Rosa Abraham and Isidor Zechermann: A Final Update

The process of finding the story of Rosa Abraham has been a challenging one. At first all I had was her birth record and one passenger manifest for a Rosa Zechermann with the same birth date and birth place.

Ricchen Rosa Abraham birth record Nov 20 1892 Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Collection: Personenstandsregister Geburtsregister; Bestand: 920; Laufende Nummer: 6177

Rosa Abraham passenger card
The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger and Crew Manifests of Airplanes Arriving at Miami, Florida.; NAI Number: 2788541; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787 – 2004; Record Group Number: 85

Then with the incredible help of members of the Jekkes Facebook group, I learned that Rosa had married Isidor Zechermann and immigrated to Chile to escape Hitler. I had not found a marriage record, but several bits of circumstantial evidence supported that conclusion.

Most recently I’d received Rosa and Isidor’s request for repatriation as German citizens and Rosa’s application for reparations from the German government for the loss of her occupation. I also was able to deduce from various documents and directories that Rosa and Isidor must have married sometime between 1930 and 1932. But I still didn’t have a marriage record that proved when they were married and, perhaps most importantly, that the Rosa who married Isidor was in fact my cousin Rosa Abraham.  All the evidence pointed in that direction, but I had no official record, just secondary sources and circumstantial evidence.

I wrote to the city of Frankfurt to request a marriage record, and Sigrid Kaempfer of the Institut fuer Stadtgeschichte responded not only with Isidor and Rosa’s long sought marriage record, but with three other interesting documents as well. First, that much hoped-for marriage record:

Marriage record of Rosa Abraham and Isidor Zechermann

It states that Isidor Zechermann, merchant, born on February 25, 1878, in Frankfurt and living in Frankfurt, married Ricchen Rosa Abraham, business owner, born on November 20, 1892, in Niederurff, on September 17, 1930, in Frankfurt. Finally, I had the proof I needed to get closure. My cousin Ricchen Rosa Abraham, daughter of Hirsch Abraham and Pauline Ruelf, born on November 20, 1892, was the wife of Isidor Zechermann and had married him in the time period I had determined in my last post about Rosa.

Also of interest—the two witnesses to the marriage were Adele Trier, geb. Abraham, Rosa’s sister, and Alfred Trier, Adele’s husband. Adele and Alfred were the couple Rosa and Isidor went to visit in Queens in 1952, as I wrote about here.

Ms. Kaempfer also sent me a link to Isidor’s birth record, confirming that he was born on February 25, 1878, in Frankfurt. With the help of the German Genealogy group, I learned that Isidor was the son of Schaye Zechermann, a shoemaker, and Fanny Benedikt. (Special thanks to Heike Keohane and Carolina Meyer for their extraordinary help in decoding Schaye’s first name!)

Isidor Zechermann birth record
HStAMR Best. 903 Nr. 8916 Standesamt Mitte (Frankfurt) Geburtsnebenregister 1878, S. 61

And Ms. Kaempfer sent me two documents relating to the businesses operated by Rosa and Isidor. For Rosa, she sent me this record of her tax payments from 1924 through 1932 for her “Damenkonfektion” or ladies’ clothing business. The form also notes the change to her married name Zechermann. And it indicates that Rosa’s business was shut down on August 31, 1938, and deregistered on September 8, 1938, presumably by the Nazis.

Rosa Abraham business record 1924-1938

For Isidor, Ms. Kaempfer sent me the record of his registration as a haberdasher in Frankfurt. He first registered on September 6, 1933.

Isidor Zechermann business registration and deregistration

I am not sure how to interpret the various entries on the first line below the solid line on the right side of this card, which asks about the location and personnel of the management of the business, but the last two notes there—-“isr./isr” —-are quite obviously a reference to the fact that the owner of the business was Jewish (“Israeltisch”). And the red stamped entries on this card—indicating that the business was shut down on August 31, 1938 and deregistered on September 3, 1938—are clearly a reflection of Nazi persecution as presumably was the case with Rosa’s business.

With these final records, I now have closure on the life of Rosa Abraham and Isidor Zechermann.  I know when and where they were born, when and where they married, where they lived and worked in Frankfurt, when they emigrated from Germany and moved to Chile, and when they died. But it truly took a village to get here.

This search has proven once again that this work cannot be done alone and depends on the generosity of many people.  Thank you all! As this year draws to a close, I am mindful of and grateful for all the help I have received in 2017.

Let me take this opportunity to wish all my friends, family, and readers who celebrate Christmas a joyful and loving holiday.  I will be taking a short break from blogging, but will return in 2018 to start the saga of my Goldschmidt family.

Merry Christmas and  Happy New Year! Have a safe and happy holiday, everyone!


19 thoughts on “Rosa Abraham and Isidor Zechermann: A Final Update

  1. This was an amazing post Amy. The documents received for Rosa’s business are unbelievable. Your family history truly was impacted and directed by the rise and reign of Hitler. I am wondering if you have ever considered compiling a book of these stories specifically? A happy healthy New Year to you and your family. Excited about 2018!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sharon. I actually have thought about trying to keep a list or collect the stories of my relatives who were killed or otherwise affected by the Holocaust, but as the numbers grow, it has just become too overwhelming and too sad.

      I wish you and yours also a happy and healthy 2018!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Amy, I note that one of your interests is baseball. My Uncle Maurice Katz lived most of his life in Oklahoma City. He took my brother and me to our first major league game when he visited my mother (his sister)in New York. He got the tickets from his friend Mickey Mantle who was then the Yankee centerfielder. I don’t remember who the Yankees played that day, but the game was especially exciting with the lead changing almost every inning. He was also friendly with Bobby Murcer and several other major leaguers. I think the fact that he was a pawn broker in OKC may have been a factor.

    Thanks for all the facts and information; you do good work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing, cousin. My husband Harvey will enjoy this story as the Mick was his boyhood hero and to this day he is a loyal Yankee fan. He worked at the stadium when he was in high school, selling hot dogs and ice cream. I will share this with him!

      I am glad I could put some closure on the “missing” members of the Abraham family. 🙂


  3. Happy New Year to you and rest up on your break from blogging. As you can tell by the length between some of my post I rest up often. Like your husband Mickey Mantle was my favorite player and I have fond memories of watching him play (on the television) with my father. My dad played ball in the 1930s for a lumber company. It was a way to get a job in the depression if you were good enough to play. He worked at the mill and played for the company baseball team. While I never had the skills to play the game my dad taught me much while we watched the game. So much that I coached baseball for over 30 years. I don’t know how I got on this subject except I wanted to say I am a little jealous of your husband working at Yankee stadium. Anyway all the best in the New Year for you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Charles, for the good wishes and for the story. Have you ever been to Yankee Stadium? I prefer Fenway, of course, but the Stadium is the House that Ruth (and Mantle, etc.) built. I think Harvey feels like that job was the highlight of his adolescence! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


  4. Wow, Amy. Your persistence in writing to Frankfort really paid off. Seeing the document that effectively closed down Rosa’s store is very painful. I’m glad the village came through for you, Amy. Have a good couple of weeks and will be looking forward to your blogging in 2018!

    Liked by 1 person

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