Guide to the Weikers Family Papers, 1880-2000

Rauh Jewish Archives

Summary Information

Detre Library & Archives, Heinz History Center
Weikers Family Papers
Weikers Family
Collection Number
Date [inclusive]
.5 linear feet (1 box)
Language of Materials
The material in this collection is in English.
The Weiker family immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1941, settling in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The Weikers family papers consist of correspondence, newspaper clippings, vital records, memorial booklets and a transcript of a television interview. These materials provide information about the towns of Gaukoenigshofen and St. Goarshausen, Germany and the history of the Weikersheimer family from the eighteenth to the twentieth century when a branch came to Pittsburgh and changed their name to Weikers.

Preferred Citation

Weikers Family Papers, 1880-2000, MSS#402, Rauh Jewish Archives, Senator John Heinz History Center

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Ensel Levi, the patriarch of the Weikersheimer/Weikers family, was born in 1748 in Weikersheim, Germany, and moved to Gaukoenigshofen at the time of his marriage in 1789. When Jews were required to choose a surname, Levi adopted the name of his hometown and was known as Ensel Levi Weikersheimer. Over several generations, the Weikersheimers became prominent in Gaukoenigshofen, as butchers, cattle dealers, owners of an agricultural machine dealership, and owners of a major meat distribution center. Responding to the increase in anti-Semitism in Germany after World War I, most of the family emigrated to Brazil, Palestine, Canada, or the United States. Some who remained in Germany were killed in the Holocaust.

A fourth-generation descendant of Ensel Levi Weikersheimer, Joseph Weikersheimer was born in Gaukoenigshofen in 1871 and moved to St. Goarshausen, a small town on the Rhine. He operated the dry-goods store owned by the parents of his wife, Rosa (née Rosenthal). Their son Erwin was born in 1904; he took over the family business after his father’s death in 1927. Erwin married Barbara Paula Selig in 1929, and their son Norbert was born in 1930. Shortly after Kristallnacht, in November, 1938, Erwin was interned for three months at the concentration camp at Dachau. He emigrated from Germany to the United States via England in 1939. His wife and son obtained exit visas and traveled via France, Spain, and Portugal to New York in 1940-1941. The family first lived at a boarding school in Pawling, New York, and soon moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to join relatives already living there. Erwin worked in a slaughterhouse and as a sales clerk and bookkeeper for a produce store. Paula worked as a seamstress. Erwin and Paula became naturalized citizens of the United States in 1946 and 1947, respectively; the family surname was shortened to Weikers at this time.

The Weikers family lived in Squirrel Hill and belonged to the Friendship Club, an organization of recent German-Jewish immigrants which planned social events and held High Holy Day services for members who could not afford membership in local synagogues.

Norbert Weikers attended Colfax Elementary School and Taylor Allderdice High School. He was graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1952 and from the University of Pittsburgh Medical School in 1957. In 1956 he married Ethel Rabinovitz, who was a graduate of the Montefiore Hospital School of Nursing. They lived in Squirrel Hill near their parents. Norbert Weikers pursued training in Internal Medicine at Montefiore Hospital and then served in the Air Force, completing a specialty residency in neurology in Madison, Wisconsin, and serving at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. In 1968, the Weikers family, now with three children, returned to Pittsburgh, where Norbert established a private practice in neurology with Hirsh Wachs, based at Allegheny General Hospital. He retired in 1995.

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Scope and Content Notes

The Weikers Family Papers are housed in one archival box and are arranged as follows: materials that explain the family history in Germany and the United States, including memoirs, family trees, translations of German writings, and descriptions of the Weikersheimer/Weikers hometowns in Germany, have been placed first. These are followed by supporting documents, arranged by type of document and in chronological order within these categories. These papers include correspondence; translations and photocopies of published materials; newspaper clippings; vital records in original, transcript, and summary formats; memorial booklets; and a transcript of a television interview. Also included are two videotapes of the television interview, two books in German pertaining to the history of the Gaukoenigshofen area, and a book of prayers for home worship, also in German.

Many of the government documents and official reports are in German; a brief listing in English summarizing the contents of the documents has also been provided by the donor. The earliest events reported in the German government and church documents date from 1827, but most of the reports of these earlier events date from 1939. These materials provide detailed genealogical information on the extended Weikersheimer/Weikers family and on their activities through several generations in Gaukoenigshofen and St. Goarshausen, Germany. The life of the Erwin Weikersheimer/Weikers branch of the family after immigration to Pittsburgh is also covered in detail.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Rauh Jewish Archives Senator John Heinz History Center, May 2009

Senator John Heinz History Center
1212 Smallman Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Restrictions on Access

No Restrictions.

Restrictions on Use

Property rights reside with the Senator John Heinz History Center. Literary rights are retained by the creators of the records and their heirs. For permission to reproduce or publish, please contact the Library and Archives of the Senator John Heinz History Center.

Acquisition Information

These materials came in two accessions and were combined into one body of papers in 2004.

Acc#2001.0070, Acc#2003.0242 Gift of Norbert J. Weikers

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Martha L. Berg in March 17, 2004.

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Related Materials

Separated Materials

Four mezuzahs and one coat hanger have been transferred to the museum.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Friendship Club (Pittsburgh, Pa.)

Geographic Name(s)

  • Gaukoenigshofen (Germany)
  • St. Goarshaused (Germany)

Personal Name(s)

  • Weikers family
  • Weikersheimer family
  • Weikersheimer, Ensel Levi
  • Weikersheimer, Joseph, 1871-1927
  • Weikers, Erwin, 1904-1982
  • Weikers, Paula Selig, 1905-1973
  • Weikers, Norbert J., 1930-
  • Kleeman, Werner.


  • Jews -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • World War, 1939-1945
  • Holocaust, Jewish -- 1939-1945
  • Jews -- Pennsylvania -- Pittsburgh
  • Antisemitism -- Germany

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Collection Inventory

Section: Weikers, Norbert J. 

Family history and memoirs  2000 101
Weikersheimer and Gaukoenigshofen history (translations from German publications)  1997 02

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Section: Weikersheimer family  

Family trees and reunion  1998 03
Hometowns in Germany  1998 04
Kleeman, Werner, Jewish witness report interview  1987 05
Vital records documents  1880-1973 06
Miscellaneous documents  1888-1940 07

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Section: Weikers family 

Section: Weikers, Erwin 

School and work records from Germany  1911-1927 08
Correspondence about restitution  1947-1966 09
Emigration, immigration, and naturalization documents and memorabilia  1937-1947 10
German passports  1939-1941 11

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Selig, Rosa Sara, memorials  1939 12

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Weikers-Volchok, Susan  1977 and undated 13

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Friendship Club of Pittsburgh  2001 and undated 14

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