Helene Katzenstein Brinkmann Werner: Losing A Son in World War I

When Amalie Goldschmidt Katzenstein died in 1903, she was survived by four of her children and eleven grandchildren. As we move into the twentieth century, I will focus on each of those four children separately, starting with Amalie’s oldest child, Helene Katzenstein Brinkmann Werner.

We already saw that Helene had first married Moritz Brinkmann in 1872 and that he had died six years later; she then married Max Werner in 1881, and they had three daughters and two sons.

Their first child was Henriette, born on January 15, 1882, in Eschwege.

Henriette Werner birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 923; Laufende Nummer: 1836, Year Range: 1882, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Then came Elsa, who was born on June 27, 1883, in Eschwege.

Elsa Werner birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 923; Laufende Nummer: 1837, Year Range: 1883, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Rosa, the third daughter, was born in Eschwege on January 15, 1885.

Rosa Werner birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 923; Laufende Nummer: 1839, Year Range: 1885, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Moritz was born September 12, 1888, in Eschwege.

Moritz Werner birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 923; Laufende Nummer: 1842, Year Range: 1888, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

And finally their fifth child Carl was born on February 21, 1894, in Eschwege.

Carl Werner birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 923; Laufende Nummer: 1848, Year Range: 1894, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Helene and Max’s children began to marry in the first decade of the 20th century. Henriette Werner married Julius Cohen on November 11, 1901, in Eschwege. Julius was born January 9, 1869, in Altona, Germany, a town neighboring Hamburg, to Salamon Cohen and Emma Moeller.

Henriette Werner marriage to Julius Cohen, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 923; Laufende Nummer: 1886, Year Range: 1901,
Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Henriette and Julius settled in Altona, where their daughter Mary was born on September 21, 1902.1 She was followed by her brother Manfred on June 1, 1904,2 and a second brother, Willy Wolf, on March 29, 1906.3

Henriette’s sister Elsa Werner married Julius Loewenthal on November 16, 1903, in Eschwege; as has already been discussed, Julius was her second cousin as his grandmother Sarah Goldschmidt Stern was the sister of Elsa’s grandmother Amalie Goldschmidt Katzenstein.

Having already discussed the story of Elsa and Julius and their children here and here, as well as in Julius’ memoir, discussed here, here, here and here, I will simply refer you back to those sources.

Helene and Max’s third daughter Rosa Werner married Josef Wormser on June 15, 1908. Joseph was the son of Raphael Wormser and Fanni Hirsch and was born in Karlsruhe, Germany, on October 17, 1874.

Rosa Werner marriage to Josef Wormser, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 923, Year Range: 1908, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Rosa and Josef had four children, all born in Zurich, Switzerland, where Rosa and Josef had settled. Esther was born on October 13, 1909, Raphael on April 17, 1911, Julius was born on January 8, 1914, and Helene on January 22, 1917.4

Unfortunately, Helene Katzenstein Werner did not live to see the birth of her grandchildren Julius and Helene. She died on December 31, 1912, in Eschwege. She was 58. Her granddaughter Helene Wormser was presumably named for her.

Helene Katzenstein Werner death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 923; Laufende Nummer: 1957, Year Range: 1912, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

In some ways Helene’s death was a blessing because she was spared the suffering caused by World War I, including the death of her son Carl (sometimes spelled Karl) on September 25, 1916, while fighting for Germany. According to his death record filed in Eschwege, he died at the eastern front in Russia-Poland at the Schtschara-Serwetsch battle site. Thank you to the members of the GerSIG group on Facebook for their help in transcribing and translating Carl’s death record:

Karl Werner death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 923; Laufende Nummer: 1962, Year Range: 1916, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Translation: Eschwege, October 11, 1916 The commander of the replacement battalion Landwehr Infantry Regiment 6 has announced that the non-commissioned officer in the 8th company of this regiment, businessman Karl WERNER, 22 years old, Mosaic religion, living in Eschwege, Friedrich Wilhelmstrasse 48, born in Eschwege, is single , Son of the businessman Max WERNER, residing in Eschwege, and his late wife Helene, née KATZENSTEIN, most recently residing in Eschwege, where the Shchara in Russian Poland died on the twenty-fifth (25) September of the year thousand nine hundred sixteen. The exact time of death has not been established.

The Shchara River is in what is now Belarus, not too far from the border with Poland. As noted on the death record, Carl was a member of the Third Landwehr-Division, Infantry Regiment No. 6. According to Wikipedia, “The 3rd Landwehr Division fought on the Eastern Front in World War I. It was on the front in Poland from the early days, and participated in the Gorlice-Tarnów Offensive, crossing the Vistula in July and advancing toward the Bug, and eventually reaching the line between the Servech and Shchara rivers, where the front stabilized. It remained in the line there until the armistice on the Eastern Front in December 1917.” It was obviously during one of the battles at this front that young Carl Werner was killed; he was only twenty-two years old when he gave his life for Germany.

Third Landwehr Division at the Eastern Front in World War I, found at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gorlice_bitwa.jpg#filelinks (public domain)

Max Werner died almost exactly three years after his son Carl on October 2, 1919; he was seventy.

Max Werner death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 923; Laufende Nummer: 1965, Year Range: 1919, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Neither Max nor Helene lived to see the birth of their last grandchild. Their son Moritz married Jenny Kahn on August 19, 1918; Jenny was born May 7, 1894, in Baisingen, Germany. She was the daughter of Moses Kahn and Amalie Marx.

Moritz Werner marriage to Jenny Kahn, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Year Range: 1918, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Moritz Werner and Jenny Kahn had one child, born in Eschwege in 1922, named Max, presumably for his paternal grandfather Max Werner.5

Thus, Helene Katzenstein and Max Werner were survived by four of their five children and numerous grandchildren. They lost their son Carl in World War I, but despite that sacrifice, Carl’s siblings all had to flee from Germany during the Nazi era. We’ve already seen the fate—some tragic—of Elsa Werner Loewenthal and her family. In the next post we will see what happened to Carl and Elsa’s sister Henriette and her family.


  1. Mary Cohen, naturalization petition, The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; ARC Title: Naturalization Petition and Record Books for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Eastern Division, Cleveland, 1907–1946; NAI: M1995; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States; Record Group Number: 21, Ancestry.com. Ohio, Naturalization Petition and Record Books, 1888-1946 
  2. Manfred Cohen, World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for Pennsylvania, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 439, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-194 
  3. William Wolf Cohen, World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; Draft Registration Cards for Ohio, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 261,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  4. I have no primary sources for these birth dates. They come from family trees on My Heritage and gravestones on BillionGraves. More on that later. 
  5. My source for this date is My Heritage. https://www.myheritage.com/research/record-40000-498970540/max-heinz-werner-in-geni-world-family-tree?s=260189871&indId=externalindividual-c8fe96479a56fe6e8786b0d8055934c5 

14 thoughts on “Helene Katzenstein Brinkmann Werner: Losing A Son in World War I

  1. It is a great tragedy that Carl fighting for Germany died so young on the battlefield of the eastern front in World War I. It is even a greater tragedy that the surviving Jewish soldiers were being persecuted by the Nazis in spite of their heroism for their beloved homeland.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This makes me think of the many Black servicemen and women here in the USA who returned from honorable service for our country only to find themselves still living with Jim Crow. So terribly unfair.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Henriette Werner Cohen and Her Children: Escaping from Germany | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

  4. Pingback: Unanswered Questions: Rosa Werner Wormser and Moritz Werner | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.