Fredericke Katzenstein Goldmann’s Daughter Meta: A Family Destroyed

Fredericke Katzenstein Goldmann’s older daughter Clementine died in April 1942, just months before her husband Alexander Joel was deported to the concentration camp at Terezin, where he died in December 1942. But their daughters all survived the Holocaust as did their grandchildren.

Clementine’s younger sister Meta was not even that fortunate. She and her husband Adolf Hammerschlag and daughter Lieselotte were all murdered at Auschwitz. The page devoted to their Stolpersteine in Hamburg provides this biographical information:

[Adolph Hammerschlag], his wife Meta, and their daughters Lieselotte (*10 August 1910) and Irmgard (4 March 1915) lived in Göttingen, where he was a wealthy businessman, the co-owner of the grain company Bachmann Bros. …. Since profits fell rapidly after 1933, Hammerschlag moved the offices of his company to his private residence in Göttingen .… In the following years the political situation brought the company to a standstill.

Adolph Hammerschlag was arrested during the November Pogrom in 1938, and his company was “Aryanized” on 21 November. It was taken over by a grain merchant from Göttingen who was one of the first members of the Nazi Party.

After his release, Adolph Hammerschlag and his wife fled to Hamburg to his sister, Mrs. Alexander Joel, [sic: Mrs. Alexander Joel was Adolph’s sister-in-law, not his sister]…. The formerly wealthy couple was now destitute. ….[They were deported to Auschwitz on July 11, 1942, and murdered there.]

Hammerschlag’s daughter Lieselotte Blum and her husband had lived in Brussels since 1939. They were deported to Auschwitz in 1942. His daughter Irmgard married Heinz Baehr in September 1936. The couple was able to emigrate to Haifa in Palestine.

Thus, only Meta’s younger daughter Irmgard survived. The immigration documents for her and her husband Heinz show that they arrived in Palestine in 1937 and became naturalized citizens in 1939.

Irmgard’s husband Heinz died in 1947, according to Geni; he was only 33 years old. Irmgard remarried later, but I don’t know if she had any children with either husband. Irmgard died in Haifa in 1977, according to My Heritage. She was 62.

Thus, Fredericke Katzenstein Goldmann not only lost her husband Leopold and her son Karl before she died—both of her daughters, Clementine and Meta, and their husbands and one of her granddaughters died during the Holocaust. But her four other grandchildren survived as did their children.

Sometimes the randomness of who survived and who did not just overwhelms me.

23 thoughts on “Fredericke Katzenstein Goldmann’s Daughter Meta: A Family Destroyed

  1. Before I visited Volkmarsen — the cemetery and the museum — as well as Vöhl, the Holocaust was a terrible event that took place in Europe long before I was born, and certainly didn’t affect my family, since my ancestors arrived in 1866. Since that visit, it has become real. VERY real. And my research has led me to find over 30 relatives (so far) who were murdered in the Shoah. I cannot find the words to express the sometimes overwhelming sorrow that fills me. I realized the best we can do is to identify those who were lost, celebrate their lives as much as we’re able, do what we can to learn who they were as people, and share their names whenever and wherever we can. You, dear Amy, are doing a fabulous job of that. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much, Elizabeth. My experience was the same. My direct ancestors were all in the US by 1904, most by 1860. I thought I had no relatives who were killed in the Holocaust. I’ve lost count now as to how many of my cousins were killed. But each time I find another, it takes my breath away.


  2. Hi Amy, it’s extremely upsetting. My ancestors were here or in the USA by 1872 and so I naively thought they had dodged the horrors of the 1930’s/40’s. However, delving sideways I have discovered a few who stayed in Germany and succumbed to the camps. Always well done to you for bringing to our attention this evil period in history.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I also believed that about my relatives, Shirley. It was a shock, and it also is what drives me to write about all of these people, no matter how distant the relationship. We all need to know that we were all affected by the Holocaust.


  3. I’m sure it is more heart-breaking for you to research and write about the many who did not survive than for us to read these sad stories. But with each story, you are helping others to understand this period in time. It may be a generation or two back from us, but it is still recent history.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. That is also what compels me to keep writing these terrible stories. People need to be remembered—not only as the total six million, but as individuals with families and stories.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve learned far more from you than I ever learned in history during school. Or if I did learn it, I sure don’t remember it now. I took U.S. history in summer school just so I could get it over with quickly. I wish I had been as interested then as I am today. I hope I don’t find any of my ancestors who were murdered but if I do, I will use you as a guide to remind me that their memories should be honored. Thank you for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The whole story is overwhelming. I imagine that the surviving daughter lived with what we now call survivor’s guilt which is the ultimate “insult to injury”—understandable and so beyond unfair. I wonder how long it took to find out what had happened to all of her family. Just so horrible.

    Liked by 1 person

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