Hermann Blumenfeld II and His Family: Leaving Germany in Time

It was a bit of a relief, telling the stories of Max Bloomfield I and his sister Sadie Bloomfield, since both left Germany almost fifty years before the Nazis came to power. Even though both suffered tragic losses—Max lost two young daughters from terrible illnesses and Sadie lost a daughter to a horrible freak accident—I knew that they and their descendants would not be killed in the Holocaust.

Now I return to a sibling who stayed in Germany, but who managed to leave in the 1930s along with his family and escape from Nazi persecution. Hermann Blumenfeld II was the seventh child of Giedel Blumenfeld and Gerson Blumenfeld; he was born on March 26, 1876, in Kirchhain. He lost his mother Giedel when he was only seven years old.

On May 21, 1902, Hermann II married Rickchen Lomnitz in Bischhausen, Germany. She was born in Bischhausen on November 6, 1874, to Salomon Lomnitz and Esther Lorge.

Marriage record of Hermann Blumenfeld II and Rickchen Lomnitz, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 923; Laufende Nummer: 905, Year Range: 1902, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Hermann II and Rickchen had four sons. First, they had twins; Gustav and Siegwart were born on January 3, 1904, in Marburg, Germany.1 Then came Max, born on December 23, 1905, in Marburg.2

Their fourth son was Julius Blumenfeld, born October 27, 1907, in Marburg. For a long time I was skeptical about the existence of this fourth son, who was listed on several family trees but with no sources.3 I am very grateful to Richard Bloomfield for tracking down the actual birth record for Julius.

Julius Blumenfeld birth record obtained by Richard Bloomfield from Marburg Archives

Before Richard obtained that birth record, the only actual record I could find for a Julius Blumenfeld born on that date was a record of prisoners held at Dachau concentration camp; that record indicates that a man with that name and birth date and place was imprisoned at Dachau on October 26, 1935, and released on July 25, 1936, but it does not indicate who his parents were.4

Hermann and Rickchen and their sons all escaped from Nazi Germany in the 1930s. Max arrived in the US on July 6, 1936, listing his occupation as a merchant and his prior residence as Vienna.5 His brother Gustav arrived in the US next on October 1, 1937, listing his occupation as a baker and his prior residence as Marburg.6

Then their parents arrived the following year on June 3, 1938, Hermann II listing his occupation as a baker, same as his son Gustav. Traveling with them was Hermann’s younger sister Franziska, the youngest child of Giedel and Gerson Blumenfeld to survive to adulthood and their tenth child. Franziska was 55 and unmarried when she immigrated to the US with her brother Hermann and sister-in-law Rickchen.

Hermann Blumenfeld, ship manifest, Year: 1938; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 91, Ship or Roll Number: Hansa, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

In 1940, Hermann, Rickchen, Gustav and Max were all living together along with Hermann’s sister Franziska in New York. Only Gustav and Max were employed, Gustav as a novelty salesman and Max as an office clerk for a garment company. They had all adopted the surname Bloomfield by then.

Hermann Blumenfeld and family, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02670; Page: 22B; Enumeration District: 31-1885, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Max Bloomfield (II, since he had an uncle who also changed his surname from Blumenfeld to Bloomfield) married Fridl Waldmann Aal, a widow with one child, on September 13, 1941, in New York.7 Fridl was born on March 20, 1909, in Windheim, Germany, and was, like Max, a refugee from Nazi Germany, having arrived on July 6, 1938, with her young daughter.8

When he registered for the draft in 1942, Max was working for the Gibraltar Manufacturing Company.

Max Bloomfield II, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New York City, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Max’s brother Gustav was self-employed when he registered for the draft, but I do not know what his occupation was; perhaps he’d returned to baking.

Gustav Bloomfield, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New York City, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Meanwhile, Hermann II and Rickchen’s other sons, Gustav’s twin Siegwart and the youngest son Julius, had gone to South Africa instead of the United States. Finding out what happened to Julius took the assistance of the genealogy village, in particular, my cousin Richard Bloomfield and Tracing the Tribe member Michael Moritz.

Given that Hermann Blumenfeld II’s naturalization papers listed only three sons—Gustav, Siegwart, and Max—I assumed that Julius must have died before Hermann filed his declaration of intent in 1941 or perhaps even before Hermann and Rickchen immigrated in 1938. But I had no idea when or where Julius died or whether he’d ever left Germany.

Herman Blumenfeld, Declaration of Intention, 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, Description: (Roll 610) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 481301-482200), Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

I posted a question on Tracing the Tribe on Facebook.  Not long after I posted my question, Michael Moritz again came through for me; he found that Julius had immigrated to South Africa, and then found Julius’ marriage record and death record. On December 8, 1937, in Johannesburg, South Africa, Julius married Charlotte Rosenfeld, who was 27 at that time and born in Germany.

Marriage of Julius Blumenfeld and Charlotte Rosenfeld, “South Africa, Civil Marriage Records, 1840-1973”, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:8BTM-6BN2 : 1 February 2021), Charlotte Rosenfeld in entry for Julius Blumenfeld, 1936.

Sadly, Julius died just five months later on May 10, 1937, in Johannesburg, South Africa, from sudden cardiac arrest. He was only 29, and I have little doubt that his experiences at Dachau contributed to his early death.

Julius Blumenfeld death certificate, “South Africa, Transvaal, Civil Death, 1869-1954,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C9BY-V7P6-W?cc=2998108 : 15 September 2019), > image 1 of 1; Department of the Interior. Registrar of Births, Marriages, and Deaths, Transvaal.

His brother Siegwart also died young. He died in South Africa on June 18,1945, when he was 41, from lymphosarcoma. According to his death certificate, he was single and I assume had no children.

Siegwart Blumenfeld death certificate, “South Africa, Transvaal, Civil Death, 1869-1954,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:WSSF-4NN2 : 29 October 2019), Siegwart Blumenfeld, 18 Jun 1945; citing Death, Johannesburg, Transvaal, South Africa, Department of the Interior. Registrar of Births, Marriages, and Deaths, Transvaal.

Back in the US, Hermann Blumenfeld II died in New York on August 12, 1944; he was 68.9 His wife Rickchen died six years later on October 19, 1950; she was 75.10 Their son Gustav died on January 28, 1966, at the age of 62;11 as far as I’ve been able to determine, Gustav never married or had children. Max Bloomfield II died in July 1981 at age 75.12 I’ve not found any children from his marriage to Fridl Waldmann, who died at age 96 on September 23, 2005.13

I am hoping that perhaps I’ve missed something and that one of Hermann II and Rickchen’s sons had children and that there are living descendants since this is one of the few branches of Giedel Blumenfeld’s tree that managed to escape Germany in time. But at the moment I have no indication that Hermann Blumenfeld II has any living descendants.

UPDATE 5 30 2022

Good news! I received an email from a distant cousin by marriage who informed me that he had discovered that Max Bloomfield and Fridl Waldmann had a son born in the 1940s. I have now learned a bit about that son, my fifth cousin, who is living in California and has an adult daughter as well. So there are at least two living descendants of Hermann Blumenfeld II.


  1.  Gustav Bloomfield, Social Security Number: 130-03-0510, Birth Date: 3 Jan 1904
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10467, Bronx, Bronx, New York, USA, Death Date: Jan 1966, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. On his naturalization application, Hermann reported that both Gustav and Siegwart were born on January 3, 1904. Hermann Blumenfeld, Declaration of Intention, 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. The declaration of intention is inserted in the post at a different point. 
  2. Max Bloomfield, Declaration of Intention, 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 
  3.   Some of the trees listing Julius as the son of Hermann and Rickchen also attached sources showing a Julius Blumenfeld who came to the US, married a Rose Hymann in 1950, divorced her in 1971, and died in 1974. But there was nothing that linked that Julius to Hermann and RIckchen. In fact, those records don’t even include a birth date or place; the only commonality is the name Julius Blumenfeld. Obviously, as you will see, these trees are incorrect. 
  4. Julius Blumenfeld, Birth Date: 27 Oct 1907, Birth Place: Marburg/Lahn, Arrival Date: 26 Oct 1935, Arrival Country: Germany, Prisoner Number: 8505, Arrival Notes: arrived 26 Oct 1935, Disposition Notes: released 25 Jul 1936, Description: prisoner
    Page: 487/Sch., Original Notes (desc. / arr. / dis.): Sch./ zug. 26 Oct 1935/ entl. 25 Jul 1936, JewishGen volunteers, comp. Germany, Dachau Concentration Camp Records, 1945 
  5. Max Blumenfeld, ship manifest, Year: 1936; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 135, Ship or Roll Number: Europa, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  6. Gustav Blumenfeld, ship manifest, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 9; Page Number: 38, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  7. Max Bloomfield, Gender: Male, Race: White, Marriage Age: 35, Birth Date: 23 Dec 1905, Birth Place: Germany, Marriage Affidavit Date: 9 Sep 1941, Marriage Date: 13 Sep 1941, Marriage Place: New York, Manhattan, New York, New York, USA, Residence Street Address: 564 W. 160 St., Residence Place: New York City
    Occupation: Paymaster, Father: Hermann Bloomfield, Mother: Rickchen Bloomfield
    Spouse: Fridl Aal, Certificate Number: 16130, Current Marriage Number: 0, Witness 1: A. Wertheim, Witness 2: H. Katzentend, New York City Department of Records & Information Services; New York City, New York; New York City Marriage Licenses; Borough: Manhattan; Year: 1941, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Index to Marriage Licenses, 1908-1910, 1938-1940 
  8. Fridl Waldmann Aal, Declaration of Intention, 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, (Roll 548) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 426401-427400),
    Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943 
  9. Herman Blumenfeld, Age: 68, Birth Year: abt 1876, Death Date: 12 Aug 1944
    Death Place: Manhattan, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 17482, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948 
  10. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/204634106/rickchen-blumenfeld : accessed 12 March 2022), memorial page for Rickchen Blumenfeld (6 Nov 1874–19 Oct 1950), Find a Grave Memorial ID 204634106, citing King Solomon Memorial Park, Clifton, Passaic County, New Jersey, USA ; Maintained by danthecan (contributor 48474884) . 
  11.  Gustav Bloomfield, Social Security Number: 130-03-0510, Birth Date: 3 Jan 1904
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10467, Bronx, Bronx, New York, USA, Death Date: Jan 1966, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/204626960/gustav-bloomfield : accessed 12 March 2022), memorial page for Gustav Bloomfield (3 Jan 1904–28 Jan 1966), Find a Grave Memorial ID 204626960, citing King Solomon Memorial Park, Clifton, Passaic County, New Jersey, USA ; Maintained by danthecan (contributor 48474884). 
  12.  Max Bloomfield, Social Security Number: 065-05-5748, Birth Date: 23 Dec 1905
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10033, New York, New York, New York, USA, Death Date: Jul 1981, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  13.  Fridl Bloomfield, Social Security Number: 109-16-6128, Birth Date: 20 Mar 1909, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10033, New York, New York, New York, Death Date: 23 Sep 2005, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 

15 thoughts on “Hermann Blumenfeld II and His Family: Leaving Germany in Time

  1. Wow – the family certainly did end up a bit scattered. I wonder why two of the sons chose South Africa.

    Also, did Hitler try to stop Jewish people from leaving Germany in the 30s? I’ve never been clear, given that it’s likely he was already thinking of his evil final solution…

    Liked by 1 person

    • It may have had to do with where they could get visas. There were not a lot of choices Jews had as many places including the US refused to accept them.

      My understanding is that until the war started in September 1939, the Nazis were fine with Jews leaving Germany as long as they left their assets behind. Once the war started, it became much more difficult to get out. In fact, the plan to kill all the Jews didn’t really become part of the Nazi program until about 1941. https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/the-final-solution

      Like

    • Michael is amazing. Not only is he so generous with his help, he is an incredible researcher. He finds things so fast because he knows exactly where to look and how to search. What would take me hours or days seems to take him just a few minutes.

      Like

    • I know she married three years later, but could find no birth records for a Blumenfeld born in 1937 or 1938. And I could find no further records for her after she remarried.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Hi Amy
        I don’t think you received my reply so I am sending it again. We are distantly related through marriage following several branches of the family tree. For example; My great great grandmother Clara Arnold Fechheimer is distantly related to Louis Engelander, and to Moses Ben Abraham Blumenfeld. Following my Great grandfather’s line he is related to Simona Hedda Cohen. Then my great aunt, Alice Fechheimer Herz’s son-in-law (B.F.Dolbin)’s ex-wife can be traced to Bernard Seligman. My email address is nikinicholson@hotmail.com. If you would like to give me an email address I could scan the mini-trees and send them to you. I have finishes your second book and really enjoyed it and I look forward to your fascinating blogs. Thank you. Best wishes. Niki

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Amy, a thumbs up to Michael Moritz as he came up with the family information to help you along with your research. It’s fascinating to read Julius went all the way to South Africa (who would have known) and found love and marriage in such a short space of time.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s always been my understanding that the US did not accept any Jews as refugees from Germany, either before or during the war. It did, clearly, accept people who were immigrants with sponsors in the US, which explains the substantial numbers that came here during the 30’s. Apparently Franklin Roosevelt was not particularly moved by the needs of Jewish people in Europe, and his mother, who lived with him at the White House, was very opposed.

    Germany did release people from camps if they could document they had a visa to go somewhere and if their family not incarcerated could satisfy the powers that be that they were not taking much of value with them. My father’s family gave things away to their German friends when they were leaving in 1939, and managed to sneak out jewelry hidden in clothing. We still have a set of china dinnerware that was a wedding present to my grandparents, so they were obviously able to ship out some pretty bulky stuff.

    My father had cousins who went from Germany to South Africa, Chile, England, Canada and the US, and many German Jews went to Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Shanghai and Palestine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Bob. I am not sure how they drew the line between refugees and immigrants back then. Certainly all those trying to escape Nazi Germany were in some sense refugees. I was using it in that broader sense, not in the sense of today of one seeking asylum.

      People were released from camps like Buchenwald before the war. But once the Nazis adopted the Final Solution to exterminate all the Jews, I don’t think that was the case as a rule though some may have been lucky enough to escape or to bribe some guard to let them go.

      Like

  4. You’ve done a great job of documenting these family members even though some of them were so spread out. You definitely had some genealogy angels to help.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: Finding Meier Blumenfeld’s Children: The Benefits of Teamwork | Brotmanblog: A Family Journey

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