How the Nazis Treated Children of Mixed Marriages, Part I: Emil Seligmann

Wolfgang’s second find on the newly released Arolsen Archives website was about our cousin Emil Jacob Seligmann, Jr., the son of Emil Jacob Seligmann, Sr., and Anna Maria Angelika Illian. His father Emil, Sr., was the son of Caroline Seligmann and Siegfried Seligmann and the grandson of Moritz Seligmann and Eva Schoenfeld. And since Emil Sr.’s father Siegfried was the son of Moritz’s sister Martha, Emil Sr., was also her grandson. Thus, Emil, Sr., was the great-grandson of Jacob Seligmann and Martha Mayer through two of their children.

Extended Pedigree Chart for Emil Seligmann

Anyway, I digress. Emil, Sr., was born on December 23, 1863, in Mainz, Germany.

Emil Jacob Seligmann Sr birth record, Stadtarchiv Mainz; Mainz, Deutschland; Zivilstandsregister, 1798-1875; Signatur: 50 / 66
Ancestry.com. Mainz, Germany, Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1798-1875

He married Anna Maria Angelika Illian on February 10, 1907, in Erbach, Germany. Their marriage record indicates that Anna Maria was Catholic, so theirs was an interfaith marriage.

Emil Jacob Seligmann Sr Marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 919; Laufende Nummer: 1109, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Emil, Sr., and Anna Maria had two children—Emil Jacob, Jr. and Christina. From these names, we can see that Emil, Sr., was not keeping to Jewish naming traditions, having a son who shared his name and a daughter named Christina and known as Christel.

One other observation: Emil Jacob, Jr., was born on May 27, 1901, almost six years before the date on his parents’ marriage record. 1 I wonder whether there were legal or other obstacles that prevented Emil, Sr., and Anna Maria from marrying earlier.

According to Emil, Sr.’s death certificate, he died from arteriosclerosis on August 9, 1942, at home in Wiesbaden. He was 78 years old. His wife Anna Maria had predeceased him on January 31, 1942, in Wiesbaden; she was 71. She died from heart disease.2

Emil Jacob Seligmann, Sr death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 925; Laufende Nummer: 2934, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

The Arolsen Archives had this registration card for Emil, Sr., dated sometime after June 30, 1941. I know this is pure speculation, but I do have to wonder whether the stress of the Nazi era contributed to their deaths.

Card “Reichsvereinigung der Juden”, Emil I. SELIGMANN, 1.2.4.1 / 12673844, ITS Digital Archive, Arolsen Archives

The fate of their son Emil, Jr., sheds some light on that, especially from the papers that Wolfgang located at the Arolsen Archives. There is an entire folder for Emil, Jr., of forms connected to his time at Buchenwald, and those forms reveal a great deal not only about Emil but also about the Nazi mindset. I will only post a few of the forms in the folder—those that reveal the most important information about Emil.

First is his Haeftlings-Personal-Karte or his personal prisoner’s card, which includes information about his birth, his parents, his physical characteristics, as well as other matters. Note that it asks for his religion, and he responded “R.K.,” or Roman Catholic. That is, Emil was imprisoned at Buchenwald even though his mother was Catholic and he identified as Catholic.

Prisoner Registration Card Concentration Camp Buchenwald, Emil SELIGMANN, 1.1.5.3 / 7088569, ITS Digital Archive, Arolsen Archives

Note also at the top that it says “Mischl. 1 Gr.”, or Mischling First Degree. “Mischling” means hybrid in German, and it was the way Nazis labeled those who were from a mixed background and not 100% Jewish in their ancestry. A Mischling First Degree meant someone who had two Jewish grandparents, as Emil, Jr. did. The First Supplementary Decree of November 14, 1935 to the Nuremberg Laws on Citizenship and Race first promulgated on September 15, 1935, established standards for defining who was a Jew for Nazi purposes and included this provision:

ARTICLE 5

(1)  A Jew is an individual who is descended from at least three grandparents who were, racially, full Jews…

(2)  A Jew is also an individual who is descended from two full-Jewish grandparents if:

(a)  he was a member of the Jewish religious community when this law was issued, or joined the community later;

(b)  when the law was issued, he was married to a person who was a Jew, or was subsequently married to a Jew;

(c)  he is the issue from a marriage with a Jew, in the sense of Section I, which was contracted after the coming into effect of the Law for the Protection of German Blood and Honor of September 15, 1935;

(d)  he is the issue of an extramarital relationship with a Jew, in the sense of Section I, and was born out of wedlock after July 31, 1936.

There are many other sources shedding light on the definition of Mischling and the treatment thereof by the Nazis including those linked to here and here and here.

Emil did not fall into any of those disqualifying categories so was classified as a Mischling, First Degree. But what did that mean for Emil?

Well, as you can see from his card, he did not escape persecution. He was sent to Buchenwald by the Gestapo through Frankfurt, in 1944. The card says “eingewiesen am” August 21, 1944, and “eingewiesen am” translates as “instructed on,” but I assume in this context it means something more threatening than instruction. The “grund” or reason given for this action was that Emil was a “Polit. Mischl. 1 Gr,” meaning that he was arrested for political activity, not just for being a Mischling, First Degree.

Another card in the file shows that he was “eingeliefert” or admitted to Buchewald on August 21, 1944. 3   On that card it shows what Emil brought with him: a cap, one pair of cloth pants, a shirt, a skirt (?), and two pairs of shoes—laced shoes and clogs.

Personal effects card Concentration Camp Buchenwald, Emil SELIGMANN, 1.1.5.3 / 7088572, ITS Digital Archive, Arolsen Archives

What the following form in the folder revealed makes the fact of Emil’s arrest and imprisonment even surprising. This is the prisoner registration form used at Buchenwald and the other Nazi concentration camps. It repeats most of the personal information Emil provided on the prisoner’s card above, but note the line that says “Kriegsdienstzeit.” That translates as military service time, and Emil reported that he had served in the infantry from 1940-1941. That is, Emil had been a soldier in the German army for two years of World War II. And now he was imprisoned at Buchenwald.

Prisoner Registration Form Concentration Camp Buchenwald, Emil SELIGMANN, 1.1.5.3 / 7088574, ITS Digital Archive, Arolsen Archives

Tragically, Emil did not survive his time at Buchenwald. Less than six months after his initial imprisonment he died from a heart attack on February 14, 1945. He was 43 years old.

ITS reference card, Emil SELIGMANN, 1.1.5.3 / 7088580, ITS Digital Archive, Arolsen Archives

According to this card, which Wolfgang translated for me, Emil had been admitted to the infirmary the day before for diarrhea. Emil must have been quite ill, likely from mistreatment and poor nutrition, to have died so young.

Extract from the Book of deceased of the prisoners’ infirmary ward of Concentration Camp Buchenwald, 1.1.5.1 / 5348508, ITS Digital Archive, Arolsen Archives

Just a few months later, Germany was defeated by the Allies, and the concentration camps were liberated. Emil could have lived a full life instead of having it cut short by the Nazis.

My next post will tell the story of Emil’s sister, Christine.

 

 

 


  1.   Emil’s birth date appears on several records, although I do not have an actual birth record. For example, it appears on his records from his time at Buchenwald, see at National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Langenstein-Zwieberge Concentration Camp Inmate Cards, April 1944 – April 1945; Publication Number: M2121; Roll Number: 1, Ancestry.com. Germany, Langenstein-Zwieberge Concentration Camp Inmate Cards, 1944-1945. It also appears on the forms from Arolsen seen below. According to Wolfgang, Christel was born on July 30, 1903, so also before her parents’ marriage. Christel was the first owner of the “magic suitcase” that helped Wolfgang, his mother, and me learn so much about our shared family. More on Christel and her life to come in my next post. 
  2. Anna Maria Illian Seligmann death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 925; Laufende Nummer: 2931, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958 
  3. A different card in the file says he was “eingeliefert” or admitted to Buchenwald on December 29, 1944. Had he been released and then re-arrested a few months later? Personal effects card Concentration Camp Buchenwald, Emil SELIGMANN, 1.1.5.3 / 7088571, ITS Digital Archive, Arolsen Archives 

Seligmann updates: The work is never done

Next in my series of updates from my cousins are a number of research discoveries made by my cousin Wolfgang Seligmann, the first of my cousins who found me through my blog. That was over four years ago, and together Wolfgang, his mother Annlis, and I were able to reconstruct major parts of the Seligmann family tree going back as far as my fifth-great-grandfather Seligmann ben Hirsch, the father of Jacob Seligmann, my fourth-great-grandfather, who was born in 1773 and gave the family Seligmann as its surname.

Some of you may remember the “magic suitcase” that Wolfgang and his mother had, filled with letters and papers about the Seligmann family. When I visited Wolfgang and Annlis in Mainz in 2017, I saw this wonderful suitcase. There were still many, many papers yet to be read and digested, and still much work to be done to uncover the rest of the story of the Seligmann family in Germany. So while I have gone on to other family lines, Wolfgang has continued to dig into our Seligmann family history and share his discoveries with me. Although I have updated my tree with this information, I haven’t updated the blog in quite a while. I want to take some time now to do that and share the other information that Wolfgang has uncovered.

First, Wolfgang found several directories that included listings for various members of the Seligmann family, including this 1845 directory from the city of Mainz where a number of our Seligmann relatives resided. On this page Salomon Seligmann is listed as a Handelsmann or merchant.

Mainz Adressbuch, 1845

Mainz Adressbuch, 1845

Salomon was a son of Jacob Seligmann and younger brother of Moritz Seligmann, my three-times great-grandfather (and Wolfgang’s great-great-grandfather). He was born in Gaulsheim, Germany, on March 26, 1812, and married Anna Chailly on August 8, 1843, in Mainz.1 They had four children: Emilie (born 1844), Mathilde (1846), Siegmund (1847), and Jacob (1853).2 Salomon died on January 12, 1876, in Mainz.3

The second directory listing Wolfgang shared was also from Mainz, this one dated 1868. It lists as a “Banquier” our cousin Siegfried Seligmann. More specifically, Siegfried is described as a Prokurist or authorized officer of the bank. This is consistent with the description of him in Mathilde Mayer’s book, Die Alte und Die Neu Welt.  [The Old and The New World] (1951). Siegfried Seligmann was the son of Martha Seligmann, who was the sister of Moritz Seligmann and thus my four-times great-aunt. Martha Seligmann had married her own first cousin, Benjamin Seligmann, son of Hirsh Seligmann, Jacob Seligmann’s brother. So Siegfried was his own second cousin. He was born in Bingen on June 18, 1824.4

To make matters even more convoluted, Siegfried married his first cousin, Carolina Seligmann, daughter of Moritz Seligmann and my three-times great-aunt. Carolina was born in Gau-Algesheim on March 18, 1833,5 and she was the half-sister of my great-great-grandfather Bernard Seligman, the one who traveled the Santa Fe trail and became a successful business leader and political leader in Santa Fe. As I’ve already written, Caroline and Siegfried had seven children, only one of whom lived long enough to survive the Holocaust.

Mainz Adressbuch, 1868

The third directory Wolfgang shared with me is dated 1906 and is a listing from the Hessen-Rheinhessen directory for Bingen that includes a number of our relatives. One is Ferdinand Seligmann. Ferdinand was the son of Martha Seligmann and Benjamin Seligmann and was thus the first cousin of my great-great-grandfather Bernard Seligmann. His niece Martha Mayer wrote about him in her book Die Alte und Die Neu Welt, describing him as “Onkel Hut” or Uncle Hat because he was known for wearing a distinctive hat. He was a successful businessman in Bingen, born on April 23, 1836, and died in Bingen on November 21, 1906.6

Adressbuch Hessen-Rheinhessen 1906

Also listed is Emil Jacob Seligmann, son of Siegfried and Carolina Seligmann. He was born in Mainz on December 23, 1863, and married Anna Maria Angelika Illien, according to his death record.7 They had two children, Emil and Christine. Emil Jacob Seligmann was perhaps the first Seligmann family historian; it was his family tree that helped Wolfgang, Annlis, and me unlock many of the mysteries in the Seligmann family. Emil died from arteriosclerosis on August 9, 1942, in Wiesbaden.8

There are two men listed here who may be our relatives, but since both died before the 1906 directory was issued, I am not sure. Ludwig Seligmann and Richard Seligmann were the sons of Isaac Seligmann, brother of Moritz Seligmann, and Rosine Blad. Ludwig was born in Bingen on December 6, 1827, and died there on May 9, 1887, long before this directory was published. He was married to Auguste Gumbel, and they had five children. Since Auguste was still living in 1906, perhaps she had left this listing under her husband’s name. She died in 1910. Ludwig is listed here as a coal merchant (Holhenhandler).

Living at the same address as “Ludwig Seligmann” were at least two other Seligmanns: Karolina, a pensioner, and Ferdinand, another pensioner, and then a third Ferdinand in the wood and coal business with his son (this couldn’t be Uncle Hat as he never married or had children). I do not know who these people were, so perhaps this Ludwig and these other Seligmanns were not our relatives at all.

According to Emil Seligmann’s family tree, Richard Seligmann was born in Bingen on November 4, 1831, and died there on January 17, 1906. He must have died after the 1906 directory went to print. He is listed there as a merchant. He was married to Jeanette Gumbel. I’ve not been able to determine whether Auguste Gumbel and Jeanette Gumbel were related. Emil reported that Richard and Jeanette had three children, Wilhelmina (born 1864), Florentine (1866), and Heinrich (1870). I have not found much about any of them. Looking at these names on my tree has reminded me how much more work I still have to do on the Seligmann family.

The last directory listing that Wolfgang sent to me, also dated 1906 and from Hessen-Rheinhessen, must be the most precious to him as it includes his great-grandfather August Seligmann, brother of my great-great-grandfather Bernard, and their younger brother Jacob, later known as James when he immigrated to England (more on James to come). August is listed as an iron merchant, and Jacob is listed as a wine merchant.

Adressbuch Hessen-Rheinhessen, 1906

August was born on December 10, 1841,9 and died in Gau-Algesheim on May 14, 1909.10 He was married to Rosa Bergmann, and they had four children, including Wolfgang’s grandfather Julius, who was born in 1877 and died in 1967. (More on Julius to come as well.) I have written about August and Rosa and their children previously; two were killed during the Holocaust, Moritz and Anna. Their oldest child, Franziska, married Adolf Michel, and had one child Fred Michel, about whom I’ve written and about whom I have more to report. Franziska died in 1933.11

August Seligmann death certificate

Thus, as you can see, the story of the Seligmanns is not yet finished. Some of what I have is based on an unsourced family tree that I since learned has numerous errors. I need to go back and verify all that information if I can.

And that’s an important lesson for all of us involved in family history. The stories are never finished, the work is never done. Thank you, Wolfgang, once again, for all your generosity and hard work and for keeping me on task! There are more Seligmann updates to come.

 

 


  1. Marriage record, Certificate Number: 179, Stadtarchiv Mainz; Mainz, Deutschland; Zivilstandsregister, 1798-1875; Signatur: 50 / 124, Ancestry.com. Mainz, Germany, Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1798-1875 
  2. Family Number: 10393, Ancestry.com. Mainz, Germany, Family Registers 1760-1900 
  3. Civil Registration Office: Mainz, Certificate Number: 49, Laufendenummer: 866,
    Ancestry.com. Mainz, Germany, Deaths, 1876-1950 
  4. Certificate Number: 294, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10482, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958 
  5. Certificate Number: 1614, Stadtarchiv Mainz; Mainz, Deutschland; Zivilstandsregister, 1798-1875; Signatur: 50 / 234, Ancestry.com. Mainz, Germany, Births, Marriages and Deaths, 1798-1875 
  6. http://www.steinheim-institut.de/cgi-bin/epidat?id=bng-0541 
  7.  Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 925; Laufende Nummer: 2934,
    Year Range: 1942, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958 
  8. Civil Registration Office: Wiesbaden, Certificate Number: 1691, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 925; Laufende Nummer: 2934Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958 
  9. FHL Film Number: 342201, Ancestry.com. Germany, Select Births and Baptisms, 1558-1898. 
  10. Die Geschichte der Gau-Algesheimer Juden by Ludwig Hellriegel (1986, revised 2008)[The History of the Jews of Gau-Algesheim]. 
  11. http://www.steinheim-institut.de/cgi-bin/epidat?id=bng-745&lang=de