Marcel Goldschmidt’s Children: The Two Who Did Not Survive

Although Marcel Goldschmidt’s widow (and cousin) Hedwig and two of their children escaped safely from Germany and survived the Holocaust, their other two children, Nelly and Else, met tragic fates.

Nelly and Else were the two middle children, and they married brothers. Nelly was married to Moritz Gutmann and Else to Siegfried Gutmann. Each had one child; Nelly’s son was Karl Hermann Gutmann, and Else’s son was Hermann Gutmann; both were named for their paternal grandfather, Hermann Gutmann. Up until the Nazi era, both families were living in Frankfurt. I have no information about Siegfried Gutmann’s occupation, but his brother Moritz was an art dealer like so many of his Goldschmidt in-laws.1

Nelly Goldschmidt Gutmann’s story is particularly heartbreaking because she could have survived had the family made a different decision. On January 13, 1936, Moritz Gutmann arrived in the United States and filed a declaration of intention to become a US citizen two months later. On his declaration he listed his wife Nelly and reported that she was residing in Frankfurt and that their son Karl was living in Holland. Moritz also indicated that his prior residence before entering the US had been Toronto, Canada, and that he had entered the US in Buffalo, New York, but was now residing in New York City.

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
Source Information
Ancestry.com. New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

Moritz and Nelly’s son Karl arrived the following year on December 16, 1937 when he was fourteen. On the ship manifest he indicated that he was going to his father in New York and leaving behind his uncle, “S. Gutmann,” i.e. Siegfried Gutmann, in Amsterdam. Thus, by that time Else Goldschmidt and her husband Siegfried Gutmann had also left Germany.2

But where was Else’s Goldschmidt’s sister Nelly Goldschmidt Gutmann, the wife of Moritz Gutmann, mother of Karl Gutmann? She was still in Germany, now in Coblenz, according to the petition for naturalization that Moritz filed on November 21, 1941. She and Moritz had divorced in August, 1940 in Florida.3

Moritz Gutmann petition for naturalization, National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, DC; NAI Title: Index to Petitions for Naturalizations Filed in Federal, State, and Local Courts in New York City, 1792-1906; NAI Number: 5700802; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21
(Roll 1347) Petition No· 390451 – Petition No· 390950, Ancestry.com. New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

Nelly thus never came to live in the US and was still in Germany as late as November 21, 1941, two years after the beginning of World War II. According to the Page of Testimony filed at Yad Vashem by her cousin Regina Blanche Rosenberger, Nelly was living in a mental institution during the war and was killed sometime during the war. She was gassed on a train.

We don’t know all the circumstances surrounding Nelly’s life—why she was institutionalized and when, why her extended family wasn’t able to take her with them when they left Germany, or even where and when she was murdered. But we know that her life ended tragically and violently at the hands of the Nazis.

Fortunately, Nelly was survived by her son Karl, who did escape in time. As noted above, Karl had arrived in 1937 when he was fourteen years old. According to his declaration of intention filed on October 28, 1941, when he was seventeen, Karl was at that time a student at Pennington School, a boy’s college preparatory school in Pennington, New Jersey. (The declaration says Pennsylvania, but that’s incorrect.)

Karl Gutmann 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,  (Roll 638) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 507401-508300), Ancestry.com. New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

Karl enlisted in the US Army on February 11, 1943, and petitioned for naturalization while stationed in Spartanburg, South Carolina.4 In August 1945 he was hospitalized in an unidentified hospital for a non-battle-related injury to his eye caused while cleaning a firearm.5 I could not (yet) find other records of his military service, but I did find him on a Navy transport ship returning from France on April 12, 1946, a year after the war in Europe had ended.6

Interestingly, Karl married Joan C. Fenton just six days after returning from Europe. They were married on April 18, 1946, in New York, and had three children.7  Karl and Joan later divorced, and he married Gisela Bartels in 1974.8 They moved to Florida, where Karl died on February 8, 1995, at the age of 71.9

Thus, although Nelly did not survive the Holocaust, she has descendants who are alive today and living in the United States. I hope that I can connect with them and learn more about their grandmother.

As mentioned above, Nelly’s sister Else Goldschmidt Gutmann did leave Germany before World War II started. She and her husband Siegfried Gutmann were in Amsterdam when their nephew Karl arrived in the US in 1937.  Unfortunately Else and Siegfried were not safe from the Nazis in the Netherlands. At some point after Hitler conquered the Netherlands, they were sent to the camp at Westerbork in the Netherlands and then from there on July 20, 1943, they were deported to the Sobibor concentration camp where they were murdered. These Pages of Testimony and a letter found in their files at Yad Vashem attests to the cruelty of their deaths:

Siegfried was 57 when he was killed, and Else only forty.

But as was the case with Else’s sister Nelly, Else and Siegfried were survived by their son, Hermann Goldschmidt. His story merits separate posts that will come next.


  1. Moritz Gutmann, Declaration of Intent, 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, Ancestry.com. New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943 
  2. Karl Gutmann, passsenger manifest, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 143, Ship or Roll Number: Statendam, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  3. Moritz Gutmann, Gender: Male, Spouse’s name: Nelly Gutmann, Divorce Date: 1940, Divorce Place: Dade, Florida, USA, Certificate Number: 6976, Ancestry.com. Florida, Divorce Index, 1927-2001 
  4.  Karl Hermann Gutmann, Gender: Male, Declaration Age: 20, Record Type: Petition
    Birth Date: 4 May 1923, Birth Place: Frankfort On Maim, Germany, Arrival Date: 16 Dec 1937, Arrival Place: New York, NY,Declaration Date: 8 May 1943, Declaration Place: Greenville, South Carolina, USA, Court District: U.S. District Court for the Greenville Division of the Western District of South Carolina. (06/26/1926 – 03/18/1966)
    Petition Number: 2589, The National Archives at Atlanta; Morrow, Georgia, USA; Record Group Title: 21; Record Group Number: Records of District Courts of the United States, Ancestry.com. South Carolina, Naturalization Records, 1868-1991; Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946. 
  5. National Archives and Records Administration; Hospital Admission Card Files, ca. 1970 – ca. 1970; NAI: 570973; Record Group Number: Records of the Office of the Surgeon General (Army), 1775-1994; Record Group Title: 112,
    Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Hospital Admission Card Files, 1942-1954 
  6. Karl Gutmann, ship manifest, Year: 1946; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 285, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  7.  Karl H Gutmann, Marriage License Date: 18 Apr 1946, Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Joan C Fenton, License Number: 12447, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 18, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  8. Karl H Gutmann, Marriage License Date: 1974, Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Gisela E Bartels, License Number: 23231, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  9. Karl Gutmann, Birth Date: 4 May 1923, Death Date: 6 Feb 1995, SSN: 067180184
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 

23 thoughts on “Marcel Goldschmidt’s Children: The Two Who Did Not Survive

  1. I can only chime in my agreement. Heart-breaking but vital. Humans forget too easily what is inconvenient to hear.

    An aside; I found the term “the long sojourn” really slapped me in the face. More like a long holiday by the seaside than a concentration camp.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, strange choice of words. And as I posted this one today, I really wanted to add (as I did when I posted on my personal page on Facebook) some parallel to what is happening in the US right now. But I didn’t want to take away from the story of these people.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I understand that. I think the parallels are quite clear, and don’t need to be stated. And you’re right; the stories of Nelly, Else and Siegfried are important in their own right.

        Like

  2. Prompted by your post on Marcel Goldschmidt’s children, who did not survive the holocaust, I read the horrific details of life and death in the Sobibor extermination camp.
    What I cannot understand, Amy, why so many Jews decided to stay in Nazi Germany and did not flee while they could. Perhaps out of love for the country they grew up in, they were willing to put up with the discriminatory laws (marriage, property, citizenship etc.) not knowing about the extermination camps.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think that for many, it was that they just couldn’t believe their country would ever betray them. It seems short-sighted now, but remember that these people had roots in Germany going back hundreds of years. As someone who made the courageous decision to leave your homeland, you probably have a harder time imagining this, but for someone like me, it’s easier to understand the fear of going to a new place where you don’t know the language or the culture or the people. And some did not have the resources. It’s like asking why African Americans haven’t left the US after hundreds of years of oppression. For German Jews the idea that their fellow citizens would allow them to be killed must have seemed preposterous in 1938 before Kristallnacht. They likely thought (like far too many Americans think about Trump) that Hitler’s time would end and life would return to normal. Many did leave right after Kristallnacht. And also remember that the Nazis did not start sending German Jews (as opposed to Polish Jews, for example) to the death camps until relatively late—too late for them to escape because the war was already going on.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for throwing additional light on the possible reasons why Jews decided to stay in Nazi Germany even though the writings were on the wall. You also hinted (Trump) that living in a democracy we need to be vigilant and take our history lessons from the past seriously. Thank you, Amy!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Hermann Gutmann, Child Refugee from the Nazis: An Oral History | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  4. Your posts do a great service to personalizing the horror of the Holocaust. Each of these stories are just unimaginable, and yet they happened to real people. An important truth to share. I’m eager to hear if you’re able to make contact with Nelly’s descendants and learn more about her life. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Michael. I do feel a duty to remind and honor the memory of those who were killed and also those who survived, but had their lives totally turned upside down.

      Like

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