The Memoir of Julius Loewenthal, Part I: Growing Up in Frankfurt

In March, 2020, I wrote about the family of my cousin Julius Loewenthal, the son of Kiele Stern and Abraham Loewenthal, grandson of Sarah Goldschmidt and Salomon Stern, and great-grandson of Meyer Goldschmidt, my four-times great-uncle. Julius was married to Elsa Werner, his second cousin, the daughter of Helene Katzenstein, granddaughter of Malchen Goldschmidt, Sarah Goldschmidt’s younger sister.

They had four children: Ruth, born in 1905, Herbert, born in 1907, Hilda, born in 1911, and Karl Werner Loewenthal, born in 1918.

The basic facts of their story were described in detail here: the car accident that killed Ruth Loewenthal and her husband Leonhard Fulda and seriously injured Julius; the escape of Julius and Elsa from Germany; the murder of Ruth and Leonhard’s daughter Margot by the Nazis; Hilda’s marriage and divorce from Max Stern, the founder of the Hartz Mountain Corporation; Herbert Loewenthal’s move to Zurich after first immigrating to New York; and Karl’s departure to England to study at the Leicester Textile School and then serve in the British armed forces during World War II, during which time he changed his name to Garry Warner on the advice of his superior officer in case he was captured by the Nazis.

Since writing that post back in March, I have had the pleasure of connecting with and talking to Garry Warner-Loewenthal’s daughter Joanne, my fifth cousin. She has shared with me the memoir her grandfather Julius Loewenthal wrote in 1940 while the war was still going on and before he learned of the fate of his granddaughter Margot.

Joanne has generously given me permission to share some of the memoir, which was translated from German to English by her father Garry. As always, having the words of someone who lived through these experiences is so much more powerful than the words of a third person like me. In the next set of posts I will share some of the most poignant parts of Julius Loewenthal’s memoir. Today’s post will focus on the early years of Julius’ life in the Jewish community of Frankfurt in the late nineteenth century.

I have made a few editing changes and have selected only portions of the memoir, but have preserved as much as possible the tone and content of the original, including the capitalization of nouns that Garry Warner-Loewenthal preserved when he translated his father’s text.


I saw the light of day on August 24th 1874 in Wiesbaden near Frankfurt in our home on the Orianenstrasse…. When I was one year old, my parents moved back to Frankfurt. My father established a Wine Dealership in Frankfurt. …I had to help there a great deal during my youth. I had to fill bottles, cork them, and seal them, then carry the Wine to the customers.

… Later my dear Grandmother Sara [Goldschmidt] Stern with her Sons Adolf [also known as Abraham] and Mayer moved in with us and we shared a common household. That was an enormous strain and work for my dear mother, especially since she had borne 6 children of whom one died….

When I was 5 ½ years of age I was already sent to school. The school was located near the Synagogue near our House; all this was near as in those days nearly all Jews in Frankfurt lived in this neighborhood of Rechneigraben. In that locality was a Fishmarket on Fridays and before the high holidays you could buy your Lulef and your chickens. Thus, there always was lots of activity and commerce.

The Jewish community was led by the famous and highly respected Rabbi Samson Rafael Hirsch. I remember with joy this small in stature man with his brilliant eyes….

Selig Goldschmidt was the brother of my grandmother Sara Stern. He lived in Frankfurt during that time. He was a successful and very highly respected merchant. His knowledge of the world was great as were his religious convictions. He assisted Rabbi Hirsch in everything he could and what was necessary for the good of the Jewish community…..Rabbi Hirsch was the leader of a community who counted among its members many learned and wealthy individuals. Before the 1st World War there existed enormous wealth among the families of the Frankfurt congregation and the position of the Jews in Germany was then a respected one….Thus, their businesses were successful and they contributed much to Art and Culture of the country.

J & S Goldschmidt store on Kaiserstrasse in Frankfurt, c. 1890, Library of Congress Control Number 2002713666, found at https://lccn.loc.gov/2002713666

I attended the school I was enrolled in for 9 years. It was a very difficult time for me because much was demanded from me and much more than is expected of children today. Even on Sundays we had to go to school. I needed tutoring and for that I visited the house of my teacher Mr. Kauffmann. He was an unpleasant and very strict teacher who managed to rob me of the last sunshine of my youth. We had no free days at all, not even holidays….The results of this was that my health was never good and I became the easy victim of every serious sickness, which was dangerous as in those days little medication existed to combat these illnesses.

….There were always many family affairs. Bar mitzvahs, weddings, etc. never ended and were celebrated with pomp and generosity as befitted the wealth of those families. It was not a rare occasion when 600 or more people were invited to these affairs. It was common for individuals to create their music compositions and write their own theater pieces and present same on these occasions. Costumes were loaned from the Opera and Ballet houses. We children were always encouraged to make speeches during these festivities and after meals. We were encouraged to speak of Torah and general subjects. I write these things because I want to tell my children how happy the German Jews once lived.

The house of Selig Goldschmidt was a central meeting place for the family. Every Friday evening after the Evening meal was always a large reception in his home. During these occasions the family had much fun and for the children there was much activity. On Saturdays the central meeting place for the family was in his brother’s home, Falk Goldschmidt, who was a very humorous and charming individual who always kept everybody laughing and happy.

My Grandmother Sara Stern…lived in my parents’ house….Her brothers and sisters visited often and many many times we sat around our table talking by the light of the candles as gas and electric was not available at the time. I was very good at drawing when I was a child and often presented my drawings of different subjects to my relatives when they came to the house. It needs no mention that the Jewish holidays such as Seder, Succoth and all the others were celebrated with much joy and the strict observance of Jewish religious laws. … Both of our Uncles [Meier and Adolf] were like fathers to us and after my father died at an early age, they became our protectors and supporters until we children were old enough to take over.

Khal Adath Jeshurun synagogue in Frankfurt, the synagogue attended by the Goldschmidt family. https://www.kajinc.org/about/history

…I finished school at the age of 14 and my father sent me to a wholesale jobbing business as an apprentice. It was a very hard apprenticeship. … However, no one got me down. My first task was to bring order into the large inventory of the firm that even my employer praised as was not his custom to praise anyone. I requested a sample case and went out and sold merchandise with good results and much to the amazement of everyone. I made such a good place for myself that later the employer, Mr. Adler, requested that my brother Siegfried also join the firm as an apprentice.


I will end here for now and pick up in the next post with Julius as a young adult, his experience with the cholera epidemic, his marriage, and his life as an adult in Eschwege, Germany, before the rise of the Nazis to power in 1933.

I am so grateful to my cousin Joanne for allowing me to share these excerpts from her grandfather’s memoir. To read about their lives in the late nineteenth century has added such depth and color to my understanding of the lives led by my Goldschmidt family as Jews in Germany during those years.

Charles Bloch Redux, Part II: A Surprising Twist in the Family Tree

Although I ran into a brick wall trying to learn more about the time Charles Bloch spent in France during World War II, in the course of that research I discovered another twist in the Goldschmidt family tree.

First, I learned that Charles Bloch had a sister. Julius Bloch and Clara Herzberg, parents of Charles Bloch, had a daughter named Johanna Bloch born in 1879.

Johanna Bloch, birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_8931, Year Range: 1879, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Johanna married a man named Ludwig Dannheisser in 1900.

Johanna Bloch marriage record to Ludwig Dannheisser, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Year Range: 1900, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Here is a beautiful photograph of Johanna taken in 1921 in Frankfurt when she was 42:

Johanna Bloch Dannheisser, 1921, Frankfurt, Germany. Courtesy of Ralph Dannheisser

Tragically, both Johanna and Ludwig were killed at Auschwitz on May 22, 1944, after being deported from the Netherlands.1

Page of Testimony for Johanna Bloch Dannheisser at Yad Vashem, https://tinyurl.com/y58fweas

But their son Paul Dannheisser escaped from Germany to the Netherlands in 1938 and then to the US in 1940, settling in New York with his wife Dora Anni (known as Anni) nee Rosenthal and their son Ralph.2

This is a photograph taken at Paul and Anni’s wedding in October, 1932.

Wedding of Paul and Anni Dannheisser, October, 1932. Front row: Johanna Bloch Dannheisser, Anni Rosenthal Dannheisser, Paul Dannheisser, and Bertha Kaufmann Rosenthal. Standing behind Anni is her father-in-law Ludwig Dannheisser. Behind Paul to the right is Max Rosenthal.  Others are not identified. Courtesy of Ralph Dannheisser

When I saw the name Dannheisser, I knew something was familiar about it. Elizabeth Stern, the daughter of Alice Rapp and Saly Stern, was known as Elizabeth Dannheisser near the end of her life, according to the Social Security Claims and Applications Index.3 I had not found a marriage record for Elizabeth showing a marriage to someone named Dannheisser, only records showing a Paul Dannheisser married to Anni, but when I saw that Charles Bloch had a brother-in-law Ludwig and a nephew Paul with that surname, I wondered if there was a connection.

Fortunately, I was able to find and connect with Paul Dannheisser’s son Ralph, and he confirmed that in 1973, his father Paul Dannheisser had married my cousin Elizabeth Stern, the daughter of Saly Stern and Alice Rapp. He even shared a copy of the marriage certificate I couldn’t locate.

Courtesy of Ralph Dannheisser

Paul was 72 at the time, and Elizabeth was 54. Paul was a widower, his wife Anni having died the year before, and Elizabeth had divorced her first husband Gerhard Hirsch in 1950.4  Paul and Elizabeth had been introduced to each other by Ilse Bloch, known in the US as Helen Bloch, the daughter of Amalie Meyer and Charles Bloch.

Helen was Elizabeth’s second cousin; they were both great-granddaughters of Jacob Meier Goldschmidt and Jettchen Cahn:

Helen Bloch was also Paul Dannheisser’s first cousin; they were both the grandchildren of Julius Bloch and Clara Herzberg:

First cousins, Helen Bloch and Paul Dannheisser, 1961. Courtesy of Ralph Dannheisser

So Elizabeth Stern, the granddaughter of Helmina Goldschmidt Rapp, married the nephew of Charles Bloch, who was the husband of Amalie Meyer, daughter of Regina Goldschmidt and Aaron Meyer. Regina was Helmina’s older sister. Here’s another chart to show the connection.

Ralph, Paul Dannheisser’s son and the great-nephew of Charles Bloch, was thus the stepson of my cousin Elizabeth (known as Elsbeth). He also knew Charles and Amalie (whom he called Ama) Bloch. He often visited them in their New York City apartment on West 56th Street. He and his parents would go for monthly Sunday dinners. Ralph would listen to the radio or be entertained by Charles and Amalie’s daughter Helen while his parents and Charles and Amalie played bridge. Helen, who was an avid photographer, would show Ralph her photography magazines.

Ralph described Charles as a heavy-set bald man and Amalie as a handsome woman who wore her hair in a bun, and he said they were both very kind to him, as was Helen. In fact, he stayed close to Helen for many years, bringing his own children to visit her often. Unfortunately, however, Ralph was not able to tell me any more details of how Charles Bloch spent the years he was in France.5

Ralph shared the certificates of naturalization issued to Alice, Saly, and Elizabeth Stern; these were particularly exciting to me because they included photographs of each of them. He also shared a collage of photos including one of Walter Stern, Elizabeth’s brother.

Ralph was very fond of Elizabeth Stern, his father’s second wife. He described her as a lovely woman who was very warm and wonderful to him and to his father. Ralph was very pleased when his father married her (he was already an adult by that time). Sadly, Elizabeth developed a terrible illness not long after she married Paul Dannheisser and spent many of the years at the end of her life in a nursing home, dying in February 1997.6

Her brother Walter Stern also endured difficult times. Ralph had a file filled with letters written to or about Walter that revealed much about his character and his work history and ethic. In Germany, Walter was a very well-regarded employee of a book dealer named J. Kauffmann before he immigrated to the US, and then for some time after he immigrated, he worked for a jewelry company in Washington, DC, where he was living when his parents and sister Elizabeth immigrated to the US. His employer at the jewelry company had written a letter in April 1939 to the American Consul in London (where his family was then living), extolling Walter’s virtues. My hunch is that this was a character reference to support the Consul’s issuance of a visa to Saly, Alice, and Elizabeth Stern so they could immigrate to the US.7

Walter returned to New York after his family arrived in March 1940 and worked for a company called Tonerde Incorporated, as listed on his World War II draft registration in October 1940. He left there on December 8, 1941, and received another positive letter of recommendation. But that draft registration hinted that something else was going on with Walter:

Walter Stern, World War II draft registration, Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Why was he “under care”? Family lore, according to Ralph, is that Walter was mugged and suffered a brain injury from which he never recovered. But as late as 1944, Walter received letters of thanks from the Treasury Department for his efforts in selling war bonds. 8

Ralph and I couldn’t put together the whole picture of what happened to Walter. In a December 1946 letter from the Immigration and Naturalization Service to Alice Rapp Stern, Walter’s mother, there is a reference to a warrant for Walter’s arrest that was being cancelled. My hunch is that once Walter’s declaration of intention to become a US citizen had expired after seven years, or in August, 1945, and he had not yet become a naturalized citizen, he was subject to deportation. How Alice Rapp Stern persuaded INS to close the case and cancel the arrest warrant is a mystery yet to be solved. I have filed a request for documents from the USCIS to see if I can learn more.

Courtesy of Ralph Dannheisser

What we do know is that by the end of 1947, Walter was institutionalized at the Rockland State Hospital and later at Brooklyn State Hospital, where he lived out the rest of his life, dying in October 1996, just a few months before his sister Elizabeth.9

I still have no details about how Charles Bloch survived the war in France, the original question that led me down this ambling path. But what an adventure the search for answers to that question has been: learning about the ITS document request process, thanks to Barbara; making the connection to Danny, who spent so much time helping me find French records; and then finding Ralph, my distant cousin by marriage, who brought to life some of the people I’d been researching.  All these connections and discoveries have made this a wonderful experience. I may not have all the answers, but sometimes it’s more about the journey than the destination.


  1. Entry for Ludwig Dannheisser in Yad Vashem, found at https://tinyurl.com/y5s4hkjj; Entry for Johanna Bloch Dannheisser at Yad Vashem, found at https://tinyurl.com/y58fweas 
  2. Telephone conversation with Ralph Dannheisser, July 22, 2020. 
  3. Elizabeth Ruth Stern, [Elizabeth Ruthhenrietta Hirsch] [Elizabeth Dannheisser] Birth Date: 21 Jan 1919, Birth Place: Frankfurt A, Federal Republic of Germany
    Death Date: 13 Feb 1997, Father: Sally Stern, Mother: Alice Rapp, SSN: 127144714
    Notes: Mar 1942: Name listed as ELIZABETH RUTH STERN; Jul 1943: Name listed as ELIZABETH RUTHHENRIETTA HIRSCH; Oct 1973: Name listed as ELIZABETH RUTH DANNHEISSER; Dec 1973: Name listed as ELIZABETH RUT DANNHEISSER; 22 Feb 1997: Name listed as ELIZABETH DANNHEISSER, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  4. Ralph has a copy of Elizabeth’s Mexico divorce decree, dated August 5, 1950, as well as copy of her “get,” the Jewish divorce decree, dated July 3, 1952. 
  5. Telephone conversation with Ralph Dannheisser, July 29, 2020 
  6. Ibid. 
  7. Ibid. Files in possession of Ralph Dannheisser 
  8. Ibid. 
  9. Ibid. Files in possession of Ralph Dannheisser 

Searching for Helene Rapp Lehmann and Her Family: A Genealogy Adventure

Helmina Goldschmidt’s oldest child, her daughter Helene Rapp Lehmann, was harder to trace than her two younger siblings, Arthur and Alice. I knew that Helene, her husband Sally, their daughter Else Berta, and their son Ludwig all eventually ended up in the United States because all four are listed in the Social Security Death Index. But it was hard to find information about their departure from Germany and about their eventual arrival and life in the US and the years in between.

This document from the Arolsen Archives on Ancestry provided the first clues. It shows that Sally Lehmann was a dentist and that Else Berta, daughter of Helene and Sally Lehmann, had immigrated to Palestine.

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

I then found Else’s immigration papers showing that she first entered Palestine on February 21, 1939, when she would have been only seventeen. She became a naturalized citizen of Palestine on June 25, 1941. She was unmarried at that time and a hair dresser. (These papers are located at the Israel Archives website located here.)

I assumed that since Else was so young, the rest of her family might have immigrated to Palestine also around the same time, but I could at first not find any Palestinian immigration papers for her parents Helene and Sally or for her brother Ludwig.

At the same time I was researching them all, I received an email from someone in Israel who had questions about one of my other relatives, and so I asked him for advice about finding more information about those who had left Europe for Israel in the 1930s and 1940s. He recommended that I become a member of IGRA—the Israel Genealogy Research Association. I had seen their website many times before, but had hesitated to spend the money to become a member. This time I bit the bullet and joined.

And I am so glad that I did because a quick search uncovered two records for Sally Lehmann. Sally was listed in a 1940 and a 1946 Tel Aviv directory of doctors, dentists, pharmacists and other medical professionals. Thus, I know now that he had immigrated to Israel by 1940.

In addition, I found a 1948 divorce record for Else Berta Lehman, daughter of Shlomo (Sally), from Leopold Ickelheimer, suggesting that Else was likely still in Israel in 1948.

Finally, the IGRA website had a file indicating that a Ludwig Lehmann had changed his name to Yehuda in April 1936. I couldn’t be certain that this was the same Ludwig Lehmann, but if it was, that would mean that the Lehmann family, or at least Ludwig, was in Palestine as early as 1936.

And then, you know how sometimes you search and search and find nothing, and then you return to the same source days later and suddenly a record appears? That’s what happened here. I returned to the Israel Archives website where the Palestinian immigration records are available, and this time found Sally and Helene (Rapp) Lehmann’s immigration and naturalization. The file revealed that Sally and Helene had first arrived in Palestine on July 4, 1938, and that they became naturalized citizens on June 17, 1941.

Sally Lehmann and Helene Rapp Palestinian immigration file found at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/archives/#/Archive/0b07170680034dc1/File/0b07170680bf6119

However, no one in the Lehmann family remained permanently in Israel. I found a 1955 manifest for a ship sailing from Haifa, Israel, to New York, that lists Sally and Helene Lehmann as passengers and as Israeli citizens.1

I also found one for an Else B. Spitzer, arriving April 24, 1953, that I thought might be Else Berta Lehmann, but wasn’t sure. There was no age or other identifying information, and she was listed as a German citizen, not an Israeli citizen. 2 But then I located this naturalization index card that shows an Else Berta Spitzer with the same birth date as Elsa Berta Lehmann, residing at 550 West 172nd Street in New York City.

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

I used that address to search for Spitzers in the 1959 New York City directory living at 550 West 172nd Street and found a Kurt Spitzer living at that address, so now I knew that Else’s second husband was Kurt Spitzer.3 I also found his naturalization index card:

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

Unfortunately I cannot find any records showing Else with Kurt except for these two cards that show that they were living at the same address at the time of their naturalization. I did, however, find a record for Kurt’s enlistment in the US military on October 28, 1942, in New York, showing that he was a barber, beautifician, or manicurist, meaning he and Else were both in the hair dressing field. Kurt was already at that time a US citizen;4 he was born in Wurzburg, Germany, and immigrated to the US in 1925.5

Else’s brother, Sally and Helene’s son Yehuda Ludwig Lehmann, was particularly hard to locate with much certainty, After searching under all possible combinations of his names, I found a manifest with a Yehuda L. Lehmann coming to the US on December 29, 1952, from Cannes, France. He identified himself as divorced and as an Israeli citizen. He was 44 years old, and that would be consistent with the 1908 birth date I have for Ludwig Lehmann.

Yehuda Lehman, passenger manifest, Year: 1952; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 137, Ship or Roll Number: Constitution
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Thus, all the members of Sally and Helene’s family had left Israel for the US in the 1950s. I don’t have much information about their lives after their arrival, although records show that Yehuda married in 1954, was divorced in 1956, and remarried in 1965.  I don’t know whether either Yehuda or Else had children in any of their marriages.

Their mother Helene Rapp Lehman died when she was 82 on September 17, 1969, in New York;6 her husband Sally was 94 when he died three years later in 1972.7 Their son Yehuda Louis Ludwig Lehmann died October 7, 1989, when he was 81.8 And Else Berta Lehmann Spitzer died on March 15, 2008, at age 86.9 According to her listing in the SSDI, her last residence had been in Berlin, Germany.

Thus, Helene Rapp Lehmann was among the fortunate ones who escaped Nazi Germany along with her husband and her children, first to Palestine/Israel, and then to the US. In fact, her siblings Arthur and Alice and their families as well as their mother Helmina Goldschmidt Rapp were also among those who safely escaped. That is quite remarkable.


Having completed the story of the family of Helmina Goldschmidt Rapp, I have now written about all the children of Jacob Meier Goldschmidt and Jettchen Cahn. Next I will turn to Jacob’s younger sister Malchen Goldschmidt, the fourth of the seven children of Meyer Goldschmidt and Lea Katzenstein and their youngest daughter. But first some updates to prior stories.


  1. Sally Lehmann and Helene Lehmann, passenger manifest, Year: 1955; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 149, Ship or Roll Number: Jerusalem, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  2. Else B. Spitzer, passenger manifest, Year: 1953; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 347, Ship or Roll Number: Ryndam, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  3. Manhattan, New York, City Directory, 1959, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  4.  Kurt B Spitzer, Marital status: Single, without dependents (Single), Rank: Private
    Birth Year: 1908, Nativity State or Country: Danzig or Germany, Citizenship: Citizen
    Residence: New York, New York, Education: Grammar school, Civil Occupation: Barbers, beauticians, and manicurists, Enlistment Date: 28 Oct 1942, Enlistment Place: New York City, New York, Service Number: 32610147, Branch: Branch Immaterial – Warrant Officers, USA, Component: Selectees (Enlisted Men), Source: Civil Life
    Height: 66, Weight: 149, National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland, USA; Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946; NAID: 1263923; Record Group Title: Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, 1789-ca. 2007; Record Group: 64; Box Number: 05392; Reel: 203, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 
  5. Kurt Spitzer, Born: 1 Feb 1908, Birth Place: Wuerzburg, District: Lower Franconia
    Father: Josef, Mother: Karoline (Lina) nee STRAUSS, Last Residence: New York, NY
    Occupation: Merchant, employee, Naomi Teveth, comp. Germany, Jews in Würzburg, 1900-1945; Kurt Spitzer, ship manifest, Year: 1925; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 197, Ship or Roll Number: Luetzow, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  6. Helene Rap Lehmann, Gender: Female, Birth Date: 25 Aug 1887, Birth Place: Federal Republic of Germany, Claim Date: 21 Mar 1966, Father: Leopold Rapp
    Mother: Hermine[sic] Godschmidt, SSN: 076424080, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  7.  Sally Lehmann, Social Security Number: 057-38-7312, Birth Date: 2 Sep 1877
    Issue Year: 1963, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10474, Bronx, Bronx, New York, USA, Death Date: Feb 1972, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  8. Lou Ludwig Lehman, [Lou L Lehman], Gender: Male, Race: White
    Birth Date: 9 Feb 1908, Birth Place: Frankfort, Federal Republic of Germany
    Death Date: 7 Oct 1989, Father: Sally Lehmann, Mother: Helene Rapp
    SSN: 120280768,nAncestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  9.  Else B. Spitzer, Social Security Number: 109-28-8645, Birth Date: 8 Jan 1922
    Issue Year: 1952-1954, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 702, (U.S. Consulate) Berlin, Germany, Death Date: 15 Mar 2008, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 

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 

Helmina Goldschmidt Rapp, Part II: Leaving Germany with Alice Rapp Stern

As we saw, Jacob Meier Goldschmidt’s youngest child Helmina was widowed as a young woman and raised her three children alone from an early age. By the 1920s all three of those children were married and had children of their own.

When the Nazis came to power, Helmina and her family were among the fortunate ones who left Germany before it was too late. Today’s post will look at Helmina and her youngest child Alice and their escape from Germany.

By 1939, Helmina, her daughter Alice and son-in-law Saly and their daughter Grete were living in Harrow, Middlesex, England. Saly reported on the 1939 England and Wales Register that he was a refugee and thus not allowed to do business. Grete was a secretary for a leather goods manufacturer. All four family members were living in one household along with a housemaid.

The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/799H
Enumeration District: BIHB, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register

Alice and Saly Stern’s son Walter Stern had instead immigrated to the United States. According to his declaration of intention to become a US citizen, he arrived from Germany to New York on May 16, 1938, and was working as a shipping clerk when he filed his declaration on August 2, 1938.  He was living on Wadsworth Avenue in New York City in the Washington Heights neighborhood where so many German Jewish refugees settled in the 1930s and 1940s. (In yet another small world coincidence, my husband lived on Wadsworth Avenue in his early childhood, although his parents were not German Jewish refugees.)

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 539) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 417601-418600)
Ancestry.com. New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

Although I cannot find any record showing that Alice and Saly’s daughter Elizabeth was with them in England, I believe she must have been living there because on March 27, 1940, Alice, Saly, and Elizabeth all joined Walter in the United States. Strangely, this ship manifest shows all three sailing to New York, but Saly is listed separately and with a different English address.

Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960

On their US ship manifest, Alice and her daughter Elizabeth are again listed together, but Saly is listed on a different page. They all, however, were on the same ship arriving at the same time. And Alice’s declaration of intention shows that she and Saly arrived together and were residing together in New York on Ft. Washington Avenue, in the Washington Heights neighborhood where Walter had been residing in 1938.

Alice Stern, 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,  (Roll 590) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 463201-464100), Ancestry.com. New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

But the ship manifests for Alice, Elizabeth, and Saly report that by the time of their arrival in the spring of 1940, Walter was living in Washington DC.

However, when Walter registered for the World War II draft in October 1940, he was back living in New York. His registration card has three New York City addresses, all crossed out, but lists his father Saly as his contact person, residing on Ft. Washington Avenue.

Walter Stern, World War II draft registration, Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Saly Stern’s draft registration, filed on April 26, 1942, two years after that of Walter, shows that he was then self-employed as a salesman and living at 612 West 188th Street in New York with his wife Alice.

Saly Stern, 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

The following year their younger daughter Elizabeth Stern married Gerhard Hirsch, another German Jewish refugee, on March 28, 1943, in New York. Gerhard was born on September 24, 1908, in Berlin, and immigrated to the US in 1938.1

Meanwhile, Saly and Alice’s older daughter Grete Stern remained in England, as Alice reported on her naturalization papers, as did Alice’s mother Helmina Goldschmidt Rapp. Helmina died in England in July 1941, not long after her children in England had all left for the US.  She was 77 years old.2

Saly Stern died in New York on December 7, 1946.3 He was 69 years old. He had lived long enough to see most of his family settle safely in the US, except for his daughter Grete, who’d remained in England. Unfortunately he did not live to see Grete’s wedding. In 1948, Grete Stern married Kurt Lissauer, who was also a German Jewish refugee. He was born in Luebeck, Germany, on January 10, 1909. They were married in England.4

Elizabeth Stern’s marriage to Gerhard Hirsch did not last very long. She remarried in 1973 when she was 54; her second husband was Paul Dannheisser, a widower who was also a refugee from Germany.

Alice Rapp Stern outlived her husband by almost thirty years. She died in New York on January 28, 1974, at the age of 83.5 She was survived by her three children, Grete, Walter, and Elizabeth, all of whom died within a year of each other. Grete and Walter both died in October 1996; Grete was 85,6 Walter was almost 79.7 Their younger sister Elizabeth died just four months later on February 13, 1997.8 She had just turned 78. None of the three siblings had children, so there are no descendants.

The next post will tell the story of Alice Rapp Stern’s brother and Helmina Goldschmidt Rapp’s son, Arthur David Leopold Rapp, and his family.

 


  1.  Elizabeth Stern, Marriage License Date: 24 Mar 1943
    Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA
    Spouse: Gerhard Hirsch, License Number: 5751, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 3, Source Information
    Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018. Also, Elizabeth’s declaration of intention, “New York, Southern District, U.S District Court Naturalization Records, 1824-1946,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99HD-2S59?cc=2060123&wc=M5P7-PTY%3A351618501 : 14 August 2019), Petitions for naturalization and petition evidence 1945 box 1026, no 515801-516050 > image 728 of 983; citing NARA microfilm publication M1972, Southern District of New York Petitions for Naturalization, 1897-1944. Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685 – 2009, RG 21. National Archives at New York. 
  2.  Helmina Rapp, Death Age: 78, Birth Date: abt 1863, Registration Date: Jul 1941
    Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep, Registration district: Hendon, Inferred County: Middlesex, Volume: 3a, Page: 656, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 3a; Page: 656, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 
  3.  Saly Stern, Marital status: Married, Age: 69, Birth Date: 26 Nov 1877, Birth Place: Germany, Residence Street Address: 612 W 188 St, Residence Place: New York
    Death Date: 7 Dec 1946, Death Street Address: 612 W 188th St, Death Place: New York City, Manhattan, New York, USA, Occupation: Clerk Stock’s, Father’s Birth Place: Germany, Mother’s Birth Place: Germany, Father: Marcus Stern, Mother: Francisca Stern, Spouse: Alice, Informant: Alice Stern, Informant Relationship: Wife
    Executor: Alice Stern, Executor Relationship: Wife, Certificate Number: 25862
    New York City Department of Records & Information Services; New York City, New York; New York City Death Certificates; Borough: Manhattan; Year: 1946, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Index to Death Certificates, 1862-1948 
  4. Greta Stern, Registration Date: Apr 1948, Registration Quarter: Apr-May-Jun
    Registration district: Hendon, Inferred County: Middlesex, Spouse: Kurt Lissauer
    Volume Number: 5e, Page Number: 1260, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 5e; Page: 1260, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005. Kurt Lissauer, Enemy Alien Registration, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/56, Piece Number Description: 056: Internees at Liberty in UK 1939-1942: Lir-Lov, Ancestry.com. UK, WWII Alien Internees, 1939-1945 
  5.  Alice Stern, Social Security Number: 051-18-8391, Birth Date: 4 Oct 1890
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York,Last Residence: 10040, New York, New York, New York, USA, Death Date: Jan 1974, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  6.  Grete Lissauer, Death Age: 85, Birth Date: 16 Sep 1911, Registration Date: Oct 1996, Registration district: Hendon, Inferred County: Greater London, Register Number: A41C, District and Subdistrict: 2351A, Entry Number: 108, General Register Office; United Kingdom, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 
  7. Walter Stern, Gender: Male, Birth Date: 1918, Death Date: 9 Oct 1996
    Claim Date: 2 Dec 1970, SSN: 056162574, Death Certificate Number: 350302
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  8. Elizabeth Ruth Stern, [Elizabeth Ruthhenrietta Hirsch], [Elizabeth Dannheisser]
    Gender: Female, Race: White, Birth Date: 21 Jan 1919, Birth Place: Frankfurt A, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 13 Feb 1997, Father: Sally Stern
    Mother: Alice Rapp, SSN: 127144714, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 

Helmina Goldschmidt Rapp, Part I: Another Young Widow

For the past month I’ve been writing updates  to earlier posts, mostly about my Goldschmidt relatives but also a few from my Seligmann relatives. I am finally ready to return to the Goldschmidts with new research, starting with the youngest of the five children of Jacob Meier Goldschmidt and Jettchen Cahn, Helmina Goldschmidt.

Helmina was born on October 23, 1863, in Frankfurt, Germany.

Helmina Goldschmidt birth record. Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_8824, Description Year Range: 1863, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

She married Leopold Rapp on November 2, 1883, in Niederrad-und-Oberrad, Germany. Leopold was the son of David Rapp and Rebecka Kulp and was born in Frankfurt on July 18, 1854.

Helmina Goldschmidt and Leopold Rapp, marriage record. Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 9427,  1883, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Helmina and Leopold had three children.  David Leopold Rapp (later known as Arthur Rapp) was born on November 15, 1884, in Frankfurt.

Arthur David Leopold Rapp birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_8997, Year Range: 1884, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Helene Rapp was born on August 25, 1887, in Frankfurt.

Helene Rapp birth record. Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_9032, Description, Year Range: 1887, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

And Alice Rapp was born in Frankfurt on October 4, 1890.

Alice Rapp birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_9076, Description, Year Range: 1890, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Unfortunately, Leopold Rapp died just three years after the birth of their last child. He died on October 13, 1893, in Frankfurt, leaving Helmina a widow with three very young children. Arthur was turning nine, Helene was seven, and Alice was three.

Leopold Rapp death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10465
Description, Year Range: 1893, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Helene Rapp married when she was only nineteen. On February 8, 1907, she married Sally Lehmann in Frankfurt. Sally was the son of Isaak Lehman and Bertha Neu and was born in Kannstadt on September 2, 1877.

Marriage record of Helene Rapp and Sally Lehmann, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Year Range: 1907, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

They had three children. Ludwig Lehmann was born February 9, 1908, in Frankfurt.1 His sister Felise was born four years later in 1912, but died as a child on May 5, 1918, in Frankfurt. A third child, Else Berta was born January 8, 1922.2

Felise Lehmann death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10805, Year Range: 1918, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Helene’s older brother David Leopold also married in 1907. He married Herta Landsberg on December 19, 1907, in Frankfurt. Herta was the daughter of Sally Landsberg and Martha Lorch and was born in Frankfurt on June 14, 1887.

Marriage of David Leopold Rapp to Herta Landsberg, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Year Range: 1907, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Arthur and Herta had one child, Henriette “Rita” Rapp, born on September 21, 1908, in Frankfurt.3

Arthur and Herta’s marriage did not last; they were divorced on November 10, 1917, as seen on the notation on their marriage record above, and Arthur later married Alice Johanna Kahn in Frankfurt on May 6, 1921. She was the daughter of Markus Kahn and Emilie Kahn and was born in Frankfurt on February 24, 1895.

Marriage of David Leopold Rapp to Alice Kahn, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Year Range: 1921, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

The notation on both David’s birth record and his marriage record to Alice was translated for me by Cathy Meder-Dempsey; it provides that as of March 8, 1924, David Leopold Rapp had received authorization to add the additional first name Arthur to his name. He was thereafter referred to as Arthur and will also be so on the blog.

Arthur and Alice Rapp had two sons. Helmut Leopold Rapp was born on February 11, 1923, in Berlin.4 His brother Gunther Rapp was born in Frankfurt on December 10, 1925.5

Finally, the youngest child of Helmina Goldschmidt and Leopold Rapp, Alice, was married on September 23, 1910, in Frankfurt to Saly Stern, the son of Markus Stern and Franziska Oppenheimer. Saly was born on November 26, 1877, in Frankfurt.

Marriage record of Alice Rapp and Saly Stern, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Year Range: 1910, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Alice and Saly had three children. Grete was born on September 16, 1911 in Frankfurt.6 Walter was born December 3, 1917, in Frankfurt,7 and Elizabeth Ruth Stern was born on January 21, 1919, in Frankfurt.8

Helmina Goldschmidt Rapp had thus managed to raise all three of her children to adulthood, and by the 1920s, all three were married and raising children of their own and living in Frankfurt. Obviously, everything changed in the 1930s with the rise of the Nazis.

 


  1. E.g., Louis Ludwig Lehman, [Yehuda Ludwig Lehman] , Birth Date: 9 Feb 1908
    Age: 58, Naturalization Date: 27 Jun 1966, Residence: New York, New York
    Title and Location of Court: New York Southern District. Ancestry.com. New York, Index to Petitions for Naturalization filed in New York City, 1792-1989 
  2. Else Berta Spitzer, Birth Date: 8 Jan 1922, Age: 36, Naturalization Date: 5 Jan 1959, Residence: New York, New York, Title and Location of Court: New York Southern District, Ancestry.com. New York, Index to Petitions for Naturalization filed in New York City, 1792-1989 
  3. Henriette Rapp marriage record, Landesarchiv Berlin; Berlin, Deutschland; Personenstandsregister Heiratsregister; Laufendenummer: 189, Description
    Register Year or Type: 1929 (Erstregister), Ancestry.com. Berlin, Germany, Marriages, 1874-1936 
  4. Helmut Harold 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, (Roll 626) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 496501-497400),
    Ancestry.com. New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943 
  5. Gordon 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 
  6.  Grete Stern, Gender: Female, Nationality: German, Birth Date: 16 Sep 1911
    Birth Place: Frankfurt, Germany, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/89, Ancestry.com. UK, WWII Alien Internees, 1939-1945 
  7. Walter Stern, World War II draft registration, U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  8. Elizabeth Ruth Stern, Birth Date: 21 Jan 1919, Birth Place: Frankfurt A, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 13 Feb 1997, Father: Sally Stern, Mother: Alice Rapp, SSN: 127144714, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 

Gaps in the Story: How Did Amalie and Charles Bloch Escape from Nazi Germany?

Back in May, I wrote about Amalie Meyer Bloch, the granddaughter of Jacob Meier Goldschmidt and Jettchen Cahn, daughter of Regina Goldschmidt and Aaron Meyer. One question that lingered was how Amalie and her daughter Ilse ended up separated from Amalie’s husband Charles Bloch.

I knew from one of the Arolsen Archives document available through Ancestry that Charles had gone to Paris, and I knew that he eventually rejoined Amalie and Ilse in the US in 1946, reporting that his last address had been in Toulouse, France. But what I didn’t know was when Charles had gone to Paris and where he was in France during the war after Germany’s invasion of France in 1940.

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

Barb276, one of my readers, suggested that I contact the ITS (International Tracing Service) and file a request for more information about Charles since not all of their documents are available through the Arolsen Archives. I did as she suggested back in May and was told that it would take ten months to complete the investigation and report back. I prepared myself for a long wait.

You can imagine my surprise when just a week or so ago I received a report back from ITS with more documents about Charles. Those documents don’t really answer my questions, unfortunately, but they did reveal one more piece of the puzzle.

Charles was one of the thousands of Jewish men who were rounded up during and after Kristallnacht in November 1938 and sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp. He was released in December 1938.

My working hypothesis is that upon his release, he left Germany for France. One of the ITS documents, a property inventory prepared after the war in 1950, described Charles as a “französischer Jude,” a French Jew. I wasn’t sure what to make of that since Charles was also documented as German-born—born in Frankfurt in 1881. That same document also states that Amalie is “gilt als staatenlos,” considered stateless. So maybe the reference to Charles as a French Jew meant that he had become a citizen of France after immigrating there.

It would make sense that Charles would leave Germany in early 1939 after his experience at Buchenwald. As seen in my earlier post, his daughter Ilse had gone to England by 1939. But it seems that Amalie was not in England or France at that point. On her November 27, 1941, declaration of intention to become a US citizen, Amalie reported that Charles was at that time residing in France, Ilse was residing in New York, and that Amalie herself had last resided in Lisbon, Portugal.

Amalie Meyer Bloch, declaration of intent, 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 641) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 510101-511000)
Ancestry.com. New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

My hunch is that Amalie stayed behind in Germany longer than her husband and daughter and then somehow escaped to Portugal after the war started. But I could be wrong. My other hunch is that Charles escaped from Paris after the Nazis invaded and somehow survived the war in southern Vichy-controlled France, finally arriving in the US a year after the war. Although I don’t know more about Charles’ time there, I did find a Jewish Telegraphic Agency news release dated April 29, 1941, reporting that Jewish refugees had been expelled from Toulouse. I’ve no idea, however, how that impacted Charles Bloch.

Unfortunately, the ITS documents do not reveal anything about Charles’ time in France during or after the war. Nor do I have any more information about how Amalie ended up in Portugal or when. And since they have no living descendants, I fear I can only rely on my hunches and speculation to fill in these gaps.

 

Martha Loewenthal Wolff’s Family: An Update from Israel

One of the more elusive Goldschmidt family members to research has been Martha Loewenthal Wolff and her family. Martha was the daughter of Kiele Stern and Abraham Loewenthal, the granddaughter of Sarah Goldschmidt and Salomon Stern, and my third cousin, twice removed. Thanks to my friend Aaron Knappstein, I now have more information and documents and even photographs of Martha and her family.

Martha was married to Jakob Wolff, as discussed here, and they had three children: Anna, Hans Anton, and Walter. I was missing birth records for all three children, and Aaron was able to locate all of them.

Birth record of Anna Wolff

Birth record of Hans Anton Abraham Wolff

Birth record of Walter Wolff

Martha died in 1930, and I could not find a death record for her until Aaron located it, as I wrote about here.

After Martha’s death and the Nazi takeover of Germany, Jakob Wolff and all three of their children immigrated to Israel, as I wrote about here.

But I did not know what happened to Jakob or his children after their immigration. And then Aaron came through for me again and located Hans Anton Wolff’s son Benjamin in Israel and connected me to him and his daughter Ravid. Now I have firsthand information about Martha’s family as well as photographs, thanks to Ravid Wolff, my fifth cousin, once removed.

First, some photographs of the family taken before they left Germany.

Jacob and Martha Wolff and their first car Courtesy of the Wolff family

Anna Wolff and her mother Martha Loewenthal Wolff Courtesy of the Wolff family

Anna Wolff as a child Courtesy of the Wolff family

Hans Anton and Walter Wolff Courtesy of the Wolff family

Ravid shared with me that her great-grandmother Martha was a very talented artist and sent me this image of a painting that Martha did while traveling with Jakob in what was then Palestine in the 1920s.

Painting by Martha Loewenthal Wolff

According to Ravid, her great-grandparents Martha and Jakob Wolff owned two banks in Frankfurt, Germany, and were quite wealthy. After Martha died from ovarian cancer in 1930, Jakob married Ilse Gruenebaum. When Hitler came to power, Jakob recognized how dangerous he was and, as a Zionist, decided to leave Germany for Israel (then Palestine) before it was too late. He was able to obtain visas to immigrate for a thousand pounds each, an exorbitant amount of money at that time, but had to leave all his other property and possessions behind. All of it including their home in Frankfurt was confiscated by the Nazis and never returned to the family.

Ravid shared two letters with me that show that the requests for restitution of their property in Frankfurt were denied:

Google Translate helped me translate these letters. The one above translates as:

Upon your request of 17 December 1956, we will inform you: The property Leerbachstrasse 36 was registered until 17 September 1937 on:
Banker Jakob Wolff on the ideal half
Instead of his wife Martha Wolff [names of children] for ideal half in undivided community of heirs. [I am not sure what “ideal half” means.]
In the way of the forced auction, this plot of land on 17 9 1937 is given to Frau Therese Ried geb Stromer, [address]. It is still owned by them.
The owner of the Paulsplatz 14 property was the merchant Carl Seitz in Baden near Vienna in 18 1 1923 and the owner of the Paulsplatz 16 property was the Jakob Wolff & Co., Open Trade Company since 18 March 1922.
The current owner of both properties has been the municipal district of Frankfurt since August 10, 1934 bze, October 15, 1935. A piece of land at Paulsplatz 18 does not exist.

The second letter translated as:

The aforementioned property became the property of the City of Frankfurt on the basis of an additional resolution dated 2 4 1935. The compulsory auction had already started in 1932. The JRSO, which had previously asserted claims for reimbursement for the aforementioned property, accepted its application on Feb. 1, 1951. For your further information, we would like to inform you that the city has always contested a claim for reimbursement.
We hope to have served you with the above statements.

As for Martha and Jakob’s three children, Anna, the oldest, was married to Simon Wittekind when she immigrated, and they had two sons, Aharon and Baruch (as they were known in Israel) who were born in Berlin. Simon was a doctor who wanted to move to South Africa, but Anna felt safer in Israel, so she stayed there with her children.

Anna later married Herbert Feige. According to Ravid, Anna hated Germany and suffered great trauma because of what had happened there and unlike her brother Hans Anton refused to reclaim her German citizenship when that right became available to her. Her sons changed their surname to Yardeni (for the Jordan River) to identify with their new homeland. Ravid did not know exactly when Anna died, only that like her mother Martha, she died young and from cancer.

Ravid’s grandfather was Hans Anton Wolff, the second child of Martha Loewenthal and Jakob Wolff.  He married Susana Meseritz, another refugee from Germany, whom he met in Palestine. They had one child, Ravid’s father Benjamin. Hans had a doctorate in chemistry. He died from colon cancer in 1974, and his wife Susana died in 2002.

Walter, the youngest of the siblings, also married in Palestine/Israel. He owned a hotel in Jerusalem for many years. He and his wife Hedy Buller had two children. Walter died in 1968 in Jerusalem, also from cancer.

I am so indebted to Aaron Knappstein for finding the missing records of the Wolff children and even more so for connecting me to my cousin Ravid. And I am very, very grateful to Ravid for sharing her family’s story with me. Ravid, like her great-grandmother Martha and so many others in the extended Goldschmidt family, has a great interest in and great talents in art. Her photography captures in simple and yet complex ways the beauty of the world around us by using unusual perspectives and contrasting light and colors.

The Families of Kiele Stern Loewenthal and Abraham Stern: An Update

My last post provided new information about the descendants of Kiele Stern Loewenthal’s daughter Selma Loewenthal Schwabacher. Today I will look at updates for the family of Kiele Stern Loewenthal’s daughter Helene Loewenthal Schultze and specifically updates for her only child, Elisabeth Auguste Aloysia Schultze, daughter of Helene’s second husband Oskar Schultze. I had several gaps in the story of Elisabeth.

First, I did not have Elisabeth’s birth record, and Aaron Knappstein located it for me:

Elisabeth was born on December 3, 1914, in Coblenz, Germany. Perhaps the most interesting thing I learned from this record was that Helene, her mother, was identifying as “ohne,” or without, religion. As I wrote about here, Elisabeth’s mother Helene was born Jewish, but her father Oskar Schultze was Protestant. But both Helene and Elisabeth were included on the 1939 Minority census in Germany.

The notes at the bottom of the record indicate that Elisabeth was married in February 24,1955, in Hamburg and that she died on November 23, 1991 in Bad Krozingen.

That helped Aaron locate Elisabeth’s marriage record and death record. Here is the marriage record.

This document shows that Elisabeth married Ulrich Carl Albert Wilke on February 24, 1955, in Hamburg, Germany. Ulrich was born on August 16, 1906, in Hamburg; his parents were Emil Ludwig Gustav Wilke and Catherine Wilhelmine Frieda Auguste Schreiber. The marriage record states that Ulrich was a bank clerk and that Elisabeth was a merchant. She was 41 when they married, and he was 49. The marriage record indicates that neither had children, and as far as I know, Elisabeth and Ulrich also did not have children. Both Elisabeth and Ulrich reported that they were Lutheran.

In the upper left-hand margin of the marriage record is a note indicating that Elisabeth left the church in 1969. Aaron explained to me that this could have been done to avoid the religion tax or it could have indicated that she was not religious and did not want to pay a tax to support the church.

The second note in the left-hand margin reports that Ulrich died on December 5, 1984.

The third document that Aaron located about Elisabeth Schultze Wilke is a transcription of her death record.

From this document I know that she died in Bad Krozingen on November 23, 1991 and that she identified as “evanglische” (Protestant), so perhaps she had returned to the church between her marriage and her death. Elisabeth was 77 when she died.

Thanks to Aaron Knappstein, I now have a much more complete story of Elisabeth’s life; what’s still missing is the story of where she was and how she managed during the 1940s, and that may remain a mystery as she had no children to carry on her story.

I also have updates that relate to the descendants of Kiele Stern’s brother Abraham Stern and his children. These updates came from Abraham’s great-grandson Rafi Stern, who has previously shared photographs and information about his relatives. This time he sent two documents in German.

The first is a letter written by his uncle Erich Stern to Erich’s brother and Rafi’s father Guenther Stern. Erich and Guenther were the sons of Siegfried Salmon Stern, son of Abraham Stern and Johanna Goldschmidt. I discussed this letter in the earlier post, but now have a scan of the original letter in German. It is the letter Eric wrote describing in the first paragraph what had happened to the family on Kristallnacht. As you can see, it is dated November 13, 1938, just a few days after that nightmarish event throughout Germany.

The remaining two paragraphs are rather vague but appear to concern the family’s property and business and how to protect it from the Nazis.

Thank you for your various letters.
Unfortunately we have very bad news from Frankfurt. Uncle Siegfried, who wanted to go to Palestine with your family on Sunday, was arrested on Friday, as well as Aunt Sittah, Maguerite and Helmuth. Aba had fled and no one knew where. Really horrible conditions. Bickhardts still seem to be undisturbed.

Under these circumstances, I personally think it is more correct if you do not entrust Mr. Goldschmidt with the handling of the matter, since he cannot do the thing in the future. An Aryan lawyer, as I hear, is also not allowed to accept new Jewish customers, but if you turned to Peters, that [problem]would also disappear.  [I assume this means that because the family had previously used Peters, the prohibition against new clients would not apply.] Please write to him immediately. The matter can surely also be processed via the foreign exchange office in Cologne, since we are responsible here. Please let me know about it immediately. I will not enclose the list of assets with you, because maybe it will not be required in Cologne. I am also very reluctant to submit a list of 35 & 38, because I do not know about Eburonenstrasse and have given only very vague information about the general property registration.

As far as the matter of the foreign  papers, Father gave the matter to one of his lawyers (I don’t know his name), who is said to have first-class relationships. I haven’t heard anything yet. Father took it on the condition that if the lawyer got all or part of the papers in my name, we would share them.

Did you hear about the transfer of the proceeds from the sale of Kaiserstrasse to our accounts?
Greeting and kiss. Yours, Erich

Rafi also sent me a memoir written by his great-aunt, Siegfried’s sister Alice Lea Stern Oppenheimer.  It’s 58 pages long and in German, and since my German group is not meeting this summer, I am going to try to read it myself to keep up with my German. I will report back once I’ve accomplished that task.

Thank you again to Aaron Knappstein and to Rafi Stern for helping to tell the stories of these descendants of Sarah Goldschmidt and Salomon Stern.

 

A Photo Essay of the Family of Selma Loewenthal Schwabacher

Another cousin who found my blog during these pandemic days is my fifth cousin, once removed, Carrie Schwabacher. She is the granddaughter of Gerhard Schwabacher, the great-granddaughter of Selma Loewenthal Schwabacher, great-great-granddaughter of Kiele Stern Loewenthal, three times great granddaughter of Sarah Goldschmidt Stern, and four-times great-granddaughter of Meyer Goldschmidt.

Carrie kindly shared with me these wonderful photographs as well as some heartwarming stories about her family. They start with her great-great-grandmother, Kiele (Caroline) Stern Loewenthal, the daughter of Sarah Goldschmidt and Salomon Stern, wife of Abraham Loewenthal. I wrote about Kiele here and here.

Kiele Stern Loewenthal.
Courtesy of her family

Here is a lovely photograph of Kiele and Abraham Loewenthal’s daughter, Selma, as a young woman; I see a strong resemblance to her mother.

Selma Loewenthal
Courtesy of her family

Selma married Nathan Schwabacher:

Nathan Schwabacher Courtesy of the Schwabacher family

And they had three children. Their daughter Alice was the oldest:

Alice Schwabacher Courtesy of the Schwabacher family

Alice was followed by Julius Alfred Schwabacher:

Julius Alfred Schwabacher Courtesy of the Schwabacher family

Gerhard Schwabacher, Carrie’s grandfather, was Selma and Nathan’s youngest child:

Gerhard Schwabacher
Courtesy of the family

The two sons look remarkably similar to each other and to their father Nathan.

Alice Schwabacher married David Weinstein (later Wenten) and had one child, Wolfgang, depicted here as a young boy with his dog:

Wolfgang Weinstein and dog

Julius Schwabacher married Margaret Wuertenberg and had one child, Eva Lore, the adorable little girl shown here:

Eva Lore Schwabacher
Courtesy of the family

This photograph of Selma Loewenthal Schwabacher and her brother Julius Loewenthal is undated, but must have been taken before 1936 when Julius left for the United States. Selma died in 1937 in Berlin.

Selma Loewenthal Schwabacher and brother Julius Loewenthal
Courtesy of the family

Here is a closer one of Selma, probably taken around the same time:

The remaining photographs that Carrie shared with me appear to have been taken after the family immigrated to the United States. Their full story has been told here, so I won’t tell it again, but will share these photographs of the Schwabacher family in their new country and some of Carrie’s memories of her extended family.

She has wonderful memories of her grandparents, as she shared with me: “I have such great memories of my grand parents even though they died when I was 7. Christmas was a very special time – like a scene from the Nutcracker. As children, we celebrated Hanukkah, Christmas and Epiphany ( my mom’s side of the family is Russian Orthodox). We got presents for months, or it seemed like it.” She also wrote that her Opa, Gerhard Schwabacher, always gave each of his grandchildren a quarter every time he saw them.

Other holidays were spent with her great-uncle Julius Schwabacher, who became Fred Wenten in the US, and his wife Else in Proctor, Vermont: Fred and Elsa owned an Inn in Proctor Vt. The entire family spent a few holidays there as well. The toasts would go on for so long that someone would finally say “let the children eat their fruit cocktails before they fall asleep”. And then, dinner would start.”

Here’s a photograph of Fred Wenten in the US:

Fred Wenten (born Julius Alfred Schwabacher)
Courtesy of the family

Fred’s daughter Eva Lore was also a favorite of Carrie. Eva Lore married Henry Corton in 1951. Carrie wrote this about them:

“Henry was a fabulous dancer and would sometimes break into buck and wing ( tap dancing) in the kitchen even when he was old. We visited then often when they lived in Jamaica, Queens. We always went out for walks. We met Bella Abzug at the Cloisters in NY. He was very fond of Pavorotti and considered him a “distant cousin“. It got him back stage at the Met many times. Eva and Henri took us to Ringling Bro’s. And Barnum & Bailey Circus and the Ice Capades when we were little. We visited Eva Lore in LaGuna Hills, helped her pack and move to Baltimore, and took her to her first McDonalds meal. The “Apple Strudel “ was her favorite. Apple Pie. Even at 79, she was booking her own travel on her computer. They never had children, but spoiled us.”

Here are some of the photographs of Eva Lore and Henry that Carrie shared with me:

Eva Lore Schwabacher and Henry Corton Courtesy of the family

Eva Lore Schwabacher Corton Courtesy of the family

Eva Lore Schwabacher Corton Courtesy of the family

Eva Lore and Henry Corton Courtesy of the family

Carrie also has warm memories of her great-aunt Alice Schwabacher Weinstein (Wenten in the US):

“We went to visit Tanta Alice for the holidays every year in Washington Heights, NY. I always wanted to take a nap, because I loved the big square Feather pillows on the bed. She always had such great treats for us, German delicacies. She was extremely socially active. Wolf would remark that he had to make an appointment just to visit his mother. We had her 90 th birthday party at window on the worlds – top of the World Trade Center. It was incredible to meet so many people originally named Schwabacher.”

This photograph shows Alice with her son Wolfgang and his wife Ruth.

Alice Schwabacher Wenten Kingsley, Wolfgang Wenten, Ruth Pollinger Wenten
Courtesy of the family

Finally, this is a photograph of the three Schwabacher siblings and their spouses taken in the US:

Arthur Kingsley, Alice Schwabacher Kingsley, Julius (Fred Wenten) Schwabacher, Else Wenten, Alice Ferron Schwabacher, Gerhard Schwabacher
Courtesy of the family

I am extremely grateful to my cousin Carrie for sharing her memories and these photographs. She really has brought to life this strong and loving family who escaped from Germany and started a wonderful new life in the United States.