By 1930, the three daughters of Caroline Blumenfeld and Simon Hoxter were married, and each had two children. Their son Siegmund had been killed fighting for Germany in World War I, but their lives otherwise as middle-class German Jews must have seemed secure and comfortable. Here is a wonderful photograph of Caroline and Simon, shared by their great-grandson Peter:
The next decade saw the family ripped apart and separated as each daughter and her family had to find a way to escape from Nazi Germany. But even before Hitler came to power, the family faced another loss. Simon Hoxter died in Marburg, Germany, on June 10, 1932, at the age of 79.
Less than a year later, Hitler came to power, and soon thereafter members of the family began to look for ways to leave Germany. I am grateful to the Shoah Foundation for providing me with access to the interview given by Arthur Goldschmidt, Caroline and Simon’s grandson and the son of Toni Hoexter and Sally Goldschmidt, in which Arthur shared much of the story of how most of his relatives escaped from Germany. Much of the information in this post came from Arthur’s interview, except where noted.1
Arthur and his sister Miriam were among the first to make plans to leave Germany. Arthur, who had been raised in the town of Hersfeld, described a relatively innocent childhood in that town. It was a town of about 12,000 people where most people worked as cattle dealers, but also as lawyers and doctors and merchants and other tradesmen. His father Sally owned a haberdashery store and did business with Jews and non-Jews in the town. Aside from some anti-Semitic taunting on occasion, Arthur experienced no sense of danger and no physical assaults. He went to school with and was friends with both Jewish and non-Jewish children. When he was sixteen, Arthur left school and left Hersfeld. He went to the city of Hamm in Westphalia about three hours from Hersfeld, where he trained in a department store to be a salesman. He was there for four years until Hitler came to power in 1933.
Here is a photograph of Hersfeld that Arthur shared with the Shoah Foundation. The building in the left background with the two little turrets is the house where Arthur and his family lived.
In October 1933, Arthur joined a cousin in Berlin where a Zionist organization was training young people to become farmers in preparation for immigration to Palestine. Arthur was there until June 1934, working for a farmer who happened to be a Nazi, but who, according to Arthur, was very kind to him and the other Jewish youth. (He did note that they were providing the farmer with free labor.) From there, Arthur was sent by the Zionist organization to Yugoslavia to continue his training until December 1935 when he received a certificate to go Palestine. He arrived in Palestine in January 1936.
Meanwhile, the rest of his immediate family was also experiencing relocation. His parents Sally Goldschmidt and Toni Hoxter relocated from Hersfeld to Marburg in 1933 after Sally’s haberdashery business began to fail as a result of Nazi persecution. He no longer could do business with non-Jewish residents, and many of the Jewish residents were leaving or planning to leave Germany. They decided to move in with Toni’s mother, Caroline Blumenfeld Hoxter, who still owned her home in Marburg after the death of her husband Simon in 1932.
Their daughter Miriam left Marburg for New York, arriving on November 1, 1934. She listed her occupation on the ship manifest as a clerk and listing her cousin Rosalie Livingston as the person she was going to in the US.2 On September 27, 1936, after settling in New York, she married Rudolf Lauter, who was also a refugee from Germany. Interestingly, Rudolf was born and had last lived in Hamm, Germany, the same city that Miriam’s brother Arthur had lived in from 1929 to 1933. Rudolf was born on April 27, 1906, the son of Isidore Lauter and Helene Schonberger.3
Thus, by 1936 Toni and Sally’s children Arthur and Miriam were safely out of Germany. Arthur was living on a kibbutz near Rehovoth in Palestine, working at the new port in Tel Aviv that had opened after the Arab-controlled port in Jaffa was closed to Jewish businesses. Miriam urged Arthur to come to the US, and in 1938 when she was able to provide an affidavit for her brother, he was able to do that. He arrived on May 31, 1938,4 and after a brief stay with Miriam and Rudolf, he got a job on a farm in upstate New York in the town of Windsor near Binghamton; he was living there with some paternal cousins in 1940.
But Toni Hoxter and Sally Goldschmidt, Arthur and Miriam’s parents, were still in Germany, living in Marburg. According to Arthur’s testimony, his father was taken to Buchenwald. Arthur didn’t know when or for how long, but he said the experience forever changed his father; my guess is that this was after Kristallnacht in November 1938 when thousands of Jewish men were rounded up and taken to Buchenwald. Sally had served for Germany in World War I, earning the Iron Cross. His brother and his brother-in-law Siegmund Hoxter, Toni’s brother, were both killed fighting for Germany in that war, and Sally could never forgive Germany for ignoring his service and those sacrifices just twenty years later, imprisoning him in a concentration camp and destroying his business and his family’s life.
By the spring of 1940, Arthur was able to provide an affidavit for his parents to leave Germany, and on April 29, 1940, Toni and Sally (soon to be known as Sol) arrived in New York.5 According to Arthur, that was the last or one of the last ships allowed to sail from Europe after the war broke out. At that time Arthur’s sister Miriam and her husband Rudolf and their daughter were living in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where Rudolf was working as a butcher.6 Thus, Toni Hoxter Goldschmidt’s family was safely out of Germany by the spring of 1940.
What about Toni’s sisters Betty and Gerda and their families? And what about their mother Caroline? What happened to them? And what happened to Toni and Sol and their children Miriam and Arthur after arriving in the US? Those stories will be told next.
But not until early January 2022. I will be taking the next couple of weeks off from blogging.
Happy Holidays to All! I wish all my readers who celebrate a merry Christmas and a happy New Year to everyone! May 2022 bring us all good health and peace and progress on the many challenges facing us all, globally and personally.
- The information in this post, except where otherwise noted, is from the Shoah Foundation interview with Arthur Goldschmidt. Arthur Goldschmidt, Interview 8542, Visual History Archive, USC Shoah Foundation, November 10, 1995. Accessed 15 August 2021, from the archive of the University of California Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, found at https://sfi.usc.edu/what-we-do/collections ↩
- Miriam Goldschmidt, Gender: Female, Ethnicity/ Nationality: Hebrew, Marital status: Single, Age: 23, Birth Date: abt 1911, Birth Place: Germany, Other Birth Place: Hersfeld, Last Known Residence: Frankfurt, Germany, Departure Port: Hamburg, Germany,Arrival Date: 1 Nov 1934, Arrival Port: New York, New York, USA, Final Destination: Chicago, Illinois, Years in US: Permanently, Citizenship Intention: Yes, Height: 5 Feet, 8 Inches, Hair Color: Blonde, Eye Color: Blue, Complexion: Fair, Money in Possession: 50 Person in Old Country: Sally Goldschmidt, Person in Old Country Relationship: Father Person in Old Country Residence: Marburg.gy, Person in US: Rosalie Livingston, Person in US Relationship: Cousin, Father: Sally Goldschmidt, Ship Name: Manhattan Year: 1934; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 12; Page Number: 32, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 ↩
Naturalization papers for Rudolf Lauter and Miriam Goldschmidt, Court District: Southern District, New York, Description: (Roll 1332) Petition No. 383569 – Petition No. 383997, The National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.C.; Petitions for Naturalization from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1897-1944; Series: M1972; Roll: 1332, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Naturalization Records, 1882-1944. The naturalization papers filed for both Rudolf and Miriam indicate that they were married on September 27, 1936, but that Rudolf did not arrive in the US until December 24, 1936. I had no way to reconcile these two recorded assertions, but I then I found Rudolf on a passenger manifest arriving in New York on August 20, 1936. Given that there was just a month between his arrival and his marriage to Miriam, I believe they must have known each other in Germany before immigrating to the US. Since on that manifest Rudolf indicated he was intending to stay only four months, my hunch is that he then returned to Germany after they married and came back to the US permanently on December 24, 1936, as indicated on his naturalization papers. Rudolf Lauter, Marital status: Single,Age: 30, Birth Date: abt 1906, Birth Place: Germany, Other Birth Place: Hamm, Last Known Residence: Amsterdam, Hamburg??
Place of Origin: Germany, Departure Port: France, Arrival Date: 20 Aug 1936
Arrival Port: New York, New York, USA, Years in US: 4 Months, Citizenship Intention: No, Height: 5 Feet, 11 Inches, Hair Color: Brown, Eye Color: Brown, Complexion: Dark
Money in Possession: $200, Person in Old Country: Helene Lauter, Person in Old Country Relationship: Mother, Person in Old Country Residence: Germany
Person in US: George H Lauter, Mother: Helene Lauter, Ship Name: Washington
Year: 1936; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 3; Page Number: 108, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 ↩
Arthur Goldschmidt, Gender: Male, Ethnicity/ Nationality: Hebrew, Marital status: Single, Age: 24, Birth Date: abt 1914, Birth Place: Germany, Other Birth Place: Hersfeld
Last Known Residence: Telaviv, Palastine, Place of Origin: Palastine, Departure Port: Cherbourg,France, Arrival Date: 31 May 1938, Arrival Port: New York, New York, USA
Final Destination: L. I., New York, Years in US: Permanently, Citizenship Intention: Yes
Height: 5 Feet, 9 Inches, Hair Color: Brown, Eye Color: Brown, Complexion: Fair
Money in Possession: 19.00, Person in Old Country: Sally Goldschmidt, Person in Old Country Relationship: Father, Person in Old Country Residence: Marburg. Person in US: Miriam Lauter, Person in US Relationship: Sister, Father: Sally Goldschmidt
Sibling: Miriam Lauter, Ship Name: Aquitania, Year: 1938; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 18; Page Number: 103, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 ↩
- Sally and Toni (Hoxter) Goldschmidt ship manifest, Year: 1940; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 9; Page Number: 85, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 ↩
- Lauter family, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Bridgeport, Fairfield, Connecticut; Roll: m-t0627-00532; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 9-92, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census ↩