The Punzels. A family reflected in history

Preliminary remarks

The following texts are dedicated to all people who bear the surname “Punzel” or who bore it until they married. They are spread across Germany, but can also be found in the United States of America, Australia and Singapore.

All bearers of this name had and still have one thing in common:
They always had to accept its corruption or use that did not correspond to its actual purpose, as a family name.
“Rapunzel”, “Punzelchen”, “Prunzel”, “Purzel”, “Funzel” – are just a few corruptions. Currently the name Punzel has to be used again for business purposes – holiday home in Büsum or sewing workshop – or is used as the name of a mouse for a title character in a children’s book. This is also just a small selection. Mental strength was and is necessary to not let everything get to you. As a historian, I have drawn this strength and pride in my unusual family name from history.

The origin of the name

According to the GenWiki explanation, the name comes from Middle High German and is derived from “punze” (= stab) or “ponze” (= larger barrel; for a fat person). The following name variants are listed: Puntzil (around 1361), Punczel (around 1422), Bunzel (around 1452). There is no further information.
The website “Namespedia” writes: “The meaning of the name Punzel is unknown.
Forebears” writes that 526 people worldwide currently have this surname. It occurs most frequently in the USA and reaches the highest density in Germany. The namesakes were distributed among 84 people in the state of Brandenburg and 25 people in Berlin. There are seven bearers of the name in Bavaria, five in Baden-Württemberg, three each in North Rhine-Westphalia and Saxony-Anhalt, two in Saxony, one person each in Lower Saxony and Schleswig-Holstein and Hesse. It goes on to say: “Punzel (Ö.) see Bunzel! Niclas Punczlaw 1379 Prague (to Bunzlau/Silesian or Jungbunzlau/Bohemia).”
The world’s leading platform for family history research, “ancestry“, refers to the “Dictionary of American Family Names“, 2013, Oxford University Press, as its source.

German: Variant of Bunzel, from a diminutive of Bunze “(officially stamped) wine barrel”, possibly an occupational name or a nickname for a short fat man. 2. German: probably a metonymic job title for an engraver or metalworker of similar activity, from Middle High German punze for ‘chisel’, ‘plane’.”

The “German Surnames” website makes it very easy and only uses the information from GenWiki.

In the “Prussian Dictionary...” from 1883 there is an explanation for the word “Punz” on page 189, which probably could not have been the starting point for the creation of the family name.

In the Slavic languages, including Czech and Sorbian, “punc” is used as a root word, e.g. B. in the word “puncja“, also used as described in the picture above. The Sorbian word “punćik“, on the other hand, is translated as “Pfündchen” and appears as a root word in the Sorbian translation of “Rapunzel” as “rapunčica“. See also the historian Walter Wenzel’s research on names, which has been very well researched for Lower Lusatia and needs to be further researched for Upper Lusatia.

In a Sorbian publication from 1900, “Puntzil (Buncl?)” was listed in an overview of historical Sorbian names. (Muka, Ernst: Serbske swójbne mjena města Budyšina z lĕta 1416. In: ČASOPIS MAĆICY SERBSKEJE. 1900, Budyšin, p. 57)

The first mention of a person with the name “Puntzel” in 1372 dates back to a time when Middle High German was spoken and, if one knew it, written. The area in which it was used also includes the city of Bautzen.

punch, ponze, mhd., sw. M.: nhd. “punze”, burin, chisel, barrel; Front: see silver; Hw.: cf. mnd. punzūne; Q.: StRAugsb (1276), StRMünch; It is. punzone, M., graver, chisel; cf. Latin pingere, V., to paint; idg. *peig- (1), V., adj., mark, color, scratch, colorful, colored, Pokorny 794; W.: nhd. (older) hallmark, M., hallmark, DW 13, 2243; L.: Lexer 162b (hallmark)

hallmark, mhd., sw. V.: nhd. hallmark, work with a graver, do work driven into sheet metal; Q.: RqvI (puncture) (puncture FB), Lexer (1429); E.: see hallmark; W.: see nhd. hallmark, V., hallmark, DW-; L.: Lexer 162b (hallmark)

Koebler, Gerhard: Middle High German Dictionary, 3rd edition, o. O. 2014 (

The Old High German used before does not yet contain the word “punze” and word variants derived from it.

Historical overview

14th century

The first mention of a person with the name “Punzel” was in 1322.

In 1322, the Bautzen citizen Walter Pünzel sold the chapter of the St. Petri collegiate monastery “a resellable interest on his (4 shillings large pfennig) and his children’s goods (5 shillings).” (Kinne, Hermann, The (exemte) Diocese of Meißen 1: The collegiate monastery of St. Petri in Bautzen from its founding to 1569. In: Germania Sacra. Third episode 7, Berlin/Boston 2014., p. 633)

There is a document from the Bishopric of Meißen dated July 30, 1361, with the content: “Heinrich and Friedrich von Mockritz confess to having sold grain interest in several villages to the Dean Dietrich and the Chapter.” The farmers Hannus Puntzil and Henzcil Puntzil are named there. (See Codex Diplomaticus Saxoniae Regiae II, 2 = document book of the Meissen monastery, edited by Ernst Gotthelf Gersdorf, Leipzig 1866, Doc. 534, p. 45 f.)

The first names “Hannus” and “Henzcil” suggest that they were Slavs (Sorbs).

Another document from the Meißen monastery is dated January 9, 1371.

Father Gregory XI. orders the provost of the Augustinian Canons` Monastery in front of the mountain near Altenburg to ensure that the altar of St. Alexius in the cathedral church the goods and pensions illegally lost are to be return to him.

Henry Elmotz, Dietrich Kempnitz and Hermannus Puntzeli, as rectores altaris sancti Alexii, siti in ecclesia Misnensi, are requested to return it. (Ibid., Doc. 605, p. 114)

The name “Hermannus Puntzeli” again indicates German origins. Especially since he was one of three owners (rectores) of the altar of St. Alexius in the cathedral church at the castle in Meißen. In order to be able to do this, money was needed, among other things, which could also be tolerated.

There is information about the year 1372 that concerns the Bautzen collegiate monastery of St. Petri. It says:

In the same year 1371 (December 13th) we find a new provost of Bautzen, Konrad Pruze, from a Thuringian family who owned the Treffurt estate for a long time. In 1347 he was Margrave Friedrich the Strict’s “supreme scribe”, canon of Meißen since 1353, provost of Hain in 1358, archdeacon of Lower Lusatia from 1362 to 1371 (March 25) and now remained Bautzner provost from 1371 to 1381. Under him in 1372 the The statutes of the Bautzner Collegiate Foundation, which we have already mentioned, were confirmed by Bishop Konrad II, with the members of the chapter at the time being Dean Rulko [von Bischofswerde], Heinrich Porsche [“Porschin”], Ramfold v. Polenz, John V. Kopperitz, Johann Punzel [Ponczelini] and the curator Heinrich von Bischofswerde can be mentioned.”

(Knothe, Hermann: The provosts of the collegiate monastery of St. Petri in Bautzen from 1221-1562. In: New archive for Saxon history and antiquity. Vol. 11, Dresden 1890, p. 29)

The above list of the people involved in confirming the statutes of the Bautzner Collegiate Foundation in 1372 does not correspond to the document evaluated by Hermann Kinne in his dissertation (p. 184). Unless the “Nicolaus decanus” listed under [2] or the “Nicolaus doctor decretorum” listed under [4] was identical to Nicolaus Punczil.

In 1380, the Bautzen chapter confirmed the foundation of an interest of 10 groschen each, which the Bautzen co-canon Johannes Pünzel had bought for 100 groschen each and intended to furnish the altars beatae Marie virginis and beatae Dorotheae with two associated eternal vicaries. (Kinne, Hermann, a.a.O., p. 337, note 145)
The founder reserved the rights to occupy the vicaries for life; after his death, they were each to be linked to a benefice, i.e. H. be transferred to the respective owner. The owners of the vicarages did not have to minister their own money. Instead, Johannes Pünzel transferred annual interest of 5 marks to the monastery. The episcopal confirmation of both altars took place in 1383. (Ibid., p. 338)

The name file of the city archives in Bautzen contains two notes on the name Punzel.
In 1382, Nicolaus Punczil de Budessen (from Bautzen) was one of the students at the current Charles University in Prague, which was founded in 1348.
In 1886, the “Bautzener Nachrichten” reported on a Puntzel family living in Bautzen in the Middle Ages. (The above information and the references to the content of the following documents were kindly provided by the Bautzen City Archives, Ms. Josephine Winkler.)

Mayor Dietrich Scheufler and councilors Nickel Puntzil, Johann Preisschwitz; Hans Königsbrück, Nickel Bart; Hugil Zebenitz; Nicolaus Tschakewitz, Michael Abraham; Nicolaus Bischofswerda, Peter Czarthe, Peter vom Huze, Peter Weißenberg and Siegmund Ber von Bautzen confirm that the widow of Nikolaus Zeidler (Nicze Zateler), Katrin (Zetelerinne), and her son Martin 15 marks at 1 1/2 marks annual interest donated hospital. After her death, the interest goes to the monastery.”
Document from May 14, 1394 (Bautzen City Archives, 61000 – Documents, 0069)

The “Nickel Puntzil” mentioned in the document is probably the student “Nicolaus Punczil” mentioned in 1382.

Mayor Dietrich Scheufler and councilors Nickel Puntzil, Johann Preisschwitz; Hans Königsbrück, Nickel Bart; Hugil Zebenitz; Nicolaus Tschakewitz, Michael Abraham; Nicolaus Bischofswerda, Peter Czarthe, Peter vom Hauze, Peter Weißenberg and Siegmund Ber von Bautzen confirm that they sold the Bautzen dean Heinrich Porschin 3 shocks of annual interest, that is, 1 shock of 60 groschen, for 30 shock groschen of Bohemian coin.” Document from July 17, 1394 (Bautzen City Archives, 61000 – Documents, 0071)

Mayor Herman von Unaw (Vnaw) and the councilors Hanus Fryberg, Pauel Pemmerlyn, Herman Themmeritz, Hanus Weißenberg (Wyssenburg), Hanus Selkman, Hanus Puntzil, Bartholomeus Scherensmid, Peter vom Haus (Hwse), Nikolaus (Niclahs) Tychenitz, Haneman Wollenweber, Niclahs Schnesse, Hanus Predil from Budissin loan 18 Mark Groschen Bohemian coin in Polish number from Hans Rothe in exchange for 2 Mark annual interest to the St. Peter’s Church. Document from November 20, 1399 (Bautzen City Archives, 61000 – Documents, 0084)

Hanus Puntzil” (Hans Punzel) in turn could have been a brother of Nickel Puntzil. He is out of the question as a father.

15th century

Mayor Ludwig Swartze and the councilors Herman von Unaw, Hannus Freiberg, Hanman Pfol, Herman Temeritz, Heinrich Schedelaw, Hannus Puntzil, Niclas Tichnitz, Bartholomeus Scherinsmid, Hannus Printz, Hannus Flemyng, Thomas Noldener, Niclas Czachris, Ratmannen, of the city of Bautzen certify, Niclas Pfols’s daughter, Margerite, sold 5 shocks for 60 shock groschen with a mutual six-month notice period.”
(Document from October 30, 1400 ((Bautzen City Archives, 61000 – Documents, 0087)

According to a document dated December 10, 1401, the Meissen Bishop Thimo von Colditz donated and endowed two altars in the Erasmus Chapel of the Bishop’s Castle at Stolpen Castle. One of them for Johannis Punczelini.
(See Codex Diplomaticus Saxoniae Regiae II, 2 = document book of the Meissen monastery, edited by Ernst Gotthelf Gersdorf, Leipzig 1866, Doc. 763, 764, p. 299 f.)

Also from 1401 is the testamentary foundation of the Vicariate of St. Jakob 2di, Vicaria pauperum, decreed by Johannes Pünzel. ((Kinne, p. 221))

The other documents listed here again refer to the councilors of the city of Bautzen. Of which Hans Puntzil was one.

Mayor Sigmund Ber and the councilors Niclas Pfol (Pofol), Hugel Zebenitz, Niclas Prischwitz, Bartholomäus Summich, Peter Denkewicz, Hans Hunlyn, Richard Tzschackwitz (Czakewitz), Peter Hopfl, Urelrichard, Hans Puntzil, Wenzel Freiberg and Niclas Jurge sell to Heinrich Freiberg , cantor of the Petri monastery in Bautzen, as well as Johannes, pastor in Cunewalde, four marks annual interest as spiritual equipment of 40 marks in Bohemian coins in Polish numbers.”
Document from October 4th, 1408 (Bautzen City Archives, 61000 – Documents, 0105)

Sigmund Ber, mayor, Niclas Prischwitz, Hannos Ponczk, Richard Czakewicz, Bartholomeus Zonnsch, Hannes Punczel, Niclas Gutense, Niclas Gorge, Peter Somerfeld, Niclas Weipenberg (Wisemberg), Ytel Reichard, Peter Hophe, Hannos Pfol, councilors from Bautzen, confirm, that, with the consent of King Wenceslas IV of Bohemia, they sold Peter Ungerraten from Liegnitz 20 marks annual interest for 260 marks pragmatic groschen Polish number. Document from September 21, 1410 (Bautzen City Archives, 61000 – Documents, 0114)

Debt from the city of Bautzen to the city of Breslau for 260 marks, which Peter Ungerraten lent them.Sigmund Ber, mayor; Niclas Prischwitz; Hanno’s Pon[czh]; Richard Czakewicz Bartholome [Zonnsch]; Hannes Punczel; Niclas Butense; Niclas Gorge, Pet[er] Sommerfeld; Niclas Wisemb[er]g; Reichard, Pe[ter] Hophe; Hannos Pfol councilor of the city of Bautzen; King Wenceslaus IV of Bohemia”
Document from September 30, 1433 (Bautzen City Archives, 61000 – Documents, 0182)

Heinrich von Wermelshausen (van Wymelhusen), Baron of the Freistuhl in Dortmund, testifies that the Bautzner citizens Gregor Scheufler (Scheuffeler) and Nikolaus Mansfeld (Niclaes Mansvelt) appeared to him through their authorized representatives and complained that Conrad Horn (Hoirn ), citizens of Bautzen, the Bautzen citizens Hanns Puntzell, Heinrich Langhempel (Hinrich Langehampel), Hans Schwertfeger (Hanns Swertveger), Nikolaus Weißenberg (Niclay Wissenburgh) and Paul Scherenschleifer (Pawl Scherensliffer) before the remote court of Hinrich van Wilkenberge, named by Valbert (van Valwert), Baron von Bergneustadt (‘suderlande ter nuenstat’), but they were unable to appear on the appointed date because, firstly, they had not been able to inform Conrad Horn, and secondly, because their town of Bautzen had been attacked by the heretics ( Hussites) was besieged.”
Document from October 6, 1433 (Bautzen City Archives, 61000 – Documents, 0183)

The chronicle of the city of Delitzsch reports from 1434 (

One, named Punzel, was tried (martyred)…
Delitzsch city archive, city chronicle 1207-1990

Judgment in the dispute between Johannes Francze and Augustin, Conrad Wuchczen Eidam, with formulation of Johannes Francze’s original feud formula.Johannes Beer; Nicholas S#; Gregorius Scheufeler; Johannes Punczel; Heinrich Langhempel (Langhempil); Johannes Schwertfeger (Swertfeyer); Nicholas Beer; Thomas Sommerfelt; Peter (Petcz) Dawid; Joachim; Georgius Scheufeler; Paul Girschner; John Chudeva; Paul Girschner; Johannes Sartor; Johannes Dubau; Master Christianus; Master Bartholomäus Slauorus; Thadeus (Thateo), Abbas monasterii Erfordensis ordinis sancti Benedicti; Paulus Olisicis von Bautzen, Clericus Misnensis; Nicolaus Kleticz von Senftenberg, Clericus Misnensis; Jacob Gutcze; Nicolaus Drebekow, citizen of Bautzen”
Document from January 13, 1435 (Bautzen City Archives, 61000 – Documents, 0194)

Document from January 11, 1498, Bautzen City Archives ((https://www.deutsche-digitale

Dean Johannes Pfol and the entire chapter of the Cathedral Church of St. Petri in Bautzen present the mayor and councilors of the city of Bautzen with a transsumpt and vidimus of a sealed parchment letter from Margraves Otto [IV.] and Waldemar of Brandenburg dated August 28, 1307, in which the Margraves Otto [IV.] and Waldemar von Brandenburg confirm the following privileges to the city of Bautzen: Citizens with citizenship of the city of Bautzen may not be judged by a hereditary judge if they were not caught red-handed in the countryside and reported on the same day. In this case they should be brought before the regional court. Secondly, traders have to shoot and guard with the citizens. Third, only citizens are allowed to drive crap out of the city or people who do so at the request of a citizen. Witnesses include Nikolaus von Porsitz, Heinrich von Gauig (Gusk), Thylich von Haugwitz, Dean Walther Punzel and other unnamed loyal followers. Issued August 28, 1307
Document from January 11, 1498. (Bautzen City Archives, 61000 – Documents, 0699)

Also on January 11, 1498, another document dated August 28, 1307 was confirmed. In it, the Brandenburg margraves mentioned above assign the jurisdiction of the city of Bautzen.

Walther Puntzel (Waltheru Puntzelo in the document) and Johannes Pfol are referred to here as deans and belonged to the Collegiate Monastery of St. Petri in Bautzen. All others mentioned came from places around Bautzen.

16th Century

In the 16th century, a plant species was known in Germany whose turnip-shaped, fleshy roots or the rosette-shaped leaves were used to eat salad. In Italy they were called Raponzolo, derived from the Italian word “rapa” (turnip) or the Latin word “rapum”, from which in Early New High German of the 16th century Rapintzle, Rabüntztle, Rapüntzle, Rapuntzel and later in New High German Rapüntzelin, Rapünzlein, Rapünzchen ( around 1700).((

Rapunzel found her way into the German world of legends and fairy tales through the novelist Joachim Christoph Friedrich Schulz, who lived from 1762 to 1798. In 1790 he translated and published a fairy story that had previously appeared in France, in which the main character was called “Petrosinella”, and in a first German translation in 1761/66 “Petsily”. But Schulz thought that was inappropriate and took Rapunzel. Jacob Grimm included the story in the first edition of Children’s and Household Tales in 1812.

In short the story goes like this:

During her pregnancy, Rapunzel’s mother is unable to control her pregnancy-related cravings and appetite for the rapunzels growing in the neighbor’s garden. This is either lamb’s lettuce or the Rapunzel bellflower, which was also previously grown as a salad plant. It is above average rich in iron and other trace elements, which are very important during pregnancy.When her husband tries to steal his wife’s lettuce from the garden of a sorceress again, he is caught by her and has to promise her his child as punishment (and out of fear and to avoid her spell or being exposed as a thief). Immediately after birth, she takes the newborn, gives it the name Rapunzel, and when the girl is twelve years old (at the beginning of puberty before “developing into a woman”), she locks her in a remote, doorless tower. The only way to get into it is for Rapunzel to let her long hair down from the skylight when called so that the sorceress can climb up it and provide her with food. (

17th century

On July 2, 1641, the Dutch legal scholar Hugo de Groot (( wrote to Johan Adler Salvius (( a letter with the following sentence:

“We have heard from Mr. Stalhanschen (( that he is now back in Silesia and has held a rendez-vous at Punzel…”. ((

Stalhandske did not stay in “Punzel”, but in Bunzlau ((, Lower Silesia (today: Bolesławiec). In Silesian the place name is “Bunzel”. But the distinction between “B” and “P” was not taken very seriously. Til today. There is the term “Punzel-Tippla” (( gs_lcp=Cgdnd3Mtd2l6EAM6BwgAEEcQsANKBAhBGABQmVdYmVdg7VloAXACeACAAYkBiAGJAZIBAzAuMZgBAKABAcgBCMABAQ&sclient=gws- wiz)) , instead of “Bunzel-Tippla”, as the popular name for Bunzlau ceramics.


“Punzel-Tippla”, actually Bunzel-Tippla. Bunzlau ceramics. (

18th century

Johann Christian Punzel was born in Greiffenberg (Uckermark) in the 18th century. He is also said to have died there. On August 25, 1776, a son, Johann Friedrich Punzel, was born to him and his wife Marie Elisabeth (née Wantz) in Greiffenberg. He died on October 30, 1837, in Greiffenberg, and also left behind a son, Friedrich Wilhelm Punzel (born November 21, 1812 in Greiffenberg, died August 21, 1868 in Greiffenberg).
Johann Christian Punzel is the oldest known representative of the von Punzels line, which is today represented by my father, Hans-Jürgen Punzel.

19th century

Köck und Juste”, vaudeville in 1 act by W. Friedrich, was announced by the theater in the royal capital and residential city of Königsberg for Monday, November 4th, 1844. The role of the registrar Purzel is played by Mr. Klotz. (

Playbill from the residential city of Königsberg (East Prussia).

The piece was written by Friedrich Wilhelm Riese. He used W. Friedrich as a pseudonym. In the printed version published in 1846 by the Berlin publisher Julius Springer, it is described as a “farce in one act”: “Freely based on the French”. The first role is the “Registrator Punzel”. And that’s what it says in subsequent publications. His sister Aspasia, widowed Captain Dürrfeld or Dürfeld, would also have been called Punzel by her maiden name: Aspasia Punzel. The namesake of the first name Aspasia (* around 470 BC in Miletus; † around 420 BC in Athens) was a Greek philosopher, orator and the second wife of Pericles. She was often portrayed and belittled by ancient comedy actors as a hetaera (There are two explanations for the term “hetaira”: 1. prostitute; 2. highly educated, often politically influential friend, lover of important men).

Cover photo by Theodor Hosemann (

W. Friedrich = Friedrich Wilhelm Riese

The “Wiener Allgemeine Musik-Zeitung” reported in its issue no. 60/61 from 20/22. May 1845, on p. 243, that the Graz Theater performed the play “Punzel” on three evenings during the season under the heading “Singspiele and Antics”. It is not known exactly which piece this was. It was probably the aforementioned piece by Friedrich Wilhelm Riese.

Registrar Punzel (Extract from: Köck and Guste. Bilderbogen, Neuruppin, 2nd half of the 19th century. Owner: Museum of European Cultures, State Museums in Berlin)

Why Riese gave his character the name “Punzel” has not yet been clarified. However, the piece seemed to have been successful on a wide variety of stages. Which inevitably led to the spread of our family name.

He became so well known as far away as Egypt, as the master locksmith Carl Hoffmann, who came from Berlin and worked in Cairo from 1862 to 1872, reported in his memoirs published in 1879.

“Köck” and “Juste” should be listed.Now the curtain rose and private “Köck” appeared in a real, Prussian, albeit somewhat shabby, uniform and described to the audience his ardent love for “Justen” and, like the latter, his monotonous barracks life with commissary bread, always with fat “roast sandwiches” and pots of lard and barley soup knew how to beautify it.This good old comedy and the really successful performance put everyone in the audience in the funniest mood, you would rather think you were in the ‘grüne Neune’ in Berlin ( than to be in the middle of the caliph city.”
Carl Hoffmann: A locksmith in Egypt. My experiences during a ten-year stay in the land of the pyramids, Berlin (F. Dörner), 1879, p. 192 f.)

Registrar Punzel was the tragic figure in the play. Which also led to him pushing the characters Köck and Guste out of the headline in individual cases. The theater in Graz, see above, performed the piece under the title “Punzel”.

The “Neue Rheinische Zeitung“, the organ of the democracy movement in the revolution of 1848/49, published in Cologne, published on November 24, 1848 on page 1 a communication from the Presidium and the Office of the Prussian National Assembly in Berlin.The undersigned Presidium and Bureau of the Prussian National Assembly hereby announces: that the National Assembly, due to the military force repeatedly used against it, is currently unable to hold regular meetings, but that the deputies listed in the appendix are in Berlin in a fully quorate number are present and will not leave their place in order to hold extraordinary meetings at any moment when the salvation of the fatherland requires it.Berlin, November 17, 1848” ((

Among the signatories are also the names “Bunzel” and “Puntzel” or “Punzel”. In the updated overview of the deputies present on November 17, published on November 20, 1848 by the Presidium of the Prussian National Assembly, only the name “Bunzel”, deputy from Goldberg-Haynau, is included. Puntzel (Punzel) is missing, although this name – in contrast to the otherwise chosen alphabetical order of names – was also present in the newspaper release.

In a declaration by members of the National Assembly on November 27, 1848, only the name “Bunzel” is included.

Ten years later, in 1858, the Leipzig publishing house F. A. Geisler published “The Stupid Punzel or How Everyone Wanted to Get Rich.” A fun and magic play for the puppet theater in 2 acts”. It is not known who the author was. But the content:

Puppet show in which the good spirit Azorus (http://Greek mythology. Azorus is said to have been the helmsman of the Argonauts and founder of the city of Azorus in Pelagonia, a region of Macedonia.) Punzel, a simple farmer, Bristle, a swineherd, Shovel, a gravedigger and Liesel, a goose girl, are given gold because they are all of the opinion that they themselves must one day be rich, noble people. Caspar is skeptical. After a year he realizes that only Liesel has managed to handle the gold wisely and benevolently and thanks Azorus for teaching him that anyone who could not be master must serve.Brunken, Ott, Hurrelmann, Bettina, Michels-Kohlhage, Maria, Wilkending, Gisela: Handbook on children’s and young people’s literature: From 1850 to 1900, Stuttgart 2008, p. 1863 f.)

“The Stupid Punzel…” was the second issue in the “Pull and Children’s Theater” series.
Excerpt from: Yearbook for the German Book Art and Map Trade, Part 1, p. 203, o. O.

1859 Friedrich August Geißler founded his publishing house in 1857. He was a bookbinder and bookseller and lived in Leipzig at Neumarkt 10. With his son (or brother?) Friedrich Theodor, he ran the publishing house F. A. Geißler and Schreiber’s heirs at this address. Map publisher. In 1857, Friedrich Theodor published a publication entitled “Founding a Bookstore.” Hermann Julius Geißler also belonged to the family. He was active in the same profession as the above and worked in Leipzig Markt 9. In 1888, the stenographer and bookseller Emil Trachbrodt bought the publishing house F. A. Geißler. A well-known product from the publishing house of Geissler and later Trachbrodt was the “Ant Calendar”, a popular calendar published annually from 1838 to 1942.

20th century

In 1928, a play on words was probably the starting point when choosing the title for the children’s book “Runzel-Punzel. The Story of Two Little Mice”. The author of the book was Aleksej Michajlovič Remizov. It was illustrated by Mathilde Ritter. It was published by the Pestalozzi publishing house Berlin-Grunewald.

Alli-Malli-Stubtail and Wrinkle-Punzel-Moustache are the main characters.

Alli-Malli went about her daily work of getting food for the day; Little Runzel-Punzel was responsible for the household and always stayed at home. One day the little mouse left the burrow and discovered a mysterious castle.

Remizov probably copied the template for his book from the children’s and young adult author Albert Sixtus and his “Bunny School” published in 1924 and his subsequent bunny stories. The illustrations for the later Sixtus children’s books also came largely from Mathilde Ritter.But in 1930, Ritter also became known in the USA, where she illustrated books by children’s author Lois Donaldson. In 1933 she published Remizov’s story with him under the title “Runzel-Punzel. A Story of Two Little Mice”.There are always references to people with the name Punzel who were of the Catholic faith and lived in Bohemia. This is a corruption of the spelling of the name. In reality, they are people with the surname “Punzet”.The Punzets lived in the town of Auschowitz near Marienbad, today Úšovice. The civil register from 1939 published on the Internet clearly proves this.

21st century

In 2021, Lukas Sperle published the children’s book “Punzel and Jeff. At the Fair” as an e-book. Punzel is once again the name of the little mouse. The book was published in a German and an English version.

Published in 2021, probably as the first book in a series.

Punzel family lines

The Ucker/Neumärkische line

The oldest representatives of the Punzel line, from which the author of this text, among others, descends, are found in the Uckermark towns of Lychen and Greiffenberg.

Johann Nicolaus Punzel (incorrectly also: Puntzret) was born in 1691. His place of birth is unknown. According to the current state of research, the following hypothesis can be put forward:

Johann Nicolaus Punzel was born in 1691 in a (still unknown) place in Franconia. He came from a family of carpenters of the Protestant faith. His father’s first name was Nicolaus. Johann Nicolaus followed the family tradition and also became a carpenter. As part of the recruitment of Brandenburg-Prussia under Friedrich Wilhelm I, King of Prussia and Elector of Brandenburg, he came to the Uckermark around 1724. From 1724 onwards, Swabians and Franconians were settled in the Uckermark on what were then still desolate places from the time of the Thirty Years’ War.

In 1724, numerous immigrants, especially from Franconia and Swabia, followed the call for foreign colonists to settle in still desolate places in the Mark. Far more came than was asked for. Officials and nobles were even given the freedom, if they had disobedient, unruly, or otherwise worthless landlords, to hire them from their farms and, if necessary, as housekeepers, but to provide the farms with better, hard-working people, namely the colonists who had arrived.”
Enders, Lieselott: The Uckermark. History of an Kurmärkische landscape from the 12th to the 18th century, 2nd unchanged edition, Berlin 2008, p. 457

Johann Nicolaus married on May 12, 1734 in Lychen (Uckermark). He was a carpenter by profession, later a master carpenter, and a citizen of the city.

The 30 Years’ War and the plague years of 1636/37 caused serious damage to the town of Lychen. At the end of the war, only 17 of the original 224 houses were preserved and habitable. Major fires in 1684 ((In 1684 – during the great city fire in Lychen – the roof of the church burned down, the walls remained standing. But the entire church archive was destroyed. The fire was started by a Frenchman on behalf of his king, and he also He was caught by the gendarmes and sentenced to death by fire (pinched four times with red-hot tongs) and in 1732 almost the entire city was destroyed . Johannes survived the city fire of 1732 undamaged.In 1733 there were 92 houses in Lychen, 60 of which were covered with tiles. Eight cloth makers and one cloth maker were recorded as craftsmen living in the city. (Enders, Lieselott, a.a.O., p. 547) In 1722 there were 138 houses and 68 deserted places. (Ibid., p. 557)

Lychen, around 1825 (From von Beckendorff – Urmesstischblatt Prussian map recording sheet Lychen 2745 1825, public domain,

After the city fire on April 20, 1732, Johann Nicolaus had plenty of work as a carpenter. The fire destroyed114 houses, 11 barns and the wooden town hall. King Friedrich Wilhelm I gave the city of Lychen 22,526 thalers and 8 groschen for reconstruction. ((Compare 1906 – 2006. 100 years of the Lychen Volunteer Fire Department, Lychen 2006, pp. 5 and 23) The Lychen city archives keep a map of the city drawn in 1732. The following description is attached.

Plan of the immediate town of Lychen in the Uckermark, like those on streets before the fire,built-up and desert places,their condition and which buildings are still standing,remained the manufactured designation sub et illustratedand were present throughout the city192 houses burned downAs a result, 115 houses remained standing77 houses, including 10 deserted stalls, places without their deserted places on all sides. Special Order in June 1732 were measured by W. Knüppeln.”

Plan of Lychen drawn up after the town fire in 1732.

The municipal constitution and craft laws in force in Lychen, as in other Brandenburg cities, had effectively abolished the former cooperative function of the citizens. The trades were subject to council supervision; The city councilors were not representatives elected by the citizens, but rather people from the city districts appointed by the council. These had primarily to serve the magistrate. There were four city councilors in Lychen. (Enders, Lieselott, a.a.O., p. 562) In 1733, among others, the city councilor Baltzer Betcke was hired as an assistant and successor to the councilman Schultze. ( The file associated with this process is dated to 1747.

The reconstruction of Lychen after the devastating fire of 1732 was probably the first time here on the basis of an urban planning concept. Not only fire regulations played a role in preventing future fires (banning barns from cities, requiring tiled roofs and brick chimneys), but also traffic requirements (widening the streets and squares and access roads into the city center) were taken into account and, the late baroque Following the style of new city complexes, the creation of street fronts in a chessboard style, as if drawn with a ruler.The market square and streets were enlarged, new streets were laid out and former houses were used to widen the new civic areas, build the hospital and gate clerk’s housesadded, so that the number of house plots was reduced. More or less stately town houses were built, mostly two-story eaves houses, predominantly half-timbered and occasionally solid. (Ibid. Enders, Lieselott, a.a.O., p. 568)

It can be assumed that Johann Nicolaus became a recognized citizen of Lychen in connection with the reconstruction. He received citizenship. He and his wife Maria Elisabeth, née Bäthkin (according to the church records also Bäthckin, Bäthecke, Bäthcke, Baethcke) had seven children:
Johann Christian Punzel, born March 23 (or March 25) 1735 in Lychen
Johann Jacob Punzel, born October 22, 1737 in Lychen
Johann Heinrich Punzel, born June 2, 1740 in Lychen
Johann Nicolaus Punzel the Elder J., born August 2, 1741 in Lychen
Johann Friedrich Punzel, born July 4, 1743 in Lychen
Maria Sophia Elisabeth Punzel, born May 17, 1746, died May 13, 1831, both in Lychen
Maria Gottliebe Punzel, born November 20, 1748 in Lychen.
Her father Johann Nicolaus Punzel suffered from podagra (gout) in old age. He died in Lychen on February 14, 1770.

Johann Christian Punzel left Lychen and went to Greiffenberg near Angermünde (Uckermark). Like his father, he practiced the profession of a carpenter. Around 1765 he married Maria Elisabeth Bühnemann (also Bönemann, Bohnmann, Bühmann) in Greiffenberg. They had five children. Maria Elisabeth probably died giving birth to her last child. Around 1775, the widower with many children married Marie Elisabeth Wentzen in Greiffenberg. They had two children together. On December 20, 1789, Johann Christian Punzel died in Greiffenberg as a master carpenter.
Before his first marriage, he did military service as a musketeer in the Royal Prussian Infantry Regiment No. 12, under the command of Johann Jacob von Wunsch. He led the regiment from 1763 to 1788. In 1716, Prenzlau became the regiment’s garrison, replacements came from the Uckermark and the cities of Prenzlau, Strasburg, Lüchen, for the grenadiers from Templin.(( .htm))

His brother Johann Jacob Punzel worked in the same profession. At the time of his marriage to Anna Dorothea Rümmels from Hohenlandin (Uckermark) he was a journeyman carpenter. The dates of the wedding and the date of death are unknown.

No further data is available on Johann Heinrich Punzel and Johann Nicolaus Punzel. They may have died early.

Johann Friedrich Punzel stayed in Lychen, became a citizen of the town and worked as a journeyman or master carpenter. He was married to Maria Sophia Engels from Hardenbeck (Uckermark). Their children (no information) are said to have settled in Kunow (Uckermark) and Woltersdorf Uckermark). There is no evidence as to whether there were any male descendants named Punzel. There is only one reference to descendants with the surname Lindemann.

Maria Sophia Elisabeth Punzel and Maria Gottliebe Punzel also stayed in Lychen and married Karl Friedrich Jacob Rosenberg (wedding November 14, 1775) and Joachim Flück (wedding before 1791), respectively. Maria Gottliebe Flück had two children with her husband and died on June 27, 1810 in Berlin. It is not known to what extent Maria Sophia Elisabeth Rosenberg had children. She died on May 11, 1831 in Lychen. (I would like to thank Eckhard Punzel from Varel for the information on the early history of the Punzels in the Uckermark.)

The son of Johann Christian Punzel, the journeyman carpenter Johann Friedrich Punzel, born in Greiffenberg (Uckermark) in 1776, married Luisa Ulrica Jungwirth, daughter of the citizen Johann Jungwirth, on March 29, 1803 in the church of Greiffenberg (Uckermark). He was a journeyman carpenter at the time. As a master carpenter, he died in Greiffenberg on October 30, 1837 at the age of 61 and was buried in the local churchyard on November 2, 1837. His wife died on May 11, 1860 at the age of 86 and was also buried in Greiffenberg on May 15, 1860.

Carl Friedrich Punzel was born on September 11, 1810 as the son of the journeyman carpenter Friedrich Punzel and his wife Ulrike, née Zaepernick on September 16, 1775, in Greiffenberg. Her parents were the musketeer Johann Zäpernick and his wife Dorothea Elisabeth, née Wauermann. Carl Friedrich married Johanna Henriette Schäffer, daughter of the local master butcher Johann Gottlieb Schäffer, on October 19, 1834 in Berlinchen (Polish: Barlinek). Their daughter Maria Johanna Luise Punzel was born in Wriezen on January 30, 1842. On September 10, 1865, the master carpenter Carl Friedrich Punzel died in his hometown of Neudamm (Polish: Dębno). His wife Johanna Henriette Punzel, née Schäffer, died at the age of 39 on June 4, 1846, also in Neudamm.The “Official Gazette of the Government of Frankfurt a.d. Oder” announced in 1857:

The master carpenter C. F. Punzel zu Neudamm has been confirmed as an agent of the Cölnische Feuer-Versicherungs-Gesellschaft “Colonia” for the local city and surrounding area in place of the late merchant König.” (( Vta2/bsb10000668/bsb:4107630?queries=Punzel&language=de&c=default))

On November 21, 1812, Carl Friedrich’s brother, Friedrich Wilhelm Punzel, was born in Greiffenberg. Her father Friedrich was already a master carpenter at this point. Friedrich Wilhelm married Caroline Luise Emilie, née Rosenberg. In 1839 their son Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Punzel was born in Greiffenberg. Ludwig Wilhelm Carl Punzel was born on November 27, 1840.

According to an extract from the baptismal register, Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Punzel was born in Greiffenberg on November 27, 1841. (There are discrepancies here regarding the extracts from the baptismal register.)
On February 18, 1867, the 26-year-old master carpenter Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Punzel, who lived in Königsberg/Neumark (Polish: Chojna), married Maria, who was born on January 30, 1842 in Wriezen and lived in Neudamm at the time of their marriage Johanna Luise Punzel.The groom’s father was the master carpenter Friedrich Wilhelm Punzel, who lived in Greiffenberg.The bride’s parents were his uncle Carl Friedrich Punzel, who had already died at the time, and his wife Johanna Henriette, who had also died.

On June 19, 1875, the district architect and council master carpenter Carl Punzel (i.e. Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Punzel), who lived in Königsberg/Neumark, announced the birth of his son Max Paul Johannes Punzel for June 18, 1875. The mother was Maria Johanna Luise Punzel.They had five other children:
Martha Punzel (no further information known)
Valeska (“Walli) Punzel (no further information known)
Paul Punzel, born Königsberg/Neumark. Is said to have married in Berlin and left two daughters.
Kurt Punzel is said to have worked as a managing director in Berlin.
Alfred Hugo Ernst Punzel, born 1883 Königsberg/Neumark (further information not known.)

In 1882, Paul Punzel began attending school at the Friedrich-Wilhelms-Gymnasium in Königsberg in Neumark. He could have been six or seven years old at the time. At Easter 1883, the son of the Königsberg council carpenter had finished the sixth grade, i.e. year 5.

Max Paul Johannes married Lina Martha Auguste Berthold, born July 10, 1871, on April 24, 1899 in Berlin. His mother Maria Johanna Luise Punzel died on March 27, 1916 in St. Hedwigs Hospital in Berlin. Her husband Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Punzel in Königsberg on November 11, 1919.

Max and Lina Punzel had two children. On November 17, 1942, Max married Elsa Martha Charlotte Karrus in Pritzwalk.
On May 19, 1902, the daughter of Max Paul Johannes Punzel and his wife Lina Martha Auguste, née Berthold, was born in Berlin. She was given the name Charlotte Punzel.

Her brother, Bruno Max August Carl Punzel, was born in Berlin on September 25, 1903.
Bruno Punzel attended the middle school in Pritzwalk from 1910 to 1913 and the secondary school in Berlin-Friedrichshagen from 1914 to 1920. On March 20, 1920, he passed the upper secondary school leaving examination and from October 1, 1920 to September 30, 1922, he trained as a businessman with the businessman L. Thürnagel in Wittstock/Dosse. On December 5, 1930 in Pritzwalk he married Käthe Anni Charlotte Heuck, born July 28, 1907 in Pritzwalk. She was the daughter of the horse dealer Richard Heuck, who lived in Pritzwalk. Since December 1, 1929, Bruno Punzel was a member of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP). Their son, Hans-Jürgen Bruno Richard Max Punzel, was born in Pritzwalk on October 9, 1931 and his brother, Dietrich Herbert Adolf Punzel, on December 17, 1932. Three other children died young. From June 28, 1936 to August 22, 1936, Bruno Punzel served as a volunteer with Supplementary Battery 4 at the field airfield in Neustettin. On August 26, 1936, he was appointed junior commander in the army. From March 7, 1938 to May 6, 1938 he was with the 10th (supplementary) battery of the 3rd Artillery Regiment in Frankfurt/Oder. On May 6, 1938, he was promoted to private in the reserve. In May 1940, Bruno Punzel took part in the attack on France and received the Iron Cross, Second Class. At the end of 1944, at the age of 41, government inspector Bruno Punzel was drafted into military service in the artillery regiment of the 349th People’s Grenadier Division.
It is assumed that he died in his unit’s fighting in East Prussia, “which took place from mid-January to the end of February 1945 in the Schloßberg area and during the subsequent retreat to Braunsberg – Heiligenbeil.” From February 1945 he was considered missing. Bruno Punzel was declared dead on July 31, 1949 (GDR) and July 31, 1945 (West Berlin). He left behind his widow and two sons.

The Ucker/Neumärkische/USA/Australia line

After 1820, the flow of emigrants from Germany increased significantly. Strongly growing birth surpluses contributed to this, as did technological progress, which was evident in the development of steamships, among other things, and thus led to faster and less dangerous crossings of the Atlantic. Freedom of emigration granted after the end of the Napoleonic Wars allowed people to leave their country again. Advertising campaigns by landowners in the destination countries as well as shipowners and captains who wanted to earn money from the crossing also contributed. Last but not least, the emigrants themselves were responsible for an increase in migrants, as they tried to bring relatives and friends to the New World, known as chain migration. For the emigrants there was free land, national security and economic independence in the destination country. They were free people and could benefit from industrialization that had already taken place.The emigrations of the 19th and early 20th centuries took place in several phases that correspond fairly closely to long-term population waves, i.e. the alternation of strong and weak cohorts. They were also influenced by economic and political crises.In the period from 1865 to 1895, the emigration of lower peasant and middle-class classes from Northern Germany began and gradually increased, individual migration. It was triggered in the 1860s and 1870s by a population increase in West Prussia, Pomerania and Posen. Which made these areas a center of emigration. In some cases, entire families left home, often with numerous children. Although the proportion of children emigrating overall fell.In contrast to previous emigrations, only a small proportion of emigrants practiced self-employment. From around 1890, the emigration of individuals made up the main part of the migration movement. It was no longer just men who were involved, but increasingly also women. ((

Between 1865 and 1891, over 30 people with the surname Punzel from the Uckermark towns of Kunow and Schönow emigrated from Germany to the United States of America and Australia.

These could be descendants of Johann Friedrich Punzel and his wife Maria Sophia Punzel, née Engels. There is a letter from Arthur Johann Punzel from Salem, Oregon, dated February 22, 1957. In it he wrote that his father and his family emigrated from Germany in 1869. His grandfather’s name was Friedrich Punzel, born in Kunow.

This could make it clear:
The Punzels in the USA and Australia come from the Uckermark in the German state of Brandenburg.
Although this is not yet completely certain, see the attached list. There is currently more to be said for the Uckermark than for Pomerania. But they could also have moved to Pomerania from the Uckermark. Especially since there was and is no clear demarcation between northern Uckermark and southern Pomerania (Stettin and the surrounding area).

Punzels in South West Africa

From 1926 we know of a Peter Punzel who lived in Swakopmund/South West Africa (today: Namibia). He was a carpenter by profession. (( He came there in 1907 through the authorities of the German South West Africa Protected Area, specifically the railway administration ((https:/ / and obviously stayed there.Like many others, it was used to ensure the operation of the railway line from Swakopmund to Windhoek, which was inaugurated in 1902, and to build new lines.On June 20 and July 1, 1902, the first German-South West African railway was opened from Swakopmund to Windhoek through the 100 km wide sand desert there (382 km long; rising to 1,637 m above sea level). Railway troops from the German Reich began the construction of the tracks and train stations in Swakopmund and Windhoek. Additional railway lines were built or purchased from 1903 to 1908, as in 1910. ( Afrika)

Between 1912 and 1919, Laura Punzel attended the Imperial Secondary School in Windhoek. ( This ends the clues in the history.

Finding Punzels currently living in Namibia is not easy. There is (obviously) nothing in telephone or address books. On February 24, 2012, the business newspaper “Namibia Economist” reported on a restaurant opening in Lüderitz under the headline “An eatery with a difference“. Liza Punzel and Jan Burger opened it.

In connection with the auction of a house in the municipality of Omaruru in 2011, in which Bank Windhoek Limited was the plaintiff, I came across the names Ulrich Punzel, Wilhelmina Elizabeth Punzel, Charles Ulrich Punzel and Anneliese Punzel.

Overall, it is not easy for genealogists to find anything in Namibia. Especially not when they are looking for people who are not members of the German military. The “War Graves Commission Namibia” has been looking after the graves of military personnel for decades. There are currently said to be 2,300 in Namibia and South Africa.
But who deals with the history and fate of the early immigrants from Germany?
There are probably some among them who did not come as colonial masters or oppressors who used armed force, but who made an important contribution to the country’s economic development with their knowledge and skills. Just like the residents of Namibia who were once educated in the German Democratic Republic (GDR).

The Ucker/Neumärkische/Berlin line

The Berlin line emerged in the second half of the 19th century through people with the surname “Punzel” who moved from the Uckermark to the prosperous imperial capital of Berlin. This is the current state of knowledge.

The Berlin address books from 1812, 1819, 1820 and 1822 do not contain any people with the surname Punzel. In the address book from 1823, a merchant Punschel is entered on page 41. He (or in recent years his widow) is also listed in the address books from 1824 to 1868.

In the Berlin address book from 1831, on page 537, the reindeer M. Puntzel, living at Köpenickerstr. 84, to be found.

In the address book from 1873, a person with the surname Punzel was recorded for the first time.
R. Punzel, plumber, Schwedterstr. 44. (Address book Berlin 1873, p. 642.)
It can also be found in the address book from 1874. (Address book Berlin 1874, p. 643.) From 1875 he lived – as proven by the address books – in Lothringerstr. until 1878. 28, III. Floor. (Berlin address book 1875, p. 684, Berlin address book 1877, p. 617, Berlin address book 1878, p. 704).

In 1877 the following appears in the Berlin address book: A. F. Punzel, Eisenbahn Dietar, living in Münchebergerstr. 20. 1878 A. F. Punzel is a railway assistant and lives at Küstriner Platz 3.

Punzel, G., dieter, Küstriner Platz 10, and Punzel, H., née Schützmann, widow, Metzerstr. 38, can be found in the address book from 1879. (Address book Berlin 1879, p. 714)

The West German Line

In addition to the Punzel lines that emerged in eastern Germany, there were (and are) other lines in western Germany. The last ones could be the older ones. Based on the assumption that in the very early days when the name was written there was no clear distinction between “Punzel” and “Puntzel”, the first bearers of the name can currently be identified with historical documents in the following regions and places:
Eifel Nideggen Peter Puntzel (June 19, 1479)
Hessen Korbach Anna Puntzel (1623)
Upper Franconia
Pressig Johann Punzel (1910)
Tschirn Nikolaus Punzel (1807)
Franconian Court Johann Punzel (1771)
Nuremberg Kunigunda Punzel (May 30, 1807)
Johann Conrad Punzel, Baader (1810)
Marktzeuln J. Punzel, wine merchant (1902)
Fürth Georg Punzel (1910)

A Jewish line?

In 1901, the rabbi and historian Max Freudenthal published a work entitled “Leipzig Mess Guests”. In it he evaluated the “Leipzig Missals”. They “were set up and run to control taxes on all Jews visiting the Leipzig trade fair.” (Freudenthal, Max: Leipzig Mess Guests. In: Monthly Journal for the History and Science of Judaism, Year 45 (N. F. 9), H. 10/12 (1901), p. 461)

It also contains a Moses Abeles punch Prague. He attended the fair in 1668, 1679 and 1682. (Ibid., p. 497)

Moses (also Moyses) Abeles came (presumably) from a family of Sephardic Jews who derived their family name from the biblical person Abel, the second son of Adam and Eve. They lived on the Iberian Peninsula until their expulsion in 1492 and 1513 respectively. Some of the displaced people also came to Germany, with Hamburg being preferred for settlement. Moses belonged to a family line that reached either Silesia or, more likely, Bohemia. There they settled in Bunzlau. At that time, the name “Bunzlau” was used for two places: Bunzlau in Silesia and Jungbunzlau (Bunzlau) in Bohemia, today’s Mladá Boleslav.
The following is reported about the Jewish community in Bunzlau (Silesia):

Jews were probably already in Bunzlau at the end of the 12th century; Documents indicate that the city’s citizens used Jewish moneylenders to finance the construction of the city’s fortifications. In return, they are said to have been allowed to settle here. Since the second half of the 14th century, Jews in Bunzlau have been unequivocally proven. Despite being expelled several times, they were always able to return to the city; Here they lived in the “Judengasse”, which had more than 30 houses. In the middle of the 15th century they were finally expelled from Bunzlau.” ((https://www.jü

The first mention of a Jewish cemetery in Jungbunzlau dates back to 1584. Jungbunzlau was of great importance for the Jewish community because of its rabbis ((Grünwald, M.: Jungbunzlauer Rabbin, Prague 1888)) and the education they provided.

The Jewish community in Jungbunzlau was one of the oldest communities in the Bohemian lands. Its history began in the 15th century – first documented in 1471. The “Jewish Quarter” was near the city wall, in what later became Dekanatstrasse; The synagogue (first mentioned in 1579), the cemetery and the hospital were also located here. The Jewish residents were active in the money trade, but also in crafts and goods trading. Trading privileges had been guaranteed to them by the city lords on several occasions, for example in 1494 and 1504. Despite the Jews being accused of bringing the plague to the city, no persecution took place in Jungbunzlau in 1522. Around 1700 every second resident of Jungbunzlau was of the Mosaic faith. The city was an important center of Jewish learning and Hebrew printing; That’s why it was also called “Jerusalem on the Iser” in some places. After a city fire in the late 17th century, which also destroyed parts of the Jewish quarter including the synagogue, the Jewish community had a new synagogue built, based on the Meisl Synagogue in Prague. (https://www.jü

To distinguish themselves from the other Abeles, either Moses or his ancestors added the place name Bunzlau (also Bunzel) to their family name as an extension. Often pronounced and written harshly in the 17th century, Bunzel was rendered as Punzel.

So Moses Abele’s correct name was Moses Abeles-Bunzlau. He lived in Prague and was one of the prominent elders of the Jewish community there. His role in the election of the Prague and Bohemian state rabbi at the end of the 17th century was written about in 1933. (Jakobovits, Tobias: The Prague and Bohemian State Rabbinate at the end of the seventeenth and beginning of the eighteenth century. In: Yearbook of the Society for the History of Jews in the Czechoslovak Republic, 5th year, Prague 1933, new edition Textor Verlag 2008, p. 79 to 136) He died on November 4, 1694 in Prague. In the same year, his grandson Simon died under mysterious circumstances and Moses’ son Lazar died in prison under unclear circumstances.

A document that is in the Saxon State Archives in Dresden dates back to 1765 and is entitled: “The permission sought by the Bohemian Jew Jakob Punzel to set up a factory for foreign wool in Bautzen, as well as the reduction in the amount requested by him duty paid.” (

A Jakob Punzel was supposed to want to settle in Bautzen, where people who also bore the name “Punzel” but were Christians had already lived in the Middle Ages. this is not possible.

The Jews of Prague conducted a brisk trade in sheep’s wool, which they obtained from the nobility from their estates and estates. The following wool traders are named in the files: the Prague Jews Berhard Fanta Sacerdotte (1643, 1654 and 1665), Salomon Kauder and Mandl Lazarus (1648), Aron Löbl Jeüttel (1696) and Moses Gitschin (1709-1723).” Rachmuth, Michael: On the economic history of Prague’s Jews. In: Yearbook of the Society for the History of Jews in the Czechoslovak Republic, 5th year, Prague 1933, new edition Textor Verlag 2008, p. 12.

The indication that Jakob Punzel (or Bunzel or Bunzl) came from Bohemia is very vague. A search in the Prague business directory for 1764 yielded no results. I couldn’t find a company directory online for Jungbunzlau at this time.
In 1764 there were Wolff Buntzl and his son, Goldschmidt More Buntzel and Marcus Buntzl in Prague. A total of 102 companies were listed for the search query “Jewish companies in Prague 1764” (Czech: židovské firmy 1764). For the years before and after it was zero and one, respectively.

In 1811, Elias Jontef Bunzel lived at number 35 in Prague’s Jewish Town, and David and Rachel Bunzel lived at number 261. ((Schematism for the Kingdom of Bohemia for the year 1811, Prague n.d., pp. 170 and 194)) 1834 is listed in Prague, Judenstadt, Breitegasse 114 Herrschmann Löw Bunzel. ((Schematism for the Kingdom of Bohemia for the year 1834, Prague n.d., p. 533)) In 1835 Herrschmann Löw Bunzel was no longer listed in the Prague address book, but five other people with this family name were listed. All of them live in the so-called Jewish town. ((Schematism for the Kingdom of Bohemia for the year 1835, Prague undated, p. 632)) In 1847 the family name Bunzel suddenly became Bunzl. The address book for this year records a very large number of people who bore this name, lived in the Jewish town and also carried out their trade there. (Address book of the royal capital Prague for the year 1847. First year, Prague n.d., p. 18f.) At the same time there was a Josef Bunzel, jerk-off producer. ((Ibid., p. 296). The Prague address book from 1925 contains both the family names Bunzel and Bunzl. However, it is not clear whether these were Jewish families. ((Chytiluv Adresar Hl. Mesta, Prahy 1925 , p. 177)) In 1937/38 the two family names can also be found in the Prague address book (Pražský adresář 1937-1938 Všeobecný, obchodní, živnostenský, průmyslový, majitelů domů, o.O. 1937, p. 118)

With the invasion of German troops and the annexation of Czechoslovakia in 1938, the fate of the residents of Prague with the surname Bunzel or Bunzl was sealed. Those who could not emigrate in time were deported and murdered. The Czech Republic’s Holocaust database contains 10 people with the surname Bunzel and 34 with the surname Bunzl. Renata Bunzlova was nine years old when she and her family members were first taken to the Theresienstadt concentration camp, only to be deported from there to Riga, where everyone died.

In mid-April 1945, representatives of the Swedish Red Cross came to the Theresienstadt concentration camp and recorded all the Jews still there. The list went to the “Mosaiska Foersamlingens I Stockholm. Kommittee foer Efferkrigshjaelp” in Stockholm, Wahrendorffsgatan 3. This gave it to the New York Jewish newspaper “Aufbau”, which published it in its issue of July 13, 1945. Among the names were:
Punzel, Hans 24 years old interned: Theresienstadt, Bäckergasse 2
Punzel, Susi 22 years old interned: Theresienstadt, Bäckergasse 2.

It can be assumed that this is a case of incorrect spelling of the name and that the family names should actually be Hans Bunzel and Susi Bunzelova.Nothing is known about her further fate. They are not listed in the database of Holocaust survivors. And a personal search in the library of Vad Jashem in Jerusalem did not produce any results.

There was another Jewish line with the surnames Bunzel or Bunzl in Vienna. There is a document from 1888 in which the name Punzel appears. It’s about Maria Punzel, born December 28, 1888, died January 1, 1889. ( Her name is in the “List of those who died in Vienna“. The directory contains no further information.
Six people are listed with the name “Punz”, 38 with “Bunzel” and 117 with “Bunzl” (

In its issue of July 5, 1910, the newspaper “Bohemia” reports on page 4 about the bankruptcy of “Johann Punzel, merchant in Vienna I., Fleischmarkt 17” ( :6efcab3f-a684-11de-8e93-00145e5790ea?page=uuid:7292a711-5c4f-4e43-9121-502e5407f37f&fulltext=Punzel) and on April 2, 1912 about the teacher V. Punzel (https://kramerius5.nkp. cz/view/uuid:6f138e7b-a684-11de-8e93-00145e5790ea?page=uuid:0a78144b-c452-4e7e-8b7b-60e642f89d45&fulltext=Punzel) The Vienna address books of these years do not contain any people with these names.

© Dr. Volker Punzel c/o GeschichtsManufaktur Potsdam

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