The Fate of Caroline Blumenfeld Hoxter and Her Children: Final Chapter

As we saw, by the middle of 1940, all three of Caroline Blumenfeld Hoxter’s daughters and their families were safely out of Germany. Toni and Gerda were in the US as were their children, and Betty and her family were in Palestine.

But what about their mother Caroline? Last we knew she, having lost her husband Simon in 1932, had been living in Marburg with Toni and her family after Toni’s husband Sally was driven out of his haberdashery business in Hersfeld by Nazi persecution. But Caroline was not with Toni and Sally when they left for America in 1940 nor was she with Gerda and her family when they left Germany in 1939. Nor was Caroline with her daughter Betty in Palestine.

Tragically, Caroline was still in Germany. At some point she moved to Frankfurt, and in 1942 she was taken to Theriesenstadt where she died on February 17, 1942. Her daughter Betty (here spelled Beti) filed this Page of Testimony with Yad Vashem:

Caroline Hoxter, Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem, filed by her daughter Beti Openheimer, found athttps://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=1617046&ind=1

In her speech to middle school students in 2020, Caroline’s granddaughter Jane explained why Caroline had been unable to leave Germany with her family:1

Before we left [Germany], my sister and I went to see our grandmother who was blind and could not come with us. Much later she was deported to Thereisenstadt concentration camp. She was then in her late 80s. We were informed that she died of natural causes. Can you imagine for someone that old to travel for three weeks in a cattle car? It is still very hard for me to think about that and accept it.

Jane rightfully questioned whether her grandmother’s death was in fact from “natural causes.” Subjecting an elderly and blind woman to the conditions she must have experienced on that cattle car and then at Theriesenstadt surely contributed to her death as much as if she’d been gassed or shot by the Nazis.

I am very grateful to Andre Guenther from Tracing the Tribe who located Caroline’s death certificate from Theriesenstadt; she died from “enteritis darmkatarrah” or what we might call gastroenteritis.

At no point during the Shoah Foundation interview with Arthur Goldschmidt,2 did the interviewer ask about the fate of his grandmother Caroline Blumenfeld Hoxter, and Arthur did not bring it up himself. I don’t know whether this was an oversight or whether he simply could not bring himself to speak about what happened to his grandmother. I imagine the family must have been devastated by what happened to her. Peter, Jane’s son, told me that his mother still gets emotional when she talks about her grandmother Caroline and what happened to her.

But Caroline was blessed that her three daughters and her grandchildren all escaped and survived the Holocaust.

Her daughter Toni died in New York on April 21, 1956,[^3] two years after her husband Sol, who died on May 13, 1954, in New York.3 Their daughter Miriam died on January 7, 1988, in Queens, New York,4 followed by her husband Rudolf on January 21, 1993, in Los Angeles.5 They were survived by their daughter and her family.

Their son Arthur Goldschmidt shared this photograph of his parents with the Shoah Foundation:

Toni Hoxter and Sally (Sol) 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

Toni’s sister Betty/Beti lived the rest of her life in Israel and died on December 15, 1975, at the age of 86. She was predeceased by her husband Max, who died May 25, 1961, in Israel. They were survived by their daughter Lotte, who married Theo Kleeman in Israel and who died June 26, 1998, in Israel, and their son Shimon, who died August 14, 2012, in Haifa, Israel. Today they have grandchildren and great-grandchildren in Israel.6

The youngest sister Gerda died in New York on April 13 1974,7 two years after her husband Adolf, who died March 18, 1972.8 They were survived by their two daughters. Their daughter Alice Lore Goldschmidt married Richard Oster,9 with whom she had two children. Alice died on January 13, 2014.10

Their other daughter Jane Inge Goldschmidt married Ralph Keibel on August  11, 1950,11. Peter shared with me his parents’ wedding photograph.

Jane and Ralph had two children, including my cousin Peter. Jane is still living and is 98 years old. Imagine—she gave that speech to the Vermont middle school group when she was almost 97 years old. Just remarkable.

As for Arthur Goldschmidt, whose interview helped me tell this story, after World War II he returned to New York City where he met and married his wife Ruth Herz. As he told the story, they met in January 1950, were engaged by April, and married in August 1950. Ruth was also a refugee from Germany. She was born on April 18, 1922, in Holzheim, Germany, to Eugen Isaak Herz and Lilli Weinberg.12 Her father had died in 1932, and her mother was killed in the Holocaust.

According to her obituary, “Ruth left Germany at age 16 via the Kindertransport and spent nine years on the run, in hiding, in a displaced persons camp, and then came to the US where she was able to build a good life. She met her husband Arthur Goldschmidt on a blind date that blossomed into their beautiful marriage on August 27, 1950.”13 Ruth and Arthur had two children. It was clear from the video of the interview that they both still adored each other 45 years after their marriage began.

Arthur Goldschmidt and his wife Ruth during the Shoah Foundation interview. 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

Arthur worked for many years at a dairy company on Long Island, so the skills he learned back in the 1930s from the Zionist organization that prepared him to work on a kibbutz in Palestine/Israel held him in good stead. He died on January 15, 2021, in New York; he was 96 years old.14

It was an honor to watch his interview the Shoah Foundation. He was amazingly matter-of-fact through almost the entire interview, answering questions calmly and saying that he and his family survived because they were able to get out early enough. He didn’t seem angry or resentful at all—until the very end when the interviewer asked him a simple and straightforward question about what he hoped the world had learned. He then broke down in tears, unable to speak, finally saying in essence that we must never forget and that we must never let it happen again.15

Today Caroline Blumenfeld Hoxter has many living descendants in Israel and in the US. She may not have survived the Holocaust, but her daughters and their families did, and they and their descendants carry on her legacy.

I am deeply grateful to my cousin Peter Keibel for sharing so much of his information and his family photographs with me and especially for sharing his mother’s speech about her experiences before and during the Holocaust.


And this brings me to the end of not only Caroline Blumenfeld Hoxter’s story and that of her children and grandchildren, but also to the end of the story of Abraham Blumenfeld IIA since Caroline was the youngest of his eight children. Now I will turn to Abraham’s younger siblings. First, his brother Isaak, the second child of my four-times great-uncle Moses Blumenfeld.

 


  1. Jane Inge Goldschmidt Keibel, Speech to Hazen School, Hardwick, Vermont, 2020, shared by Peter Keibel. 
  2. 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 
  3. Toni Goldschmidt, Age: 70, Birth Date: abt 1886, Death Date: 21 Apr 1956, Death Place: Queens, New York, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 4251, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Death Index, 1949-1965 
  4. Sol Goldschmidt, Age: 72, Birth Date: abt 1882, Death Date: 13 May 1954, Death Place: Manhattan, New York, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 10469, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Death Index, 1949-1965 
  5.  Miriam Lauter, Social Security Number: 112-05-7561, Birth Date: 23 Apr 1911, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11375, Flushing, Queens, New York, USA, Death Date: 7 Jan 1988, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  6. These dates came from Peter Keibel, Betty’s nephew. Email from Peter Keibel, November 17, 2021.  I have no official records for them. 
  7. Date is from her grandson, Peter Keibel, FamilyTree on Ancestry.com, found at https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/52614823/person/372143503930/facts 
  8. Date is from his grandson, Peter Keibel, FamilyTree on Ancestry.com, found at https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/52614823/person/372143503930/facts 
  9. Alice L Goldsmith, Gender: Female, Marriage License Date: 18 Jul 1950, Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Richard Oster, License Number: 18819, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 27, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  10. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/130447894/alice-oster : accessed 02 December 2021), memorial page for Alice Oster (unknown–13 Jan 2014), Find a Grave Memorial ID 130447894, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Mom (contributor 48202874) . 
  11. From their son Peter Keibel, https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/52614823/person/372143503829/facts 
  12. Peter Keibel Ancestry Family Tree, https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/52614823/person/372145394061/facts; Ruth Goldschmidt
    Age: 29, Birth Date: 18 Apr 1922, Issue Date: 12 Jun 1951, State: New York
    Locality, Court: Eastern District of New York, District Court, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Index to Naturalization Petitions of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, 1865-1957; Microfilm Serial: M1164; Microfilm Roll: 63, Ancestry.com. U.S., Naturalization Records Indexes, 1794-1995. The other information came from Arthur Goldsdchmidt’s Shoah Foundation interview. 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 
  13. “Goldschmidt, Ruth,” The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, Maryland, 03 Jan 2021, Sun • Page A14 
  14.  Arthur Goldschmidt, Social Security Number: 099-24-1370, Birth Date: 9 Aug 1913, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11415, Jamaica, Queens, New York, Death Date: 15 Jan 2010, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  15. 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 

20 thoughts on “The Fate of Caroline Blumenfeld Hoxter and Her Children: Final Chapter

  1. I can well imagine how that last question brought Arthur to tears. It does even to me. I fear that people simply refuse to learn from history and so many tragedies will continually be repeated. All we really need is the golden rule.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wish it were that easy—the golden rule may work in one to one relationships—some of the time. But it doesn’t seem to work when we are talking about society as a whole. Humans are by nature too selfish and too insecure to think as selflessly as the golden rule would require.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh what a sad first part of this post. It’s beyond words to think of what she went through. I really can’t say any more because anything else seems stupid because it’s beyond our comprehension.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. “Tragically, Caroline was still in Germany” I gasped out loud when I read these words. I am so glad that you were able to learn more about Caroline and her descendants.

    Liked by 1 person

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