Sitta Blumenfeld Spier and Her Daughter Gisela—A Story of Survival and Hope in the Midst of Despair and Death

Although three of the four surviving children of Gerson Blumenfeld II—Friedrich, Katinka, and Mina/Meta—and all their children escaped from Germany to the US and avoided being murdered by the Nazis, the fourth surviving child, Sitta Blumenfeld Spier, and her husband Siegfried Spier and their two children Manfred and Gisela were not as fortunate. As explained by Gisela’s son Simeon Spier in the eulogy he wrote for his mother, “[Siegfried] tried frantically to get the family out of Germany but since he was a wounded veteran from World War I – he had been awarded the Iron Cross for bravery and still had a bullet lodged in his lung – he was considered a health risk and emigration to other countries was not possible.”1

What a cruel irony—because he was wounded fighting for Germany, Siegfried could not escape German persecution twenty years later.

Sitta, Siegfried, Manfred, and Gisela were all deported to the concentration camp at Theriesenstadt on September 7, 1942.2 Manfred was sixteen and Gisela thirteen at that time. Gisela was “allowed” to participate as an athlete in games filmed by the Nazis for propaganda purposes—to show how “humanely” the camp prisoners were being treated.3 You can read more about the propaganda film created by the Nazis and see a clip from it here.

By October, 1944, all four members of Sitta’s family had been transported from Theriesenstadt to Auschwitz where Sitta and Siegfried were immediately sent to the gas chambers. Manfred was transferred several days later to the Dachau concentration where he died from starvation and typhus on April 18, 1945, just a few weeks before Germany surrendered and the war in Europe ended. He was nineteen years old.4

Manfred Spier Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=1879134&ind=1

The only member of Sitta’s family to survive was her daughter Gisela. She was sent from Auschwitz on October 12, 1944,5 to the concentration camp in Flossenburg, Germany, a camp where prisoners worked as slave labor to build fighter planes and other equipment for the German military. The US Holocaust Museum and Memorial  provided this description of conditions at Flossenburg:

The conditions under which the camp authorities forced the prisoners to work and the absence of even rudimentary medical care facilitated the spread of disease, including dysentery and typhus. In addition to the dreadful living conditions, the prisoners suffered beatings and arbitrary punishments.

About 30,000 people died there, but somehow Gisela survived.

On April 29, 1945, as the Allied forces were approaching Flossenburg, the Nazis began to evacuate the camp and transport the prisoners elsewhere. Gisela was transferred from Flossenburg to the Mauthausen concentration camp,6 where she was liberated by the Allies on May 5, 1945. She was sixteen years old and weighed 46 pounds when she was freed.7

In his eulogy for his mother, Gisela’s son Simeon Spier wrote this description of Gisela’s life after she was liberated in May, 1945.8

She travelled with a friend she met in a displaced persons camp to Paris.  They were on one of the first trains to arrive in Paris at Gare de l’Est after the war’s end and were mobbed by frantic people looking for word of loved ones.  It was at that time she realized she had survived an atrocity of epic proportions.

She searched for her brother through refugee organizations.  She found out he had died of hunger and exhaustion at Dachau.  She saw 2 men on the streets of Paris wearing Magen David.  She asked them why they were wearing Stars of David now that the war was over. They told her they were part of a brigade building the Jewish state in Palestine.  They told her if she wanted to go to Palestine there was a boat leaving from the port of Marseille in several days.

With no family left, she set off to Marseille and boarded the ship, the Mataroa, to Palestine.  Since Jewish immigration to Palestine was illegal under the British Mandate, she was detained by the British army upon reaching Palestine.  She was imprisoned in Atlit ….  The Jewish underground broke her free from Atlit.  Her name was changed to escape British authorities.  She became Yael Blumenfeld – Gisela to Gazella to Yaela to Yael.  Blumenfeld for her mother’s maiden name.  She said when she became Yael Blumenfeld, she finally felt free.

She lived in the youth village of Ben Shemen, joined the Palmach army and fought in the Israeli War of Independence.  She was a decorated veteran of the 1948 war.

In 1950, Gisela came to New York with the help of her mother’s siblings and then got a job in Montreal as a secretary for a synagogue. She met her husband Israel Cohen in Canada, where they were married in 1956.9

Gisela and Israel had three children, each named for one of Gisela’s family members who had been killed in the Holocaust— a daughter Sitta, named in memory of Gisela’s mother Sitta Blumenfeld Spier, a son Simeon, named in memory of Gisela’s father Siegfried Spier, and a daughter Michall, named in memory of Gisela’s brother Manfred. The family lived in Montreal and later in Toronto.10

Once her children were grown, Gisela devoted a great deal of her time and energy to Holocaust education, including regularly traveling back to Momberg and other towns in Germany, to educate German children about what had happened to her family and many other Jewish families.11

Here is a very moving video of Gisela produced by the Sarah and Chaim Neuberger Holocaust Education Centre at the UJA Federation of Greater Toronto as part of Gisela’s efforts to provide education about the Holocaust. I highly recommend you watch this eight-minute interview so that you can see and hear this remarkable woman.

Gisela died on February 19, 2016, in Toronto. She was 87 years old and had endured and experienced so much. Simeon ended his eulogy for his mother Gisela in words that bring tears to my eyes each time I re-read them.12

My mother was overwhelmed by the good fortune her life had brought her after suffering such unbearable loss early in life.  As her life neared its end, she became at peace with herself having lived a full life bearing witness to history’s most brutal atrocity.

Death, to her meant two things. She would be re-united with her family and the ability to have a real grave with a tombstone – something her family never had.  She had always mourned that according to Jewish tradition, a son must say Kaddish at the grave of his parents and that no one had been able to say Kaddish for her parents and brother.  Today, we will go to the cemetery and say Kaddish at her grave – for her, her mother, father, and brother.  And for this, we are all very happy.

Gisela Spier Cohen was survived by her three children and her grandchildren. Her life exemplified courage and persistence and hope against all odds. I feel so moved and honored to be able to share her story and that of her family.

Special thanks to my cousin Simeon Spier for allowing me to quote extensively from the beautiful eulogy he wrote for his mother.

 

 


  1. “In Loving Memory of Yael Gisela Spier Cohen,” by Simeon Spier, published February 28, 2016, found here
  2. See the entries at Yad Vashem at the links in the text. 
  3. Obituary for Gisela Spier Cohen in Oberhesslische Press, March 23, 2016, found at https://www.op-marburg.de/Landkreis/Ostkreis/Zeitzeugin-verstirbt-fern-ihres-Geburtsortes 
  4. Manfred Spier, Nationality: German or Austrian, Birth Date: 29 Nov 1925, Birth Place: Momberg, Prior Residence: Momberg, Street Address: Marburg a. d. L, Arrival Date: 10 Oct 1944, Arrival Country: Germany, Death Date: 18 Apr 1945, Prisoner Number: 115317, Arrival Notes: 10 Oct 1944 from Auschwitz, Disposition Notes: died 18 Apr 1945, Description: prisoner German or Austrian Jew, Page: 5440/Bg.
    Original Notes (desc. / arr. / dis.): Sch. DR. J./ 10 Oct 1944 v. Au./ gest. 18 Apr 1945, JewishGen volunteers, comp. Germany, Dachau Concentration Camp Records, 1945 
  5. Gizela Spier, Nationality: German, Born: 29 Nov 1928, Prisoner Number: 54367
    Classification: Jew, Arrival: 12 Oct 1944, Record Source: Reel 2, Image #: 269, Page #: 1000, JewishGen Volunteers. Germany, Flossenbürg Concentration Camp Records, 1938-1945 
  6. Gisela Spier, Date of Birth: 29 Nov 1928, Nationality: German. Prisoner Number: 54,367, Category: Jew, Town/Camp: Freiberg, Factory: Hildebrandt, Transferred from (camp name): Auschwitz, Date transferred: 12 Oct 1944, Transferred to (camp name): Mauthausen, Date transferred: 29 Apr 1945, Ancestry.com. Germany, Women in Flossenbürg Branch Camps (Hans Brenner Book Lists), 1944-1945 
  7. See Note 1, supra. 
  8. See Note 1, supra. 
  9. See Note 1, infra. 
  10. See Note 1, supra. 
  11. See Note 1, supra. See also Note 3, supra. 
  12. See Note 1, supra. 

Gerson Blumenfeld II, Part IV: Leaving Germany

Three of the four surviving children of Gerson Blumenfeld II made it out of Germany in time to escape from the Nazis.

The family of Mina Blumenfeld Simon were the first descendants of Gerson Blumenfeld II to leave Germany. Mina’s son Josef arrived in New York on February 5, 1937. He listed his occupation as a butcher and his prior residence as Wetzlar, a town near Hermannstein where he was born.

Josef Simon ship manifest, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 10; Page Number: 35, New York Passenger Lists, 1820-1957, Ancestry.com

His brother Kurt arrived eight months later on October 1, 1937; he listed his occupation as a merchant and last residence as Wetzlar.

Kurt Simon ship manifest, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 3; Page Number: 38, Ship or Roll Number: New York, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

The rest of the family—Albert, Mina, and Grete—arrived the following year on August 18, 1938. They also had been living in Wetzlar where Albert was a merchant.

Albert Meta Grete Simon passenger manifest, Year: 1938; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 12; Page Number: 8, Ship or Roll Number: Washington
Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Mina had officially changed her name from Mina Blumenfeld Simon to Meta Simon by the time she filed her Declaration of Intention to become a US citizen on January 24, 1939.

Meta Blumenfeld Simon declaration of intention, The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, PA; 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 549) Declarations of Intention For Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 427401-428300), Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

The family was reunited and living together as of the 1940 US census. They were living in New York City, and Albert and his two sons Kurt and Joseph (as spelled here) were working as butchers.

Albert Simon and family 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02670; Page: 11B; Enumeration District: 31-1895, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Friedrich Blumenfeld and his family, including his mother Berta Alexander Blumenfeld, were the next family members to arrive in the US. They left shortly after Kristallnacht.

I had the great pleasure of Zooming with two of Friedrich’s grandsons last week, Steven and Milton, and they shared with me a story about their grandmother Berta’s reaction to Kristallnacht. Apparently when the Nazis came around to arrest Jewish men in the aftermath of Kristallnacht, Berta was so angry that she took the medals awarded to the family in honor of  Moritz and Isaak, the two sons who died fighting for Germany in World War I, and threw them at the Nazi soldiers, yelling that she had lost two sons already. According to the family, the soldiers backed off and left the family alone. Soon thereafter the family was able to get visas to leave Germany.1

Friedrich, Berta, and their two children arrived in the US on January 13, 1939. Friedrich’s occupation on the ship manifest is listed as shoe manufacturing, but his grandsons told me he was actually a dry goods salesman in Momberg.

Friedrich Blumenfeld and family passenger manifest, Year: 1939; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 23; Page Number: 150, Ship or Roll Number: Hansa
Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

I cannot locate them on the 1940 census, but on October 16, 1939, they were all living together in the Bronx, according to Friedrich’s Declaration of Intention filed on that date. Friedrich was unemployed at that time.

Friedrich Blumenfeld declaration of intention, The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, PA; 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 567) Declarations of Intention For Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 444001-444900), Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

Katinka Blumenfeld Rosenberg was the last of the children of Gerson Blumenfeld II to escape Nazi Germany in time. Their departure was delayed because, as I learned from Katinka’s son Heinz/Henry, after Kristallnacht, Katinka’s husband Emanuel and son Walter were taken to Buchenwald where Walter spent two months and Emanuel spent five weeks. After they were released in early 1939, the family was determined to leave, but it was very difficult to find a sponsor to help them get permission to immigrate to the US. Finally a stranger from Texas who was not even related to the family came forward with an affidavit and sponsored the family. They took a train to Italy and sailed to the US from Genoa. As Henry and I discussed during our conversation, it is somewhat miraculous that they were to get out of Germany after World War II had started since for so many the borders closed after September 1, 1939.2

Katinka, her husband Emanuel Rosenberg, and their three sons Walter, Guenter, and Heinz arrived in New York on February 1, 1940. Emanuel listed his occupation as a trader, and Momberg was their last residence.

Emanuel Rosenberg and family passenger manifest, Year: 1940; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 6; Page Number: 37, Ship or Roll Number: Conte Di Savoia, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Henry said they at first lived with cousins in the Bronx, but soon moved to Washington Heights in Manhattan where so many German Jewish refugees settled in the 1930s and 1940s. Henry quickly learned English and soon was able to not only catch up with his classmates but to excel in school.3

When the 1940 US census was taken a few months after their arrival, the Rosenbergs were all living in New York City. Emanuel was working in a grocery store, and Walter was a machine operator in a watch factory.

Emanuel Rosenberg and family 1940 US census,Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02670; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 31-1887, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Thus, Mina, Friedrich, and Katinka and their families were able to escape to the US in time and survived the Holocaust.

Tragically, the youngest child of Gerson Blumenfeld II, Sitta Blumenfeld Spier, did not leave Germany in time to escape the Holocaust.  Her family’s story in my next post.


I will be taking next week off to be with my family, who are coming to visit for Thanksgiving. Have a great Thanksgiving to all my US readers!

 

 


  1. Zoom with Steven Hamburger and Milton Hamburger, November 10, 2022. 
  2. Phone conversation with Henry Rosenberg, October 30, 2022 
  3. See Note 2, supra. 

Gerson Blumenfeld II, Part III: The Nazis Come to Momberg

As we saw, Gerson Blumenfeld II died on July 29, 1919, in the aftermath of losing two of his sons—Moritz and Isaak—during their service to Germany in World War I. He was survived by his wife Berta, one remaining son Friedrich, and his three daughters, Mina, Katinka, and Sida, as well as Mina’s husband Albert Simon, and their children.

Fortunately, the family continued to grow after the war. Katinka married Emanuel Emil Rosenberg on November 7, 1919. Emanuel was born on June 19, 1885, in Rosenthal, Germany, to Joseph Rosenberg and Fanni Stiebel. He was also the nephew of Mendel Rosenberg, who was married to Katinka’s aunt Rebecca Blumenfeld, her father Gerson’s sister.

Katinka Blumenfeld marriage to Emanuel Rosenberg, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6204, Year Range: 1919, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Katinka and Emanuel had three sons: Walter, born in Frankfurt, Germany, on October 17, 1920;1 Guenther, born in Frankfurt on July 7, 1925;2 and Heinz, born in 1928.3

Katinka’s older brother Friedrich married Lina Neuhaus on October 26, 1921, in Braach, Germany. She was born on September 19, 1894, in Braach (sometimes listed as Baumbach, which is less than two miles from Braach) to Samuel Neuhaus and Bertha Wallach.

Siegmund Friedrich Blumenfeld marriage to Lina Neuhaus, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 907; Laufende Nummer: 510, Year Range: 1921, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Friedrich and Lina had two children: Gretel was born August 21, 1922, in Momberg,4 and Gunter was born on February 22, 1926, in Momberg.5

Sida Blumenfeld, the youngest child of Gerson II and Berta, married Siegfried Spier on December 29, 1924, in Momberg. Her name is spelled Sitta on the marriage record, and I will use that spelling going forward. Siegfried was also a native of Momberg; he was born there on May 14, 1887, to Michael Spier and Veilchen Nussbaum. He was the owner of a matza factory.6

Sitta Blumenfeld marriage to Siegfried Spier, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6209, Year Range: 1924, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Sitta and Siegfried had two children, Manfred, born on November 29, 1925, in Momberg,7 and Gisela, born exactly four years later on November 29, 1929.8

Gisela’s son Simeon Spier wrote this beautiful description of his mother’s family’s life in Momberg before the Nazis came to power in the 1930s.9

Momberg was like a storybook village of gingerbread cookies and green rolling hills.  Her family had lived there since the 17th century.  Her father, Siegfried Spier, owned a matza factory started by her great grandfather.  Her mother, Sida, was a deeply religious woman.   Her paternal grandmother lived in her house and her maternal grandmother lived across the street.  It was a world of German folk songs and Jewish religion.  She played soccer with her brother and cousins, attended the village school and went to the tiny village shul on Shabbos.

I also had the great pleasure of speaking to Katinka’s son Heinz (now Henry) Rosenberg just a week or so ago. He also spent his early childhood years in Momberg. He pointed out that since Gisela’s father Siegfried Spier owned a matza factory that employed many of the town’s residents, even after Hitler first came to power in 1933, no one bothered the Jews in Momberg at first because they were grateful to have jobs in the factory.10

That idyllic life would soon come to an end with Kristallnacht in November, 1938. Simeon Spier described what happened in Momberg to his mother and her family:11

On the 9th of November 1938 her world was destroyed by the Nazis during the Kristallnacht. The synagogue was burned down and the men were taken to concentration camps. Her brother’s Bar Mitzvah could not take place later that month as there was not a minyan of 10 adult Jewish men in the village. This saddened her all her life since her brother had been practicing his parsha and haftorah for months. She too knew the words and could recite them the rest of her life.

Jews were kicked out of the village school and Gisela and her brother were sent to an orphanage in Frankfurt. There, away from her family at 10 years old she would spend countless hours in the school’s gymnasium on the horizontal bar. Her love of sports helped her escape what was happening. She lived on Pfingsfeid Strasse near the zoo. Jews were not allowed in the zoo so all she could see was the head of the giraffe. She was forced to wear a yellow star.

Heinz/Henry Rosenberg also was unable to go to school for two years and still clearly remembers seeing the destruction of the Momberg synagogue on Kristallnacht. He shared with me the moving story of his family’s rescue of a Torah scroll that had belonged to his grandfather Gerson Blumenfeld and had been damaged during the violence of Kristallnacht. They brought that scroll with them to the US, and Henry read from it at his bar mitzvah in 1941 as did his grandson over seventy years later.

Fortunately, like that Torah scroll, almost all of Gerson Blumenfeld’s children and grandchildren got out of Germany in time and survived the Holocaust. Almost all.


  1. Walter Joseph Rosenberg, Gender: Male, Petition Age: 24, Birth Date: 17 Oct 1920
    Birth Place: Frankfurt, Germany, Record Type: Naturalization Petition, Petition Number: 1788, National Archives and Records Administration – Southeast Region (Atlanta); Atlanta, GA; Petitions For Naturalization, Compiled 1922-1964; Series Number: 648598; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States; Record Group Number: 21, Ancestry.com. Louisiana, U.S., Naturalization Records, 1836-2001 
  2. Guenther Rosenberg, [George G Rosenberg], [George Rosenberg], Gender: Male
    Race: White, Birth Date: 7 Jul 1925, Birth Place: Frankfurt MA, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 27 Oct 1998. Father: Emil Rosenberg. Mother: Katinka Blumenfeld, SSN: 093129735, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  3. Heinz, Record Type: Naturalization Declaration., Birth Date: — 1928, Birth Place: Frankfurt, Germany, Court: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Father: Emanuel Rosenberg, Box Number: 338, The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, PA; 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, Source Information
    Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943. Because Heinz/Henry is still living, I am not disclosing his exact birth date. 
  4. Gretel Blumenfeld, [Grethe Blumenfeld], Gender: Female, Race: White, Declaration Age: 18, Record Type: Naturalization Declaration, Birth Date: 21 Aug 1922
    Birth Place: Momberg, Germany, Court: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Declaration Number: 493628, Box Number: 366, The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, PA; NAI Title: Declarations of Intention For Citizenship, 1/19/1842 – 10/29/1959; NAI Number: 4713410; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: 21, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943 
  5. Gunter Blumenfeld, Petition Age: 19, Record Type: Naturalization Petition, Birth Date: 22 Feb 1926, Birth Place: Momberg, Germany, Departure Place: Momberg, Germany, Petition Place: Augusta, Augusta-Richmond, Georgia, USA, Ship: Hansa
    Description: Augusta Naturalization Petitions 9/1943-12/1953 (Box 2), National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, DC; ARC Title: Petitions For Naturalization, Compiled 1909 – 1970; ARC Number: 2143321; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States; Record Group Number: 21, Ancestry.com. Georgia, U.S., Naturalization Records, 1794-1993 
  6. “In Loving Memory of Yael Gisela Spier Cohen,” by Simeon Spier, published February 28, 2016, found here
  7. Manfred Spier, Nationality German or Austrian, Birth Date 29 Nov 1925, Birth Place Momberg, Prior Residence Momberg, Street Address Marburg a. d. L., Arrival Date 10 Oct 1944, Arrival Country Germany, Death Date 18 Apr 1945, Prisoner Number 115317
    Arrival Notes 10 Oct 1944 from Auschwitz, Disposition Notes died 18 Apr 1945, Description prisoner German or Austrian Jew, Page 5440/Bg., Original Notes (desc. / arr. / dis.) Sch. DR. J./ 10 Oct 1944 v. Au./ gest. 18 Apr 1945, JewishGen volunteers, comp. Germany, Dachau Concentration Camp Records, 1945 
  8. Giesela Sara Spier, Gender: weiblich (Female), Nationality: Deutsch Juden, Record Type: Inventory, Birth Date: 29 Nov 1928, Birth Place: Momberg, Last Residence: Momberg, Residence Place: Momberg, Marburg an der Lahn
    Notes: Inventories of personal estates of foreigners and especially German Jews
    Reference Number: 02010103 oS, Document ID: 85950815, Arolsen Archives, Digital Archive; Bad Arolsen, Germany; Lists of Persecutees 2.1.1.3, Ancestry.com. Free Access: Europe, Registration of Foreigners and German Persecutees, 1939-1947 
  9. See Note 6, supra. 
  10. Phone conversation with Henry Rosenberg, October 30, 2022. 
  11. See Note 6, supra. 

Gerson Blumenfeld II, Part II: Two Sons Killed in World War I Fighting for Germany

In the summer of 1914 after the assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary, the countries of Europe and of the wider world declared war on each other based on mutual protection agreements those countries had previously formed. On one side were the Central Powers including Austria-Hungary, Germany, and Turkey; on the other side were the Allies, including France, England, Italy, Russia, Japan, and later the US.

The three sons of Gerson Blumenfeld II and his wife Berta Alexander—Moritz, Friedrich, and Isaak—all served in the German army for the Central Powers. But only one of those sons came home alive.

Moritz, their oldest son, was killed on the Eastern Front of the War in Niedzieliska, Poland, on December 11, 1914, according to his German death record.1 The report of his death came from the commander of his reserve infantry unit, as indicated on the death record, and stated that he’d been shot in the abdomen.2

Moritz Blumenfeld, Death Age: 27, Birth Date: abt 1887, Death Date: 11. Dez 1914 (11 Dec 1914)
Death Place: Momberg, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Momberg, Father: Gerson Blumenfeld, Mother: Bertha Blumenfeld, Certificate Number: 1, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 6225; Laufende Nummer: 915, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Niedzieliska was a small village about 42 miles east of Krakow. During the summer and into the fall of 1914, the Russians were successfully fighting the German and Austrian troops in that general area, winning an important battle in Lemberg (now Lviv) in the late summer of 1914 and then moving west and capturing Przemysl in the spring of 1915.

I am very grateful to Eric Feinstein of the GerSIG Facebook group for providing me with access to a description of the battle of Niedzieliska from a book entitled (as translated) Reserve Infantry Regiment No. 83: edited from official and private war diaries by Hans Wahrenburg, published in 1924 by Stalling Verlag in Berlin. Eric pointed me to page 42 which describes the Niedzieliska battle, and I used DeepL to translate it, though some of the references are not clear.

At 12:12, II and III Battalions will be moved out of the forward line during the morning and III Battalion will be housed and fed at Niedzieliska. At 1.30 a.m. the II Battalion also follows there, while at the same time the III Battalion from the eastern exit of the Dorsel is deployed for another assault against the Russian position at the windmill Wszeliwn in the subsection of the 49 RJB.

Heavy flank fire from the right initially hampered the advance of the companies and only after the arrival of II Battalion on the obstructed right wing did the assault proceed briskly, especially since the enemy apparently had little artillery, but was able to bring the assault to a halt with even more intense infantry and M.C. fire.

Exhausting effort! 4 o’clock in the morning the position on the Wszelimn-Dsief road was taken by assault, during which, among others, the leader of 12 Company, Captain a D Rudel, and by roughing up the enemy MC Sergeant Emilius and Muss. Cohn 11 Compagnie, Ref. Zinf. Kriegsfreim. Ludwig and Ref. harms 12th Compagnie and Ref. Deja quite particularly distinguish.

About 1500 prisoners and 12 MC find the spoils of the day. I Battalion advanced as a division reserve to the west exit of Niedzieliska, but failed to enter.

It was sometime during this battle that Moritz Blumenfeld II, oldest child of Gerson Blumenfeld II and Berta Alexander, was mortally wounded.

His younger brother Isaak was killed on the Western Front. Although I do not have a death certificate for Isaak, I have information from the lists of German casualties located on Ancestry and elsewhere. Isaak died in a field hospital in Sainghin-en-Weppes in the north of France on January 8, 1915, after being seriously wounded. He was only 21 at the time.

Isaack Blumenfeld, Residence Year: 1914, Residence Country: Deutschland (Germany)
List Date: 30. Jan 1915 (30 Jan 1915), List Number: 0345, Volume: 1915_VII, Ancestry.com. Germany, World War I Casualty Lists, 1914-1919

Isaack Blumenfeld Residence Year: 1914 Residence Country: Deutschland (Germany) List Date: 20. Jan 1915 (20 Jan 1915) List Number: 0331 Volume: 1915_VII, Ancestry.com. Germany, World War I Casualty Lists, 1914-1919

Like Niedzieska where Moritz was killed, Sainghin was just a small village with no obvious strategic importance, but it was located in the region of France where during this time period, thousands of soldiers on both sides were killed during trench warfare where the two sides were essentially deadlocked, going back and forth slaughtering each other’s young soldiers and others.

This UK website on World War I described it in these terms:

By the end of 1914 the battles of movement in the first weeks of the war had been  brought to a halt. The fierce defence of strategic landmarks by the Allied forces resulted in a situation which became one of deadlock. Carefully selecting the most favourable high ground the Imperial German Army began the construction of a strong defensive line from early in 1915.

The consolidation of the Front Lines consisted of trenches, wire defences, mined dugouts and deep bunkers, reinforced concrete emplacements and selected strongpoints, usually a reinforced farm, in an Intermediate, Second and Third defensive line. Gradually the building and digging was carried on on both sides of the wire along a distance of approximately 450 miles, creating a more or less continous line of trenches separating the warring belligerents along the length of The Western Front.

In 1915, 1916 and 1917 both sides made attempts to break the deadlock with major battle offensives. The characteristics of siege warfare which developed on the Western Front in these three years created conditions never witnessed before. Instead of expecting to achieve objectives at a considerable distance from the start of an offensive, the type of trench warfare fighting created a situation where attacks were carried out in phases with short distance objectives and usually following a bombardment of enemy trench lines beforehand. This strategy led to prolonged periods of fighting with success counted in gains hundreds of yards rather than miles. The human cost of casualties and dead in such a grinding type of siege warfare would be recorded in the thousands in the space of a single day.

Isaak Blumenfeld, Gerson II and Berta’s youngest son, was killed during the early days of this period of warfare, less than a month after the death of his brother Moritz.

A January 29, 1914 article in the Frankfurter Israelitisches Familienblatt reported, “The G. Blumenfeld family was hit by a heavy loss. Two hopeful sons both suffered heroic deaths for their fatherland. Both stood out from the enemy with their outstanding bravery honored, the eldest carried a seriously wounded man out of the most terrible shell fire at great risk to his life. The youngest last stood as a teacher in Petershagen on the Weser.”

The deaths of Moritz and Isaak left Gerson and Berta with just one surviving son, their middle son Friedrich. But Friedrich also served in the German armed forces. His great-nephew Michael Rosenberg shared with me Friedrich’s military record, including translations of the information on each page done by Richard Bloomfield.

As translated by Richard, this record indicates that Friedrich began his military service for Germany on August 24, 1915, just months after the deaths of both of his brothers. He was transferred to the homeland and away from the front in January 1917, perhaps because the family had already lost Isaak and Moritz. Friedrich was discharged from service on December 26, 1918, six weeks after the war ended, and came home alive.

His father Gerson Blumenfeld II, however, died in Momberg on July 29, 1919, just seven months after Friedrich returned home. Although Gerson was 66 and thus was not particularly young for that era when he died, I nevertheless wonder whether losing two of this three sons in some way hastened his death.

One might have thought that sacrificing two sons to the cause of Germany in World War I would have somehow kept the rest of this family safe from the Nazis, but it was not to be, as we will see.


  1. At least one secondary source reports that his death occurred on December 12, 1914, but I am relying on his actual death record. See the list of Jewish World War I casualties for Germany at http://denkmalprojekt.org/verlustlisten/rjf_orte_m_wk1.htm 
  2. Thank you to the members of the GerSIG: German Jewish Genealogy Special Interest Group on Facebook for transcribing and translating this record. 

Gerson Blumenfeld II, Part I: Two Marriages, Three Daughters, Three Sons

As I turn to the next child of Isaak Blumenfeld and Gelle Straus, Gerson Blumenfeld, I am fortunate to have not only the support and research of Richard Bloomfield, whose work I’ve already noted numerous times on the blog, but also of a direct descendant of Gerson Blumenfeld, his great-grandson Michael Rosenberg. Michael and I have been in touch for quite a while, and he also, like Richard, has been helpful to me in researching other aspects of the Blumenfeld family tree. But now I have finally reached Michael’s direct line, and I am excited that I will be able to work with him and learn from him.

Gerson Blumenfeld, the son of Isaak and Gelle, will be referred to as Gerson Blumenfeld II on my tree and on the blog; his first cousin, once removed, also named Gerson Blumenfeld I, was married to Giedel Blumenfeld, daughter of Isaak and Gelle and sister of Gerson II, as I wrote about here.

Gerson II was born on April 29, 1853, in Momberg, Germany.

Geburtsregister der Juden von Momberg (Neustadt) 1850-1874 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 608)AutorHessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, WiesbadenErscheinungsjahr1850-1874, p. 4

On August 23, 1883, he married Mina Katz, daughter of Joseph Feist Katz and Brendel Katz. Mina was born on June 7, 1860, in Jesberg, Germany.

Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 920; Laufende Nummer: 3838
Year Range: 1883, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

As soon as I saw that Mina was born in Jesberg and was a Katz, I figured she must also be related to me. Mina is my third cousin, three times removed, and is descended from my five-times great-grandfather Schalum Katz of Jesberg through his son Salomon Katz. So both Mina and Gerson II were my cousins, but they were not related to each other as far as I have been able to determine.

 

Gerson II and Mina had a daughter born in Momberg on August 30, 1884, and tragically Mina died the following day, presumably from complications from childbirth. She was only twenty-four years old. Their one-day old infant was named for her mother Mina.

Mina Blumenfeld birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6467, Year Range: 1884, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Mina Katz Blumenfeld death record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 6551; Laufende Nummer: 915, Year Range: 1884
Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Gerson II remarried two years later on June 2, 1886. His second wife was Berta Alexander. She was born on November 16, 1859, and was the daughter of Joseph Alexander and Fradchen Frank, and like Gerson II’s first wife, Berta was also my cousin, specifically my second cousin, three times removed. Berta was the great-granddaughter of Abraham Katz Blumenfeld and Geitel Katz, my four-times great-grandparents. She also was a second cousin to her husband Gerson II, who was also a great-grandchild of Abraham Katz Blumenfeld.

Gerson Blumenfeld marriage to Berta Alexander, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6496, Year Range: 1886, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Thus, all the children of Gerson II and Berta were not just siblings, but also each other’s third cousins. And the descendants of Gerson II and Mina were my double cousins since I was related to both of them. Oy vey! No wonder I can’t sort out my DNA matches…

But onto the children of Gerson II and Berta. Their first child Moritz was born on March 16, 1887, in Momberg, Germany.

Moritz Blumenfeld II birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6470, Year Range: 1887, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Their second child, Siegmond Friedrich “Fritz” Blumenfeld, was born on December 7, 1888, in Momberg, Germany.

Siegmund Friedrich Blumenfeld birth record,Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6471, Year Range: 1888, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Katinka, their third child and oldest daughter, was born in Momberg on July 30, 1891.

Katinka Blumenfeld birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6474, Year Range: 1891, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Isaak Blumenfeld (labeled III on my tree) was born September 24, 1893, in Momberg.

Isaak Blumenfeld III birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6476, Year Range: 1893, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

The fifth and youngest child of Gerson II and Berta was their daughter Sida (sometimes spelled Sitta), born in Momberg on July 26, 1896.

Birth record for Sida Blumenfeld, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6479, Year Range: 1896, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Mina Blumenfeld, Gerson II’s daughter with his wife Mina Katz, married Albert Simon on October 31, 1910, in Momberg. Albert was the son of Joseph Simon and Guste Aumann, and he was born on November 17, 1879, in Hermannstein, Germany.

Mina Blumenfeld marriage to Albert Simon, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6195, Year Range: 1910, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Mina and Albert had four children.

UPDATE: I just located a death record for a fifth child of Mina and Albert born before Julius. That child, a son named Dedo, died on January 16, 1912, in Hermannstein. He was only a day old.

Dedo Simon death record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 4342; Laufende Nummer: 911
Description
Year Range: 1912
Source Information
Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Their second child, Julius, was born in 1913 and died when he was only two years old on May 31, 1915.

Julius Simon death record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 4345; Laufende Nummer: 911, Year Range: 1915
Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Mina and Albert’s third child Kurt was born on November 10, 1914.1 Their fourth son Joseph was born on October 26, 1916.2 And their fifth child and only daughter Grete was born December 23, 1919.3 Fortunately, these three children all survived to adulthood.

My cousin Michael shared with me this beautiful photograph taken before World War I of Gerson II and Berta with their five children as well as Gerson’s daughter Mina from his first marriage.

Gerson and Berta Blumenfeld and their children c. 1911

From left to right in the back row, they are Isaak, Fritz, Mina, Katinka, Moritz, and Sida. Berta and Gerson are seated in front of them, and the family dog lies at their feet. How can I not love a family that includes their dog in the family portrait?

 


  1. Kurt Simon, Gender: Male, Birth Date: 10 Nov 1914, Death Date: Jun 1969, Claim Date: 17 Jul 1969, SSN: 131102677, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  2. Josef Simon, [Joe Simon], Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 26 Oct 1916
    Birth Place: Hermanuskin, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 30 Oct 2001
    Father: Albert Simon, Mother: Meta Blumenfeld, SSN: 116034007, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. 
  3.  National Archives at Boston; Waltham, Massachusetts; ARC Title: Petitions and Records For Naturalization, 10/1911-9/1991; NAI Number: 615479; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: Rg 21, Description: Vol173-175, Petition No 40197, Paul Saban, 24 Mar 1944 – Petition No 407321, Sophie Bursack, 16 June 1944, Ancestry.com. Connecticut, U.S., Federal Naturalization Records, 1790-1996 

Dusschen Blumenfeld Strauss and Her Seven Children, Part I: Three Who Went to America

I have been busy with moving to a new house, but will now return to the Blumenfeld branch of my family tree and to Dusschen Blumenfeld, the fourth child of Isaac Blumenfeld, who was the second child of Moses Blumenfeld I, my four-times great-uncle. As I wrote about here, there were two granddaughters of Moses Blumenfeld I with the name Dusschen Blumenfeld, the other being the daughter of Abraham Blumenfeld IIA. To keep them straight, I am referring to Abraham’s daughter as Dora and Isaac’s daughter as Dusschen, although Isaac’s daughter was also sometimes known as Dora.

Dusschen Blumenfeld was born on December 25, 1848, in Momberg, Germany.

Dusschen Blumenfeld birth record, LAGIS Hessen Archives, Geburtsregister der Juden von Neustadt 1824-1884 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 628)

She was 21 when she married Isaac Strauss on May 19, 1870, in Amoeneburg.  Isaac was born in Amoeneburg on January 23, 1839, to Samuel Strauss and Jettchen Rosenbaum,1 and he was Dusschen’s first cousin since his father Samuel Strauss and Dusschen’s mother Gelle Strauss were brother and sister.

Marriage record of Isaac Strauss and Dusschen Blumenfeld, Archives of Hesse, HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 50, p. 12

Isaac had been previously married.2 His first wife, Bettchen Reis, died on April 17, 1869, in Amoeneburg3 after giving birth to their second child Emanuel, who was born on April 12, 1869, and died two weeks later on April 26, 1869.4 Isaac was left to raise his daughter Jettchen Strauss, who was not yet three years old when her mother and infant brother died. Isaac married Dusschen a year after losing his first wife Bettchen.

Dusschen and Isaac had seven children together, the first five all born in Amoeneburg.

Their first born was Bertha, born on July 20, 1871.

Berta Strauss birth record, Arcinsys Hesse Archives, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 49 p 11

Second was Moses, also known as Moritz, born on January 19, 1873.

Moses Strauss birth record, Arcinsys Hesse Archives, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 49, p. 11

Then came Kathinka, born December 18, 1874.

Kathinka Strauss birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 173, Year Range: 1874, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

The fourth child was Hermann, born October 1, 1876.

Hermann Strauss birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 175, Year Range: 1876, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Maier, also known as Max, came next; he was born on February 12, 1879.

Maier Strauss birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 178, Year Range: 1879, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

The sixth child was Rebekka, and she was born in Wetter, Germany, on February 8, 1881, so the family must have relocated from Amoeneburg by that time.

Rebekka Strauss birth record, Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 9521, Year Range: 1881, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Finally, the seventh and last child born to Dusschen and Isaac was their son Sali, born May 29, 1885, also in Wetter.

Sali Strauss birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 9525, Year Range: 1885, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Several of Isaac and Dusschen’s children left for the United States in the late 19th century. Just four years after his youngest sibling Sali’s birth in 1885, the oldest son Moritz left Germany for the United States. He was only sixteen when he arrived in New York City on May 30, 1889.5 On June 7, 1896, Moritz Strauss married Therese Wolff, daughter of Israel Wolff and Sarah Lion, in New York. Therese was also an immigrant from Germany; she was born in Nalbach, Saarland, in 1873.6

Moritz and Therese had two children born in New York. Blanche was born on April 8, 1897.7 In 1900, the family was living in New York City, and Moritz, now known as Morris, was working as a butcher. Their second child Irving was born  on August 24, 1901.8

Morris Strauss 1900 US Census, Year: 1900; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Roll: 1097; Page: 15; Enumeration District: 0340; FHL microfilm: 1241097, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

On August 5, 1904, Morris became a naturalized citizen.9 By 1910, Morris and his family had moved to the Bronx, and Moritz owned his own butcher shop. He must have felt that he had achieved the American dream.

Morris Strauss 1910 US census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Bronx Assembly District 30, New York, New York; Roll: T624_996; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 1405; FHL microfilm: 1375009
Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census

Then tragedy struck when Irving Strauss, just thirteen years old, died on February 7, 1915. According to his death certificate, Irving died from acute osteomyelitis of the humerus, “cause unknown.” The humerus in the long bone in our arms, and osteomyelitis is inflammation of a bone or bone marrow caused by an infection. Pyemia, or blood poisoning from bacteria, was a contributory cause; my guess is that the infection spread from the blood stream to his bone. Even today such an infection is not a simple one to treat, but it’s much less likely that young Irving would die from it today than in 1915.

Irving Strauss death certificate, Certificate No. 919, New York City Department of Records & Information Services; New York City, New York; New York City Death Certificates; Borough: Bronx; Year: 1915

In 1920, the surviving members of the family, Morris, Therese, and Blanche, were living in the Bronx, and Morris was still working as a butcher.10 Blanche, now 22 years old, was working as a teacher in the New York City public schools. Blanche was still living with her parents in the Bronx and teaching in 1930, and her father Morris was still working as a butcher at that time.11

Moritz was not the only child of Dusschen Blumenfeld and Isaac Strauss to come to the United States. Moritz’s older sister Bertha also came to New York City.  She married Morris Herz there on January 27, 1901. Morris was born on February 18, 1875, in Bonn, Germany. He was the son of Max Herz and Susanna Weber.12 I don’t know when he or Bertha arrived in New York. Their first child Henrietta was born in New York on November 14, 190113, but their second child, Manfred Edgar Herz, was born on February 18, 1909, in Frankfurt, Germany.14 So Bertha and Moritz must have returned to Germany between the births of their two children, and, as we will see, they remained there until the 1930s.

But the third oldest son of Dusschen and Isaac Strauss, like his brother Moritz, came to the US to stay.  Maier (also spelled Meier or Meyer and later known as Max) Strauss arrived in New York on June 7, 1903. He was 24 and had last been living in London. He was working as a baker when he filed his declaration of intention to become a US citizen four years later on November 19, 1907.

Max Meier Strauss declaration of intention, National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, DC; NAI Title: Index to Petitions for Naturalizations Filed in Federal, State, and Local Courts in New York City, 1792-1906; NAI Number: 5700802; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Vol 021-023 19 Oct-23 Nov 1907 (No 9985-11484), Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

Max Meier married Augusta Schoenmann in New York on October 7, 1914. Augusta was born in Odenheim, Germany, on June 13, 1888, to Elias Schoenmann and Karolina Mannheimer.15

Meier and Augusta’s first child, Irving, was born February 8, 1917.16 When Meier registered for the World War I draft on September 12, 1918, he owned his own bakery in New York, and his family was living at the same address as the bakery.

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

A second child, Herbert, was born to Meier and Augusta on September 26, 1919, in New York.17 In 1920, the family was still living at the address of the bakery listed on Meier’s draft registration, and Meier was still working as a baker.18 But by 1930, the family had moved to Hoboken, New Jersey. Meier, now listed as Max, was still a baker.19

Back in Germany, meanwhile, the rest of the family of Dusschen Blumenfeld and Isaac Strauss was also expanding during these years.


  1. Isaac Strauss birth record, Arcinsys Archives of Hessen, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 49, found at https://arcinsys.hessen.de/arcinsys/digitalisatViewer.action?detailid=v1510942 
  2. Marriage of Isaac Strauss and Bettchen Reis, Trauregister der Juden von Amöneburg 1824-1893 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 50) p.11 
  3. Death record of Bettchen Reis Strauss, Arcinsys Archives of Hesse,  HHStAW Fonds 365 No 51, p. 8 
  4. Birth record of Emanuel Strauss, Arcinsys Archives of Hesse,HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 49, p. 10; Death record of Emanuel Strauss, Arcinsys Archives of Hesse, HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 51, p. 8 
  5.  National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, DC; NAI Title: Index to Petitions for Naturalizations Filed in Federal, State, and Local Courts in New York City, 1792-1906; NAI Number: 5700802; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Description: US District Court for the Eastern District of New York (058-059), Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943 
  6. Moritz Strauss, Gender: Male, Marriage Date: 7 Jun 1896, Marriage Place: Manhattan, New York, USA, Spouse: Therese Wolff, Certificate Number: 9594, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937; “New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940”, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:2:997Z-4HVD : 21 June 2022), Entry for Moritz Strauss and Theresa Wolff, 1896. 
  7. Blanche Strauss, Gender: Female, Race: White, Birth Date: 8 Apr 1897, Birth Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 17565
    Father: Moritz Strauss, Mother: Theresa Strauss, Mother Maiden Name: Wolf, New York City Department of Records & Information Services; New York City, New York; New York City Birth Certificates; Borough: Manhattan; Year: 1897, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Index to Birth Certificates, 1866-1909 
  8. Irving Strauss, Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 24 Aug 1901, Birth Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, New York, USA, Residence Address: E. 10 Str 364, Certificate Number: 33487, Father: Maurice Strauss, Mother: Theresa Strauss
    Mother Maiden Name: Wolff, New York City Department of Records & Information Services; New York City, New York; New York City Birth Certificates; Borough: Manhattan; Year: 1901, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Index to Birth Certificates, 1866-1909 
  9. Moritz Strauss, Petition Age: 31, Record Type: Petition, Birth Date: 19 Jan 1873, Birth Place: Germany, Arrival Date: 30 May 1889, Arrival Place: New York, New York
    Petition Date: 5 Aug 1904, Petition Place: Kings, New York, USA, National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, DC; NAI Title: Index to Petitions for Naturalizations Filed in Federal, State, and Local Courts in New York City, 1792-1906; NAI Number: 5700802; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943 
  10. Morris Strauss, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Bronx Assembly District 5, Bronx, New York; Roll: T625_1137; Page: 9B; Enumeration District: 286, Enumeration District: 0286; Description: Bronx, Assembly District 5, Tract 121 (part) bounded by Westchester Ave, Whitlock Ave, E 165th, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  11. Morris Strauss, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Bronx, Bronx, New York; Page: 22B; Enumeration District: 0625; FHL microfilm: 2341222; Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  12. “New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940”, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:2:997C-9L4Q : 21 June 2022), Entry for Morris Herz and Bertha Strauss, 1901. 
  13. “New York, New York City Births, 1846-1909,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:2:9979-QK94 : 11 February 2018), Entry for Henrietta Hertz, 14 Nov 1901; citing Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, reference cn 44441 New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,983,411. 
  14. Manfred Edgar Herz, Record Type: Naturalization, Birth Date: 18 Feb 1909, Birth Place: Frankfurt Am Main, Germany, Arrival Date: 28 Jul 1939, Arrival Place: New York NY, Naturalization Place: Tennessee, USA, National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.c.; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States; Record Group Number: 21, Ancestry.com. Tennessee, U.S., Naturalization Records, 1888-1992 
  15. “New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940”, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:2:997C-CG23 : 21 June 2022), Entry for Meier Strauss and Auguste Schoemann, 1914. Mrs Augusta Strauss
    Gender: Female, Age: 35, Birth Date: 13 Jun 1888, Birth Place: Odenbeim Bei Bruchal, Baden, Germany, Residence Place: New York, Passport Issue Date: 21 Mar 1924
    Spouse: Max Strauss, Has Photo: Yes, Certificate Number: 381929, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 2449; Volume #: Roll 2449 – Certificates: 381850-382349, 21 Mar 1924-22 Mar 1924, Ancestry.com. U.S., Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  16. Irvin Strauss, Race: White, Age: 23, Relationship to Draftee: Self (Head). Birth Date: 8 Feb 1917. Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA. Residence Place: Washington, District of Columbia, USA, Registration Date: 16 Oct 1940, Registration Place: Washington, District of Columbia, USA,Next of Kin: Max Strauss, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for District of Columbia, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 221, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  17. Herbert Milton Strauss, Race: White, Age: 21, Birth Date: 26 Sep 1919, Birth Place: New York City, New York, Registration Date: 16 Oct 1940, Registration Place: New York City, Bronx, New York, Next of Kin: Augusta Strauss, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New York City, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147, ncestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  18. Meier Strauss and family, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 13, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1209; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 957, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  19. Max Strauss and family, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Hoboken, Hudson, New Jersey; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 0262; FHL microfilm: 2341084,
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 

Isaak Blumenfeld’s First Born, Abraham Blumenfeld III, and His Nine Children

By 1861 when their last and ill-fated daughter Sara was born, Isaak and Gelle (Straus) Blumenfeld had nine children plus Isaak’s son Abraham III, who was born to his first wife Frommet Kugelmann who died shortly after giving birth. Because there are so many children and because some of them had many children, I’ve decided that rather than go decade by decade as I often do, I will need to examine each of the eight children who survived to adulthood separately, starting with the first-born child of Isaak, his son Abraham III.

As we saw, Abraham III was born on March 13, 1842, and his mother died five days later. Isaak did not remarry for ten months, so I don’t know who helped him care for the newborn baby. Isaak’s mother Gidel died a year after the baby’s birth, so perhaps she helped through that first year. Or maybe Frommet’s family helped. I don’t know, but somehow little Abraham survived.

On December 16, 1868, Abraham III married Friedericke Rothschild, the daughter of Abraham Rothschild and Gelle Baum, born in Angerod, Germany, on December 18, 1845.1

Marriage record of Abraham Blumenfeld III and Friedericke Rothschild, Arcinsys Archives Hessen, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 628, p. 12

Abraham III and Friedericke had nine children (you can see why I had to break this family down a bit!).

Dina Blumenfeld was born on February 1, 1871, in Momberg, Germany.

Dina Blumenfeld birth record, LAGIS Hessen Archive, Geburtsregister der Juden von Momberg (Neustadt) 1850-1874 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 608), p. 7

Her sister Auguste came next on June 13, 1873, in Momberg.

Auguste Blumenfeld birth record, LAGIS Hessen Archives, Geburtsregister der Juden von Momberg (Neustadt) 1850-1874 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 608), p. 7

Then came Katincka, born February 5, 1875.

Katincka Blumenfeld birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6458, Year Range: 1875, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Nanny was the fourth child, born January 3, 1878.

Nanny Blumenfeld birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6461, Year Range: 1878, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

After four daughters, Abraham III and Friedericke had two sons. Hermann was born on April 17, 1880. Since he is the youngest of the three Hermann Blumenfeld’s on the tree, I will refer to him as Hermann Blumenfeld III.

Hermann Blumenfeld birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6463, Year Range: 1880, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

And his brother Hugo was born August 30, 1882.

Hugo Blumenfeld birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6465, Year Range: 1882, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Bertha came next. She was born on May 4, 1885.

Bertha Blumenfeld birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6468, Year Range: 1885, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

The eighth child was another boy and yet another Moses Blumenfeld to add to the family tree. He was born on September 28, 1887, and was known as Moritz, as were three other men on the family tree (not to mention all the men named Moses Blumenfeld). I will refer to this cousin as Moritz Blumenfeld IV because he was youngest of the four cousins who used that name.

Moses (Moritz) Blumenfeld birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6470, Year Range: 1887, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Finally, Abraham III and Friedericke’s ninth and final child arrived on November 7, 1892. Her name was Emma.

Emma Blumenfeld birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6475, Year Range: 1892, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Thus, Friedericke was pregnant and giving birth from 1871 until 1892. She was 47 when she gave birth to her last child Emma in 1892. I cannot begin to imagine it. Her first grandchild was born just three years after the birth of Emma, so Emma was an aunt at three.

More on the next generation in the posts to come.

 


  1. Friedericke’s birth date and place were found here

Isaak Blumenfeld’s Ten Children, Or How I Found Myself Overwhelmed With Repeating Names!

I am slowly working through the research of my Blumenfeld relatives, a branch of the tree that sometimes seems overwhelming. I have completed the blogging (for now) about only the first branch of the first sibling of my 3x-great-grandmother Breine Blumenfeld Katzenstein, that is, the oldest child (Abraham IIA) of the oldest brother of Breine, Moses Blumenfeld I. I will now turn to the second child of Moses Blumenfeld I, his son Isaak.

There are two different dates recorded for Isaak’s birth. First, on a family register compiled for the Neustadt region which includes Momberg where he was born, his birth is given as December 13, 1814.

Family register for Moses Blumenfeld, Arcinsys Archives Hessen, HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 631, S. 18

On the other hand, his death record filed many years later says he was born on December 18, 1813.1

Which is right? I don’t know. But given the general principle that the record created closest in time to the event is presumed to be more reliable, I will assume that Isaak was born on December 13, 1814.

Isaak was a butcher, like his father and his brother Abraham IIA. He married Frommet Kugelmann on August 27, 1841, in Neustadt. Frommet was the daughter of Hiskias (Hezekiah) Kugelmann and Knendel Andorn, and she was born in about 1821 in Wohrda. I have no actual birth record, but her marriage record reports that she was 20 when she married Isaak.2

Marriage of Isaak Blumenfeld and Frommet Kugelmann, Arcinsys Archives Hessen, HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 629, S. 6

Sadly, Frommet died on March 18, 1842, just five days after giving birth on March 13, 1842, to her first and only child, Abraham Blumenfeld, named presumably for his great-grandfather Abraham Katz Blumenfeld, the patriarch of this line in my tree and my four-times great-grandfather. According to her death record, Frommet was nineteen when she died, meaning either her marriage record or her death record is incorrect.

Frommet Kugelmann Blumenfeld death record, Arcinsys Archives Hessen, HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 630, S. 8

I will refer to her son as Abraham III to distinguish him from his great-grandfather and from his uncle, Abraham Blumenfeld IIA, Isaak’s brother, as well as the other four Abraham Blumenfelds on my tree.

Abraham Blumenfeld III birth record, Arcinsys Archives Hessen, HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 628, S. 12

Ten months after Frommet’s death, on January 10, 1843, Isaak married again. His second wife was Gelle Straus, sister of Giedel Straus, the wife of Isaak’s brother Abraham IIA. So two brothers were now married to two sisters. Gelle was born on November 6, 1819, in Amoeneburg, to Hahne Straus and Dusel Loewenstein.

Marriage of Isaak Blumenfeld and Gelle Straus, Arcinsys Archives Hessen, HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 629, S. 6

Gelle and Isaak had nine children together, meaning that Isaak had ten children altogether. Unfortunately, the first child born to Gelle and Isaak, an unnamed baby boy, did not survive. He was born and died on January 24, 1844, in Momberg.

Unnamed child, LAGIS Hessen Archives, Geburtsregister der Juden von Neustadt 1824-1884 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 628), p. 13

Just eleven months after losing that first baby, Gelle gave birth to her second baby, a girl named Giedel, born on December 16, 1844. I assume that Giedel was not named for her aunt, Gelle’s sister, but for one of the many other women with that name on the family tree.

Giedel Blumenfeld birth, LAGIS Archives, Geburtsregist Neustader der Juden vont 1824-1884 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 628)AutorHessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, WiesbadenErscheinungsjahr1824-1884, p. 14

And guess what they named their next child, a boy born on May 2, 1847, in Momberg? Moses! Yes, another Moses Blumenfeld, one of six on this tree. I will refer to this one as Moses Blumenfeld IIB to distinguish him from his first cousin Moses Blumenfeld IIA, son of Abraham Blumenfeld II.

Moses Blumenfeld birth record, LAGIS Hessen Archives, Geburtsregister der Juden von Neustadt 1824-1884 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 628)AutorHessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, WiesbadenErscheinungsjahr1824-1884, p. 16

Next born was another Dusschen Blumenfeld, not to be confused with her first cousin Dusschen Dora Blumenfeld, daughter of Abraham Blumenfeld IIA. I was confused about these two Dusschens for some time. To keep them straight, I called Abraham’s daughter Dora; I will refer to this one as Dusschen. She was born on December 25, 1848.

Dusschen Blumenfeld birth record, LAGIS Hessen Archives, Geburtsregister der Juden von Neustadt 1824-1884 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 628), p. 16

Then came Meier Blumenfeld, born on March 5, 1851, in Momberg. Like his siblings Moses and Dusschen, he also shared his first name with a first cousin, Meier Blumenfeld IIA, son of his uncle Abraham IIA. I will refer to Isaak’s son as Meier Blumenfeld IIB.

Meier Blumenfeld birth record, LAGIS Hessen Archives, Geburtsregister der Juden von Momberg (Neustadt) 1850-1874 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 608), p. 3

Isaak and Gelle’s sixth child was named Gerson. He was born on April 29, 1853, in Momberg. You might think that unlike his older siblings, Gerson didn’t have to share a name with a first cousin since we haven’t yet talked about another Gerson Blumenfeld. But in fact, there was another Gerson Blumenfeld, the son of Meier Blumenfeld I, younger brother of Moses Blumenfeld. That Gerson Blumenfeld was born in 1834, and guess what? He would later marry Isaak’s daughter (and Gerson’s sister) Giedel! But I am getting ahead of myself. Isn’t this fun? Anyway, Isaak’s son Gerson will be referred to as Gerson II.

Gerson Blumenfeld birth record, LAGIS Hessen Archives, Geburtsregister der Juden von Momberg (Neustadt) 1850-1874 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 608)AutorHessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, WiesbadenErscheinungsjahr1850-1874, p. 4

The seventh child born to Isaak and Gelle was born on August 23, 1856, in Momberg. Her name was Rebecca, and she also shared her name with a first cousin, Rebecca Blumenfeld, the daughter of Abraham IIA. So I will refer to this Rebecca as Rebecca II.

Rebecca Blumenfeld birth record, LAGIS Hessen Archives, Geburtsregister der Juden von Momberg (Neustadt) 1850-1874 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 608), p. 4

Finally with their eighth child, Isaak and Gelle selected a name that was not shared by any of that child’s close relatives. Fradchen Friedericke Blumenfeld was born on November 2, 1858, in Momberg.

Fradchen Blumenfeld birth record, LAGIS Hessen Archives, Geburtsregister der Juden von Momberg (Neustadt) 1850-1874 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 608)AutorHessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, WiesbadenErscheinungsjahr1850-1874, p. 5

That brings me to the ninth and last child born to Gelle and Isaak, Sara, born on October 16, 1861, when Gelle was 42 years old. Unfortunately Sara died when she was only eight years old on July 11, 1870.

Sara Blumenfeld birth record, LAGIS Hessen Archives, Geburtsregister der Juden von Momberg (Neustadt) 1850-1874 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 608)AutorHessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, WiesbadenErscheinungsjahr1850-1874, p. 5

Sara Blumenfeld death record, LAGIS Hessen Archives, Sterberegister der Juden von Momberg (Neustadt) 1851-1873 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 609)AutorHessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, WiesbadenErscheinungsjahr1851-1873, p. 5

Thus, Isaak Blumenfeld had ten children, one with his first wife Frommet and nine with his second wife Gelle. Eight of those children lived to adulthood, and their stories will be told in the posts to come. Let’s hope I can keep them all straight from their identically named cousins!

 


  1. Isak Blumenfeld, Age: 79. Birth Date: 18. Dez 1813 (18 Dec 1813), Death Date: 2. Apr 1892 (2 Apr 1892), Death Place: Neustadt Hessen, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Neustadt (Hessen), Father: Moser Blumenfeld, Mother: Giedes Blumenfeld, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6559, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958 
  2. To learn Frommet’s parents’ names other than from the information on the LAGIS cemetery website here, I looked at the birth records for Wohrda in the Arcinsys Archives, but they start in 1825 so too late to include Frommet. I found a birth record for one of her siblings, however, and asked on the GerSIG Facebook group for help in deciphering the script. Thanks to Bernhard Kukatzki for doing so and revealing the names of their parents. 

My Cousin Moses Blumenfeld (1849-1911) of Momberg, Part I

I now turn to the fifth of the eight children of Abraham Blumenfeld II and Giedel Strauss, their fourth son Moses Blumenfeld IIA, named presumably for his grandfather Moses Blumenfeld, the brother of my 3x-great-grandmother Breine Blumenfeld Katzenstein.  He was one of six cousins named Moses Blumenfeld on my tree, all presumably named for their grandfather (or great-grandfather) Moses Blumenfeld I.  I am referring to this Moses as IIA, the A signifying Abraham II, Moses Blumenfeld I’s oldest son and father of Moses IIA.

Moses IIA was born on December 31, 1849, in Momberg, Germany.

Arcinsys Archives Hessen,HHStAW Fonds 365 No 628, p. 17

On May 25, 1875, he married Fanny Bachrach. She was born in Rhina, Germany, to Kallman Bachrach and Jette Klebe on October 30, 1853.1

Marriage record of Moses Blumenfeld and Fanny Bachrach, Arcinsys Archives Hessen, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 585, p, 27

Moses IIA and Fanny had five children. Their first was Antonie Blumenfeld, born March 8, 1876, in Momberg.

Antonie Blumenfeld birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5555, Year Range: 1876, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Second born was Hedwig Blumenfeld, born in Marburg on July 8, 1877.

Hedwig Blumenfeld birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5556, Year Range: 1877, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Frida, a third daughter, was born on December 29, 1879.

Frida Blumenfeld birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5559, Year Range: 1880, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

She was followed by Moses IIA and Fanny’s first son, Karl, who was born on November 27, 1881, in Marburg.

Karl Blumenfeld birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5560, Year Range: 1881, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Sadly, both Frida and Karl died in March, 1882, Karl on March 3 at three months of age, and Frida eleven days later on March 14 at age two . I can’t begin to imagine the family’s grief over losing these two young children. 2

Frida and Karl Blumenfeld deaths, Arcinsys Archives Hessen, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 586 p. 35

Moses IIA and Fanny had one more child, another son, Ernst, born February 22, 1889, seven years after the deaths of Frida and Karl.

Ernst Blumenfeld birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5570, Year Range: 1889, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Fortunately, Ernst and his older sisters Antonie and Hedwig lived to adulthood.

Antonie married Morris Katz sometime before 1902. Morris was born in Mollenfelde, Germany, on October 28, 1870.3  Antonie and Morris had two children, a son Artur (Avraham) Katz, born September 6, 1902, in Goettingen, Germany,4 and a daughter Margarete Martha Katz, born in Marburg on September 17, 1906.5

Hedwig Blumenfeld married Moritz Kaufmann on March 16, 1900, in Marburg. Moritz, son of Jacob Kaufmann and Betty Mayer, was born on July 12, 1855, in Schotten, Germany. He was living in Paris when he married Hedwig.

Hedwig Blumenfeld and Kaufmann marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5614, Year Range: 1900, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Their two children were born in Paris where they settled: Rachel Gertrude Anna Kaufmann, born on January 12, 1901, and Albert Kaufmann, born on May 15, 1902.

Rachel Gertrude Anna Kaufmann birth record, Archives de Paris; Paris, France; Etat Civil 1792-1902, BrowseLevel: 62058_B964336, Paris, France, Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1792-1930

Albert Kaufmann birth record, Archives de Paris; Paris, France; Etat Civil 1792-1902, BrowseLevel: 62058_B960111, Paris, France, Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1792-1930

Moses Blumenfeld IIA did not live to see his youngest child and only surviving son Ernst get married. He died on June 3, 1911, in Marburg when he was 61.

Moses Blumenfeld IIA death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5700, Year Range: 1911,  Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Ernst Blumenfeld married on December 12, 1921, ten years after his father died . He married Bella Tannenbaum in Bad Hersfeld, Germany, where she was born on March 2, 1900, to Levi Tannenbaum and Rosa Katz.6

Ernst Blumenfeld and Bella Tannenbaum marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 907, Year Range: 1921, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Ernst and Bella had three children. Lore was born in Marburg on March 13, 1927.7 Her brother Franz was born two years later on March 21, 1929, in Marburg.8 The third child Paul was born three years after Franz on February 2, 1932, in Marburg.9

Fanny Bachrach Blumenfeld did not live to see the births of her last two grandchildren Franz and Paul. She died at 74 on April 9, 1928, in Marburg. She was survived by three of her children, Antonie, Hedwig, and Ernst, and by seven grandchildren.

Fanny Bachrach death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5731, Year Range: 1928, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Unfortunately, the three surviving children of Fanny and Moses Blumenfeld IIA would not survive the 1930s. More on their stories and those of Moses and Fanny’s grandchildren in my next post.


  1. Arcinsys Archives Hessen, HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 687, 49. 
  2.   A separate death record for Karl states that he died on March 10. I don’t know which one is more accurate. See Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5662, Certificate 90, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958 
  3. Moritz Katz, Gender: männlich (Male), Nationality: Deutsch Juden, Residence Age: 68, Record Type: Residence, Birth Date: 28 Okt 1870 (28 Oct 1870), Birth Place: Mollenfelde, Sojourn Start Date: 2 Sep 1939, Residence Place: Marburg Marburg an der Lahn, Sojourn End Date: 5 Sep 1942, Reference Number: 02010101 oS, Document ID: 70454287, Arolsen Archives, Digital Archive; Bad Arolsen, Germany; Lists of Persecutees 2.1.1.1, Ancestry.com. Free Access: Europe, Registration of Foreigners and German Persecutees, 1939-1947. I was unable to locate an actual birth record for Moritz or a record of his marriage to Antonie. 
  4. The only “source” I could find for his birth date was an entry on Geni at https://www.geni.com/people/Abraham-Katz/6000000028354088593?through=6000000028354250250. I don’t know how reliable this is given that no real sources were provided on Geni. 
  5. Margarete’s birth date was found on her Palestine immigration papers found at the Israel State Archives, by searching for her Friedrich Max Jacobsohn,https://www.archives.gov.il/en/catalogue/group/1?kw=max%20jacobsohn 
  6.  Bella Tannenbaum, Gender: weiblich (Female), Birth Date: 2 Mrz 1900 (2 Mar 1900), Birth Place: Hersfeld, Bad, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Bad Hersfeld, Father: Levi Tannenbaum, Mother: Rosa Tannenbaum, Certificate Number: 39, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 907; Signatur: 907_7150, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901 
  7. Lore Gertrude Blumenfeld, [Lore Ger Oppenheim], Gender: Female, Race: White
    Birth Date: 13 Mar 1927, Birth Place: Marburg, Federal Republic of Germany, [Marbury, Federal Republic of Germany], Death Date: 14 Nov 1991, Father: Ernest Blumenfeld
    Mother: Bella Tannenbaum, SSN: 132142097, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  8. Frank Martin Blumenfeld, Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 21 Mar 1929
    Birth Place: Marburg, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 22 Mar 2002
    Father: Ernest Blumenfeld, Mother: Bella Kannenbaum, SSN: 120204479, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  9. Paul F Blumenfeld, Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 2 Feb 1932, Birth Place: Marbery, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: Jun 1986, Father:
    Ernst Blumenfeld, Mother: Bella Tannenbaum, SSN: 105247709, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 

Baruch Blumenfeld: Where and When Did He Die, Part II

The mystery of where and when Baruch Blumenfeld died led me down several rabbit holes to answer several questions. Did Baruch Blumenfeld move to New York and leave his wife Emma and his daughters and his grandchildren behind? Was the 1920 census accurate in reporting that he had immigrated to the US in 1869 and become a US citizen in 1875? If so, how did he marry Emma in 1872 and father two children between 1872 and 1875? And did he really die in New York City in 1923?

I turned to several Facebook groups for further help to confirm that this was the correct Baruch. First, I asked on Tracing the Tribe for help finding more information about the Baruch Blumenfeld who died in New York. My fellow Blumenfeld cousin Tova Levi suggested that I try and find a connection to the family with whom Baruch was living in 1920. That led me to search for Getta and Emma Neuberger and their place of origin, including locating their extended family in New York and searching for naturalization records that might reveal where they came from in Germany.

Baruch Blumenfeld, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 14, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1212; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 1047 Source Information Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

After hours of searching and getting help from the New York City genealogy group, the German genealogy group, and the GerSIG group, including from Sandy Hahn Lanman and Matt Luders, I concluded that the Neuberger family came from Thalmassig in Bavaria, not anywhere near Hesse where Baruch had lived, and that thus it was unlikely that my Baruch would have known them before coming to the US.

Steph Mayer, one of the members of the German Genealogy group, also was very helpful. She made several suggestions, including sending me a link to the entry for Baruch Blumenfeld on genealogy.net, an important Germany genealogy website. Steph recommended that I email the contact person, Hartwig Faber, to see if he had any additional information.

And so I did, and Hartwig helped solve one part of this mystery. He noted that on the 1900 marriage record for Baruch’s daughter Charlotte, Baruch is described as living at an unknown distance. That is, by 1900 Baruch’s whereabouts were no longer known by his family.

Marriage record of Charlotte Jeanette Blumenfeld and Hermann Hammel, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6510
Year Range: 1900, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Here is the transcription and translation of that part of the record:

Tochter des in unbekannter Ferne weilenden Kaufmanns Baruch Abraham Blumenfeld und der nochlebenden Ehefrau Emma geb. Docter wohnhaft in Neustadt.

Daughter of the merchant Baruch Abraham Blumenfeld, living in unknown distance, and the still living wife Emma, née Docter, living in Neustadt.

That record supports the possibility that Baruch did immigrate to the US and did die in New York in 1923.

But I can’t still cannot find a Baruch Blumenfeld on any ship manifest even when I search without limiting by dates or with wildcards on the name.

I also have had no luck finding any naturalization papers for him. I’ve gone through indexed and unindexed records on Ancestry and FamilySearch, and the only citizenship record that came close was a declaration of intention dated October 8, 1873 by a Baruch Blum. In that era declarations carried no identifying information other than the name and country of origin, so that doesn’t help very much. And I remain skeptical that Baruch would have been in the US at that time, given that he married Emma in 1872 and had a baby later that year and a second three years later.

I also cannot find a Baruch Blumenfeld on any census record in the US except the 1920 census. If he really immigrated to the US in 1869, he should have appeared on the 1870, 1880, 1900, and 1910 US census enumerations.

I did find a German-born Benny Blumenfeld living as a boarder in New York in 1915 on the New York State census of that year. He was 72, so born in or close to 1843. He had no occupation. Could that be Baruch? Maybe. It says he’s been in the US for 32 years or since 1883. That would make a lot more sense than 1869, the year given on the 1920 census. There’s even a young man listed below, also a boarder in the same household, who was a butcher. Do you think this could be my Baruch?

Benny Blumenfeld 1915 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 10; Assembly District: 10; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 38, District: A·D· 10 E·D· 10, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1915

But there is no one else with a similar name and age that I could locate on the 1900 or 1910 US census. My working hypothesis at this point is that Baruch Blumenfeld took on an assumed name when he immigrated and then changed it back years later.

When I received the copy of the actual death certificate for the Baruch Blumenfeld who died in New York in 1923, I was even more certain that he was the same person as my cousin Baruch Blumenfeld.

The first page of that certificate first of all made it clear that his mother’s surname was Strauss, not Lhauss. Secondly, his age is given as 80 years and eight months. Since he died in September, 1923, that means he was born in January, 1843. My Baruch was born on January 29, 1843. This definitely supports the conclusion that this was my Baruch Blumenfeld.

One other interesting bit of information is included on first page of the certificate. It reports that he had been living in the US and in New York for 42 years or since 1881. That would make a lot more sense than the year given on the 1920 census—1869. By 1881 both of Baruch’s daughters were born, and he very well might have left Germany around that time.

I was feeling pretty excited that I had enough information to confirm that this was my cousin Baruch Blumenfeld—until I looked at the reverse side of the certificate.

It indicated that Mary Farley, a sister of the deceased, had hired the undertaker to take care of Baruch’s burial. Mary Farley? A sister? There were many Mary Farleys living in the US 1923—too many to count. If I limited my search to New York City, I found 32 registered to vote in New York in 1924.1 I also searched for a Mary Farley born in Germany living in or near New York who might be the woman named on the death certificate. I only found one woman with that name born in Germany; she lived in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and was married to a native-born American named John Farley. Her maiden name was Richardt, not Blumenfeld.

UPDATE!! Thank you so much to Lisa K of the GerSIG group on Facebook for pointing out that this is NOT the reverse of the death certificate for Baruch Blumenfeld, but for someone named James Graham. So Mary Farley must have been HIS sister. I’ve now ordered a correct version of the reverse of Baruch’s death certificate.

I very much doubt any one of the many possible Mary Farleys was Baruch’s sister. Friend, neighbor, whatever—she likely said she was the sister so she could arrange the burial for him.

What do you think? Have I convinced you that the Baruch Blumenfeld who died in New York in 1923 was the same man born in Momberg, Germany, on January 29, 1843, to Abraham Blumenfeld II and Giedel Strauss? Please share you thoughts in the comments.

I am so very grateful to the genealogy village for all the help I’ve received to try and learn what happened to my cousin Baruch Blumenfeld.