Retrieving Art Stolen by the Nazis and Helping Victims of Discrimination: Helene Goldschmidt Fuld’s Grandsons

Helene Goldschmidt Fuld’s only son Harry Fuld was my third cousin, twice removed.

Harry died on January 27, 1932, in the Netherlands, according to one source, or in Switzerland, according to others. He was 52 years old. Harry was survived by his wife and by two sons from his two earlier marriages, Harry Fuld, Jr., and Peter Harry Fuld.

By Googling Harry Fuld (sometimes I am amazed by what can be found!), I learned a great deal more about Harry and his sons than I had through ordinary genealogy tools. According to the website Deutsche Biographie,1 Harry Fuld, Sr. was a very successful entrepreneur. His grandfather Jacob Meier Goldschmidt wanted him to enter into the family’s art and antiques business, but Harry wanted to go into his own business. After training in a bank in Frankfurt and working in businesses in England, Belgium and France, he learned about an American business that leased telephone equipment and began his own such business in Germany. He experienced tremendous success, and his company expanded all over Germany as well as much of Europe. Harry also collected modern art and amassed a huge collection. When he died in 1932, he was a very wealthy man.

Harry’s heirs inherited his business and art collection, but when Hitler came to power and Jewish owned businesses were “Aryanized,” the Nazis seized the assets of the business and the art collection. There are numerous articles about the seizure of the art collection and the family’s efforts to reclaim the works after the war (see links below).

One thing that confused me about these articles is that they all referred to Harry’s widow as Lucie Mayer-Fuld, not Elsa Cajzago Tedesco, the name of his wife on the 1926 marriage record. Had Harry divorced his third wife Elsa Cajzago Tedesco Fuld and married a fourth time before he died in 1932?

That sent me down a rabbit hole, of course, looking for Lucie Mayer-Fuld. I couldn’t find a marriage record for a Lucie Mayer and Harry Fuld, nor could I find a birth record for her. The only records I initially found were listings for Lucie Mayer-Fuld in several Frankfurt directories from the late 1930s. But, of course, they did not tell me when or even whether she married Harry Fuld. Here’s one example from 1939.

Amtliches Fernsprechbuch für den Bezirk der Reichspostdirektion Berlin, 1939
Ancestry.com. German Phone Directories, 1915-1981

Then I located several ship manifests for Lucie Mayer-Fuld, but sailing with a man named Acatiu Mayer-Feld. Some of these manifests said he was born in Romania and so was Lucie; others said Hungary. I was really confused at this point. Had all those articles about the recovery of Harry’s art collection been wrong about the name of his widow?

Mayer-Fuld on passenger manifest, Year: 1941; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 6521; Line: 1; Page Number: 8, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Mayer-Fuld, passenger manifest, The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels and Airplanes Departing from New York, New York, 07/01/1948-12/31/1956; NAI Number: 3335533; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85; Series Number: A4169; NARA Roll Number: 205, Ancestry.com. U.S., Departing Passenger and Crew Lists, 1914-1966

The breakthrough came when I found one index of a ship manifest for a ship arriving in Buenos Aires, Argentina on August 27, 1940, that identified Lucie Mayer-Fuld’s birth place as Funfkirchen, and that rang a bell. I went back to check, and sure enough, Elsa Cajzago Tedesco Fuld was born in Funfkirchen. Could she be the same person as Lucie Mayer-Fuld? And if so, where did the Mayer in her surname come from?

Ship LUISA C. arriving to Buenos Aires on Aug 27, 1940, found at https://www.hebrewsurnames.com/arrival_LUISA%20C._1940-08-27

Searching for Acatiu, an unusual enough name, was easier than searching for Lucie, and I found this immigration card from Brazil. His father’s surname was Mayer, so the Mayer in Lucie’s name had come from Acatiu, not from her own birth name.

Acatiu Mayer-Fuld, Digital GS Number: 004914991
Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965

I assumed that if Acatiu had gone to Argentina in 1940 and Lucie was on the same ship with him, she also must have had an Brazilian immigration card. But it had not come up during my Ancestry search for Lucie Mayer-Fuld. This time I did a more focused search in that database, and her card appeared. And there was my answer; her parents were A. Cajzago and Alice Cajzago. Lucie Mayer-Fuld was the same person as Elsa Cajzago Tedesco Fuld, the third wife and widow of my cousin Harry Fuld. She had remarried after Harry’s death and escaped from Germany with her new husband Acatiu.

Lucie Mayer-Fuld, Digital GS Number: 004561378
Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965

As for Harry’s two sons, according to Wikipedia, Harry, Jr., the son of Flora Sondheimer and Harry Fuld, Sr., escaped to Switzerland in 1937, leaving his father’s art collection behind in his haste to leave Germany. By 1939, Harry, Jr. was in England. On his registration as an “enemy alien” in 1939, Harry stated that he was the manager and a shareholder of Autophone Ltd, which I assume was in some way related to his father’s phone leasing business. Harry, Jr. was sent to an internment camp as an enemy alien from June 21, 1940, until December 22, 1941, according to his enemy alien registration form.

Harry Fuld, Jr., The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/152, Piece Number Description: 152: Australia Internees 1940-1943: Germans and Austrians Released in Australia, A-J, Ancestry.com. UK, WWII Alien Internees, 1939-1945

After the war Harry, Jr., and his family began efforts to regain his father’s art collection. As the many articles devoted to these efforts reveal, it took many years and a great deal of effort, but eventually the family had some success. Sadly, most of that success came years and years after Harry, Jr., died in London on October 31, 1963;2 he was only fifty years old.

For more on the return of the family’s art collection, see the stories and images at the links listed below. Some of the works were just returned as recently as the fall of 2019. The stories are quite fascinating, the art quite beautiful. I can’t do justice to it here on the blog.

https://www.thejc.com/news/world/stolen-by-nazis-restituted-to-its-rightful-owners-now-sold-at-sotheby-s-for-magen-david-adom-uk-1.486050

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Mur_Rose

https://news.artnet.com/art-world/artworks-confiscated-nazis-restituted-jewish-art-collector-1640692

https://www.art-critique.com/en/2019/09/germany-returns-works-to-heirs-of-jewish-collector-and-businessman/

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/268431

As for Peter Harry Fuld, Harry, Sr.’s son with his second wife, Ida Felsmann, in the 1930s he was a teenager and living with his mother in Frankfurt. Ida was not Jewish, but because Peter’s father had been Jewish, making Peter a Mischling of the First Degree, Ida was concerned for his safety and sent him to Switzerland in 1937 and then to England in 1939. Peter wanted to study law at Cambridge University, but was interned on the Isle of Man as an enemy alien. He was then sent to Canada in June, 1940, where he again lived in an internment camp. According to the website for the foundation established in his name, he faced painful rejection and discrimination while confined in England and Canada: “Because of his Jewish roots on his father’s side, he was rejected by German and Jewish fugitives and avoided as a German by Canadian fellow students. He hardly found friends.”

After his release in 1941, Peter studied law at the University of Toronto and eventually returned to England after the war and devoted much of his time as a lawyer helping victims of discrimination. Peter married in 1957, but like his half-brother Harry, Jr., he died young. He died from an inoperable brain tumor on March 21, 1962, at the age of 41.

As mentioned above, a foundation was established in Peter’s name to provide support to victims of discrimination and to support education to fight discrimination.  You can learn more about the foundation here. All the information above about Peter came from that website.

Harry, Jr., and Peter died so close to each other in time that the London probate index lists them one after the other. How very sad.

Ancestry.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.

Like their father Harry Fuld, Sr., both Peter and Harry, Jr., left their mark on the world and are still remembered today. They were my fourth cousins, once removed.

 


  1. Lerner, Franz, “Fuld, Harry” in: New German Biography 5 (1961), p. 725 f. [Online version]; URL: https://www.deutsche-biographie.de/pnd136471404.html 
  2.  Registration district: Marylebone, Inferred County: London, Volume: 5d, Page: 357
    General Register Office; United Kingdom; Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 

18 thoughts on “Retrieving Art Stolen by the Nazis and Helping Victims of Discrimination: Helene Goldschmidt Fuld’s Grandsons

  1. It is truly sad that those stolen art treasures were released only after the entitled family members had passed away and could not enjoy the successful conclusion of their labours. Again, your thorough research skills are to be admired, Amy!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. At first, I only clicked over to the first article. Matisse and Klee! This piqued my interest and I skimmed through the other articles. What an impressive collection with more than 500 items.

    I love it when you get pulled down a rabbit hole and it turns out you were on the right track all along. Nice work on his widow, Amy.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Cathy! Yes, he had an amazing collection. It is evidence both of his good taste and of his business success. I wonder whether his grandfather would have accepted the fact that he chose not to go into the Goldschmidt art and antiques business.

      And yes—solving that little mystery about “Lucie” was very satisfying!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This was an amazing rabbit hole you stumbled into Amy. I was surprised by the content of the art ~ Christian themed, although breath taking. Great detective work on this. You used ancestry.com/UK to find the enemy alien card for Harry Jr.???

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I still can not understand the mindset that put Jews escaping Nazi Germany into detention camps after they arrived at their destination. It makes no sense. A Jew whose life is threatened by the Nazis would not work on their behalf as a spy in the country they arrived at, after such lengths they went to survive and make it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t either, Emily, but perhaps we don’t have the mindset that the English had during the war. They were frightened. We know people do terrible things to others when they are scared. That doesn’t excuse what they did, any more than it excuses what our own government did to Japanese Americans at the same time, rounding them up and putting them in prison camps for no reason other than their Japanese heritage.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Friday's Family History Finds | Empty Branches on the Family Tree

  6. What a fascinating read, Amy. The painting of St. Clare Rescuing the Shipwrecked is beautiful. Hard to believe that some of these cases are still being fought well into the 21st century.

    I was struck by your mention of Harry Jr. and Peter both being interned in the UK and released in 1941. I’m not familiar with this history, and wondered why the release in 1941 – did the law or approach change?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Michael. It is hard to believe that there are still so many pending cases involving art, books, and other property stolen by the Nazis.

      As for the UK internship, so many have inquired about this seeking more information in general that I see a big rabbit hole in my future. I know I’ve researched and written about this before, but now I need to find it on my blog.

      Like

  7. You did some amazing work discovering that the two women are the same person. The names are so different that it almost seems impossible to think of them as the same. Do you know how Henry Junior died? How sad that both sons died so young. Where is the art collection now? Or did I miss that?

    Liked by 1 person

    • The art is all over in different places. Some of the links in the blog post discuss that. And I don’t know what Harry’s cause of death was. He died too recently for me to get a death certificate from England.

      Like

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