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Aged Detroiter Helped Kohler Prove He Was a U.S. Citizen

Because vital statistics were unknown in Michigan sixty years ago, the late Dr. Max J. Kohler had difficutly in establishing his American citizenship and the fact that he was born in this country. He finally was able to clear up this difficulty with the help of Adolph Freund, who just observed his eighty-seventh birthday and who was a personal friend of the late Mr. Kohler’s father, the late Rev. Dr. Kaufman Kohler.

“Mr. Kohler knew he was born in Detroit on May 22, 1871,” Mr. Freund explained. “He knew his parents were American citizens. Nevertheless, when the question of his citizenship arose, there was a question regarding witnesses, statistics and documents to verify his claims. His parents had died, and all members of Temple Beth El of Detroit, in the days when Rabbi Kaufman Kohler was the spiritual leader here, from 1869 to 1871, were also dead. Max was born during Dr. Kohler’s ministry in Detroit.”

None of the older Detroit citizens could recall anything definite about Rabbi Kohler’s family except Mr. Freund. By coincidence he and Max J. Kohler met while delegates to the convention of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations in Boston, twenty-five years ago. Mr. Freund then told the son of his deceased friend of the incidents attending the arrival of Rabbi Kohler in Detroit, the reception that was accorded him here, the first English sermon he delivered here on Rash Hashonah, his journeys to New York for his betrothal and subsequent marriage to Miss Einhorn, the reception of the newly married couple at their residence on Henry street, the birth of their first child—Max J. Kohler.

Several years later, when Max Kohler found it necessary to prove his American citizenship, he recalled his conversation with Adolph Freund and enlisted his aid. It required affidavits and court action on the part of Mr. Freund, to establish the fact that Dr. Kohler was born in Detroit.

As an evidence of appreciation, Dr. Kohler presented Mr. Freund with a copy of Rabbi Kaufman Kohler’s “Studies, Addresses and Personal Papers.” This volume bears the following inscription:

“To Adolph Freund, Esq., with cordial greetings and expressions of esteem. Inherited by me from my father, the author of this volume. Signed, Max J. Kohler, July 7, 1932.”

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