As I slowly return to my genealogy work after losing my mother, I am weighted down by the world itself as well as other matters. I hope to get back to my regular posting schedule, but I am taking it slowly for now.
With that note, I will return to the history of my Blumenfeld family, picking up where I left off with the family of my second cousin, three times removed, Giedel Blumenfeld and her husband, Gerson Blumenfeld, my first cousin, four times removed, and Giedel’s first cousin, once removed.
When their mother Giedel Blumenfeld Blumenfeld died in 1883 at the age of 38, there were nine surviving children. Moritz, the oldest, was 16 when his mother died, and Franziska, the youngest, was just days shy of her first birthday. Their lives all took different directions, some living their whole lives in Germany, others immigrating as young adults to America, others coming to the US in the 1930s after Hitler came to power. Those choices had huge consequences for them and for their descendants. I will tell their stories separately while trying to keep in mind the bigger picture. This post will tell the story of the two oldest surviving children, Moritz and Berta (or Bertha).
Moritz was married to Blanka Bauer in 1895, according to the history of the Strauss family compiled by by Rabbi Isaak Strauss and Salomon Koppel Strauss, entitled Anleitung zum Stammbaum der Familie Strauss, and printed in 1910 by L. Schwann in Dusseldorf. I have not yet been able to locate an actual birth or marriage record for Blanka, but her death and burial records indicate that she was born in Merlau, Germany, on May 9, 1868, to Loeb Bauer and Fradchen Blumenfeld.1
Moritz and Blanka had four children. Gerda was born on June 16, 1896, in Kirchhain, Germany.
Flora was born on June 9, 1898, in Kirchhain.
Gustav was born January 5, 1900, in Kirchhain.
A fourth child, Herbert, was born on May 9, 1904, according to Anleitung zum Stammbaum der Familie Strauss by Rabbi Isaak Strauss, and Salomon Koppel Strauss. I could not locate an actual birth record for Herbert, but that is consistent with his age at death as listed on his death record.2
After giving birth to these four children, Blanka died on January 17, 1909, when she was 40 years old, assuming the accuracy of her burial record on JewishGen. Her death record says she was 38 years old. Either way, she was very young and left behind her husband Moritz and their four young children. Thus, like their father Moritz, those four children grew up without their mother.
Moritz remarried on April 18, 1911, in Frielendorf, Germany. His second wife was Friedericke Plaut, who was born in Frielendorf on February 20, 1876, to Abraham Plaut and Betti Moses.
Various sources indicate that Moritz and his second wife Friedericke had one child together, a son named Alfred born on August 2, 1912, but he is not listed in the 1910 Strauss Stammbaum book cited above since it predated his birth. The only record I’ve been able to locate for an Alfred Blumenfeld born on that date is a 1935 list of Jewish students at a school in Frankfurt in the collection of the United States Holocaust Memorial and Museum; it indicates that he was from Marburg and that he had left for South America.3 There is nothing that ties this record to Moritz and Friedericke, but, as we will see, there is one piece of evidence that indicates that there was a son named Alfred who ended up in South America.
On May 1, 1922, Moritz’s son Herbert Blumenfeld died; he was only seventeen years old. I don’t know his cause of death, but how tragic to lose a son at such a young age.
Just ten years later, Moritz Blumenfeld himself died January 20, 1932, in Kirchhain, at the age of 65, according to a burial record listed on JewishGen.
When Moritz died, not one of his surviving children was married. The first to marry was Gustav Blumenfeld, who married Paula Blum on August 26, 1934, in Kassel, Germany. Paula was born in Mellrichstadt, Germany, on March 7, 1901, to Michael Blum and Ida Gutmann.4 Gustav and Paula did not have any children.
Fortunately, all the children of Moritz Blumenfeld left Germany in time to escape the Holocaust. Gerda and Flora left together, arriving in New York on April 4, 1935. They both changed their surnames to Bloomfield.5
Their brother Gustav and his wife Paula arrived two years later on July 30, 1937, along with Berta Blumenfeld, Gerda, Flora and Gustav’s aunt and the sister of their father Moritz Blumenfeld. She was 69 years old at that time.6
By 1940, all three siblings were settled in New York. Gustav and Paula were living with his sister Gerda and with his aunt Berta (now Bertha) Blumenfeld in the Washington Heights neighborhood where many German Jewish refugees settled in the 1930s. Gustav was working as a salesman in a retail store, Paula as an operator for a manufacturer, and Gerda as a nurse for a private family.
Flora Blumenfeld was working as a governess and living with a family with a five-year-old boy in the Bronx.7 Later that same year, Flora married Felix Viktor Vorcheimer. Felix was born in Thuengen, Germany, on May 4, 1896, to Adolf and Ida Vorcheimer,8
Bertha Blumenfeld died on December 16, 1944, in New York. She was 76 years old. She never married so has no descendants.9
As for Alfred Blumenfed, the youngest child of Moritz Blumenfeld, his son with his second wife Friedericke Plaut, as mentioned above, I have no official records that I can definitively tie to him. But this lovely death notice for Flora and Gerda certainly indicates that they had a brother named Alfred and that he, as the school register mentioned above indicated, had gone to South America. When he placed this death notice in the Aufbau newspaper, “Alfredo” was living in Cordoba, Argentina.14
The text translates as:
My sister, our cousin Gerda Bloomfield (Blumenfeld) (formerly Kirchheim/Kassel) was released from her long and patiently endured suffering on May 19, 1974, in the 78th year of her life. She followed her beloved sister Mrs. Flora Vorchheimer, née Blumenfeld, who died in the 76th year of her life after a short illness on March 17, 1974. We shall cherish their memory. Alfredo Blumenfeld, Cordoba, Argentina, and cousins.
The good news about this family is that they all escaped from Nazi Germany in time. But the sad news is that I’ve not located any descendants living today. Bertha Blumenfeld had no children. None of the children of her brother Moritz Blumenfeld and his first wife Blanka appear to have had children, and it appears from the obituary for their daughters Flora and Gerda that their half-brother Alfred also did not have any children as he only mentioned cousins, not nieces and nephews, among the mourners of his two sisters. But as I learned from my experiences with Albert Kaufmann, there is always the possibility that I just haven’t found those descendants yet.
Blanka Blumenfeld, Gender: weiblich (Female), Age: 40, Birth Date: abt 1869
Death Date: 17. Jan 1909 (17 Jan 1909), Death Place: Kirchhain, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Kirchhain, Father: Löb Bauer
Mother: Fratchen Bauer, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5094, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958 ↩
- Herbert Blumenfeld death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5107, Year Range: 1922, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958 ↩
- United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; Washington, DC; Nazi Documentation-Munich Municipality (M.1.DN), 1925-1948; Record Group: RG-68.094M; File: rg-68.094m.0004.00000103, Ancestry.com. Munich, Germany, Nazi Documentation Regarding Jews, 1919-1946 (USHMM) ↩
Gustav Blumenfeld, Declaration of Intention, he National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; NAI Title: Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1/19/1842 – 10/29/1959; NAI Number: 4713410; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: 21, Description: (Roll 529) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 407701-408700),
Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943. Paula Marx [Paula Blumenfeld] [Paula Blum] Gender: Female, Birth Date: 7 Mar 1901
Birth Place: Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: Nov 1992, Claim Date: 29 Dec 1965 Father: Michael Blum Mother: Ida Gutman SSN: 07812568, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 ↩
- E.g., Gerda Blumenfeld/Bloomfield Petition for Naturalization, National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, DC; NAI Title: Index to Petitions for Naturalizations Filed in Federal, State, and Local Courts in New York City, 1792-1906; NAI Number: 5700802; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Description: (Roll 1302) Petition No· 371676 – Petition No· 372046, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943 ↩
- Gustav and Paula Blumenfeld ship manifest, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 41, Ship or Roll Number: Hansa, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957. Berta Blumenfeld ship manifest, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 7; Page Number: 62, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957. ↩
- Flora Blumenfeld, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, Bronx, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02466; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 3-235B, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census ↩
Flora Bloomfield [Flora Blumonfeld] Gender: Female Race: White Marriage Age: 42
Birth Date: Jun 1898 Birth Place: Kirchhain, Germany Marriage Date: 14 Aug 1940
Marriage Place: New York, Manhattan, New York, New York, USA, Residence Street Address: 630 W. 122nd St., Occupation: None Father: Moritz Blumonfeld Mother:
Blanka Blumonfeld Spouse: Felix Viktor Vorchheimer Certificate Number: 11414, New York City Department of Records & Information Services; New York City, New York; New York City Marriage Licenses; Borough: Manhattan; Year: 1940, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Index to Marriage Licenses, 1908-1910, 1938-1940 ↩
Name: Bertha Blumenfeld, Gender: Female, Race: White, Marital status: Single
Age: 76, Birth Date: 27 Dec 1867, Birth Place: Germany-Kinschhain, Residence Street Address: 245 Ft Washington Ave, Residence Place: New York, Years in US: 7 1/2 Years
Death Date: 16 Dec 1944, Death Street Address: 245 Fort Wahington, Death Place: New York City, Manhattan, New York, USA, Burial Date: 17 Dec 1944, Burial Place: Cedar Park Cem,N J, Occupation: Retired Housework, Father’s Birth Place: Germany
Mother’s Birth Place: Germany, Father: Gerson Blumenfeld, Mother: Gudel Blumenfeld
Certificate Number: 26617, New York City Department of Records & Information Services; New York City, New York; New York City Death Certificates; Borough: Manhattan; Year: 1944, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Index to Death Certificates, 1862-1948 ↩
Gustav Blumenfeld, Age: 45, Birth Year: abt 1900, Death Date: 2 Apr 1945
Death Place: Manhattan, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 7811, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948 ↩
Paula Blumenfeld [Paula Blum] Gender: Female Race: White Age: 49
Birth Date: abt 1902, Birth Place: Germany, Marriage License Place: Wayne
Marriage Date: 14 Apr 1951, Marriage Place: Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, USA
Residence Place: Detroit, Michigan, Father: Mike Blum Mother: Ida Gutman
Spouse: Moritz Marx, County File Number: 802137, State File Number: 480889
Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952; Film: 377; Film Title: 82 Wayne 479850-483199; Film Description: Wayne (Dates TBD), Ancestry.com. Michigan, U.S., Marriage Records, 1867-1952 ↩
Flora Vorchheimer Social Security Number: 095-42-4853 Birth Date: 9 Jun 1898
Issue Year: 1964 Issue State: New York Last Residence: 10033, New York, New York, New York, USA, Death Date: Mar 1974, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 ↩
- Gerda Bloomfield, Social Security Number: 081-14-2849, Birth Date: 16 Jun 1896, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10033, New York, New York, New York, USA, Death Date: May 1974, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 ↩
- This also indicates that all those trees that say that Alfred died in Frankfurt in 1933 are not correct. ↩