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18 October 2010

William Klingenstein 1833-1916


Sometimes as we do research for our families, it is the simplest comments that tell us so much. In Willesden Cemetery in London, the headstone of William Klingenstein, has one of those simple tributes.

It states, "His life was happy...it was filled with useful service".


Can there be any finer tribute to anyone, that to have been known for serving others. What makes this even more impressive is what we learn as we study the man. William Klingenstein was born in Miltenberg, Bavaria in 1833, the son of a local master tailor. He eventually moved to London and founded William Klingenstein and Co. Ltd., Havana Cigar Importers. He was successful in this work, becoming president of the Tobacco traders Benevolent Association.

The 1911 Census, from www.findmypast.com shows William living with his sister and nephew.

In 1903 the third synagogue in Miltenberg, cost 44,000 gold marks to build. 12,000 of this was donated by William Klingenstein. Miltenberg made him an honorary citizen in 1911. He died on 17 Feb 1916. On the 21st of April 1916 there appeared in the Jewish Chronicle an account of his charitable bequests. It is of no surprise that a man who found happiness in life through serving others, would continue to serve others after his death. What an incredible legacy that he leaves behind.


I thank Jeanette Rosenberg for bringing this man, and this monument to my attention. It doesn't surprise me either that she is part of this family, as she spends so much time serving others as well.




The records of William Klingenstein can be found in the Jews of the British Isles.

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