Senator Kerry´s ancestors in the male line
C) Copyright by Felix Gundacker, 2004-2013  Stand: 2. Februar 2013

The ancestors and collateral relatives of Friedrich Kohn/Kerry

The Benedikt Kohn and Mathilde née Fränkel family

Benedikt Kohn, the great-grandfather of Senator Kerry, was born about 1824 in Klobouky in southern Moravia near Brno. He was married twice. About his first wife we know nothing. He had 5 children from his first wife; only two are known: Bernhard was born 1854 in Klobouky, Josef was born in 1860.   After the death of his first wife Benedikt moved to Horni Benesov and married - about end of 1868 - Mathilde Fränkel.
Mathilde Fränkel was born 14. 9.1845 in Oberglogau, Prussian Silesia, daughter of the royal supplier Jakob Fränkel and his wife Bertha. Mathilde hat at least one sibling, Bertha, also born in Oberglogau 23.11.1836, who later married an Emmanuel Kohn, probably a brother of Benedikt, born 26.10.1828 in Trubok (now Troubky, Moravia, Czech Republic.

It can be assumed with certainty that Mathilde had further siblings and half-siblings; one of the latter could have been one Otto Fränkel who married in Vienna Adele Strakosch from Brno. A child from his second marriage to Johanna Kohn, Otto, born 12. 6.1854  had Emmanuel Kohn as a witness at his marriage. A further brother, Alfred , owned a shoe factory in Mödling - at a later date Fritz Kohn, (who changed over to Friedrich Kerry), was employed as an accountant in this factory.  
On September 11th 1870, the 26-year-old Wilhelm Fränkel married Mathild Sorer, the 16-year-old daughter of Marcus and JOhanna nee Granang. Wilhelm, an architect, was born about 1844 in Oberglogau (now Glogokow in Poland), the son of Jacob Fränkel and Johanna nee Fischler. He alco could have been a brother of Mathilde Fränkel, greatgrandmother of Senator John Kerry.

Benedikt Kohn died on July 4th, 1876, only 2 months after the birth of his third child, in Bennisch 224 in the age of only 52 years. After Bernhard followed his father in the beer brewery (he married in 1878 Hermine from Freistadt), Mathilde moved to Vienna about 1878, where she lived before she married. It is not known, if the children of the first marriage of Benedikt stayed in Bennisch or also moved to Vienna. We only know, that Josef was in Bennisch working in the beer brewery.
Mathilde died in Vienna, 24.May 1935, at 9 AM from heart failure; she never converted and still maintained her official roots in Horni Benesov, although domiciled in  Austria -Hungary, after 1928 present day Austria, since 1878.

Benedikt and Mathilde Kohn had 3 children in Bennisch 224 (now Horni Benesov)

Ida * 26.6.1869 + 1942 New York
Fritz * 10.5.1873  grandfather of Senator Kerry
Otto * 11.5.1876 + 1934 in Wien

The birth entry of Fritz Kohn contains the change if name, later added and authenticated by the Opava Archives. 


The three births of the children were listed in the r.c. records of the parish of Horni Benesov since, as mentioned before, no offcial Jewish Community existed in the town, on the last pages of the the Parish church registers as was the custom. Benedikt Kohn died, shortly before the birth of his son Otto. 

In 1880 Bennisch lists 4.200 inhabitants, only 27 pf which were Jews - with exception of 3 families, maintaining Czech as mother tongue, all others listed theirs as German

The town Bennisch (Horni Benesov) in the year 1913



The family living in Vienna & Mödling

Mathilde moved with her still small children to Vienna. She was able to provide an excellent education for all of them.
Otto and Friedrich attended schools of higher learning (Gymnasium) and finished with honours. Otto studied Law and History of Art, but finally entered a military career, fighting in World War I at the infamous battle of the Isonzo. He was christened as Otto Franz in the parish church of St.Othmar in Mödling, 18. 7.1896, obtaining permission in the same year for the official change of name from Kohn to Kerry. He died in Vienna  1934.
Ida married MD Hirsch Benjamin Auersbach in Vienna and died 1942 in New York.

Further additional data could not be obtained owing to data protection.

Fritz Kohn started after finishing his education in the shoe factory of his uncle Alfred Fränkel as administrative accountant; living since 1896 at Feldgasse 67, now Friedrich Schiller Straße. He married Ida Löwe, daughter of the bank employee  Siegfried Löwe and Josefine, née Löw.   

Christening entry of Fritz Kohn at St.Othmar's Mödling. 

The first son, Erich  was born in Mödling, Feldgasse 67; he and his parents were all christened in the parish church St. Othmar, Mödling, 9.October 1901 - furthermore on 17. December the family received the official permission of the change of name from Kohn to Kerry.  The application was justified as such:

Fritz Kohn, employed in a factory, elegible member of the reserve army in Mödling, and from Bennisch, Silesia has applied for change of name from Kohn to Kerry for resons of 

1) that this very common name is specifically connected to Judaism 

2) that therefore this name could be detrimental to his military careeer.


We can ascertain that Fritz Kerry was anxious to search for better economical conditions for his family, as did many others, and therefore emigrated with his family to the USA where their third child, Richard, father of Senator Kerry, was born 28. July 1915. Friedrich Kerry died 1921 in the USA.

Further relatives:

Most probably a brother of Benedikt Kohn, Emanuel Kohn, married about 1856 a sister of Mathilde Fränkel; he was born in  Trubok, Moravia 27.11.1928, died a merchant in Vienna, 25. 4.1914, buried in the "Matzleinsdorfer" cemetery - his wife Bertha died 25. 4.1914, Vienna - both not converted.
Emanuel  and Bertha Fränkel  had 3 children, all born in Vienna:  Ida was born on January 6th, 1857, Benno on December 11th 1858, and Richard on June 20th, 1862. Since both of these sons also changed their name to Kerry, this could also corroborate  their relationship to Benedikt Kohn's family. 

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