A Family Decimated by the Nazis: The Children of Abraham Blumenfeld III

I am really struggling with how to best tell the stories of the seven of the nine children and eleven grandchildren of Abraham Blumenfeld III who were still living when the Nazis came to power because their stories are just so devastatingly tragic. Of those seven remaining children, only one escaped in time. The other six were all killed in the Holocaust as were many of those eleven grandchildren.

Telling their stories one by one is important so that each name and each life is honored and remembered. But it is also important to see and feel the impact on the entire family, a family of nine siblings. Only one of those nine survived beyond 1945. All the others were killed by the Nazis, except for one (Hermann) who died of natural causes when he was 48 and one (Moritz) who was killed in battle in 1916, fighting for the very same country that would slaughter his siblings just a few decades later. In other words, almost an entire family was wiped out by the Nazis. Generations of Blumenfeld descendants never had a chance to be born because their ancestors were killed for being Jewish.

With that bigger picture in mind, let me tell the story of what happened to each of these descendants of Abraham Blumenfeld III and Friedericke Rothschild. This is a very sad and painful post, but each of these individuals deserves to have their story told.

Dina Blumenfeld and her husband Salomon Heldemuth were deported to Theriesenstadt on August 18, 1942, and then to the Treblinka death camp on September 23, 1942, where they were murdered. Dina was 71, Salomon was 76.

Salomon Heldenmuth Page of Testimony, Yad Vashem, at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=1475415&ind=1

Fortunately, all three of Dina and Salomon’s children escaped and survived. Leopold had married Frieda Kneip on June 28, 1929, in Gelnhausen, Germany. Frieda was born in Gelnhausen on July 10, 1906, to Seligmann Kneip and Bella Mayer.1

Marriage of Leopold Heldenmuth and Frieda Kneip, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 913; Signatur: 1173, Year Range: 1925, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Leopold (Leo or Leon in the US) and Frieda arrived in New York on June 25, 1936.2 Interestingly, they are listed in the 1939 England and Wales Register, living with Leopold’s younger brother Siegfried in London.

Leopold and Siegfried Heldenmuth on 1939 England Wales Register, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/246A, Enumeration District: AKDS, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register

But on November 24, 1939, Frieda and Leopold returned to New York,3 and they are listed on the 1940 US census, living with Frieda’s mother and brother as well as Leopold’s brother Siegfried. Leon, as he is listed here, was working as a real estate broker, and Siegfried made artificial flowers.

Leopold and Siegfried Heldenmuth on 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02668; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 31-1831, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Leopold and Siegfried’s sister Gertrude had married Moritz Lion on May 25, 1921, in Hohensolms, Germany. Moritz was born March 4, 1897, in Sankt-Goarhausen, Germany. Gertrude and Moritz arrived in New York on August 17, 1939.4

Marriage of Gertrud Heldenmuth and Moritz Lion, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 911; Laufende Nummer: 4677, Year Range: 1921, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Leopold died on May 11, 1950, at the age of 54.5 His sister Gertrude, who lost her husband Moritz on October 13, 1963,6 died on July 23, 1969 at 71.7 Their brother Siegfried died on May 15, 1972; he was seventy.8 Frieda, Leopold’s widow, remarried and lived until she was 94; she died on January 20, 2001.9 Since none of Dina and Salomon’s children had children, there are no descendants.

Dina’s sister Auguste and her husband Menko Stern were also killed in the Holocaust. Menko had been sent to Buchenwald after Kristallnacht They were deported to Theriesenstadt on September 7, 1942 and then to Treblinka on September 29, 1942, and so died within just a few days of Dina and Salomon. Their son Max was taken to the Warsaw Ghetto on March 31, 1942, where he also was killed. I have no records for Julius Stern, but according to the article written about the Stolpersteine laid for his family, he escaped to Argentina in 1936, where he died in 1985.

Nanny Blumenfeld and Jakob Stern faced the same fates as their sister and brother, Auguste Blumenfeld and Menko Stern. They were both taken to Kassel, Germany, where on June 1, 1942, they were deported to the Sobibor death camp and killed there on June 3, 1942. Their son Arthur was taken to the Majdanek concentration camp, where he was killed on September 27, 1942. Only Manfred (known as Fritz) escaped in time; he fled to Palestine, according to the article written on the occasion of the installation of the Stolpersteine for his family. I have not, however, been able to find any record of his immigration to Palestine.

Nanny Blumenfeld Stern page of testimony, Yad Vashem, https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=421480&ind=1

Jakob Stern page of testimony, Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=1659946&ind=2

Arthur Stern page of testimony, Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=530549&ind=1

Hugo Blumenfeld, the sixth sibling, never married or had children. He was deported from Frankfurt to Theriesenstadt on August 14, 1942, and then to Auschwitz on October 16, 1944, where he was killed. His sister, the seventh sibling, Bertha Blumenfeld, also single, also was deported to Theriesenstadt but from Koeln (Cologne) on June 15, 1942; she was then taken to Auschwitz where she was killed just four days before her brother Hugo on October 12, 1944.

The baby of the family, Emma Blumenfeld Wetterhahn, and her husband Siegmund and their daughter Trude Ruth Friedericke Wetterhahn, the youngest grandchild, were also murdered by the Nazis. Emma and Siegmund were deported from Frankfurt on November 22, 1941, to Kaunas, Lithuania, and killed there three days later on November 25, 1941 during the Ninth Fort massacre during which the Nazis shot and killed almost 5,000 Jews. You can read more about this horrific slaughter of innocent people like Emma and Siegmund on the Yad Vashem site here.

Emma and Siegmund’s daughter Ruth Wetterhahn was living in Berlin when she was taken to Auschwitz on March 1, 1943, and killed there. She was seventeen years old.

Thus, six of the seven children of Abraham Blumenfeld III who were still living when Hitler came to power—Dina, Auguste, Nanny, Hugo, Bertha, and Emma—as well as their spouses and three of their children–-Max Stern, Arthur Stern, and Ruth Wetterhahn—were killed by the Nazis.

But unfortunately that does not end the death toll because at least three of the children of Hermann Blumenfeld III, who died in 1928, and Jeannette Stern, who died in 1915, were also killed by the Nazis. Julius Blumenfeld was deported from Kassel to the ghetto in Riga, Latvia, on December 9, 1941, and was killed sometime thereafter. His sister Frieda Blumenfeld was deported from Kassel to the Riga ghetto at the same time and was deported from there to the Stutthof concentration camp on August 9, 1944, where she was later killed.

Hermann and Jeannette’s son Max (Meir) Blumenfeld was more fortunate. Although I do not have any information about how he escaped, he died in Rehovoth, Israel, on September 22, 2004, at the age of 91.10

In addition, Hermann Blumenfeld III’s second wife Ida Stern and their son Kurt Siegfried Blumenfeld were also murdered by the Nazis. Ida was deported from Kassel to Riga, Latvia, on December 9. 1941, along with her stepchildren Julius and Frieda. Kurt was deported from Wurzburg, Germany, to Krasnystaw,Lublin,Poland, on April 25, 1942, and killed sometime thereafter.

As for Alfred Blumenfeld, who appears on several Ancestry trees as the fourth child of Hermann and Jeannette, I have no records of his birth or his death (or anything else), so I don’t know whether he was also a victim of the Holocaust.

Only one of the seven children of Abraham Blumenfeld III who were still living in the Nazi era escaped Germany in time, and I only have minimal information about her. Katincka Blumenfeld Heymann, the third child, and her husband Samuel Heymann immigrated to Brazil in the summer of 1939 just before World War II started. I have no further information about their lives, but they had no children after their daughter Frieda died in 1911 at ten months of age. There are no descendants of Katincka and Samuel.

Katincka Blumenfeld Heymann, Digital GS Number: 004542368
Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965

Samuel Heymann, Digital GS Number: 004560417
Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965

Six of the seven living children and seven of the twelve living grandchildren of Abraham Blumenfeld III and Friedericke Rothschild were killed by the Nazis. Thirteen innocent lives snuffed out for no reason other than ugly, baseless hatred. And sadly, as far as I know, only three of the grandchildren who survived might have had children to carry on the names and the legacy of their parents and grandparents. Someday I hope I can find them if they exist, or perhaps they will find me.

 

 

 

 


  1.  Frieda Vanallen, Social Security Number: 090-14-8045, Birth Date: 10 Jul 1906
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 90212, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA, Death Date: 20 Jan 2001, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Saligmann Kneig, Gender: männlich (Male), Age: 27, Birth Date: 20. Jun 1876 (20 Jun 1876), Marriage Date: 19. Mai 1904 (19 May 1904), Marriage Place: Biblis, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Biblis, Spouse: Bella Maÿer, Reference Number: 854, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 854, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930 
  2.  Frieda Heldenmuth, Gender: Female, Ethnicity/ Nationality: German;Hebrew (German), Marital status: Married, Age: 29, Birth Date: abt 1907, Birth Place: Germany
    Other Birth Place: Gelnhausen, Last Known Residence: Frankfurt, Germany
    Place of Origin: Germany, Departure Port: Hamburg, Germany, Arrival Date: 25 Jun 1936, Arrival Port: New York, New York, USA, Year: 1936; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 11; Page Number: 129, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  3.  Frieda Heldinmoth, Gender: Female, Departure Age: 33, Birth Date: abt 1906
    Departure Date: 24 Nov 1939, Departure Port: England, Ship Name: Britannic
    Shipping Line: Cunard White Star Limited, Destination Port: New York, USA
    The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; BT27 Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and Successors: Outwards Passenger Lists; Reference Number: Series BT27-162316, Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 
  4.  Gertrud Lion, Gender: Female, Ethnicity/ Nationality: Hebrew, Age: 42, Birth Date: abt 1897, Birth Place: Germany, Other Birth Place: Alfeukidan [sic], Departure Port: Le Havre, France, Arrival Date: 17 Aug 1939, Arrival Port: New York, New York, USA
    Ship Name: Manhattan,Year: 1939; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 2; Page Number: 154, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  5. Leo Heldenmuth, Birth Date: 6 Dec 1895, Birth Place: Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 11 May 1950, Claim Date: 16 Nov 1950, SSN: 104146398, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. 
  6. Moritz Lion, Gender: Male, Birth Date: 4 Mar 1897, Death Date: 13 Oct 1963
    Claim Date: 25 Oct 1963, SSN: 092121940, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  7.  Gertrude Lion, Gender: Female, Age: 71, Birth Date: abt 1898, Residence Place: Murray Hill, New York, New York, USA, Death Date: 23 Jul 1969, Death Place: New York, USA, Certificate Number: 56308, New York State Department of Health; Albany, Ny, Usa; New York State Death Index, Ancestry.com. New York State, U.S., Death Index, 1957-1969 
  8. Fred Heldenmuth, Race: White, Marital Status: Never Married (Single), Birth Date: abt 1902, Residence: Bridgeport, Connecticut, Death Date: 15 May 1972, Death Place: Bridgeport, Connecticut, Age: 70 Years, State File #: 09057, Connecticut Department of Health. Connecticut Death Index, 1949-2012 
  9.  Frieda Vanallen, Social Security Number: 090-14-8045, Birth Date: 10 Jul 1906
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 90212, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA, Death Date: 20 Jan 2001, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. 
  10. Meir Max Blumenfeld, Name in Hebrew: מאיר מקס בלומנפלד, Hebrew Name: מאיר מקס, Birth Date: 1913, Death Date: 21 Sep 2004 / ו תשרי תשסה, Death Place: Kaplan Hospital, Rehovot /בי”ח קפלן, Age at Death: 91, Burial Date: 22 Sep 2004, Burial Plot: סא ד 29, Burial Place: Rehovot, Israel, Father Name: Herman /הרמן, Mother Name: Yenta /ינטה, JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR). 

26 thoughts on “A Family Decimated by the Nazis: The Children of Abraham Blumenfeld III

  1. I knew this one would be hard to read even before I opened it. Your honest introduction pulled me into the story. It’s important to record and to read the stories of the genocide of European Jews during World War II. So many lives were taken. Reading about how it affected one family shows the magnitude of the Nazi campaign to murder Jews and other unwanted groups.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks, Cathy, for your thoughtful comment. You are so right. Until we focus on individual people and families, we cannot really appreciate the magnitude of what six million really means.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Did you try the person who wrote the testimonies? The last name was Stern. Did you do an enhanced search using his name to find all the people he listed? Once you start these quests it is like opening a pit of despair. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have been reading about the Holocaust since I was in middle school. Every story is heartbreaking and it never ceases to horrify me that these crimes were committed and how many people suffered. I cannot imagine how difficult it would be to write this story about your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have been reading stories about the Holocaust since I was in middle school and each time am horrified about the atrocities committed. I cannot imagine researching and writing about family members and the anguish it causes. It is important to remember their names and not forget them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a horrible nightmare for those caught in the death trap of the Nazi regime! You are doing a tremendous yet harrowing job to keep the memory alive of all the Jews, most of them true patriots and loyal and hard-working people of Germany.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I wish Hugo and Bertha had at lease been able to see each other at Auschwitz. It makes my heart hurt to read this account of the lives that were gone forever but thank you for telling their stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Amy, since I had such a hard time reading this, I can only imagine what it was like researching and writing this post. You are performing such a mitzvah to do this. No need to respond. I know you are grieving anew.

    Liked by 1 person

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