As I turn to the tragic story of the fourth child of Giedel Blumenfeld and Gerson Blumenfeld, Dorothea Blumenfeld Haas, I only wish she, her sons, and her grandchildren had followed many of Dorothea’s siblings and her only daughter out of Germany before it was too late.
As we saw, Dorothea was born on December 26, 1869, in Kirchhain. She married Joseph Haas on August 12, 1898, in Kirchhain. He was born on October 3, 1863, to Wolf Haas and Johannette Schei in Grenzhausen, Germany.
Dorothea and Joseph Haas had three children. Walter Haas (presumably named for Joseph’s father Wolf) was born on August 23, 1899, in Hoehr Grenzhausen, Germany. Thank you to Aaron Knappstein for obtaining Walter’s birth record as well as many of the records included in this post.
His sister Gertha Giedel Haas (presumably named for Dorothea’s mother Giedel) was born in Hoehr Grenzhausen on November 5, 1901.
And Gustav Haas was born on December 7, 1908, in Hoehr Grenzhausen.
Walter Haas married Irma Weinberg on May 11, 1933. Walter’s occupation was a cattle dealer.
Irma was born on January 5, 1901, in Hartenfels, Germany, to Isaac Weinberg and Ida Gerson.
Walter and Irma had two children. Ilse was born in Grenzhausen on July 22, 1934.
Her brother Ingfried was born on February 5, 1937, in Grenzhausen.
Thank you to Aaron Knappstein for obtaining the birth records for Walter, Gertha, Gustav, Ilse and Ingfried Haas and for Irma Weinberg and the marriage record of Walter and Irma.
Tragically, almost every member of this family was murdered by the Nazis. Joseph Haas died January 2, 1932,1 so was spared seeing what happened to his wife, children, and grandchildren. Dorothea,2 her sons Gustav3 and Walter,4 and Walter’s wife Irma5 and their son Ingfried6 were all deported to the Minsk concentration camp in either November or December, 1941, and died there in 1942, according to their memorials on Yad Vashem. Little Ingfried was only four years old.
Walter and Irma’s daughter Ilse7 had been smuggled out of Germany to the Netherlands for safety before her family was sent to Minsk, but then Ilse was deported from the Netherlands to the Sobibor concentration camp on March 13, 1943, where she was murdered. She was only eight years old.
The entry on FindAGrave for Ilse provides this biographical note:
Ilse was born on July 22, 1934 in Höhr, Germany. She later moved to the Netherlands as a German Jewish refugee. During the war, she lived at an orphanage for Jewish children in Den Haag, Netherlands. German authorities forcibly closed the orphanage in March 1943, sending most of the children and staff to Sobibor on March 10th, where they were murdered on March 13th. Ilse was one of the children killed. She was just 8 years old.
The Dokin website provided this photograph of Ilse:
The only member of this extended family who survived was Dorothea and Joseph’s daughter Gertha, who arrived in New York on December 2, 1939, from Frankfurt, where the Haas family had relocated at some point, whether willingly or not.8
The manifest reported that Gertha was going to her aunt, “J. Bloomfield,” at 1162 Grant Avenue in the Bronx.
I wasn’t sure who this could be. Using Stevemorse.org, I located on the 1940 census a Johanna Bloomfield, a 70 year-old widow born in Germany, living at the address listed on Gertha’s manifest. Searching my tree, I realized that she was Johanna Tannenbaum, the widow of Max Bloomfield, born Markus Blumenfeld, younger brother of Gertha’s mother Dorothea. Max and Johanna’s story will be told in my next blog post.
Gertha sailed from Rotterdam, but listed her last residence as Frankfurt. Her ship left Rotterdam on November 22, 1939, almost two months after World War II started when it was very difficult to leave Germany. How was Gertha able to escape when her mother, brothers, and niece and nephew could not? I wish I knew her full story.
Gertha filed her Declaration of Intention to become a US citizen on March 29, 1940.
Almost three years after safely immigrating to the US, Gertha married Julius Hecht on October 10, 1942.9 Julius was also a refugee from Nazi Germany. He was born on June 23, 1890, in Limburg, Germany, to Abraham Hecht and Regina Stern. He arrived in the US even later than Gertha—on September 9, 1941— and had also been previously living in Frankfurt, but sailed from Spain.10 Julius was 52 and Gertha was 39 when they married, and they did not have children. Julius and Gertha both died in 1974 within two months of each other, Julius in May,11 Gertha in July.12 He was 83, and she was 71.
Sadly, there are no direct descendants of Dorothea Blumenfeld and Joseph Haas to tell their stories. Perhaps I will find a cousin who can tell me more about this family that was almost completely wiped out by the Nazis.
Joseph Haas, Birth Date: 3 Oct 1863, Death Date: 02 Jan 1932, Age at Death: 68
Burial Plot: 1, Burial Place: Höhr-Grenzhausen, Germany, JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR). ↩
- Dora Haas Blumenfeld entry at Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=11514166&ind=1 ↩
- Gustav Haas entry at Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=11514218&ind=1 ↩
- Walter Haas entry at Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=11514400&ind=1 ↩
- Irma Weinberg Haas entry at Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=11514250&ind=1 ↩
- Ingfried Haas, entry at Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=5859525&ind=1 ↩
- See entry at https://www.wiewaswie.nl/nl/detail/98928585 ↩
- Gertha Haas, ship manifest, Year: 1939; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 40, Ship or Roll Number: Rotterdam, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 ↩
Gertha Haas, Gender: Female, Race: White, Marriage Age: 39, Birth Date: Nov 1902, Birth Place: Germany, Marriage Date: 10 Oct 1942, Marriage Place: New York, Manhattan, New York, New York, USA, Residence Street Address: 564 W. 160 St., Occupation: Operator, Father: Josepha Haas, Mother: Dora Haas, Spouse: Julius Hecht
Certificate Number: 19972, Current Marriage Number: 0, New York City Department of Records & Information Services; New York City, New York; New York City Marriage Licenses; Borough: Manhattan; Year: 1942, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Index to Marriage Licenses, 1908-1910, 1938-1940 ↩
Julius Hecht, Gender: männlich (Male), Birth Date: 23. Jun 1890 (23 Jun 1890)
Birth Place: Limburg, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Limburg, Mother: Regina Hecht, Father: Abraham Hecht, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 912; Laufende Nummer: 3277,
Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901. Julius Hecht, Gender: Male
Declaration Age: 51, Record Type: Declaration, Birth Date: 23 Jun 1890, Birth Place: Limburg Germany, Arrival Date: 9 Sep 1941, Arrival Place: New York, New York, USA
Declaration Date: 3 Mar 1942, Declaration Place: New York, Court: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Declaration Number: 515161, Box Number: 390, The 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, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943 ↩
Julius Hecht, Social Security Number: 083-18-7875, Birth Date: 23 Jun 1890, 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, Source Information
Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 ↩
Gerda Hecht, Social Security Number: 101-16-4049, Birth Date: 5 Nov 1902
Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10033, New York, New York, New York, USA, Death Date: Jul 1974, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 ↩