I learned something important from my first Mystery Photo post. Keep it simple. Too many photos makes it too confusing for people (and for me). Although a lot of people read the post, almost no one commented. I did go to Facebook and got some feedback about whether or not these two photos are both Babetta Schoenfeld Seligmann. Most people said yes, some said no.
For my second post involving the mystery photos from the Michel album, I want to start with some photographs that are clearly labeled as members of the Oppenheimer family and that present no mystery. The Oppenheimers were the children of Pauline Seligmann, sister of my great- great-grandfather Bernard. She and her husband Maier Oppenheimer had five children: Joseph, Martha, Anna, Ella, and Moritz, according to the Westminster Bank‘s family tree for Pauline.
The Michel album included clearly marked photographs of the two sons, Joseph and Moritz, and one of the daughters, Ella.
Joseph was born in 1875 and died at Dachau Concentration Camp in October, 1940.
I wrote about Moritz Oppenheimer in detail here. He was the wealthy industrialist who owned the horse breeding farm and who died in May 1941, under suspicious circumstances after being “questioned” by the Gestapo. Moritz was born in 1879.
How old do Joseph and Moritz appear to be in these photos? I am guessing between 25 and 35, meaning the photographs were taken between 1900-1910. Does that seem right?
The third clearly labeled Oppenheimer photograph is this one:
To Wolfgang and me, this seemed to say Milla Oppenheimer. But neither Joseph nor Moritz Oppenheimer married a woman named Milla and there was no sister named Milla. I posted the photograph on Facebook for some feedback, and one member of Tracing the Tribe pointed out that the M could really be an E, except for the dot over what seems to be an I. Then another member pointed that the “dot” was really part of the framing around the photograph, not part of the name written on the side. So I believe that in fact this is Ella Oppenheimer.
According to the family tree for Pauline Seligmann Oppenheimer prepared by the Westminster Bank, Ella never married or had children and died during the Holocaust, although I cannot find her in the Yad Vashem database. I did find in the JewishGen database entitled “German Towns Project” an entry for Ella Oppenheimer from Butzbach, who had been born there June 21, 1878 and had moved to Frankfort in 1939, (That database was created by asking officials in numerous Jewish towns to list their former Jewish residents and their fate, if known.) But that database had no information about how or where she died.
So these three photographs are pretty clear to me. The next possible photograph of one of the five Oppenheimer children is the woman at the center of the photograph I posted last time.
Here is a closeup of her face.
It certainly looks like it says Anna Oppenheimer over her head, doesn’t it?
Anna, another sister of Joseph, Moritz, and Ella, was born in 1877, and she died in 1908. In my earlier post, I assumed that the older woman in this photo was Babetta Seligmann, meaning the photo would have been taken in about 1890 or so since Babetta was born in 1810. But Anna certainly does not look thirteen in this photograph. How old does she look?
If I guess that she is 30, that would mean the photo was taken in 1907. That would make Babetta almost a hundred years old. Or maybe it’s not Babetta. Maybe the older woman is Pauline Seligmann Oppenheimer, who was also born in Gau Algesheim. Paulina was born in 1847, so she would have been sixty in 1907. That woman could be sixty (not that sixty-year old women look like that today). But then why is she labeled Grandmother? Pauline was not Franziszka Seligmann’s grandmother; she was her aunt. In the photo of Joseph Oppenheimer, she is referred to as Tante Pauline.
Franziska’s grandmother from Gau-Algesheim was Babetta. Fred Michel’s maternal grandmother was Rosa Bergmann Seligmann; she did live in Gau-Algesheim. She was born in 1853 and died in Gau-Algesheim in 1899. But that woman does not look 45, does she? I still think the elderly woman is Babetta.
But then how could that be Anna Oppenheimer? Am I misreading the name above her head?
So my only question for today: could that be Anna Oppenheimer?
That’s it for this post. I will return to the other people in this photo in a later post once I have some feedback. I am trying to narrow down the date so I can piece together the other parts of this puzzle.