Lena Goldsmith Basch, Final Chapter: Joseph Basch’s Twins

In 1930, Joseph Basch and his wife Ida Steinhauser were living in Columbus, Ohio, with their twin children, Elene, a Smith College graduate, and Joseph, Jr., a graduate of Ohio State University. Joseph, Sr., continued to work in the tobacco business with his brother Joel.

Elene Basch married Robert Weiler on October 14, 1931, in Columbus. Robert, the son of Adolph Weiler and Blanche Kahn, was born on December 31, 1902, in Hartford, Indiana.1 His father was born in Germany, and his mother was born in Indiana. By 1910, the family had moved to Columbus, where Adolph Weiler was a clothing merchant.2 Robert graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and in 1930 was living in Marion, Ohio, working in real estate sales.3

Ancestry.com. Ohio, County Marriage Records, 1774-1993

Elene and Robert settled in Bexley, Ohio, and had two children during the 1930s. In 1940, they were still living in Bexley, and Robert was working as an insurance broker.4 Elene’s parents Joseph and Ida were living in Columbus, and Joseph continued to own Levy Mendel, the tobacco business.5

Elene’s twin, Joseph, Jr., had moved to Highland Park, Michigan, by 1930, where he was working as a taxi driver and lodging with a family.6 (He was enumerated twice in 1930, once with his parents in Columbus and once in Highland Park.7) By 1935 he was living in Detroit and was still there in 1940, working as a parking lot attendant.8

I was able to get more insight about Joseph, Jr., and his mother Ida from these excerpts from the oral history interview conducted by the Columbus Jewish Historical Society with Alan Weiler on April 8, 2008.

Weiler: … My uncle Joseph moved to Detroit, Michigan where he lived an unusual life. He worked for General Motors on the assembly line, married a woman, but never had nerve enough to tell his mom that he was married. When she went up to visit him he introduced her as his maid. … He lived on Second Avenue in downtown Detroit where it was unlikely to have a maid. My grandmother thought that her son had a maid rather than a wife.

Interviewer: Why was he afraid to tell her? If he were married, he thought she wouldn’t approve?

Weiler: Exactly. My Uncle Joseph was a stutterer. His mother, my grandmother Ida Basch, was a very domineering woman. After he finished Ohio State he just wanted to get out of town and he ended up living in Detroit, I think became an alcoholic, really lived a very unusual life. The lady he married, Winola, was a lovely lady. ….

I found Joseph Basch, Jr. traveling with a woman named Lola Basch in 1958; I assume this was the woman Alan Weiler remembered as Winola.

The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger and Crew Lists of Vessels and Airplanes Arriving at Miami, Florida.; NAI Number: 2771998; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787 – 2004; Record Group Number: 85,  Ancestry.com. Florida, Passenger Lists, 1898-1963

She was born Lola Brown, daughter of James Brown and Lisa Sparks, on October 31, 1916, in Ivyton, Kentucky.9 In 1940, she was working as a servant in a household in Johnson County, Kentucky. So maybe in some sense Joseph did not lie to his mother—Lola had been at one time a maid, although in someone else’s home.10

Joseph Basch, Sr., died June 17, 1953,11 and his wife Ida died two years later on March 3, 1955.12 They were survived by their two children and two grandchildren. Their daughter Elene died in Columbus on November 25, 1973,13 followed just two months later by her husband Robert Weiler on January 28, 1974.14  For more about Elene and Robert and their lives, I highly recommend the oral interview done with their son Alan in 2008, which you can find here.

Joseph Basch, Jr., died on December 31, 1988, at the age of 82.15 I found this intriguing death notice in the January 2, 1989 Detroit News (p. 26):

“Basch,” Detroit News, January 2, 1989, p. 26.

Who are these stepchildren? Is “Lois” really Lola? The only seemingly relevant link I could locate was to Charles Fryman. I found a Charles W. Fryman born in Perry, Kentucky, on November 27, 1943, on the Kentucky Birth Index listed with a mother named Lola Ball.16  The Social Security Applications and Claims Index lists Charles Willie Fryman born November 27, 1941, with parents Charlie I Fryman and Lola Brown.17 I could not find any marriage record for Lola Brown and/or Charlie Fryman, however, so perhaps Charles W. Fryman was born outside of wedlock. He is listed on the Social Security Death Index with a birth date of November 27, 1942, and a date of death of July 15, 2000.18 He certainly appears to have been Lola Brown’s son. I could not find any connections to Lee Compton or Lucy Jacobs, however.

At any rate, although Joseph Basch, Jr., may never have had children with Lola, he certainly seemed to have a large family of stepchildren and step-grandchildren in his life.

With this post, I close another chapter in the family of my four-times great-uncle Simon Goldsmith and his children with his first wife Eveline Katzenstein and specifically the story of their daughter Lena. Lena Goldsmith Basch seems to have been a strong and smart woman, a woman who not only raised her children and cared for her husband Gustavus, but who ran a business and helped to support her family financially. She and her children left their mark on their long-time home of Columbus, Ohio.

Now I will turn back to and complete the stories of Simon’s children with his second wife, my three-times great-aunt Fradchen Schoenthal—my double cousins Henry and Hannah Goldsmith.


  1.  National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 2481; Volume #: Roll 2481 – Certificates: 397850-398349, 21 Apr 1924-22 Apr 1924,
    Ancestry.com. U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  2. Adolph Weiler and family, 1910 US census, Census Place: Columbus Ward 4, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: T624_1181; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 0074; FHL microfilm: 1375194, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  3. Columbus (OH) Dispatch, October 26, 1930, p. 39; Robert Weiler, 1930 US census, Census Place: Marion, Franklin, Ohio; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 0191; FHL microfilm: 2341527, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  4. Robert Weiler and family, 1940 US census, Census Place: Bexley, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: m-t0627-03068; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 25-4, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census  
  5. Joseph and Ida Basch, 1940 US census, Census Place: Columbus, Franklin, Ohio; Roll: m-t0627-03242; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 93-55, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  6. Joseph Basch, Jr., 1930 US census, Census Place: Highland Park, Wayne, Michigan; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 0994; FHL microfilm: 2340809,
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  7. Basch family, 1930 US census, Census Place: Columbus, Franklin, Ohio; Page: 22A; Enumeration District: 0029; FHL microfilm: 2341529, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  8. Joseph Basch, Jr., 1940 US census, Census Place: Detroit, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: m-t0627-01844; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 84-158, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  9. SSN: 400363565, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  10. Lola Brown, 1940 US census, Census Place: Johnson, Kentucky; Roll: m-t0627-01322; Page: 13A; Enumeration District: 58-13, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  11. SSN 297323868, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  12. “Mrs. Ida Basch,” Columbus (OH) Dispatch, March 4, 1955, p. 48. Ancestry.com. Web: Columbus, Ohio, Green Lawn Cemetery Index, 1780-2010 
  13.  Certificate: 085726; Volume: 21489, Ancestry.com and Ohio Department of Health. Ohio, Death Records, 1908-1932, 1938-2007 
  14.  Certificate: 002636; Volume: 21563, Ancestry.com and Ohio Department of Health. Ohio, Death Records, 1908-1932, 1938-2007 
  15. SSN: 365167257, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  16. Volume Number: 058, Certificate Number: 28711, Volume Year: 1945, Ancestry.com. Kentucky, Birth Index, 1911-1999 
  17. SSN: 405567939, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  18.  Number: 405-56-7939; Issue State: Kentucky; Issue Date: 1959, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 

Where Did Harry Go?

In my last post, I described the challenges I faced in trying to learn the whereabouts between 1889 and 1900 of my cousin Harry Goldsmith, son of my three-times great-uncle Jacob Goldsmith. I finally concluded that Harry had married a woman named Florence Loeb sometime around 1884 and had had two children with her, Stanton, born in 1885, and Janet, born in 1892. He and his family were living on North 63rd Street in Philadelphia in 1900, and Harry was in the tobacco business.

Emanuel Dreifus on the 1900 census
Year: 1900; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 34, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Page: 3; Enumeration District: 0904

Thank you to the many readers who gave me feedback on my conclusion that my Harry Goldsmith married Florence Loeb.  That conclusion was then further supported by an article found by Renee Stern Steinig, who many of you may recall was my mentor and my inspiration when I first started doing family history research about six years ago.  Renee saw my blog post on Facebook and found the article below that somehow, despite all my searching, I had missed, probably because Harry is called Henry here.  Now I know for sure that the Harry Goldsmith who was married to Florence Loeb was in fact my cousin.  The big clue—Rena Rice was one of the maids of honor at their wedding on December 4, 1883!

The Philadelphia Inquirer, December 5, 1883, p. 4

But Harry’s life soon changed, as Florence divorced him in 1901 and married their boarder Emanuel Dreifus, who also seemingly adopted Harry’s children.

So what happened to Harry after the divorce from Florence in 1901? Finding the answer to that question led me down several more rabbit holes. Once again, I confronted the problem of a multiplicity of Harry Goldsmiths.

In 1901 there were four Harry Goldsmiths in the Philadelphia directory, but none was in the tobacco business (there was a printer, a paperhanger, a salesman, and a tailor). 1 In 1905 there were two Harry Goldsmiths in the cigar business plus a tailor.2 And in 1908 there were four Harry Goldsmiths: one in the cigar business, a reverend, a printer, and one, a Harry N. Goldsmith, in a business called Goldsmith & Arndt.3

Further research into that last one revealed that Arndt was Max Arndt and that he was a tobacconist. Thus, I think it’s reasonable to conclude that Goldsmith & Arndt was also a tobacco business. The Harry N. Goldsmith in Goldsmith & Arndt was living at 1747 North 15th Street. One of the Harrys in the 1905 directory who listed cigars as his occupation was living at 1711 North 15th Street—presumably the one in business with Max Arndt three years later.4

But was Harry N. Goldsmith my Harry? Well, in 1911, Harry N. Goldsmith was living 1914 Berks Road and in business as H.N. Goldsmith & Co. 5 Searching the 1910 census for a Harry Goldsmith at 1914 Berks Road, I found this one:

Harry Goldsmith 1910 US census
Year: 1910; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 32, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1403; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 0759; FHL microfilm: 1375416
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Is this my Harry? Well, at first, I thought not. For one thing, this Harry was only 34, meaning he was born in about 1876, whereas my Harry was born in 1858. This Harry was single, not divorced. And strangest of all, this Harry claimed to be an electrical engineer for the railroad—an occupation no Harry Goldsmith had claimed on any Philadelphia directory going back over thirty years.

But looking more carefully at this 1910 census report, something else rang a bell.  The head of the household in which this Harry Goldsmith was living was a woman named Eva G. Anathan. Searching my tree, I saw that I have cousin named Eva Goldsmith who was married to a man named Nathan Anathan. 6 Eva was the daughter of Jacob Goldsmith’s brother, Levi, making her Harry Goldsmith’s first cousin. And Eva Anathan was one of the guests at Rena’s wedding in 1898.

I was now feeling pretty certain that this had to be my Harry Goldsmith living at 1914 Berks Road in 1910 with his first cousin Eva Goldsmith Anathan. I didn’t know why the census report on both his age and occupation were so off, but I was convinced that this had to be the Harry Goldsmith who was the son of my three-times great-uncle Jacob Goldsmith. He was still listed at that same address—1914 Berks Road—in Philadelphia directories from 1912 through 1917,7 and his business was reported as cigars in all of them (not electrical engineering). I thought I had found my Harry.

But then I found a marriage record for a Harry Goldsmith, born in Pennsylvania, whose parents were named Jacob and Fanny. The marriage took place in Detroit, Michigan, on December 16, 1913. The groom was 45 years old, meaning born around 1868, ten years after my Harry Goldsmith was born. He was a tobacco dealer. His bride was Henrietta Robinson, who was 37 years old and born in Michigan. It was a second marriage for Harry, a first for Henrietta.

Marriage record of Harry Goldsmith and Henrietta Robinson
Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952; Film: 117; Film Description: 1913 Wayne – 1914 Branch

All the facts seemed to fit my Harry, except his age: his name, parents’ names, birth place, occupation, and the fact that he’d had a prior marriage all matched my Harry. I was certain that this had to be my Harry.

Searching for Harry Goldsmith in Detroit directories, I found one in 1915 living in a hotel, and in 1916, there were four Harry Goldsmiths in Detroit, one of whom was living on Sprout Avenue.8 That Harry Goldsmith, the one living on Sprout Avenue, died on October 5, 1917.

Harry Goldsmith death certificate
Ancestry.com. Michigan, Death Records, 1867-1950 , 251: Detroit, 1917

He was born in Pennsylvania on July 17, 1863, according to his death certificate, and had been a tobacco broker. He was married at the time of his death. His parents were born in Germany. His mother’s name was unknown, and his father was listed as H. Goldsmith by an informant named Mrs. S. Rose of Detroit. According to the death certificate, Harry had suffered from heart disease—chronic myocarditis—for over a year before his death. Was this my Harry?

It seemed more than likely. My Harry Goldsmith had been listed as born in July 1858 on the 1900 census, this Harry was born in July of 1863; perhaps he shaved off five years to appear younger to his second wife Henrietta (and earlier had shaved off ten years on the marriage record). My Harry was born in Pennsylvania; so was this Harry. My Harry had been in the tobacco business in Philadelphia; this Harry was also in the tobacco business. The informant did not know his mother’s name so the H. Goldsmith was probably just a guess as to his father’s name. I thought I had found the end of the Harry Goldsmith mystery.

But then something did not add up. The Harry N. Goldsmith who had been living with my Harry’s first cousin Eva Goldsmith Anathan in 1910 was still apparently alive and living in Philadelphia long after the marriage and even death of the Harry who had married Henrietta and moved to Detroit. As noted above, Harry N. Goldsmith is listed in directories in Philadelphia living at 1914 Berks Road until 1917.

In the 1918 directory, Harry N. Goldsmith was living on Regent Street and is listed as president of two companies:  H.N. Goldsmith & Company and Golco Sanitary System. The 1918 directory had a separate listing for Golco and described the business as “toilet paper and holders.” 9 On the 1920 census, there is a Harry N. Goldsmith living on Regent Street in Philadelphia, 44 years old so born around 1876, and married to a woman named Madge.10 This Harry was in the paper business, as was the Harry N. Goldsmith listed in the 1918 directory as president of Golco.

So who was this Harry N. Goldsmith, and what, if any, connection did he have to my Harry Goldsmith? Was he a son or a cousin? If not, why was he living with my Harry Goldsmith’s first cousin Eva Goldsmith Anathan in 1910?

I was able to find a birth record for a Harry N. Goldsmith born in Philadelphia on May 27, 1875, son of Raphael and Emma (Ettinger) Goldsmith,11 so the right age for the Harry living with Eva Goldsmith Anathan in 1910. That Harry’s father Raphael was born on May 8, 1849, in Philadelphia to Napoleon and Zerlina Goldsmith. I have no relatives with those names, and thus, I don’t think that the Harry Goldsmith who was living with Eva Goldsmith Anathan in 1910 was my relative or, for that matter, Eva Anathan’s relative.

Birth certificate of Raphael Goldsmith
Historical Society of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Historic Pennsylvania Church and Town Records; Reel: 644
Organization Name: Mikveh Israel Jewish Congregation
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania and New Jersey, Church and Town Records, 1669-2013

But then what was he doing living with Eva Goldsmith Anathan in 1910? Was it just coincidence that another Harry Goldsmith, who also happened to be in the tobacco business, was living with a relative of my Harry Goldsmith?

And if the Harry Goldsmith on the 1910 census was not my Harry, then where was my Harry all those years between 1900 and 1913? There was a second Harry Goldsmith selling cigars in those years in Philadelphia, but when I found him on the 1910 census, it was clearly not my Harry—he was born in 1840, married to a woman named Mary, and from England, as were his parents.

Had my Harry already moved to Detroit? There are Harry Goldsmiths listed in Detroit directories for those years. But are they my Harry?

I don’t know.

I am out of ideas. Maybe Harry was already in Detroit in 1910 or even before. Maybe he just wasn’t listed on the census or in any directories after 1900. Maybe he was in prison or hospitalized. I don’t know where else to look.

What I do know (I think) is that my Harry married Henrietta Robinson in Detroit in 1913 and died just four years later in Detroit. He is buried at Woodmere Cemetery in Detroit, where Henrietta was buried as well when she died four years after Harry from breast cancer at age 49. 11

If I am right about this being my Harry, I am glad to know that he may have found some peace with Henrietta before he died. His life seems to have had some serious challenges. He may have been charged with fraud in 1889. His father Jacob died in 1895, and then his brother Philip was killed in a train accident in 1896. He may have had to declare bankruptcy in 1900, and in 1901 his wife Florence divorced him, taking his children from him as well. Then his daughter Janet died at age ten in 1902.

Harry seems to have disappeared for several years after 1901, or at least he does not appear on any records that I can locate. There are no newspaper stories about him during those years either. He only resurfaces in 1913 with his marriage to Henrietta and then his death from heart disease at age 59 in 1917. I hope those last four years were happy ones.

I welcome any suggestions or theories on the whereabouts of Harry Goldsmith between 1901 and 1913.

 

 

 

 

 

 


  1. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1901; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  2. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1905; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  3. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1908; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  4. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1905, 1908; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  5. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1911; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  6. Pennsylvania Marriages, 1709-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:V26B-T32 : 11 February 2018), Nathen Anathan and Eva Goldsmith, 22 Sep 1875; citing Philadelphia, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; FHL microfilm 1,769,061. 
  7. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1912-1917; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  8. Detroit, Michigan, City Directory, 1915, 1916, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  9.  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, City Directory, 1917-1919; Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  10. Harry N. Goldsmith, 1920 US census; Philadelphia Ward 40, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T625_1642; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 1506; Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  11.  Ancestry.com. Michigan, Death Records, 1867-1950. Original data: Death Records. Michigan Department of Community Health, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics, Lansing, Michigan. 

The Fate of the Children of Moses Katz, Part II

This was a painful post to research and write. It was made even more painful by the events in Charlottesville this past weekend. How can we still be seeing swastikas and Nazis in 2017? How do people learn to hate those who differ from them? When will we ever conquer racism and prejudice of all kinds?

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In my last post, I wrote about the family of Markus Katz, the oldest son of Moses Katz and Malchen Wetterhahn. Markus died before the Holocaust, and his wife Nanny was murdered by the Nazis. Fortunately, however, their three children—Maurice, Mali, and Senta—escaped in time.

Tragically, not all of Moses and Malchen’s descendants were able to escape. My thanks to David Baron and Barbara Greve for their research and help in uncovering some of the records and facts included in this post.

Rickchen Katz, the oldest child of Moses and Amalia Katz, died of cancer in Frielendorf on September 15, 1933. Given the ultimate fate of her husband and children, that might very well have been a blessing.

Death record of Rickchen Katz Moses, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 166,p. 54

I don’t know the details of what happened to the family in the 1930s, but according to the research done by Barbara Greve and reported on the Juden in Nordhessen website, Rickchen’s husband Abraham Moses committed suicide on June 13, 1940. He had moved to Frankfurt with his three daughters, Rosa/Rebecca, Amalie, and Recha. Imagine how intolerable his life must have become under Nazi rule for him to take such drastic action.

In November, 1941, Rickchen and Abraham’s daughter Rosa/Rebecca and her husband, Julius Katz, and their teenage son Guenther, were deported from Frankfurt to Minsk, where it is presumed that all three were killed. Amalie, Rosa’s sister, also was deported to Minsk at that time and is also presumed to have been killed there. I have no further record for Amalie’s twin Recha. I assume she also was a victim of the Holocaust. (All the links here are to the Yad Vashem entries for those individuals.) Thus, all of the children of Rickchen Katz and Abraham Moses were murdered by the Nazis.

Jacob M Katz, the second oldest son of Moses and Malchen Katzhad been in the US for many years by 1930, having arrived in 1908, as I wrote about here.  He had settled in Oklahoma, where in 1930 he was married to Julia Meyer and had a teenage son, Julian. They were living in Wolf, Oklahoma, where Jacob was working in a dry goods store.  According to the 1940 census, by 1935 Jacob and Julia had moved to Pawnee, Oklahoma, and in 1940 Jacob was a men’s clothing merchant there. Julia’s sister Rose was also living with them.

Jacob M Katz and family, 1940 census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Pawnee, Pawnee, Oklahoma; Roll: T627_3322; Page: 16A; Enumeration District: 59-21

But by 1942 when he registered for the World War II draft, Jacob and Julia had moved to Vallejo, California, where Jacob was working for the Kirby Shoe Company.  I do not know what took them to California; their son Julian had married by then, but was still living in Oklahoma. Jacob died in San Francisco in 1956; Julia died the following year, also in San Francisco.

Jacob M Katz, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System, 1926-1975; Record Group Number: 147

Lena Katz, one of the three children of Moses and Malchen still in Germany in the 1930s and their third oldest child, survived the Holocaust. Her husband Hermann Katz had died on November 2, 1929, in Marburg, Germany, but Lena and their three children—Bertha, Moritz, and Amalie—all left Germany before 1940.

Her son Moritz left first, arriving in the US on November 14, 1936.  He listed his occupation as a butcher and listed Maurice Mink, his aunt Julias husband, as the person he knew in the United States.  His final destination was listed as Cleveland, Oklahoma, where Julia Katz Mink (the youngest daughter of Moses and Malchen) and her husband Maurice Mink were then living.  Perhaps not coincidentally, his cousin Julius Katz, son of Aron Katz, was on the same ship, as noted in an earlier post.

Moritz Katz manifest, line 19, Year: 1936; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 5900; Line: 1; Page Number: 146
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957,

Lena and her daughter Amalie were the next to arrive; they sailed together along with Amalie’s husband Max Blum and their daughter and arrived in New York on April 1, 1938.  They all listed Jacob M. Katz in Pawnee, Oklahoma, Lena’s brother, as the person they were going to in the United States. Max listed his occupation as a cattle trader. (Lena, spelled Lina here, is listed on a separate page of the manifest from the Blum family.)

Lina Katz on manifest, Year: 1938; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 6134; Line: 1; Page Number: 98

Max and Amalie (Katz) Blum and family, lines 3-5, Year: 1938; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 6134; Line: 1; Page Number: 88
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957

The next family members to arrive were the three young children of Lena’s daughter Bertha and her husband Siegmund Sieferheld; they were only twelve and eight years old (the younger two were twins) and sailed on a ship that seemed to have many children; it arrived in New York on February 6, 1940.  The ship manifest listed the German Jewish Children’s Aid Society as the entity responsible for receiving these children.

Children of Bertha Katz Sieferheld, passenger manifest, lines 5-7. Year: 1940; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 6443; Line: 1; Page Number: 40
Description
Ship or Roll Number : Roll 6443
Source Information
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957

According to the Leo Baeck Institute, “The German-Jewish Children’s Aid Society was formed in New York in 1934 by a coalition consisting of the New York Foundation, the Baron de Hirsch Fund, B’nai B’rith, the Hofmeimer Foundation, the American Jewish Committee and the Women’s Committee of the American Jewish Congress. These organizations contributed the funds for the German-Jewish Children’s Aid to operate. The purpose of the German-Jewish Children’s Aid was to act as the receiving organization for unaccompanied or orphaned children emigrating from Europe to the United States. It acted as financial sponsor for the children (to avoid their “becoming a public charge”) and attempted to secure housing or foster home placement. ”

A more extensive description of the organization can be found here.  It describes the incredible work done by Americans, Jews and non-Jews, to rescue over a thousand children from the Nazis—certainly a small drop in the bucket considering the number of children who were murdered, but without organizations like the German-Jewish Children’s Aid Society, many more, perhaps including the three children of Bertha Katz and Siegmund Sieferheld, would also have been killed.

When I try to imagine the desperation of these parents—sending their young children off on a ship, not knowing whether they’d ever see them again—and the fear of those children, leaving their parents and the only home they’d ever known, I have to stop and catch my breath. I think of my seven year old grandson, just a year younger than Bertha’s twins. It is just too painful, too unimaginable, to visualize him being torn away from his parents and his parents being torn away from him.

The 1940 census shows Lena and almost all of her children and grandchildren living together in Detroit; Moritz, listed as the head of household on the 1940 census, was working as a sausage maker in a butcher shop.  Lena’s daughter Mali and her husband Max Blum were both working in a packing house. And the three young children of Bertha  and Siegmund Sieferheld, Tillie, Werner, and Henry, were also living with Lena, Moritz, and Mali. Their parents Bertha and Siegmund were still in Germany, separated from the rest of their family.

In addition, Lena’s younger sister Julia Katz Mink (listed as a widow here) was also living with them. Julia had apparently separated from her husband Maurice by 1930, when they were living separately in Cleveland, Oklahoma. Her daughter had married by 1940 and was living elsewhere. Julia died in 1971 in Montclair, New Jersey.

Lena Katz and extended family, 1940 census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Detroit, Wayne, Michigan; Roll: T627_1881; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 84-1383

So as of 1940, all but Lena’s daughter Bertha and her husband Siegmund had escaped from Germany; their three young children, however, were safely with their grandmother Lena and aunt Amalie and uncle Moritz.

And then finally Bertha and Siegmund arrived on April 15, 1940.  They were sailing with two older women also named Sieferheld—perhaps Siegmund’s mother and aunt. They listed Detroit as their destination and M. Katz, Bertha’s brother Moritz, as the person they were going to. Siegmund listed no occupation.

 

Siegmund and Bertha (Katz) Sieferheld manifest, lines 18-21, Year: 1940; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 6458; Line: 1; Page Number: 130
Description
Ship or Roll Number : Roll 6458
Source Information
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957

How very fortunate Lena and her family were—all of them reunited safely in Detroit by April, 1940. Sadly, Lena died from cancer on December 25, 1941, just twenty months after having her whole family reunited in Detroit.  She was 69 years old.

Thus, almost all of the children of Moses Katz survived the Holocaust—all but the children of Rickchen, who were murdered. Even those who were fortunate enough to survive, however, must have borne some scars from what they had experienced. Words like “fortunate” and “survived” are just not the right words to use in writing about something as horrific as the Holocaust.  I find myself just unable to find any right words. I don’t think there are any.

And to think that there are still people out there, chanting for hate and waving Nazi flags.

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This brings me to the end of the story of the children of Rahel Katzenstein and Jacob Katz. From Abraham Katz and Samuel Katz, who came as young men in the 1860s and settled first in Kentucky before moving to Oklahoma and Nebraska, to Jake and Ike Katz who came thirty years later as young men and started a department store business that grew to be a small empire in Oklahoma, to the many family members  who were killed in the Holocaust and those who were able to escape the Nazis in the 1930s, the Katzenstein/Katz family demonstrated over and over that they were willing to take risks, to help each other, and to work hard for success.  I am so fortunate to have been able to connect with so many of their descendants, who continue to exhibit that strong sense of family and that drive to succeed. To me that seems quite remarkable, but given the spirit of adventure and commitment to family exhibited by all the children of Rahel Katzenstein and Jacob Katz, perhaps it really is not.