The Jewish families who immigrated from Germany to the San Francisco Bay Area following the Gold Rush maintained close ties to each other. Many came from Bavaria, particularly from Reckendorf, a village north of Bamberg. In San Francisco, they forged business partnerships and formed extended families, whose influence still impacts the texture of the city.
The Haas family established itself as one of the leading Jewish families of the Pacific Coast. Koppel and Fanny Haas had seven children in Reckendorf. William Haas arrived in San Francisco in 1868 and joined the wholesale grocery firm of Loupe & Haas. In Los Angeles, Abraham Haas worked for Hellman, Haas & Company.
In the early decades of the 20th century, these California families were involved in an early form of Jewish heritage travel, and visited their ancestral homes in Bavaria, documenting their trips with detailed photographic mementos.
There were other large Jewish clans in Reckendorf, and Isaias and Herman [Hellman] played with boys from these families, forming relationships that would survive immigration and distance. One of these clans was the Haas family, who lived in a caramel-colored, low-slung house just a few steps from the synagogue. The family dealt in cotton and textiles.
Frances Dinkelspiel, author of Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California
The images collected here document a vacation of the Haas family of San Francisco to Bavaria, Germany, circa 1911. They are part of the Richard N. and Rhoda Haas Goldman papers, 1863-1996, BANC MSS 2010/687, of The Magnes Collection of Jewish Art and Life, The Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley.