona
Bernard (facing camera) and Leo (standing behind Bernard) at a party with their colleagues from the Lesco-Lona handbag business, New York.
Rosenthal Family
Rolf & Meta Rosenthal, Martin Brachfeld, and Ruth & Ludwig Rosenthal, at the engagement of Martin and Ruth. 1947, Inwood, New York City
Bernard Sternberg in newspaper
Bernard featured in the newspaper (circa 1960) for his work with Lesco-Lona

Leo would marry Lillie Sichel and have two daughters: Patsy and Ann. Bernard would marry Betti Fuchs and have a daughter, Rosalie. The family home in Herborn still stands, although the “Familie Sternberg” sign has been painted over.

Carol Schoen at family home
Carol (Schoen) Hess at the Sternberg family home in Herborn. The brick building behind her is where the family would keep their livestock, while the window to her left was part of their butcher shop.