When Fredericke Katzenstein Goldmann died in 1924, she was survived by her two daughters, Clementine and Meta, and one granddaughter, Clementine’s first child. By 1933, when the Nazis took power in Germany, there were five granddaughters to survive Fredericke—Clementine’s three daughters and Meta’s two daughters. The story of their fate during the Nazi era is not an easy one to tell. This post will focus on Clementine’s family.
Clementine and her husband Alexander Joel stayed in Germany during the Nazi era until it was too late. Clementine died in Hamburg on April 22, 1942. She was 65 years old.
When I look at those dates, I find it troubling that Clementine’s death coincided fairly closely with the timing of Alexander’s deportation. I find myself speculating about the cause of Clementine’s death. Did she know they were about to be deported? Did she know what was coming and decide to deny the Nazis a chance to kill her? Or was it just coincidence–illness or stress causing her death shortly before her husband’s deportation and death?
UPDATE: Thank you so much to Cathy Meder-Dempsey of Opening Doors in Brick Walls for pointing out to me that in fact the death record above does give Clementine’s cause of death—coronary embolism and coronary artery disease. Cathy also wondered whether Clementine’s death and the fact that Alexander had to report that he was unemployed and had a Jewish identity card precipitated his deportation shortly thereafter.
COMMENT: Elizabeth Foote pointed out in the comments that this record shows Alexander Joel’s wife as Selma Koopman. For reasons explained in my response to this comment (see below), I think this record (which is dated 1956, after the war and 14 years after Alexander’s death) erroneously listed Selma Koopman as his wife. Selma Koopman was married to a different Alexander Joel. In addition, I found naturalization records for Alexander Robert Joel, married to Selma, showing that they immigrated to the US in 1934 and that Alexander died in Cook County, Illinois, in 1955, so obviously the death record above was for the Alexander Joel married to my cousin Clementine.
Fortunately, all three of Alexander and Clementine’s daughters survived the Nazi era. Their oldest daughter Esther Joel and her husband Hermann Wolf ended up in Mexico, but I don’t know whether they were there during or only after the war. All I know is that they were both living there when they died in 1945 and 1955, respectively. According to Esther’s death record from Mexico, she was “francesa,” or French, which leads me to believe that she and her family lived in France for some period of time before immigrating to Mexico.
The death record also reports that Esther died from a massive pulmonary embolism and endocarditis and that she was buried in Israel (logar de inhumacion). She was only 44 years old when she died. Had the deaths of her parents and the stress of escaping with her family from Germany contributed to her early death? I don’t know.
Her husband Hermann died ten years later at the age of 57. From the death record, I learned that he had remarried and his widow was Carmen Hebert and that his son Fernando was originally from France, which is consistent with what I inferred from Esther’s death record.
My deep gratitude to Steve Mordecai of Tracing the Tribe who spent a lot of time translating Hermann’s death record from Spanish to English, as quoted below:
In the City of Mexico, Federal District, at 12:00 noon, on the 14th of March 1955, before me, Dr. Fidel Guillen, Head of the office of Civil Registration, presents, Mr. Luis Vidales, of this area, a single man of 50 years, funeral employee, living in Ave Hidalgo 13, in this City; and presents for insertion a document related to the death of an adult, Hermann Wolf Tannenberg, the which was archived in accordance with the law and in part condercente (?) Says: “Mimeco (?) 178. In the City of Cuernavaca, at 18 eighteen hours of the day 13 thirteen of March 1955, nineteen hundred fifty-five, before me, citizen Filipe Rivera Crespo, judge of the Registration of the Civil State, appeared one Mr Fernando Wolf, age 32, thirty-two, a married, businessman or (Merchant), originally of France, and neighbor (or living outside) of Mexico, Federal District, traveling in this City and presented a certificate, archived, which says: “He that medically certifies, legally authorized to exercise his profession: “ an individual male, in the house number 7, of the street de Balsas –Cause of death: Principal illness Myocardial Infarction – Cuernavaca moz (?), 13 March 1955.-Signature of the Medic: Guillermo Vega Campos. – Residence: Degollado 28 – Complementary (?) Data – Day and hour of death 12:45 Sunday 13 March 1955, a male – Hermann Wolf Tannenberg -residence: Balsas #7. – Age 58 – place of birth, Hanover, Germany. Nationality Mexican, occupation – businessman (merchant) – civil status- married – name of father: Mauricio Wolf – mother Clare Tannenberg, (both) deceased. Name of spouse Carmen Hebert, living. – signature of the medic: Guillermo Vega Campos – at the request of the family(?)…. saw to the transfer of the cadaver to the City of Mexico, to be interred (?) Carried out this act in accordance with the family’s instructions (?) Signed: Felipe Rivera Crespo – F. Wolf – J Ferrrer. G (?) – Trio (?)” – Expedited bolete (?) to the Pantean Jardin de Villa Obergon, according to order 3061, of this date, (girade?) by the office of (Pante…?) Departament of the Federal District. Witnessed by Jose Martinez and Valente Lufran, ages 31 and 33. Of the same origen, occupation, civil status and residence of those appearing. Reading this act they ratify and confirm. Given (signed) Luis Vidal, J. Martinez and V. Lufran. [Emphasis added.]
Hermann and Esther were survived by their two sons, Fernando Werner Moshe Wolf, who died in Mexico in 1997, and Pierre Kurt Wolf, who immigrated to the United States and settled in Florida, where he died in 1979.1
Clementine’s second daughter Lizzie Joel Haas and her husband Siegfried and their two daughters also immigrated from Germany in time to escape the concentration camps. They arrived in the US on March 12, 1940, and were heading to a cousin, Hermann Youngheim of El Reno, Oklahoma.
When I saw the name Youngheim and the Oklahoma address, it struck me that there might be a connection between Hermann Youngheim and my Katz relatives in Oklahoma who were the descendants of Meier Katz and Sprinzchen Jungheim of Jesberg, Germany. And sure enough, Herman Youngheim was the nephew of Sprinzchen Jungheim Katz. And in addition, Herman Youngheim was the son of Fanny Marx Jungheim, the sister of Fredericke Marx Haas, mother of Siegfried Haas.
So Herman was Siegfried’s first cousin and must have helped Siegfried, Lizzie and their daughters escape from Germany. Siegfried changed his name to Fred in the US, and by 1942 the family was living in Indianapolis, Indiana, as seen on Fred Haas’ draft registration for World War II.
Lizzie died at age 55 in Indianapolis on February 6, 1958.
Her husband Fred later moved to Florida, where he died on July 27, 1971, at the age of 75.2 They were survived by their daughters and grandchildren.
The youngest Joel sister, Ille, also survived the Holocaust. I don’t have any primary sources for Ille. According to My Heritage, Ille and her husband Walter Cunow lived in Switzerland where Walter died in 1987 and Ille in 1994 and were survived by their two children. Unfortunately I have no further details or sources.
Thus, although Clementine Goldmann and her husband Alexander Joel did not survive the Holocaust, their three daughters all somehow managed to survive, and there are living descendants today to carry on their legacy.
As for Clementine’s younger sister Meta and her husband Adolf Hammerschlag and daughters Lieselotte and Irmgard, their story has more tragic endings, as you will see in my next post.
- Pierre Kurt Wolf, Birth Date: 30 Sep 1924, Birth Place: Saarbrucken, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: Jun 1979, Father: Hermann W Tannenberg
Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 ↩
- Fred Haas, Social Security Number: 314-12-6142, Birth Date: 6 Feb 1896
Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: Indiana, Last Residence: 33134, Miami, Miami-Dade, Florida, USA, Death Date: Jul 1971, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014; https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/180016722/fred-haas ↩