The Children of Thekla and Felix Blumenfeld, Part IV: The Survivors

Thekla Blumenfeld Gruenbaum and her brother Felix Blumenfeld lost their lives in the Holocaust as did Thekla’s son-in-law Walter Herzog; Thekla’s grandson Manfred Herzog was killed fighting against Nazi Germany. But Thekla and Felix’s children and the other grandchildren all survived because most of them were able to leave Germany before it was too late.

Thekla Blumenfeld Gruenbaum’s Children and Grandchildren

Franz Moritz Gruenbaum, Thekla’s younger son, was in South Africa by 19351 and on March 18, 1937, he immigrated to the United States.2  Franz soon settled in Springfield, Massachusetts, just a few miles from where I now live, where he married a woman named Maria Pauline Strasser in 1938.3 Maria was born in Munich, Germany, on April 21, 1901, and was previously married to Richard Bachmann.4 Maria had known Franz in Kassel before they all immigrated, and she and Franz had spent time together in South Africa and traveled back to the US together in March 1937 as you can see on this ship manifest.5

Maria Bachmann and Franz Gruenbaum, ship manifest, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 16, Ship or Roll Number: Rex
Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Sometime after immigrating, Franz changed his name to Frank Gruen. He and Maria settled in Springfield and lived there for at least twenty years where Frank worked in the printing business6 and Maria taught German.7 At some point they relocated to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where they were living in 1980 when they died. Frank and Maria died within months of each other, Maria in January 1980,8 Frank two months later in March.9 She was 78, and he 80.

Franz Grunbaum World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Draft Registration Cards for Massachusetts, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 402, Name Range: Gross, Abraham-Grundstrum, Edwin, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Thekla’s older son Curt Wilhelm Gruenbaum was still in Kassel, Germany, in 1935,10 but thereafter left for England and then arrived in the US on May 9, 1939. He was living with his brother Franz in Springfield by 1939, and his wife Gertrude and son Heinz joined him in Springfield on May 25, 1939.11 By 1940 Curt and his family had relocated from Springfield to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Curt, like his brother Franz, was working in the printing business.12

Curt Wilhelm Gruenbaum, declaration of intention, National Archives at Boston; Waltham, Massachusetts; ARC Title: Petitions and Records of Naturalization , 8/1845 – 12/1911; NAI Number: 3000057; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Description: Petition No 277730, Jayme Gonzalez – Petition No 278386, Sarah Govenar. Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1798-1950

In 1942, Curt, who changed the spelling of his name to Kurt, was working for the Fuller Brush Company.

Kurt Grunbaum, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Draft Registration Cards for Massachusetts, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 402, Name Range: Gross, Abraham-Grundstrum, Edwin, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Kurt and Gertrude’s son Heinz, who changed his name to Henry, married Barbara Ann Gillespie in 1955 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.13 She was born on December 23, 1933, in Boston to Leslie and Pearl Gillespie.14 Henry and Barbara Ann had two sons.

Kurt and his wife Gertrude remained in Cambridge for the rest of their lives, which may explain why his brother Frank and Maria relocated there. Gertrude died at the age of 76 on July 7, 1977;15 Kurt died eight years later on February 6, 1985.16 He was 87 years old. They were survived by their son Henry and his wife and children. Henry died October 22, 2008;17 he was 76; his wife Barbara Ann survived him by seven years. She died on April 24, 2015, at 81. The family created a tribute page to Henry and his family with many photos of Henry and his parents Kurt and Gertrude here.

While the two sons of Thekla Blumenfeld Gruenbaum ended up in Massachusetts, her two daughters Caecile and Rosemarie ended up in New York.

Rosemarie Gruenbaum first immigrated to England. I don’t know when, but she is listed with her husband Ernest Heymann on the 1939 England and Wales Register.18 Ernest, a silk merchant like Rosemarie’s brother-in-law Walter Herzog, was born January 24, 1902, in Brussels.19 I was unable to learn more about Ernest’s family background or to find a record for their marriage. They had one child born in England in 1940.

UPDATE: Thank you so much to Cathy Meder-Dempsey who read this post and on her own decided to look up Ernest Heymann’s birth record. Now I know that he was the son of Edouard Heymann, a trader who was  born in Krefeld, Germany, and Mathilde Kaufmann, who born in Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle), Germany. Although I was able to go back another generation and find Eduoard’s parents’ names, I am still looking for a marriage record for Ernest and Rosemarie.

Birth record of Ernest Heymann, “Belgique, Brabant, registres d’état civil, 1582-1914,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DYHS-SBC?cc=1482191&wc=ST2N-6TG%3A966896201%2C967103401 : 22 May 2014), Brussel > Geboorten 14 dec (nr. 4370) 1901-sept 1902 > image 166 of 833; België Nationaal Archief, Brussels (Belgium National Archives, Brussels).

On November November 19, 1940, Rosemarie, Ernest, and their daughter left England for the US, arriving in the US in Boston on December 5, 1940.20 By February 1942 when he registered for the draft, Ernest and his family were living in Kew Gardens, Queens, New York, and he was working for Goodman and Theise, Inc., a textile company in New York City.

Ernest Heymann, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New York City, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Ernest Heyman (he later dropped the second N) died when he was 74 in 1976.21 His wife Rosemarie Gruenbaum Heyman outlived him by almost thirty years. She died at the age of 91 on April 14, 2004. They were survived by their daughter and her family.

After surviving persecution in two concentration camps—at Riga and Stuffhof, Caecilie Gruenbaum Herzog arrived in New York on July 17, 1946. The manifest indicates that she was headed to 83-57 118th Street in Kew Gardens, Queens, New York, the same address listed on Ernest Heyman’s draft registration depicted above.  I have no records for Caecile between 1946 and when she died on December 13, 1990, at the age of 95 in New York.22

Year: 1946; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 51, Ship or Roll Number: Marine Perch, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Caecile’s daughter Renata married Hermann Luedecke in London in the summer of 194423 and had one child with him in 1947.24 She later married Gunther Cahn in 1952,25 and they immigrated to Canada in 1955.26 Renata died in Toronto in 1995 Her husband Gunther died in 2012 in Canada.27

Felix Blumenfeld’s Children and Grandchildren

As for the children of Felix Blumenfeld, Felix’s son Edgar Blumenfeld and his wife Anna Hanau left Germany by 1935 and were living in Paris, France, when their son Gerard Blumenfeld was born on August 20, 1935. They later left for Cuba and finally immigrated to the US on October 13, 1942.

Gerhard Blumenfeld naturalization papers, National Archives at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois; ARC Title: Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1991; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Petitions, V· 1323-1325, No· 327901-328515, 1945, Ancestry.com. Illinois, U.S., Federal Naturalization Records, 1856-1991

They settled in Chicago and first changed their surname to Bloomfield and then to just Field. Edgar was a chemical engineer. Edgar died on June 23, 1954, in Chicago. He was only fifty years old.28 His wife Anna later remarried and died in 1997 when she was 91.29

Edgar’s brother Gerhard Blumenfeld was still in Germany when he married Lotte Hedwig Rosenthal on June 21, 1936, in Giessen.30 Lotte was born in Giessen on February 27, 1915; her parents were Max and Emma Rosenthal. By 1939 Gerhard (known as Gerd) and Lotte were living in London with Lotte’s parents and siblings. I wonder whether the two blacked out names under the names of Gerd and Lotte Blumenfeld on the 1939 England and Wales Register are the two children of Gerd’s cousin Caecilie Gruenbaum Herzog, Renata and Manfred.

The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/244A
Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register

Gerd and Lotte came to the US on November 16, 194031 and settled in Chicago also. Gerd also changed his surname to Bloomfield (but not later to Field). He was an engineer like his brother Edgar and worked for Union Asbestos & Rubber Company.

Gerard Max Bloomfield, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for Illinois, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 150, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Gerd and Lotte had two sons born in Chicago after the war. Like his brother Edgar, Gerd died in his fifties. He was fifty-three years old when he died on August 11, 1959,32 leaving behind his wife and young children. Like her sister-in-law Anna, Gerd’s wife Lotte remarried after Gerd’s early death. Lotte died on October 18, 2010, at the age of 95.33

Thus, although Thekla Blumenfeld Gruenbaum and Felix Blumenfeld,  Salomon Blumenfeld’s two children with his first wife, both were killed during the Holocaust, they have living descendants today to carry on their legacy.

Salomon Blumenfeld’s connection to his children Thekla and Felix may have been long ago broken after their mother Caecilie Erlanger died and he remarried and moved to Spain, but he has descendants today only through those children.


  1. Franz Grunbaum, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts; Roll: m-t0627-01710; Page: 62A; Enumeration District: 22-129, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  2. Franz Moritz Grunbaum, ship manifest, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 16, Ship or Roll Number: Rex, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  3. Franz Moritz Grunbaum, Marriage Year: 1938, Marriage Place: Springfield, Massachusetts, USA, Index Volume Number: 119, Reference Number: F63.M36 v.119
    Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-1955 and 1966-1970 
  4. Marriage record of Maria Strasser and Richard Bachmann, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 910, Year Range: 1924, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930 
  5. “Asks Dedham Court to Cancel Divorce,” The Boston Globe, 28 May 1937, p. 5. 
  6. Frank Gruen, Title: Springfield, Massachusetts, City Directory, 1959, Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 
  7. E.g., “German Again to be Taught,” Springfield Union, September 16, 1959, p. 27. 
  8.  Maria Gruen, Social Security Number: 017-20-3941, Birth Date: 21 Apr 1901
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: Massachusetts, Last Residence: 02138, Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA, Death Date: Jan 1980, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  9.  Frank Gruen, Social Security Number: 031-01-6909, Birth Date: 9 Apr 1899
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: Massachusetts, Last Residence: 02138, Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA, Death Date: Mar 1980, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  10. Curt Gruenbaum, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll: m-t0627-01685; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 16-82,  Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  11. Gertrude and Heinz Gruenbaum, ship manifest, Year: 1939; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 4; Page Number: 122, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  12. See note 10. 
  13. Henry Walter Grunbaum, Marriage Year: 1955, Marriage Place: Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, Index Volume Number: 159, Reference Number: F63.M36 v.159,
    Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-1955 and 1966-1970 
  14. Barbara Ann Gillespie, Birth Date: 1933, Birth Place: Boston, Massachusetts, USA, Volume Number: 35, Page Number: 201, Index Volume Number: 128
    Reference Number: F63.M362 v.128, Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Birth Index, 1860-1970; Barbara G Grunbaum, Birth Date: 23 Dec 1933, Residence Date: 1993
    Address: 29 Huron Ave, Residence: Cambridge, MA, Postal Code: 02138-6705, Ancestry.com. U.S., Public Records Index, 1950-1993, Volume 1. 
  15. Gertrude B Grunbaum, Certificate: 034745, Death Place: Cambridge. Death Date: 7 Jul 1977, Birth Place: Other, Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Death Index, 1970-2003 
  16. Kurt W Grunbaum, Certificate: 017505, Death Place: Cambridge, Death Date: 6 Feb 1985, Birth Place: Other, Birth Date: 23 Mar 1897, Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Death Index, 1970-2003 
  17.  Henry W. Grunbaum, Social Security Number: 024-26-8623, Birth Date: 29 Jan 1932, Issue Year: 1951-1952, Issue State: Massachusetts, Last Residence: 02138, Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, Death Date: 22 Oct 2008, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  18.  The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/950H, Enumeration District: BWCO, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register 
  19. Ernest Heyman, Race: White, Age: 40, Birth Date: 24 Jan 1902, Birth Place: Brussels, Belgium, Registration Date: 15 Feb 1942, Registration Place: Kew Gardens, New York, New York. Employer: Goodman and Theise Inc., National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New York City, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  20. Ernst Heymann and family, ship manifests, The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; BT27 Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and Successors: Outwards Passenger Lists; Reference Number: Series BT27-147363, Month: Nov, Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960; The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, Massachusetts, 1891-1943; NAI Number: 4319742; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85; Series Number: T843; NARA Roll Number: 451, Month or Roll: 451, Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1963 
  21.  Ernest Heyman, Social Security Number: 100-12-9367, Birth Date: 24 Jan 1902
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11375, Flushing, Queens, New York, USA, Death Date: Mar 1976, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  22. Ceci Herzog, Birth Date: 26 Apr 1895, Death Date: 13 Dec 1990, Claim Date: 3 Aug 1960, SSN: 110267687, Death Certificate Number: 169466, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  23.  Renate Herzoz, Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep, Registration District: Hampstead, Inferred County: London, Spouse: Hermann K A Luedecke, Volume Number: 1a, Page Number: 1109, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 1a; Page: 1109, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 
  24.  Carol A Luedioke [sic], Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep, Registration District: Hampstead, Inferred County: Greater London, Mother’s Maiden Name: Herzog, Volume Number: 5c, Page Number: 1526, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Reference: Volume 5c, Page 1526, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916-2007 
  25.  Guenther Cahn, Registration Quarter: Jan-Feb-Mar, Registration District: Hendon
    Inferred County: Middlesex, Spouse: Renate Luedecke Or Herzog, Volume Number: 5e
    Page Number: 1431, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 5e; Page: 1431, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 
  26.  The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; BT27 Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and Successors: Outwards Passenger Lists; Reference Number: Series BT27-, Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 
  27. I could not locate any records or obituaries for the deaths of Renata and Gunther Cahn so am referring to their profiles on MyHeritage for this information. 
  28. “Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1871-1998,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q2MH-PGMM : 17 March 2018), Edgar L Field, 23 Jun 1954; citing Lincolnwood, Cook, Illinois, United States, source reference , record number , Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm. 
  29. Anne Bloomfield, [Anne Prower] [Anne Field] [Anne Hanau]Gender: Female
    Race: White, Birth Date: 27 Mar 1906, Birth Place: Schiffweiler, France, Death Date: 24 Dec 1997, Father: Victor Hanau Mother:Mina May, SSN: 361208715
    Notes: Jul 1943: Name listed as ANNE BLOOMFIELD; : Name listed as ANNE PROWER; : Name listed as ANNE H FIELD; 04 Feb 1998: Name listed as ANNE H PROWER, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  30. Gerhard Max Bloomfield, petition for naturalization, National Archives at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois; ARC Title: Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1991; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Description: Petitions For Naturalization, V· 1291, No· 320051-320300, Ca· 1944-1946, Ancestry.com. Illinois, U.S., Federal Naturalization Records, 1856-1991 
  31. Gerd and Lotte Blumenfeld, ship manifest, The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, Massachusetts, 1891-1943; NAI Number: 4319742; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85; Series Number: T843; NARA Roll Number: 451, Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1963 
  32. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9198671/gerd-m-bloomfield : accessed 16 October 2021), memorial page for Gerd M Bloomfield (3 Mar 1906–11 Aug 1959), Find a Grave Memorial ID 9198671, citing Jewish Cemetery, Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Robin Farley Dixson Coon (contributor 46558224) . 
  33. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/137430315/lottie-rosenthal-klein : accessed 16 October 2021), memorial page for Lottie Rosenthal Bloomfield Klein (27 Feb 1915–18 Oct 2010), Find a Grave Memorial ID 137430315, citing Jewish Cemetery, Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Gary Ayers (contributor 48159041) . 

19 thoughts on “The Children of Thekla and Felix Blumenfeld, Part IV: The Survivors

  1. I am so glad that so many of the Blumenfeld family members were able to escape Nazi Germany before it was too late. I was wondering why some changed their names. Was it perhaps to hide their German background? Perhaps you can find out, Amy.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s important to bear in mind there were no laws or Court rulings that prohibited discrimination by reason of religion in hiring in the US in the 40’s. In addition, the US was at war with Germany in the 40’s and there was a lot of animosity towards German people. My father changed his last name solely to get hired by General Electric in 1936.

    There were no refugee visas issued by the US for escaping Jews in the 30’s and 40’s, but those who had sponsors in the US could get immigrant visas.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Bob, for providing further context. Certainly the US was not a very open-minded place back then—and although less blatant for the most part, nor is it today.

      Like

  3. I am so glad to read that they made it to the U.S. and have descendants. FYI, you state that Ernest died in 1976 and Rosemarie survived him by nearly 20 years and died in 2004 – however, if the dates are correct that would be nearly 30 years.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amy, since you wrote that you had no further information on Ernest Heymann’s family background, I looked up his birth record (left page, record number 308, see citation with the link below). I was hoping that since he was born in Brussels, his birth record may have some annotations in the margin concerning his marriage and/or death. He was the son of Edouard Heymann born in Krefeld and Mathilde Kaufmann born in Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle). Their residence, per the birth record, was Krefeld. The father’s occupation was dealer or trader (négociant). The two witnesses had the same occupation.

    “Belgique, Brabant, registres d’état civil, 1582-1914,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DYHS-SBC?cc=1482191&wc=ST2N-6TG%3A966896201%2C967103401 : 22 May 2014), Brussel > Geboorten 14 dec (nr. 4370) 1901-sept 1902 > image 166 of 833; België Nationaal Archief, Brussels (Belgium National Archives, Brussels).

    Liked by 1 person

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