Family History
About The Kohnstam Family

Hans Kohnstam, Pieter's father grew up in the scenic town of Fuerth, Northern Bavaria in a well-to-do family of Jewish merchants and bankers whose German roots can be traced as far back as 1651. Their country home in Dambach, an upper-class suburb, was an estate with a villa and well-kept grounds and gardens.

                       Dambach Home                                                            Party on rear Terrace of Dambach home

Hans' father, Willy Kohnstam, owned a large toy manufacturing and merchandising company that a famous architect, Adam Egerer, was hired to design and build for its new headquarters. A four-story neo-Baroque office building was built on a sprawling piece of land, located on the Nuremberger Strasse in Fuerth. It was completed in 1898 and is mentioned in the Bavarian Historical Monuments Register.

Today it houses the headquarters of die Quelle, Germany’s largest retail merchandizing company, and there are no signs that the M. Kohnstam & Co. ever existed. The firm also had branch offices and production facilities in Sonnenberg and in Olbernhau near Dresden.

Although not the largest toy manufacturer in Germany, M. Kohnstam & Company, MOKO (after Moses Kohnstam) was one of the leading firms in its field, owning a number of patents for mechanical toys. The business was quite profitable and the firm conducted a prosperous export trade. The firm had international branch offices in Amsterdam, Belgium and Sweden, and a large subsidiary in London consisting of a large sales organization, as well as a big warehouse. Willi's' brother was in charge of the English branch and during the 1950s, MOKO/Lesney merchandized the popular Match Box cars. The name M. Kohnstam & Company was well known and respected in business circles throughout Europe. In addition, Hans' father, Willi, was the director of the Export Council of Nuremberg-Fuerth. He was a valued member of the community and even became an honorary judge in the courthouse of Fuerth. 

Hans' first teacher in Fuerth was Louis Kissinger, who was also a personal friend of the family. Louis had more foresight than the rest of us. He emigrated to London with his family, and from there moved to the United States. His son, Henry, later became Secretary of State during the Nixon and Ford administrations.

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