Salomon Blumenfeld: An Entire Blumenfeld Family Who Survived the Holocaust

Moses IIB’s third child Salomon Blumenfeld and his wife Malchen Levi and their three daughters all left Germany in time and avoided being killed by the Nazis and thus were much more fortunate than Salomon’s siblings, Hermann, Bertha, and Clementine, and their families.

In fact, Salomon’s middle daughter Hilde left Germany even before Hitler came to power. In May 1929, when she was only seventeen, Hilde sailed from Hamburg to New York, listing an uncle, her mother’s brother Salli Levi, as the person she was going to and her occupation as a clerk.

Hilde Blumenfeld 1929 ship manifest, Year: 1929; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 2; Page Number: 42, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

When she filed a declaration of intention to become a US citizen on June 2, 1931, she was living in New York City and listed her occupation as a German-English stenographer.

HIlde Blumenfeld Declaration of Intention, The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; NAI Title: Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1/19/1842 – 10/29/1959; NAI Number: 4713410; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: 21, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

But Hilde apparently never became a US citizen and did not remain in the US. Sometime before March 1934, she married Ludwig Felix Meinrath, and together they immigrated to Brazil. Ludwig was born in Cologne, Germany, in 1902, and immigrated with his parents Leopold and Anni and siblings to Antwerp, Belgium sometime before 1916.1 I don’t know whether they stayed in Belgium or where and when Ludwig and Hilde were married. But in 1934 they left for Brazil where they remained. They had at least one child, who was born in the 1930s.

Ludwig and Hilde Meinrath 1934 ship to Rio de Janeiro, Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Volume: 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 424; Page: 385; Microfilm No.: K_2003, Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934

Hilde’s parents Salomon and Amalie/Malchen followed her to Brazil several years later. They arrived on March 29, 1939. Salomon listed his occupation as “comerciante” or merchant.

Salomon Blumenfeld, Digital GS Number: 004909061, Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965

Amalie Blumenfeld, Digital GS Number: 004913595, Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965

Meanwhile, Hilde’s older sister Gretel had married David Katz on January 24, 1930, in Kirchhain; David was the son of Mendel Katz and Jettchen Levi and was born in Nenterhausen, Germany, on February 11, 1897.

Marriage record of Gretel Blumenfeld and David Katz, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5058, Year Range: 1930, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

This remarkable photograph, which had a long caption labeling all those in it, was found on several Ancestry trees as well as on Geni. It was taken at Gretel and David’s wedding and shows many members of the two families. Of particular interest to my research, the middle row shows Salomon Blumenfeld on the far left next to David’s mother Jettchen, then the bride Gretel and groom David, then Gretel’s mother Amalie and at far right David’s father Mendel. In the bottom row, Salomon and Amalie’s daughter Jenny is seated second from the left, and Lilli Abraham, Salomon’s niece, is seated fourth from the left.2

Wedding of Gretel Blumenfeld and David Katz Source: Unknown

Gretel and David had one child born in 1931. They all immigrated to the US on August 18, 1939. David listed his occupation as teacher.

Katz family, ship manifest, Year: 1939; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 19, Ship or Roll Number: Hamburg, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

In 1940 they were living in New York City with several lodgers, and David was working as a schoolteacher.3

In August 1946, Gretel’s parents Salomon and Amalie sailed from Brazil to New York, Salomon arriving on August 14 and Amalie on August 29. Salomon’s entry on his manifest indicates that he was going to his daughter Gretel in New York and that he intended to stay permanently. It also indicated that he needed cataract surgery and had other medical issues.4 Amalie’s manifest similarly reported that she was going to Gretel, intended to stay permanently, and had a medical issue.5

Many trees report that the other daughter of Salomon and Amalie, Jenny, married Siegmund Rudolf Warburg on July 25, 1933, and that Siegmund was born in Berlin on May 26, 1896, to Otto Warburg and Bertha Cohen. But something doesn’t add up.

I found the birth record for Siegmund.

Siegmund Warburg birth record, Landesarchiv Berlin; Berlin, Deutschland; Personenstandsregister Geburtsregister; Laufendenummer: 95, Ancestry.com. Berlin, Germany, Births, 1874-1908

But I also found (after some searching because Ancestry had them indexed to the wrong image) a Siegmund Warburg with a different wife, Ilse, and two children, Gabriel and Thomas, sailing from Hamburg to New York on August 31, 1933. Was this a different Siegmund Warburg, also born in 1896 (37 years old) and having last lived in Berlin? Entirely possible.

Warburg family, ship manifest, Month: Band 417 (Aug 1933), Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934

Yet I cannot find any record attaching Jenny Blumenfeld to a man named Siegmund Warburg. The only references I could find (other than the unsourced trees) was a Shoah Foundation interview with Jenny’s sister Hilde that lists a “Geny Varbuk” as her sister.6 I requested access to the interview, hoping this would answer my questions, but alas, it was in Portuguese, and I can’t understand it. I am hoping I can get a transcript and translate it, but I don’t know if that exists. Also, Richard Bloomfield found Jenny’s gravestone on Billiongraves, and it has her name (in Hebrew) as Jenny Warburg.

Jenny Warburg, Yekhi’am cemetery, Akko, Israel, found at Billiongraves.com at https://billiongraves.com/grave/%D7%92%D7%A0%D7%99-%D7%95%D7%A8%D7%91%D7%95%D7%A8%D7%92/22732522

But when I searched on Billiongraves at that same cemetery, I could not find anyone named Siegmund Warburg. That, of course, doesn’t mean anything since Billiongraves doesn’t include everyone, but it also doesn’t help connect Jenny to Siegmund.

Perhaps Jenny was Siegmund’s second wife, but then she didn’t marry him in July 1933. Or maybe she married someone else named Siegmund Warburg and not the one married to Ilse. I don’t know, and I am still searching for answers. Maybe someone who knows Portuguese will listen to the Shoah Foundation testimony and hear Jenny’s sister talk about Jenny’s marriage and fill me in.

In any event, Salomon Blumenfeld’s entire family escaped Germany in time and were not killed by the Nazis, unlike Salomon’s siblings Hermann, Bertha, and Clementine.

The story of the remaining child of Moses Blumenfeld IIB, Max, was harder to uncover and will be discussed in my next series of posts.


  1. Louis Felix Meinrath, Birth Date: 1902, Birth Place: Keulen, Immigration Date: 1901-1915, Immigration Place: Antwerpen, Belgium, File Number: 119901, Page: 438
    FHL Film Number: 2234442, Ancestry.com. Belgium, Antwerp Police Immigration Index, 1840-1930 
  2. The photograph may have first appeared on Geni on the profile of David Katz. I have written to the manager of that profile to ask for the photo’s source, but have not heard back. 
  3. Katz family, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02675; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 31-2085, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  4. “New York, New York Passenger and Crew Lists, 1909, 1925-1957,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G94V-SWMS?cc=1923888&wc=MFK4-H6D%3A1030138201 : 2 October 2015), 7158 – vol 15390-15391, Aug 14, 1946 > image 1317 of 1489; citing NARA microfilm publication T715 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.). 
  5. Malchen Blumenfeld, ship manifest, Year: 1946; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 12; Page Number: 63, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  6. Interview with Hilde Meinrath, USC Shoah Foundation; Los Angeles, California; Visual History Archive: The Holocaust, Free Access: USC Shoah Foundation, Holocaust – Jewish Survivor Interviews 

A Family Decimated by the Nazis: The Children of Abraham Blumenfeld III

I am really struggling with how to best tell the stories of the seven of the nine children and eleven grandchildren of Abraham Blumenfeld III who were still living when the Nazis came to power because their stories are just so devastatingly tragic. Of those seven remaining children, only one escaped in time. The other six were all killed in the Holocaust as were many of those eleven grandchildren.

Telling their stories one by one is important so that each name and each life is honored and remembered. But it is also important to see and feel the impact on the entire family, a family of nine siblings. Only one of those nine survived beyond 1945. All the others were killed by the Nazis, except for one (Hermann) who died of natural causes when he was 48 and one (Moritz) who was killed in battle in 1916, fighting for the very same country that would slaughter his siblings just a few decades later. In other words, almost an entire family was wiped out by the Nazis. Generations of Blumenfeld descendants never had a chance to be born because their ancestors were killed for being Jewish.

With that bigger picture in mind, let me tell the story of what happened to each of these descendants of Abraham Blumenfeld III and Friedericke Rothschild. This is a very sad and painful post, but each of these individuals deserves to have their story told.

Dina Blumenfeld and her husband Salomon Heldemuth were deported to Theriesenstadt on August 18, 1942, and then to the Treblinka death camp on September 23, 1942, where they were murdered. Dina was 71, Salomon was 76.

Salomon Heldenmuth Page of Testimony, Yad Vashem, at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=1475415&ind=1

Fortunately, all three of Dina and Salomon’s children escaped and survived. Leopold had married Frieda Kneip on June 28, 1929, in Gelnhausen, Germany. Frieda was born in Gelnhausen on July 10, 1906, to Seligmann Kneip and Bella Mayer.1

Marriage of Leopold Heldenmuth and Frieda Kneip, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 913; Signatur: 1173, Year Range: 1925, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Leopold (Leo or Leon in the US) and Frieda arrived in New York on June 25, 1936.2 Interestingly, they are listed in the 1939 England and Wales Register, living with Leopold’s younger brother Siegfried in London.

Leopold and Siegfried Heldenmuth on 1939 England Wales Register, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/246A, Enumeration District: AKDS, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register

But on November 24, 1939, Frieda and Leopold returned to New York,3 and they are listed on the 1940 US census, living with Frieda’s mother and brother as well as Leopold’s brother Siegfried. Leon, as he is listed here, was working as a real estate broker, and Siegfried made artificial flowers.

Leopold and Siegfried Heldenmuth on 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02668; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 31-1831, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Leopold and Siegfried’s sister Gertrude had married Moritz Lion on May 25, 1921, in Hohensolms, Germany. Moritz was born March 4, 1897, in Sankt-Goarhausen, Germany. Gertrude and Moritz arrived in New York on August 17, 1939.4

Marriage of Gertrud Heldenmuth and Moritz Lion, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 911; Laufende Nummer: 4677, Year Range: 1921, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Leopold died on May 11, 1950, at the age of 54.5 His sister Gertrude, who lost her husband Moritz on October 13, 1963,6 died on July 23, 1969 at 71.7 Their brother Siegfried died on May 15, 1972; he was seventy.8 Frieda, Leopold’s widow, remarried and lived until she was 94; she died on January 20, 2001.9 Since none of Dina and Salomon’s children had children, there are no descendants.

Dina’s sister Auguste and her husband Menko Stern were also killed in the Holocaust. Menko had been sent to Buchenwald after Kristallnacht They were deported to Theriesenstadt on September 7, 1942 and then to Treblinka on September 29, 1942, and so died within just a few days of Dina and Salomon. Their son Max was taken to the Warsaw Ghetto on March 31, 1942, where he also was killed. I have no records for Julius Stern, but according to the article written about the Stolpersteine laid for his family, he escaped to Argentina in 1936, where he died in 1985.

Nanny Blumenfeld and Jakob Stern faced the same fates as their sister and brother, Auguste Blumenfeld and Menko Stern. They were both taken to Kassel, Germany, where on June 1, 1942, they were deported to the Sobibor death camp and killed there on June 3, 1942. Their son Arthur was taken to the Majdanek concentration camp, where he was killed on September 27, 1942. Only Manfred (known as Fritz) escaped in time; he fled to Palestine, according to the article written on the occasion of the installation of the Stolpersteine for his family. I have not, however, been able to find any record of his immigration to Palestine.

Nanny Blumenfeld Stern page of testimony, Yad Vashem, https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=421480&ind=1

Jakob Stern page of testimony, Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=1659946&ind=2

Arthur Stern page of testimony, Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=530549&ind=1

Hugo Blumenfeld, the sixth sibling, never married or had children. He was deported from Frankfurt to Theriesenstadt on August 14, 1942, and then to Auschwitz on October 16, 1944, where he was killed. His sister, the seventh sibling, Bertha Blumenfeld, also single, also was deported to Theriesenstadt but from Koeln (Cologne) on June 15, 1942; she was then taken to Auschwitz where she was killed just four days before her brother Hugo on October 12, 1944.

The baby of the family, Emma Blumenfeld Wetterhahn, and her husband Siegmund and their daughter Trude Ruth Friedericke Wetterhahn, the youngest grandchild, were also murdered by the Nazis. Emma and Siegmund were deported from Frankfurt on November 22, 1941, to Kaunas, Lithuania, and killed there three days later on November 25, 1941 during the Ninth Fort massacre during which the Nazis shot and killed almost 5,000 Jews. You can read more about this horrific slaughter of innocent people like Emma and Siegmund on the Yad Vashem site here.

Emma and Siegmund’s daughter Ruth Wetterhahn was living in Berlin when she was taken to Auschwitz on March 1, 1943, and killed there. She was seventeen years old.

Thus, six of the seven children of Abraham Blumenfeld III who were still living when Hitler came to power—Dina, Auguste, Nanny, Hugo, Bertha, and Emma—as well as their spouses and three of their children–-Max Stern, Arthur Stern, and Ruth Wetterhahn—were killed by the Nazis.

But unfortunately that does not end the death toll because at least three of the children of Hermann Blumenfeld III, who died in 1928, and Jeannette Stern, who died in 1915, were also killed by the Nazis. Julius Blumenfeld was deported from Kassel to the ghetto in Riga, Latvia, on December 9, 1941, and was killed sometime thereafter. His sister Frieda Blumenfeld was deported from Kassel to the Riga ghetto at the same time and was deported from there to the Stutthof concentration camp on August 9, 1944, where she was later killed.

Hermann and Jeannette’s son Max (Meir) Blumenfeld was more fortunate. Although I do not have any information about how he escaped, he died in Rehovoth, Israel, on September 22, 2004, at the age of 91.10

In addition, Hermann Blumenfeld III’s second wife Ida Stern and their son Kurt Siegfried Blumenfeld were also murdered by the Nazis. Ida was deported from Kassel to Riga, Latvia, on December 9. 1941, along with her stepchildren Julius and Frieda. Kurt was deported from Wurzburg, Germany, to Krasnystaw,Lublin,Poland, on April 25, 1942, and killed sometime thereafter.

As for Alfred Blumenfeld, who appears on several Ancestry trees as the fourth child of Hermann and Jeannette, I have no records of his birth or his death (or anything else), so I don’t know whether he was also a victim of the Holocaust.

Only one of the seven children of Abraham Blumenfeld III who were still living in the Nazi era escaped Germany in time, and I only have minimal information about her. Katincka Blumenfeld Heymann, the third child, and her husband Samuel Heymann immigrated to Brazil in the summer of 1939 just before World War II started. I have no further information about their lives, but they had no children after their daughter Frieda died in 1911 at ten months of age. There are no descendants of Katincka and Samuel.

Katincka Blumenfeld Heymann, Digital GS Number: 004542368
Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965

Samuel Heymann, Digital GS Number: 004560417
Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965

Six of the seven living children and seven of the twelve living grandchildren of Abraham Blumenfeld III and Friedericke Rothschild were killed by the Nazis. Thirteen innocent lives snuffed out for no reason other than ugly, baseless hatred. And sadly, as far as I know, only three of the grandchildren who survived might have had children to carry on the names and the legacy of their parents and grandparents. Someday I hope I can find them if they exist, or perhaps they will find me.

 

 

 

 


  1.  Frieda Vanallen, Social Security Number: 090-14-8045, Birth Date: 10 Jul 1906
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 90212, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA, Death Date: 20 Jan 2001, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Saligmann Kneig, Gender: männlich (Male), Age: 27, Birth Date: 20. Jun 1876 (20 Jun 1876), Marriage Date: 19. Mai 1904 (19 May 1904), Marriage Place: Biblis, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Biblis, Spouse: Bella Maÿer, Reference Number: 854, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 854, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930 
  2.  Frieda Heldenmuth, Gender: Female, Ethnicity/ Nationality: German;Hebrew (German), Marital status: Married, Age: 29, Birth Date: abt 1907, Birth Place: Germany
    Other Birth Place: Gelnhausen, Last Known Residence: Frankfurt, Germany
    Place of Origin: Germany, Departure Port: Hamburg, Germany, Arrival Date: 25 Jun 1936, Arrival Port: New York, New York, USA, Year: 1936; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 11; Page Number: 129, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  3.  Frieda Heldinmoth, Gender: Female, Departure Age: 33, Birth Date: abt 1906
    Departure Date: 24 Nov 1939, Departure Port: England, Ship Name: Britannic
    Shipping Line: Cunard White Star Limited, Destination Port: New York, USA
    The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; BT27 Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and Successors: Outwards Passenger Lists; Reference Number: Series BT27-162316, Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 
  4.  Gertrud Lion, Gender: Female, Ethnicity/ Nationality: Hebrew, Age: 42, Birth Date: abt 1897, Birth Place: Germany, Other Birth Place: Alfeukidan [sic], Departure Port: Le Havre, France, Arrival Date: 17 Aug 1939, Arrival Port: New York, New York, USA
    Ship Name: Manhattan,Year: 1939; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 2; Page Number: 154, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  5. Leo Heldenmuth, Birth Date: 6 Dec 1895, Birth Place: Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 11 May 1950, Claim Date: 16 Nov 1950, SSN: 104146398, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. 
  6. Moritz Lion, Gender: Male, Birth Date: 4 Mar 1897, Death Date: 13 Oct 1963
    Claim Date: 25 Oct 1963, SSN: 092121940, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  7.  Gertrude Lion, Gender: Female, Age: 71, Birth Date: abt 1898, Residence Place: Murray Hill, New York, New York, USA, Death Date: 23 Jul 1969, Death Place: New York, USA, Certificate Number: 56308, 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 
  8. Fred Heldenmuth, Race: White, Marital Status: Never Married (Single), Birth Date: abt 1902, Residence: Bridgeport, Connecticut, Death Date: 15 May 1972, Death Place: Bridgeport, Connecticut, Age: 70 Years, State File #: 09057, Connecticut Department of Health. Connecticut Death Index, 1949-2012 
  9.  Frieda Vanallen, Social Security Number: 090-14-8045, Birth Date: 10 Jul 1906
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 90212, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA, Death Date: 20 Jan 2001, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. 
  10. Meir Max Blumenfeld, Name in Hebrew: מאיר מקס בלומנפלד, Hebrew Name: מאיר מקס, Birth Date: 1913, Death Date: 21 Sep 2004 / ו תשרי תשסה, Death Place: Kaplan Hospital, Rehovot /בי”ח קפלן, Age at Death: 91, Burial Date: 22 Sep 2004, Burial Plot: סא ד 29, Burial Place: Rehovot, Israel, Father Name: Herman /הרמן, Mother Name: Yenta /ינטה, JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR). 

Moses Blumenfeld IIA’s Grandchildren: Did They Survive The Holocaust?

By 1939, all three of the children of Moses Blumenfeld IIA had died, leaving behind their children, the seven grandchildren of Moses Blumenfeld IIA. Their fates were determined by the Nazis. This post will examine the fates of the children of Moses’ daughter Antonie Blumenfeld Katz and her sister Hedwig Blumenfeld Kaufmann as well as that of Antonie’s husband Moritz Katz.

Antonie’s husband Moritz Katz stayed in Marburg after Antonie died in 1939 until he was deported to Theriesenstadt on September 7, 1942; he was killed there on September 11, 1944, at the age of 73. He and Antonie were survived by their two children, Artur Katz and Margarete Martha Katz Jacobsohn. Those two children survived by leaving Nazi Germany and immigrating to Palestine (now Israel) in the 1930s.

Moritz Katz Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=1627679&ind=1

Artur was a lawyer in Berlin until the Nazis deprived of him his right to practice law after 1933. According to his nephew Yoram Jacobson, Artur soon left for Palestine, where he changed his name to Avraham (which was probably always his Hebrew name). According to a profile on MyHeritage, Avraham was married to Edith (Hannah) Walter, and they had three children. I have no other sources so far to verify that information. Avraham Katz died on October 22, 1978, in Haifa, Israel.

Artur Avraham Katz gravestone on Gravez, found at https://gravez.me/en/deceased/275CF393-EB17-4B26-8BBF-D82EC06FEB94

Antonie’s daughter Margarete Martha Katz had married Friedrich (Fritz) Max Jacobsohn sometime before they immigrated to Israel in 1939. Fritz was born in Hanover, Germany, on July 13, 1899; his father’s name was Abraham. I have no information about his mother. Fritz, an insurance agent, had been taken to Buchenwald Concentration Camp after Kristallnacht in November 1938 and was determined to leave Germany once he was released. With the help of his brother-in-law Avraham Katz, he and Margarete immigrated to Palestine/Israel on July 24, 1939. They became citizens of Palestine on October 20, 1941.1

Margarete and Fritz Jacobsohn Palestine citizen certificate, found at the Israel State Archives website at https://www.archives.gov.il/

Margarete and Fritz had one child, their son Yoram, who was born on November 27, 1944, in Haifa. Yoram Jacobson became a prominent Kabbalist and Hasidic scholar. He taught at several academic institutions in Israel, including Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University, and overseas, including at Harvard. He was also the author of many books and articles. Yoram was married twice and had four children.

Fritz Jacobson died August 24, 1963, in Haifa. He was 64. He was survived by his wife Margarete Katz Jacobson, who died forty years later on April 12, 2003, at the age of 96. They were survived by their son Yoram and his children. Yoram died April 16, 2017, in Israel. He was 72.

Although Moritz Katz died at the hands of the Nazis in Theriesenstadt, the two children he had with Antonie Blumenfeld survived by immigrating to Palestine. Today they have living descendants in Israel.

The story of Antonie’s sister Hedwig Blumenfeld Kaufmann does not end as well.

Hedwig’s daughter Anna Kaufmann and her husband Julius Leyser did not go to Palestine with their cousins. They did, however, leave Germany for Amsterdam, but sadly that was not enough to escape the Nazis. Anna, her husband Julius, and their two young sons Ernst and Hans were all deported from the Westerbork detention camp in Amsterdam to the extermination camp at Sobibor on July 23, 1943, and were murdered there. Anna was 42, Julius was 45, Ernst thirteen, and Hans eleven.  An entire family wiped out, including two young boys.

Anna Kaufmann Leyser page of testimony at Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=3827826&ind=1

Julius Leyser Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=808099&ind=1

Ernst Leyser Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=8897102&ind=1

Hans Leyser page of testimony at Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=8897103&ind=1

Hedwig’s son Albert Kaufmann survived the Holocaust by immigrating to Brazil. His marriage to his first wife Dorothy had ended before she died on March 31, 1938, in Berlin, Germany.2 Albert had traveled to Brazil in 1924 before he’d married Dorothy, so perhaps he knew it was a good place to immigrate.3 He died in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on June 10, 1986, at the age of 84. According to his death record, he was survived by his second wife Georgina Correa. She was born in Brazil in 1921, the daughter of José Correa de Mendonça and Anna Emilia da Conceicao.4 The death record indicates that Albert left no children. He died from cancer.

Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, Registro Civil, 1829-2012,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6QQP-KV?cc=1582573&wc=9GYK-DPJ%3A113334201%2C120190503%2C122537201 : 7 January 2019), Rio de Janeiro 02ª Circunscrição Óbitos 1985, Nov-1987, Jan image 172 of 304; Corregedor Geral da Justicia (Inspector General of Justice Offices), Rio de Janeiro.

UPDATE: I received an email today (1/5/22) from the daughter of Paul Blumenfeld. I learned from her that Albert Kaufmann did have a daughter named Inge and that Inge had two sons. So Albert Kaufmann, and thus his mother Hedwig Blumenfeld Kaufmann, do have living descendants!

The story of the family of their brother Ernst will be told in the next post.


  1. The immigration papers for Fritz and Margarete (Katz) Jacobsohn can be found at the Israel State Archives website at https://www.archives.gov.il/. You can also see them here at Friedrich Max Jacobsohn and Margarete Katz immigration documents from Israel Archives. Some of the information in this paragraph also came from the online interview with Fritz and Margerete’s son Yoram, found here
  2.  Dorothy Kaufmann, Maiden Name: Schimmelpfennig, Gender: weiblich (Female)
    Age: 30, Birth Date: abt 1908, Death Date: 31 Apr 1938, Civil Registration Office: Wilmersdorf, Death Place: Berlin, Berlin, Deutschland (Germany), Certificate Number: 545, Berlin, Deutschland; Landesarchiv Berlin; Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Laufendenummer: 1625, Ancestry.com. Berlin, Germany, Deaths, 1874-1955 
  3. Albert Kaufmann, ship manifest, Albert Kaufmann, Gender: männlich (Male), Ethnicity/Nationality: Hessen, Marital Status: ledig (Single), Departure Age: 22, Birth Date: abt 1902, Residence Place: Marburg, Departure Date: 9. Jul 1924 (9 Jul 1924)
    Departure Place: Hamburg, Deutschland (Germany), Destination: Buenos Aires
    Arrival Place: La Coruna; Vigo; Rio de Janeiro; Buenos Aires; Brasilien; Uruguay; Argentinien, Occupation: Kaufmann, Ship Name: Württemberg, Shipping Clerk: Hamburg-Amerika Linie (Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft)
    Shipping Line: Hamburg-Amerika Linie (Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft), Ship Type: Dampfschiff, Ship Flag: Deutschland, Accommodation: 3. Klasse, Volume: 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 316, Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Volume: 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 316; Page: 90; Microfilm No.: K_1856, Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934 
  4. Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, Registro Civil, 1829-2012,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:77HZ-FXW2 : 9 April 2020), Albert Kaufmann in entry for Georgina Correa Kaufmann, ; citing Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil; Corregedor Geral da Justicia (Inspector General of Justice Offices), Rio de Janeiro. 

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. 

Betty Schnadig Cohen’s Heartbreaking Story, Part I

As we saw, Betty Schnadig married Bernard Arie Cohen from Holland, and they had four children born in Groningen in Holland: Arnold, Anita, Simona Hedda, and Adolf. Bernard Arie Cohen was a merchant in the rag, scrap metal, and paper business in Groningen.

I was very fortunate to connect with my fifth cousin Betty, Betty Schnadig Cohen’s granddaughter and namesake, who kindly shared the family photographs I’ve included in this blog post. Thank you also once again to Bert de Jong and also to Rob Ruijs who found many of the notices from Dutch newspapers and introduced me to the Delpher.nl website for Dutch research.

Here, for example, is a May 7, 1903, wedding announcement for Betty and Bernard, thanking everyone for their kind wishes.

Nieuwsblad van het Noorden 07-05-1903 (May 7, 1903), 
found at https://tinyurl.com/y6enc386

In this photograph, Betty and Bernard are dressed in costume to celebrate Purim:

Betty Schnadig and Bernard Arie Cohen. Courtesy of Betty de Liever

This adorable little boy in the sailor outfit is their first-born child, Arnold, probably taken in Groningen when he was about three or four, or in about 1908:

Arnold Cohen c. 1908 Courtesy of Betty de Liever

This is a newspaper notice announcing Arnold’s bar mitzvah in February, 1917.

Centraal blad voor Israëlieten in Nederland
02-02-1917
found at https://tinyurl.com/y6fl8gsa

This is a lovely photograph of all  four children probably taken in the early 1920s.

Arnold, Anita, Adolf, and Simona Cohen. Courtesy of Betty de Liever

And here is an announcement of Adolf Cohen’s bar mitzvah in 1929:

Nieuw Israelietisch weekblad
August 9, 1929 found at https://tinyurl.com/y66damno

The family that celebrated these joyous occasions was destroyed just fifteen years after Adolf’s bar mitzvah.

According to a Stolpersteine website devoted to the Cohen family, when World War II started in 1939, Bernard very quickly realized the dangers ahead. After a swastika was painted on the front of their home in Groningen along with the word “Jood,” he knew they had to go into hiding.

House of Bernard and Betty Cohen in Groningen. Courtesy of Betty de Liever

But their efforts to hide were not ultimately successful. Betty Schnadig and Bernard Arie Cohen did not survive; they were arrested on November 11, 1942, and sent to the detention camp at Westerbork, from which they were then deported to Sobibor on May 18, 1943, and immediately gassed to death upon arrival.

Betty Schnadig Cohen. Courtesy of Betty de Liever

Bernard Arie Cohen. Courtesy of Betty de Liever

Of their four children, only two survived. One was their older daughter Simona Hedda. I located a card for her in the Arolsen Archives showing she was registered with the Judenrat in Amsterdam. The card has very little information other than Simona’s name, birth date, and address, and it’s not dated, but it appears that Simona was living in Amsterdam during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.

1 Incarceration Documents / 1.2 Miscellaneous / 1.2.4 Various Organizations /
1.2.4.2 Index cards from the Judenrat (Jewish council) file in Amsterdam /
Reference Code 124200009/ ITS Digital Archive, Arolsen Archives

Somehow Simona avoided deportation and survived the war. On August 29, 1946, in Groningen, Simona married Jan de Jong, who was born on March 22, 1914, in Ooststellingwerf. Simona (apparently known as Mona) and Jan had a son Bernard de Jong (presumably named for Simona’s father) born November 4, 1948, but he died two and half months later on January 12, 1949.1 Sadly, Simona’s marriage to Jan did not long survive the loss of their child. They were divorced on April 28, 1950, in Groningen.

Thank you so much to Rob Ruijs, who found most of this information about Simona and her family, including these two newspaper notices for the birth and death of Simona and Jan’s infant son Bernard.

De waarheid 08-11-1948

Thanks to Rob, I also know that Simona moved to Amsterdam after her divorce and worked for the city, eventually becoming the bureau chief. She died on February 5, 2005, in Amsterdam at the age of 93. As far as I can tell, she did not remarry or have more children. Simona was blessed with a long life.

UPDATE: Another reader, N. Aronson, found Simona’s Amsterdam residency card, which showed that she lived in Groningen until 1953, then in Nunspeet, and then in 1954 she moved to Amsterdam. Thank you!!

But Betty and Bernard’s other daughter Anita Cohen did not survive. She married Abraham Jacob van Dam on December 23, 1935, in Groningen, Netherlands.2 Abraham was born in Groningen on June 24, 1898, the son of Jakob van Dam and Netje Kisch.3 Abraham and Anita had two children, a son Jacob Abraham van Dam, born on July 3, 1938, and a son Bernard, born December 24, 1939. The photo below depicts Anita and her two little sons probably in 1941.

Jakob van Dam, Bernard van Dam, and Anita Cohen van Dam c. 1941. Courtesy of Betty de Liever

Anita, Abraham, and those two little boys in this photograph were murdered by the Nazis.

Just stop and think about that. Little Jacob van Dam was four years old, his brother Bernard not yet three. They and their mother Anita were murdered at Auschwitz on November 2, 1942. Their father Abraham survived until March 31, 1944, when he also died at the hands of the Nazis. Although it always takes my breath away when I discover yet another family member who was killed in the Holocaust, finding the Pages of Testimony for my cousins Jacob and Bernard, sweet innocent little boys, just sent me reeling.

Betty Schnadig and Bernard Cohen’s son Adolf married Henriette Sara Barnstijn on March 12, 1942.4 They both were murdered at Auschwitz before their first anniversary. Henriette was killed on December 15, 1942; Adolf was killed two months after his new bride on February 28, 1943. Henriette was 22, Adolf was 26.

Thus, Betty Schnadig and Bernard Arie Cohen and two of their children, Anita and Adolf, were murdered by the Nazis as were Anita and Adolf’s spouses and Anita’s two little boys. Betty and Bernard’s first born child Arnold survived, but not without tragedy. His story merits a separate post.


  1.  Bernard de Jong, Age: 2/12, Birth Date: abt 1948, Birth Place: Groningen
    Death Date: 12 jan 1949, Death Place: Groningen, Father: Jan de Jong, Mother: Simona Hedda Cohen, AlleGroningers; Den Haag, Nederland; Burgerlijke stand (overlijdensakten), Ancestry.com. Netherlands, Death Index, 1795-1969. Original data: BS Overlijden. WieWasWie. https://www.wiewaswie.nl/: accessed 24 May 2016. 
  2.  Anita Cohen, Gender: Vrouwelijk (Female), Age: 28, Birth Date: abt 1907
    Marriage Date: 23 dec 1935, Marriage Place: Groningen, Father: Bernard Arie Cohen
    Mother: Bettij Schnadig, Spouse: Abraham Jakob van Dam, BS Marriage,
    Ancestry.com. Netherlands, Civil Marriage Index, 1795-1950. Original data: BS Huwelijk. WieWasWie. https://www.wiewaswie.nl/: accessed 24 May 2016. 
  3.  Abraham Jakob van Dam, Gender: Mannelijk (Male), Age: 37
    Birth Date: abt 1898, Marriage Date: 23 dec 1935, Marriage Place: Groningen
    Father: Jakob van Dam, Mother: Netje Kisch, Spouse: Anita Cohen
    BS Marriage, Ancestry.com. Netherlands, Civil Marriage Index, 1795-1950. Original data: BS Huwelijk. WieWasWie. https://www.wiewaswie.nl/: accessed 24 May 2016. 
  4.  Adolf Cohen, Gender: Mannelijk (Male), Age: 25, Birth Date: abt 1917
    Marriage Date: 12 mrt 1942 (12 Mar 1942), Marriage Place: Groningen, Father: Bernard Arie Cohen, Mother: Betty Schnadig, Spouse: Henriëtte Sara Barnstijn
    BS Marriage, Ancestry.com. Netherlands, Civil Marriage Index, 1795-1950. Original data: BS Huwelijk. WieWasWie. https://www.wiewaswie.nl/: accessed 24 May 2016. 

Tragedy and Escape: The Story of Helene Schnadig Cohn and Her Children

We saw in the last post that Henriette Katzenstein Schnadig’s youngest child Elsa survived the Holocaust as did her husband Salomon Cats and their two sons. Elsa’s two older sisters Helene and Betty were not as fortunate.

Elsa’s sister Helene Schnadig and her husband Emil Cohn were both murdered by the Nazis. According to their residency registration cards at the Amsterdam archives, Helene and Emil moved from Hamburg to Hilversum in the Netherlands on January 2, 1939, and then to Rotterdam on September 11, 1939, ten days after the start of World War II. They then returned to Hilversum on November 9, 1940. Eventually they returned to Amsterdam on July 17, 1942.

Source reference Archive cards , archive number 30238 , inventory number 721 Municipality : Amsterdam Period : 1939-1960, https://archief.amsterdam/indexen/persons?ss=%7B%22q%22:%22schnadig%22%7D, Amsterdam Archives Gemeente Amsterdam Stadsarchiev

According to a Judenrat card found in the Arolsen Archives, Emil and Helene were taken to the detention camp at Westerbork on January 8, 1943. From there they were taken to the concentration camp in Terezin, Czechoslovakia, on January 20, 1944. Then on October 28, 1944, they were taken from Terezin to the death camp at Auschwitz, where they were murdered. Emil was 74, Helene 63.

1 Incarceration Documents / 1.1 Camps and Ghettos / 1.1.42 Theresienstadt Ghetto /
1.1.42.2 Card File Theresienstadt / 4966533/ITS Digital Archive, Arolsen Archives

Miraculously, however, Helene and Emil Cohn’s four children all survived, although my information about them is somewhat limited. Meta, their oldest child, was married to Salomon Pregers, who was born in Rotterdam on October 8, 1885, son of Salomon Pregers and Isabelle Therese de Groot.1 Meta and Salomon were married in Hamburg on May 14, 1926, according to their Amsterdam residency card.

Source reference Archive cards , archive number 30238 , inventory number 159 Municipality : Amsterdam Period : 1939-1960, https://archief.amsterdam/indexen/persons?ss=%7B%22q%22:%22meta%20cohn%22%7D, Amsterdam Archives Gemeente Amsterdam Stadsarchiev

That residency card indicates that Salomon and Meta came from Hamburg to Hilversum on June 3, 1926, a few weeks after their wedding. They remained in the Netherlands, eventually moving to Amsterdam in February 1943, not long after Meta’s parents were taken to Westerbork.

Salomon and Meta were registered with the Judenrat in Amsterdam, as reflected on these three cards. It appears that Salomon had been a teacher at a Jewish school. I can’t decipher much more than that.

1 Incarceration Documents / 1.2 Miscellaneous / 1.2.4 Various Organizations / 1.2.4.2 Index cards from the Judenrat (Jewish council) file in Amsterdam / Reference Code 124200008/ITS Digital Archive, Arolsen Archives

1 Incarceration Documents / 1.2 Miscellaneous / 1.2.4 Various Organizations / 1.2.4.2 Index cards from the Judenrat (Jewish council) file in Amsterdam / Reference Code 124200008/ITS Digital Archive, Arolsen Archives

1 Incarceration Documents / 1.2 Miscellaneous / 1.2.4 Various Organizations / 1.2.4.2 Index cards from the Judenrat (Jewish council) file in Amsterdam / Reference Code 124200008/ITS Digital Archive, Arolsen Archives

UPDATE: Bert de Jong pointed out that both these cards have the designation “gesperrt,” meaning that Meta and Salomon had been marked as exempt from deportation by the Judenrat, Salomon because of his former occupation as a teacher and his education, and Meta based on her husband’s exemption.

UPDATE from Rob Ruijs: Rob examined these three cards very carefully and provided some analysis. One interesting observation he made about Salomon Pregers was that he may have grown up in poverty and achieved success through higher education.  Rob also deciphered much of that third card with three entries for February 2, 1943. It appears that Salomon (and presumably Meta) were moving between Amsterdam and the town of Den Bosch, which is about an hour south of Amsterdam or that there was some confusion about where they were living.

The Amsterdam residency cards above indicate that both Meta and Salomon left for Germany (Duitschland) in March 1945. I would think that means they were deported then since I cannot imagine that any Jew would have gone to Germany willingly in March, 1945, but I have no record of any deportation, and I know that they survived the war.  Meta was listed as a person searching for relatives in an article in the June 15, 1945, issue of Aufbau. The words at the top translate as:

“The following list which we have received from the ITA [the International Tracing Agency] only reveals a part of the Jews found in Holland after the final liberation who are looking for relatives. In cases in which a closer address of the searcher is not given, they can be reached through the Red Cross.”

Meta Cohn Pregers in Aufbau June 15, 1945, p. 25, http://archive.org/stream/aufbau111945germ#page/n387/mode/1up

Although Meta and Salomon thus survived the war, it was not for very many years. Meta Cohn Pregers died on March 21, 1952, in Hilversum.2 Her husband Salomon Pregers died a month later on April 22, 1952, in Hilversum.3 He was 66 when he died, Meta was only 51. I have been unable to find a record of any children.

UPDATE: Thanks to Rob Ruijs for alerting me to the fact that there were death notices for Meta and Salomon that I could find on Delpher.nl. Given that neither death notice mentioned children, it appears that they did not have any.

New Israelite weekly
28-03-1952

New Israelite weekly
April 25, 1952

Meta’s younger brother Siegbert immigrated to Brazil in 1939; he arrived with his four-year-old daughter Ursula. I could not locate a woman traveling with him who might have been his wife, nor I have I yet found any further records for Siegbert or Ursula.

Siegbert Cohn, Digital GS Number: 004542471, Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965

The third child of Helene and Emil Cohn, their daughter Hertha Johanna, married James Horwitz, a kosher butcher, on February 21, 1928, in Hamburg. James was born on November 10, 1895, in Hamburg, the son of Hermann Horwitz and Johanna Tannenberg.4 James and Hertha immigrated to Rotterdam inthe Netherlands from Berlin on March 15, 1939, and to Amsterdam in March of 1940.

Source reference Archive cards , archive number 30238 , inventory number 367 Municipality : Amsterdam Period : 1939-1960, https://archief.amsterdam/indexen/persons?ss=%7B%22q%22:%22james%20horwitz%22%7D, Amsterdam Archives Gemeente Amsterdam Stadsarchiev

On July 17, 1940, they were both taken to the detention camp in Westerbork. According to entries in the Terezin Memorial database, both James and Hertha were deported to the Terezin concentration camp on September 4, 1944. James was then taken from Terezin to Auschwitz on September 29, 1944, but Hertha was not. The Terezin Memorial entry indicates that she was liberated from Terezin and survived.

1 Incarceration Documents / 1.1 Camps and Ghettos / 1.1.42 Theresienstadt Ghetto /
1.1.42.2 Card File Theresienstadt /Ghetto Theresienstadt Card File
Reference Code 11422001/ITS Digital Archive, Arolsen Archives

As for James’ fate, the records conflict. Some say he was killed at the death camp in Mauthausen in Austria on April 6, 1945.5 One nephew filed a Page of Testimony saying he was shot near Berlin in March 1945 as the camp inmates were being marched out of Auschwitz.  In either event, James Horwitz was murdered by the Nazis in the spring of 1945 right before the war ended.

In 1957, Hertha was living in Rotterdam when she traveled to Brazil, presumably to visit her brother Siegbert. She listed her marital status as “casada” or married, and the surname Van Thijn was added to her name, so Hertha must have remarried after the war. That is the only information I’ve found about her at this point.

UPDATE: Thank you to Rob Ruijs for reminding me to check Delpher.nl where I found a death notice for Salomon van Thijn published by H. J. van Thijn-Cohen, obviously Hertha. The death notice reads in part, “With sadness I announce the passing of my beloved caring husband Salomon van Thijn in his 87th year, March 18, 1982.” This death notice does not mention children or refer to Salomon as a father so I assume they, like Meta and Salomon Pregers, did not have children.

NRC Handelsblad
20-03-1982

Digital GS Number: 004916498, Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965

Lissy Sitta Cohn, the fourth and youngest of the Cohn siblings, ended up in England during the war. In 1939 she was living in Birmingham, working as a domestic servant.

Lissy Cohn, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/5600D, Enumeration District: QBUI, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register

Lissy Cohn, enemy alien registration, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/14
Piece Number Description: 014: Internees at Liberty in UK 1939-1942: Cohn-Cz
Ancestry.com. UK, World War II Alien Internees, 1939-1945

She may have returned to Germany after the war because in 1946 she immigrated to Brazil and listed her last residence as Hamburg and her nationality as Alema or German. However, her passport was issued from London. She indicated that her intention was to stay in Brazil permanently and that she was a nurse (enfermeira). As with her siblings, I have no further details about Lissy’s life.

Digital GS Number: 004542185
Source Information
Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965

Thus, although the Nazis murdered Helene Schnadig and Emil Cohn, they did not murder any of their four children. But the stories of those four children are not entirely complete. I do not know whether there are living descendants of Helene and Emil, so there is still much work to be done.

 

 


  1.  Salomon Pregers, Birth Date: 1885, Birth Place: Rotterdam, Father: Salomon Pregers, Mother: Isabelle Therese de Groot, Stadsarchief Rotterdam; Den Haag, Nederland; BS Birth, Ancestry.com. Netherlands, Birth Index, 1784-1917. Original data: BS Geboorte. WieWasWie. https://www.wiewaswie.nl/: accessed 24 May 2016. Child:
    Salomon Pregers, Mother: Isabelle Therese de Groot Father: Salomon Pregers
    Date of birth: 8-10-1885, Birthplace:  Rotterdam Access number: 999-01 Civil Registry Rotterdam, birth certificates, Inventory number: 1885D, Folio number: d045v Deed number: 1885.3822 
  2.  Meta Cohn, Age: 50, Birth Date: abt 1902, Birth Place: Hamburg, Death Date: 21 mrt 1952 (21 Mar 1952), Death Place: Hilversum, Father: Emil Cohn, Mother: Helene Schnadig, Noord-Hollands Archief; Den Haag, Nederland; Burgerlijke stand (overlijdensakten), Ancestry.com. Netherlands, Death Index, 1795-1969. Original data: BS Overlijden. WieWasWie. https://www.wiewaswie.nl/: accessed 24 May 2016. 
  3.  Salomon Pregers, Age: 66, Birth Date: abt 1886, Birth Place: Rotterdam, Death Date: 22 apr 1952, Death Place: Hilversum, Father: Salomon Pregers, Mother: Isabella Therese de Groot, Noord-Hollands Archief; Den Haag, Nederland; Burgerlijke stand (overlijdensakten), Ancestry.com. Netherlands, Death Index, 1795-1969. Original data: BS Overlijden. WieWasWie. https://www.wiewaswie.nl/: accessed 24 May 2016. 
  4. James Horwitz birth record, Year Range and Volume: 1895 Band 06, Ancestry.com. Hamburg, Germany, Births, 1874-1901. Original data:Best. 332-5 Standesämter, Personenstandsregister, Sterberegister, 1876-1950, Staatsarchiv Hamburg, Hamburg, Deutschland. 
  5. James Israel Horwitz, Birth Date: 10 Nov 1895, Birth Place: Hamburg, Mauthaus #: 134330, Nationality: staatenlos (Stateless), Arrest Reason: Jude (Jew), Night and Fog: No, Profession: Fleischer (Butcher), Death Date: 6 Apr 1945, Arrival Date: 26-Feb-45
    Source: AMM E/13/12/9; Y/36;Mauthausen Gedenkstätte. Austria, Mauthausen/Gusen Concentration Camp Death Record Books , 1938-1945. The National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland; Microfilm: A3355; ARC: 596972; Title: Lists and Registers of German Concentration Camp Inmates, 1946 – 1958; Record Group: 242; Record Group Title: National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized, 1675 – 1958, Record Description: Records on Prisoners, Gat-Ji, Source Information
    Ancestry.com. Germany, Concentration Camp Records, 1946-1958. Also, some records at Yad Vashem show that James Horwitz was at Mauthausen. His Stolpersteine in Berlin also says that he died at Mauthausen. 

Arthur Rapp and Family: From Germany to England to Brazil to New York

In my last post, we saw that Helmina Goldschmidt Rapp and her daughter Alice Rapp Stern, son-in-law Saly Stern, and their daughters Elizabeth and Grete had first escaped to England from Nazi Germany, with Alice, Saly, and Elizabeth later immigrating to the US where their son Walter had already settled. Today’s post is about Helmina Goldschmidt Rapp’s son Arthur Rapp and his family.

Arthur and his wife Alice and their sons Helmut and Gunther also were in England by 1939. Arthur reported on the 1939 England and Wales Register that he was a retired telephone salesman. (The two black lines are presumably for Helmut/Harold and Gunther/Gordon, who must still have been living when the document was scanned.)

Arthur Rapp and Family,The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/6823F, Enumeration District: WFQC, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register

But like his sister Alice, Arthur did not stay in England. First, in 1940, he and his family immigrated to Brazil. I love having these photographs of Arthur and his family. Gunther is particularly adorable. But then I remember that these people had to leave their home in Frankfurt and then uproot themselves again to go from England to Brazil.

Arthur Rapp, Digital GS Number: 004816338, Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965

Alice Kahn Rapp, Digital GS Number: 004911328, Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965

Helmut Rapp, Digital GS Number: 004871140, Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965

Gunther Rapp, Digital GS Number: 004911328, Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965

But a year later on February 27, 1941, they uprooted themselves again and left Brazil for New York where they settled in Forest Hills, New York, as seen on Arthur’s declaration of intention to become a US citizen.

Arthur Rapp, 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 626) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 496501-497400), Ancestry.com. New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

Arthur reported on his declaration of intention that he was unemployed, but his son Helmut, now using the name Harold, reported on his declaration that he was a watchmaker.

Harold (Helmut) Rapp, 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 626) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 496501-497400), Ancestry.com. New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

Arthur and Alice’s younger son Gunther, who became Gordon, was sixteen when they immigrated; on his World War II draft registration in 1943, he was living in Monmouth, New Jersey, working for Modern Farms.

Gordon (Gunther) Rapp, World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; 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: 539
Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Arthur’s daughter from his first marriage, Henriette Rapp, also ended up in the US. She had married Siegmund Schwarz in Berlin on May 6, 1929, and they were living in Kirtof, Germany, in 1935.

Henriette Rapp marriage record to Siegmund Schwarz, Landesarchiv Berlin; Berlin, Deutschland; Personenstandsregister Heiratsregister; Laufendenummer: 189, 1929 (Erstregister)
Ancestry.com. Berlin, Germany, Marriages, 1874-1936

They immigrated to the US in 1937 and in June 1938 when Henriette, now using Rita, filed her declaration of intention to become a US citizen, they were living in San Francisco.

National Archives at Riverside; Riverside, California; NAI Number: 594890; Record Group Title: 21; Record Group Number: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009
Description: Petitions, 1943 (Box 0247), Ancestry.com. California, Federal Naturalization Records, 1843-1999

On the 1940 census, Rita and Siegmund, now going by Henry, were living in Los Angeles, and Henry reported no occupation, but Rita reported that she was a dressmaker.1 When Henry filed his World War II draft registration in 1942, he was still living in Los Angeles, but listed Alfred Kahn, not Rita, as  the person who would always know where he was, so perhaps they were no longer together.2 Rita did remarry on April 14, 1956, in Los Angeles, to Max Altura.3

Arthur Rapp died in New York on January 10, 1951, at the age of 66.4 He was survived by his wife Alice and his three children, Rita, Harold, and Gordon. Alice survived him by 26 years; she died in May 1977 at 82 years old.5

Rita died in Los Angeles on June 10, 2003; she was 94. According to her obituary in the June 13, 2003 The Los Angeles Times, Rita was a “life member and generous benefactor of Hadassah, Rita was devoted to Israel and the Jewish people.”6

Arthur Rapp’s two sons also lived long lives. Harold Rapp, who had started his career as a watchmaker, became the president of Bulova International in Basel, Switzerland, for many years and was 93 when he died on February 11, 2016.7

His brother Gordon died the following year at 92. According to his obituary, he graduated from Cornell University and received a master’s degree from Purdue University. His early interest in agriculture stayed with him. He had a career in poulty genetics before spending twenty years as a product and marketing manager with Corn Products Corporation . His obituary described him as follows: “He was known for his kindness, creativity, humor, wisdom, and talent as a prolific artist, photographer and writer. He was a Renaissance man of many interests, including tennis, tai chi and chess. He enjoyed museums and classical music concerts in New York City and later in Chapel Hill, NC.”8

I was struck by the fact that Harold and Gordon both continued to work in the same fields where they had started as young men, Harold in watches, Gordon in agriculture. Harold Rapp and Gordon Rapp were survived by their widows, children, and grandchildren.

Although Arthur Rapp did not have the blessing of a life as long as those of his three children, he was blessed with the good fortune of escaping with them from Nazi Germany and thus giving them the security and safety to live those long lives, during which they each made important contributions to their new homeland and left a legacy of their accomplishments and future generations to carry on the Rapp name.

 

 


  1. Rita and Henry Schwarz, 1940 US census, Census Place: Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California; Roll: m-t0627-00403; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 60-828, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  2. Henry Schwarz, World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for California, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 1619,
    Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  3. Rita H Rapp, Estimated birth year: abt 1909, Age: 47, Marriage Date: 14 Apr 1956
    Marriage Place: Los Angeles, California, USA, Spouse: Max D Altura, Spouse Age: 55
    Ancestry.com. California, Marriage Index, 1949-1959 
  4. Arthur Rapp, Age: 66, Birth Date: abt 1885, Death Date: 10 Jan 1951
    Death Place: Queens, New York, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 481
    Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Death Index, 1949-1965 
  5.  Alice Rapp, Social Security Number: 105-36-2290, Birth Date: 24 Feb 1895
    Issue Year: 1962, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10028, New York, New York, New York, USA, Death Date: May 1977, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  6.  Rita H. Altura, Social Security Number: 555-16-5231, Birth Date: 21 Sep 1908
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: California, Last Residence: 91335, Reseda, Los Angeles, California, USA, Death Date: 10 Jun 2003, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Obituary can be seen at https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/latimes/obituary.aspx?n=rita-altura&pid=1083894 
  7. I could not find Harold Rapp in the SSDI or any obituary, just this listing on FindAGrave. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/159069023 However, I found numerous articles about his work at Bulova, and this wedding announcement for his son that mentions his career at Bulova. https://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/fashion/weddings/shelley-grubb-and-kenneth-rapp.html?searchResultPosition=2 
  8. Gordon Rapp, The New York Times, December 26, 2017, found at https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/nytimes/obituary.aspx?n=gordon-d-rapp&pid=187633991 

Minna Fuld and Her Descendants: New Cousins from Sao Paulo, But A Brick Wall Remains

Back in April, I posted about the dead ends I’d reached in my research of Minna Fuld and her family. To recap, Minna was the daughter of Helene Goldschmidt and Salmon Fuld,  the granddaughter of Jacob Meier Goldschmidt, and the great-granddaughter of Meyer Goldschmidt, who was my four-times great-uncle. Minna was married three times. First, she married Leo Offenstadt in 1894 when she was eighteen, and that marriage ended in divorce in 1904. She and Leo had had one child, Flora, in 1894. Then Minna married Ladislaus Polacovits in 1906, and he died in 1913; Minna had one child with Ladislaus, Liselotte, who was born in 1907. Finally, Minna married Hermann Heinrich Karl Reuss in 1923, with whom she had no children.

The first mystery was about Minna’s whereabouts during the 1930s and 1940s. I knew that her third husband Hermann was listed in the 1940 Frankfurt directory and died in Frankfurt on September 27, 1947. But several unsourced trees reported that Minna died in Tel Aviv on May 3, 1944. So had Minna gone to Palestine alone and died there? Had Hermann gone with her and returned to Germany after the war?

The second mystery was the fate of Minna’s daughter Flora Offenstadt during the Holocaust. Flora Offenstadt married Hermann Durlacher in 1918 and had two children with him, Siegfried Julius Thomas (known as Thomas) Durlacher and Ulla Louise Durlacher. I had records showing that Flora and the two children immigrated to Brazil in 1939, but no records for her husband Hermann or any information about what happened to them after they immigrated.

I also had no luck locating more information about Liselotte, Minna’s younger daughter with her second husband Ladislaus, although I knew she and Ladislaus were living in Palestine/Israel during the 1940s and that their son had married in England.

Having exhausted the usual genealogy tools and newspaper databases and Google, I turned to Tracing the Tribe to see if there was anyone with connections in Brazil who might be able to help me. And I was very, very fortunate that a group member named Jacqueline who is from Sao Paulo volunteered to help me.  She first located a marriage announcement for a son of Siegfried Julius Thomas Durlacher, which can be found here.

Then Jacqueline found a long magazine article, partly in German but mostly in Portuguese, that she summarized for me. According to the article, Thomas Durlacher started a library of German-language books in Atibaia, a town in the countryside outside of Sao Paulo; the library now has ten thousand books, some of which were Thomas’ parents’ books that they took with them out of Germany when they escaped from the Nazis and others were donated by other refugees from Germany. The article also mentioned that Thomas had two sons, one a doctor in Brazil and the other residing in Germany.

And then—the icing on the cake—Jacqueline located those sons and other members of the Durlacher family on Facebook! At that point, I took over and sent messages and friend requests to these descendants of Minna Fuld. And almost immediately two of Thomas Durlacher’s sons responded. They then connected me to their cousin Sergio, the son of Ulla Durlacher (Flora and Hermann’s daughter), who contacted me by email.

Sergio told me that his grandfather Hermann Durlacher was the first member of the family to immigrate to Brazil. When I asked him why Brazil, he explained that it was the destination of the first available ship that Hermann could take.  Hermann and Flora had already sent Thomas to the Netherlands to study; he lived with a wealthy family who were close friends of the family. Flora and her daughter Ulla remained in Germany, and Sergio said that his mother had very painful memories of those years.

Unfortunately, Sergio did not have any information about the fate of Minna Fuld, his great-grandmother, so that mystery remained unsolved.

He provided me with more contacts, however, and one of those contacts who was in fact on Sergio’s father’s side found this document about Minna:

The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/73, Description, Piece Number Description: 073: Internees at Liberty in UK 1939-1942: Reu-Rop, Source Information
Ancestry.com. UK, WWII Alien Internees, 1939-1945

I also realized that one of the documents I’d found about Hermann indicated that Minna had immigrated to England:

Arolsen Archives, Digital Archive; Bad Arolsen, Germany; Lists of Persecutees 2.1.1.1
Reference Code: 02010101 oS, Ancestry.com. Europe, Registration of Foreigners and German Persecutees, 1939-1947

So Minna was in England in 1940. I then located her on the 1939 England and Wales Register:

The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/419G
Enumeration District: APDF, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Registe

Note that she reported that her marital status was married, but Hermann was not living with her in England. That might explain why he was still listed in the 1940 Frankfurt directory. Hermann was not Jewish and may have stayed behind to protect their interests in Germany.  But I could not find any later record for Minna. Since Hermann was a widower when he died in Frankfurt in 1947, Minna must have died sometime between 1940 and 1947, but where and when remains a mystery.

On the other hand, thanks to Jacqueline, I now am in touch with several of Minna’s descendants, my cousins who grew up in Brazil after their parents and grandparents escaped there from Germany in the 1930s. Someday someone will learn what happened to their ancestor Minna.

 

Escaping from Germany to Brazil and Israel: Brick Walls

 

We’ve already seen that Helene Goldschmidt Fuld’s second child, Minna Fuld, who was born in 1875, had a complicated marital history. First, she married Leo Offenstadt in 1894 when she was eighteen, and that marriage ended in divorce in 1904. She and Leo had had one child, Flora, in 1894. Then Minna married Ladislaus Polacovits in 1906, and he died in 1913; Minna had one child with Ladislaus, Lisolette, who was born in 1907.

Finally, Minna married Hermann Heinrich Karl Reuss in 1923, with whom she had no children. Hermann is listed in the 1940 Frankfurt directory1 and died in Frankfurt on September 27, 1947.

Hermann Reuss death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 225
Year Range: 1947, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

His death certificate indicates that he was a widower at the time of his death. I have no record for Minna’s death, but unsourced trees indicate that she died in Tel Aviv on May 3, 1944. Had Hermann gone with her to Palestine and returned to Germany after she died? Or had Hermann never left Germany?  I don’t know.

As we saw, Minna’s daughter Flora Offenstadt2 married Hermann Durlacher in 1918 and had two children with him, Siegfried Julius Thomas (known as Thomas) and Ulla Louise Sara. Flora and the two children immigrated to Brazil in 1939, as seen in these immigration cards.

Flora Offenstadt Durlacher, Digital GS Number: 004764836
Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965

Siegfried Julius Thomas Durlacher, Digital GS Number: 004916940
Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965

Ulla Durlacher, Digital GS Number: 004916940
Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965

I could not locate any further records for Hermann Durlacher, but several unsourced trees indicate that he died in Sao Paolo, Brazil, on November 15, 1954, so perhaps he also immigrated to Brazil either before, with, or after his family. I don’t know what happened to Flora or her two children after they immigrated to Brazil in 1939. An unsourced tree on Geni reports that Thomas died in Sao Paulo on December 23, 2007.

Minna’s second daughter, Liselotte Polacovits, married Wilhelm Strauss-Reich on June 5, 1928, and had one child, as discussed here. I was not able to find information about their whereabouts during the 1930s, but by 1942 Liselotte and Wilhelm both had Palestinian passports that they renewed in 1947. I was able to locate a marriage record for their son (who may still be living) in England, so perhaps they also ended up in England or maybe they stayed in Israel.

Liselotte Strauss-Reich, Israel Archives, at https://tinyurl.com/wwdy88x

Thus, there is much to do to learn more about Minna and her descendants. So far, however, I’ve hit dead ends and brick walls. Searching online for answers in Brazil and Israel has led me nowhere. Not knowing how to read either Portuguese or Hebrew (except some basic terms) makes the task even more difficult. If anyone has any thoughts, please let me know.

 

 

 


  1.  Title: Amtliches Frankfurter Adressbuch, Deutsche National Bibliothek; Leipzig, Deutschland; Publisher: August Scherl; Signatur: ZC 811; Laufende Nummer: 1, Ancestry.com. Germany and Surrounding Areas, Address Books, 1815-1974 
  2. Flora’s father, Minna’s first husband Leo Offenstadt, died at Theriesenstadt concentration camp on January 9, 1943. See his entry at Yad Vashem at https://tinyurl.com/tz3gz73.