A Story Left Unfinished

Mina Katzenstein and Wolf Katzenstein had only one son, their middle child, Manus, who was born in Frankenau on April 23, 1863.

Birth record of Manus Katzenstein
Standesamt Höringhausen Heiratsnebenregister 1891 (HStAMR Best. 922 Nr. 5542)AutorHessisches Staatsarchiv MarburgErscheinungsortHöringhausen, p. 19

I have nothing more than the bare facts for Manus: birth, marriage, and death. He married Fanny Bickhardt on November 18, 1891, in Hoeringhausen, Germany.  Fanny was born on June 6, 1868, in Hoeringhausen.  She was the daughter of Abraham Bickhardt and Esther Lion.

Marriage record of Manus Katzenstein and Fanny Bickhardt
HStAMR Best. 922 Nr. 5542 Standesamt Höringhausen Heiratsnebenregister 1891, S. 19

I was not able to locate any children born to Manus and Fanny.  I searched the birth registers for Frankenau, Hoeringhausen, and Momberg, but found nothing. The only other residence I found for Manus and Fanny was Frankfurt, but that was in 1941, long after they would have had children. If they’d moved to Frankfurt early in their marriage and had children there, I was not able to find any such children.

In fact, I could not find any information about either Manus or Fanny between their marriage in 1891 and their deaths. Manus Katzenstein died on October 15, 1941, of Altersverfall—old age. He was without occupation at the time of his death and was living with his wife Fanny in Frankfurt. It appears that he died at the Jewish community hospital in Frankfurt. Notice that both Manus and Fanny had been assigned the middle names used by the Nazis to identify someone as Jewish—-Israel for Manus and Sara for Fanny.

Manus Katzenstein death record
Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_11127

I wish I knew how and why and when Manus and Fanny had ended up in Frankfurt.  Had they moved there of their own free will before the Nazis came to power or even afterwards? Or had they been deported there? Did Manus really die from old age (he was 78 years old), or had he been mistreated and died from abuse, neglect, torture, or worse? I don’t know.

What I do know from the Yad Vashem database is that on September 1, 1942, Fanny Bickhardt Katzenstein was deported from Frankfurt to Theriesenstadt, where she died on April 15, 1943, just seven months after arriving there.  She was 74 years old.

The story of Manus and Fanny is for me a hard one to leave alone. I keep hoping to learn more. Why hadn’t they left Germany like the children of Manus’s sisters Rosa Katzenstein Katz and Karoline Katzenstein Blumenfeld and their other nieces and nephews? What kept Manus and Fanny in Germany if they had no children? Were they just unable to leave? How I wish I could learn more.

But sadly these are the only traces of them that I have—a birth record, a marriage record, a death record, and an entry in Yad Vashem.  It doesn’t feel like nearly enough to honor their lives and their memories.

UPDATE! Once again my friend Aaron Knappstein has come to my rescue.  Aaron found this page for me, and it has a great deal of information about Manus Katzenstein. I am now trying to sort through it and will update again once I understand it.


11 thoughts on “A Story Left Unfinished

  1. We all have stories which don’t seem to be finished and then sit there waiting for us to find the missing information. By sharing the little you know and admitting to not knowing more, you may find someone interested in solving the mystery. Good luck, Amy.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. These mysteries have captured me, Amy. I just now have the ability to concentrate again and so I am ready all your past posts. I marvel at your capacity to forge on and discover new sources for your investigation. I want to add that I was not aware of the Nazi’s use of middle names to identify Jews. Keep on Keri g on cousin. Your efforts are connecting so many of us.

    Be well and have a good day


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Gayle! It means a lot to me for you to say this. I hope you are doing well—your reference to not being able to concentrate makes me wonder if I missed something? Take good care of yourself!! xoxo


  3. Pingback: Some Questions Answered and More Raised: Which Manus Katzenstein Killed the Pig? | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

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