Caroline Blumenfeld Hoxter and Her Family, Part I: A Son Killed in Battle

Having told the stories of seven of Abraham Blumenfeld IIA’s eight children,1 I now turn to his youngest child, his daughter Gelle. She was born on July 16, 1857. Later records refer to her as Caroline (or Karoline) and so I will refer to her by that name was as well.2

Birth record of Gelle Blumenfeld, Arcinsys Hessen Archives, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 608, p. 5

Caroline married Simon Hoxter on November 30, 1882, in Neustadt, Germany. Simon was born in Gemunden, Germany, on August 26, 1852, to Anselm Hoxter and Betty Blumenthal. (Hoxter is spelled with an umlaut or an “oe” in German, but for simplicity purposes, I am just going to spell it Hoxter.)

Jettchen Blumenfeld, Gender: weiblich (Female),Age: 25, Birth Date: 16 Jul 1857
Marriage Date: 20 Nov 1882, Marriage Place: Neustadt, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany)
Civil Registration Office: Neustadt (Hessen), Father: Abraham Blumenfeld, Mother: Güdel Blumenfeld, Spouse: Simon Thoxter, Certificate Number: 16, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6492, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Thank you to my cousin Peter Keibel, great-grandson of Caroline and Simon, for sharing these two photographs of his great-grandparents.

Caroline Blumenfeld Hoxter. Courtesy of the family

Simon Hoxter. Courtesy of the family

Caroline and Simon had four children, one son and three daughters. Their son Siegmund was born on December 5, 1883, in Gemuenden.

Siegmund Hoexter birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 4110, Year Range: 1883, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Their daughter Toni was born on October 14, 1885, in Gemuenden.

Toni Hoxter birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 4112
Year Range: 1885, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Then came Betty, born August 3, 1889, in Gemuenden.

Betty Hoexter birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 4116, Year Range: 1889, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Finally, Gerda, the youngest child, was born June 7, 1895, in Gemuenden.

Gerda Hoexter birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 4122, Year Range: 1895, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

I am grateful to my cousin Peter Keibel for sharing this wonderful photograph of the four children of his great-grandparents Simon Hoxter and Caroline Blumenfeld: Betty, Siegmund, Gerda, and Toni.

Betty, Siegmund, Gerda, and Toni Hoxter, c. 1910. Courtesy of the family

Toni married Sally (later Sol) Goldschmidt on July 6, 1910. He was born on July 4, 1881, in Bad Hersfeld, Germany, to Isaak Goldschmidt and Malchen Greif.

Marriage record of Toni Hoxter and Sally Goldschmidt, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5625, Year Range: 1910, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Toni and Sally had two children, a daughter Miriam born on April 23, 1911, in Hersfeld,3 and a son Arthur born on August 9, 1913, in Hersfeld.4

The family’s life was cruelly disrupted when Caroline and Simon’s son Siegmund was killed while fighting for Germany in World War I. He was killed during the Second Battle of Ypres on May 8, 1915. His death record says that he was the Vizefeldwebel (vice-sergeant) of the Königlich-Preussisches Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment 46 No. 234, 8. Kompanie and died in Wieltje, Belgium. He was one of over 35,000 German soldiers killed in that battle; the Allies lost roughly 59,000 troops, making this one of the costliest battles in World War I. It is perhaps mostly remembered as the first time the Germans used chlorine gas in combat on the Western front, explaining why so many more Allies died as compared to the German losses.[5]

Siegmund Höxter, Age: 31, Birth Date: abt 1884, Death Date: 8 Mai 1915 (8 May 1915)
Death Place: Marburg, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Marburg, Father: Simon Höxter, Mother: Karoline Höxter, Certificate Number: 331, 
Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5705, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Caroline and Simon thus lost their oldest child and only son fighting for Germany in the war. Here is a beautiful photograph of Siegmund wearing his World War I uniform, courtesy of Peter Keibel and the family.

Siegmund Hoxter. Courtesy of the family

Five months after Siegmund’s death, his sister Betty married Max Oppenheimer on October 5, 1915. Max, a doctor, was born on August 28, 1886, in Hadamar, Germany, and was the son of Adolf Oppenheimer, a teacher, and Johanna WInkelstein.5

Betty and Max had two children, Lotte and Franz Siegmund. Lotte was born on January 29, 1917, in Posen in what was still a province of Germany at that time and  is now part of Poland, as it became in the aftermath of World War I.6 Franz Siegmund, presumably named in memory of Betty’s brother, was born on February 17, 1920, in Friedberg, Germany.7 I don’t know why Betty and Max’s children were born in two different cities, one quite far from the Hesse region where both Betty and Max were from.

Betty’s younger sister and Caroline and Simon’s youngest child Gerda married Adolf Goldschmidt on May 8, 1922, in Marburg, Germany. Adolf was the son of Louis Elieser Goldschmidt and Sophie Adler and was born on March 11, 1885, in Eldagsen in the Hanover region of Germany. Adolf Goldschmidt and Toni’s husband Sally Goldschmidt were first cousins, both grandsons of  Feist Goldschmidt and Minna Wallach.8

Marriage record of Gerda Hoxter and Adolf Goldschmidt, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5640, Year Range: 1922, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Gerda and Adolf’s grandson Peter shared this beautiful photograph of his grandparents:

Gerda Hoxter and Adolf Goldschmidt. Courtesy of the family

Gerda and Adolf had two daughters. Inge was born in Dusseldorf, Germany, in 1923, and Lore was born three years later on March 23, 1926, in Elberfeld, a section of Wuppertal not far from Dusseldorf where Adolf now owned a department store.9 This adorable photo of Inge (later Jane) and Lore (later Alice) was provided by Jane’s son, my cousin Peter.

(Alice) Lore Goldschmidt and (Jane) Inge Goldschmidt, c. 1931. Courtesy of the family

Thus, by 1926, Caroline Blumenfeld and her husband Simon Hoxter had six grandchildren. They had tragically lost their son Siegmund during his service for Germany in World War I, but I hope they were finding joy in those grandchildren and with their three daughters in the years after Siegmund’s death.

Of course, the family’s life would change drastically in the 1930s.

To be continued.


  1. As mentioned earlier, the sixth child Rebecca died when she was four years old, and the seventh child Heinemann married my cousin Caroline Katzenstein and their story and that of their children was told when I was writing about my Katzenstein family line. 
  2. Her marriage record refers to her as Jettchen Blumenfeld, but I don’t see that name used on any other records. 
  3.  Miriam Lauter, Social Security Number: 112-05-7561, Birth Date: 23 Apr 1911
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11375, Flushing, Queens, New York, USA, Death Date: 7 Jan 1988, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  4. Arthur Goldschmidt, 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 
  5. The marriage date came from Peter Keibel, grandson of Toni Hoxter and Sally Goldschmidt, and thus the nephew of Betty Hoxter Oppenheimer. Peter also provided me with some other information, as will be noted. Max’s birth and parent information was found on his birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 912; Laufende Nummer: 1832, Year Range: 1886, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901. Thank you to the members of the German Genealogy group for helping me to decipher Adolf’s mother’s birth name. 
  6. Lotte’s birth information was found in her immigration file at the Israel State Archives, which can be found by searching for her name at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/ 
  7. Franz Siegmund’s birth information was found in his father’s immigration file at the Israel State Archives, found by searching for his name at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/ 
  8. The familial connection between Adolf and Sally Goldschmidt was pointed out to me Peter Keibel; I then found the marriage records of their respective parents, which corroborated that their fathers were both the sons of Feist Goldschmidt and Minna Wallach. 
  9. Inge is still living, so I will not reveal her exact birth date; Lore’s birth information came from Ancestry.com. U.S., Public Records Index, 1950-1993, Volume 2. Inge (later Jane)’s son Peter provided the information about his grandfather’s store in Wuppertal. 

Another Update from Another Cousin! The Story of Karl Gutmann

Once again, I have been very fortunate because another cousin found my blog and connected with me, sharing information and photographs of members of my ever-growing family tree. This time it was my fifth cousin, once removed, Jennifer, the granddaughter of Karl Gutmann, who has enriched my understanding of my family history. The information in this post, except where otherwise noted, came from my email correspondence with Jennifer, as did all the photographs.

You can read more about Karl and his family here and here, but let me provide a brief overview. Karl, born in 1923, was the only child of Moritz Gutmann and my cousin Nelly Goldschmidt; Nelly was the daughter of Hedwig Goldschmidt and Marcel Goldschmidt who themselves were first cousins, the grandchildren of Meyer Goldschmidt, my four-times great-uncle.

Jennifer shared with me this photograph of her grandfather Karl with his mother Nelly as well as the one that follows of Karl as a young boy.

Nelly Goldschmidt Gutmann and her son Karl Gutmann, c. 1927-1928 Courtesy of the family

Karl Gutmann Courtesy of the family

Nelly’s sister Else was married to Siegfried Gutmann, brother of Moritz Gutmann. Else and Siegfried, like Nelly and Moritz, had only one child, a son named Hermann Gutmann, later known as Dennis Goodman. I wrote about Dennis and his experiences here and here. Thus, Karl and Dennis were first cousins, and according to Jennifer, the two boys were very close growing up in Germany. They were both born in 1923, Dennis in February, Karl in May. They must have been like brothers to each other.

Tragically, Karl and Dennis were separated from each other because of the Nazis. As I wrote in my earlier post, Karl’s father Moritz came to the US in 1936, leaving his wife Nelly and Karl behind. What Jennifer shared with me was that her great-grandmother Nelly had long suffered from mental illness and had been institutionalized for some time before the Holocaust. Moritz, who resented the fact that her family had failed to disclose her mental health issues before they married, filed for divorce once he was in the United States. Jennifer shared this photograph of her great-grandfather Moritz Gutmann, whom she described as a very difficult man.

Moritz Gutmann Courtesy of the family

Meanwhile, Moritz and Nelly’s son Karl was living in Amsterdam as were his grandmother Hedwig Goldschmidt and his aunt Else Goldschmidt and uncle Siegfried Gutmann.  His cousin Hermann (Dennis) was sent in 1936 to England where he attended a Jewish boarding school, and the following year Karl went to the US.

From the apparent age of Karl in this photograph (he appears to be at least thirteen), I would guess that this photograph was taken either in Amsterdam or after he came to the US. I don’t know who the other boy was.

Karl Gutman and friend Courtesy of the family

What I did not know until Jennifer shared it with me was that Karl’s father Moritz traveled to Amsterdam to get his son and bring him back to the US; I now was able to locate Moritz on the same ship as the one that brought Karl to the US. Moritz, however, was sailing in a second class cabin whereas his fourteen-year-old son was sailing third class in a separate cabin (last line on second image below).

Moritz Gutmann, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 124,  Statendam, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Karl Gutmann (last line), Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 143,  Statendam, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Karl earned money selling newspapers when he first got to the US, but then enlisted in the US Army in 1943. By that time he had joined his father in the art dealing business and brought art work back and forth between Europe and the US during the war. Karl became one of the Ritchie Boys, the elite espionage unit made up of German Jewish refugees who used their knowledge of Germany and German to spy on the Nazis and obtain critical military intelligence for the Allies. Here is Karl in uniform during World War II.

Karl Gutmann, c. 1945 Courtesy of the family

But it was too late to save his mother Nelly, who was killed by the Nazis in 1940. Tragically, both of Dennis Goodman’s parents were also murdered in the Holocaust. Karl and Dennis’s grandmother Hedwig Goldschmidt, however, miraculously survived after hiding in the Netherlands during the war, as described here. Jennifer shared this photograph of Hedwig, taken after she had safely immigrated to the US after the war.

Hedwig Goldschmidt Gutmann  Courtesy of the family

When Karl returned to the US after the war, he married Joan Fenton. What I had not known before Jennifer contacted me was that Joan, her grandmother, was the best friend of Karl’s first cousin Gabrielle Heimerdinger, the daughter of Greta Goldschmidt, Karl’s aunt, his mother Nelly’s sister. Gabrielle introduced Joan to Karl, and together they had three children. Jennifer, Karl and Joan’s granddaughter, has many memories of visiting her relatives in New York, including her grandfather’s first cousin Gabrielle, whose children I wrote about here. Karl went into the television repair business after the war and became quite successful.

While serving overseas as one of the Ritchie Boys, Karl had run into his cousin Dennis, Karl fighting the Nazis for the US, Dennis fighting the Nazis for England. Once the two cousins reconnected, they remained close for the rest of their lives, traveling back and forth between England and the US after the war many times. Thanks to Jennifer, I can share this photograph of Karl and Dennis joyfully reunited after the war. The other man on the left is their paternal cousin John Gutmann, and the woman is Karl’s second wife Gisela.

John Gutmann, Karl Gutmann, Gisela Bartels Gutmann, and Dennis Goodman Courtesy of the family

Jennifer remembered her grandfather Karl as a man with a strong work ethic and one who never wanted to talk about his past. But through her grandmother Joan and other family members, Jennifer was able to learn more about her grandfather’s story and the tragedies that her other relatives suffered during the Holocaust. I am so grateful that she shared their stories and her photographs with me.

 

 

Who Was That Baby? A Question Answered!

You never know when you publish a blog post asking a question when, if ever, that question will be answered. And I’ve learned never to give up hope. Just recently I learned the answer to a question I posed over four years ago on this post about Jake Katz, the Oklahoma cousin who started the Katz Department Stores in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and who eventually helped to rescue several of his cousins who were still living in Germany during the Nazi era.

Included in that post was a photograph of the three children Jake had with his wife Sophia Salzenstein: Albert Jerome, Margaret, and Helen.

Albert Jerome Katz in rear, Helen Katz and Margaret “Babe” Katz seated with unknown cousin on laps
Courtesy of the Goldman family

Under that photograph I posed this question:

Perhaps some Katz family member can identify the two unknown little cousins? Since we know Albert Jerome died in 1919, I am assuming this photo was taken in about 1918, meaning the two young children were likely born in 1916-1917. I am thinking one might be the daughter of Lester Katz and Mayme Salzenstein, Mildred “Bobbie,” since she was born in January 1916 and was related to Jake and Sophia on both sides, Lester being Jake’s cousin and Mayme being Sophia’s sister.

I didn’t get any answers when I published this post, but on September 19, 2021, I received this comment on that blog post from a reader named Jerry Richards:

Hi Amy, I have the same picture you do of Helen, Margaret and Jerome Katz. The two babies are, as you guessed, on the left Mildred Henderson nee Katz, born 1916, two years old. The baby on the right is Peggy (Mary Carolyn) Richards nee Salzenstein, born 8/6/1917. She is my mother.

I emailed Jerry and learned that his grandfather Solomon Wolf Salzenstein was the brother of Sophia Salzenstein, Jake Katz’s wife. Thus, Jerry is the grandnephew of Sophia and grandnephew-in-law of Jake.

And now I can correct the caption under the photograph:

Albert Jerome Katz in rear, Helen Katz and Margaret “Babe” Katz seated, left to right. Mildred Katz Henderson and Peggy (Mary Carolyn) Salzenstein Richards sitting on their cousins’ laps, left to right.
Courtesy of the Goldman family

Another reminder that you never know when a question you never thought would be answered will in fact be answered! Thank you, Jerry!

A Survivor’s Story: The Shoah Foundation Testimony of Inge Goldschmidt Oppenheimer, Part II

By the time she turned sixteen on April 13, 1945, Inge Goldschmidt had been to three concentration camps and beaten by Nazi youth in Kassel and by guards at the concentration camps at Auschwitz and Oederan. She had been separated from her brother, who was sent to the US in October 1938, and then from her parents in 1944 when she was sent from Theriesenstadt to Auschwitz. She had no idea whether her parents were alive and assumed that they were not.1

The day after her sixteenth birthday, she and the others imprisoned at the Oederan camp were transported in cattle wagons away from the Eastern front where Russia was making headway into Germany. They stopped at many camps, and finally on April 21, 1945, Inge and the others were dropped off at Theriesenstadt, the place where she had last seen her parents, Elfriede Engelbert and Rudolf Goldschmidt. She had not seen them in close to a year and did not expect to find them alive. They also assumed she had been killed at Auschwitz.

Someone recognized Inge as she entered Theriesenstadt, and when she told Inge that her parents were still alive and still at Theriesenstadt, Inge passed out. Inge was dangerously sick with typhoid, weighing only sixty pounds. Her mother didn’t recognize her when she saw her. Slowly Inge was nursed back to health and joyfully reunited with her parents.

The war ended, and the Russians took over Theriesenstadt. Even though they were no longer at war, the people had nowhere to go and no way to get anywhere because of the destruction of the train lines and roads by Allied bombing during the war. Inge and her parents stayed at Theriesenstadt until July 1945 when they then returned to Cologne, where they were provided with an apartment.

Transit card from Terezin, Elfriede Goldschmidt, 1945. Courtesy of the family

You can see from their eyes and expressions in this photograph taken after the war some of the effects of their experiences during the Holocaust.

Elfriede, Rudolf, and Inge Goldschmidt c. 1945 Courtesy of the family

Inge joined a youth group of other Jewish survivors; most did not have any family members who survived, and her parents helped many of them, becoming like surrogate parents to her friends. Here is a photograph of her with some of her friends in post-war Cologne.

Inge Goldschmidt and friends in Cologne, c. 1947-1948. Courtesy of the family

These two photographs of Inge taken in post-war Cologne show some of the rubble caused by the bombing of Cologne.

Inge Goldschmidt, c. 1947-1948, Cologne. Courtesy of the family

Inge Goldschmidt, c. 1949 Courtesy of the family

Inge’s brother Gunther sent her this photograph for her nineteenth birthday in April, 1948.

Gunther Goldschmidt, 1948. Courtesy of the family

Elfriede and Rudolf desperately wanted to get to the US and be reunited with their son Gunther, but because Cologne was in the British Sector, they could not get permission to do so. So for three and a half years they waited until Gunther was able to get his parents out, and then once they arrived in the US, Elfriede and Rudolph were able to get Inge out. Apparently children could get visas for parents and vice versa, but siblings could not get them for siblings.

Rudolf and Elfriede Goldschmidt in Bremen, leaving for the US, 1949. Courtesy of the family

Finally in July 1949, the family was reunited. Inge was now twenty years old. Her parents were working at a hotel in the Catskills and had no money.

Rudolf and Elfriede Goldschmidt in the Catskills (Fleishmans) in the summer of 1949. Courtesy of the family

Inge got a job in a factory in New York, and in the fall her parents joined her in New York also where they all lived in a furnished room together. Gunther was in school in Boston; although he came and lived with his family for some period of time, he remained closest to his foster family, never fully recovering from the long separation from his parents and sister. But this photograph captures Gunther and Inge in a joyful moment together.

Inge and Gunther Goldschmidt c. 1950-1951 Courtesy of the family

Inge married Ernst Oppenheimer on October 14, 1950.2 Ernst was born in Augsburg, Germany, on October 17, 1919, to David Oppenheimer and Maria Kraus.3 Ernst had been sent to Dachau Concentration Camp in November 1938  after Kristallnacht, and after he was released, he was immediately sent to England, where he was in the Kushner displaced person camp until he left for the US in March, 1940. He then served in the US Army, where he was stationed at Fort Knox. He also worked on the Manhattan Project.4 Ernst and Inge had two children. Inge, who had been forced to end her formal education at age ten, passed her GED test and went to college and received not only her bachelor’s degree but also a master’s degree. She became a teacher and a librarian and worked in the New York City schools for many years.

Ernst Oppenheimer and Inge Goldschmidt, 1950 Courtesy of the family

I also learned from Gunther Goldschmidt’s daughter Lisa more about his life after World War II. He married Barbara Cohen on May 16, 1959. They had three children and had moved to southern California by 1962, eventually settling in Encino. Gunther started his own advertising business there and was very successful; more importantly, Lisa described him as a devoted father.He remained close to his foster family for the rest of his life.1

Gunther and Inge’s father Rudolf Goldschmidt died on February 25, 1960, in New York; he was 73 years old.5

Tragically Gunther died from a heart attack when he was only 47; he died on November 30, 1972, in San Francisco, and was survived by his wife and young children.6

Inge and Gunther’s mother Elfriede Engelbert Goldschmidt made the surprising decision to return to Germany when she grew older. She wanted to live in a Jewish home for the elderly there and not burden her daughter. She died there on May 20, 1986; she was 85 years old.7

Inge Goldschmidt Oppenheimer, who gave this interview in 1996, died twenty years later on January 24, 2016, at the age of 86.8 She was survived by her children and grandchildren, her husband Ernst having died on July 2, 2010,9 when he was ninety years old.

We should all be forever grateful to Inge Goldschmidt Oppenheimer and those like her who shared their stories and allowed us all to understand not only the cruel side of human nature, but also the strength and resilience of human nature. Inge’s will to survive as a young teenager under the worst of circumstances was remarkable, and her ability to move forward—to marry and have children, to go back and receive a college education and to pursue a career as a teacher and librarian—is an inspiration and a lesson in hope for all of us.


  1. The information in this post, except where otherwise noted, is from the Shoah Foundation interview with Inge Oppenheimer. Inge Oppenheimer, Interview 11370. Visual History Archive, USC Shoah Foundation, 1996. Accessed 17 August 2021. The photographs are all courtesy of Marsha Eidlin.
  2. Ernst Oppenheimer, Gender: Male, Marriage License Date: 1950
    Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse:
    Ingeborg Goldschmidt, License Number: 26365, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018. Email from Marsha Eidlin, daughter of Ernst and Inge Oppenheimer, August 31, 2021. 
  3.  Ernst Oppenheimer, Declaration Age: 24, Record Type: Petition, Birth Date: 17 Oct 1919, Birth Place: Rugsburg, Bavaria, Germany, Declaration Date: 13 Jan 1944
    Declaration Place: Jackson, Mississippi, USA, Court District: U.S. District Court for the Jackson Division of the Southern District of Mississippi, Petition Number: 400, The National Archives at Atlanta; Atlanta, Georgia; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States; Record Group Number: 21, Ancestry.com. Mississippi, U.S., Naturalization Records, 1907-2008. Name: Max Oscar Oppenheimer
    [brother of Ernst Oppenheimer], Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 19 Apr 1915
    Birth Place: Schrobenhaus, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 16 Oct 2006
    Father: David Oppenheimer, Mother: Maria Kraus, SSN: 092147186, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. 
  4. Email from Marsha Eidlin, daughter of Ernst and Inge Oppenheimer, August 31, 2021. 
  5. Rudo Goldschmidt, Age: 73, Birth Date: abt 1887, Death Date: 25 Feb 1960
    Death Place: Brooklyn, New York, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 4206, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Death Index, 1949-1965 
  6. Gunther Goldschmidt, Social Security #: 488207584, Gender: Male
    Birth Date: 17 Jul 1925, Death Date: 30 Nov 1972, Death Place: San Francisco, Place: San Francisco; Date: 30 Nov 1972; Social Security: 488207584, Ancestry.com. California, U.S., Death Index, 1940-1997. Inge Oppenheimer, Interview 11370. Visual History Archive, USC Shoah Foundation, 1996. Accessed 17 August 2021. 
  7. Inge Oppenheimer, Interview 11370. Visual History Archive, USC Shoah Foundation, 1996. Accessed 17 August 2021. 
  8. New York Times obituary at https://archive.nytimes.com/query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage-9C04EFD71F3AF932A05752C0A9609D8B63.html; Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/214436745/inge-oppenheimer : accessed 12 September 2021), memorial page for Inge Goldschmidt Oppenheimer (unknown–24 Jan 2016), Find a Grave Memorial ID 214436745, citing Beth-El Cemetery, Paramus, Bergen County, New Jersey, USA ; Maintained by Lauren A. Hubberman Cohen (contributor 49135178) Burial Details Unknown. 
  9. Ernest Oppenheimer, Social Security Number: 094-14-0365, Birth Date: 17 Oct 1919, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11375, Flushing, Queens, New York, USA, Last Benefit: 11375, Flushing, Queens, New York, USA, Death Date: 2 Jul 2010, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 

  1. Email from Lisa Goldschmidt, September 25, 2021. Gunther Goldschmidt, Spouse: Barbara Anne Cohen, Marriage Date: 2 Sep 1958, Recorded county: Clark, Page: F01, Ancestry.com. Nevada, U.S., Marriage Index, 1956-2005 

A Survivor’s Story: The Shoah Foundation Testimony of Inge Goldschmidt Oppenheimer

Antonie Blumenfeld and her husband Siegfried Engelbert died before Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933 and thus were spared seeing that their daughter Margot and her husband Gustav Neuhaus were sent to the Warsaw Ghetto and killed there in September 1942 and that their granddaughter Edith Neuhaus Kempner was killed at Auschwitz just two months later.

They were also spared knowing that their son Julius and his wife Ilse and son Werner were forced to leave Germany in 1939 to escape Hitler, but eventually survived and settled in the United States.

And they were spared knowing the terrible ordeals endured by their youngest child Elfriede and her husband Rudolf Goldschmidt and their children Gunther and Inge.

But we must remember their experiences and honor their memories. Thanks to the Shoah Foundation, we now have extensive interviews with many of the Holocaust survivors, including one with Inge Goldschmidt Oppenheimer, my fifth cousin.

I was privileged to listen to Inge’s interview and will attempt in my own words to tell her story. I am grateful to the Shoah Foundation for allowing me to do so. Except where noted, all the information below came from Inge’s interview.1 All the photographs are courtesy of Inge’s daughter Marsha.

Inge was born to Elfriede Engelbert and Rudolf Goldschmidt on April 13, 1929, in Kassel, Germany, just four years before Hitler came to power. She had almost no memory of life in Germany before the Nazis took control. She and her family lived in Kassel until 1938 when they moved to Cologne. Her memories of life in Kassel were terrible because of the persecution and harassment they faced as Jews. She and her brother Gunther went to a Jewish school and were often beaten up on the way home by Nazi youth members. As a result of incidents like that, the school decided to close fifteen minutes before the non-Jewish schools so that children could get home safely.

Here is a photograph of Inge with her brother Gunther taken in about 1934.

Gunther and Inge Goldschmidt. c. 1934-1935. Courtesy of the family

Inge’s father Rudolf was a veteran of World War I and had suffered a serious head injury while fighting for Germany. As a result, he eventually became paralyzed and wheelchair-bound. The family was living on the pension he received for his service in the war while also being forced to endure the anti-Semitism promoted by the government. Rudolf was very well-informed and followed the news on a radio tuned to the BBC, and although he wanted to leave Germany, his disability and their limited resources made that impossible.

Here is a photograph of Rudolf in uniform during World War I.

Rudolf Goldschmidt, c. 1914-1918. Courtesy of the family

Instead the family decided to leave Kassel and move to Cologne in 1938, believing that in the larger city they would be safer and also that life would be easier because it was less hilly than Kassel and thus easier for Elfriede to push Rudolf’s wheelchair. Here are two photographs of Inge from around this time.

Inge Goldschmidt, c. 1938-1939. Courtesy of the family

Inge and Rudolf Goldschmidt. Courtesy of the family

Gunther celebrated his bar mitzvah in Cologne in the summer of 1938, and a few months later in October his parents registered him for a children’s transport out of Germany to the United States. He ended up in St. Louis living with a foster family for many years. He was only thirteen. Inge was only nine and too young for those transports, so she stayed in Cologne with her parents. The photograph below shows the family at the train station in Cologne the day Gunther left for the US.

Margot Engelbert Neuhaus, Gustav Neuhas, Elfriede Engelbert Goldschmidt, Rudolf Goldschmidt, Inge Goldschmidt, unknown man. 1938. Courtesy of the family

Although things were initially better in Cologne than they had been in Kassel, after Kristallnacht and then once the war started in September 1939, conditions worsened. Their phones were taken, then their bicycles, and they lived in constant fear of being arrested. Then when the Allies started bombing Cologne in the early 1940s, they lived in fear of the bombs and poison gas as well. They moved frequently from one apartment to another and were later rounded up with other Jews and taken to a temporary camp outside of the city. By then they were required to wear the yellow star to identify them as Jews. Inge had hers pinned instead of sewn on as required so that she could sneak out of the camp and shop for the family, removing her star to do so without revealing that she was Jewish.

The star Inge Goldschmidt wore in Germany. Courtesy of the family

Elfriede Engelbert Goldschmidt identity card, 1939. Courtesy of the family

Then in 1942 the family was deported to Theriesenstadt. Inge and her mother Elfriede were in one of the barracks together, and her father Rudolf was in a separate men’s barrack. Interestingly, he was living with other men who were disabled World War I veterans. Inge speculated that but for his service in World War I he never would have been allowed to survive at all, given his physical disability.

Inge’s memories of life in Theriesenstadt are horrendous. She was scared and hungry all the time and often very ill. Her knee became infected, and she had to have it drained in the camp hospital without receiving anesthesia. They lived with bed bugs, lice, and a lack of sanitary facilities. They had no news of what was happening in the war or outside the camp itself.

Inge lived at Theriesenstadt for two years, and then in 1944 she was sent to Auschwitz and separated from her family. She was now fifteen years old and sick with typhus. Despite being sick, she knew enough not to let on and so did not get transported with those who were ill and were instantly killed when they arrived at Auschwitz. The train to Auschwitz was a nightmare—all of them standing packed into the cars with no food and sleeping standing up with only a bucket for a toilet.

She remembered vividly her arrival at Auschwitz. They arrived at night, and it was bitterly cold. The Kapos (Jewish prisoners forced to act as guards and agents for the Nazis) were screaming at them all to move out of the train while armed Nazi guards surrounded them. Inge went with the other women into one large room where they were forced to strip and have their heads shaved. They took cold showers and were disinfected and given rags to wear. She recalled one woman going into labor and giving birth during this ordeal and remembered hearing the women around her screaming when they realized they would never see their children again.

Inge was only at Auschwitz for a few weeks, but her memories of that time and place were seared in her memory. She recalled standing for hours each day in the snow for inspection while the guards selected those who would go to the gas chambers. Once she needed to urinate so badly that she just squatted on the ground and was beaten by the guard for doing so. At one point she was so despondent that she was going to run into the electric fence and kill herself, as she’d seen others do. But a kind woman convinced her not to, and so she survived.

After a few weeks she was selected to be sent to another camp near Leipzig, Germany, called Oederan. Oederan opened in September 1944; three transports brought five hundred women from Auschwitz to work in a munitions factory in a converted thread factory. Inge worked in the munitions factory making bullets; she recounted how she and the other prisoners tried to do things to sabotage the machines, although they knew they could be killed if they were caught. While at Oederan, she saw bright lights in the distance and asked innocently if that was the sun. It was in fact the fires from the Allied bombing of Dresden, which was about 35 miles away. A guard, thinking she was being disrespectful, punched her in the mouth and knocked out one of her teeth.

On April 12, 1945, the day before her 16th birthday, Inge heard that FDR had died, and she was bereft, believing that America was their one hope for survival and that FDR was a hero. But the news about the war was also starting to break through, and there were rumors that the Russians were coming to liberate them. What would she do if she survived to be liberated? What would she learn about the fate of her parents?

To be continued…


  1. Inge Oppenheimer, Interview 11370. Visual History Archive, USC Shoah Foundation, 1996. Accessed 17 August 2021. 

July 2021: Scenes of the Outer Cape

I will be taking a break for the first two weeks in August, so I will leave you with some of the highlights of July in Wellfleet. See you soon!

Low tide at Indian Neck Beach:

A hike over Uncle Tim’s Bridge to Cannon Hill

My garden:

My cats:

After the storm:

Long Nook Beach in Truro, the ocean beach we frequented when I was a child:

That’s it for now. See you in August when I will return with stories about a whole new branch of the family tree!

Taube Brotman Hecht’s Family: Some Tragic Times

When the 1930 census was taken, the Hecht family was divided between Brooklyn and Jersey City. Taube and Jacob were living with David, Ruth, and Evelyn in Jersey City. Jacob was not working, but the three adult children were all employed. Ida Hecht and her husband Julius Goldfarb and their four daughters were also in Jersey City as were Jean Hecht and her husband Louis Gross and their daughter and Etta Hecht and her husband Nathan Schwartz. Brooklyn was home to Harry Hecht, his wife Sophie Slotnick, and their children and to Shirley Hecht and her husband Louis Tushinsky.

Unfortunately, 1930 did not end well for the Hecht family. Jacob Hecht died on October 21, 1930; he was 67 years old.1 The family remembers him not only as a fine tailor who sewed beautiful clothing for his daughters but also as a “bucher,” a learner or student.2

The next major lifecycle event for the family was Evelyn Hecht’s marriage to Samuel Oshinsky in 1938.3 Samuel was born in Brooklyn, New York, on January 25, 1912, to Harry and Dora Oshinsky. He grew up in Brooklyn, and his father was an operator in a coat factory just as Evelyn’s father Jacob had been.4 In 1930 Samuel was working as a shipping clerk in a wholesale house.5

Here are two sweet photographs of Samuel and Evelyn, courtesy of their son Jerry.

Evelyn Hecht and Samuel Oshinsky. c. 1938 Courtesy of Jerold Oshinsky

Samuel Oshinsky and Evelyn Hecht, c. 1938. Courtesy of Jerold Oshinsky

After marrying, Evelyn and Samuel moved into the same building where her mother Taube was living with David and Ruth (formerly Rose) in Jersey City. According to the 1940 census, Samuel was working as a bartender in a tavern, Evelyn was a clerk in a pencil factory, and Evelyn’s sister Ruth was an assistant in a doctor’s office. David was not employed.  On his World War II draft registration, Sam Oshinsky reported that he was self-employed.6  There was no World War II draft registration for David.

Hecht and Oshinsky, 1940 US census, Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: m-t0627-02401; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 24-50, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Harry Hecht and his family were also living in Jersey City in 1940, and like his brother-in-law Samuel Oshinsky, Harry was working as a bartender in a tavern.7 Were they working in the same tavern? Could it have been my great-uncle Hyman Brotman’s bar in Jersey City? Harry’s World War II registration reports that he worked at Sherman’s Bar in Jersey City. My great-uncle Hyman was known as Herman in business. His wife’s name was Sophie. I have a hunch that both Harry and Samuel were working for Hyman; he was, after all, Harry and Evelyn’s uncle, their mother Taube’s half-brother. And Harry had been working for him in 1925 in Jersey City.  But I can’t prove that’s where they were working.

Harry Hecht, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of New Jersey; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M1986, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

Harry’s granddaughter Jan shared this adorable photograph of her mother Helene, Harry and Sophie’s oldest child.

Helene Hecht, 1933. Courtesy of Jan Lisa Huttner

Etta Hecht and her husband Nathan Schwartz were also living in Jersey City in 1940, and Nathan was working as a salesman. But by 1942 when Nathan registered for the World War II draft, he was living in Brooklyn and working for the Drake School in New York City.8

Jean Hecht and Louis Gross had also left Jersey City for New York by 1940. They and their daughter were living on West 74th Street in Manhattan, and Louis was the owner of a liquor store at 206 West End Avenue in Manhattan, according to his World War II draft registration.9

Shirley Hecht and Louis Tushinsky and their daughter were also in New York in 1940, though in Brooklyn. Louis described his occupation on the 1940 census as a chauffeur for a taxi company.  On his World War II draft registration he reported that he had his own business.10

Evelyn Hecht and Samuel Oshinsky’s son Jerold was born in the early 1940s, giving Taube her tenth and last-born grandchild. Here is a photograph of Evelyn, Sam, and Jerold:

Sam Oshinsky, Jerry Oshinsky, Evelyn Hecht Oshinsky c. 1943 Courtesy of Jerold Oshinsky

Overall, by 1942, the family of my great-aunt Taube Brotman Hecht was doing fairly well. Taube had ten grandchildren, and her children were all living fairly close by—some in Jersey City, and no one further than New York City.

And then tragedy struck. On August 12, 1943, Taube’s daughter Evelyn Hecht Oshinsky died after a long illness, according to an obituary in the Jersey Journal; the family reports that she had leukemia. She was only 35 years old and left behind her husband Samuel and a very young child, their son Jerold.11

As often happened when a father was left with a young motherless child, Samuel turned to Evelyn’s sister Ruth, and in January 1944, Ruth and Samuel applied for a marriage license. They were married soon thereafter.12 Ruth became Jerold’s adoptive mother and, according to Jerold, raised him with as much love and devotion as if she’d given birth to him herself. In his memoir he wrote, “She devoted her life to mine, and I think that whatever value system I have today came from the unconditional love of my father Sam and my mother Ruth, the only mother I knew…”13

But that was not the end of the family’s heartbreak. In February 1944, after a snowstorm that left the sidewalks and roads slippery, Taube fell and broke her leg after falling in Jersey City.

Jersey Journal, February 12, 1944, p. 6

That in itself was not tragic. But that fall ultimately led to Taube’s death five months later on July 23, 1944. According to her death certificate, her death was caused by osteomyelitis “following injuries received in accidental fall on sidewalk.” The Mayo Clinic defined osteomyelitis as follows: “Osteomyelitis is an infection in a bone. Infections can reach a bone by traveling through the bloodstream or spreading from nearby tissue. Infections can also begin in the bone itself if an injury exposes the bone to germs.”

Tillie Hecht death certificate, 1944 NJ Death Certificates, Microfilm 921 (Trenton, NJ: State Archives)

Taube “Tillie” Brotman Hecht was “about 71” at the time of her death, according to the informant on her death certificate, her son Harry. She had lived a challenging but, I hope, fulfilling life. She had arrived in the US from Tarnobrzeg in today’s Poland, possibly alone and as at most a young teenager. She married Jacob Hecht in 1891 and gave birth to and raised eight children to adulthood. She never became a US citizen and was never wealthy. She and Jacob raised those children on the earnings of a tailor in a sweatshop in New York City. They moved at least every few years if not more often between 1892 and 1925 or so when they moved to Jersey City.

Taube lost her husband Jacob in 1930 not many years after the move to Jersey City, and then in 1943, she lost her youngest child Evelyn, who was only 35 years old. And then less than a year after losing Evelyn, she herself succumbed from an illness caused by an unfortunate accident.

Taube was the lost sister of my grandmother Gussie Brotman for so many years of my research, discovered only by the serendipity of seeing the name “Mrs. Taube Hecht” in my aunt’s baby book from 1917. I am so glad that I found her and that I could tell her story.


  1. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/131974364/jacob-hecht : accessed 16 June 2021), memorial page for Jacob Hecht (1863–21 Oct 1930), Find a Grave Memorial ID 131974364, citing Union Field Cemetery, Ridgewood, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Athanatos (contributor 46907585) . 
  2. Email from Sue Wartur, September 28, 2016. 
  3.  Evelyn Hecht, Marriage Date: 1938, Marriage Place: New Jersey, USA
    Spouse: Samuel H Oshinsky, New Jersey State Archives; Trenton, New Jersey; Marriage Indexes; Index Type: Bride; Year Range: 1938; Surname Range: A – Z; Reel Number: 36, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-2016 
  4. Samuel H Oshinsky, Birth Date: 25 Jan 1912, Birth Place: Brookyn, New York, Death Date: 4 Jul 1991, Claim Date: 4 Feb 1974, Father: Harry Oshinsky, Mother:
    Dora Unk, SSN: 152206742, Citizenship or Alien Status: U.S. citizen, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007; Oshinsky family, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Brooklyn Assembly District 19, Kings, New York; Roll: T625_1174; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 1159, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census.  . 
  5. Samuel Oshinsky, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 19B; Enumeration District: 0355; FHL microfilm: 2341268, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  6. Samuel Oshinsky, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New Jersey, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 494, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  7. Harry Hecht, World War II draft registration, Year: 1940; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: m-t0627-02401; Page: 62A; Enumeration District: 24-50, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census. 
  8. Schwartz, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: m-t0627-02402; Page: 61A; Enumeration District: 24-58, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census; Nat L. Schwartz, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System; Record Group Number: 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 
  9. Gross, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02636; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 31-572, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census; Louis Gross, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System; Record Group Number: 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 
  10. Tushinsky, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, Kings, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02586; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 24-1544, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census;  Louis Tushinsky, 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 
  11. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/130163022/evelyn-oshinsky : accessed 16 June 2021), memorial page for Evelyn Oshinsky (unknown–1943), Find a Grave Memorial ID 130163022, citing Union Field Cemetery, Ridgewood, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Athanatos (contributor 46907585) ; “Mrs. Evelyn Oshinsky,” Jersey Journal, August 13, 1943, p. 10. Unpublished memoir of Jerold Oshinsky, Part I, p. 3 (2012). 
  12.  Ruth Hecht, Marriage Date: 1944, Marriage Place: New Jersey, USA
    Spouse: Samuel Oshinsky, New Jersey State Archives; Trenton, New Jersey; Marriage Indexes; Index Type: Bride; Year Range: 1944; Surname Range: A – Z, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-2016; Jersey Journal, January 27, 1944, p. 19. 
  13. Unpublished memoir of Jerold Oshinsky, Part I, p. 3 (2012) 

Taube Brotman Hecht’s Son Harry: A Son of Immigrants and a World War I Hero

In 1910, the family of Jacob and Taube (Tillie) Hecht was living in Brooklyn, as we saw. But by 1913, they had returned to Manhattan. Their oldest daughter Ida married Julius Goldfarb on November 20, 1913. Both she and Julius were living at the same address, 131 Avenue C, in Manhattan, according to their marriage certificate.

Marriage certificate of Julius Goldfarb and Ida Hecht, New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:243Y-5QW : 10 February 2018), Julius Goldfarb and Ida Hecht, 20 Nov 1913; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,613,807.

But no, they weren’t living together before they married. Their families lived in the same building. The 1915 New York State census shows that the family of Sam and Sarah (Brod) Goldfarb and the family of Taube (Brotman) and Jacob Hecht were all living at that same address. As I’ve mentioned before, also living at that address were my great-uncle Hyman/Herman Brotman, Taube’s half-brother, and his family.

Goldfarb, Hyman Brotman and family, and Jacob Hecht, 1915 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 18; Assembly District: 06; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 85
Description District: A·D· 06 E·D· 18, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1915

The 1915 NYS census reported that Jacob was 50, Taube (Tillie) 40, that both were born in Austria, had been in the US for 30 years, and were still not citizens of the United States. Jacob was working as a tailor. They still had seven children living at home with them. Their oldest child Harry was 23 and a salesman at a department store. David (19), Etta (16), Gussie (14), Sadie (12), Rosie (9), and Eva (7) were all in school.

I am very grateful to my cousin Jerry for sharing this photograph of Taube and Jacob and all eight of their children, taken probably around 1915.

Standing rear: Julius Goldfarb, Ida Hecht Goldfarb, Harry Hecht, David Hecht, Etta Hecht. Standing front: Sadie (Shirley) Hecht, Taube “Tillie” Hecht, Eva (Evelyn) Hecht, Jacob Hecht, Ruth Hecht, Gussie (Jean) Hecht. c. 1915 Courtesy of Jerold Oshinsky

Meanwhile, Ida and Julius had moved to Jersey City, and I’ve told their story here, here, and here, so will not repeat it again, except to note that Taube and Jacob became grandparents when Ida gave birth to her first daughter Sylvia on May 7, 1915, in Jersey City. Ida had had her second child, Gertrude, on June 28, 1917, in Jersey City, giving Taube and Jacob their second grandchild.

By that time, the US had entered World War I, and both of Taube and Jacob’s sons registered for the draft on June 5, 1917. They were living at 306 East 11th Street in Manhattan, showing that the Hecht family had moved yet again.

Harry was working as a salesman at B. Altman’s department store. He described himself as tall and slender with brown hair and brown eyes.

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

David was a student and employed by City College of New York. He also described himself as tall, slight, with brown hair and brown eyes. David claimed an exemption from service for physical reasons not specified. David did end up working as a clerk for the War Department.

David Hecht, 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

Harry, however, was drafted into the US Army on September 28, 1917. He was sent to Camp Upton for basic training and  assigned to Company K of the 305th Machine Gun Battalion of the 77th Division. He was promoted to a bugler in December, 1917,1 and shipped out to Europe with his company on April 16, 1918.2

His granddaughter Jan shared this photograph of Harry in uniform.

Harry Hecht, c. 1918. Courtesy of Jan Lisa Huttner

A detailed journal of the wartime activities of the 305th Machine Gun Battalion written by Henry W. Smith can be found here. It provides an almost day by day description of the training and experiences and the course of the battles these soldiers fought in France.

Harry spent a year serving overseas in France in some of the most important and most deadly battles of World War I. He served in the Baccarat Sector, where this video was filmed and shows the arrival of the 77th Division.3

He also served in the Vesle Sector and fought in the third Oise Aisne offensive in the late summer of 1918, one of the most important battles of the war as the Allied forces began to force the Germans to retreat. Here is a film of the Oise Aisne offensive.

Harry was gassed during the Oise Aisne offensive on September 5, 1918, and evacuated to the 305th Field Hospital. But he returned to the battlefield and fought in the Meuse Argonne offensive in the fall of 1918.4

As described on the National Archives website:

The Meuse-Argonne Offensive was a part of the final Allied offensive of World War I. It was one of the attacks that brought an end to the War and was fought from September 26 – November 11, 1918, when the Armistice was signed.

The Meuse-Argonne Offensive was the largest operations of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) in World War I, with over a million American soldiers participating. It was also the deadliest campaign in American history, resulting in over 26,000 soldiers being killed in action (KIA) and over 120,000 total casualties.

Fortunately, Harry was not among those killed in this horrific battle. He was promoted to the rank of private first class in November, 1918, and received a regimental citation for his outstanding service. The citation specified that, “For extraordinary heroism in the Bois de la Naza, Argonne Forest, when the battalion was held up by heavy machine gun fire from Oct. 1 to 5, 1918, P.F.C. Hecht continuously delivered messages to 3 Bat. Hdqtrs. and also maintained liaison with Cos. M & L 305 Inf who were on our right at that time, being subjected at all times to machine gun and shell fire.”5

Harry was discharged from the Army on May 9, 1919,6 and returned home, an American hero: a son of Jewish immigrants, a boy whose father worked in a sweatshop sewing coats to provide for his wife and eight children, and my mother’s first cousin. I am proud to call him my cousin as well.

 


  1. Harry Sidney Hecht, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Abstracts of World War I Military Service, 1917-1919; Harry Hecht, Series II: Questionnaires: Jews; Record Group Description: (B) Casualties (Boxes 6-9); Box #: 6; Folder #: 6; Box Info: (Box 6) H-Hez, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Jewish Servicemen Questionnaires, 1918-1921 
  2.  Harry Sidney Hecht, Departure Date: 16 Apr 1918, Departure Place: New York, New York, Address: 306 E 11th St, Residence Place: New York, New York
    Father: Jacob Hecht, Ship: Cedric, Rank: Bugl, Service Number: #1698294
    Notes: Company “K” 305th Infantry NA, The National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland; Record Group Title: Records of the Office of the Quartermaster General, 1774-1985; Record Group Number: 92; Roll or Box Number: 404, Ancestry.com. U.S., Army Transport Service Arriving and Departing Passenger Lists, 1910-1939 
  3. See note 1, above. 
  4. See note 1, above. 
  5. See note 1, above. 
  6. See note 1, above. 

One More Photo to Crowd Source and to Analyze

After such great success crowd-sourcing the identification of the people at one Goldfarb celebration, I decided to try again with another large group photograph shared with me by my cousin Debi. Together the cousins were able to identify almost everyone in this photo with a few exceptions. Maybe someone out there can help with the few mystery people.

Goldfarb and Malzberg cousins Courtesy of Debrah Block-Krol

After creating a numbered version of this photograph and circulating it to all the cousins and getting their input, I was able to create a guide naming all but three of the 25 people squeezed around that table.

  1. Steven Levine
  2. George Horowitz
  3. Morty Goldfarb
  4. Saul Malzberg
  5. Anita Spector Malzberg
  6. Sam Block
  7. Rose Goldfarb Levine
  8. Benny Levy
  9. Barbara Weinberg Malzberg
  10. Gustave Malzberg
  11. Herbert Rothman
  12. Ethel Goldfarb Rothman
  13. Unknown
  14. Unknown
  15. Florence Glasser Goldfarb
  16. Marvin Goldfarb
  17. Norman Malzberg
  18. Toby Diller Malzberg
  19. Ted Goldfarb
  20. Syd Ort Goldfarb
  21. Annette Levine (thank you, Ted, for the update!)
  22. Leo Goldfarb
  23. Evelyn Goldfarb Block
  24. Barbara Karp Goldfarb
  25. Ellen Shankman Goldfarb

No one could identify Numbers 13 and 14. I had one theory about them, but it doesn’t look like that theory holds up. Let me explain.

In my own amateurish way, I tried to date this photograph based on the clothes and hairstyles and also the apparent ages of some of the identified people in the photograph. I believe the photograph was taken sometime in the mid to late 1960s but no later than 1975.

Of those identified in the photograph, Leo Goldfarb was the oldest. He died in 1975, so we know the photograph was taken before then. Ted Goldfarb married Barbara Karp in 1964; although I cannot see her hand clearly enough to know if she’s wearing a wedding band, if we assume they were married or at least engaged, this photograph probably is no earlier than 1963.

Then the clothing. Those plaid pants worn by Saul Malzberg stood out as a 1960s style. I also had other photographs from Debi that appear to have been taken at the same event. Notice Marvin and Leo are wearing plaid jackets.

Florence (Glasser) and Marvin Goldfarb Courtesy of Debrah Block-Krol

The sign over this photo reveals that this was an anniversary part as you can see the A after Happy.

Morton Goldfarb, Ted Goldfarb, Norman Malzberg Courtesy of Debrah Block-Krol

I found this photograph from Vintage Dancer website of men wearing plaids like this in 1966.

Morton’s aviator glasses seem more 1970s than 1960s, so that confused me about the dating of the photo.

Marvin’s tennis sweater vest and Benny’s double breasted blazer with gold buttons look more 1960s than 1970s, however.

Marvin Goldfarb, Benny Levy, Florence (Glasser) Goldfarb Courtesy of Debrah Block-Krol

 

I also noticed that some of the younger men at the party—Marvin and Morty in the photos above, for example—had longer sideburns. According to this article about hairstyles in the 1960s, “In the late 1950s and early 1960s, sideburns did not extend far past the ear and they were kept neatly trimmed. By the middle of the 1960s, British bands brought long sideburn styles back into the mainstream.”

Wikipedia said this about sideburns: “Sideburns later gained popularity in the counterculture of the 1960s: the struggle of a New Jersey youth to wear sideburns to his public high school graduation made a newspaper article in 1967.[citation omitted] Sideburns were associated with young mods and hippies, but in the ’70s became prevalent in all walks of life.”

I also think the women’s hairstyles date the photo in the mid to late 1960s. The younger women tend to have short hair worn simply like Florence Glasser Goldfarb and Anita Spector Malzberg or even quite naturally curly like Barbara Weinberg Malzberg and Toby Diller Malzberg—not the bouffanty style of Jacqueline Onassis of the early 1960s or the shag haircuts of the 1970s.

So I am assuming the photograph was taken sometime between 1964 and 1975 based on the clothing and hairstyles and the people present.

I also considered who was not identified in the photograph although not much can be determined by their absence since there could have been any number of reasons they might not be in the photograph.

None of Morris Goldfarb’s sons are listed, but they all lived far from New York by those years. Joe Goldfarb died in 1962; his son Marvin is present, but not his daughters Selma and Francine or their husbands or Joe’s widow Betty.

Julius Goldfarb and his wife Ida are not listed; Julius died in 1968, Ida in 1966. Two of their four daughters and their husbands are present—Evelyn and Ethel; Sylvia and Gertrude are not in the photograph, but their husbands George Horowitz and Benny Levy are so presumably Sylvia and Gertrude just weren’t at the table when the photo was taken.

Also not listed but still living in 1964 are Max Levine, who died in 1974, Bessie (Goldfarb) Malzberg(1971), Meyer Malzberg (1966), and their son Burton (1994).

My theory was that Numbers 13 and 14 were Meyer and Bessie Malzberg. I even had a theory that this was a party to celebrate their 50th anniversary in 1964. They were married on August 9, 1914. I thought I saw similarities between Number 14 and three photos of Bessie. But the photos are blurry when I zoom in, and I know that I often just see what I want to see. Also, in the last photo taken in 1960, Bessie appears to be much taller and Meyer does not look like Number 13.

Two of Bessie and Meyer’s grandsons did not think that couple were their grandparents. They would know best. And if the party took place after 1966, as some of the styles suggest, then Meyer wouldn’t have been there.

So for now three people in the photograph are not identified. Maybe someone will show up at some point and complete the picture. A few of those pictured are still living so perhaps they will recall who was there and what the occasion was.

Thank you once again to all my wonderful Goldfarb cousins! I hope we can meet in person someday soon.

Who is in this Photograph? A Collaborative Effort by the Goldfarb Cousins

Discovering and learning about my Goldfarb cousins has been such a joyful adventure. And to illustrate why, let me tell you about how we identified everyone in this photograph:

Alyce had previously sent me this snip from that photograph of the people she believed were Malzbergs taken at her brother Stewart’s bar mitzvah in 1960:

Evelyn Ginsberg, Burt Malzberg seated. Standing, Gus Malzberg and Barbara Weinberg. Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

Before I first posted it, I sent it to Steve Malzberg, who confirmed that the couple standing were his parents, Gustave and Barbara (Weinberg) Malzberg, and that the seated couple on the left were Burton and Evelyn (Ginsberg) Malzberg. But we didn’t know who the woman sitting to Burt’s left (our right) was, so I labeled her “unknown woman.”

Once I published the post I received an email from my cousin Ann and then one from her daughter Melissa informing me that the unknown woman was in fact Ann’s mother, Melissa’s grandmother, Marcia (Berger) Goldfarb. So I went back and relabeled the photo in my post.

That prompted Alyce to send us all the full photograph from which she had clipped that closeup, asking whether the man sitting to the left of Marcia (our right) was her husband Martin Goldfarb, which Ann and Melissa confirmed.

Then when Sue saw the whole photo, she identified the couple standing to the right of Gustave and Barbara as her mother and stepfather, Sylvia Goldfarb (daughter of Julius and Ida) and George Horowitz and the couple seated in front of them as Evelyn Goldfarb (daughter of Julius and Ida) and her husband Samuel Block.

That prompted Alyce to ask if George Horowitz had been a photographer as she vaguely recalled, and Sue confirmed that recollection.

So in the end we had names for everyone in that photograph. The three oldest Goldfarb siblings—Julius, Morris, and Bessie— were represented at that table by some of their children.

In fact, in 1960, five of the seven children of Sarah Brod and Sam Goldfarb were still living—Julius, Bessie, Joe, Leo, and Rose. Gussie and Morris had passed away by then. Were the five remaining siblings at the bar mitzvah?

Joe Goldfarb was the grandfather of the bar mitzvah boy and is in this photograph also taken at Stewart’s bar mitzvah:

Seymour Wahl and son Steven, Selma Goldfarb Wahl, Joe Goldfarb, Betty Amer Goldfarb, Francine Goldfarb Shapiro, Irving Shapiro, Alyce Shapiro, Stewart Shapiro, Florence Glasser Goldfarb, Marvin Goldfarb, c. 1957 Courtesy of Alyce Shapiro Kunstadt

But were Julius, Bessie, Leo, and Rose also in attendance? And what about the other members of the next generation—the other daughters of Julius and Ida, the other sons of Bessie and Meyer, and the other sons of Morris and Anna? Were they there? I guess we need to check the rest of the bar mitzvah album.

As they say, it takes a village. And amazingly we now have connected many of the children of the people who were seated together back in 1960.

Standing L to R, Gustave Malzberg, Barbara Weinberg Malzberg, George Horowitz, Sylvia Goldfarb Horowitz. Seated, L to R, Evelyn Ginsburg Malzberg, Burton Malzberg, Marcia Berger Goldfarb, Martin Goldfarb, Samuel Block, Evelyn Goldfarb Block.

I have another big group photo that was labeled “Goldfarbs and Malzbergs” that I asked this group of cousins to identify. Next time.