Escaping from Germany: Another Splintered Family, the Cramers

Helene Goldschmidt and Salomon Fuld’s oldest child, Clementine II, was born in 1874 and married David Cramer in 1892. They had two children, Sally David Cramer (1893) and Caroline Lilly Cramer (1894).

Let’s review where each member of the family was as of 1933 when the Nazis came to power and then learn where they were up through the end of World War II.

Sally David Cramer

Sally married Margarete Steinberg in 1921 and they had two sons, Hans Clemens and Peter Andreas, born in the 1920s.

Peter died as an eight-year-old on February 14, 1932, in Frankfurt.

Peter Cramer death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 11001
Year Range: 1932, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Sally and Margarete then had a third child, a daughter, born July 15, 1933, in Frankfurt,1 just months after Hitler’s rise to power.

Fortunately, they left Germany by 1939 and were living in England where Sally was working as a “company director.”2

Their family suffered another terrible tragedy when their oldest son Hans Clemens, then known as John Denis Cramer, was killed on March 23, 1943, while serving in the British army during World War II; he was only 21 and was the second child of Sally and Margarete to predecease them.3

Thus, leaving Germany had not saved young Hans/John from danger.

Hans Clemens aka John Denis Cramer, probate listing, ncestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995. Original data: Principal Probate Registry. Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration made in the Probate Registries of the High Court of Justice in England.

Caroline Lilly Cramer Drey

We saw that Sally’s sister Lilly (as she was known) married Arthur Drey in 1919, and they had three children born in Frankfurt in the 1920s: Dorothy, Claude, and Elizabeth. Arthur Drey was a known Expressionist poet and playwright in Germany. You can read a collection of his poems (in German, but easily translated by Google Translate) here.

Lilly and Arthur got out of Germany not long after Hitler came to power. According to this website devoted to the works of his son Claude Drey, Arthur feared he would be denounced for his anti-Nazi activities, and in 1933, he and his family left Germany and settled in Milan, Italy, for six years.

Then when Mussolini began to collaborate with Hitler in the late 1930s, Lilly and Arthur decided to leave Italy. They arrived in the United States on May 22, 1939 after first going to England, according to their naturalization papers. That was the same day that Hitler and Mussolini signed their Pact of Steel, forging a military alliance and paving the way to World War II.

Arthur Drey, Declaration of Intent, he National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; NAI Title: Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1/19/1842 – 10/29/1959; NAI Number: 4713410; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: 21,  (Roll 566) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 443101-444000), Ancestry.com. New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

On the 1940 census, they were living in New York City, and Arthur was working as a director for an “electric firm.”4 His World War II draft registration identified him as self-employed by the Filtered Water Service Corporation in New York City.

Arthur Drey, 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

Their son Claude was also working for his father’s company:

Claude Drey, World War II draft registration, Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

This biography of Claude provides greater details about his life:

During his first years in New York, Claude dedicated his time to studying English and engineering. He attended City College at night, and worked in the family’s water cooler rental business by day. He also began a lifetime pursuit of analytical psychology.  Claude worked with analysts under the school of Carl Jung.

In 1943, Claude’s older sister Dorothy married Rudolf Gerd Hamburger,5 who later changed his surname to Harvey.6 Rudolf was born in Berlin, Germany, on September 8, 1909, to Leo Hamburger and Johanna Borchardt.7 Dorothy and Rudolf had two children together.

Clementine Fuld and David Cramer

Meanwhile, Sally and Lilly’s parents Clementine and David Cramer had been living in Nice, France,  They arrived in New York on October 27, 1941, after the Nazis had occupied France.

David Cramer, declaration of intention, The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; NAI Title: Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1/19/1842 – 10/29/1959; NAI Number: 4713410; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: 21, Description: (Roll 649) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 517601-518500), Ancestry.com. New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

On the ship manifest as well as the declaration of intent, they named both their children, Sally in England and Lilly in New York.

David and Clemetine Cramer, passenger manifest, Year: 1941; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 6588; Line: 1; Page Number: 114
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Thus, the whole family had left Germany in time and escaped the Nazis, but Clementine and David had lost their grandson Hans/John in the fight against the Nazis.

After the War

The family suffered two losses in the first years after the war. David Cramer died in New York on February 8, 1946 just five years after his arrival in the US and six months after the end of World War II; he was 84, and he was survived by his wife Clementine, their two children Sally and Lilly, and their grandchildren.8

Then on June 17, 1948, Dorothy Drey’s husband Rudolf was killed in a plane accident in Mt. Carmel, Pennsylvania.  He was one of 43 people killed when a United Airlines DC-6 tried to make an emergency landing and hit a 60,000 volt electrical tower and burst into flames.9 Dorothy was only 26 when she lost her husband; their two children were just preschoolers.

Rudolph Harvey, death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1967; Certificate Number Range: 051151-053700, Certificate Number Range: 051151-053700, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1967

According to Cibella/Baron, Dorothy remarried a few years later and had another child with her second husband.

But not all the family news was bad after the war. Elizabeth, the youngest Drey sibling, married Eric Harry Caspari in September 1949, in New York City.10 Eric was the son of Leo Caspari and Margarete Meyer and was born on April 6, 1914, in Berlin, Germany. 11  Elizabeth and Eric had three children together.

In the 1950s, Claude Drey developed an interest in photography. The website devoted to his works included this comment:

As with so many other pursuits he was determined to bring it to a professional level. He studied under several photographers and was influenced by Edward Weston.  Most of his work was in black and white; he did all of his own development.  Claude was successful in having his work exhibited in several gallery shows including a one-man exhibit at the Image Gallery. His works was sold to publishers for use in advertising and appeared in several books.  

Most of Claude’s photography focused on nature. He took many pictures of animals, plants and flowers. He traveled to California and did a series on Point Lobus.  Claude’s family and friends were models – especially his young wife Grace.  His photography related in many ways to his psychological studies and particularly in his pictures of people, he tried to capture a part of their spirit.

A more unusual series of photographs Claude created was on car “graveyards” and on a slaughterhouse.  For some the pictures of the animals being killed and butchered may be disturbing.

I would imagine that that series of disturbing photographs was somewhat inspired by the experiences he had as a teenager and young man running from the Nazis and Fascists in Europe and then learning what had happened to those who had not been fortunate enough to leave in time. You can see some of Claude’s photography here.

Clementine Fuld Cramer survived her husband David by sixteen years; she died at 87 on March 30, 1962.12

Her son-in-law Arthur Drey died on July 1, 1965; he was 72.13 And his wife Lilly Cramer Drey followed him almost exactly a year later. She died on June 23, 1966, at the age of 71.14 They were survived by their three children and eight grandchildren. Their daughter Dorothy died on February 10, 1972, in New York, 15 Claude Drey died on November 7, 1989,16 and the youngest sibling Elizabeth died on July 8, 2005.17

Clementine’s son Sally Cramer, who had outlived his two sons as well as his parents and sister Lilly, died in London at the age of 87 on March 9, 1977;18 his wife Margarete died ten years later on December 10, 1987.19 She was 89. They were survived by their youngest child.

Clementine Fuld Cramer’s story is another story of German Jews who escaped in time and ended up contributing much to their new homeland. Claude Drey’s photographs are worth examining to see the beauty that he could find around him despite having had such a difficult and disrupted boyhood.

 

 

 


  1. FHL Film Number: 004909566m Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965 
  2. Sally David Cramer and family, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/868A, Enumeration District: BOAA, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register 
  3. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed 03 April 2020), memorial page for Pvt John Denis Cramer (unknown–23 Mar 1943), Find a Grave Memorial no. 151392819, citing Willesden United Synagogue Cemetery, Willesden, London Borough of Brent, Greater London, England ; Maintained by Find A Grave (contributor 8) . 
  4. Arthur Drey and family, 1940 US census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02647; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 31-964, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  5.  Name: Dorothy Drey, Gender: Female, Marriage License Date: 26 May 1943
    Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Rudolph F Hamburger, License Number: 10550, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 5, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  6. See his World War II draft registration at Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947. 
  7. Rudolf Harvey death certificate, Pennsylvania Historic and Museum Commission; Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1967; Certificate Number Range: 051151-053700, Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1967 
  8.  Certificate Number: 3719, New York City Department of Records & Information Services; New York City, New York; New York City Death Certificates; Borough: Manhattan; Year: 1946, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Index to Death Certificates, 1862-1948 
  9. There are many news articles about the crash, which was the second worst in US history at that time. For example, “DC-6 Wreck Hides Cause of Tragedy,” The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pennsylvania, 18 Jun 1948, Fri • Page 1 
  10.  Elizabeth H Drey, Marriage License Date: 9 Sep 1949, Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Harry E Caspari, License Number: 24292, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 35, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  11. Eric Harry Caspari, Birth Date: 6 Apr 1914, Birth Place: Berlin, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 6 May 1975, Father: Leo Caspari, Mother: Margarete Meyer
    SSN: 168126664, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  12. Certificate Number: 7231, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Death Index, 1949-1965 
  13.  Arthur Drey, Social Security Number: 094-14-0864, Birth Date: 9 Sep 1890
    Last Residence: 10025, New York, New York, New York, USA, Death Date: Jul 1965
    Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  14.  Lilly Drey, Social Security Number: 068-24-9127, Birth Date: 26 Sep 1894
    Last Residence: 10025, New York, New York, New York, USA, Death Date: Jul 1966
    Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  15. Dorothy Schaefer, Birth Date: 30 Mar 1921, Death Date: Feb 1972
    SSN: 130142475, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  16. Claude Clemens Drey, Birth Date: 13 Nov 1919, Birth Place: Francfort PR, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 7 Nov 1989, Father: Arthur Drey, Mother: Lilly Cramer, SSN: 072127096, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  17. Elizabeth Helen Drey, [Elizabeth Helen Caspari]Birth Date: 22 Jan 1926
    Birth Place: Frankfurt Yi, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 8 Jul 2005
    Father: Arthur Drey, Mother: Lilly Cramer, SSN: 076202437, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  18. Sally Cramer, Registration district: Westminster Inferred County: Greater London
    Volume: 15, Page: 2123, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 15; Page: 2123, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 
  19. Margarete Cramer, Death Date: 10 Dec 1987, Death Place: London, Probate Date: 11 Oct 1988, Probate Registry: London, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995 

23 thoughts on “Escaping from Germany: Another Splintered Family, the Cramers

  1. Despite the many tragedies after their escape from the Nazis, you painted for them a picture of success and fulfillment in their new home country. I read a few of Arthur Drey’s poems. They are deeply embedded in the author’s psyche and are full of meaning. Google translate does not do justice to the poetic quality of Arthur’s work. Have a great day, Amy!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Claude’s photography is quite something. I especially enjoyed his photographic’s under ‘family’ and steered clear of slaughterhouse 🙂 This family certainly had it’s tears along with very sweet successes and highs. I enjoyed following their journey. Great post Amy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sharon. I guess when I see a family that escaped the Holocaust, it feels like a happy ending, even though there were other tragedies in their lives.

      Like

  3. I was glad to see that in general things went well for the family. They certainly were proactive about getting out of Germany!!! Sad about the few tragedies though. Do you know why the 8 year old died?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know. It’s always something worth looking for in these stories—when did they leave? where did they go? And when did they get there? Thanks, Michael.

      Like

  4. Interesting photos. My father-in-law spent months in the Marshall Islands (Quadulan) and his duties included burying Japanese who were killed. Apparently he took photos, which I’m sure was not allowed, and brought them home. I have not seen them, nor do I care to.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Amy, Thanks so much for all the links regarding Arthur Drey. My favorites among his photographs are the collections grouped under “Grace” and “Family”. He expresses many emotions through the light and dark in each photo. They draw the viewer into the moment, which for me was timeless. The very best is the one entitled, “Mother and Newborn”. Both were smiling. The B&W photo to me speaks of happiness in the moment, we capture it while we can.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was so blown away by the slaughterhouse photos that I need to go back to study the others again. Especially the noe you mentioned. Thanks Emily!!

      Like

      • I couldn’t bring myself to look at those. The auto graveyards say much about our consumer society and also have a touch of deeper meaning, about human behavior of casting aside something when it is no longer novel, shiny and new.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I get it. They were very hard to look at. Not only because they evoked the camps, but also because I haven’t eaten beef since 1971 because I couldn’t bare the way cows are slaughtered.

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