The Tragedy of Bennie Cohen, Betty Schnadig Cohen’s Grandson

Betty Schnadig and Bernard Arie Cohen and two of their four children were murdered in the Nazi concentration camps. Their oldest child Arnold survived, but his story is also terribly tragic. Thank you once again to my cousin Betty, Arnold’s daughter, for sharing their story and the family photographs posted here.

Arnold was a traveling salesman, and he married Saartje Odenwald in Groningen, Holland, on October 18, 1936.1

Wedding of Saartje Odenwald and Arnold Cohen, 1936. Courtesy of Betty de Liever

Their son, Bernard Arie, known as Bennie, was born a year later on November 15, 1937, in Den Bosch, where Arnold and Saartje had settled after marrying. Den Bosch is about 150 miles southwest of Groningen. Bennie was named in honor of his paternal grandfather, who was, however, still living at that time. Here are some photographs of Arnold, Saartje, and Bennie:

Bernard Arie “Bennie” Cohen. Courtesy of Betty de Liever

Bernard Arie “Bennie” Cohen Courtesy of Betty de Liever

Saartje, Bennie, and Arnold Cohen. Courtesy of Betty de Liever

When I started to search for what happened to Arnold and his family during the Holocaust, I was perplexed. Arnold and his wife Saartje both survived, but their son Bennie did not. He was only six years old. How could it be that he was murdered at Auschwitz and both his parents survived?

Researching that question led me to a truly devastating story that is recorded on the Stolpersteine website devoted to this family. Arnold and Saartje knew a couple who were active in the Resistance movement, Piet Toxopeus and Ellen Dwars, who arranged for a man named Geevers to take little Bennie into hiding. Geevers took three thousand guilders from the Cohens, but never in fact took Bennie into his home. Somehow instead Bennie ended up in a town called Dordrecht with a woman named Els van As, who took many Jews into her house to hide them from the Nazis. Dordrecht is 40 miles west of Den Bosch, and Bennie’s parents had no idea that that was where he had been taken.

Meanwhile, Piet and Ellen hid Arnold and Saartje in Bennekom. That placed them about 57 miles northeast of Dordrecht where their son was being hidden. In August 1942, Arnold and Saartje were then placed with an older couple, the Laars, in Ede, a town near Bennekom, where they stayed safely until after the war.

But their son Bennie was not as fortunate, as told in the Stolpersteine website:

It happened on Monday evening, October 25, 1943: the insensitive police officer Herman Gerard Feodor Wolsink from Dordrecht pulled 5-year-old Bennie Cohen into the horror of the war.

Here and there in Dordrecht, Jewish hunters had been working all day long at addresses where people might be in hiding…..In the house of the Van As family on the Vlietweg, they find a radio set and a money box with twenty thousand guilders in it. …. The Jew hunters suspect that a Jewish child is also hiding at this address. The Hague detective Cornelis Johannes Kaptein therefore orders Wolsink to take a closer look at the children who are sleeping in the attic. And then this happens, according to a maternity nurse who lived in rooms with the Van As family, and who told it after the war.

Bennie was impressed to always say his name was De Koning, and not Cohen. When Wolsink asked the boy for his name, he said: “Bennie de Koning.”

“Wolsink then asked,” said the nurse, “what his mother’s name was and then the poor child said: ‘Saartje’. To which Wolsink said: “Haha, a Jew after all!” Then he pulled down the little boy’s pajama bottoms and said, “It’s a Jew.” This child had to come along then. 

About 3.5 months later this child was dead: deported to Auschwitz via camp Westerbork and exterminated there on 11 February 1944. His life had already ended at the age of six.

I ask you to look at these photographs of this beautiful little boy. How could anyone do this to anyone, let alone a six year old child?

Bernard “Bennie” Arie Cohen. Courtesy of Betty de Liever

Bernard “Bennie” Arie Cohen Courtesy of Betty de Liever

On November 9, 1945, Arnold Cohen posted this heartbreaking notice in the Nieuw Israelietisch Weekblad, asking for information about his missing family members, including his son, his parents, his siblings, his nephews, and his in-laws, all of whom had been murdered by the Nazis:

Nieuw Israelietisch weekblad, November 9, 1945, found at https://tinyurl.com/yy2fyql6
09-11-1945

Arnold and Saartje somehow found the strength to go on. They had two daughters born after the war, and Arnold became a wholesaler of paper products in Groningen. Arnold died on December 15, 1967,2 and his wife Saartje on April 19, 1978.3 It’s hard to imagine how anyone finds hope after what they experienced, but having more children is certainly evidence that Arnold and Saartje believed that goodness and love can still exist and can prevail in this world.

De Telegraaf
December 16, 1967, found at https://tinyurl.com/y69tkn89

Thank you again to Bert de Jong and Rob Ruijs for all their help and especially to my cousin Betty for sharing these precious photographs and her family’s heartbreaking story. Betty lost her grandparents, her aunts and uncles and cousins, and her brother Bennie in the Holocaust.


  1. Arnold Cohen, Gender: Mannelijk (Male), Age: 32, Birth Date: abt 1904, Marriage Date: 15 okt 1936 (15 Oct 1936), Marriage Place: Groningen, Father: Bernard Arie Cohen, Mother: Betty Schnadig, Spouse: Saartje Odewald, BS Marriage, Ancestry.com. Netherlands, Civil Marriage Index, 1795-1950. Original data: BS Huwelijk. WieWasWie. https://www.wiewaswie.nl/: accessed 24 May 2016. 
  2. Arnold Cohen, Age: 63, Birth Date: abt 1904, Birth Place: Groningen, Death Date: 15 dec 1967, Death Place: Groningen, Father: Bernard Arie Cohen, Mother: Betty Schnadig, AlleGroningers; Den Haag, Nederland; Burgerlijke stand (overlijdensakten),Ancestry.com. Netherlands, Death Index, 1795-1969. Original data: BS Overlijden. WieWasWie. https://www.wiewaswie.nl/: accessed 24 May 2016. 
  3. Death notice, Nieuw Israelietisch weekblad, April 21, 1978, found at https://tinyurl.com/yxdljtf7 

Betty Schnadig Cohen’s Heartbreaking Story, Part I

As we saw, Betty Schnadig married Bernard Arie Cohen from Holland, and they had four children born in Groningen in Holland: Arnold, Anita, Simona Hedda, and Adolf. Bernard Arie Cohen was a merchant in the rag, scrap metal, and paper business in Groningen.

I was very fortunate to connect with my fifth cousin Betty, Betty Schnadig Cohen’s granddaughter and namesake, who kindly shared the family photographs I’ve included in this blog post. Thank you also once again to Bert de Jong and also to Rob Ruijs who found many of the notices from Dutch newspapers and introduced me to the Delpher.nl website for Dutch research.

Here, for example, is a May 7, 1903, wedding announcement for Betty and Bernard, thanking everyone for their kind wishes.

Nieuwsblad van het Noorden 07-05-1903 (May 7, 1903), 
found at https://tinyurl.com/y6enc386

In this photograph, Betty and Bernard are dressed in costume to celebrate Purim:

Betty Schnadig and Bernard Arie Cohen. Courtesy of Betty de Liever

This adorable little boy in the sailor outfit is their first-born child, Arnold, probably taken in Groningen when he was about three or four, or in about 1908:

Arnold Cohen c. 1908 Courtesy of Betty de Liever

This is a newspaper notice announcing Arnold’s bar mitzvah in February, 1917.

Centraal blad voor Israëlieten in Nederland
02-02-1917
found at https://tinyurl.com/y6fl8gsa

This is a lovely photograph of all  four children probably taken in the early 1920s.

Arnold, Anita, Adolf, and Simona Cohen. Courtesy of Betty de Liever

And here is an announcement of Adolf Cohen’s bar mitzvah in 1929:

Nieuw Israelietisch weekblad
August 9, 1929 found at https://tinyurl.com/y66damno

The family that celebrated these joyous occasions was destroyed just fifteen years after Adolf’s bar mitzvah.

According to a Stolpersteine website devoted to the Cohen family, when World War II started in 1939, Bernard very quickly realized the dangers ahead. After a swastika was painted on the front of their home in Groningen along with the word “Jood,” he knew they had to go into hiding.

House of Bernard and Betty Cohen in Groningen. Courtesy of Betty de Liever

But their efforts to hide were not ultimately successful. Betty Schnadig and Bernard Arie Cohen did not survive; they were arrested on November 11, 1942, and sent to the detention camp at Westerbork, from which they were then deported to Sobibor on May 18, 1943, and immediately gassed to death upon arrival.

Betty Schnadig Cohen. Courtesy of Betty de Liever

Bernard Arie Cohen. Courtesy of Betty de Liever

Of their four children, only two survived. One was their older daughter Simona Hedda. I located a card for her in the Arolsen Archives showing she was registered with the Judenrat in Amsterdam. The card has very little information other than Simona’s name, birth date, and address, and it’s not dated, but it appears that Simona was living in Amsterdam during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.

1 Incarceration Documents / 1.2 Miscellaneous / 1.2.4 Various Organizations /
1.2.4.2 Index cards from the Judenrat (Jewish council) file in Amsterdam /
Reference Code 124200009/ ITS Digital Archive, Arolsen Archives

Somehow Simona avoided deportation and survived the war. On August 29, 1946, in Groningen, Simona married Jan de Jong, who was born on March 22, 1914, in Ooststellingwerf. Simona (apparently known as Mona) and Jan had a son Bernard de Jong (presumably named for Simona’s father) born November 4, 1948, but he died two and half months later on January 12, 1949.1 Sadly, Simona’s marriage to Jan did not long survive the loss of their child. They were divorced on April 28, 1950, in Groningen.

Thank you so much to Rob Ruijs, who found most of this information about Simona and her family, including these two newspaper notices for the birth and death of Simona and Jan’s infant son Bernard.

De waarheid 08-11-1948

Thanks to Rob, I also know that Simona moved to Amsterdam after her divorce and worked for the city, eventually becoming the bureau chief. She died on February 5, 2005, in Amsterdam at the age of 93. As far as I can tell, she did not remarry or have more children. Simona was blessed with a long life.

UPDATE: Another reader, N. Aronson, found Simona’s Amsterdam residency card, which showed that she lived in Groningen until 1953, then in Nunspeet, and then in 1954 she moved to Amsterdam. Thank you!!

But Betty and Bernard’s other daughter Anita Cohen did not survive. She married Abraham Jacob van Dam on December 23, 1935, in Groningen, Netherlands.2 Abraham was born in Groningen on June 24, 1898, the son of Jakob van Dam and Netje Kisch.3 Abraham and Anita had two children, a son Jacob Abraham van Dam, born on July 3, 1938, and a son Bernard, born December 24, 1939. The photo below depicts Anita and her two little sons probably in 1941.

Jakob van Dam, Bernard van Dam, and Anita Cohen van Dam c. 1941. Courtesy of Betty de Liever

Anita, Abraham, and those two little boys in this photograph were murdered by the Nazis.

Just stop and think about that. Little Jacob van Dam was four years old, his brother Bernard not yet three. They and their mother Anita were murdered at Auschwitz on November 2, 1942. Their father Abraham survived until March 31, 1944, when he also died at the hands of the Nazis. Although it always takes my breath away when I discover yet another family member who was killed in the Holocaust, finding the Pages of Testimony for my cousins Jacob and Bernard, sweet innocent little boys, just sent me reeling.

Betty Schnadig and Bernard Cohen’s son Adolf married Henriette Sara Barnstijn on March 12, 1942.4 They both were murdered at Auschwitz before their first anniversary. Henriette was killed on December 15, 1942; Adolf was killed two months after his new bride on February 28, 1943. Henriette was 22, Adolf was 26.

Thus, Betty Schnadig and Bernard Arie Cohen and two of their children, Anita and Adolf, were murdered by the Nazis as were Anita and Adolf’s spouses and Anita’s two little boys. Betty and Bernard’s first born child Arnold survived, but not without tragedy. His story merits a separate post.


  1.  Bernard de Jong, Age: 2/12, Birth Date: abt 1948, Birth Place: Groningen
    Death Date: 12 jan 1949, Death Place: Groningen, Father: Jan de Jong, Mother: Simona Hedda Cohen, AlleGroningers; Den Haag, Nederland; Burgerlijke stand (overlijdensakten), Ancestry.com. Netherlands, Death Index, 1795-1969. Original data: BS Overlijden. WieWasWie. https://www.wiewaswie.nl/: accessed 24 May 2016. 
  2.  Anita Cohen, Gender: Vrouwelijk (Female), Age: 28, Birth Date: abt 1907
    Marriage Date: 23 dec 1935, Marriage Place: Groningen, Father: Bernard Arie Cohen
    Mother: Bettij Schnadig, Spouse: Abraham Jakob van Dam, BS Marriage,
    Ancestry.com. Netherlands, Civil Marriage Index, 1795-1950. Original data: BS Huwelijk. WieWasWie. https://www.wiewaswie.nl/: accessed 24 May 2016. 
  3.  Abraham Jakob van Dam, Gender: Mannelijk (Male), Age: 37
    Birth Date: abt 1898, Marriage Date: 23 dec 1935, Marriage Place: Groningen
    Father: Jakob van Dam, Mother: Netje Kisch, Spouse: Anita Cohen
    BS Marriage, Ancestry.com. Netherlands, Civil Marriage Index, 1795-1950. Original data: BS Huwelijk. WieWasWie. https://www.wiewaswie.nl/: accessed 24 May 2016. 
  4.  Adolf Cohen, Gender: Mannelijk (Male), Age: 25, Birth Date: abt 1917
    Marriage Date: 12 mrt 1942 (12 Mar 1942), Marriage Place: Groningen, Father: Bernard Arie Cohen, Mother: Betty Schnadig, Spouse: Henriëtte Sara Barnstijn
    BS Marriage, Ancestry.com. Netherlands, Civil Marriage Index, 1795-1950. Original data: BS Huwelijk. WieWasWie. https://www.wiewaswie.nl/: accessed 24 May 2016. 

Tragedy and Escape: The Story of Helene Schnadig Cohn and Her Children

We saw in the last post that Henriette Katzenstein Schnadig’s youngest child Elsa survived the Holocaust as did her husband Salomon Cats and their two sons. Elsa’s two older sisters Helene and Betty were not as fortunate.

Elsa’s sister Helene Schnadig and her husband Emil Cohn were both murdered by the Nazis. According to their residency registration cards at the Amsterdam archives, Helene and Emil moved from Hamburg to Hilversum in the Netherlands on January 2, 1939, and then to Rotterdam on September 11, 1939, ten days after the start of World War II. They then returned to Hilversum on November 9, 1940. Eventually they returned to Amsterdam on July 17, 1942.

Source reference Archive cards , archive number 30238 , inventory number 721 Municipality : Amsterdam Period : 1939-1960, https://archief.amsterdam/indexen/persons?ss=%7B%22q%22:%22schnadig%22%7D, Amsterdam Archives Gemeente Amsterdam Stadsarchiev

According to a Judenrat card found in the Arolsen Archives, Emil and Helene were taken to the detention camp at Westerbork on January 8, 1943. From there they were taken to the concentration camp in Terezin, Czechoslovakia, on January 20, 1944. Then on October 28, 1944, they were taken from Terezin to the death camp at Auschwitz, where they were murdered. Emil was 74, Helene 63.

1 Incarceration Documents / 1.1 Camps and Ghettos / 1.1.42 Theresienstadt Ghetto /
1.1.42.2 Card File Theresienstadt / 4966533/ITS Digital Archive, Arolsen Archives

Miraculously, however, Helene and Emil Cohn’s four children all survived, although my information about them is somewhat limited. Meta, their oldest child, was married to Salomon Pregers, who was born in Rotterdam on October 8, 1885, son of Salomon Pregers and Isabelle Therese de Groot.1 Meta and Salomon were married in Hamburg on May 14, 1926, according to their Amsterdam residency card.

Source reference Archive cards , archive number 30238 , inventory number 159 Municipality : Amsterdam Period : 1939-1960, https://archief.amsterdam/indexen/persons?ss=%7B%22q%22:%22meta%20cohn%22%7D, Amsterdam Archives Gemeente Amsterdam Stadsarchiev

That residency card indicates that Salomon and Meta came from Hamburg to Hilversum on June 3, 1926, a few weeks after their wedding. They remained in the Netherlands, eventually moving to Amsterdam in February 1943, not long after Meta’s parents were taken to Westerbork.

Salomon and Meta were registered with the Judenrat in Amsterdam, as reflected on these three cards. It appears that Salomon had been a teacher at a Jewish school. I can’t decipher much more than that.

1 Incarceration Documents / 1.2 Miscellaneous / 1.2.4 Various Organizations / 1.2.4.2 Index cards from the Judenrat (Jewish council) file in Amsterdam / Reference Code 124200008/ITS Digital Archive, Arolsen Archives

1 Incarceration Documents / 1.2 Miscellaneous / 1.2.4 Various Organizations / 1.2.4.2 Index cards from the Judenrat (Jewish council) file in Amsterdam / Reference Code 124200008/ITS Digital Archive, Arolsen Archives

1 Incarceration Documents / 1.2 Miscellaneous / 1.2.4 Various Organizations / 1.2.4.2 Index cards from the Judenrat (Jewish council) file in Amsterdam / Reference Code 124200008/ITS Digital Archive, Arolsen Archives

UPDATE: Bert de Jong pointed out that both these cards have the designation “gesperrt,” meaning that Meta and Salomon had been marked as exempt from deportation by the Judenrat, Salomon because of his former occupation as a teacher and his education, and Meta based on her husband’s exemption.

UPDATE from Rob Ruijs: Rob examined these three cards very carefully and provided some analysis. One interesting observation he made about Salomon Pregers was that he may have grown up in poverty and achieved success through higher education.  Rob also deciphered much of that third card with three entries for February 2, 1943. It appears that Salomon (and presumably Meta) were moving between Amsterdam and the town of Den Bosch, which is about an hour south of Amsterdam or that there was some confusion about where they were living.

The Amsterdam residency cards above indicate that both Meta and Salomon left for Germany (Duitschland) in March 1945. I would think that means they were deported then since I cannot imagine that any Jew would have gone to Germany willingly in March, 1945, but I have no record of any deportation, and I know that they survived the war.  Meta was listed as a person searching for relatives in an article in the June 15, 1945, issue of Aufbau. The words at the top translate as:

“The following list which we have received from the ITA [the International Tracing Agency] only reveals a part of the Jews found in Holland after the final liberation who are looking for relatives. In cases in which a closer address of the searcher is not given, they can be reached through the Red Cross.”

Meta Cohn Pregers in Aufbau June 15, 1945, p. 25, http://archive.org/stream/aufbau111945germ#page/n387/mode/1up

Although Meta and Salomon thus survived the war, it was not for very many years. Meta Cohn Pregers died on March 21, 1952, in Hilversum.2 Her husband Salomon Pregers died a month later on April 22, 1952, in Hilversum.3 He was 66 when he died, Meta was only 51. I have been unable to find a record of any children.

UPDATE: Thanks to Rob Ruijs for alerting me to the fact that there were death notices for Meta and Salomon that I could find on Delpher.nl. Given that neither death notice mentioned children, it appears that they did not have any.

New Israelite weekly
28-03-1952

New Israelite weekly
April 25, 1952

Meta’s younger brother Siegbert immigrated to Brazil in 1939; he arrived with his four-year-old daughter Ursula. I could not locate a woman traveling with him who might have been his wife, nor I have I yet found any further records for Siegbert or Ursula.

Siegbert Cohn, Digital GS Number: 004542471, Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965

The third child of Helene and Emil Cohn, their daughter Hertha Johanna, married James Horwitz, a kosher butcher, on February 21, 1928, in Hamburg. James was born on November 10, 1895, in Hamburg, the son of Hermann Horwitz and Johanna Tannenberg.4 James and Hertha immigrated to Rotterdam inthe Netherlands from Berlin on March 15, 1939, and to Amsterdam in March of 1940.

Source reference Archive cards , archive number 30238 , inventory number 367 Municipality : Amsterdam Period : 1939-1960, https://archief.amsterdam/indexen/persons?ss=%7B%22q%22:%22james%20horwitz%22%7D, Amsterdam Archives Gemeente Amsterdam Stadsarchiev

On July 17, 1940, they were both taken to the detention camp in Westerbork. According to entries in the Terezin Memorial database, both James and Hertha were deported to the Terezin concentration camp on September 4, 1944. James was then taken from Terezin to Auschwitz on September 29, 1944, but Hertha was not. The Terezin Memorial entry indicates that she was liberated from Terezin and survived.

1 Incarceration Documents / 1.1 Camps and Ghettos / 1.1.42 Theresienstadt Ghetto /
1.1.42.2 Card File Theresienstadt /Ghetto Theresienstadt Card File
Reference Code 11422001/ITS Digital Archive, Arolsen Archives

As for James’ fate, the records conflict. Some say he was killed at the death camp in Mauthausen in Austria on April 6, 1945.5 One nephew filed a Page of Testimony saying he was shot near Berlin in March 1945 as the camp inmates were being marched out of Auschwitz.  In either event, James Horwitz was murdered by the Nazis in the spring of 1945 right before the war ended.

In 1957, Hertha was living in Rotterdam when she traveled to Brazil, presumably to visit her brother Siegbert. She listed her marital status as “casada” or married, and the surname Van Thijn was added to her name, so Hertha must have remarried after the war. That is the only information I’ve found about her at this point.

UPDATE: Thank you to Rob Ruijs for reminding me to check Delpher.nl where I found a death notice for Salomon van Thijn published by H. J. van Thijn-Cohen, obviously Hertha. The death notice reads in part, “With sadness I announce the passing of my beloved caring husband Salomon van Thijn in his 87th year, March 18, 1982.” This death notice does not mention children or refer to Salomon as a father so I assume they, like Meta and Salomon Pregers, did not have children.

NRC Handelsblad
20-03-1982

Digital GS Number: 004916498, Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965

Lissy Sitta Cohn, the fourth and youngest of the Cohn siblings, ended up in England during the war. In 1939 she was living in Birmingham, working as a domestic servant.

Lissy Cohn, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/5600D, Enumeration District: QBUI, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register

Lissy Cohn, enemy alien registration, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/14
Piece Number Description: 014: Internees at Liberty in UK 1939-1942: Cohn-Cz
Ancestry.com. UK, World War II Alien Internees, 1939-1945

She may have returned to Germany after the war because in 1946 she immigrated to Brazil and listed her last residence as Hamburg and her nationality as Alema or German. However, her passport was issued from London. She indicated that her intention was to stay in Brazil permanently and that she was a nurse (enfermeira). As with her siblings, I have no further details about Lissy’s life.

Digital GS Number: 004542185
Source Information
Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965

Thus, although the Nazis murdered Helene Schnadig and Emil Cohn, they did not murder any of their four children. But the stories of those four children are not entirely complete. I do not know whether there are living descendants of Helene and Emil, so there is still much work to be done.

 

 


  1.  Salomon Pregers, Birth Date: 1885, Birth Place: Rotterdam, Father: Salomon Pregers, Mother: Isabelle Therese de Groot, Stadsarchief Rotterdam; Den Haag, Nederland; BS Birth, Ancestry.com. Netherlands, Birth Index, 1784-1917. Original data: BS Geboorte. WieWasWie. https://www.wiewaswie.nl/: accessed 24 May 2016. Child:
    Salomon Pregers, Mother: Isabelle Therese de Groot Father: Salomon Pregers
    Date of birth: 8-10-1885, Birthplace:  Rotterdam Access number: 999-01 Civil Registry Rotterdam, birth certificates, Inventory number: 1885D, Folio number: d045v Deed number: 1885.3822 
  2.  Meta Cohn, Age: 50, Birth Date: abt 1902, Birth Place: Hamburg, Death Date: 21 mrt 1952 (21 Mar 1952), Death Place: Hilversum, Father: Emil Cohn, Mother: Helene Schnadig, Noord-Hollands Archief; Den Haag, Nederland; Burgerlijke stand (overlijdensakten), Ancestry.com. Netherlands, Death Index, 1795-1969. Original data: BS Overlijden. WieWasWie. https://www.wiewaswie.nl/: accessed 24 May 2016. 
  3.  Salomon Pregers, Age: 66, Birth Date: abt 1886, Birth Place: Rotterdam, Death Date: 22 apr 1952, Death Place: Hilversum, Father: Salomon Pregers, Mother: Isabella Therese de Groot, Noord-Hollands Archief; Den Haag, Nederland; Burgerlijke stand (overlijdensakten), Ancestry.com. Netherlands, Death Index, 1795-1969. Original data: BS Overlijden. WieWasWie. https://www.wiewaswie.nl/: accessed 24 May 2016. 
  4. James Horwitz birth record, Year Range and Volume: 1895 Band 06, Ancestry.com. Hamburg, Germany, Births, 1874-1901. Original data:Best. 332-5 Standesämter, Personenstandsregister, Sterberegister, 1876-1950, Staatsarchiv Hamburg, Hamburg, Deutschland. 
  5. James Israel Horwitz, Birth Date: 10 Nov 1895, Birth Place: Hamburg, Mauthaus #: 134330, Nationality: staatenlos (Stateless), Arrest Reason: Jude (Jew), Night and Fog: No, Profession: Fleischer (Butcher), Death Date: 6 Apr 1945, Arrival Date: 26-Feb-45
    Source: AMM E/13/12/9; Y/36;Mauthausen Gedenkstätte. Austria, Mauthausen/Gusen Concentration Camp Death Record Books , 1938-1945. The National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland; Microfilm: A3355; ARC: 596972; Title: Lists and Registers of German Concentration Camp Inmates, 1946 – 1958; Record Group: 242; Record Group Title: National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized, 1675 – 1958, Record Description: Records on Prisoners, Gat-Ji, Source Information
    Ancestry.com. Germany, Concentration Camp Records, 1946-1958. Also, some records at Yad Vashem show that James Horwitz was at Mauthausen. His Stolpersteine in Berlin also says that he died at Mauthausen. 

Henriette Katzenstein Schnadig, Part II: Her Daughter Elsa Schnadig Cats, The Survivor

Henriette Katzenstein Schnadig, the third daughter of Amalie Goldschmidt and Juda Katzenstein, died in 1924 in Hamburg at the age of 66. She was survived by her three daughters, Helene, Betty, and Elsa, and ten grandchildren.

Twenty years after Henriette’s death in 1924, only one of her daughters was still alive, her youngest daughter, Elsa.

I don’t know exactly how Elsa and her husband Salomon Cats survived the Holocaust. But thanks to the amazing help of Bert de Jong of the Tracing the Tribe group, I learned a great deal more about Elsa and Salomon than I had been able to find on my own.

UPDATE: According to Elsa’s great-niece Betty, Elsa and Salomon escaped to Suriname during the war.

First, in my initial research, I had not found any evidence that Elsa and Salomon had children, but as seen in my last post, thanks to the family register located by Bert de Jong, I now know that they had two sons—Marcel, born February 25, 1916, in Schaerbeek, Belgium, and Harry, born August 20, 1919, in Amsterdam. So it appears that for some time, Elsa and Salomon were in Belgium before returning to Amsterdam.

Family register of Salomon Cats and Elsa Schnadig, Archive cards , archive number 30238 , inventory number 152 Municipality : Amsterdam Period : 1939-1960, Resident registration card
https://archief.amsterdam/indexen/persons?ss=%7B%22q%22:%22marcel%20cats%22%7D
Amstserdam Archives Gemeente Amsterdam Stadsarchiev

But at some point—it’s not clear exactly when—Elsa and Salomon moved back to Belgium. Bert found a death notice for Salomon’s brother Leo Cats dated February 26, 1939, that shows that S.A. Cats and E. Cats-Schnadig were living in Brussels. Since that was more than six months before the start of World War II, it’s not likely that Salomon and Elsa left Holland because of the Nazis.

Bert also located a residency card for Elsa and Salomon’s son Marcel that shows that he married Betty Agsteribbe in Tel Aviv on November 20, 1949, and had been residing in Haifa until 1956 when he returned to the Netherlands.1

Marcel’s younger brother Harry married Sipora Englelanger. Sipora was born in Amsterdam on October 9, 1920. Death notices for Sipora’s father Louis Engelander show that Harry and Sipora were living in Antwerp in 1953.

In 1981, they were still living in Belgium, now Berchem, when Sipora’s mother Judith Engelander died.

According to an index of  Dutch genealogy, Salomon Cats died in Antwerp, Belgium, on June 9, 1978,1 when he was 96 years old. Elsa survived him by nine years, dying on June 8, 1987, also in Antwerp. She was 97.2 I have not found a death record for their son Marcel, but their son Harry died in April 16, 2008 in Strassbourg, France.3

UPDATE: Betty de Liever shared a cemetery listing confirming these dates of death and also shared this photograph of Elsa and Salomon and of their graves.

Elsa Schnadig and Salomon Cats Courtesy of Betty de Liever

Graves of Salomon Cats and Elsa Schnadig Cats. Courtesy of Betty de Liever

The fact that Salomon Cats and Elsa Schnadig lived such incredibly long lives makes what happened to Elsa’s sisters and their families even more upsetting. I wonder how long the others would have lived and what they would have contributed to our world and to each other if they had not been murdered by the Nazis.

More on Elsa’s sisters in the posts to follow. Thank you once again to Bert de Jong for his incredible help.

 


  1.  Salomon Aron Cats, Gender: Male, Birth Date: 3 jun 1882, Birth Place: Rotterdam, Zh, Nl, Death Date: 9 jun 1978, Death Place: Antwerpen, Antwerpen, België, Death Age: 96, Father: Aron Salomon Cats, Mother: Louisa Friezer, Spouse: Elsa Schnadig
    Ancestry.com. Web: Netherlands, GenealogieOnline Trees Index, 1000-2015. Original data: GenealogieOnline. Coret Genealogie. http://www.genealogieonline.nl/en/: accessed 31 August 2015. 
  2.  Elsa Schnadig, Gender: f (Female), Birth Date: 14 jan 1890, Birth Place: Frankfurt Am Main, Hessen, D, Death Place: Antwerpen, Antwerpen, Belgie, Father: Simon Schnadig, Mother: Henriette Katzenstein, Spouse: Salomon Aron Cats
    Ancestry.com. Web: Netherlands, GenealogieOnline Trees Index, 1000-2015. Original data: GenealogieOnline. Coret Genealogie. http://www.genealogieonline.nl/en/: accessed 31 August 2015. 
  3. “France, Indice de décès de la sécurité sociale de l’Insee, 1970-2019”, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:C55D-T2W2 : 10 May 2020), Harry Leo Cats, 2008. 

Henriette Katzenstein Schnadig, Part I: Two Dutch Sons-in-Law

The third surviving daughter of Amalie Goldschmidt and Juda Katzenstein was Henriette. As we saw, she was born on February 13, 1858, in Eschwege, and married Simon Schnadig on August 20, 1877, in Eschwege. Henriette and Simon had four children—Julius, Helene, Betty, and Elsa—-but only three survived to adulthood.

Their son Julius only lived two years. He was born on May 13, 1878, in Frankfurt, where Henriette and Simon were then living, and died in Frankfurt on August 13, 1880.

Julius Schnadig birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_8917, Year Range: 1878, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Julius Schnadig death record, Certificate Number: 1961
Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10336
Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Ten months later Henriette gave birth to their second child, Helene, born in Frankfurt on June 26, 1881.

Helene Schnadig birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_8956, Year Range: 1881, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

I found it odd that Henriette named her daughter Helene since that was the name of her older sister, who was definitely still living in 1881, and I cannot find any other close relative of Henriette or Simon with that first name. Perhaps the Hebrew names were different.

Betty Schnadig, the second daughter, was born August 27, 1882, in Frankfurt.

Betty Schnadig birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_8970, Year Range: 1882, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Henriette and Simon’s third daughter Elsa was born in Frankfurt on January 14, 1890, seven and a half years after Betty, making me wonder whether Henriette and Simon had other babies or pregnancies that did not survive.

Elsa Schnadig birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_9071, Year Range: 1890, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

The oldest daughter Helene Schnadig married Emil Cohn on May 28, 1900, in Frankfurt. She was only eighteen, and Emil was thirty. He was born in Hamburg on February 4, 1870, to Simon Cohn and Malvine Josaphat.

Helene Schnadig and Emil Cohn marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Year Range: 1900, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Helene and Emil had four children, all born in Hamburg. Meta was born on April 3, 1901.

Meta Cohn birth record, Year Range and Volume: 1901 Band 03
Ancestry.com. Hamburg, Germany, Births, 1874-1901. Original data:Best. 332-5 Standesämter, Personenstandsregister, Sterberegister, 1876-1950, Staatsarchiv Hamburg, Hamburg, Deutschland.

Siegbert was born April 23, 1905;1 Hertha Johanna was born September 1, 1906;2 and Lissy Sitta was born July 21, 1910.3

Betty Schnadig, the middle sister, married Bernard Arie Cohen on April 21, 1903, in Darmstadt, where Betty’s parents Henriette and Simon Schnadig were living at that time. He was born January 5, 1879, in Groningen, Holland, and was the son of Arie Cohen and Amalia Breslour. Since Groningen, located in the very northernmost part of the Netherlands, is over 300 miles from Darmstadt and in an entirely different country, I wonder how Betty and Bernard connected.

Betty Schnadig and Bernard Arie Cohen marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 901; Laufende Nummer: 223, Year Range: 1903
Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Betty and Bernard had four children. Arnold was born February 2, 1904, in Groningen, Holland, where Betty and Bernard had settled and where all their children were born.4 Anita was born on November 25, 1907;5 the third child Simona Hedda was born January 16, 1912,6 and the youngest child Adolf was born July 17, 1916.7

Elsa Schnadig, the youngest child of Henriette Katzenstein and Simon Schnadig, also married a Dutch man. She married Salomon Aron Cats, the son of Aron Salomon Cats and Louisa Frieser; he was born on June 3, 1882, in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands. Elsa and Salomon were married on August 9, 1909, in Offenbach am Main, where her parents were then living.

Elsa Schnadig and Salomon Cats marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 918; Laufende Nummer: 517, Year Range: 1909, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

So between 1900 when their oldest daughter Helene was married in Frankfurt and 1909 when Elsa was married, Simon and Helene had moved from Frankfurt to Darmstadt to Offenbach. I wonder why since in those days people seemed to stay in one place for many years if not their entire lives.

Elsa and Salomon had two sons. Marcel was born on February 25, 1916, in Schaerbeek, Belgium, and Harry was born August 20, 1919, in Amsterdam, where the family was then living as seen on this family register from the Amsterdam archives.

Family register of Salomon Cats and Elsa Schnadig, Archive cards , archive number 30238 , inventory number 152 Municipality : Amsterdam Period : 1939-1960, Other information
Resident registration card, Web Address https://archief.amsterdam/indexen/persons?ss=%7B%22q%22:%22marcel%20cats%22%7D, Amsterdam Archives Gemeente Amsterdam Stadsarchiev

I want to express my deep gratitude to Bert de Jong of the Tracing the Tribe group on Facebook for his generous efforts in finding this Dutch record and many other Dutch records for the family of Salomon Cats and Elsa Schnadig. I would never have known of these records without his help.

If you look closely at the above record (click to zoom in), you will see that Elsa’s mother Henriette was also living with Elsa and her family in Amsterdam for some time. The record depicted below is from a registry of foreign residents and shows more specifically when Henriette spent time in Amsterdam. It appears that she was there for a period in 1917-1919 and then returned to Germany in June 1919. There is no mention of Simon so it appears he was not with her while she was living in Amsterdam.

Source reference Reproduction parts , archive number 5416 , inventory number 213 Municipality : Amsterdam Period : 1930 Web Address https://archief.amsterdam/indexen/persons?ss=%7B%22q%22:%22schnadig%22%7D  Amstserdam Archives Gemeente Amsterdam Stadsarchiev

Thus, two of Simon and Henriette’s children, Betty and Elsa, married Dutch men and relocated from Germany to the Netherlands long before the Nazi era.

Simon Schnadig died on May 7, 1920, at the age of seventy in Brussels, Belgium.8 I don’t know whether Simon and Henriette had moved once again, this time to Brussels, or whether he just happened to die there while traveling either to visit one of his daughters in Holland or on business. If Simon had relocated to Brussels, Henriette must have moved back to Hamburg either before or after Simon died because she was living in Hamburg when she died on May 27, 1924, at the age of 66. Her son-in-law Emil Cohn was the informant on her death record.

Henriette Katzenstein Schnadig, death record, Year Range and Volume: 1924 Band 01
Ancestry.com. Hamburg, Germany, Deaths, 1874-1950

Simon Schnadig and Henriette Katzenstein were survived by their three daughters and ten grandchildren. Unfortunately, those descendants faced tragic times ahead during the Nazi era, as we will see in the posts to follow.


  1. Siegbert Armin Israel Cohn, Gender: Male, Marital status: Married, Birth Date: 23 abr 1905 (23 Apr 1905), Birth Place: Hamburgo, Arrival Date: 1939, Arrival Place: Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Father: Emil Cohn, Mother: Helene Cohn, Traveling With Children: Yes, FHL Film Number: 004542471, Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965 
  2. Hertha Johanna Cohn, Amsterdam Archives Gemeente Amsterdam Stadsarchiev, Source reference Archive cards , archive number 30238 , inventory number 159 Municipality : Amsterdam Period : 1939-1960, Web Address
    https://archief.amsterdam/indexen/persons?ss=%7B%22q%22:%22hertha%20cohn%22%7D 
  3. Lissy Sitty Cohn, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/14, Piece Number Description: 014: Internees at Liberty in UK 1939-1942: Cohn-Cz, Ancestry.com. UK, World War II Alien Internees, 1939-1945 
  4.  Arnold Cohen, Birth Date: 2 feb 1904, Birth Place: Groningen, Father: Bernard Arie Cohen, Mother: Bettij Schnadig, AlleGroningers; Den Haag, Nederland; BS Birth, Ancestry.com. Netherlands, Birth Index, 1784-1917 
  5.  Anita Cohen, Birth Date: 25 nov 1907, Birth Place: Groningen, Residence Year: 1907, Father: Bernard Arie Cohen, Mother: Betty Schnadig, AlleGroningers; Den Haag, Nederland; BS Birth, Ancestry.com. Netherlands, Birth Index, 1784-1917 
  6.  Simona Hedda Cohen, Residence Age: 0, Birth Date: 16 jan 1912, Birth Place: Groningen, Residence Year: 1912, Father: Bernard Arie Cohen, Mother: Bettij Schnadig, AlleGroningers; Den Haag, Nederland; BS Birth, Ancestry.com. Netherlands, Birth Index, 1784-1917 
  7.  Adolf Cohen, Birth Date: 17 jul 1916, Birth Place: Groningen, Father: Bernard Arie Cohen, Mother: Betty Schnadig, AlleGroningers; Den Haag, Nederland; BS Birth,
    Ancestry.com. Netherlands, Birth Index, 1784-1917 
  8. https://www.genealogieonline.nl/stamboom-bouweriks-neervoort-frenk/I29524.php 

Fredericke Katzenstein Goldmann’s Daughter Meta: A Family Destroyed

Fredericke Katzenstein Goldmann’s older daughter Clementine died in April 1942, just months before her husband Alexander Joel was deported to the concentration camp at Terezin, where he died in December 1942. But their daughters all survived the Holocaust as did their grandchildren.

Clementine’s younger sister Meta was not even that fortunate. She and her husband Adolf Hammerschlag and daughter Lieselotte were all murdered at Auschwitz. The page devoted to their Stolpersteine in Hamburg provides this biographical information:

[Adolph Hammerschlag], his wife Meta, and their daughters Lieselotte (*10 August 1910) and Irmgard (4 March 1915) lived in Göttingen, where he was a wealthy businessman, the co-owner of the grain company Bachmann Bros. …. Since profits fell rapidly after 1933, Hammerschlag moved the offices of his company to his private residence in Göttingen .… In the following years the political situation brought the company to a standstill.

Adolph Hammerschlag was arrested during the November Pogrom in 1938, and his company was “Aryanized” on 21 November. It was taken over by a grain merchant from Göttingen who was one of the first members of the Nazi Party.

After his release, Adolph Hammerschlag and his wife fled to Hamburg to his sister, Mrs. Alexander Joel, [sic: Mrs. Alexander Joel was Adolph’s sister-in-law, not his sister]…. The formerly wealthy couple was now destitute. ….[They were deported to Auschwitz on July 11, 1942, and murdered there.]

Hammerschlag’s daughter Lieselotte Blum and her husband had lived in Brussels since 1939. They were deported to Auschwitz in 1942. His daughter Irmgard married Heinz Baehr in September 1936. The couple was able to emigrate to Haifa in Palestine.

Thus, only Meta’s younger daughter Irmgard survived. The immigration documents for her and her husband Heinz show that they arrived in Palestine in 1937 and became naturalized citizens in 1939.

Irmgard’s husband Heinz died in 1947, according to Geni; he was only 33 years old. Irmgard remarried later, but I don’t know if she had any children with either husband. Irmgard died in Haifa in 1977, according to My Heritage. She was 62.

Thus, Fredericke Katzenstein Goldmann not only lost her husband Leopold and her son Karl before she died—both of her daughters, Clementine and Meta, and their husbands and one of her granddaughters died during the Holocaust. But her four other grandchildren survived as did their children.

Sometimes the randomness of who survived and who did not just overwhelms me.

Fredericke Katzenstein Goldmann, Part II: Her Daughter Clementine

When Fredericke Katzenstein Goldmann died in 1924, she was survived by her two daughters, Clementine and Meta, and one granddaughter, Clementine’s first child. By 1933, when the Nazis took power in Germany, there were five granddaughters to survive Fredericke—Clementine’s three daughters and Meta’s two daughters. The story of their fate during the Nazi era is not an easy one to tell. This post will focus on Clementine’s family.

Clementine and her husband Alexander Joel stayed in Germany during the Nazi era until it was too late. Clementine died in Hamburg on April 22, 1942. She was 65 years old.

Clementine Goldmann Joel death record, Year Range and Volume: 1942 Band 01
Ancestry.com. Hamburg, Germany, Deaths, 1874-1950. Original data:Best. 332-5 Standesämter, Personenstandsregister, Sterberegister, 1876-1950, Staatsarchiv Hamburg, Hamburg, Deutschland.

Her husband Alexander Joel was deported to the concentration camp at Terezin on July 17, 1942, and died there on December 21, 1942. He was 71 years old.

Alexander Joel death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 926; Signatur: 607
Year Range: 1956, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958.

When I look at those dates, I find it troubling that Clementine’s death coincided fairly closely with the timing of Alexander’s deportation. I find myself speculating about the cause of Clementine’s death. Did she know they were about to be deported? Did she know what was coming and decide to deny the Nazis a chance to kill her? Or was it just coincidence–illness or stress causing her death shortly before her husband’s deportation and death?

UPDATE: Thank you so much to Cathy Meder-Dempsey of Opening Doors in Brick Walls for pointing out to me that in fact the death record above does give Clementine’s cause of death—coronary embolism and coronary artery disease. Cathy also wondered whether Clementine’s death and the fact that Alexander had to report that he was unemployed and had a Jewish identity card precipitated his deportation shortly thereafter.

COMMENT: Elizabeth Foote pointed out in the comments that this record shows Alexander Joel’s wife as Selma Koopman. For reasons explained in my response to this comment (see below), I think this record (which is dated 1956, after the war and 14 years after Alexander’s death) erroneously listed Selma Koopman as his wife. Selma Koopman was married to a different Alexander Joel. In addition, I found naturalization records for Alexander Robert Joel, married to Selma, showing that they immigrated to the US in 1934 and that Alexander died in Cook County, Illinois, in 1955, so obviously the death record above was for the Alexander Joel married to my cousin Clementine.

Fortunately, all three of Alexander and Clementine’s daughters survived the Nazi era. Their oldest daughter Esther Joel and her husband Hermann Wolf ended up in Mexico, but I don’t know whether they were there during or only after the war. All I know is that they were both living there when they died in 1945 and 1955, respectively. According to Esther’s death record from Mexico, she was “francesa,” or French, which leads me to believe that she and her family lived in France for some period of time before immigrating to Mexico.

Esther Edda Joel Wolf death record, Archivo de Registro Civil de Distrito Federal (Civil Registry Archives); Federal District, Mexico, Year: 1945, Ancestry.com. Federal District, Mexico, Civil Registration Deaths, 1861-1987

The death record also reports that Esther died from a massive pulmonary embolism and endocarditis and that she was buried in Israel (logar de inhumacion). She was only 44 years old when she died. Had the deaths of her parents and the stress of escaping with her family from Germany contributed to her early death? I don’t know.

Her husband Hermann died ten years later at the age of 57. From the death record, I learned that he had remarried and his widow was Carmen Hebert and that his son Fernando was originally from France, which is consistent with what I inferred from Esther’s death record.

Hermann Wolf Tannenberg death record, Archivo de Registro Civil de Distrito Federal (Civil Registry Archives); Federal District, Mexico, Ancestry.com. Federal District, Mexico, Civil Registration Deaths, 1861-1987

My deep gratitude to Steve Mordecai of Tracing the Tribe who spent a lot of time translating Hermann’s death record from Spanish to English, as quoted below:

In the City of Mexico, Federal District, at 12:00 noon, on the 14th of March 1955, before me, Dr. Fidel Guillen, Head of the office of Civil Registration, presents, Mr. Luis Vidales, of this area, a single man of 50 years, funeral employee, living in Ave Hidalgo 13, in this City; and presents for insertion a document related to the death of an adult, Hermann Wolf Tannenberg, the which was archived in accordance with the law and in part condercente (?) Says: “Mimeco (?) 178. In the City of Cuernavaca, at 18 eighteen hours of the day 13 thirteen of March 1955, nineteen hundred fifty-five, before me, citizen Filipe Rivera Crespo, judge of the Registration of the Civil State, appeared one Mr Fernando Wolf, age 32, thirty-two, a married, businessman or (Merchant), originally of France, and neighbor (or living outside) of Mexico, Federal District, traveling in this City and presented a certificate, archived, which says: “He that medically certifies, legally authorized to exercise his profession: “ an individual male, in the house number 7, of the street de Balsas –Cause of death: Principal illness Myocardial Infarction – Cuernavaca moz (?), 13 March 1955.-Signature of the Medic: Guillermo Vega Campos. – Residence: Degollado 28 – Complementary (?) Data – Day and hour of death 12:45 Sunday 13 March 1955, a male – Hermann Wolf Tannenberg -residence: Balsas #7. – Age 58 – place of birth, Hanover, Germany. Nationality Mexican, occupation – businessman (merchant) – civil status- married – name of father: Mauricio Wolf – mother Clare Tannenberg, (both) deceased. Name of spouse Carmen Hebert, living. – signature of the medic: Guillermo Vega Campos – at the request of the family(?)…. saw to the transfer of the cadaver to the City of Mexico, to be interred (?) Carried out this act in accordance with the family’s instructions (?) Signed: Felipe Rivera Crespo – F. Wolf – J Ferrrer. G (?) – Trio (?)” – Expedited bolete (?) to the Pantean Jardin de Villa Obergon, according to order 3061, of this date, (girade?) by the office of (Pante…?) Departament of the Federal District. Witnessed by Jose Martinez and Valente Lufran, ages 31 and 33. Of the same origen, occupation, civil status and residence of those appearing. Reading this act they ratify and confirm. Given (signed) Luis Vidal, J. Martinez and V. Lufran. [Emphasis added.]

Hermann and Esther were survived by their two sons, Fernando Werner Moshe Wolf, who died in Mexico in 1997, and Pierre Kurt Wolf, who immigrated to the United States and settled in Florida, where he died in 1979.1

Clementine’s second daughter Lizzie Joel Haas and her husband Siegfried and their two daughters also immigrated from Germany in time to escape the concentration camps. They arrived in the US on March 12, 1940, and were heading to a cousin, Hermann Youngheim of El Reno, Oklahoma.

Siegfried and Lizzie Haas, ship manifest, Ship or Roll Number: Westernland
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

When I saw the name Youngheim and the Oklahoma address, it struck me that there might be a connection between Hermann Youngheim and my Katz relatives in Oklahoma who were the descendants of Meier Katz and Sprinzchen Jungheim of Jesberg, Germany. And sure enough, Herman Youngheim was the nephew of Sprinzchen Jungheim Katz. And in addition, Herman Youngheim was the son of Fanny Marx Jungheim, the sister of Fredericke Marx Haas, mother of Siegfried Haas.

So Herman was Siegfried’s first cousin and must have helped Siegfried, Lizzie and their daughters escape from Germany. Siegfried changed his name to Fred in the US, and by 1942 the family was living in Indianapolis, Indiana, as seen on Fred Haas’ draft registration for World War II.

Fred Haas, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System; Record Group Number: 147
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

Lizzie died at age 55 in Indianapolis on February 6, 1958.

Lizzie Joel Haas death certificate, Indiana Archives and Records Administration; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Death Certificates; Year: 1958; Roll: 03, Roll Number: 03, Ancestry.com. Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011

Her husband Fred later moved to Florida, where he died on July 27, 1971, at the age of 75.2 They were survived by their daughters and grandchildren.

The youngest Joel sister, Ille, also survived the Holocaust. I don’t have any primary sources for Ille. According to My Heritage, Ille and her husband Walter Cunow lived in Switzerland where Walter died in 1987 and Ille in 1994 and were survived by their two children. Unfortunately I have no further details or sources.

Thus, although Clementine Goldmann and her husband Alexander Joel did not survive the Holocaust, their three daughters all somehow managed to survive, and there are living descendants today to carry on their legacy.

As for Clementine’s younger sister Meta and her husband Adolf Hammerschlag and daughters Lieselotte and Irmgard, their story has more tragic endings, as you will see in my next post.


  1. Pierre Kurt Wolf, Birth Date: 30 Sep 1924, Birth Place: Saarbrucken, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: Jun 1979, Father: Hermann W Tannenberg
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  2. Fred Haas, Social Security Number: 314-12-6142, Birth Date: 6 Feb 1896
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: Indiana, Last Residence: 33134, Miami, Miami-Dade, Florida, USA, Death Date: Jul 1971, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014; https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/180016722/fred-haas 

Fredericke Katzenstein Goldmann, Part I: Her Daughters and Granddaughters

Having told as much as I’ve learned about Helene Katzenstein Werner and her descendants, I will now move on to Amalie Goldschmidt and Juda Katzenstein’s second child Fredericke, born July 13, 1855, in Eschwege. As we saw, she married Leopold Goldmann, also a native of Eschwege, in Eschwege on November 16, 1875.  They settled in Eschwege, where their three children Clementine, Karl, and Meta were born.

Clementine was born on November 9, 1876, just a week short of Fredericke and Leopold’s first anniversary.

Clementine Goldmann, birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 923; Laufende Nummer: 1829, Year Range: 1876, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Karl was born July 24, 1878.

Karl Goldmann, birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 923; Laufende Nummer: 1832, Year Range: 1878, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

And Meta was born September 9, 1884.

Meta Goldmann, birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 923; Laufende Nummer: 1838, Year Range: 1884, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

(For those who get confused by all the names, here is a family tree chart you can click on to see the relationships.)

Clementine married Alexander Joel in Eschwege on November 8, 1898, the day before her twenty-second birthday. He was born on July 20, 1871, in Hamburg, to Aron Ephraim Joel and Rika Koch.

Marriage record of Clementine Goldmann and Alexander Joel, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 923; Laufende Nummer: 1883, Year Range: 1898, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Then, just two months after Clementine’s wedding, her father Leopold died on January 12, 1899, in Eschwege. He was fifty years old and left behind his wife Fredericke, who was 43, and their three children Clementine, Karl, and Meta.

Leopold Goldmann, death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 923; Laufende Nummer: 1944, Year Range: 1899, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Clementine and Alexander Joel had three daughters. Esther Edda Joel was born in Hamburg on May 27, 1901.

Esther Edda Joel, birth record, Year Range and Volume: 1901 Band 03
Ancestry.com. Hamburg, Germany, Births, 1874-1901. Original data:Best. 332-5 Standesämter, Personenstandsregister, Sterberegister, 1876-1950, Staatsarchiv Hamburg, Hamburg, Deutschland.

Lizzie Joel was born August 22, 1902, in Hamburg.1 And Ille Joel was born in 1904, also in Hamburg.2

Clementine’s younger sister Meta married Adolf Hammerschlag on November 13, 1908, in Eschwege. Adolf was born June 23, 1877, in Minden, Germany, near Hannover. His parents were Simon Hammerschlag and Sarchen Katz.

Marriage record of Meta Goldmann and Adolf Hammerschlag, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 923, Year Range: 1908, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Meta and Adolf had two daughters, Lieselotte, born August 10, 1910, in Gottingen, Germany,3 and Irmgard, born March 4, 1915, in Gottingen.4

Clementine and Meta’s brother Karl did not marry and died when he was only 36 on January 30, 1914, in Eschwege. I wish I knew why he died so young.

Karl Goldmann death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 923; Laufende Nummer: 1960, Year Range: 1915, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

In the 1920s, the daughters of Clementine Goldmann and Alexander Joel began to marry. Although I don’t have marriage records, I assume that Clementine’s daughter Esther Edda Joel married Hermann Wolf in the early 1920s because they reportedly had two sons born before 1925, Fernand Moshe Werner and Pierre Kurt, at least one of whom was born in Saarbrucken, a city at the border between France and Germany.5 According to his death record, Hermann was the son of “Mauricio” Wolf and Clare Tannenberg, but since, as we will see, he died in Mexico, I assume that his father’s name was more likely Moritz than Mauricio. Hermann was born in Hannover in 1897.6

Esther Edda Joel’s sister Lizzie also must have married in the 1920s as she also had two children born in that decade, Vera in 1925 and Ruth in 1928.7 Lizzie married Siegfried Haas, who was born in Mardorf, Germany, on February 6, 1896, to Adolf Haas and Fredericke Marx.8

The youngest Joel sister, Ille, also married in the 1920s, I assume, as she had two children in the 1920s. Her husband was Walter Cunow, and unfortunately I have no primary sources for either Ille or Walter, only profiles on My Heritage and Geni that do not provide sources. However, one of the profile managers for their profiles and for those of Ille’s sisters may be a relatively close relative, whom I have contacted but not yet heard back from. At any rate, according to My Heritage, Walter Cunow was born on February 2, 1899, in Berlin to Martin Cunow and Helene Friedenberg.9

Fredericke lived to see at least some of her granddaughters marry and the birth of her first great-grandchild. She was 68 when she died on February 4, 1924.

Fredericke Katzenstein Goldmann death record, Year Range and Volume: 1924 Band 01
Ancestry.com. Hamburg, Germany, Deaths, 1874-1950. Original data:Best. 332-5 Standesämter, Personenstandsregister, Sterberegister, 1876-1950, Staatsarchiv Hamburg, Hamburg, Deutschland.

Fredericke Katzenstein Goldmann had outlived her husband Leopold by 25 years and her son Karl by ten years. She was survived by her two daughters, Clementine and Meta, her five granddaughters, and that first great-grandchild with the others born after her death. As we will see, she was blessed in some ways to have died before the Nazis took control of Germany in the 1930s.

 

 


  1.  Lizzie Haas, [Lizzie Joel] , Gender: Female, Age: 55, Marital status: Married, Birth Date: 22 Aug 1902, Birth Place: Hamburg, Germany, Death Date: 6 Feb 1958, Death Place: Indianapolis, Marion, Indiana, USA, Father: Alexander Joel, Mother: Blementine Joel, Indiana Archives and Records Administration; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Death Certificates; Year: 1958; Roll: 03, Ancestry.com. Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011 
  2. Profile on My Heritage found at https://www.myheritage.com/research/record-1-400415261-19-501023/sprinze-philippine-ilse-cunow-nee-joel-in-myheritage-family-trees 
  3. Yad Vashem entry, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=11476670&ind=1 
  4. Stolpersteine family biography, found at https://www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de/en.php?MAIN_ID=7&BIO_ID=90 
  5. My Heritage profile, found at https://www.myheritage.com/person-19501021_400415261_400415261/edda-esther-joel-wolf; Pierre Kurt Wolf
    Birth Date: 30 Sep 1924, Birth Place: Saarbrucken, Federal Republic of Germany
    Death Date: Jun 1979, Father: Hermann W Tannenberg, Mother: Edda E Joel
    SSN: 262757686, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  6. Hermann Wolf Tannenberg death record, Archivo de Registro Civil de Distrito Federal (Civil Registry Archives); Federal District, Mexico, Ancestry.com. Federal District, Mexico, Civil Registration Deaths, 1861-1987 
  7. See Vera Haas, Birth Date: 4 Feb 1925, Birth Place: Hamburg, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 29 Apr 2007, Father: Fred Haas, Mother: Lizzie Joel
    SSN: 311221178, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-200; Ruth Friedericke Haas, Birth Date: 21 Sep 1928, Birth Place: Hamburg, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 8 May 1998, Father: Fred Haas, Mother: Lizzie Joel, SSN: 307322906, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  8.  Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5891, Year Range: 1896, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901 
  9. My Heritage profile, found at https://www.myheritage.com/research/record-1-400415261-19-501023/sprinze-philippine-ilse-cunow-nee-joel-in-myheritage-family-trees 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 1933-2020

We had just finished our first dinner together as a family since before the pandemic—both of my daughters, my son-in-law, and my grandsons. It was a wonderful meal—lots of laughter and food and candles and blessings. Apples and honey and challah and wine. We were cleaning up in the kitchen, the kids were playing, and suddenly I heard my son-in-law gasp. He stood up, ashen, and whispered, “Ginsburg died.”

All I could say was, “Oh, no.” Then two seconds later. “Oh, no.” It felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. It felt like a personal loss, the death of someone I knew and loved, not the death of someone famous I’d never actually met. We were all stunned. Even my grandsons, ages six and ten, knew who Ruth Bader Ginsburg was and knew how important she was.

We talked about her and her life, and then the next night we all watched “On the Basis of Sex,” a dramatized version of her early career and one of the first legal cases that established that treating men and women differently solely on the basis of gender was unconstitutional. When the movie ended with the shot of the real RBG standing on the steps of the Supreme Court, I cried. She was a hero, a role model, someone who changed the world I lived in and thus changed the course of my life.

She was born in Brooklyn, where my mother was born and raised and where my grandsons now live. Like my mother, she was Jewish and the daughter of an immigrant father and a mother who was first-generation American-born. She went to Cornell University and then was one of only nine women in her class at Harvard Law School in the 1950s. Despite the discrimination she faced there and the skepticism many had about women becoming lawyers, she rose to the top of her class.

Without Ruth Bader Ginsburg and others like her, I never would have dreamed of becoming a lawyer. When I was in high school and the women’s movement was just brewing, I thought girls could only grow up to be three things—a mommy, a nurse, or a teacher. I recall a heated debate with a classmate who was already more awake to the need for change than I where I took the position that a woman had to choose between a career or a family. She couldn’t have both.

All that changed in the four years I was in college, the years that RBG began litigating cases against sex discrimination. By my senior year I’d decided I wanted to go to law school. I wanted to have it all—a family and a career. When I arrived at Harvard Law School in 1975, there were more than ten times the number of women in my entering class than had been there when Ginsburg enrolled. We were still only 20% of the class, but at least there were more of us—thanks to the work of Ginsburg and others. Professors could no longer outwardly treat us as lesser beings than our male classmates, although some may have still thought that way. Without RBG and others, that never would have happened.

When RBG graduated from law school in the late 1950s, she could not get a law firm to hire her despite being on law review and at the top of her class. Twenty years later when I graduated from law school, there were still few women partners in law firms (and none at the firm where I was hired), but firms were hiring women.  Four years later, my firm had two women who were partners (out of over forty partners overall), and almost half of new hires were women.

When I left practice in 1982 to become a law professor, there were only two other women on the faculty of twenty-five; there were many students who expected their professors to be men, preferably older white men in suits, not a young woman with a young child and another on the way. But things changed over the years. More and more women were becoming lawyers, and more were becoming law professors. One of those law professors was Jane Ginsburg, Ruth’s daughter, and I first felt a real personal connection to RBG when I adopted two of her daughter Jane’s casebooks—one on copyright law, one on trademark law—to teach my courses in those subjects. When I retired from law teaching in 2014, women made up a majority of those on the faculty at my school. We had seen a momentous shift in thirty-two years.

So much changed from the time I was in high school and could only dream of becoming either a mother or a nurse or a teacher. So much changed from the day I entered law school until the day I retired almost forty years later. Women went from being outsiders in the legal profession to being a majority of those enrolled in law school and prominent in the profession, though even today there are still too few women partners in big law firms and too much discrimination generally against women in society.

I feel so deeply grateful to Ruth Bader Ginsburg for all these changes. When she was named by Bill Clinton to the US Supreme Court in 1993, I felt as if someone I knew had made it to the highest court in the land. A Jewish woman was on the Supreme Court. Someone who grew up in the time and place in which my mother had grown up. Someone who had had both children and a career. Someone who shared my background and my values. She was only the second woman to be named to the court. She changed it forever. She changed me and my life and my world even before I knew her name.

I am forever indebted to Ruth Bader Ginsburg. No wonder I feel her loss so personally. She was a blessing to every little girl growing up today, to every woman searching for a meaningful life, and to every woman of my generation who benefited from everything she did. She was a blessing to all people whose rights have been denied, who have faced discrimination, or who simply want to see justice and fairness in our society.

May her memory be a blessing forever. May we carry on her legacy.


Two other bloggers wrote posts about Ginsburg that touched me. I recommend them both. You can find them here (“The Heavens Opened for RBG” at Zicharanot), discussing another personal reaction to her death, and here (“Ruth Bader Ginburg, Rest in Power” at wmtc), discussing her opinions on the Supreme Court and their significance. There have been, of course, many other tributes and obituaries published that describe her life and her career and her impact on the law and on society.

 

 

Blogging in a Pandemic: Rosh Hashanah 5781

What a very strange time we live in. A year ago I was preoccupied with moving my mother to Massachusetts and trying to help her find a way to settle into her new surroundings. I had no idea what to expect in the year to come. I really had no idea—who could have imagined what 5780, or what we ordinarily call 2020, would bring?

I have not blogged since late April about the way the pandemic has affected my life. Somehow I adjusted to the new, bizarre reality. Doing most things by Zoom, taking walks in new places, social distancing, and wearing masks—it all just started to become some form of an ordinary routine. Yes, there was always this underlying anxiety and fear of getting sick or having someone I care about get sick. But the change in routine became acceptable most of the time. All I kept saying was, “If only I could be with my family—hug and kiss my children and grandchildren—I could accept all these other restrictions.”

During the summer we started moving in that direction. We got tested and spent several days with our grandsons and their parents in August. My younger daughter came to spend my birthday with me, and I couldn’t resist a birthday hug.

The summer almost felt normal in some ways although we were terribly sad to miss our traditional week with the family on the Cape. The beach was hardly crowded, so we could walk without masks and sit and read like we always do.  We didn’t eat out like we ordinarily do, and in town we had to wear masks, but overall being on the Cape was as restorative and relaxing as it always has been.

But summer is almost over. Rosh Hashanah is for me the first real sign that fall is upon us. And we spent a lot of time in the last month wondering how in the world we would celebrate the holiday. A Zoom Passover was a novelty and was truly special; but the novelty of Zoom has worn off, and Rosh Hashanah is a different kind of holiday. Passover is centered on the home—the seder is its central ritual. Rosh Hashanah is centered on the synagogue—listening to the service, hearing the shofar, being in the sanctuary, seeing our friends. We can’t be in the synagogue this year. And frankly, watching services by Zoom really isn’t very appealing. Though we will try.

So we’ve decided that we have to do something more than sit home alone and watch a service on our computer. We all got tested this week, and my daughters, son-in-law, and grandsons will be coming to stay with us for the holiday. No amount of apples and honey will be sweeter than that.

By Gilabrand (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Shana tova to you all. May 5781 be a happier, healthier year for all people all over the world.

(I will be taking a break from blogging until next week.)