In my April 25, 2023, post about my cousin Jenny Blumenfeld Warburg, I described how I was able to establish through the anecdotal evidence from several cousins and from records from Israel that Jenny had married Siegmund Warburg in Israel/Palestine sometime between 1940 and 1950, but I had not been able to locate an actual marriage record. I still haven’t. But I have been able to find one more document that may relate to Jenny’s life.
I wrote in that earlier post that “In her [Shoah Foundation] testimony, [Jenny’s sister] Hilde [Blumenfeld Meinrath] said that Jenny left Germany and first went to England, where she met Siegmund Warburg and his family. They did not marry, however, until they were in Palestine/Israel.” I also wrote that I had not been able to find any record for Jenny in England. But now, thanks to the World Jewish Relief organization, I think I have.
First, let me tell you about this organization and how it can be a helpful research tool for anyone searching for information about relatives who escaped Nazi Germany to England in the 1930s and thereafter. According to their literature, World Jewish Relief was “[f]ounded in 1933 as the Central British Fund for German Jewry (CBF) … [and] helped bring around 65,000 Jewish refugees, predominantly from Germany and Austria, to Britain. Once here, [they] provided a welfare system, helping refugees find housing, employment, receive medical care and making sure they had enough money to survive. Through this work, the charity established a trusted relationship with the Home Office and lobbied Parliament to allow them to instigate schemes such as the Kindertransport, which rescued 10,000 children, and The Kitchener Camp, which was a means to bring approximately 4,500 Jewish men into the country, many from concentration camps.”
After the war, the organization continued to provide relief to Jewish survivors, bringing children who had survived the camps to England for care and education and rehabilitation. According to their literature, the charity “continued to help Jewish refugees throughout the twentieth century, including those fleeing Egypt, Iran, Czechoslovakia and Bosnia. From funding flights to finding them accommodation, we always provided a safe place for our global Jewish family.”
The charity changed its name to World Jewish Relief in the 1990s and has continued its mission of providing aid and assistance to people of all backgrounds from all over the world who have “survive[d] the consequences of conﬂict and disaster, to thrive and rebuild their lives.”
In addition to this important charitable work, the organization also provides research assistance to those like me who are looking for information about their family members who escaped to England as refugees from Nazi Germany. Although its files are not comprehensive, there are registration slips for 65,000 refugees and case files for about 35,000 of those refugees.
For Jenny Blumenfeld, there was not a complete case file, just a registration slip. But it provided me with a few more snippets of information about a woman named Jenny Blumenfeld, who probably was my cousin.
From this brief document, I learned that a Jenny Blumenfeld arrived in England on May 2, 1934, and left for Palestine in 1935. Of course, this document isn’t necessarily for the same Jenny Blumenfeld. The one entry that gives me pause is that she was last living in Lueneburg, Germany, which is 230 miles from Kirchhain, where my Jenny was born and raised. What would a young single Jewish woman have been doing there in 1934? The card also doesn’t have an exact birth date, just an age, 26. Jenny was born on June 23, 1907, so would have been 26 (almost 27) on May 2, 1934.
I am not sure what the other two dates on the card refer to. There is a notation of “16-2-42” that is crossed out. And then on the reverse it says “Addr[ess?] Unknown rce?. reh? left? 24-5-44.” I don’t know the relevance of those two dates, but I know that Jenny was by that time living in Palestine. I asked Sharon Adler, the volunteer with the World Jewish Relief Archives who sent me the registration card, what she thought the dates meant, and she hypothesized that it might have been times that others were inquiring about Jenny’s whereabouts. But she could not be certain.
It’s too bad that World Jewish Relief does not have a complete file on Jenny so that I could be more certain that this is my cousin Jenny Blumenfeld Warburg. But since Hilde did say that Jenny first went to England before going to Palestine, there is enough here to give me some reason to believe that Jenny left Germany and went to England on May 2, 1934, and then left for Palestine the following year. Maybe these dates will lead to more information. If anyone has any ideas, let me know.
I am grateful to Sharon and the World Jewish Relief organization for their help, and I hope other researchers will also take advantage of this wonderful resource.