Dusschen Blumenfeld Strauss, Part VI: Her Daughter Rebecca Strauss Meyer

The youngest of the children of Dusschen Blumenfeld and Isaac Strauss to survive to adulthood was their daughter Rebecca Strauss Meyer. Although her name was spelled Rebekka on her birth record and on the ship manifest and Rebecka on her naturalization papers and on her son’s draft registration, she ultimately adopted the more typical American spelling of her name, Rebecca, as seen on her Social Security application and her gravestone as well as the 1940 and 1950 census records. For purposes of simplicity, I will also use that last spelling in this post.

Rebecca was a 57 year old widow when she arrived in New York in 1938, a year after her children Rudolph and Ilse had immigrated. In 1940, Rebecca was working as a maid for Julius and Selma Katz in New York City.

Rebecca Strauss Meyer, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02673; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 31-2010, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

I could not locate her son Rudolph on the 1940 US census, but on October 16, 1940, when he registered for the draft, he was living in Albany, New York, and listed his mother Rebecca as his contact person; she was residing in New York City. Rudolph was working for Cotrell & Leonard, a manufacturer of graduation caps, gowns, and hoods in Albany. They were considered the original American manufacturers of those items. The 1941 Albany directory lists Rudolph as a presser for Cotrell & Leonard.1

Rudolph Meyer, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New York State, 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

Rudolph enlisted in the US Army on September 6, 1943.2 He petitioned for naturalization two months later in December, 1943, and at that time he was already married to Ruth Leah Cohn. I don’t have a marriage record for them, but Ruth was born in New York City on September 26, 1908, to Benjamin Cohn and Hilda Lesser. She and her family were living in Albany in 1930 where her father was a tailor.3

Rudolph Meyer petition for naturalization, National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.C.; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States; Record Group Number: 21, Description, Description: Petitions For Naturalization, Ancestry.com. Tennessee, U.S., Naturalization Records, 1888-1992

Rudolph and Ruth had one child in the 1940s, and Rudolph was discharged from the army on October 31, 1945.4 In 1950, they were living in the Bronx, and Rudolph was now an accountant for motion pictures distributors. Ruth was an elementary schoolteacher.  Rudolph’s mother Rebecca and Ruth’s father Benjamin were also living with Rudolph and Ruth and their child, and Benjamin was working as a tailor.

Rudolph Meyer and family, 1950 US census, United States of America, Bureau of the Census; Washington, D.C.; Seventeenth Census of the United States, 1950; Record Group: Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790-2007; Record Group Number: 29; Residence Date: 1950; Home in 1950: New York, Bronx, New York; Roll: 2831; Sheet Number: 21; Enumeration District: 3-1173
Ancestry.com. 1950 United States Federal Census

Rudolph’s sister Ilse Meyer was working as a nursemaid for a family in New York City in 1940. On August 31, 1941, she married Friedrich/Frederick Scheer in New York City.5 He was born in Regensburg, Germany, on November 2, 1906, to Markus and Hanna Scheer, and had immigrated to the US on May 9, 1937. Friedrich entered the US Army on November 16, 1942.6 Ilse and Friedrich (using Fred after the war) had one child born in the 1940s. In 1950 they were living in New York City, and Fred was an accountant for the Comptroller of the City of New York.7

Ilse Meyer, 1940 US census, ear: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02640; Page: 63A; Enumeration District: 31-732, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Sadly, Ilse died just six years later on December 23, 1956, at the age of 46. She left behind her husband Fred Scheer and their child, who was only eight years old.8

Three years later, Ilse and Rudolph’s mother Rebecca died on September 22, 1959; she was 78.9 Rebecca had survived her husband Albert, who’d died young in 1928, raised her two children alone, immigrated at 57 to the US, and then survived the death of her daughter Ilse. She was survived by her son Rudolph and her grandchildren.

Rudolph died on August 28, 1984; he was 76 and was survived by his wife Ruth and their son.10 Ruth outlived Rudolph by eighteen years; she was 94 when she died on December 6, 2002.11

Thus ends the saga of the family of Dusschen Blumenfeld and Isaac Strauss and their children. Their children all left Germany in time and survived the Holocaust, but there was still some tragically early deaths in the family. But fortunately there are numerous living descendants of Dusschen and Isaac.


I will be taking next week off to celebrate Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. When I return, I will write about Dusschen’s younger brother and the fifth child of Isaac Blumenfeld and Gelle Strauss, their son Meier. Unfortunately, his story does not have many happy endings.

In the meantime, I wish all who celebrate (and everyone else) a sweet and healthy New Year! Shana tova!

 

 


  1. Rudolph Meyer, Residence Year: 1941, Street Address: 41 Steuben, Residence Place: Albany, New York, USA, Occupation: Presser, Publication Title: Albany, New York, City Directory, 1941, Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 
  2. Rudolph Meyer, enlistment record, National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland, USA; Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946; NAID: 1263923; Record Group Title: Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, 1789-ca. 2007; Record Group: 64; Box Number: 05872; Reel: 251, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 
  3. Ruth L Cohn. Birth Date: 26 Sep 1908, Birth Place: Manhattan, New York, USA
    Certificate Number: 51794, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Extracted Birth Index, 1878-1909; Benjamin Cohen and family, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Albany, Albany, New York; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0044; FHL microfilm: 2341137, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  4. See Note 2, supra. 
  5. Ilse Meyer, Gender: Female, Race: White, Marriage Age: 31, Birth Date: Aug 1910
    Birth Place: Germany, Marriage Date: 30 Aug 1941, Marriage Place: New York, Manhattan, New York, New York, USA, Residence Street Address: 241 W. 101 St., Occupation: Nurse, Father: Albert Meyer Mother: Rebecca Meyer, Spouse: Friedrich Scheer, Certificate Number: 15061, Current Marriage Number: 0, Witness 1: Mrs.rRebecca Meyer Witness 2: Mr. Fred Gaertner, 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 
  6. Frederick Scheer, Petition for Naturalization, he National Archives at Fort Worth; Fort Worth, Texas; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: 21, Title/Description: Naturalization Petitions, 1943, pt 2, Ancestry.com. Texas, U.S., Naturalization Records, 1852-1991; Friedrich Scheer
    Gender: Male, Race: White, Marriage Age: 34, Birth Date: 2 Nov 1906, Birth Place: Germany, Marriage Affidavit Date: 25 Aug 1941, Marriage Date: 30 Aug 1941, Marriage Place: New York, Manhattan, New York, New York, USA, Residence Street Address: 241 W. 101 St., Residence Place: New York City, Occupation: Stock Clerk, Father:
    Markus Scheer, Mother: Hanna Scheer, Spouse: Ilse Meyer, Certificate Number: 15061
    Current Marriage Number: 0, Witness 1: Mrs.rRebecca Meyer, Witness 2: Mr. Fred Gaertner, 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 
  7. Fred Scheer and family, 1950 US census, United States of America, Bureau of the Census; Washington, D.C.; Seventeenth Census of the United States, 1950; Record Group: Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790-2007; Record Group Number: 29; Residence Date: 1950; Home in 1950: New York, New York, New York; Roll: 4376; Sheet Number: 3; Enumeration District: 31-2172, Ancestry.com. 1950 United States Federal Census 
  8. Else [sic] Scheer, Age: 46, Birth Date: abt 1910, Death Date: 23 Dec 1956, Death Place: Manhattan, New York, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 27062, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Death Index, 1949-1965. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/233510287/ilse-scheer: accessed 29 August 2022), memorial page for Ilse Scheer (1910–1956), Find a Grave Memorial ID 233510287, citing Cedar Park Cemetery, Paramus, Bergen County, New Jersey, USA; Maintained by dalya d (contributor 46972551). 
  9. Rebecca Meyers [sic], Gender: Female, Age: 78, Birth Date: abt 1881, Residence Place: New York, USA, Death Date: 22 Sep 1959, Death Place: New York, USA
    Certificate Number: 64679, New York State Department of Health; Albany, Ny, Usa; New York State Death Index, Ancestry.com. New York State, U.S., Death Index, 1957-1970;   Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/233491260/rebecca-meyer: accessed 29 August 2022), memorial page for Rebecca Strauss Meyer (1881–1959), Find a Grave Memorial ID 233491260, citing Cedar Park Cemetery, Paramus, Bergen County, New Jersey, USA; Maintained by dalya d (contributor 46972551). 
  10. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/36600273/rudolph-meyer: accessed 29 August 2022), memorial page for Rudolph Meyer (1908–1984), Find a Grave Memorial ID 36600273, citing Forest Green Park Cemetery, Morganville, Monmouth County, New Jersey, USA; Maintained by Kat (contributor 19409629). Rudolph R Meyer, Gender: Male, Birth Date: 17 Mar 1908, Death Date: 28 Aug 1984, SSN: 129055912, Enlistment Branch: ARMY, Enlistment Date: 27 Sep 1943, Discharge Date: 31 Oct 1945, Page number: 1, Ancestry.com. U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010. 
  11. Ruth L Meyer, Age: 94, Birth Date: 26 Sep 1908, Death Date: 6 Dec 2002
    Death Place: New Jersey, USA, New Jersey State Archives; Trenton, New Jersey; New Jersey Death Index, 2001-2017, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Death Index, 1848-1878, 1901-2017 

Dusschen Blumenfeld Strauss Part V: Her Son Max Strauss, My Husband’s Next Door Neighbors

Dusschen Blumenfeld Strauss‘ third son Meier, like his older brother Moritz/Morris, had immigrated to the US long before the Nazis came to power in Germany. He had arrived in 1903 when he was 24, married Augusta Schoenmann in 1914, and had two children with her, Irving, born in 1917, and Herbert, 1919. In 1930, the family was living in Hoboken, New Jersey, where Meier, now called Max, owned a bakery.

In 1940, Max and his family were back in New York living in the Bronx, and Max was still a baker. They were living at 1944 Andrews Avenue, which is down the block from where my mother-in-law, her brother, her father, her sister-in-law, and her niece were living (1892 Andrews Avenue) in 1940 and in the building right next door to the building (1940 Andrews Avenue) where my husband later grew up in the 1960s. We wish we knew whether the Strauss family knew my husband’s family. Their son Irving was born the same year as my mother-in-law so perhaps they did know one another. Wouldn’t that be amazing?

Here is a photograph of 1940 Andrews Avenue, probably taken around the time that the Strauss family was living right next door at 1944 Andrews Avenue.

Irving was working as a waiter at Child’s Restaurant in 1940, and Herbert was a clerk for an import-export company.1 On October 16, 1940, Irving (now using the name Irvin) registered for the draft; he had moved to Washington, DC, and was working for the Census Bureau.

Irvin Strauss, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for District of Columbia, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 221, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Herbert registered for the draft the same day as his brother, October 16, 1940. He was still living at home and working for D. Roditi & Sons, a well-known international import-export business.

Herbert Strauss, 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

Herbert enlisted in the US Army on April 23, 1941.2 According to his obituary, he “served five-and-a-half years in the U.S. Army during WWII earning a Bronze Star while in the 14th Armored Division during the liberation of Europe.” His obituary continued, saying, “Upon his return to civilian life, he joined an import/export company and was transferred to Mexico City.”3

Irvin married Betty Farber on May 28, 1949, in Washington, DC.4 She was born on December 7, 1924 to Louis Farber and Anna Kohn in New York.5 In 1950 they were living in DC, and Irvin was working as an economist for the Census Bureau. Betty was a statistician for the Department of the Interior. Irvin and Betty had two children born in the 1950s.

Irvin and Betty Strauss, 1950 US census, United States of America, Bureau of the Census; Washington, D.C.; Seventeenth Census of the United States, 1950; Record Group: Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790-2007; Record Group Number: 29; Residence Date: 1950; Home in 1950: Washington, Washington, District of Columbia; Roll: 3466; Sheet Number: 77; Enumeration District: 1-997, Ancestry.com. 1950 United States Federal Census

Herbert Strauss married Ruth Brunell in Cuernevaca Morelos, Mexico, on September 11, 1954. Ruth was born in Berlin, Germany, in 1931. Herbert and Ruth were still living in Mexico when Ruth petitioned for naturalization in 1954.6 They had two children born in the 1950s.

Although I cannot find any records to substantiate the date, one of the great-grandchildren of Max and Augusta Strauss has a tree on Ancestry that lists 1954 as the year that Augusta Schoemann Strauss died. Although Augusta is indexed in the Social Security Applications and Claims Index 7and had a Social Security number, she is not listed in the Social Security Death Index. Nor can I find any records for when Max died, and his great-grandchild’s Ancestry tree also has no date for his death. I sent two messages to that tree owner, but have received no response. I’ve now sent one to one of the grandchildren of Max and Augusta and am hoping I hear back.

Sadly, Max and Augusta’s son Irvin died when he was only 46 years old on October 25, 1963, in Silver Spring, Maryland. He left behind his wife Betty and his two young children.

Irvin Strauss, death notice, Washington Evening Star, October 25, 1963, p.33.

Herbert Strauss lived a longer life than his older brother. He and his family left Mexico and moved to San Diego, California, in 1983. He died in Encinitas, California, on September 7, 2012, at the age of 92. He was survived by his wife Ruth and their children and grandchildren.

Someday I hope to learn whether any of my husband’s relatives knew any of my Strauss cousins. Stranger things have happened!

 


  1. Max Strauss and family, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, Bronx, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02497; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 3-1461, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  2. Herbert Strauss, Army Enlistment records, National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland, USA; Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946; NAID: 1263923; Record Group Title: Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, 1789-ca. 2007; Record Group: 64; Box Number: 04643; Reel: 186, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 
  3. U-T San Diego () , obit for STRAUSS, HERBERT M. “HERBIE”, GenealogyBank.com (https://www.genealogybank.com/doc/obituaries/obit/14171898479354C0-14171898479354C0 : accessed 25 August 2022) 
  4. Irvin Strauss, Gender: Male, Age: 32, Birth Date: abt 1917, Marriage Date: 28 May 1949, Marriage Place: District of Columbia, USA, Spouse: Betty A Farber, Film Number: 002320035, Ancestry.com. Washington, D.C., U.S., Marriage Records, 1810-1953 
  5. This information came from an Ancestry family tree that was apparently created by Betty and Irvin’s grandchild, so I am assuming it is accurate. In addition, I found two references to her date of birth in other places. Betty F. Kupinsky, Death Age: 89, Birth Date: 7 Dec 1924, Residence Place: Bethesda, Maryland, Death Date: 1 Dec 2014
    Obituary Date: 5 Dec 2014, Ancestry.com. U.S., Cemetery and Funeral Home Collection, 1847-Current. 
  6. Ruth Brunell Strauss, Petition for Naturalization, The National Archives at Fort Worth; Fort Worth, Texas; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: 21, Title/Description: Naturalization Petitions, 1954 – 1955, Ancestry.com. Texas, U.S., Naturalization Records, 1852-1991 
  7. Augusta Strauss, [Augusta Schoemann], Gender: Female, Race: White, Birth Date: 13 Jun 1888, Birth Place: Odenheim Bad, Federal Republic of Germany, Father:
    Elias Schoemann, Mother: Karolina Mannheimer, SSN: 054205349, Notes: May 1943: Name listed as AUGUSTA STRAUSS, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. 

Duschen Blumenfeld Strauss, Part IV: Her Son Hermann and His Family

As we saw last week, five of the six children of Dusschen Blumenfeld and Isaak Strauss survived the Holocaust and were living in the US by 1940. Last time we looked at the two oldest children, Bertha and Moritz. Today I turn to their third surviving child, Hermann.

We’ve already seen that Dusschen and Isaak’s third surviving child, Hermann, his wife Julchen, and their three children Sally (Robert), Max, and Ilse were all safely in the US by 1934, Sally (Robert) having arrived years before on his own in 1926.

In 1940, Hermann and Julchen (here listed as Julie) were living in New York City, and Hermann was working as a shipping clerk for a mail order house. Living with them was their son Max, a route salesman for a laundry, and Max’s wife Betty, a beautician. Max had married Betty (born Heinemann) on May 7, 1939, in New York. She was born in Giebelstadt, Germany, on November 20, 1912, and had immigrated to the US on February 5, 1937.1

Hermann Strauss 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02674; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 31-2031A, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

In addition to their son Max and his wife Betty, Hermann and Julchen also had their daughter Ilse and her husband William Wurzburger living with them in 1940. Ilse was even more recently married than her brother Max. She married William on January 14, 1940, in New York City. William, born Wilhelm, was the son of Zachariasz Wurzburger and Bertha Wimpelfheimer and was born in Hirschhorn, Germany, on June 23, 1912. He had immigrated to the US on January 25, 1938,2 and was working as a clerk in a mail order house as was Ilse. I assume that Hermann, William, and Ilse were all working in the same mail order house.

In 1950, Hermann and Julchen were living with William and Ilse in New York City along with William and Ilse’s three-year-old child. William was now the building manager of a woman’s department store. Hermann had no occupation listed; he was now 78 years old.3

Max Strauss and his wife Betty had moved to their own apartment by 1950, but were still living in New York City. They had two children born in the 1940s, and Max was the owner of a retail furniture store. By 1952, the family had relocated to Los Angeles, California.4

Hermann and Julchen’s son Sally, known in the US as Robert Sally Strauss, had married Frances Fitzgerald on November 28, 1935.5 Frances was born November 3, 1906, in Rock Island, Illinois, the daughter of Michael and Anna Fitzgerald. She had been previously married and had one child from that earlier marriage.6

Robert and Frances had a child Robert Alexander Strauss born on April 17, 1938, in Rockford, Illinois, who died just three months later on July 14, 1938, in Sycamore, Illinois.7 By the time their second child, Deborah Ann Strauss, was born on February 21, 1940, Robert and Frances were living in San Diego, California.8 The 1940 census shows them living there along with Frances’ daughter from her prior marriage. Robert listed his occupation as “manager” for “motion pictures.” A 1945 directory for San Diego lists him as the manager of Tower Theater, so I assume he managed a movie theater.9 The family was still living in San Diego in 1950, and Robert continued to be a theater manager.10

Robert Strauss 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: San Diego, San Diego, California; Roll: m-t0627-00451; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 62-59, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Julchen Alexander Strauss, Hermann’s wife and mother of Robert, Max, and Ilse, died in New York on July 26, 1959; she was 78 years old.11

Having already suffered one devastating loss when their infant son died in 1938, Robert Strauss and his wife Frances were forced to endure another tragedy when their nineteen-year-old daughter Deborah died in Tijuana, Mexico on January 3, 1960, not even six months after Robert had lost his mother Julchen. According to the coroner’s report, Deborah died from “traumatic shock, hemorrhage and cerebral edema.”

Deborah Strauss death certificate, National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland, U.S.A.; NAI Number: 302021; Record Group Title: General Records of the Department of State; Record Group Number: Record Group 59; Series Number: Publication A1 205; Box Number: 349; Box Description: 1960-1963 Mexico I – V, Ancestry.com. U.S., Reports of Deaths of American Citizens Abroad, 1835-1974

This article from the January 4, 1960, issue of the San Diego Union revealed that Deborah was killed in a car accident.

“Car Wreck Kills S.D. State Coed,” San Diego Union, January 4, 1960, p. 13

A subsequent article reported that a memorial fund had been established in her memory at the Interfaith Foundation at San Diego State University; Deborah had participated in Hillel, part of the Interfaith Foundation.12

The following year Hermann Strauss, aged 84, died in New York on May 16, 1961.13

Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/208983046/hermann-strauss: accessed 24 July 2022), memorial page for Hermann Strauss (1 Oct 1876–16 May 1961), Find a Grave Memorial ID 208983046, citing Cedar Park Cemetery, Paramus, Bergen County, New Jersey, USA; Maintained by dalya d (contributor 46972551).

Two months later, Robert Sally Strauss, who had already lost an infant son in 1938 and then his mother Julchen in 1959, daughter Deborah in 1960, and his father Hermann in May 1961, then lost his wife, Frances Fitzgerald Strauss, on July 28, 1961, at the age of 54.14

Robert himself died just four years later on November 3, 1965, in San Diego, California. He was only 58 years old and was survived by his siblings Max and Ilse and their spouses and children. Could his early death have been precipitated by suffering so many losses in such a short period of time? According to an article in The San Diego Union, he died suddenly from an apparent heart attack.15 Robert Sally Strauss has no descendants.

Fortunately, his siblings lived much longer lives. Max died at age 90 on May 28, 2000, in California;16 his wife Betty had predeceased him by five years. She died on December 26, 1995, at 83.17 Ilse Strauss Wurzburger died on February 23, 2006; she was 91 years old.18 Her husband William had died twelve years before on May 15, 1994; he was 81.19 Max and Ilse and their spouses were survived by their children and grandchildren.

 

 

 


  1. Betty Heinemann, Gender: Female, Race: White, Marital Status: Single, Marriage Age: 26, Birth Date: Nov 1912, Birth Place: Giebelstadt, Germany, Marriage Date: 7 May 1939, Marriage Place: New York, Manhattan, New York, New York, USA, Residence Street Address: 507 West 86 St., Residence Place: Manhattan, Occupation: None, Father: Lawrai Heinemann, Mother: Lina Heinemann, Spouse: Max Strauss
    Certificate Number: 5322, New York City Department of Records & Information Services; New York City, New York; New York City Marriage Licenses; Borough: Manhattan; Year: 1939, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Index to Marriage Licenses, 1908-1910, 1938-1940; Betty Strauss, Naturalization petition, The National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.C.; Petitions for Naturalization from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1897-1944; Series: M1972; Roll: 1322, Archive Roll Descriptions: (Roll 1322) Petition No· 379529 – Petition No· 379960, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Naturalization Records, 1882-1944 
  2. William Wurzburger, Gender: Male, Race: White, Marriage Age: 27, Birth Date: 23 Jun 1912, Birth Place: Hirschhorn, Germany, Marriage Affidavit Date: 16 Dec 1939, Marriage Date: 14 Jan 1940, Marriage Place: New York, Manhattan, New York, New York, USA, Residence Street Address: 875 W. 180 St., Residence Place: New York City
    Occupation: Clerk, Father: Zacharas Wurzburger, Mother: Bertha Wurzburger, Spouse:
    Ilse Strauss, Certificate Number: 18293, 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; William Wurzburger, Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 23 Jun 1912, Birth Place: Hischhom Nic, Federal Republic of Germany
    Death Date: 15 May 1994, Father: Zacharas Wurzburger, Mother: Bertha Wimpfleimer
    SSN: 130098186, Death Certificate Number: 125442, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007;  William Wurzburger
    [Wilhelm Wuerzburger], Record Type: Petition, Birth Date: 23 Jun 1912, Birth Place: Hirchborn, Germany, Arrival Date: 25 Jan 1938, Arrival Place: New York, New York
    Petition Place: New York, USA, Spouse: Ilse, Petition Number: 412637, 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, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943 
  3. William Wurzburger and household, 1950 US census, United States of America, Bureau of the Census; Washington, D.C.; Seventeenth Census of the United States, 1950; Record Group: Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790-2007; Record Group Number: 29; Residence Date: 1950; Home in 1950: New York, New York, New York; Roll: 4376; Sheet Number: 72; Enumeration District: 31-2173, Ancestry.com. 1950 United States Federal Census 
  4. Max Strauss and family, 1950 US census, United States of America, Bureau of the Census; Washington, D.C.; Seventeenth Census of the United States, 1950; Record Group: Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790-2007; Record Group Number: 29; Residence Date: 1950; Home in 1950: New York, New York, New York; Roll: 4377; Sheet Number: 7; Enumeration District: 31-2195, Ancestry.com. 1950 United States Federal Census 
  5. Robert S Strauss, Gender: Male, Marriage License Date: 27 Nov 1935, Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Frances Carr
    License Number: 27028, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 11, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018; Frances R Carr, Gender: Female, Marriage Date: 28 Nov 1935, Marriage Place: Manhattan, New York, USA, Spouse: Robert S Strauss, Certificate Number: 27100, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937. 
  6. “Illinois Deaths and Stillbirths, 1916-1947”, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:NQ45-XZV : 25 April 2022), Francis Fitzgerald in entry for Robert Alexander Strauss, 1938; Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/225439197/frances-ann-strauss: accessed 23 July 2022), memorial page for Frances Ann Fisher Strauss (3 Nov 1906–28 Jul 1961), Find a Grave Memorial ID 225439197, citing Cypress View Mausoleum and Crematory, San Diego, San Diego County, California, USA; Maintained by Lot Lzrd (contributor 49252771); Frances Fitzgerald, 1920 US Census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Byron, Ogle, Illinois; Roll: T625_398; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 83, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  7. Robert Alexander Strauss, Birth Date: 17 Apr 1938, Birth Place: Rockford, Illinois,
    Death Date: 14 Jul 1938, Death Place: Sycamore, DeKalb, Illinois, Burial Date: 17 Jul 1938, Burial Place: Rockford, Winnebago, Illinois, Death Age: 2 Months 27 Days, Race: White, Gender: Male, Residence: Sycamore, DeKalb, Illinois, Father Name: Robert S Strauss, Father Birth Place: Welter, Germany, Mother Name: Francis Fitzgerald, Mother Birth Place: Rock Island, Illinois, FHL Film Number: 1818884, Ancestry.com. Illinois, U.S., Deaths and Stillbirths Index, 1916-1947 
  8. Deborah Ann Strauss, Birth Date: 21 Feb 1940, Gender: Female, Mother’s Maiden Name: Fitzgerald, Birth County: San Diego, Ancestry.com. California Birth Index, 1905-1995 
  9. San Diego, California, City Directory, 1944-1945, Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 
  10. Robert Strauss and family, 1950 US census, United States of America, Bureau of the Census; Washington, D.C.; Seventeenth Census of the United States, 1950; Record Group: Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790-2007; Record Group Number: 29; Residence Date: 1950; Home in 1950: San Diego, San Diego, California; Roll: 1329; Sheet Number: 11; Enumeration District: 72-87, Ancestry.com. 1950 United States Federal Census 
  11. Julia Strauss, Age: 78, Birth Date: abt 1881, Death Date: 20 Jul 1959, Death Place: Manhattan, New York, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 16429, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Death Index, 1949-1965. 
  12. “Fund to Honor Girl Auto Victim,” San Diego Union, January 6, 1960, p. 13. 
  13. Herman Strauss, Age: 84, Birth Date: abt 1877, Death Date: 16 May 1961, Death Place: Bronx, New York, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 5452, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Death Index, 1949-1965 
  14. Frances A Strauss, Gender: Female, Birth Date: 3 Nov 1906, Birth Place: Illinois
    Death Date: 28 Jul 1961, Death Place: San Diego, Mother’s Maiden Name: Ward, Ancestry.com. California, U.S., Death Index, 1940-1997 
  15. Robert S Strauss, Social Security #: 348104868, Gender: Male, Birth Date: 3 Jul 1907, Death Date: 3 Nov 1965, Death Place: San Diego, Mother’s Maiden Name: Alexander, Social Security: 348104868, Ancestry.com. California, U.S., Death Index, 1940-1997; “R.S. Strauss Dies; Managed Theaters Here,” San Diego Union, November 4, 1965, p, 23. 
  16. Max Strauss, Gender: Male, Birth Date: 28 May 1910, Death Date: 28 May 2000,
    Claim Date: 5 Feb 1972, SSN: 065094423, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  17. Betty Strauss, [Betty Heinemann], Social Security #: 092160555, Gender: Female
    Birth Date: 20 Nov 1912, Birth Place: Other Country, Death Date: 26 Dec 1995, Death Place: Los Angeles, Mother’s Maiden Name: Baumberger, Father’s Surname: Heinemann, Ancestry.com. California, U.S., Death Index, 1940-1997 
  18. Ilse Strauss, [Ilse Strauss Wurzburger], [Ilse Wurzburger], Gender: Female
    Race: White, Birth Date: 3 Feb 1915, Birth Place: Federal Republic of Germany
    Death Date: 23 Feb 2006, Father: Herman Strauss, Mother: Julia Alexander
    SSN: 059077009, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  19. William Wurzburger, Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 23 Jun 1912
    Birth Place: Hischhom Nic, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 15 May 1994
    Father: Zacharas Wurzburger, Mother: Bertha Wimpfleimer, SSN: 130098186
    Death Certificate Number: 125442, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 

Dusschen Blumenfeld Strauss, Part III: Her Children Bertha and Moritz and Their Lives in America

By 1940, the five surviving children of Dusschen Blumenfeld and Isaac Strauss—Bertha, Moritz, Hermann, Meier (Max), and Rebekah—were all living in the US. Their children were also safely in the US as were their spouses (although Rebekka’s husband Albert Meyer had died in 1928). It almost seems like a miracle that not one of Dusschen’s children had been killed in the Holocaust. In this post and the next three I will continue the stories of each of those children. This post is about the oldest child, Bertha Strauss Herz and her family and about the second oldest child Moritz Strauss and his family.

Bertha, the oldest child, was living with her husband Morris Herz and their daughter Henrietta (Henny on the 1940 census), their son-in-law Alfred Gaertner, and granddaughter Ingeborg in New York City where both Alfred and Morris were working as tailors, Alfred for a mail order house and Morris for a retail tailor shop.

Herz and Gaertner family 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02674; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 31-2030, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Morris and Bertha’s son Manfred Edgar Herz had changed his name to Fred Edgar Herz and registered for the World War II draft under that name on October 16, 1940. At that time Fred was living in Charleston, West Virginia, and working for the Interstate Home Equipment Company.

Fred Herz, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for West Virginia, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 216 Description Name Range: Hern, Author-Hess, William Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

He enlisted in the US Army on June 21, 1943, and was honorably discharged on October 12, 1945.1 By that time, he had obtained a license to marry Zelma Anderson Risher, as announced in the March 22, 1945, issue of the Knoxville (Tennessee) News-Sentinel. Both Fred and Zelma were residing in Charleston, West Virginia, at that time.2 They did not have children, although Zelma had a daughter from a prior marriage.

Meanwhile, Fred’s mother Bertha, the oldest of the siblings, died at age 71 in New York on October 31, 1942.3 She was survived by her husband Morris and children Henrietta and Fred and granddaughter Ingeborg. Morris outlived Bertha by almost twelve years; he died on January 8, 1954, at the age of 78.4

Henrietta’s husband Alfred Gaertner died in December 1968,5 and she followed him fifteen years later on August 2, 1983.6 They were survived by their daughter Ingeborg and her family. Fred Herz and his wife Zelma both died in Palm Springs in 1987, she on January 20,7 and Fred on June 9, 1987.8

Bertha’s brother Moritz (Morris in the US) Strauss, who had been in the US since 1889 when he was a teenager, was living in the Bronx with his wife Therese in 1940. He was now retired.9

Their daughter Blanche had married between 1930 and 1940; her husband was Irving Heller, and he had lost his first wife, Frances Lippmann, on July 13, 1937.10 Although I cannot find a marriage record for Blanche and Irving, I assume they married sometime between July 13, 1937, and April 17, 1940, when the 1940 census was enumerated, as they appear together on that census as husband and wife, living in New York City with Irving’s son Lester. Irving was the owner of a wholesale egg business, and Blanche was still a teacher in the New York City public schools.

Irving Heller 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02674; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 31-2063, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Morris Strauss died on October 20, 1947, in New York; he was 74.11 He was survived by his wife Therese and daughter Blanche.

In 1950, Therese was living with Blanche and her husband Irving Heller in New York, where Irving still had the egg business and Blanche was still teaching.

Irving Heller 1950 US census, United States of America, Bureau of the Census; Washington, D.C.; Seventeenth Census of the United States, 1950; Record Group: Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790-2007; Record Group Number: 29; Residence Date: 1950; Home in 1950: New York, New York, New York; Roll: 4378; Sheet Number: 83; Enumeration District: 31-2222, Ancestry.com. 1950 United States Federal Census

Therese died three years later at the age of 80 on October 22, 1953.12 Irving Heller died on February 19, 1970; he was 78.13 Blanche lived another twelve years; she died on March 15, 1982, at the age of 84.14 As Blanche had had no children of her own with Irving, there are no biological descendants of Morris and Therese, although Irving’s son from his first marriage may have been adopted by Blanche.

My next post will be about Bertha and Moritz’s next oldest sibling, Hermann Strauss, and his family’s life in the United States.


  1.  National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland, USA; Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946; NAID: 1263923; Record Group Title: Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, 1789-ca. 2007; Record Group: 64; Box Number: 09895; Reel: 51, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946; Manfred Edgar Herz, Gender: Male,Birth Date: 18 Feb 1909
    Death Date: 9 Jun 1987, SSN: 235266471, Enlistment Branch: ARMY, Enlistment Date: 5 Jul 1943, Discharge Date: 12 Oct 1945, Page number: 1, Ancestry.com. U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 
  2. The Knoxville News-Sentinel – 22 Mar 1945 – Page 8. 
  3. Bertha Herz, Age: 71, Birth Year: abt 1871, Death Date: 31 Oct 1942, Death Place: Manhattan, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 21563, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948 
  4. Date obtained from the Cedar Park Cemetery in Paramus, NJ, where Morris and Bertha are buried. 
  5.  Alfred Gaertner, Social Security Number: 052-07-5367, Birth Date: 9 Aug 1895
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10033, New York, New York, New York, USA, Death Date: Dec 1968, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  6.  Henrietta Gaertner, Social Security Number: 094-46-9690, Birth Date: 14 Nov 1901
    Issue Year: 1969, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10033, New York, New York, New York, USA, Death Date: Aug 1983, Sociial Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  7. Zelma A Herz, [Zelma A Anderson], Social Security #: 234303318, Gender: Female
    Birth Date: 1 Apr 1906, Birth Place: West Virginia, Death Date: 20 Jan 1987, Death Place: Riverside, Mother’s Maiden Name: Snyder, Father’s Surname: Anderson, Place: Riverside; Date: 20 Jan 1987; Social Security: 234303318, Ancestry.com. California, U.S., Death Index, 1940-1997 
  8. See Note 1, supra. 
  9. Morris Herz, 1940 US Census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, Bronx, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02467; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 3-251A, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  10. Frances Heller, Age: 40, Birth Year: abt 1897, Death Date: 13 Jul 1937, Death Place: Manhattan, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 16513, Wills and Probates: Search for Frances Heller in New York Wills & Probates collection, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948; Frances Lippman, Gender: Female, Marriage Date: 8 Mar 1925, Marriage Place: Manhattan, New York, USA
    Spouse: Irving Heller, Certificate Number: 7528, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937 
  11. Morris Strauss, Gender: Male, Race: White, Marital Status: Married, Age: 74
    Birth Date: 19 Jan 1873, Birth Place: Germany, Residence Street Address: 150 Bennett Ave, Residence Place: New York,Death Date: 20 Oct 1947, Hospital: Beth Abraham Home, Death Place: New York City, Bronx, New York, USA, Death City Ward: 9
    Cause of Death: Cerebral Thrombosis, Old Right Side Hemiplegia General, Arteriosclerosis, Burial Date: 22 Oct 1947, Burial Place: Union Field Cemetery
    Occupation: Butcher, Father’s Birth Place: Germany, Mother’s Birth Place: Germany
    Father: Isaac Strauss, Mother: Duse Strauss, Spouse: Theresa Strauss, Informant: Theresa Stauss, Informant Gender: Female, Informant Relationship: Wife, Executor: Therese Strain, Executor Relationship: Wife, Certificate Number: 10219, New York City Department of Records & Information Services; New York City, New York; New York City Death Certificates; Borough: Bronx; Year: 1947, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Index to Death Certificates, 1862-1948 
  12. Theresa Strauss, Age: 80, Birth Date: abt 1873, Death Date: 22 Oct 1953, Death Place: Bronx, New York, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 10571, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Death Index, 1949-1965 
  13.  Irving Heller, Social Security Number: 093-10-9363, Birth Date: 5 Dec 1891, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10040, New York, New York, New York, USA, Death Date: Feb 1970, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  14. Blanche Heller, Race: White, Age at Death: 84, Birth Date: 8 Apr 1897, Death Date: 15 Mar 1982, Death Place: Dade, Florida, United States, Ancestry.com. Florida, U.S., Death Index, 1877-1998 

Dusschen Blumenfeld Strauss, Part II: Escaping from Germany

I know it’s been a while since my last genealogy post. Between the death of my cat Smokey and all the chaos involved with moving, I’ve had neither the time nor the inclination. But now I am dipping my toe back in genealogical waters.

As seen in my last Blumenfeld post, three of the seven children of Dusschen Blumenfeld and Isaac Strauss left Germany in the late 19th, early 20th century for the United States. Moritz, the oldest son, left in 1889 and married there and had two children. Bertha, the oldest daughter, married in New York in 1901 and had her first child there, but returned to Germany by 1909 when her second child was born. And Meier, the third son and fifth child of Dusschen and Isaac, immigrated to the US in 1904 and remained, marrying and having two children born in the US.

During that same period, most of Dusschen and Isaac’s children who were still in Germany also married and had children. But unfortunately, the youngest child of Dusschen and Isaac, their son Sali (spelled Sally on this gravestone), died at a young age. He was only twenty years old when he died on February 12, 1906.

Hermann, the second son and fourth child, married Julie (Julchen) Alexander in Wetter on June 22, 1906. Julchen was born to Abraham Alexander and Roschen Rosenblatt on May 30, 1881, in Waltersbruck, Germany.

Marriage record of Hermann Strauss and Julchen Alexander,Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 9573, Year: 1906, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Hermann and Julchen had three children. Sally (later Robert) was born in Wetter on July 3, 1907.1 He was presumably named for Hermann’s brother Sally who had died the year before. A second child Max was born to Hermann and Julchen on May 28, 1910, in Wetter.2 And their daughter Ilse was born in Marburg on February 3, 1915.3

Dusschen and Isaac’s sixth child Rebekah married Albert Meyer on May 14, 1907, in Bonn, Germany. Albert was born in Bonn on July 18, 1872.4 Rebekah and Albert had two children: Rudolph Raphael, born in Bonn on March 17, 1908,5 and Ilse, born in Bonn on August 20, 1910.6

Thus, by 1915, Dusschen and Isaac had nine grandchildren with two more to be born between 1916 and 1920. Four of those grandchildren were in the US with their parents, and the others were all in Germany.

Sadly, Isaac Strauss did not live to see the births of those last two grandchildren. He died on October 2, 1916, in Wetter.7 He was survived by his wife Dusschen Blumenfeld Strauss, who died twelve years later on October 11, 1928. They were survived by six of their seven children, four of whom were still living in Germany when Hitler came to power in 1933.

Dusschen Blumenfeld Strauss death record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 9652; Laufende Nummer: 915
Year Range: 1928, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Fortunately, three of those remaining in Germany were lucky to leave in time to escape being killed in the Holocaust. Hermann, the only surviving brother who was still in Germany, arrived in the US on November 28, 1934, with his wife Julchen and daughter Ilse. Their younger son Max had preceded them by nine months, immigrating to the US on February 5, 1934.8

Hermann Strauss ship manifest, Year: 1934; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 11; Page Number: 83,Ship or Roll Number: Manhattan, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Their older son Sally had immigrated years before, arriving on October 28, 1926, when he was nineteen. When he filed a Declaration of Intention to become a US citizen on October 19, 1927, he was using the name Sol, working as a salesman, and living in New York City.9 He became a naturalized citizen in 1933 in Rockford, Illinois, and changed his name to Robert Sally Strauss.

Robert Sally Strauss naturalization record, National Archives at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois; ARC Title: Petitions for Naturalization for the United States District and Circuit Courts, Northern District of Illinois and Immigration and Naturalization Service District 9, 1840-1950; NAI Number: M1285; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; Record Group Number: RG 85  Description: Index to Naturalization Petitions, S-352 H· to S-362 Vyncenz, Ancestry.com. Illinois, U.S., Federal Naturalization Records, 1856-1991

Hermann’s sister Bertha Strauss Herz, who had previously lived and married in New York, returned to the US with her husband Morris (Moritz on the manifest) Herz on August 16, 1936. Their daughter Henrietta arrived on the same ship with her husband Alfred Gaertner and their eleven-year-old daughter Ingeborg. Both Alfred and Morris listed their occupations as tailors on the ship manifest. Alfred, who was born in Brohl, Germany, on August 9, 1895, had married Henrietta in Bonn on July 29, 1923, and their daughter Ingeborg was born on February 22, 1925.10

Herz and Gaetner families, ship manifest, Year: 1936; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 10; Page Number: 47, Ship or Roll Number: Britannic
Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Bertha and Morris Herz’s son Manfred Edgar Herz did not immigrate until July 28, 1939. On the ship manifest he listed his occupation as auto mechanic and his last residence as Frankfurt.11

Rebekka Strauss Meyer was the last sibling to come to the US, arriving on March 25, 1938.12 She had lost her husband Albert on May 26, 1928, in Bonn. Rebekka’s children had arrived before her, Rudolph on April 12, 1937, listing his occupation as an insurance agent,13 and Ilse on May 9, 1937. Ilse was working as a nursemaid in New York when she filed her declaration of intention on August 4, 1937.14

Only one sibling remained in Germany as of 1939, the third child of Dusschen Blumenfeld and Isaac Strauss, their daughter Kathinka, who had never married. She died on November 8, 1940, in the Krankenhaus Judische Kultusvereinigung (the Jewish Religious Association Hospital) in Frankfurt from a bile duct obstruction and jaundice. She was 65 years old. Kathinka was survived by her five surviving siblings and their children.

Kathinka Strauss death record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Signatur: 11114; Laufende Nummer: 903, Year Range: 1940, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

All five of those siblings and all the grandchildren of Dusschen Blumenfeld and Isaac Strauss were safely out of Germany by that time and survived the Holocaust. More on their lives in the US in the next two posts.


  1. Sol Strauss, 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
    Description: (Roll 379) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 248601-249750), Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943 
  2. Max Strauss, Gender: Male, Race: White, Marital Status: Single, Marriage Age: 28
    Birth Date: 28 May 1910, Birth Place: Walter Germany, Marriage Affidavit Date: 2 May 1939, Marriage Date: 7 May 1939, Marriage Place: New York, Manhattan, New York, New York, USA, Residence Street Address: 4520 Broadway, Residence Place: New York, Manhattan, Occupation: Route Salesman, Father: Hermann Strauss, Mother:
    Julie Strauss, Spouse: Betty Heinemann, Certificate Number: 5322, 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: 1939, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Index to Marriage Licenses, 1908-1910, 1938-1940 
  3. Ilse Strauss, [Ilse Strauss Wurzburger], Gender: Female, Race: White, Birth Date: 3 Feb 1915, Birth Place: Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 23 Feb 2006, Father: Herman Strauss, Mother: Julia Alexander, SSN: 059077009, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  4. Rebecka Meyer, 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 
  5. Rudolph Raphael Meyer, Record Type: Naturalization, Birth Date: 17 Mar 1908
    Birth Place: Bonn, Prussia, Germany, Arrival Date: 12 Apr 1937, Arrival Place: New York NY, Naturalization Place: Tennessee, USA, Spouse: Ruth Cohn Meyer, National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.c.; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States; Record Group Number: 21, Ancestry.com. Tennessee, U.S., Naturalization Records, 1888-1992 
  6. Ilse Meyer, Record Type: Petition, Birth Date: 20 Aug 1910, Birth Place: Germany
    Arrival Date: 1937, Residence Place: New York, USA, Petition Date: 4 Aug 1937, Petition Place: New York, USA, Court: District Court, Court District: Southern District, New York, Description: (Roll 1449) Petition No. 433501 – Petition No. 433836, The National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.C.; Petitions for Naturalization from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1897-1944; Series: M1972; Roll: 1449, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Naturalization Records, 1882-1944; Rebecka Meyer, 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 
  7.  Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 9640; Laufende Nummer: 915, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958 
  8. Max Strauss ship manifest, Year: 1934; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 3; Page Number: 120, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  9. See Note 1, supra. 
  10. Alfred Gaertner, 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 514) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 392101-393200), Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943 
  11. Manfred Herz, ship manifest, Year: 1939; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 19; Page Number: 37, Description Ship or Roll Number: New York, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  12. See Note 4, supra. 
  13. See Note 4, supra. 
  14. See Note 5, supra. 

Dusschen Blumenfeld Strauss and Her Seven Children, Part I: Three Who Went to America

I have been busy with moving to a new house, but will now return to the Blumenfeld branch of my family tree and to Dusschen Blumenfeld, the fourth child of Isaac Blumenfeld, who was the second child of Moses Blumenfeld I, my four-times great-uncle. As I wrote about here, there were two granddaughters of Moses Blumenfeld I with the name Dusschen Blumenfeld, the other being the daughter of Abraham Blumenfeld IIA. To keep them straight, I am referring to Abraham’s daughter as Dora and Isaac’s daughter as Dusschen, although Isaac’s daughter was also sometimes known as Dora.

Dusschen Blumenfeld was born on December 25, 1848, in Momberg, Germany.

Dusschen Blumenfeld birth record, LAGIS Hessen Archives, Geburtsregister der Juden von Neustadt 1824-1884 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 628)

She was 21 when she married Isaac Strauss on May 19, 1870, in Amoeneburg.  Isaac was born in Amoeneburg on January 23, 1839, to Samuel Strauss and Jettchen Rosenbaum,1 and he was Dusschen’s first cousin since his father Samuel Strauss and Dusschen’s mother Gelle Strauss were brother and sister.

Marriage record of Isaac Strauss and Dusschen Blumenfeld, Archives of Hesse, HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 50, p. 12

Isaac had been previously married.2 His first wife, Bettchen Reis, died on April 17, 1869, in Amoeneburg3 after giving birth to their second child Emanuel, who was born on April 12, 1869, and died two weeks later on April 26, 1869.4 Isaac was left to raise his daughter Jettchen Strauss, who was not yet three years old when her mother and infant brother died. Isaac married Dusschen a year after losing his first wife Bettchen.

Dusschen and Isaac had seven children together, the first five all born in Amoeneburg.

Their first born was Bertha, born on July 20, 1871.

Berta Strauss birth record, Arcinsys Hesse Archives, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 49 p 11

Second was Moses, also known as Moritz, born on January 19, 1873.

Moses Strauss birth record, Arcinsys Hesse Archives, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 49, p. 11

Then came Kathinka, born December 18, 1874.

Kathinka Strauss birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 173, Year Range: 1874, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

The fourth child was Hermann, born October 1, 1876.

Hermann Strauss birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 175, Year Range: 1876, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Maier, also known as Max, came next; he was born on February 12, 1879.

Maier Strauss birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 178, Year Range: 1879, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

The sixth child was Rebekka, and she was born in Wetter, Germany, on February 8, 1881, so the family must have relocated from Amoeneburg by that time.

Rebekka Strauss birth record, Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 9521, Year Range: 1881, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Finally, the seventh and last child born to Dusschen and Isaac was their son Sali, born May 29, 1885, also in Wetter.

Sali Strauss birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 9525, Year Range: 1885, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Several of Isaac and Dusschen’s children left for the United States in the late 19th century. Just four years after his youngest sibling Sali’s birth in 1885, the oldest son Moritz left Germany for the United States. He was only sixteen when he arrived in New York City on May 30, 1889.5 On June 7, 1896, Moritz Strauss married Therese Wolff, daughter of Israel Wolff and Sarah Lion, in New York. Therese was also an immigrant from Germany; she was born in Nalbach, Saarland, in 1873.6

Moritz and Therese had two children born in New York. Blanche was born on April 8, 1897.7 In 1900, the family was living in New York City, and Moritz, now known as Morris, was working as a butcher. Their second child Irving was born  on August 24, 1901.8

Morris Strauss 1900 US Census, Year: 1900; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Roll: 1097; Page: 15; Enumeration District: 0340; FHL microfilm: 1241097, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

On August 5, 1904, Morris became a naturalized citizen.9 By 1910, Morris and his family had moved to the Bronx, and Moritz owned his own butcher shop. He must have felt that he had achieved the American dream.

Morris Strauss 1910 US census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Bronx Assembly District 30, New York, New York; Roll: T624_996; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 1405; FHL microfilm: 1375009
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Then tragedy struck when Irving Strauss, just thirteen years old, died on February 7, 1915. According to his death certificate, Irving died from acute osteomyelitis of the humerus, “cause unknown.” The humerus in the long bone in our arms, and osteomyelitis is inflammation of a bone or bone marrow caused by an infection. Pyemia, or blood poisoning from bacteria, was a contributory cause; my guess is that the infection spread from the blood stream to his bone. Even today such an infection is not a simple one to treat, but it’s much less likely that young Irving would die from it today than in 1915.

Irving Strauss death certificate, Certificate No. 919, New York City Department of Records & Information Services; New York City, New York; New York City Death Certificates; Borough: Bronx; Year: 1915

In 1920, the surviving members of the family, Morris, Therese, and Blanche, were living in the Bronx, and Morris was still working as a butcher.10 Blanche, now 22 years old, was working as a teacher in the New York City public schools. Blanche was still living with her parents in the Bronx and teaching in 1930, and her father Morris was still working as a butcher at that time.11

Moritz was not the only child of Dusschen Blumenfeld and Isaac Strauss to come to the United States. Moritz’s older sister Bertha also came to New York City.  She married Morris Herz there on January 27, 1901. Morris was born on February 18, 1875, in Bonn, Germany. He was the son of Max Herz and Susanna Weber.12 I don’t know when he or Bertha arrived in New York. Their first child Henrietta was born in New York on November 14, 190113, but their second child, Manfred Edgar Herz, was born on February 18, 1909, in Frankfurt, Germany.14 So Bertha and Moritz must have returned to Germany between the births of their two children, and, as we will see, they remained there until the 1930s.

But the third oldest son of Dusschen and Isaac Strauss, like his brother Moritz, came to the US to stay.  Maier (also spelled Meier or Meyer and later known as Max) Strauss arrived in New York on June 7, 1903. He was 24 and had last been living in London. He was working as a baker when he filed his declaration of intention to become a US citizen four years later on November 19, 1907.

Max Meier Strauss declaration of intention, 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, Vol 021-023 19 Oct-23 Nov 1907 (No 9985-11484), Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

Max Meier married Augusta Schoenmann in New York on October 7, 1914. Augusta was born in Odenheim, Germany, on June 13, 1888, to Elias Schoenmann and Karolina Mannheimer.15

Meier and Augusta’s first child, Irving, was born February 8, 1917.16 When Meier registered for the World War I draft on September 12, 1918, he owned his own bakery in New York, and his family was living at the same address as the bakery.

Meier Strauss, World War I draft registration, Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918

A second child, Herbert, was born to Meier and Augusta on September 26, 1919, in New York.17 In 1920, the family was still living at the address of the bakery listed on Meier’s draft registration, and Meier was still working as a baker.18 But by 1930, the family had moved to Hoboken, New Jersey. Meier, now listed as Max, was still a baker.19

Back in Germany, meanwhile, the rest of the family of Dusschen Blumenfeld and Isaac Strauss was also expanding during these years.


  1. Isaac Strauss birth record, Arcinsys Archives of Hessen, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 49, found at https://arcinsys.hessen.de/arcinsys/digitalisatViewer.action?detailid=v1510942 
  2. Marriage of Isaac Strauss and Bettchen Reis, Trauregister der Juden von Amöneburg 1824-1893 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 50) p.11 
  3. Death record of Bettchen Reis Strauss, Arcinsys Archives of Hesse,  HHStAW Fonds 365 No 51, p. 8 
  4. Birth record of Emanuel Strauss, Arcinsys Archives of Hesse,HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 49, p. 10; Death record of Emanuel Strauss, Arcinsys Archives of Hesse, HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 51, p. 8 
  5.  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: US District Court for the Eastern District of New York (058-059), Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943 
  6. Moritz Strauss, Gender: Male, Marriage Date: 7 Jun 1896, Marriage Place: Manhattan, New York, USA, Spouse: Therese Wolff, Certificate Number: 9594, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937; “New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940”, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:2:997Z-4HVD : 21 June 2022), Entry for Moritz Strauss and Theresa Wolff, 1896. 
  7. Blanche Strauss, Gender: Female, Race: White, Birth Date: 8 Apr 1897, Birth Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 17565
    Father: Moritz Strauss, Mother: Theresa Strauss, Mother Maiden Name: Wolf, New York City Department of Records & Information Services; New York City, New York; New York City Birth Certificates; Borough: Manhattan; Year: 1897, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Index to Birth Certificates, 1866-1909 
  8. Irving Strauss, Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 24 Aug 1901, Birth Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, New York, USA, Residence Address: E. 10 Str 364, Certificate Number: 33487, Father: Maurice Strauss, Mother: Theresa Strauss
    Mother Maiden Name: Wolff, New York City Department of Records & Information Services; New York City, New York; New York City Birth Certificates; Borough: Manhattan; Year: 1901, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Index to Birth Certificates, 1866-1909 
  9. Moritz Strauss, Petition Age: 31, Record Type: Petition, Birth Date: 19 Jan 1873, Birth Place: Germany, Arrival Date: 30 May 1889, Arrival Place: New York, New York
    Petition Date: 5 Aug 1904, Petition Place: Kings, New York, USA, 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, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943 
  10. Morris Strauss, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Bronx Assembly District 5, Bronx, New York; Roll: T625_1137; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 286, Enumeration District: 0286; Description: Bronx, Assembly District 5, Tract 121 (part) bounded by Westchester Ave, Whitlock Ave, E 165th, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  11. Morris Strauss, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Bronx, Bronx, New York; Page: 22B; Enumeration District: 0625; FHL microfilm: 2341222; Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  12. “New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940”, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:2:997C-9L4Q : 21 June 2022), Entry for Morris Herz and Bertha Strauss, 1901. 
  13. “New York, New York City Births, 1846-1909,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:2:9979-QK94 : 11 February 2018), Entry for Henrietta Hertz, 14 Nov 1901; citing Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, reference cn 44441 New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,983,411. 
  14. Manfred Edgar Herz, Record Type: Naturalization, Birth Date: 18 Feb 1909, Birth Place: Frankfurt Am Main, Germany, Arrival Date: 28 Jul 1939, Arrival Place: New York NY, Naturalization Place: Tennessee, USA, National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.c.; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States; Record Group Number: 21, Ancestry.com. Tennessee, U.S., Naturalization Records, 1888-1992 
  15. “New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940”, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:2:997C-CG23 : 21 June 2022), Entry for Meier Strauss and Auguste Schoemann, 1914. Mrs Augusta Strauss
    Gender: Female, Age: 35, Birth Date: 13 Jun 1888, Birth Place: Odenbeim Bei Bruchal, Baden, Germany, Residence Place: New York, Passport Issue Date: 21 Mar 1924
    Spouse: Max Strauss, Has Photo: Yes, Certificate Number: 381929, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 2449; Volume #: Roll 2449 – Certificates: 381850-382349, 21 Mar 1924-22 Mar 1924, Ancestry.com. U.S., Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  16. Irvin Strauss, Race: White, Age: 23, Relationship to Draftee: Self (Head). Birth Date: 8 Feb 1917. Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA. Residence Place: Washington, District of Columbia, USA, Registration Date: 16 Oct 1940, Registration Place: Washington, District of Columbia, USA,Next of Kin: Max Strauss, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for District of Columbia, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 221, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  17. Herbert Milton Strauss, Race: White, Age: 21, Birth Date: 26 Sep 1919, Birth Place: New York City, New York, Registration Date: 16 Oct 1940, Registration Place: New York City, Bronx, New York, Next of Kin: Augusta Strauss, 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, ncestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  18. Meier Strauss and family, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 13, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1209; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 957, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  19. Max Strauss and family, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Hoboken, Hudson, New Jersey; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0262; FHL microfilm: 2341084,
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 

Finding Max Blumenfeld and His Family: A Postscript

Yesterday I Zoomed with four of my Blumenfeld cousins—Richard, whose been my research partner for quite a while now, his first cousin Jim, who is also a wonderful genealogy researcher, and the two surviving grandchildren of Max Blumenfeld, Max and Omri. We spanned three continents—Omri in Israel, Richard in Switzerland, and Max, Jim, and I in New England. We chatted for an hour, but could have gone on much longer and hope to continue the conversation another time.

During our conversation, we uncovered the answer to a question we still had been unable to answer despite all our research: when did Anna Grunwald Blumenfeld, Max Blumenfeld’s widow and Omri and Max’s grandmother, leave Italy and immigrate to Israel/Palestine? The records that Richard had obtained from Merano said she’d left in 1939, but Max had pointed out that that wasn’t possible since he and his sister were cared for by their grandmother Anna during World War II while their mother Edith worked with the Italian Resistance. Their father Josef had immigrated to the United States on November 1939.

For our Zoom, Omri had prepared a wonderful slide show of family photographs, some of which I’ve already shared on this blog, and some that were new to me. Among those photographs was one that helped to answer the question of when Anna arrived in Palestine. The photograph shows Anna in Palestine with two of her grandsons, Omri’s brothers Gideon and Hillel. Anna was holding Hillel, who was just a very small baby, and the photo was inscribed in Hebrew with the words, “Hillel is born! Oma [Anna] arrives! 29 May 1946.” So now we knew that Anna had only recently arrived in Palestine in May of 1946.

Here is another photo taken the same day showing Anna with Gideon and Hillel and their parents Fritz and Dora.

But then how do we explain the records that said Anna had left Merano in 1939? Well, Max had the answer to that question. Max explained that Anna and her daughter Edith and the two grandchildren, Max and his sister Margherita, all left Merano in 1939 and moved to Milan. Max has no memories of life in Merano since he was only a toddler when the family moved. But that would explain why the Merano records report that Anna left that place in 1939.

Max and his family stayed in Milan for several years, and then when Italy adopted laws persecuting the Jews in about 1942, his mother Edith was able to use her connections to obtain permission to leave Milan and move to the countryside outside of Milan.  The family remained there for the duration of the war, hiding the fact that they were Jews. They spoke Italian (although they all could also speak German) so that they could pass as Italian, and Max and his sister went to church on Sundays. In fact, Max and Margherita were not aware of the fact that they were Jewish and also didn’t know that their father was still alive—all to prevent the children from accidentally revealing the fact that they were Jews.

After the war, Edith took her children to America so they could all be reunited with Josef, and Anna went to Palestine to be with her son Fritz and his family, as depicted in the photograph above.

We spoke of many other interesting things during our Zoom, and there were many stories and many moments of laughter interspersed. It was truly a delightful hour and one I will always cherish and remember.

Thank you to Omri, Max, Richard, and Jim—all of whom are my fifth cousins, four people I never would have known if not for doing genealogy research.

And that, dear readers, is the magic of genealogy.

Finding Max Blumenfeld, Part III: Finding His Grandsons

Although my cousin Richard and I had learned that Max Blumenfeld died in Merano, Italy, in 1936, we still didn’t know where and when his wife Anna died. We had some hints, but nothing definite. Her son Fritz’s marriage record in 1940 seemed to suggest she was still living in Italy. But her daughter Edith’s failure to list her mother on the 1946 ship manifest as her nearest relative in Italy, the place Edith had last resided, seemed to indicate that either Anna had died by then or had left Italy.

We were hoping that one of Max and Anna’s grandchildren might know the answers, and so I turned to locating those grandchildren. We knew that Max and Anna’s daughter Edith had two children with her husband Joseph Bermann, so I started to search for them. They all appear together on the 1950 US census, living in New York City. Joseph was practicing medicine, and Edith was working as a secretary for a general export business. Their two children Margherita (spelled Margaret on the census) and Max were 14 and 12.1 As of 1958, Edith and Joseph were still living in New York City.

Joseph Bermann, passenger manifest, The National Archives At Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger Manifests of Airplanes Arriving At San Juan, Puerto Rico; NAI Number: A3534; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85, Ancestry.com. Puerto Rico, U.S, Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists, 1901-1962

According to FindAGrave, Joseph died on May 1, 1966; he was 68.2 Edith died two years later on August 12, 1968. She was only 61.3 They were both buried in Westchester Hills Cemetery in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. They were survived by their two children. Their daughter Margherita died on August 21, 2008;4 she was 72. Max, however, was as best I could tell, still living.

After using Google and other online tools, I finally located what I assumed was Max Bermann’s Facebook page. I noticed that he had a Facebook friend named Omri Bar Sadeh. You may recall that Hermann Blumenfeld, Max Blumenfeld’s older brother, had a son Hans who had changed his name to Hanan Bar Sadeh after immigrating to Israel/Palestine. I used the Google Translate tool and learned that “sadeh” means a cultivated field. So Bar Sadeh means son of a cultivated field. Since Blumenfeld translated from German as field of flowers, it made sense that Hanan had adopted a name that meant he was the son of a cultivated field, or a field of flowers, or a “Blumenfeld.”

So when I saw that Max Bermann had a Facebook friend with the surname Bar Sadeh, I assumed that this other person must be a descendant of Edith’s first cousin, Hanan Bar Sadeh. But David Lesser had reported that Hanan had no children, so I was not certain. Was it just a coincidence that Edith’s son Max had a friend with that surname? Or was this Facebook friend one of his cousins?

On Omri Bar Sadeh’s Facebook page, there was a video in Hebrew. I could not understand it, but I could translate the comment that had been included with the post, and it indicated that the video was about Omri Bar Sadeh’s brother Gideon Bar Sadeh. When I googled that name, I found this page:

Bar-Sadeh, Gideon

Son of Moses HaKohen and Devorah. He was born in Ein Harod on June 16, 1942, and completed his twelfth grade at the Kibbutz Ha-Meuchad School there. He had a penchant for drawing and found talent in his paintings. He would decorate his notebooks and make handsome posters and posters. He was quiet and humble in his ways. Was an animal breeder and loved them. Was drafted into the Israel Defense Forces in October 1960. On October 18, 1962, he fell in the line of duty and was brought to eternal rest in Ein Harod.

I knew that Edith Blumenfeld Bermann had listed her brother Fritz on her ship manifest in 1946 indicating that he was residing in “En Charod,” Palestine. Could Gideon have been Fritz’s son, I wondered? Fritz had married a woman named Devorah so that fit the puzzle. But then why did it say Gideon’s father was named Moses?

Then I remembered seeing on the IGRA website that in 1942 Fritz Blumenfeld, residing in En Harod, had been identified as “Moshe (Fritz) Blumenfeld, son of Max.” And given that Max’s father’s name had been Moses, it made sense that Fritz’s Hebrew name was Moshe and that he was named for his grandfather and adopted that name as his primary name in Israel.

Record located on the Israel Genealogy Research Association website at https://genealogy.org.il/AID/

With that additional insight, I realized that I had found the family of Fritz Moshe Blumenfeld and that Fritz, like his cousin Hanan, had changed his surname from Blumenfeld to Bar Sadeh for the same reasons. Just to be sure, I asked David Lesser if he would watch the video posted on Facebook about Gideon, and he confirmed that the video says that Gideon’s parents were Fritz and Devorah.

I sent messages to both of the surviving grandsons of Max and Anna (Grunwald) Blumenfeld, hoping that I would eventually learn what happened to Anna and the rest of the story of their family. Much to my delight, I heard from both of them.

Max Bermann, Edith’s son, was born in Merano, Italy, where his father Giuseppe (later Joseph) Bermann was born. That’s where the family was living (along with Anna) after Joseph left for the US in 1939. Although the family was originally supposed to follow once Joseph was settled, the war intervened, and they could not leave Italy. Max was just a toddler at the time. His grandmother Anna became the primary caregiver for his sister and him because their mother Edith was often away. Max later learned from his sister that Edith was acting as a courier for the partisans during the war.

Max shared with me this photograph of Merano, where he and his father were born, as well as this photograph of his father and his father’s father, Max Bermann, both of whom were doctors at the Waldpark Sanitorium in Merano. The elder Max Bermann is the man with the long black beard and his son Joseph/Giuseppe Bermann, the younger doctor in the white coat, is standing next to him.

Dr Max Bermann and his son Dr Joseph Bermann in Waldpark Sanitorium, Merano, Italy. Courtesy of the family

When the war ended, Edith brought her children to the US, but Anna went to live with her son Fritz and his family in Ein Harod in Palestine. Neither Omri nor Max knew exactly when Anna immigrated, but as I was doing some of the final edits for this post, Richard emailed me with new information he’d found online—a database of information about the Jews of Merano.

There was an entry for Anna Grunwald Blumenfeld that reported that “Anna Grünwald-Blumenfeld came from Berlin and lived in Merano since 23.4.1936. On 22.8.1938 she was recorded in the census of “Jews” living in Italy by the fascist authorities as permanently resident in Merano. On 13.2.1939 her file received the note: “di razza ebraica”. On 1.4.1939 she fled to an unknown place, according to the registration office of the municipality of Merano. Later, April 1939 is given as the date of the flight abroad.”5 Thus, it would appear from this record that Anna left Merano for Palestine in April, 1939.

But as noted by Max and by my reader Teresa, this cannot be accurate. Max knows that his grandmother did not leave in 1939 because she cared for him during the war years. It appears more likely that these Merano records are inaccurate and that Anna was in Italy at least until the end of the war.

Now that I knew that Anna had survived the war and had immigrated to Palestine, I searched again on the Israel Genealogical Research Association website and found this record:

Anna Grunwald Blumenfeld died on September 7, 1946, in Ein Harod; she was only 61 years old. She had survived the move from Germany to Italy, the loss of her husband Max in 1936, World War II, and then a move from Italy to Palestine. She was survived by her daughter Edith and her family and her son Fritz and his family.

Anna and Max Blumenfeld’s grandson Max Bermann shared these lovely photographs of his family. First, some photographs of Anna and Max:

Anna Grunwald Blumenfeld Courtesy of the family

Anna Grunwald Blumenfeld and Max Blumenfeld Courtesy of the family

Max Blumenfeld Courtesy of the family

This photograph is of Max and Anna’s children Fritz and Edith as well as, on the right, Fritz’s wife Dora Salpeter Blumenfeld.

Fritz Blumenfeld, Edith Blumenfeld Bermann, and Dora Salpeter Blumenfeld Courtesy of the family

And this final photograph from Max shows him and his sister Margherita with a soldier they met when they visited Palestine (now Israel) with their mother after the war.

Margherita and Max Bermann in Italy shortly after the end of World War II with a soldier from Palestine. Courtesy of the family

Omri also shared some photographs, including this one of his grandmother Anna’s gravestone.

Anna Blumenfeld, Ein Harod Photo courtesy of Omri Bar Sadeh

In addition, he shared photographs of the gravestones of his parents Fritz (Moshe) and Dora/Devorah and his two brothers Gideon and Hillel.

Gideon, as we saw, died fighting for Israel on October 18, 1962.

Gideon Bar Sadeh, Ein Harod Photo courtesy of Omri Bar Sadeh

Omri’s father Fritz Moshe Blumenfeld Bar Sadeh died December 12, 1977 in Ein Harod; he was 67. Devorah Salpeter Blumenfeld Bar Sadeh, outlived her husband by almost 23 years and died at 92 on November 27, 2000, in Ein Harod.

Dora and Fritz Bar Sadeh, Ein Harod Photo courtesy of Omri Bar Sadeh

Fritz and Devorah’s middle child, their son Hillel, died from cancer on December 30, 1996, in Ein Harod. He was only 50 and left behind a wife and four children.

Hillel Bar Sadeh, Ein Harod Photo courtesy of Omri Bar Sadeh

I am so grateful to my fifth cousins Max and Omri for sharing their family’s stories and their own stories and their photographs with me and allowing me to share them with you. I now have answers to all the questions I had when I first started searching for what happened to Max Blumenfeld after he married Anna Grunwald in 1906, thanks to the incredible help of Richard Bloomfield, David Lesser, Max Bermann, and Omri Bar Sadeh.


  1. Joseph Bermann family, 1950 US census, United States of America, Bureau of the Census; Washington, D.C.; Seventeenth Census of the United States, 1950; Record Group: Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790-2007; Record Group Number: 29; Residence Date: 1950; Home in 1950: New York, New York, New York; Roll: 5665; Sheet Number: 72; Enumeration District: 31-675, Ancestry.com. 1950 United States Federal Census 
  2. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/173690239/joseph-bermann : accessed 18 May 2022), memorial page for Joseph Bermann (unknown–1 May 1966), Find a Grave Memorial ID 173690239, citing Westchester Hills Cemetery, Hastings-on-Hudson, Westchester County, New York, USA ; Maintained by BKGeni (contributor 46895980) . 
  3. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/173690238/edith-bermann : accessed 18 May 2022), memorial page for Edith Bermann (unknown–12 Aug 1968), Find a Grave Memorial ID 173690238, citing Westchester Hills Cemetery, Hastings-on-Hudson, Westchester County, New York, USA ; Maintained by BKGeni (contributor 46895980) . 
  4.  Margherita M. Bermann, Social Security Number: 085-30-0023, Birth Date: 22 Aug 1935, Issue Year: 1954-1956, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 12550, Newburgh, Orange, New York, Death Date: 21 Aug 2008, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  5.  There were also entries for Max and for their two children Fritz and Edith. Max’s entry confirmed that he died on March 7, 1936 and is buried in the Jewish cemetery in Merano. Edith’s entry reported that she had “married Josef Bermann on January 30, 1935. After a stay in London in the spring of 1935, she lived in Merano from April 8, 1935. On August 22, 1938, Edith Bermann was included in the census of “Jews” living in Italy by the fascist authorities. On February 13, 1939, her file received the note: “di razza ebraica”. Edith Bermann, who stayed in Milan again and again, fled to Milan.” Fritz’s entry in the Merano Jewish database reported that he “had lived in Merano since October 3, 1936, where his sister was married to the doctor Josef Bermann. On August 22, 1938, Fritz Blumenfeld was recorded by the fascist authorities as permanently residing in Merano in the census of “Jews” living in Italy. According to the registration office of the municipality of Merano, Fritz Blumenfeld fled to Palestine on May 15, 1939.” 

The Search for Max Blumenfeld, Part II: Finding His Daughter Edith

There were several questions that remained unanswered even after Richard and I learned that Max Blumenfeld had died in Merano, Italy, on May 8, 1936. What happened to his wife Anna Grunwald Blumenfeld after he died? Did Max and Anna have any children other than their son Fritz? And are there living descendants of Max and Anna? With continued research, Richard and I, along with additional help from David Lesser from Tracing the Tribe, were able to find some answers to these questions.

First, Richard saw on MyHeritage that Max and Anna did have another child, a daughter Edith. According to that page, Edith was born on February 16, 1907, in Graudenz, Germany. There was even a birth announcement attached to her profile on this MyHeritage page. 

That tree on MyHeritage also had an announcement for Max and Anna’s engagement in 1905.1

Now that we knew there was a daughter born to Max and Anna, I started to look for information about Edith. Although I could not locate a birth record, based on the dates given on MyHeritage and the birth announcement, I was able to narrow down the search. I also knew from the MyHeritage profile that Edith was reportedly married to a doctor named Joseph Berman and had two children.

With that information to get my research started, I soon located numerous documents that appeared to be related to Edith Blumenfeld, daughter of Max and Anna. Putting together what I’d found in chronological order, Edith at 22 sailed from Hamburg to Antwerp on August 9, 1929. I assume that this was a pleasure trip, not an immigration move.

Edith Blumenfeld, 1929 passenger manifest, Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Volume: 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 370; Page: 1843; Microfilm No.: K_1977, Month: Band 370 (Aug 1929 – Sep 1929), Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934

According to the England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 index on Ancestry, Edith married Giuseppe Bermann in the first quarter of 1935 in England. Richard, however, found a wedding announcement in the February 13, 1935 issue of the Alpenzeitung that indicates that they married on February 3, 1935, in Berlin. We are not sure whether there were two weddings or whether there is some other explanation for the inconsistency.2

Edith next turned up as Edith Bermann on a ship manifest sailing with her two children from Naples, Italy, to New York, arriving on February 20, 1946. She reported her last residence had been Naples, Italy. How did I know this was the right Edith? Because she named her brother Fritz Blumenfeld living in “En Charod, Palestine” as the person she left behind and her husband Joseph Bermann as the person she was going to in New York, where he was residing at 752 West End Avenue. In addition, she was 39 years old in 1946, meaning she was born in about 1907, and her birth place was given as “Grundzias” in Poland. Since Graudenz was located in a region that was given to Poland after the war, these additional facts convinced me that this was Edith Blumenfeld.

Edith Berman and children, 1946 ship manifest, Year: 1946; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 34, Ship or Roll Number: Gripsholm, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

The manifest form asked for the name and address of the “nearest relative or friend in country whence alien came, or if none there, then in country of which alien is a citizen or subject.” The fact that Edith gave the name of her brother Fritz who was living in Palestine at that time raised a few questions for me. If Edith was last living in Milan, Italy, why would she name a relative living in Palestine?

Second page of manifest seen above.

To me that suggested that her mother Anna was no longer living in Italy or Edith would have named her, given that Edith’s last residence was Italy. Whether or not Anna was deceased or living elsewhere is not known. Secondly, Edith listed her nationality as Italian on the manifest, not as a “citizen or subject of Palestine,” yet she listed Fritz in Palestine, who was neither in the place she last lived or in the place where she was a citizen. Did the authorities simply allow her to list Fritz because he was the only relative or friend she could name even though he was not in Italy? I don’t know.

Since Joseph apparently had arrived in New York before his wife Edith and their two children, I looked and located a ship manifest for his immigration to the US. I found him on a manifest for a ship sailing from Genoa, Italy, to New York, arriving on November 17, 1939, five and a half years before Edith and the children arrived and a month and a half after World War II started. He sailed as Giuseppe Bermann and gave his birthplace and last residence as Merano, Italy, and his occupation as “medical.” Interestingly, his passport had been issued in September, 1939, from Jerusalem. Although I searched both the Israel State Archives and the IGRA website, I could not find any record establishing that Joseph or Edith ever was in Palestine before 1946.

Giuseppe Bermann, ship manifest, Year: 1939; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 63, Ship or Roll Number: Saturnia, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Joseph settled in New York City, and in 1940 he filed a Declaration of Intention to become a US citizen, listing his family back in Italy and noting that they were now living in Milan. From this document I also learned that Joseph and Edith were married in London, England, on January 31, 1935, as also confirmed by the entry in the England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 on Ancestry.3 I wonder when they arrived and for how long they lived in England.

Joseph Bermann, 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 579) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 453801-454600), Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

In 1942, Joseph registered for the World War II draft. He was living at 121 West 77th Street and practicing medicine. He listed his mother Caroline Ullmann Bermann as his contact person.

Joseph Bermann, 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

And then finally in February, 1946, he was reunited with his family. Joseph had left Edith and two very young children in Italy in November, 1939, probably assuming they would be able to follow him in the reasonably foreseeable future. Instead, the war intervened, and they were separated for five and a half years. Joseph missed all those years when his children were young, and Edith had to raise them alone for all that time. It must have been a joyous reunion when Edith and the children finally arrived in February, 1946.

Of course, there were more questions. How did Edith and the children stay safe during the war? Italy was after all an ally of Germany in World War II. The US Holocaust Museum has this information on its website about the fate of Jews in Italy during World War II.

Despite its alliance with Germany, the Fascist regime responded equivocally to German demands first to concentrate and then to deport Jews residing in Italian occupation zones in Yugoslavia, Greece, and France to killing centers in the German-occupied Poland. Italian military authorities generally refused to participate in mass murder of Jews or to permit deportations from Italy or Italian-occupied territory; and the Fascist leadership was both unable and unwilling to force the issue.

Italian-occupied areas were therefore relatively safe for Jews. Between 1941 and 1943, thousands of Jews escaped from German-occupied territory to the Italian-occupied zones of France, Greece, and Yugoslavia. The Italian authorities even evacuated some 4,000 Jewish refugees to the Italian mainland. Incarcerated in southern Italy, these Jewish refugees survived the war.

But that situation changed for the worse after there was a vote of no-confidence in Mussolini after many military defeats in North Africa, and the Italian king, Victor Emmanuel III, removed Mussolini as prime minister and named Pietro Badoglio to replace him. Badoglio negotiated a secret surrender to the Allies on September 8, 1943. At that point Germany took action.

The Germans, who had grown suspicious of Italian intentions, quickly occupied northern and central Italy. ….The German occupation of Italy radically altered the situation for the remaining 43,000 Italian Jews living in the northern half of the country. The Germans quickly established an SS and police apparatus, in part to deport the Italian Jews to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

In October and November 1943, German authorities rounded up Jews in Rome, Milan, Genoa, Florence, Trieste, and other major cities in northern Italy. ….In general, these operations had limited success, due in part to advance warning given to the Jews by Italian authorities and the Vatican, and in part to the unwillingness of many non-Jewish Italians…to participate in or facilitate the roundups.

Germany ended up deporting almost 9000 Jews to the concentration camps, and over a thousand survived. All in all, 40,000 Jews in Italy survived the Holocaust. Was Anna Grunwald Blumenfeld one of them? I still didn’t know.

But her two children survived, Fritz in Palestine, which soon became Israel, and Edith in the US. More on them and their children in my next post. And the answers to my questions about Anna.

Stay tuned.

 


  1. That announcement confused me since it says Anna’s parents were J. Grunwald and Rosa Israel, and I had from her birth record that their names were Isidor Grunwald and Nanny Braun. But Richard found a passage in Inge Lassel’s book about the Jewish orphanage in Pankow, Berlin, that explained the discrepancy; it revealed that Isidor’s first wife Nanny had died in 1903 and that he had then married Rosa Israel. Inge Lammel, Das Jüdische Waisenhaus in Pankow (2001), p. 24. 
  2.  General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 1a; Page: 861, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005. 
  3. Giuseppe Bermann, Registration Date: Jan 1935, Registration Quarter: Jan-Feb-Mar, Registration District: Westminster, Inferred County: Middlesex, Spouse: Edith N Blumenfeld, Volume Number: 1a, Page Number: 861, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 1a; Page: 861, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 

The Search for Max Blumenfeld: It Took A Village, Part I

The search for what happened to Max Blumenfeld, son of Moses IIB, was not an easy one. It was a lesson in persistence and in the value of working with other researchers. My cousin Richard Bloomfield contributed a great deal to the research of the life of Max Blumenfeld as did David Lesser, my new research friend from Tracing the Tribe.

Finding Max’s birth and marriage records was easy. As I’ve already written, he was born in Kirchhain on June 13, 1880, and married Johanna Grunwald in Berlin on March 16, 1906.

But finding out what happened next was not as easy. Did they have children? Did Max and Johanna survive the Holocaust? Neither was listed in Yad Vashem, so I felt hopeful that they did. But I couldn’t find them anywhere else either. There were no records in the Arolsen Archives. There were no US immigration records or other records placing them in the US. There were no Palestinian immigration records for them either. Where else could they have gone? Did they die before the Nazi era? If so, I couldn’t find any German death records.

When I looked at other trees on Ancestry and at Geni and MyHeritage, there were similar holes in the information for Max and Johanna—-there was nothing after their marriage in 1906. I only found one tree that had more information, and fortunately for me, it was the tree of my fifth cousin and fellow researcher Richard Bloomfield. According to Richard’s tree, Max had emigrated to Italy in 1933 and died there, Johanna had died in Israel sometime after 1947, and they had a son named Fritz who died in about 1977 in Israel.

I contacted Richard to ask where he’d gotten the information, and he said he’d gotten the information from someone else’s tree. So he and I began to see if we could verify any of that information.

Richard noted that on Max’s marriage record his occupation was given as “Waisenhausinspektor” or orphanage inspector and that he was living in Graudenz at the time of his marriage. But since Max and Johanna were married in Berlin, Richard had a hunch that Max had become the Waisenhausdirektor for the Jewish orphanage in Berlin and decided to search old Berlin directories. He found Max listed as the Waisenhausdirektor in those directories for a number of years, including 1934, 1935, and 1936. Thus, we knew that Max had not immigrated to Italy in 1933, but was still in Berlin at least until the 1936 directory was compiled.1

Max Blumenfeld, Title: Amtliches Fernsprechbuch für Berlin und Umgegend, 1936, Ancestry.com. German Phone Directories, 1915-1981

On a very recent trip to Berlin, Richard took and shared these photos of the building where the Judische Waisenhaus once stood.

Judische Waisenhause building in Berlin. Photo courtesy of Richard Bloomfield

Photo courtesy of Richard Bloomfield

Richard and I then started to see if we could find any evidence of Fritz Blumenfeld, the supposed son of Max and Johanna. Richard located a record on the IGRA website that indicated that a Fritz Blumenfeld, son of Max, born in 1910,was registered as a voter in Palestine in 1939 and living in En Harod.

Found at the Israel Genealogy Research Association website at https://genealogy.org.il/AID/index.php

Then I located a Fritz Blumenfeld who had Palestine immigration papers at the Israel Archives website. Fritz was born in Graudenz, Germany, on July 13, 1910, the same town where Max had been living when he married Johanna in 1906. He was married to Dora Salpeter and working as a locksmith. He had first entered Palestine on June 28, 1937.

Fritz Blumenfeld and Dora Salpeter immigration file found at Israel State Archives at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/

Richard found directories for Graudenz that listed Max as a teacher there in 1905, as a teacher and orphanage inspector in 1907, and as the Waisenhausinspektor there in 1909, 1911, and 1913. Thus, Max and Johanna were living in Graudenz when Fritz Blumenfeld was born. This certainly seemed to be their son.2

And then I found the record that definitely tied Fritz to Max and Johanna. Returning to the IGRA website, I located Fritz Blumenfeld’s marriage record. Fritz married Devorah on August 15, 1940, in Israel, and his marriage record indicated that he was a locksmith, which was consistent with his Palestinian citizenship application. On those Palestinian immigration papers, I learned that Devorah’s name was originally Dora Salpeter.

Most importantly, Fritz’s parents were listed as Max and Hanna, confirming for me that this was the son of Max Blumenfeld and (Jo)hanna Grunwald. Since it appears that Johanna was better known as Hanna or Anna, I will use the name Anna to refer to her going forward.

That marriage record gave me two other critical pieces of information. It said the groom’s parents lived in Italy—although it took help from Tracing the Tribe for me to learn that the Hebrew I was reading as Atelah was in fact Italia in Hebrew. The marriage record also indicated that Anna was at home, but Max was deceased. Thus, we now knew that Max had died sometime before Fritz married on August 15, 1940, and presumably had died in Italy.

Fritz Blumenfeld marriage record, found at the Israel Genealogy Research Association website at https://genealogy.org.il/AID/

I didn’t think we would get any further than that since I had no idea how to research deaths in Italy. But once again Richard came to the rescue. He found two more sources. One was a German book, Das Jüdische Waisenhaus in Pankow (2001) by Inge Lammel, about the Jewish orphanage in Berlin where Max had been the Waisenhausdirektor. Lammel’s book included this passage, as translated by Richard:3

When Isidor Grunwald [Johanna’s father] died in February 1925, his son-in-law, Max Blumenfeld, took over the directorship of the house. Martin Davidsohn [long-time teacher at the Second Jewish Orphanage] says that he brought a more liberal spirit into the educational process, democratic structures, such as an opportunity to utter grievances and a trainees’ adjudicatory council elected by secret ballot, which gave the trainees more self-confidence.

Richard paraphrased the information about Isidor Grunwald that he found in the book:4

Max’s father-in-law had been an officer in the army and carried the army’s manner of doing things over into his work at the orphanage. He patrolled the large dormitory hall carrying his ring of large keys to enforce discipline. He had the boys line up each night in front of his apartment in the house according to height, shook their hands and wished them good night. In addition to physical education, he had the boys do drills led by a drill sergeant and sometimes accompanied by flute and drum music

Here is a photo from the book showing Max standing with some of the children and staff at the orphanage in about 1933; he is the man in the dark suit in the foreground.

From Inge Lammel, Das Jüdische Waisenhaus in Pankow, 2001

In addition to obtaining a copy of this book, Richard also located Max’s obituary, which not only provided us with the date and place of Max’s death (March 8, 1936, in Merano, Italy), but also more information about his life:

“Max Blumenfeld,” Gemeindeblatt der Jüdischen Gemeinde zu Berlin, March 15, 1936, page 7

Richard translated the obituary as follows:5

Last Sunday the director of the Second Orphanage of the Jewish Congregation in Berlin, Max Blumenfeld, died in Merano [Italy] where he was taking time for rest and recreation. Blumenfeld died young at the age of 56. He was originally a teacher whose excellent teaching abilities drew the attention of leading personalities, and when his father-in-law [Isidor Grunwald] died about ten years ago, Max Blumenfeld became his successor as director of the Jewish Orphanage in Pankow. Blumenfeld dedicated himself to the traditional task of the institution of training its students as craftsmen. Blumenfeld demonstrated a personal interest in each of the youth in his care, each of them could recon with his support and encouragement. He combined with kindness and friendliness decisiveness and consistence in the execution of his task.

These two documents discovered by Richard Bloomfield have given us a much fuller picture of our cousin Max Blumenfeld. He certainly left his mark and obviously was a kind and generous person.

Unfortunately, the obituary did not include information about his survivors. Was Fritz their only child? Did Johanna stay in Italy, as their son Fritz’s 1940 marriage certificate suggests? Did she return to Berlin? Immigrate to Palestine?

Well, the story of Max Blumenfeld doesn’t end here nor does the story of the collaboration it took to find the rest of that story.

More to come.


  1. Amtliches Fernsprechbuch für Berlin und Umgebun, 1934, 1935, 1936.  Ancestry.com. The one depicted I found on Ancestry for 1935. 
  2. I have tried to recreate Richard’s search through the Graudenz directories. He sent me to the GenWiki website section for directories, and although I found the Graudenz directories, I still need more lessons in how to search through those directories to find Max. 
  3. Inge Lammel, Das Jüdische Waisenhaus in Pankow (2001), p. 50. 
  4. Ibid, p. 48, as paraphrased by Richard Bloomfield, attachment to email May 1, 2022. 
  5. “Max Blumenfeld,” Gemeindeblatt der Jüdischen Gemeinde zu Berlin, March 15, 1936, page 7.