The Final Chapter of Baruch Blumenfeld’s Family: His Daughter Charlotte

Having told the story of Antonie Blumenfeld Engelbert and that of her children Margot, Julius, and Elfriede and of her grandchildren Edith, Werner, Gunther, and Inge, I now turn to the story of Antonie’s younger sister, Charlotte Blumenfeld, daughter of Baruch Blumenfeld and Emma Docter.

Charlotte Jeanette Blumenfeld, as we saw, married Hermann Hammel on January 24, 1900, and they had one daughter, Klara, who was born on February 17, 1901, in Frankfurt, Germany, where Charlotte and Hermann resided. Hermann was a merchant.

On July 26, 1920, in Frankfurt, Klara Hammel married Siegfried Braun. He was more than eleven years older than Klara and was born in Nuernberg on August 27, 1889. His parents were Isidor Braun and Kathi Hermann; both had died by the time Siegfried served in the German army during World War I. Siegfried served for at least three years of the war in the infantry and in the automobile replacement unit. When he married Klara in 1920, he was living in Frankfurt and working as a merchant.

Marriage record, Klara Hammel to Siegfried Braun, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; München; Abteilung IV Kriegsarchiv. Kriegstammrollen, 1914-1918; Volume: 18828. Kriegsstammrolle: Bd. 6, Volume: 18828- Kriegsstammrolle: Bd- 6, Ancestry.com. Bavaria, Germany, World War I Personnel Rosters, 1914-1918

Klara and Siegfried’s first child Lieselotte was born in Frankfurt on September 4, 1922.1 Her brother Walter Isidor Braun was born a year later on December 7, 1923, also in Frankfurt.2 A third child was stillborn on January 25, 1926, in Frankfurt.3

The life of this family changed dramatically once Hitler came to power. I am very grateful to Klara and Siegfried’s grandson Stephen for sharing their stories with me. They all immigrated to Amsterdam not long after Hitler’s rise to power. While there, Lieselotte, then a teenager, met the man who would later become her husband, Fritz (later Fred) Rothschild. He was son of Daniel Rothschild and Martha Aumann and was born in Bruchsal, Germany, on August 22, 1921. His family also had left Germany for Amsterdam to escape the Nazis.4

Hermann Hammel, Charlotte Blumenfeld’s husband, died in Amsterdam on February 19, 1939; he was 71 years old. After World War II started in September, 1939, the rest of the Hammel family left Amsterdam for Wales, where they were living at the time of the enumeration of the 1939 England and Wales Register. Lieselotte was thus separated from her boyfriend Fred Rothschild, but the two corresponded during the war; his family had also left Amsterdam and immigrated to Canada.5

Braun and Hammel, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/7534J, Enumeration District: ZDGM, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register (the two children of Siegfried and Claire Braun are hidden)

But even the UK was not a true safe harbor for the family. Siegfried was determined to be an enemy alien on October 12, 1939, and he and his family were sent to the Isle of Man like so many other Jewish refugees from Germany. Only Charlotte was not interned. They were released on September 30, 1940, and relocated to London where they lived for the duration of the war.6

Siegfried Braun, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/168, Piece Number Description: 168: German Internees Released in UK 1939-1942: Bohrman-Bud, Ancestry.com. UK, World War II Alien Internees, 1939-1945

Once the war ended, Lieselotte Braun was reunited with Fred Rothschild, and they were married in London on August 11, 1946.

The Montreal Gazette, August 23, 1946, p. 13

After marrying, Lieselotte and Fred immigrated to Canada and then the US and eventually settled in New York City; they would have two children.

A year after Lieselotte’s marriage, the rest of her family—her grandmother Charlotte, her parents Klara (now Claire) Hammel and Siegfried Braun, and her brother Walter—also immigrated to the US and settled in New York. They eventually owned a women’s clothing store in Washington Heights in New York.7

Walter Braun married Hannelore Delheim in 1954.8 She was born in Ludwigschafen, Germany, in August 1931, and came to the US with her parents, Friedericke and Rosette Delheim, and her brother in 1939.9 Walter and Hannelore had two children.

Charlotte Blumenfeld Hammel died on July 11, 1958; she was 83 years old.10 I found it poignant that she ended up in New York living not far from where her father Baruch had been living in 1920. I wonder whether she ever knew that.

Her son-in-law Siegfried Braun died on August 8, 1961 at the age of 71.11 His wife Claire Hammel Braun survived him by over twenty years. She died July 19, 1983, in Ridgewood, New Jersey. She was 83 and was survived by her children and grandchildren.12

Claire’s son Walter Braun only survived her by three years. He was 62 when he died on March 15, 1986, in Ridgewood, New Jersey. He was survived by his wife and children as well as his sister Lieselotte.13

Lieselotte lived to age 91 and died on October 13, 2013, in Palm Beach, Florida. Her husband Fred Rothschild died the following year, also in Palm Beach. He was 92 when he died on March 27, 2014.14 They are survived by their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Thus, Baruch Blumenfeld, who left his family in Germany sometime before 1900 and came to the US where he died in 1923, has numerous descendants now living in the US. They are here because their parents and grandparents and great-grandparents were either able to leave Germany before it was too late like Charlotte and her family and Antonie’s son Julius and his family and Gunther Goldschmidt or because they somehow managed to survive the tortures of the Holocaust like Antonie’s daughter Elfriede, her husband Rudolf and their daughter Inge.

Tragically, Baruch’s granddaughter—Antonie’s daughter—Margot, her husband Gustav, and their daughter Edith were not among those who survived or escaped in time. They are among the six million who must never be forgotten.


  1. Lieselotte Rothschild Arrival Age 38, Birth Date 4 Sep 1922, Birth Place, Frankfurt/Main, Arrival Date7 May 1961, Arrival Place New York, New York, USA, The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; NAI Number: 2848504; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85; Series Number: A3998; NARA Roll Number: 482, Ancestry.com. New York State, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1917-1967 
  2. Walter Isidore Braun, Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 7 Dec 1923
    Birth Place: Frankfort, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: Mar 1986
    Father: Frederick S Braun, Mother: Claire Hammel, SSN: 082240422, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  3.  Knabe Braun, Gender: männlich (Male), Death Date: 25 Jan 1926, Death Place: Frankfurt, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Frankfurt I
    Father: Siegfried Braun, Mother: Klara Braun. Certificate Number: 106, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10913, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958 
  4. Email from Steve Rothschild, August 27, 2021. Fred Rothschild, Age: 31
    Birth Date: 22 Aug 1921, Issue Date: 11 Aug 1953, State: New York
    Locality, Court: Eastern District of New York, District Court, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Index to Naturalization Petitions of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, 1865-1957; Microfilm Serial: M1164; Microfilm Roll: 114, Ancestry.com. U.S., Naturalization Records Indexes, 1794-1995. Geni Profile at https://www.geni.com/people/Fred-Fritz-Rothschild/6000000017506676383?through=6000000017506915284#name=Fred%20(Fritz)%20Rothschild? 
  5. Email from Steve Rothschild, August 27, 2021. 
  6. Email from Steve Rothschild, August 30, 2021. 
  7. Clara and Siegfried Braun, Walter Braun, Charlotte Hammel, ship manifest, Year: 1947; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Numbers: 190, 238, Ship or Roll Number: America,Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957. Email from Steve Rothschild, August 30, 2021. 
  8. Walter Braun, Gender: Male, Marriage License Date: 1954, Marriage License Place: Bronx, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Hannelore Dellheim, License Number: 423, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Bronx,
    Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  9. Delheim family, ship manifest, Year: 1939; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 4; Page Number: 127, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  10. Charlotte Hammel, Age: 63, Birth Date: abt 1895, Death Date: 11 Jul 1958
    Death Place: Manhattan, New York, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 15348, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Death Index, 1949-1965 
  11. Frederick Braun, Age: 71, Birth Date: abt 1890, Death Date: 8 Aug 1961, Death Place: Manhattan, New York, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 17272, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Death Index, 1949-1965 
  12.  Claire Braun, Social Security Number: 088-28-7956, Birth Date: 17 Feb 1901
    Issue Year: 1951-1953, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10964, Palisades, Rockland, New York, USA, Death Date: Jul 1983, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  13. Walter Isidore Braun, Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 7 Dec 1923
    Birth Place: Frankfort, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: Mar 1986
    Father: Frederick S Braun, Mother: Claire Hammel, SSN: 082240422, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  14. “Fred Rothschild,” Palm Beach Daily News, Palm Beach, Florida
    30 Mar 2014, Sun • Page A002 

Antonie’s Children Margot Engelbert Neuhaus and Julius Engelbert

Antonie Blumenfeld Engelbert, daughter of Baruch Blumenfeld and Emma Docter, died in 1929, and her husband Siegfried Engelbert died three years later. They never knew what was going to happen to their family just a decade after their deaths.

Their oldest daughter Margot and her husband Gustav stayed in Goettingen after Hitler came to power in 1933. After Kristallnacht in November 1938, Gustav was forced by the Nazis to sell his cattle trading business far below its market value, a business that had been in his family since 1858 when it was started by his grandfather. Margot and Gustav were transported on March 31, 1942, to the Warsaw Ghetto, where they were killed on September 30, 1942. Here are the Pages of Testimony on file with Yad Vashem:1

Margot and Gustav’s daughter Edith also was murdered by the Nazis. After she was prohibited from attending the local high school for girls in Goettingen in 1938, she went to Hamburg and then to Berlin, where she met and married her husband Herbert Kempner in 1942. But Herbert and Edith’s marriage was short-lived because on November 29, 1942, they were both deported to Auschwitz and murdered there. I am so grateful to Dennis Aron, who shared with me the entries about Gustav, Margot, and Edith from Die Juedischen Buerger im Kreis Goettingen 1933-1945: Ein Gedenkbuch, including this photograph of Edith. 2

Tragically, Margot and Gustav and their daughter Edith have no living descendants because of the Nazis. Thus, we must all remember them instead.

The other two children of Antonie Blumenfeld and Siegfried Engelbert survived the Holocaust, but not without facing Nazi persecution.

Their son Julius Engelbert, his wife Ilse, and their nine-year-old son Werner fled to Bolivia on September 23, 1939.3 Six years later the family immigrated to the United States, arriving on December 23, 1945.4 They settled in Brooklyn, New York, and they all became US citizens in 1952. Werner Engelbert became a pharmacist after graduating from the College of Pharmacy of the City of New York in 1952.5 According to his niece Marsha, Julius saved the many wonderful photographs published in this series of posts when he fled Germany in 1939. How fortunate we all are that he did.

Ancestry.com. U.S., Naturalization Records Indexes, 1794-1995

Julius Engelbert died in New York on July 25, 1965; he was 67. He was killed in a car accident driving to or from the Catskills.6 His wife Ilse survived him by twenty years, dying in February 1985 at the age of 78.7 Their son Werner died in 2019.8 He was survived by his wife and children and grandchildren.

Elfriede Engelbert Goldschmidt and her family also survived the Holocaust, but their path to survival was more complicated than that of her brother Julius and his family. I was privileged to listen to the testimony that Inge Goldschmidt Oppenheimer, Elfriede’s daughter, gave to the Shoah Foundation in 1996,9 and her story is both heartbreaking and inspiring. I will share her story in my next post.


  1. Margot Engelbert Neuhaus, Yad Vashem, at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=1306232&ind=2;  Gustav Neuhaus, Yad Vashem at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=1306229&ind=2. See also Uta Schaefer-Richter and Joerg Klein, Die Juedischen Buerger im Kreis Goettingen 1933-1945: Ein Gedenkbuch (Wallstein Verlag 1992), pp. 190-191. 
  2. Uta Schaefer-Richter and Joerg Klein, Die Juedischen Buerger im Kreis Goettingen 1933-1945: Ein Gedenkbuch (Wallstein Verlag 1992), p.190.Die Juedischen Buerger im Kreis Goettingen 1933-1945: Ein Gedenkbuch (Wallstein Verlag Goettingen), p. 126. 
  3. Julius Engelbert, Nationality: Deutsch Juden, Record Type: Miscellaneous
    Birth Date: 18 Okt 1897 (18 Oct 1897), Birth Place: Kassel, Residence Place: Kassel Kassel, Notes: Lists of judicial and official files concerning foreigners and German Jews
    Reference Number: 02010101 oS, Document ID: 70443285, Arolsen Archives, Digital Archive; Bad Arolsen, Germany; Lists of Persecutees 2.1.1.1, Ancestry.com. Free Access: Europe, Registration of Foreigners and German Persecutees, 1939-1947 
  4. Joseph Julius Engelbert, ship manifest, Year: 1945; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 22; Page Number: 41, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  5. Werner J Engelbert, Yearbook Date: 1952, School: College of Pharmacy of the City of New York, School Location: New York, New York, USA, U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012″; School Name: College of Pharmacy of the City of New York; Year: 1952,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1999 
  6. Julius Engelbert, Gender: Male, Age: 67, Birth Date: abt 1898, Residence Place: Adelphi, Kings, New York, USA, Death Date: 25 Jul 1965, Death Place: New York, USA, New York State Department of Health; Albany, NY, USA; New York State Death Index,
    Ancestry.com. New York State, U.S., Death Index, 1957-1969. Email from Marsha Eidlin, September 25, 2021. 
  7. Ilse Engelbert, Social Security Number: 129-22-5815, Birth Date: 31 Mar 1906
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11210, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, USA, Death Date: Feb 1985, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  8. https://jewishfunerals.com/service/werner-j-engelbert/ 
  9. Inge Oppenheimer, Interview 11370. Visual History Archive, USC Shoah Foundation, 1996. Accessed 17 August 2021. 

Baruch Blumenfeld’s Daughter Antonie: Life Before the Nazis

Although I have no definitive answer as to when Baruch Blumenfeld left his family in Germany, I do have information about what happened to his two daughters and their children.

As we saw, Baruch and Emma had two daughters: Antonie and Charlotte Jeanette, born in 1872 and 1875, respectively. This post and the three that follow will focus on Antonie and her descendants. I am deeply grateful to Antonie’s great-granddaughter Marsha for sharing her collection of family photos with me so that I can bring Antonie and her family to life.

Antonie married Sussel Siegfried (known as Siegfried) Engelbert in Neustadt, Germany, in 1894, and they had three children: Margot (born 1895), Joseph Julius (known as Julius) (born 1897), and Elfriede (born 1900). Siegfried owned a clothing store in Kassel, shown in this photograph.

Engelbert store, c. 1900, Kassel. Courtesy of the family.

The photograph below is of Antonie and below that are three photographs of her children, one taken in 1911 of Elfriede and Margot and an unknown little girl, the other taken in about 1920 of all three of Antonie and Siegfried Engelbert’s children, and the last a photograph of Julius Engelbert with his parents Antonie and Siegfried.

Antonie Blumenfeld Engelbert undated. Courtesy of the family

Elfriede Engelbert, unknown girl, Margot Engelbert, 1911. Courtesy of the family

Margot, Julius, and Elfriede Engelbert, c. 1920. Courtesy of the family

Julius, Antonie, and Siegfried Engelbert. Courtesy of the family

Margot married Gustav Neuhaus on December 3, 1920. He was born on December 5, 1884, in Bremke, Germany, to Hermann Neuhaus and Bernhardine Neuhaus. He was a cattle dealer in Goettingen, Germany; his grandfather had started the business in 1858.1

Marriage record of Margot Engelbert and Gustav Neuhaus, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 910, Year Range: 1920, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Margot and Gustav had one child, a daughter Edith, born on March 9, 1922.

Elfriede Caroline Engelbert married Ruben Rudolf (known as Rudolf) Goldschmidt on August 19, 1924, in Kassel, Germany. Rudolf, the son of Gabriel Goldschmidt and Jettchen Levi, was born in Spangenburg, Germany, on January 23, 1887.2

Marriage record of Elfriede Engelbert and Ruben Goldschmidt, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 910, Year Range: 1924, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Here is a photograph of Elfriede and Rudolf taken when they were engaged in 1924.

Elfriede Engelbert and Rudolf Goldschmidt, 1924. Courtesy of the family

Marsha also shared the menu from Elfriede and Rudolf’s wedding. It must have been quite a lavish celebration.

Elfriede and Rudolf had two children, Gunther, born July 17, 1925,3 and Inge, born April 13, 1929,4 in Kassel where they resided.

Here are some photographs of Gunther and Inge as young children.

Gunther and Elfriede Engelbert Goldschmidt, 1925. Courtesy of the family

Inge and Gunther Goldschmidt, 1931. Courtesy of the family

Inge and Gunther Goldschmidt, c. 1931. Courtesy of the family

Elfriede, Gunther, and Inge Goldschmidt c. 1931. Courtesy of the family

Antonie lived long enough to see her three grandchildren born, but she died on May 23, 1929, a month after Inge’s birth. She was survived by her husband and her children and grandchildren.

Antonie Blumenfeld Engelbert death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 910; Signatur: 5619, Year Range: 1929, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Here is one more photograph of Antonie and Julius and a photograph of Antonie’s headstone.

Siegfried Engelbert and Antonie Blumenfeld Engelbert. Courtesy of the family

Courtesy of the family

Julius Engelbert married a few months after his mother’s death. On August 29, 1929, he married Ilse Wolf in Marburg, Germany. She was born in Marburg on March 31, 1906. Julius and Ilse had one child, Werner, born in Kassel in 1930.5

Julius Engelbert and Ilse Wolf marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5652, Year Range: 1929, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Two years later Siegfried Engelbert died on July 12, 1932, in Kassel.6 He was 65 and died before the Nazi takeover of Germany the following year.  He and Antonie were spared seeing what would happen to their children.

In this photograph are Elfriede, Rudolf, and Inge with Margot and her daughter Edith taken in 1936.  No one could have predicted what was to happen to them all in the next decade.

Elfriede Engelbert Goldschmidt, Inge Goldschmidt, Rudolf Goldschmidt, Edith Neuhaus, Margot Neuhaus, 1936. Courtesy of the family

To be continued.

 


  1. Gustav Neuhaus, Yad Vashem entry,  https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=1306229&ind=2 and from the Neuhaus Family Tree on Ancestry found at https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/60044058/person/342252900990/facts. See also Uta Schaefer-Richter and Joerg Klein, Die Juedischen Buerger im Kreis Goettingen 1933-1945: Ein Gedenkbuch (Wallstein Verlag 1992), p.190. 
  2. Arcinsys Archives Hessen, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 782, p. 63. Inge Oppenheimer, Interview 11370. Visual History Archive, USC Shoah Foundation, 1996. Accessed 17 August 2021. 
  3. Gunther Goldschmidt, Social Security #: 488207584, Gender: Male
    Birth Date: 17 Jul 1925, Death Date: 30 Nov 1972, Death Place: San Francisco, Ancestry.com. California, U.S., Death Index, 1940-1997 
  4. Inge Oppenheimer, Interview 11370. Visual History Archive, USC Shoah Foundation, 1996. Accessed 17 August 2021. 
  5. Arolsen Archives, Digital Archive; Bad Arolsen, Germany; Lists of Persecutees 2.1.1.1, Reference Code: 02010101 oS, Ancestry.com. Free Access: Europe, Registration of Foreigners and German Persecutees, 1939-1947; Werner Jack Engelbert, Age: 22, Birth Date: 21 Jul 1930, Issue Date: 29 Jan 1952, State: New York
    Locality, Court: Eastern District of New York, District Court, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Index to Naturalization Petitions of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, 1865-1957; Microfilm Serial: M1164; Microfilm Roll: 53, Ancestry.com. U.S., Naturalization Records Indexes, 1794-1995 
  6. LAGIS Hessen Archives, Nr 587, p. 291, Standesamt Kassel I Sterberegister 1932, Eintrags-Nr. 301-600 (StadtAKS Best. A 3.35.1 Nr. 3.1.310) Autor Stadtarchiv Kassel Erscheinungsort Kassel IErscheinungsjahr 1932 

Abraham Blumenfeld II’s Granddaughter Dina and Her Sons Ernst and Otto Blum

Tackling the Blumenfeld branch of my family tree will be a long process, given that the limb I am starting on—the limb based on my four-times great-uncle Moses Blumenfeld and his children—is already such a long limb. As we saw, Moses had only three children—Abraham II, Isaak, and Gelle. But Abraham II had eight children, seven of whom lived to adulthood.

And his first child Meier had nine, seven of whom lived to adulthood, as seen on this chart.

As discussed in my prior post, Meier was born on December 11, 1840 in Momberg and married Sarah Strauss, his first cousin, on January 10, 1866, in Amoeneburg. The first child of their eight children was Dina, who was born on April 20, 1867, in Momberg.

Arcinsys Archives of Hessen, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 608, p. 6

She married Moritz Blum on November 2, 1896, in Marburg, Germany. Moritz was born in Battenfeld, Germany, on December 14, 1861, to David Blum and Roschen Herstein. He was a merchant.

Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5609
Year Range: 1896, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Dina and Moritz had two children. Ernst Jacob Blum was born in Frankenburg, Germany, on November 10, 1897, and his brother Otto Blum was born on July 20, 1900, in Frankenburg.

Ernst Blum birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 3586
Year Range: 1897, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Otto Blum birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 3589
Year Range: 1900, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Moritz Blum died when he was 61 on February 17, 1923, in Frankenburg.1

Three years later Dina and Moritz’s younger son Otto left for the United States. He arrived in the US on November 1, 1926. According to the ship manifest, he was a clerk and was heading to Chicago where his uncle Hugo Blumenfeld, Dina’s younger brother, was then living.2 Indeed the 1930 US census finds him living with Hugo and his family in Chicago where Otto was working as a clerk in a mail order factory.

Otto Blum on 1930 US census with Hugo Blumenfeld, Year: 1930; Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Page: 27B; Enumeration District: 0260; FHL microfilm: 2340159, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

Meanwhile, back in Germany, Otto’s older brother Ernst Jacob had married Erna Bachrach on January 25, 1925, in Marburg.3 Erna was the daughter of Solomon Bachrach and Frederike Heilbrunn and was born in Frielendorf, Germany, on May 19, 1901.4 In 1926 their first child was born in Frankenburg, and a second child was born three years later.

Unfortunately Dina did not live to see the birth of this second grandchild. She died in Frankenburg on May 21, 1928, when she was 61.

Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Signatur: 3706
Year Range: 1928, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Dina also did not live to endure the Nazi persecution of the Jews that began a few years after her death. Fortunately, her son Otto was already in the United States, and in 1936, Ernst and his family also immigrated to escape the Nazis. Like his brother Otto, Ernst was headed for Chicago. He listed his uncle Ignaz Herzka as the person he was going to on the ship manifest. Ignaz Herzka was married to Rosa Blumenfeld, younger sister of Ernst’s (and Otto’s) mother Dina. Ernst reported that he was a merchant on the ship manifest.5

Ernst and his family settled in Chicago where in 1940 he was working as a salesman.6 His brother Otto is not listed in his household on the 1940 census, but by 1942 he was living at the same address as his brother Ernst, 5340 Cornell Avenue in Chicago. Otto was working for his uncle Ignaz Herzka who was a tailor. Ernst was working for a company called Hillman’s in Chicago. His 1942 petition for naturalization stated that he was working as a food clerk.

Ernst Blum, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for Illinois, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 151, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Otto Blum, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for Illinois, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 151, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Ernst Blum petition for naturalization, National Archives at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois; ARC Title: Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1991; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21,  Petitions, V· 1032-1034, No· 254210-254835, 1942, Ancestry.com. Illinois, U.S., Federal Naturalization Records, 1856-1991

Otto served in the US Army during World War II from October 16, 1942, until June 23, 1943. He was a private in the 976th Field Artillery Battalion, fighting against his native country and against Hitler.7 It does not appear that Ernst served during the war.

After the war Otto married Mary Shields on February 11, 1949, in Chicago.8 She was born in Indiana on February 23, 1904. I do not know her father’s name, but her mother was Mary Jane (Medda) Shields. Mary had been previously married to Irving Bartlett with whom she’d had one child.9 Otto and Mary did not have children together.

Otto Blum died on October 9, 1967, in Chicago; he was 61.10 He was survived by his widow Mary, who died sixteen years later on April 6, 1983, at 79.11

Ernst Jacob Blum also survived his younger brother Otto. He died October 2, 1985 at the age of 87 in Chicago.12 His wife Erna had predeceased him; she was 70 when she died on October 11, 1971, in Chicago.13 They were survived by one of their daughters and their grandchildren.

Thus, Dina Blumenfeld Blum was fortunate that her sons left Germany in time to survive the Holocaust, and she has living descendants today because of that.

Next, Dina’s younger sisters Karoline, about whom I know very little, and Franziska and Johanna, who were not as fortunate as Dina’s family when it came to the Holocaust.


  1.  Moriz Blum, Gender: männlich (Male), Age: 61, Birth Date: abt 1862
    Death Date: 17 Feb 1923, Death Place: Stadtbezirk-Frankenberg, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Stadtbezirk-Frankenberg, Spouse: Dina, Certificate Number: 10, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Signatur: 3701,
    Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958 
  2. Otto Blum, ship manifest, Year: 1926; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 8; Page Number: 42, Ship or Roll Number: Deutschland,
    Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  3. Erna Blum, Declaration of Intention, National Archives at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois; ARC Title: Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1991; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21,
    Ancestry.com. Illinois, U.S., Federal Naturalization Records, 1856-1991 
  4. Arcinsys Archives of Hessen, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 191, p. 54. 
  5.  Ernst Blum, Gender: Male, Ethnicity/ Nationality: German;Hebrew (German), Marital status: Married, Age: 38, Birth Date: abt 1898, Birth Place: Germany
    Other Birth Place: Frankenberg, Last Known Residence: Frankenberg, Germany
    Place of Origin: Germany,Departure Port: Hamburg, Germany, Arrival Date: 29 May 1936, Arrival Port: New York, New York, USA, Final Destination: Chicago, Illinois
    Years in US: Permanently, Citizenship Intention: Yes, Height: 5 Feet, 10 Inches
    Hair Color: Dark Blonde, Eye Color: Brown, Complexion: Fair, Money in Possession: $50, Person in Old Country: Salomon Bachrach, Person in Old Country Relationship: Son-In-Law, Person in Old Country Residence: Frielendorf, Person in US: Ignatz Hertzka, Person in US Relationship: Uncle, Ship Name: Hamburg, Year: 1936; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 9; Page Number: 64, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  6. Ernst Blum and family, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: m-t0627-00929; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 103-262, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  7. Otto Blum, Rank: PVT, Birth Date: 20 Jul 1900, Service Number: 36617489
    Service Branch: Army, Unit: Hq Battery 976th Field Artillery Battalion, Enlistment Date: 16 Oct 1942, Discharge Date: 23 Jun 1943, Death Date: 9 Oct 1967, Cemetery: Oak Woods, Cemetery Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA, National Archives at St. Louis, MO; St. Louis, MO, USA; Applications for Headstones, 1/1/1925 – 6/30/1970; NAID: NAID 596118; Record Group Number: 92; Record Group Title: Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, Ancestry.com. U.S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1970 
  8. Otto Blum Marriage Date 11 Feb 1949 Spouse Mary BartlettMarriage Location Cook County, IL Marriage license{4D14C476-31B6-41F4-AF45-4CAA7C27AE2D} File Number 2071238 Archive collection name Cook County Genealogy Records (Marriages) Archive repository location Chicago, IL Archive repository name Cook County Clerk, Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Marriage Index, 1930-1960 
  9. Mary E Fogarty, Spouse Name: Irving G Bartlett, Marriage Date: 3 Jun 1924
    Marriage County: Tippecanoe, Birth Date: 23 Feb 1903, Age: 21, Tippecanoe County, Indiana; Index to Marriage Record Jan. 1, 1921 to Dec. 31,, W. P. A. Original Record Located: County Clerk’s O; Book: M-39; Page: 558, Ancestry.com. Indiana, U.S., Marriage Index, 1800-1941. Mary E. Shields, [Mary E. Bartlett], Gender: Female
    Registration Year: 1929, Spouse: Irving Bartlett, Child: Mary Jane Bartlett, Certificate Number: 52941, Roll Number: 022, Agency: Indiana State Dept. of Health, Volume Range: 106 – 110, Ancestry.com. Indiana, U.S., Birth Certificates, 1907-1940 
  10. Otto Blum, Death Date: 9 Oct 1967, Death Location: Cook County, IL
    File Number: 672811, Archive collection name: Cook County Genealogy Records (Deaths), Archive repository location: Chicago, IL, Archive repository name: Cook County Clerk, Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Death Index, 1908-1988 
  11. Obituary for Mary E. Blum, News-Press, Fort Myers, Florida
    08 Apr 1983, Fri • Page 30 
  12. Ernst Blum, Death Date: 2 Oct 1985, Death Location: Cook County, IL
    File Number: 6019403, Archive collection name: Cook County Genealogy Records (Deaths), Archive repository location: Chicago, IL, Archive repository name: Cook County Clerk, Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Death Index, 1908-1988 
  13. Erna Blum, Death Date: 11 Oct 1971, Death Location: Cook County, IL
    File Number: 628510, Archive collection name: Cook County Genealogy Records (Deaths), Archive repository location: Chicago, IL, Archive repository name: Cook County Clerk, Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Death Index, 1908-1988 

Things People Find on eBay

Back in May 2020, I wrote about Ferdinand Meyer, my third cousin, twice removed, a great-grandson of Meyer Goldschmidt.

As I described in that post, Ferdinand and his two children, Eleanora and Erich, both left Germany in the 1930s to escape from the Nazis. But Ferdinand’s wife Friedericke Jaenecke Meyer stayed behind and did not leave Germany until the summer of 1941, when she came to the US and settled with Ferdinand in the Boston area.

Friedericke was not born Jewish, and I wondered whether she had stayed behind to protect the family’s assets, assuming that she would be safe (though she faced some persecution in Germany for being married to a Jew or perhaps for converting). I still have no answers to that question.

Nevertheless, I was quite tickled when a blog reader commented that he had found on eBay an envelope for a letter sent by Friedericke to Ferdinand, postmarked January 24, 1941.

As you can see, Friedericke was still living in Frankfurt at the time she sent this letter to Ferdinand, who was living on Beacon Street in Boston.

Unfortunately, there was no letter inside the envelope to reveal what was going on in Friedericke’s life and what her thoughts were about what was happening in Germany. By that time the war was raging across Europe, but the US was still a year away from entering the war. What were Friedericke and Ferdinand feeling and thinking? How was Friedericke able to escape when so many Jews were trapped inside Germany by that time?

And how in the world did this envelope end up on eBay?

Life is just filled with mysteries.

The Drey Family: More Cousins, More Small World Connections, More Photographs

A few weeks ago another new cousin found me through my blog, and the ensuing emails and additional new cousin connections have resulted in many small-world coincidences as well as a collection of family photographs. So even when I thought I was just about finished with my Goldschmidt family line, I have been reminded once again that this work is never really finished.

Let me start at the beginning. The cousin who first contacted me through my blog, Diane, is my fifth cousin, once removed. She is the daughter of Claude Drey, whose photographs I wrote about here, and the granddaughter of Arthur Drey and Caroline Lilly Cramer, who I now know was always called Lilly, not Caroline. Caroline was the daughter of David Cramer and Clementine Fuld. Here’s a chart showing the rest of our connection:

Diane and I both have children and grandchildren living in Brooklyn. She then connected me to other members of her family, including her first cousins Florence, George, and Linda, who are also my fifth cousins, once removed. They are the children of Dorothy Drey, Claude’s sister and the daughter of Arthur Drey and Lilly Cramer. And here’s where the small world connections piled up. Florence, George, and Linda grew up in White Plains, New York, where I went to junior high and high school. In fact, we lived around the corner from each other. Linda was just one year ahead of me in school. But we never knew of each other’s existence.

Then I learned that George’s wife grew up in Springfield, Massachusetts, and Florence went to college there. I’ve lived right outside of Springfield since 1983. George is a lawyer, and Florence is engaged in genealogical research and activities. And finally, George, Florence, and I are now currently in Florida and not far from each other. But for COVID, we could all easily get together and meet in person. As a result of all these overlapping connections, we all likely know many of the same people, and when we do get together, it will be fun to discover more connections.

And then Diane sent me a collection of family photographs and has given me permission to share them here. Here are some of those photographs.

First, this is a photograph of Clementine Fuld Cramer with her two children Sally and Lilly. Clementine was the daughter of Helene Goldschmidt and Salomon Fuld and the granddaughter of Jacob Meier Goldschmidt. I wrote about Clementine here and here. I am not sure when this would have been taken. If Lilly was not yet married, it had to be taken before January 27, 1919.

Sally Cramer, Clementine Fuld Cramer, Caroline Lilly Cramer. Courtesy of the Drey family

Here are photographs taken on January 27, 1919, when Lilly married Arthur Drey:

Arthur Drey and Lily Cramer, January 1919. Courtesy of the Drey family

Arthur Drey and Lily Cramer, January 1919. Courtesy of the Drey family

Lilly and Arthur Drey had three children. This photograph shows Lilly with their first two children, Claude and Dorothy in 1921 when Dorothy was born.

Lilly Cramer Drey, Claude Drey, Dorothy Drey. c. 1921. Courtesy of the Drey family

Their third child Elizabeth was born five years later in 1926. Here she is as a young child:

Elizabeth Drey c. 1927 Courtesy of the Drey family

This photograph of the entire family was taken in Frankfurt in about 1927 before their lives were forever altered by the Nazis:

Drey family in Frankfurt c. 1927. Courtesy of the Drey family

These photographs of Claude and Dorothy as children were also taken in Germany before the family escaped from Germany to Milan, Italy, in 1933:

Claude Drey c. 1928 Courtesy of the Drey family

Dorothy Drey c. 1932-1933 Courtesy of the Drey family

Diane also shared photographs taken in the US in the 1940s and beyond. What I found most remarkable about those were the photographs of Clementine Fuld Cramer with her great-grandchildren, including Diane, George, and Florence. Clementine died in 1962 at 87. She had lived through the early years of a unified Germany, World War I, the oppression of Jews by the Nazis in the 1930s, immigration to the US during World War II, and the post-war years adjusting to the United States. She lived to see the births of not only her grandchildren but also a number of great-grandchildren. What a remarkable life she had. I bet she had some amazing stories to share.

Clementine Fuld Cramer with one of her great-grandchildren in the US

Finally, I love this photograph of Caroline Lilly Cramer Drey taken in New York City sometime in the 1950s or 1960s. She had held on to the grace and sophisticaion of the world she’d known as a well-to-do woman living in the Frankfurt Jewish community before the Nazi era.

Lilly Cramer Drey in New York City
Courtesy of the Drey family

 

 

Falk Goldschmidt’s Daughter Hedwig: How Did She Survive The Holocaust?

As I mentioned last week in my second post about Falk Goldschmidt, two of his children married their Goldschmidt cousins. Julius Falk Goldschmidt married Leni Goldschmidt, his first cousin, once removed, and Hedwig Goldschmidt married Marcel Goldschmidt, her first cousin. Most of their stories have been thus been covered in the posts about those cousins.

But since writing about Marcel and Hedwig, I’ve had the good fortune of connecting with some of their great-grandchildren, the grandchildren of Marcel and Hedwig’s daughter Grete, the children of Grete’s daughter Gabrielle. In this case, Fran, the wife of one of those great-grandchildren, found me through my blog, and then we scheduled a Zoom for November 16, 2020, with all of Gabrielle’s children (and their spouses) and one of her grandchildren.

It was simply delightful to listen to these siblings tell family stories of growing up in New York, including those about visiting their grandmother Grete in her Manhattan apartment where they had to be on their best behavior, and about their father Erwin Vogel, who although stern in some ways also had a terrific sense of humor. They also shared that their parents Gabrielle and Erwin met on a blind date on December 7, 1941, Pearl Harbor Day, that was set up by other German refugees in the jewelry business. The Vogel siblings had such warm and loving memories that it was uplifting to share an hour just talking to them all.

They also were able to answer one question I had about their great-grandmother Hedwig. When I wrote about Hedwig back on May 29, 2020, I noted that she had traveled back and forth to the United States twice during the 1930s, presumably to visit her daughter Grete who was living in New York with her husband Berthold Heimerdinger and their daughter Gabrielle. But both times Hedwig had returned to Europe—in 1935 to Germany and to Switzerland in 1937.  When I first wrote about Hedwig, I could not imagine how or where Hedwig had survived the war.

According to Hedwig’s great-grandchildren, Hedwig was hidden in the Netherlands during the Nazi occupation. One of Hedwig’s great-granddaughters, Susan, met members of the family who had kept Hedwig safe in their home by hiding her in their attic.  They shared with Susan the following story about Hedwig’s experience.

One member of the household had dementia, and they didn’t tell him that Hedwig was upstairs because they were concerned he would inadvertently reveal that she was living there if questioned by others, including the Gestapo. One night after the family had gone to bed, Hedwig came down from the attic and scared the daylights out of this poor man with dementia. He was convinced he’d seen a ghost, and the only way the family could calm him down was to tell him the truth—that they were hiding a Jewish woman in their attic.

Fortunately, he never revealed the secret, and Hedwig was kept safely hidden until after the war ended. Then she was able to come to the US and rejoin her daughter Grete and family until she died at the age of 87 on December 9, 1964.

Ancestry.com. New York, Index to Petitions for Naturalization filed in New York City, 1792-1989 [

I also learned from the Vogel siblings more about their great-uncle Jacob, Hedwig’s son, Grete’s brother. From the records it appeared that Jacob lived in New York while his wife and daughters lived in Paris, but in fact Jacob also lived in Paris, but had an apartment in New York where his mother was living and where he stayed when he came to New York.

Susan shared with me a blog post she wrote after she and her sister Nancy took a trip to Germany and visited Wiesbaden, where their grandmother Grete moved after marrying Berthold Heimerdinger and where their mother Gabrielle grew up. I will share just a portion of that blog post in which Susan made some observations about her grandmother Grete:

We saw the house of our mother Gabrielle and her neighborhood and could picture our grandmother and grandfather and their fine lifestyle in Wiesbaden. We had drinks at a lovely restaurant outside the grand spa of Wiesbaden and could imagine Granny walking the beautiful lawn in fine clothes, ready for a ball or other event. These were the stories we heard over and over from her – her dreams and thoughts were always on this former life.

Now, years later, I have much more understanding of why she was so bitter all her life – she lost the thing that was very precious to her – her status. When she came to the USA with little of her possessions and money she began a new life, but not one of her choice. She treasured the few items that she brought (some furniture, silver, jewelry) but never got over this loss of her identity.

So many of those who survived and escaped from the Nazis, including many of my own relatives, must have felt the same way—a deep and lasting loss of identity. They didn’t only lose their possessions and their homes and many of their family members and friends. They lost their sense of who they were—proud, educated, and successful German Jews. It’s mind-boggling to consider their pain.

Whatever bitterness their grandmother felt certainly was not passed down to her grandchildren. They all seem to be filled with love and gratitude for all that they have. Thank you once again to my Vogel cousins for sharing their stories.

 

Falk Goldschmidt Part III: Two of His Daughters Escape to South America

Meyer Goldschmidt’s youngest child Falk Goldschmidt died on June 4, 1901. He was 65 years old when he died and was survived by his wife Clara Babetta Carlebach and their five children, Meier, Helene, Fanny, Hedwig, and Julius, and their grandchildren.

Falk Goldschmidt death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10551, Year Range: 1901, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

The family lost its matriarch when Clara Babetta Carlebach Goldschmidt died on February 27, 1920. She was 75.

Babetta Carlebach Goldschmidt death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10828, Year Range: 1920, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

In the last post we saw that Meier Falk Goldschmidt, Falk’s oldest child, went to the US in about 1890 and died there in 1922. He did not have any children. Falk and Babetta’s two youngest children—Hedwig and Julius Falk—I have already covered in earlier posts because they married cousins who’ve already been discussed. So that leaves the two older daughters, Helene Goldschmidt Igersheimer and Fanny Goldschmidt Loewenthal. I will tell their stories separately in this post.

Helene Goldschmidt Igersheimer and Her Children

Eight years after losing her father Falk, Helene Goldschmidt Igersheimer lost her husband Bernard. He died on September 14, 1909, in Frankfurt; he was 51.1 Helene was a widow at 38.

Helene’s daughter Fanny Flora Igersheimer married Ludwig Selmar Goetz on December 11, 1912, in Frankfurt. Ludwig was born in Berlin on August 13, 1876, to Julius Goetz and Rosalie Badt.

Fanny Flora Igersheimer and Ludwig Goetz marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Year Range: 1912, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Fanny and Ludwig had two sons. Erwin Julius Goetz was born in Frankfurt on February 21, 1914.2 His brother Arthur Bernard Edmund Goetz was born October 8, 1915, in Frankfurt.3

Helene Goldschmidt Igersheimer’s son Franz Jonas Igersheimer married Elizabeth Isabel Malvina Lorch in Frankfurt on April 7, 1927. She was the daughter of Ludwig Lorch and Gisela Koehler and was born on December 14, 1904, in Frankfurt.

Franz Jonas Igersheimer marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Year Range: 1927, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Franz and Elizabeth also had two sons, according to Baron and Cibella, both of whom were born in Frankfurt before Hitler’s rise to power.4

By 1939, Helene Goldschmidt Igersheimer was living in London with her son Franz and his wife Elizabeth. Franz and Elizabeth had changed their surname to Ingham, but Helene had not. Franz was working as a company director of an electric company. Neither of their sons were listed with them on the 1939 Register; perhaps they were in boarding school.

Ingham household, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/307J, Enumeration District: AMBM, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register

On his enemy alien registration, Franz listed his occupation as company director of Telephone Trading Company. It appears that he was found exempt from being sent to an internment camp.

Franz Ingham enemy alient registration, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/40
Piece Number Description: 040: Internees at Liberty in UK 1939-1942: I-Iz, Ancestry.com. UK, World War II Alien Internees, 1939-1945

Meanwhile, Helene’s daughter Fanny Flora Igersheimer Goetz and her husband Ludwig Goetz had immigrated to Argentina by 1936. They appear on a 1936 ship manifest leaving England for Argentina, but report that they were already citizens of Argentina where Ludwig, now using the name Luiz, was a farmer in Buenos Aires. I assume they had been visiting Fanny Flora’s mother and brother and family in London and were returning home.

Luiz and Flora Goetz, ship manifest, Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960

Helene Goldschmidt Igersheimer and Franz Jonas Ingham and his family soon followed Fanny Flora and Luiz to Argentina. They are all listed on a ship manifest dated June 22, 1940, leaving England for Argentina, and they indicated that Argentina was their permanent destination.

Franz Ingham and family, ship manifest, Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960

Helene Goldschmidt Igersheimer died only two years after moving to Argentina; she was 71 when she died in Buenos Aires on September 30, 1942.5

From various travel documents it appears that both of Helene’s children and her grandchildren remained in Argentina after the war and for the rest of their lives. I have no other specific sources for them at this point.

Fanny Goldschmidt Loewenthal and Her Son

Fanny Goldschmidt Loewenthal’s son Julius married Else Margarete Cahn, the daughter of Arthur Moritz Cahn and Alice Hellman, in Frankfurt on December 10, 1920. Else was born on January 31, 1900, in Frankfurt. According to Baron and Cibella, Julius and Else had two sons.[^6]

[^6]: Baron and Cibella, Goldschmidt Family Report

Julius Loewenthal marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Year Range: 1920, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Then five years later, Fanny Goldschmidt Loewenthal’s husband Siegfried died on August 30, 1925, in Cannes, France. He was 61.6 Thus, like her sister Helene, Fanny was a relatively young woman when she became a widow at 51.

I could not find Fanny Goldschmidt Loewenthal on any record between her children’s birth records in the 1890s and a 1946 Brazil immigration card. She was a widow whose husband had died in 1925 and with only one surviving child, her son Julius. Where could she have been between 1920 and 1945? How did she survive the war? I don’t know.

Fanny Goldschmidt Loewenthal Brazil immigration card, Digital GS Number: 004568863
Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965

In tracking Julius’ whereabouts, I only had marginally better luck. He appears to have immigrated to Brazil in 1940-1941. He listed his address at his prior residence as being in Brussels. His wife Else arrived with him, also listing Brussels as her last address, and Else listed their son Herbert on her immigration card.

Julius Loewenthal Brazil immigration card, Digital GS Number: 004847850
Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965

Else Cahn Loewenthal immigration card, Digital GS Number: 004542452
Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965

Maybe Fanny was with Julius and Else in Brussels, but I have no record that supports that notion. All I have is a Brazil immigration card for Fanny indicating she arrived in Brazil in 1946 after the war was over. Her card indicates that her prior address had been in Frankfurt. Could she have safely survived the Holocaust hiding in Frankfurt?

I wish I had a way to find her story. But I have no further records for Fanny or Julius or Else, except one travel document for Else showing that she was living in Rio de Janeiro in 1961. David Baron and Roger Cibella report that both Fanny and Julius died in Rio de Janeiro, Julius in 1955 and Fanny in 1957.7

Thus, Falk and Babetta Goldschmidt’s widowed daughters Helene and Fanny both escaped from the Nazis to South America with their children and grandchildren, but to two different countries, Helene to Argentina and Fanny to Brazil.


  1.  Bernhard Igersheimer, Age: 53, Birth Date: abt 1856, Death Date: 14 Sep 1909
    Death Place: Frankfurt V, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Frankfurt V, Father: Jonas Igersheimer, Mother: Sara Igersheimer, Certificate Number: 1119, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10659,
    Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958 
  2. Erwin Julio Goetz, Gender: Male, Marital status: Married, Birth Date: 21 fev 1914 (21 Feb 1914), Birth Place: Frankfurt, Arrival Date: 1945, Arrival Place: Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, FHL Film Number: 004558748, Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965 
  3. Arturo Bernardo Edmundo Goetz, Marital status: Married, Birth Date: 8 out 1915 (8 Oct 1915), Birth Place: Frankfurt, Arrival Date: 1957, Arrival Place: Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Father: Luis Goetz, Mother: Flora Igersheimer, FHL Film Number: 004834211, Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965 
  4. David Baron and Roger CIbella, Goldschmidt Family Report 
  5. Helene Igersheimer, Death Date: 30 Sep 1942, Death Place: Argentina
    Probate Date: 16 Aug 1944, Probate Registry: Oxford, England, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995 
  6. Ibid. 
  7. Ibid. 

The Diaries of a Young Boy: An Update on the Family of Arthur Rapp

Before I move on to the last child of Meyer Goldschmidt, his son Falk, I have two updates that relate to Meyer’s two other sons, Jacob Meier Goldschmidt and Selig Goldschmidt. Today’s involves descendants of Jacob Meier Goldschmidt.

Once again I have had the good fortune of connecting with a Goldschmidt fifth cousin, my cousin Greg. Greg is the great-grandson of Helmina Goldschmidt Rapp, the youngest child of Jacob Meier Goldschmidt. Greg’s grandfather was Helmina’s son Arthur Rapp, and his father was Gordon (born Gunther) Rapp.

Greg shared with me numerous photographs and documents, including his father’s diaries written during World War II when he was a teenager. Greg also put together a timeline of his family’s travels from Germany to Italy to England to Brazil and finally to the US, all between the years of 1934 to 1941 or from when his father was eight years old until he was sixteen. In other words, the Rapp family lived in five countries in the span of seven years.

Although I have already written most of the skeleton of the Rapp family story in my earlier post, after reviewing the materials Greg shared and speaking with him, I want to supplement that post because I can now better describe the family’s life in Frankfurt and the journey that finally brought them to the US in 1941.

Arthur Rapp and his wife Alice Kahn were married in Frankfurt on May 6, 1921. This photograph might be their wedding photograph, but Greg wasn’t certain.

Wedding of Alice Kahn and Arthur Rapp 1921. Courtesy of Greg Rapp

It was Arthur’s second marriage, and he had a daughter Rita from that first marriage who was born in 1908. Then Arthur and Alice had two sons, Helmut, born in 1923, and Gunther, born in 1925. These photographs of the family in the years before they left Germany in March 1934 illustrate their comfortable lifestyle with family vacations to the shore and to the mountains. I don’t have exact dates for these photographs but can only estimate from the presumed ages of Helmut and Gunther.

Helmut and Gunter Rapp c. 1926
Courtesy of Greg Rapp

Helmut Rapp c. 1924 Courtesy of Greg Rapp

The two brothers were very close:1

Helmut and Gunther, c. 1933 Courtesy of Greg Rapp

Helmut and Gunther Rapp, c. 1933 Courtesy of Greg Rapp

Helmut and Gunther Rapp c. 1933 Courtesy of Greg Rapp

They went to the mountains:

Gunther and Helmut Rapp with unknown woman c. 1930 Courtesy of Greg Rapp

The beach:

Rapp family beach c. 1930 Courtesy of Greg Rapp

Rapp family c. 1930

And skiing and ice skating:

Arthur Rapp skiing  Courtesy of Greg Rapp

Alice and Arthur Rapp Courtesy of Greg Rapp

Alice and Arthur Rapp Courtesy of Greg Rapp

Alice and Arthur Rapp Courtesy of Greg Rapp

During these years Arthur was working for the H. Fuld Telephone company as a director and salesman. H. Fuld was started by Arthur’s first cousin Harry Fuld, about whom I wrote in this blog post.

Gunther Rapp started school in Frankfurt on April 6, 1932, when he was six, and spent two years in school in Frankfurt, ending on February 23, 1934, as seen on this report card his son Greg shared with me. His first year was at the Holzhausen School, and his second year was at the Philanthropin School.

Courtesy of Greg Rapp

Then, one year after Hitler had become Chancellor of Germany, the Rapp family left their comfortable life in Frankfurt and moved to Milan, Italy, where on March 2, 1934, Gunther was enrolled in a Swiss school in Milan, as seen in this report card:

Courtesy of Greg Rapp

The family lived in Milan until about December 1937. Greg wasn’t sure what his grandfather was doing at that time but speculated that since the H. Fuld Telephone Company was international, he was continuing to work for that company during this time.

I think these photographs were probably taken during the time they were in Italy from March 1934 until December 1937, or from the time Gunther was eight until he was twelve; on the other hand, they might have been taken in England, their next home:

Gunther and Helmut Rapp c. 1936 Courtesy of Greg Rapp

Gunther and Helmut Rapp c. 1936

Then the family moved again, this time to London. Gunther was now twelve, his brother Helmut was fourteen. Having learned Italian and studied French while in Milan, the boys now had to learn a fourth language, English. When he started school in England in January 1938 at the Normandie Preparatory School in Bexhill-on-the-Sea, Gunther knew only three words: please, thank you, and yes.2

Gunther’s report card a year later in December 1938 showed just how much progress he had made in English and in school in general (despite the comment about how he was doing in Scripture). Perhaps most telling is the comment at the bottom: “He is losing his shyness and beginning to talk more readily.”

Courtesy of Greg Rapp

Gunther celebrated becoming a bar mitzvah that December as well, delivering his bar mitzvah speech in German, which he later translated to English. His speech was primarily an expression of gratitude to his parents and his grandmother for the way they instilled joy and love into all their lives. A note at the bottom contained Gunther’s admission (possibly added years later) that the rabbi wrote most of his speech (something that may be true for many bar/bat mitzvah students).

And then nine months later on September 1, 1939, World War II started. The headmaster of Gunther’s school wrote to his parents, trying to persuade them to keep Gunther at the school.

Courtesy of Greg Rapp

Two things are of particular interest: first, the fact that the school had built a trench so that the students never had to go outside. And secondly, the letter assured Gunther’s parents that the fact that he was German-born would not be an issue, noting that, “We all know that you have exactly the same feelings as an Englishman about the tyrant in Germany….”

But the Normandale School was on the south coast of England on the English Channel, and the Rapps decided that boys would be safer elsewhere. Gunther and his brother Helmut were sent to High Bullen Farm in Lynton, Ilkerton-Devon, on the west coast of England. The farm had no electricity, only kerosene lamps, and water had to be pumped by hand. The Rapp brothers helped on the farm—milking cows, hunting rabbits, and watched the slaughtering of a pig.3

Starting in January 1940, Gunther began to keep a diary. The three months of the first year of his diaries are, interestingly, written in German, not English; many of the entries simply say he went to school or he was sick in bed or he played football (soccer, I assume) or hockey or golf.  In April 1940, he switched to English, which I found noteworthy. I wonder whether England being at war against Germany had anything to do with that or whether he just finally felt fluent enough in English to use it. There is no mention of the war, however, until May 8, 1940, when he included a small news clipping about the war after entering his activities for that day: “Go to school. Play cricket. Became a prefect.”

Courtesy of Greg Rapp

But his parents were already looking to get out of England:

Courtesy of Greg Rapp

From then on, Gunther made occasional entries about the progress of the war or entered news clippings, but mostly he reported on going to school and engaging in sports. In June 1940, he and Helmut left Devon and returned to the family home in Stanmore where their parents had built a house with a bomb shelter in the backyard to keep them safe.4

On June 26, 1940, Gunther wrote the following brief entry: “Pa is interned at 10 o’clock. Mu [his mother, I assume] is very worried. Read. Mu goes to Consuls and tries to get a visa.” On Friday, August 2, 1940, Gunther wrote, “We get a ‘phone call that we will shortly get the visa.” On August 16, he spoke of men coming to pack and of an air raid warning. There are then several more references to air raid warnings, and on August 29, he noted that his diary had been checked by a censor as the family was preparing to leave England.

Courtesy of Greg Rapp

And then on September 6, 1940, he described their departure from England, commenting in part that “We are all very pleased. Pa came out of the internment camp.” They were headed to Sao Paulo, Brazil, Gunther’s fourth country in six years. He was not yet fifteen years old.

From his description of the trip from England to Brazil, you would think he was on a pleasure cruise with his diary entries repeatedly saying, “Lie on deck. Read and play,” with an occasional reference to learning Portuguese—his fifth language after German, Italian, French, and English.

The Rapp family’s time in Brazil was relatively short, and Gunther’s diary entries mostly refer to learning Portuguese, going to the museum, exploring Sao Paulo, and engaging in some project with marble blocks. He also commented on Helmut’s fascination with watches and clocks and his work at a clock repair store. Then in December he started school and commented, “I hardly understand anything the teachers say.” But that same week in December, 1940, Gunther wrote about going with his parents to the American consul to get a visa to travel to the US.

Courtesy of Greg Rapp

The 1941 diary began by noting that he was going to school each morning to learn Portuguese and taking typing lessons in the afternoon. But meanwhile the family was preparing to sail to the US. Helmut continued to repair watches. On his last day at the school in Brazil, January 31, 1941, Gunther wrote, “I’m glad I don’t have to go there any more because I didn’t like it there.”  Overall, he seemed not to be the least bit sad when they left Brazil on February 5, 1941, and sailed to the United States.

On February 17, 1941, the ship arrived in New York harbor. Gunther wrote on that day:

“We are getting nearer our destination. On our left and our right, we can see strips of land, with a blanket of snow on it. Hardly visible through the fog is the imposing statue of liberty, which guards the entrance of the N. York harbor. … We step ashore at 330 and are welcomed at the quay by aunt Alice [Rapp, his father’s sister] and [her husband] Sally and one or two other friends. It’s snowing and terribly cold. …. We go with Uncle Sally and Mr. Drey to the Whitehall Hotel by U-ground, which isn’t as nice as in London [ed.: that is still true today]. I haven’t seen much of N.Y. yet, but from what I have seen, I think I’m going to like it.”

He in fact lived the rest of his life in the greater New York City area, moving only as far as New Jersey in the mid-1970s.

Gunther (who became Gordon in the US) continued to keep his diaries through 1945, and when I have time I hope to read through more of them. But for now I have told the part of the story I wanted to share—the story of a boy who left his homeland at eight for Italy, then at twelve moved to England, at fourteen left for Brazil, and finally in February 1941 when he was fifteen, moved to the United States, where he spent the rest of his life.

As I wrote in my earlier post about the Rapp family, both Gunther/Gordon and his brother Helmut/Harold lived long and successful and productive lives in the US—Harold rising from doing watch repairs to becoming the president of Bulova International, Gordon obtaining degrees from Cornell University and Purdue University and becoming a product and marketing manager with Corn Products Corporation.

From reading the diaries, looking at the photos, and reading the letters written about him by his teachers, it truly seems that Gunther Rapp’s bar mitzvah speech was truthful—even if the rabbi wrote much of it. Gunther seems to have always felt safe and secure with his parents and brother, well-loved and filled with joy, despite all the turmoil and changes going on in his external circumstances.

Thank you so much to my cousin Greg for sharing this incredible archive of photographs, diaries, and other documents. By doing so, he has brought his father to life for me and, I hope I have been able to honor the memory of this man whose boyhood was interrupted, but who never seemed to lose his joyfulness or his desire to succeed.


  1. Conversation with Greg Rapp, December 17, 2020. 
  2. Email from Greg Rapp, December 17, 2020. 
  3. Email from Greg Rapp, December 17, 2020
  4. Conversation with Greg Rapp, December 17, 2020. 

Children Orphaned by the 1918 Flu Epidemic: The Family of Clementine Goldschmidt Sondheimer, Part II

In the last post we saw that after Clementine Goldschmidt Sondheimer died in 1918 and then her husband Nathan Sondheimer died in 1933, there were three children left orphaned: Manfred, Erich, and Augusta. They were still just teenagers at the time. But fortunately for them their grandmother Selma Cramer Goldschmidt and their extended family in Frankfurt cared for them as did their stepmother Anna.

All three were able to escape from Nazi Germany in time. We saw that  Augusta ended up in the US in early 1939 and lived with her stepmother Anna and her aunt Selma Ettlinger Oppenheimer until she married Walter Levy in 1942.

As for Augusta’s older brothers, Manfred and Erich, by 1939, they were living in England, according to the 1939 England and Wales Register. The Sondheimer brothers were living in Surrey with a couple named Friedrich and Ruth Hirsch, who were not much older than they were; Friedrich was a metal broker. Manfred was working as the secretary and Erich as a clerk for a company identified as Messrs. Tonerde on their enemy alien registration cards (see images below). That was the same company where their cousin Ernst Bodenheimer was employed.

Manfred and Erich Sondheimer, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/1938C, Enumeration District: DNEA, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register

Manfred married another Frankfurt native, Ruth Blumenthal, on June 16, 1940, in the Hendon district of London; Ruth was born on June 4, 1920, to Samuel Blumenthal and Gutta Spangenthal. She had come to London after finishing school in Germany.1 Their daughter, my fifth cousin Daniela, kindly shared a scan of their marriage registration:

Marriage certificate of Manfred Sondheimer and Ruth Blumenthal

Both Manfred and Erich were eventually interned as enemy aliens on the Isle of Man. Here is Manfred’s enemy alien registration card showing that he was then living in Surrey and working for Messrs. Tonerde. Although he was originally found to be exempt from internment, he was later interned on the Isle of Man, where he was put in charge of one of the barracks,2 and released on September 8, 1940.

Manfred Sondheimer enemy alien registration, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/240
Piece Number Description: 240: Dead Index (Wives of Germans etc) 1941-1947: Siderer-Steppacher, Ancestry.com. UK, World War II Alien Internees, 1939-1945

Manfred’s brother Erich Selig Sondheimer also was interned on the Isle of Man. According to his enemy alien registration card, he was living with his brother Manfred in Surrey at the time of  registration and was also working for Messrs. Tonerde. But he also was later sent to the internment camp where he was the chauffeur to the commander of the camp.3 Eric was  released from the camp on September 7, 1940, the day before his brother Manfred.

Erich S Sondheimer enemy alien registration, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/240
Piece Number Description: 240: Dead Index (Wives of Germans etc) 1941-1947: Siderer-Steppacher, Ancestry.com. UK, World War II Alien Internees, 1939-1945

On September 9, 1940, Ruth and Manfred and Erich all left England for Cuba. They had decided they would go wherever they first got a visa, and although Ruth would have preferred to go to Palestine where her parents and sister were living, the visa for Cuba came through first.4

On the same ship were their cousins Ernst and Clementine (Eisemann) Bodenheimer, who had also been interned on the Isle of Man. According to their daughter Daniela, Ruth and Manfred had a religious wedding ceremony aboard the ship to solemnize the civil ceremony they had had in London in June.5

Ernst and Clementine Bodenheimer, Manfred and Ruth Sondheimer, Erich Sondheimer, ship manifest, Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960

On February 17, 1941, Manfred and Ruth arrived in Miami, Florida, from Cuba. Manfred reported that the person they were going to at their destination was Anna Sondheimer in New York City. Manfred stated that he was a merchant who last permanently resided in London. He could speak five languages: German, English, French, Dutch, and Hebrew.

Manfred Sondheimer, Ancestry.com. Miami, Florida, U.S., Index to Alien Arrivals by Airplane, 1930-1942

By the time Manfred filed his declaration of intention to become a US citizen on September 12, 1941, he and Ruth were living in New York City. Manfred listed his occupation as the vice-president/secretary of an importing business.

Manfred Sondheimer, 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 630) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 500201-501100), Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

On his World War II draft registration, he identified that company as Campro, Inc. Manfred and Ruth had two children born in New York after the war, their son Adrian and their daughter Daniela, who has generously shared so much of her family’s story with me.

Manfred Sondheimer World War 2 draft registration, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Manfred’s marriage to Ruth Blumenthal ended in divorce in 1966, and in 1968, he married another Ruth—Ruth Darmstadter Grunebaum.6 He became the vice-president of the Hugo Neu Company, a business that, as described on its website, “is a privately held company with deep experience in investing, building and managing businesses in recycling, real estate and related industries.” Manfred worked there for fifty years. One of his favorite charities was the Bibleland Museum in Jerusalem, and he worked hard to provide support and to obtain support from others for that institution.7

Manfred died on January 8, 2006, at the age of 91. He was survived by his children and grandchildren as well as his brother Erich. Those descendants have carried on the Goldschmidt commitment to Jewish education as both of Manfred’s children and all of his grandchildren have attended or are attending Jewish day school.8

Instead of going directly to the US from Cuba like his brother Manfred, Erich Sondheimer agreed to stay in Cuba so that another relative, one of his Sondheimer cousins, could leave for the US. Because he was unable to get a visa to the US, Erich ended up living for some years in Ecuador,9 where he married his wife Joan Charlotte Salomon on October 26, 1943. She was born in Berlin on March 31, 1912, to Herman and Gertrud Salomon.10

Erich and Joan immigrated to the US on August 22, 1946, arriving in Miami, Florida. On an information sheet filed with INS upon his arrival, Erich indicated that they were heading to Long Beach, New Jersey, where Anna Sondheimer, his stepmother, was living. (This is probably a mistake and should have been Long Beach, New York, according to Erich’s niece Daniela.) Erich described his occupation as “industrial” and noted that he, like his brother Manfred, was able to read five languages: German, Dutch, French, Spanish, and English.

Erich Sondheimer, The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger and Crew Manifests of Airplanes Arriving at Miami, Florida; NAI Number: 2788537; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787 – 2004; Record Group Number: 85, Roll Number: 133, Ancestry.com. Florida, U.S., Arriving and Departing Passenger and Crew Lists, 1898-1963

Erich (later spelled Eric in the US) and Joan settled in New York and made several trips to South America as well as other destinations over the years. They did not have children. Joan died November 22, 2009; she was 97 years old.11 Eric died March 8, 2010, less than four months after Joan. He was 94.12

Eric worked for many years for the Melanol Corporation, an oil trading business, but his niece Daniela said that his real passion was his volunteer work for an organization called Selfhelp Community Services that Selma Ettlinger Sondheimer was also involved in developing.13 Selfhelp describes itself on its website as follows:

Selfhelp Community Services was founded in 1936 to help those fleeing Nazi Germany maintain their independence and dignity as they struggled to forge new lives in America. Today, Selfhelp is one of the largest and most respected not-for-profit human service agencies in the New York metropolitan area, with 46 programs offering services throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Nassau and Suffolk Counties, and Westchester. Selfhelp provides a broad set of services to more than 20,000 elderly, frail, and vulnerable New Yorkers each year, while remaining the largest provider of comprehensive services to Holocaust survivors in North America.

In a death notice published in The New York Times on March 9, 2010, Selfhelp paid tribute to Eric Sondheimer and his long and dedicated service to their organization:14

Selfhelp Community Services deeply mourns the passing of the esteemed elder statesman of our Board, Eric S. Sondheimer. For over fifty years, Mr. Sondheimer demonstrated an unwavering commitment to Selfhelp’s historic mission of supporting life with dignity to survivors of the Holocaust. His passion for independent living is evidenced by Selfhelp’s six residences, built under his guidance and direction, which house 1,000 seniors. Mr. Sondheimer will be lovingly remembered as a true gentleman whose exceptional kindness and wit was matched only by his insightful wisdom and vision. He left an extraordinary legacy for which he will always be remembered.

Thank you to my fifth cousin Daniela for sharing her family stories and photographs, including these two of her Sondheimer family. First, a photograph of Ruth Blumenthal Sondheimer, Daniela’s mother, Selma Ettlinger Sondheimer, the widow of Nathan Sondheimer’s brother Fritz, and Joan Charlotte Salomon Sondheimer, Erich Sondheimer’s wife:

Ruth Blumenthal Sondheimer, Selma Ettlinger Sondheimer, Joan Charlotte Sondheimer. Courtesy of the family

This last photograph is of four of the Sondheimer siblings and their spouses. It includes Manfred and Eric Sondheimer’s half-siblings, Fred (previously known as Fritz) and Marion. Their sister Augusta had already died when this photo was taken.

Robert Couturier, Joan Charlotte Sondheimer, Fred Sondheimer, Marion Sondheimer Couturier, Ruth Grunenbaum Sondheimer, Manfred Sondheimer, Eric Sondheimer. Courtesy of the family.

Reading about Manfred and Eric and their sister Augusta and how successful and well-loved they all were was reassuring and uplifting. Here were three children who lost their mother as preschoolers and their father as teens and then had to escape from Nazi Germany. Eric and Manfred were both interned as enemy aliens on the Isle of Man. Both brothers then escaped to Cuba because they couldn’t get into the US as quickly due to visa issues and quotas. And then finally they both settled in New York and lived very long and productive lives.

Once again I am inspired by the resilience of the human spirit and the ability of people to survive terrible losses and displacement and yet go on to find joy and meaning in life.

 

 

 

 

 


  1. Ruth Blumenthal Sondheimer, Gender: Female, Race: White, Birth Date: 4 Jun 1920, Birth Place: Frankfurt, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 27 Oct 1996
    Father: Samuel Blumenthal, Mother: Gutta Spagenthal, SSN: 060405088, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. Conversation with Daniela Sondheimer Klein, December 1, 2020. Volume Number: 3a
    Page Number: 2220, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 3a; Page: 2220, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 
  2. Conversation with Daniela Sondheimer Klein, December 1, 2020. 
  3. Ibid. 
  4. Ibid. 
  5. Ibid. 
  6. Divorce documents provided by Daniela Sondheimer Klein. Ruth Grunebaum
    Gender: Female, Marriage License Date: 1968, Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Manfred Sondheimer, License Number: 2434,
    New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  7. Death notices for Manfred Oppenheimer, The New York Times, Jan. 10, 2006, Section C, Page 17. Conversation with Daniela Sondheimer Klein, December 1, 2020. 
  8. Conversation with Daniela Sondheimer Klein, December 1, 2020. Manfred Sondheimer, Social Security Number: 051-18-3476, Birth Date: 27 Oct 1914, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10024, New York, New York, New York, Death Date: 8 Jan 2006, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  9. Conversation with Daniela Sondheimer Klein, December 1, 2020. 
  10. David Baron and Roger Cibella, Goldschmidt Family Report. Joan Charlotte Sondheimer, Birth Date: 31 Mar 1912, Age: 39, Naturalization Date: 25 Feb 1952
    Residence: New York, New York, Title and Location of Court: New York Southern District, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Index to Petitions for Naturalization filed in New York City, 1792-1989 
  11. Joan Sondheimer, Social Security Number: 094-24-2094, Birth Date: 31 Mar 1912
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10024, New York, New York, New York, Death Date: 22 Nov 2009, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  12.  Eric Sondheimer, Social Security Number: 070-24-6828, Birth Date: 10 Nov 1915
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10024, New York, New York, New York, Death Date: 8 Mar 2010, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  13. Conversation with Daniela Sondheimer Klein, December 1, 2020. 
  14. Death notice for Eric Sondheimer, The New York Times, March 9, 2010.