Hedwig Goldschmidt Cramer’s Three Sons: Can You Help Me Find More Records?

In the last post we saw that Hedwig Goldschmidt Cramer’s daughter Rosa Cramer Oppenheimer died young, her grandson William Oppenheimer died very young, and her son-in-law Arthur Oppenheimer also died young. But Rosa and Arthur’s three remaining children survived those losses and also survived the Holocaust.

This post will look at Hedwig’s three sons, Max, Sally, and Herbert Cramer, and their families in the 20th century. Unfortunately, there are many places in this post where I had to rely on secondary sources, which I am always reluctant to do, but I was unable to find many primary sources for the Cramer sons and their descendants. If anyone has suggestions—especially for finding Israeli birth, marriage, and death records and some English death records—please let me know.

UPDATE: Thank you to the many people who reached out to help, including Yehuda  from Tracing the Tribe, Anne from the German Genealogy Group on Facebook, Shirley, my cousin by marriage and friend, and a blog reader BRegenstein. I am updating this post with some of the new information and records I’ve received from them.

I was, however, able to learn more about the three Cramer sons from the book written by their nephew Arnold Selig Oppenheimer, and that source provided more inisghts into these three men. It also included some wonderful images including these portraits of Selig Goldschmidt and his wife Clementine Fuld and two photographs of their daughter Hedwig Goldschmidt Cramer:

From Arnold S Oppenheimer, The Story of My Life (2007)

From Arnold S Oppenheimer, The Story of My Life (2007)

Now, the story of Hedwig’s sons in the 20th century.

Max Cramer

From Arnold S. Oppenheimer, The Story of My Life (2007)

Max Cramer married Sidonie Charlotte Gestetner, the daughter of David Gestetner and Sophie Lazarus, in 1908.1 Sidonie was born in Islington, England, on March 12, 1888,2 and that’s where the two married.

Max and Sidonie settled in Frankfurt where their first child Ilse Caroline Cramer was born on September 17, 1909.3 Her sister Ellen was also born in Frankfurt, two years later on September 21, 1911.4 A third daughter Hilda was born on February 3, 1916,5 followed almost exactly two years later by Max and Sidonie’s fourth daughter Nelli Else, born February 13, 1918.6

When the Nazis took power in Germany, Max and his children all left Germany. Max went to Palestine. According to his Palestinian immigration papers, Max Cramer and his first wife Sidonie divorced in May, 1935, and Sidonie returned to England. Max then went to Palestine on October 21, 1935, first as a visitor, but he ultimately decided to stay and become a citizen. In 1949, he married Elfriede Sachs Gluecksohn in Israel.7 Max died in Jerusalem on July 22, 1952, according to his profile on Geni.

UPDATE: Thank you to Yehuda from TTT for locating Max’s headstone on Gravez, which confirms his date of death.

Max Cramer, Palestine Immigration File, Israel Archives, found at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/archives/Archive/0b07170680034dc1/File/0b07170680ee723e

As for the children of Max and Sidonie, their oldest daughter, Ilsa Caroline Cramer, was the only one who did not immigrate to England, according to various secondary sources. According to the research of David Baron and Roger Cibella, Ilsa married Marcel Fruchter Peri in Palestine in 1939, had one child, and died on March 21, 1954, in Tel Aviv, Israel. Profiles on My Heritage list her husband as Walter Skotzki and with no children, but with the same year of death. I’ve been unable to locate any primary source to verify any of these facts other than other profiles on My Heritage, Geni, and Ancestry.

Max and Sidonie’s three other daughters ended up in England with their mother Sidonie, who married Hans Feibusch, an artist, in 1935 right after her divorce from Max Cramer.8  The 1939 England and Wales Register lists Sidonie, Hans, and the three Cramer daughters in one household living in London. Hilda was working as a secretary-copywriter, Nelli was not employed, and Ellen was a studio photographer, listed under the surname Kay.

Sidonie Cramer Feibusch and family , The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/467I, Enumeration District: AROJ, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register

According to Baron and Cibella, Ellen Theresa Cramer had married Leo Knoepfelmacher in Prague, Czechoslovakia (today, the Czech Republic) on April 15, 1933. Leo was born on October 23, 1904, in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia. I have no marriage record for Ellen and Leo. They had two sons born in the 1930s, one in Vienna, one in Tel Aviv.9

I located a ship manifest for Ellen and her two sons dated September 21, 1936, showing that she and her sons were residents of Palestine, sailing to England to become permanent residents. It also indicates that she and her sons were Czech citizens. Leo was not sailing with them.

Ellen Cramer Knoepfelmacher, ship manifest, The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and successors: Inwards Passenger Lists.; Class: BT26; Piece: 1110, Month: Sep, Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960

So by 1939, as suggested by the 1939 England and Wales Register shown above, Ellen and Leo were apparently no longer together and she had changed her suname to Kay. But where were her sons on the 1939 register? And where was Leo?

He married a second time in England in 1942 to Elizabeth Irvine,9 but died less than four years later in England in January 1942 when he was only 41.10 Ellen Cramer Kay died June 28, 1962, in England; her listing on the probate calendar names her sisters Nelli and Hilda, but not her sons.11 I cannot find any record for either of them after that 1936 ship manifest.

UPDATE: Shirley located a marriage listing for one of the sons, showing he married in 1961. Since he may still be living, however, I won’t publish the specific details. Thank you, Shirley!

As for Ellen’s two sisters who survived her, Nelli and Hilda, Hilda married Frank Werth in London on March 24, 1950.12 They had two children in the 1950s. Frank died December 2, 1990.13 I’ve not been able to locate any record of Hilda’s death. Perhaps she is still living at 104.

UPDATE: Thank you to Anne from the German Genealogy Group on Facebook for alerting me to the fact that the General Register Office in the UK had updated its listings for births and deaths. Anne located Hilda Werth’s death on that index as being registered in the first quarter of 2013. To know the exact date, I need to order a copy of the record itself. I also searched for a death notice in The Gazette, as BRegenstein suggested, but unfortunately have not found one.

Nelli Cramer, the youngest of Max Cramer’s daughters, married Alfred Bozwiecki, who according to Baron and Cibella was born in Warsaw, Poland, on February 18, 1899.14 Alfred died in London on September 30, 1971,15 and Nelli died five years later on February 4, 1976, also in London.16 She was 57. As far as I can tell, Nelli and Alfred had not had children.

Sally Cramer

From Arnold S. Oppenheimer, The Story of My Life (2007)

As with Max Cramer, I am missing many records for his brother Sally. I’d love help tracking them down. For example, I have no marriage record, only information from his nephew Arnold Oppenheimer’s book and from Baron and Cibella. Like his older brother Max who married a woman from England, Sally Cramer married a woman from a foreign country. Baron and Cibella report that on January 29, 1911, he married Felicitas Weil in Strasbourg, France. Felicitas was born in Strasbourg on August 10, 1889.17 According to Arnold Oppenheimer, Felicitas became nearly blind after a failed operation, but had a “vivacious educated personality and played the piano well.”18

Like Max, Sally returned to Germany, and Sally and Felicitas had two children born there. A daughter Marion was born in Frankfurt on April 3, 1913,19 and a son Robert was born December 29, 1918, in Bad Neuheim, Germany.20

By 1939, Sally and Felicitas had escaped from Nazi Germany and were living in London. On the 1939 England and Wales Register, Sally described his occupation as a “veterinary preparations maker.” I have absolutely no idea what that means!

Sally Cramer and family, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/827H, Enumeration District: BKEN, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register

There is one line blacked out on the register, which I assume was for their son Robert. I only have two records for Robert. One is the card from the index of those whose German nationality was nullified by the Nazis, and the other is the card exempting him from being interned as an enemy alien by England in 1939. That card shows that Robert was training with the Modern Telephone Company and was living at the same address—26 Eagles Lodge—as his parents in 1939. Robert would marry Elizabeth Rosenberg in London in 1950, and they had two children born in London.21

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

Marion, Sally and Felicitas’ daughter, was already married and living in New York by 1939. She had immigrated to New York on September 2, 1937, and married Fritz Ludwig (Fred) Wolf in New York two and a half weeks later on September 19, 1937. Fritz was born on October 23, 1911, in Hamburg, Germany.  On her declaration of intention, Marion’s occupation is listed as interpreter/housewife. That was also true on her ship manifest, where she indicated that Fritz Wolf, her fiance, was the person she was traveling to in New York.22

Marion Cramer Wolf, declaration of intention, The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; NAI Title: Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1/19/1842 – 10/29/1959; NAI Number: 4713410; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: 21, Description: (Roll 529) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 407701-408700), Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

On the 1940 census, Marion and Fritz were living in Queens, New York, and Fritz was working as a “customer man” for a stock brokerage and Marion as a private secretary for an architect. Marion indicated that she had been living in Hamburg in 1935 while Fritz said he’d been living in Paris. He and Marion had two children born after the 1940 census.23

I don’t have much information about Sally and his family after 1940.  According to the English Probate Calendar, Sally died on June 12, 1951, in London, but Arnold Oppenheimer wrote that he died in the US while visiting his daughter Marion24. His widow Felicitas died on October 24, 1983.25 I could not find any record of deaths for either of their children. Marion and Robert would both be over one hundred years old now.

UPDATE: Thank you to Anne from the German Genealogy Group on Facebook for pointing out that I misread this! Sally’s probate notice does say he died in the US.

UPDATE: I went back and found an obituary for Marion Cramer Wolf. She died on July 26, 2017, at the age of 104. Death notice, New York Times, August 4, 2017. The notice described Marion as “Former Guggenheim museum reading room librarian. Lover of the arts, books and everything beautiful.” It can be found here.

Herbert Cramer

From Arnold S Oppenheimer, The Story of My Life (2007)

The youngest child of Hedwig Goldschmidt and Hirsch Cramer, Herbert, volunteered for the German army in World War I and served at the front. After the war he opened a small art gallery in Frankfurt.25 He married Elsa Seligmann on August 6, 1920, in Frankfurt. Elsa was the daughter of Leopold Seligmann and Anna Bockmann and was born on July 11, 1894, in Frankfurt.

Herbert Cramer marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Herbert and Elsa had one child, a daughter Ruth born in Frankfurt, on August 14, 1921.26

In the 1930s Herbert organized the first exhibit of Chagall paintings in Frankfurt. Then in 1933 he and his family left Germany for Italy.27 From there they immigrated to Palestine on March 2, 1939, and became naturalized citizens of Palestine on April 16, 1941. He listed his occupation as manager of the Society of the Friends of the Jewish National Museum on his application for Palestinian citizenship.

Herbert Cramer, Palestine Immigration File, Israel Archives, https://www.archives.gov.il/en/archives/Archive/0b07170680034dc1/File/0b07170680b58628

Sadly, Herbert died just six years later on April 24, 1947, in Jerusalem, according to a profile on My Heritage. His nephew Arnold Oppenheimer wrote that Herbert was killed when a convoy he was traveling with was ambushed by Arabs.27 His widow Else and daughter Ruth and Ruth’s husband Charles Taubes moved to Australia where Else died in 198328 and Ruth in 2011.29 They were survived by Ruth’s daughter.

UPDATE: Thank you to Yehuda from TTT for locating Herbert’s gravestone on Gravez and Ruth Cramer’s marriage record.

Thus, Hedwig Goldschmidt Cramer’s children and descendants ended up spread all over the world—to Israel, England, the United States, and Australia. Now if I only could find more records for them.

UPDATE: Once again, thanks to those who helped. I am still looking for the birth records for Max Cramer’s children born in the 1920s in Frankfurter, marriage records for Ilse Cramer, Max’s daughter, a marriage and death record for Robert Cramer, who may have died in Israel or in England. I will keep looking.

 


  1. Max Meyer Cramer, Registration Year: 1908, Registration Quarter: Apr-May-Jun
    Registration District: Islington, Inferred County: London, Volume: 1b, Page: 707
    Max Meyer Cramer, Sidonie Charlotte Gestetner, FreeBMD. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915 
  2. Sidonie Charlotte Gestetner, Registration Year: 1888, Registration Quarter: Apr-May-Jun, Registration District: Islington, Inferred County: London
    Volume: 1b, Page: 394, FreeBMD. England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915. Sidonie Feibusch, Gender: Female, Marital Status: Married, Birth Date: 12 Mar 1888, Residence Year: 1939, Address: 8 Westminster Court, Residence Place: St Marylebone, London, England, Occupation: Unpaid Domestic Duties, Line Number: 15
    Schedule Number: 8, Sub Schedule Number: 2, Enumeration District: AROJ, Borough: St Marylebone, Registration district: 7/3, Inferred Spouse: Hans N Feibusch, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/467I, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register 
  3. I have no actual biirth records for any of Max Cramer’s children, but had to rely on secondary sources.  MyHeritage profile, https://www.myheritage.com/research/record-1-217644591-1-543485/ilse-caroline-skotzki-born-cramer-in-myheritage-family-trees 
  4.  Ellen Theres Kay, Gender: Female, Marital Status: Married, Birth Date: 21 Sep 1911, Residence Year: 1939, Address: 8 Westminster Court, Residence Place: St Marylebone, London, England, Occupation: Studio Photographer, Line Number: 19
    Schedule Number: 8, Sub Schedule Number: 6, Enumeration District: AROJ
    Borough: St Marylebone, Registration district: 7/3, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/467I, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register. 
  5.  Name: Hilde Clementine Cramer, Gender: Female, Birth Date: 3 Feb 1916
    Birth Place: Frankfurt a/M, Germany, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/220,
    Ancestry.com. UK, World War II Alien Internees, 1939-1945 
  6.  Nelli Cramer, Birth Date: 13 Feb 1918, Birth Place: Frankfurt am Main, Last Residence: Frankfurt am Main, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, DC; Name Index of Jews Whose German Nationality Was Annulled by the Nazi Regime (Berlin Documents Center); Record Group: 242, National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized, 1675 – 1958; Record Group ARC ID: 569; Publication Number: T355; Roll: 2, Brüll, Erna – Fränkel, Werner, Ancestry.com. Germany, Index of Jews Whose German Nationality was Annulled by Nazi Regime, 1935-1944 
  7. David Baron and Roger Cibella, Goldschmidt Family Report. Arnold S. Oppenheimer, The Story of My Life (2007, Jerusalem), p. 5. 
  8.  Sidonie C Cramer, Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep, Registration District: Marylebone, Inferred County: Middlesex, Spouse: Hans N Feibusch, Volume Number: 1a, Page Number: 1783, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 1a; Page: 1783, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 
  9.  Leo Knopfelmacher, Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep, Registration District: Bradford, Inferred County: Yorkshire West Riding, Spouse: Elizabeth E Irvine, Volume Number: 9b, Page Number: 267, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 9b; Page: 267, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 
  10.  Leo Knoppelmacher, Death Age: 41, Birth Date: abt 1905, Registration Quarter: Jan-Feb-Mar, Registration District: Pancras, Inferred County: London, Volume: 1b, Page: 75, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 1b; Page: 75, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 
  11.  Ellen T Kay, Death Age: 50, Birth Date: abt 1912, Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep, 1962 Registration District: Paddington, Inferred County: London, Volume: 5d
    Page: 122, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 5d; Page: 122,
    Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007. Ellen Theresa Kay, Death Date: 28 Jun 1962, Death Place: London, England, Probate Date: 12 Oct 1962, Probate Registry: London, England, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995 
  12. Ancestry.com. England, Andrews Newspaper Index Cards, 1790-1976; Hilda C Cramer, Registration Quarter: Jan-Feb-Mar 1950, Registration District: Marylebone
    Inferred County: Middlesex, Spouse: Frank E Werth Or Wertheimer, Volume Number: 5d, Page Number: 713, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 5d; Page: 713, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 
  13.  Frank Edward Werth, Death Age: 72, Birth Date: 26 Apr 1918, Registration Date: Dec 1990, Registration District: Camden, Inferred County: Greater London., Volume: 14
    Page: 1849, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 14; Page: 1849, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007; Frank Edward Werth, Death Date: 2 Dec 1990, Death Place: London, Probate Date: 25 Jun 1991, Probate Registry: London, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995 
  14. David Baron and Roger Cibella, Goldschmidt Family Report. 
  15. Alfred Norbert Wit Bzowiecki, Death Date: 30 Sep 1971, Death Place: London
    Probate Date: 21 Nov 1972, Probate Registry: London, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995 
  16. Nellia Elsa Bzowiecka, Death Date: 4 Feb 1976, Death Place: London
    Probate Date: 4 Feb 1976, Probate Registry: London, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995 
  17.  Felicitas Fanny Cramer, Birth Date: 10 Aug 1889, Birth Place: Straßburg, Elsass (Alsace), Last Residence: Hamburg, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, DC; Name Index of Jews Whose German Nationality Was Annulled by the Nazi Regime (Berlin Documents Center); Record Group: 242, National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized, 1675 – 1958; Record Group ARC ID: 569; Publication Number: T355; Roll: 2, Brüll, Erna – Fränkel, Werner, Ancestry.com. Germany, Index of Jews Whose German Nationality was Annulled by Nazi Regime, 1935-1944 
  18. Oppenheimer, note 7, p. 5. 
  19. Marion Wolf, [Marion Cramer], Gender: Female, Declaration Age: 24, Record Type: Declaration, Birth Date: 3 Apr 1913, Birth Place: Frankfurt a/m Germany
    Arrival Date: 2 Sep 1937, Arrival Place: New York, New York, USA, Declaration Date: 13 Jan 1938, Declaration Place: New York, Court: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Spouse: Fritz, Declaration Number: 408397, Box Number: 273
    The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; NAI Title: Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1/19/1842 – 10/29/1959; NAI Number: 4713410; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: 21, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943 
  20. Robert Cramer, Birth Date: 29 Dez 1918, Birth Place: Bad Nauheim
    Last Residence: Hamburg, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, DC; Name Index of Jews Whose German Nationality Was Annulled by the Nazi Regime (Berlin Documents Center); Record Group: 242, National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized, 1675 – 1958; Record Group ARC ID: 569; Publication Number: T355; Roll: 2, Brüll, Erna – Fränkel, Werner, Ancestry.com. Germany, Index of Jews Whose German Nationality was Annulled by Nazi Regime, 1935-1944 
  21. Baron and Cibella, Goldschmidt Family Report. 
  22. Marion Cramer, ship manifest, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 4; Page Number: 4, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  23. Fritz and Marion Wolf, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, Queens, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02725; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 41-242,
    Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  24. Salomon Sally Cramer, Death Date: 12 Jun 1951, Death Place: Lancashire, England, Probate Date: 20 Dec 1951, Probate Registry: London, England, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995. See also Oppenheimer, note 7, p. 5. 
  25. Oppenheimer, note 7, p. 6. 
  26. David Baron and Roger Cibella, Goldschmidt Family Report 
  27. Oppenheimer, note 7, p. 6. 
  28. The Sydney Morning Herald – 1 Dec 1984 – Page 136 
  29. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/145293304/ruth-tadmore 

A Genealogy Story for Hanukkah: Looking for Light in the Darkness

Today is the first day of Hanukkah, a holiday that reminds us to find the light and hope even in the darkest of times. And in that spirit, this is a story of three children who lost their mother as children and then their father as young adults. Yet they found the strength to go on and survive the Holocaust. They looked for the light and hope despite the darkness.

Selig and Clementine Goldschmidt’s third daughter Hedwig Goldschmidt Cramer had five children with her husband Hermann Hirsch Cramer. Their oldest daughter Rosa Cramer married Arthur Abraham Oppenheimer on May 16, 1904, in Frankfurt. Arthur was born August 25, 1879, to William Oppenheimer and Ida Jettchen Cramer.

From Arnold S. Oppenheimer, The Story of My Life (2007)

I have had the great pleasure this week of talking with Arthur and Rosa’s grandson, my fifth cousin Arthur, who told me that Rosa and Arthur were first cousins, Ida Jettchen Cramer being the sister of Hirsch Hermann Cramer. Their parents were at first opposed to them marrying because they were first cousins. But they were deeply in love and insisted on being together.

Rosa Cramer marriage to Arthur Oppenheimer, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Rosa and Arthur had four children. Twins were born on March 3, 1905, in Frankfurt, William1 and Gertrud.2 Then Arnold Selig Oppenheimer was born on June 15, 1907,3 and finally Edith was born on June 13, 1911.4

Arnold Selig Oppenheimer wrote a wonderful book, The Story of My Life,5 which his son Arthur shared with me. It is filled with memories of his childhood and adult life as well as many photographs of the family. I wish I could add more of the rich details of his life described in the book, but for now I will include just some of those details as well as a few of his childhood pictures, including these two of the three older Oppenheimer children and, in the one on the right, their mother Rosa.

From Arnold S. Oppenheimer, The Story of My Life (2007)

And here is a fabulous photograph of Hedwig Goldschmidt Cramer with her husband Hermann Cramer, their daughter Rosa, and her husband Arthur, and their four children:

From Arnold S Oppeheimer, The Story of My Life (2007)

Here is one of all four children taken in 1916:

William, Gertrud, Arnold, and Edith Oppenheimer, c. 1916. From Arnold S. Oppenheimer, The Story of My Life (2007)

Those children were still quite young when their mother Rosa Cramer Oppenheimer died on December 24, 1918,  just two years after this photograph was taken; she was only 37 years old. According to her grandson Arthur, she died from the flu during the terrible epidemic of 1918.

Rosa Cramer Oppenheimer death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10794
Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Arnold wrote this about his mother’s death:6

When she became ill with influenza in December 1918, she knew that her life would soon come to an end. I remember her on her last morning when she called us in, one after the other and talked a little and bensched [blessed] us. 

It’s just heartbreaking to imagine how those children must have felt, saying goodbye to their mother.

Rosa’s widower Arthur Oppenheimer was left to raise the four young children on his own, though there was plenty of support from the extended family and from the nannies and housekeepers, as described in Arnold’s book. Arnold wrote that his father never fully recovered after Rosa’s death—that he became more serious and rarely laughed. But that he was a loving and caring father who tried to be both father and mother to his four children.7

Then three years later, sixteen-year-old William Oppenheimer died from meningitis on December 31, 1921; family lore is that he had a bad headache, but it was Shabbat, and the family was told that it would be safe to wait another day. Unfortunately, William died later that day, although it would seem that especially back then before antiobiotics, little could have been done even if he’d gotten medical attention sooner. Arnold described his brother William as an excellent student and a gifted artist.8

William Oppenheimer death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10857, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

The remaining three children were left orphans when their father Arthur died on March 22, 1925, just seven years after Rosa and four years after William. According to his son Arnold, Arthur died from misdiagnosed appendicitis. Arthur had been a banker and stockbroker as well as a synagogue leader and treasurer, who, according to his son Arnold, was “highly esteemed…and known for his just attitude.”9

Arthur Abraham Oppenheimer death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10907, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

It’s hard to fathom how the three remaining children—Gertrud, Arnold, and Edith—coped with so much loss. They were twenty, eighteen, and fourteen, and had lost their mother, their brother, and their father.

But Arnold’s son Arthur said that his father in fact was able to live quite a good life in the 1920s—traveling around the world, owning two horses and a sports car, studying in Frankfurt and Berlin, and generally enjoying the life of a wealthy young man in his twenties. Photographs of the extended Goldschmidt family in Arnold Oppenheimer’s book demonstrate that the children had a very large network of relatives who must have provided a sense of comfort and safety.

Those children then lost their grandmother Hedwig. Hedwig died on November 19, 1934. She was 73 and was survived by her four sons and her grandchildren.

Hedwig Goldschmidt Cramer death record. Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 11024, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

And then the Oppenheimer siblings had to face the rise of the Nazis.

Rosa’s two daughters both ended up in Palestine. Gertrud  Oppenheimer had decided to become a teacher against the resistance of her family, who believed that women should not work. But Gertrud persisted and ended up teaching in the Jewish elementary school in Frankfurt. Gertrud married Rabbi Bernhard Joel in 1928. As her brother Arnold wrote in his autobiography, Bernhard was the brother of Edith Joel, the housekeeper for the children who was like a surrogate mother to them. Bernhard had immigrated to Palestine in 1924 and was then a librarian at the Jewish National and University Library. After he and Gertrud married in Frankfurt, they returned to Palestine, where they had four children.10

Gertrude Oppenheimer marriage record to Bernhard Joel, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Gertrude (Ruth in Israel) died on November 15, 1979; her husband Bernhard (Issachar in Israel) died April 14, 1977. They were survived by their children and grandchildren.11

Gertrud’s younger sister Edith also immigrated to Palestine. Like her sister Gertrud, she also pursued a career and went to Stuttgart to become a nurse. There she met a second cousin of her brother-in-law Bernhard Joel and his sister Edith Joel, a doctor named Ernst Joel. They were married in 1932 and settled in Stuttgart.12

I was able to find the Palestinian immigration records for Edith and Ernst, and according to those records, they arrived in Palestine on April 24, 1933, just a few months after Hitler had been elected Chancellor of Germany. My cousin Arthur told me that after Ernst was told by a patient that he could no longer be his doctor because he was Jewish, Ernst told Edith they had to get out of Germany as soon as possible. They must have been among the earliest Jews to see the horrific handwriting on the wall.

Edith and Ernst had three children born in Palestine/Israel in the 1930s. Ernst died in Israel in 1980 and Edith in 2002.13

Ernst Ludwig Joel and Edith Hanna Oppenheimer, Palestine Immigration File, Israel Archives, https://www.archives.gov.il/en/archives/Archive/0b07170680034dc1/File/0b07170680ebc8ca

Rosa’s son Arnold Oppenheimer escaped to England, where he had better business prospects and which he liked better than other countries he’d visited. After clearing numerous bureaucratic hurdles, he was able to immigrate in the spring of 1936, but made several trips back to Germany to help family members emigrate, including one time that he narrowly escaped being arrested by the Gestapo. On August 1, 1939 he married Dorothy Duschinsky, whom he met at a Hanukkah party of a mutual friend in 1937.  She was born in London on March 27, 1911, to Charles Duschinsky, a rabbi and scholar from Hungary, and Blanche Barnett. By marrying Arnold, who was considered an “enemy alien,” Dorothy forfeited her British citizenship.14

But Arnold and Dorothy soon found themselves separated when Arnold was sent to a British internment camp for being an enemy alien soon after World War II started in September, 1939. Arnold, then working as a wool merchant, was first sent to an internment camp in southern England; he was released from that camp six months later, but then in May 1941, he was sent to the internment camp on the Isle of Man. Meanwhile, Dorothy was living with her brother Arthur in Hendon, working as a psychologist.15 Arnold wrote in detail about both the hardships and the more positive aspects of his internship in his book.16

Arnold Oppenheimer internment card UK, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/189
189: German Internees Released in UK 1939-1942: Nels-Orde, Ancestry.com. UK, World War II Alien Internees, 1939-1945

Arnold was finally released in 1942.  Arnold and Dorothy continued to live in England after the war. They had two children, one of whom is my fifth cousin Arthur. Arnold worked in the antique jewelry business for many years before retiring at the age of 82 in 1989.  Dorothy died November 1, 1976, in London; she was 65.17 Arnold outlived her by 35 years.  After having heart surgery at the age of 92, he moved to Israel to be closer to his daughter.18 He died at 104 in Israel on September 25, 2011.19

Thus, Rosa Cramer’s three orphaned children all managed to survive not only the tragedy of losing their parents and brother when they were still young, but also the Holocaust. They found lives for themselves in their new homelands and are today survived by their children and grandchildren all over the world.

So when we are all feeling down and discouraged by COVID and quarantining, it’s important to remember that others have endured terrible ordeals and found light in the darkness. As we light the Hanukkah candles or celebrate whatever holiday traditions we observe that bring light to the darkness this time of year, let’s keep our eyes on the light at the end of the tunnel.

Happy Hanukkah!


  1.  William Oppenheimer, Gender: männlich (Male), Age: 16, Birth Date: abt 1905
    Death Date: 31 Dez 1921 (31 Dec 1921), Death Place: Frankfurt, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Frankfurt , Certificate Number: 7
    Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10857, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958 
  2.  Gertrud Karoline Oppenheimer, Gender: weiblich (Female), Age: 23, Birth Date: 3 Mrz 1905 (3 Mar 1905), Marriage Date: 22 Mrz 1928 (22 Mar 1928)
    Marriage Place: Frankfurt am Main, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany)
    Civil Registration Office: Frankfurt am Main, Spouse: Bernhard Joel, Certificate Number: 218, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930 
  3.  Arnold S Oppenheimer, Gender: Male, Nationality: German, Birth Date: 15 Jun 1907, Birth Place: Frankfurt, Germany, Internment Place: Isle of Man, Discharge Date: 15 May 1941, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/189, Ancestry.com. UK, World War II Alien Internees, 1939-1945 
  4. Edith Oppenheimer Joel, Palestinian Immigration File, Israel Archives, found at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/archives/Archive/0b07170680034dc1/File/0b07170680ebc8ca 
  5. Arnold S. Oppenheimer, The Story of My Life (2007, Jerusalem). 
  6. Oppenheimer, note 5, at p. 1. 
  7. Oppenheimer, note 5, at p. 2. 
  8. Oppenheimer, note 5, at p. 3 
  9. Oppenheimer, note 5, pp. 1-2, 61. 
  10. Oppenheimer, note 5, at p. 2. 
  11. Oppenheimer, note 5, at p.3. 
  12. Oppenheimer, note 5, at p. 3. 
  13. Oppenheimer, note 5, at p.4. 
  14. Oppenheimer, note 5, at pp. 69-70. Arnold S Oppenheimer, Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep, Registration District: Marylebone, Inferred County: Middlesex, Spouse: Dorothy Duschinsky, Volume Number: 1a, Page Number: 2673, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 1a; Page: 2673, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 
  15. Dorothy Oppenheimer, Gender: Female, Marital Status: Married, Birth Date: 27 Mar 1911, Residence Year: 1939, Address: 11 Residence Place: Hendon, Middlesex, England, Occupation: Psychologist Intelligence Tests, Line Number: 27, Schedule Number: 76, Sub Schedule Number: 1, Enumeration District: BKCV, Borough: Hendon
    Registration district: 130/3, Household Members Age, Dorothy Oppenheimer 28, Arthur Dusckinskyh 27, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/822C, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register 
  16. Oppenheimer, note 4, at pp. 73-75. See also The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/236, Description Piece Number Description: 236: Dead Index (Wives of Germans etc) 1941-1947: Nicht-Plunn, Ancestry.com. UK, World War II Alien Internees, 1939-1945. Duschinsky Family, Class: RG14; Piece: 32, Enumeration District: 32, Ancestry.com. 1911 England Census. Dorothy Duschinsky, Registration Year: 1911, Registration Quarter: Apr-May-Jun, Registration District: Paddington, Inferred County: London, Volume: 1a, Page: 14, FreeBMD. England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915 
  17. Dorothy Oppenheimer, Death Age: 65, Birth Date: 27 Mar 1911, Registration Quarter: Oct-Nov-Dec, Registration District: Hendon, Inferred County: Greater London
    Volume: 13, Page: 0495, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 13; Page: 0495, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007. Dorothy Oppenheimer, Death Date: 1 Nov 1976, Death Place: London, Probate Date: 15 Aug 1977, Probate Registry: London, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995 
  18. Oppenheimer, note 5, at pp. 85-86. 
  19.  MyHeritage at https://www.myheritage.com/research/record-1-317197441-7-501665/arnold-selig-oppenheimer-in-myheritage-family-trees 

Flora Goldschmidt Schwarzschild’s Family: One Branch Flourished, the Other Extinguished

For Selig and Clementine Goldschmidt’s second daughter Flora Goldschmidt Schwarzchild, the twentieth century started with a sad loss when her husband Emil Schwarzchild died on June 17, 1902, at the age of 45.1

Their daughter Helene Schwarzschild married Joseph Offenbacher the following year on August 28, 1903. Joseph, the son of Lazard Ismael Offenbacher and Karoline Oppenheimer, was born on July 3, 1877, in Paris. The couple settled in Frankfurt.

Helene Schwarzschild Offenbacher marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Helene and Joseph Offenbacher had five children. Paul Offenbacher was born in 1905 and died just five years later on January 13, 1910, in Frankfurt.

Paul Lazard Offenbacher death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10664, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Emil was born June 11, 1909, in Frankfurt.2 Then came Erich, born in Frankfurt on May 2, 1912.3 Another son, Erwin, was born December 30, 1915, also in Frankfurt.4 And finally Helene and Joseph had a daughter, Irmgard, born in Frankfurt on January 30, 1918.5

Helene Schwarzchild Offenbacher’s older brother Siegfried married five years after she did. He married Bertha Birnbaum on August 7, 1908. She was born on March 7, 1886, in Frankfurt, to Heinemann and Fanny Birnbaum.

Siegfried Schwarzschild marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

They had one child, a son Emil Schwarzschild, born July 16, 1909.6

Flora Goldschmidt Schwarzchild thus had five living grandchildren when she died at 63 on June 17, 1922, in Frankfurt.

Flora Goldschmidt Schwarzschild death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10858, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Sadly, her son Siegfried only survived her by nine years, dying at the age of fifty on February 26, 1929, in Frankfurt.

Siegfried Schwarzschild death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10964, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Siegfried’s family continued to be plagued with tragedy after he died. Both Siegfried’s widow Bertha and his son Emil Schwarzschild were murdered by the Nazis. Both had escaped from Germany to the Netherlands, where Emil married Judith Bartels in 1938.7 Judith was born in Amsterdam on June 29, 1911, the daughter of Salomon Bartels and Rebecca Hamburger.

According to Yad Vashem, Emil was killed on August 16, 1942, and Judith on September 30, 1942, both at Auschwitz. Emil’s mother Bertha also was killed at Auschwitz. She died on February 26, 1943.  There are thus no living descendants of Siegfried Schwarzschild; his line was extinguished by the Nazis.

Fortunately, Helene Schwarzschild Offenbacher and her family fared far better than the family of her brother Siegfried. They all survived the Holocaust.

Helene and Joseph Offenbacher’s third son Erwin was living in the Netherlands beginning in January 24, 1934 and was issued a Dutch passport in 1938. According to his Dutch passport and his application for Palestinian citizenship, he then immigrated to Palestine on March 23, 1940. He married Hadassah Bacharach in Rishon L’tzion on June 14, 1942, and they had two children born in Israel.

Documents from the Palestinian Immigration File of Erwin Offenbacher from the Israel Archives, found at https://www.archives.gov.il/archives/Archive/0b07170680034dc1/File/0b07170680cc494e

I don’t have any other sources about Erwin, but an entry in Geni submitted by one of his nieces indicates that he died in Tel Aviv on May 30, 2010. He was 94.

Joseph and Helene’s youngest child and only daughter Irmgard also immigrated to Palestine. I could not locate an immigration file for her, but according to Baron and Cibella’s report, she married Carl Benjamin in Tel Aviv in 1938. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any sources about Carl or their marriage, but I did find a mention of Carl on a website listing a book being auctioned. The book, entitled Photographs of the Ruins of the Atlit Fortress, is a handmade book of photographs taken by Erwin Offenbacher of the Atlit Fortress, a site in Israel. The description of the book indicates that Carl Benjamin wrote the introduction and bound the book. It also says, “The writer of the introduction, Carl (Ya’akov) Benjamin (1911-1976), born in Köln, immigrated to Palestine during the 1930s. Benjamin was married for a while to Offenbacher’s sister, Lina Irmgard (Devorah).”

Erich Offenbacher, the second oldest child of Helene and Joseph Offenbacher, arrived in the US on September 4, 1934, according to his declaration of intention to become a US citizen filed in Pennsylvania on November 22, 1934. He was then residing in Philadelphia where he was a student.

Erich Offenbacher declaration of intention, The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania,  Declarations 1001-1500 (Original), Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, U.S., Federal Naturalization Records, 1795-1931

Eric, as he later spelled his name, married Gertrude Stern on July 15, 1938, in New York City.8 She was born in Salmunster, Germany, on December 9, 1912, the daughter of Levy Stern and Rosa Neuhaus. When he filed his petition for naturalization in 1940, Eric reported that he was a dentist living in New York, so he must have been a dental student in Philadelphia in 1934 when he filed his declaration of intention.

Eric Offenbacher, petition for naturalization, 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: (Roll 1237) Petition No· 344551 – Petition No· 345024
Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

On the 1940 census, Eric and Gertrude were living in Manhattan and Eric was in private practice as a dentist.9 They would have four children born in the 1940s and 1950s.

Eric’s parents Helene (Schwarzschild) and Joseph Offenbacher arrived in New York on March 28, 1940, and by May, 1940, had declared their intention to become US citizens. On their May, 1940, declarations, they listed the location of their four surviving children. Emil was at that time living in Paris, France; Eric was in New York City, and Erwin and Irmgard were in Palestine.

Helene Schwarzschild Offenbacher declaration of intention, The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; NAI Title: Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1/19/1842 – 10/29/1959; NAI Number: 4713410; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: 21, Description: (Roll 589) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 462401-463200), Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

Helene and Joseph are listed on the 1940 US census, living in New York City, in a guest house. Joseph listed his occupation as a metals merchant.10

Their oldest child Emil Offenbacher, who had been in Paris when Joseph and Helene filed their declaration of intention, arrived in the US from Cuba on March 30, 1941. He had married Anna Rapp in Paris on August 23, 1934; she was also a native of Frankfurt, born there on February 25, 1912. 11 Emil was already a successful and well-known book dealer when he arrived in the US. According to a biographical profile of him on the website of the International League of Antiquarian Booksellers, he originally followed his father into the banking world, but in 1931 he started working in an antiquarian bookstore in Munich and then launched his own business in Frankfurt. When the Nazis took power in 1933, he and his wife Anna soon escaped to Paris where they waited for a visa to so they could immigrate to the US.

Emil and Anna had two small children who immigrated with them to the US in 1941. Interestingly, Emil’s parents were sailing with them from Cuba. Perhaps they had gone to help them move with their children.

Emil Offenbacher and family, ship manifiest, Year: 1941; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 5; Page Number: 190, Ship or Roll Number: Talamanca
Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Emil reported on his August 1941 declaration of intention that he was a book dealer. He started his business anew in the US, eventually moving to Kew Gardens, Queens, where he ran his antiquarian book business for the rest of his life.

Emil Offenbacher, declaration of intention, The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; NAI Title: Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1/19/1842 – 10/29/1959; NAI Number: 4713410; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: 21, Description: (Roll 626) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 496501-497400), Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

Helene and Joseph’s daughter Irmgard, who adopted the name Deborah, immigrated to the US in 1947. She had suffered from health issues, and her mother came to Palestine in 1946 and was granted an extension of her visitor’s visa so that she could wait and travel back to the US with Deborah.12 According to her death notice in The New York Times, Deborah became a professor of sociology at Brooklyn College. She died in New York on April 5, 2004. She was 86.13

Joseph Offenbacher died in New York on June 26, 1945; he was 67.14 Helene Schwarzschild Offenbacher died nine years later on September 30, 1954; she was 72.15

Emil Offenbacher died from lung cancer in Bennington, Vermont, on August 16, 1990. He was 81.16 He was survived by his wife Anna, who died in 2004, and his two children.

According to his obituary in the Seattle Times,17 Eric Offenbacher practiced dentistry in New York for forty years before retiring to Seattle in 1979, where one of his children resided. He was also “a famed musicologist” with a special interest in Mozart. Eric died at the age of 96 in Seattle on January 5, 2009. His wife Gertrude had died on October 18, 2006, in Seattle when she was 93.18 They were survived by their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Flora Goldschmidt Schwarzschild today has many living descendants in Israel and in the United States through her daughter Helene Schwarzschild Offenbacher. But her son Siegfried has none because of the Nazis.


  1.  Emil Schwarzschild, Gender: männlich (Male). Age: 45
    Birth Date: abt 1857, Death Date: 10 Jan 1902, Death Place: Frankfurt am Main, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Frankfurt am Main
    Father: Emanuel Schwarzschild, Mother: Rafel Frenkel, Certificate Number: 99
    Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10559,
    Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958 
  2.  Emil Offenbacher, Birth Date: 11 Jun 1909, Birth Place: Frankfurt am Main
    National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, DC; Name Index of Jews Whose German Nationality Was Annulled by the Nazi Regime (Berlin Documents Center); Record Group: 242, National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized, 1675 – 1958; Record Group ARC ID: 569; Publication Number: T355; Roll: 7, Mosbacher, Eduard – Schafranek, Bruno, Ancestry.com. Germany, Index of Jews Whose German Nationality was Annulled by Nazi Regime, 1935-1944 
  3.  Erich Offenbacher, Birth Date: 2 Mai 1912, Birth Place: Frankfurt am Main
    National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, DC; Name Index of Jews Whose German Nationality Was Annulled by the Nazi Regime (Berlin Documents Center); Record Group: 242, National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized, 1675 – 1958; Record Group ARC ID: 569; Publication Number: T355; Roll: 7, Mosbacher, Eduard – Schafranek, Bruno, Ancestry.com. Germany, Index of Jews Whose German Nationality was Annulled by Nazi Regime, 1935-1944 
  4.  Erwin Offenbacher, Birth Date: 30 Dez 1915, Birth Place: Frankfurt am Main
    National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, DC; Name Index of Jews Whose German Nationality Was Annulled by the Nazi Regime (Berlin Documents Center); Record Group: 242, National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized, 1675 – 1958; Record Group ARC ID: 569; Publication Number: T355; Roll: 7, Mosbacher, Eduard – Schafranek, Bruno, Ancestry.com. Germany, Index of Jews Whose German Nationality was Annulled by Nazi Regime, 1935-1944 
  5. Irmgard Offenbacher, Birth Date: 20 Jan 1918, Birth Place: Frankfurt am Main
    National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, DC; Name Index of Jews Whose German Nationality Was Annulled by the Nazi Regime (Berlin Documents Center); Record Group: 242, National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized, 1675 – 1958; Record Group ARC ID: 569; Publication Number: T355; Roll: 7, Mosbacher, Eduard – Schafranek, Bruno, Ancestry.com. Germany, Index of Jews Whose German Nationality was Annulled by Nazi Regime, 1935-1944 
  6. Yad Vashem entry found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=11630997&ind=0 
  7. Family report of David Baron and Roger Cibella. 
  8.  Eric Offenbacher, Gender: Male, Marriage License Date: 12 Jul 1938
    Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Gertrude Stern, License Number: 14185, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 6, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  9. Eric and Gertrude Offenbacher, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02655; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 31-1332, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  10. Joseph and Lena Offenbacher, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02655; Page: 81A; Enumeration District: 31-1333, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  11. Anna Offenbacher, declaration of intention, The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; NAI Title: Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1/19/1842 – 10/29/1959; NAI Number: 4713410; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: 21, Description: (Roll 626) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 496501-497400), Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943 
  12. Helene Offenbacher, Palestinian Immigration file, found at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/archives/Archive/0b0717068002258e/File/0b07170685704ee5 
  13. Death Notice, Deborah I. Offenbacher, The New York Times, April 9, 2004, Section B, Page 8 of the National edition. 
  14. Joseph Offenbacher, Age: 67, Birth Year: abt 1878, Death Date: 26 Jun 1945
    Death Place: Manhattan, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 14386, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948 
  15. Baron and Cibella Family Report. 
  16.  Emil Offenbacher, Gender: Male, Race: White, Age: 81, Birth Date: 11 Jun 1909
    Birth Place: Frankfurt, Germany, Residence Place: Kew Gardens, Death Date: 16 Aug 1990, Death Place: Bennington, Vermont, USA, Cause of Death: Natural, Metastatic Lung Carcinoma, Date Filed: 17 Aug 1990, Father: Joseph Offenbacher, Mother: Helena Offenbacher, Spouse: Anne Rapp, Vermont State Archives and Records Administration; Montpelier, Vermont, USA; User Box Number: PR-01616; Roll Number: S-31664; Archive Number: PR-2081, Ancestry.com. Vermont, U.S., Death Records, 1909-2008 
  17. The Seattle Times, January 6, 2009, found at https://www.seattletimes.com/entertainment/dr-eric-offenbacher-mozart-scholar-96/ 
  18. Gertrude Stern Offenbacher, Birth Date: 9 Dec 1912, Birth Place: Salmuenster, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 18 Oct 2006, Father: Levy Stern
    Mother: Rosa Neuhaus, SSN: 155369180, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 

Fredericke Katzenstein Goldmann’s Daughter Meta: A Family Destroyed

Fredericke Katzenstein Goldmann’s older daughter Clementine died in April 1942, just months before her husband Alexander Joel was deported to the concentration camp at Terezin, where he died in December 1942. But their daughters all survived the Holocaust as did their grandchildren.

Clementine’s younger sister Meta was not even that fortunate. She and her husband Adolf Hammerschlag and daughter Lieselotte were all murdered at Auschwitz. The page devoted to their Stolpersteine in Hamburg provides this biographical information:

[Adolph Hammerschlag], his wife Meta, and their daughters Lieselotte (*10 August 1910) and Irmgard (4 March 1915) lived in Göttingen, where he was a wealthy businessman, the co-owner of the grain company Bachmann Bros. …. Since profits fell rapidly after 1933, Hammerschlag moved the offices of his company to his private residence in Göttingen .… In the following years the political situation brought the company to a standstill.

Adolph Hammerschlag was arrested during the November Pogrom in 1938, and his company was “Aryanized” on 21 November. It was taken over by a grain merchant from Göttingen who was one of the first members of the Nazi Party.

After his release, Adolph Hammerschlag and his wife fled to Hamburg to his sister, Mrs. Alexander Joel, [sic: Mrs. Alexander Joel was Adolph’s sister-in-law, not his sister]…. The formerly wealthy couple was now destitute. ….[They were deported to Auschwitz on July 11, 1942, and murdered there.]

Hammerschlag’s daughter Lieselotte Blum and her husband had lived in Brussels since 1939. They were deported to Auschwitz in 1942. His daughter Irmgard married Heinz Baehr in September 1936. The couple was able to emigrate to Haifa in Palestine.

Thus, only Meta’s younger daughter Irmgard survived. The immigration documents for her and her husband Heinz show that they arrived in Palestine in 1937 and became naturalized citizens in 1939.

Irmgard’s husband Heinz died in 1947, according to Geni; he was only 33 years old. Irmgard remarried later, but I don’t know if she had any children with either husband. Irmgard died in Haifa in 1977, according to My Heritage. She was 62.

Thus, Fredericke Katzenstein Goldmann not only lost her husband Leopold and her son Karl before she died—both of her daughters, Clementine and Meta, and their husbands and one of her granddaughters died during the Holocaust. But her four other grandchildren survived as did their children.

Sometimes the randomness of who survived and who did not just overwhelms me.

Unanswered Questions: Rosa Werner Wormser and Moritz Werner

Although I was able to learn a fair amount about two of the children of Helene Katzenstein and Max Werner, Elsa Werner Loewenthal and Henriette Werner Cohen, it was much more difficult to find information about their other two children, Rosa Werner Wormser and Moritz Werner. I can only report what I’ve learned, primarily from secondary sources, and hope that perhaps by publishing this, someone who knows more about these relatives of mine will find this and provide me with more information and sources. This may be my worst sourced post ever!

Rosa Werner, as we saw, married Josef Wormser in Eschwege in 1908.  According to entries on My Heritage, Rosa and Joseph had four children, Esther (1909), Raphael (1911), Julius (1914), and Helene (1917), all born in Zurich, Switzerland, where Rosa and Joseph had relocated after marrying. It also appears that Rosa and Josef remained in Zurich during the Nazi era and survived, but I have no records of their lives there during that time. According to the information on My Heritage, Josef died in 1940 in Zurich, Rosa thirteen years later in 1953, also in Zurich.

As for their children, three of the four immigrated to Palestine/Israel. I have seen documents1 showing that Esther Wormser immigrated to Palestine, where she married Max Leo Koplowitz, who had immigrated there as early as March 28, 1932, and became a naturalized citizen of Palestine on November 19, 1937. Max was born on March 29, 1907, in Strasbourg when it was under German control before World War I (later and currently part of France). He was an agricultural worker in Palestine. According to a document in his immigration file, he and Esther Wormser married on May 21, 1939, in Petach-Tikvah, and she became a Palestinian citizen by virtue of her marriage to Max Koplowitz.

UPDATE: Thank you to Cathy Meder-Dempsey of Opening Doors in Brick Walls for finding the Strassbourg birth record for Max Koplowitz, which can be located here.

I do not have any further information yet for Esther, although David Baron and Roger Cibella reported that she and Max had two sons born in the 1940s. Max died October 26, 2006, in Israel, according to his gravestone at BillionGraves.com. There was no date or place of death reported for Esther.

BillionGraves.com
Grave record for ישראל מקס קופלוביץ (1907 – 2006), BillionGraves Record 19495247 כפר הרא”ה, Central District, Israel

Update: Thank you to Aaron Knappstein who located Esther’s grave memorial on Billion Graves. She died on 8 Iyar 5739 or May 5, 1979, in Israel.

BillionGraves.com
Grave record for אסתר קופלוביץ (), BillionGraves Record 18779827 כפר הרא”ה, Central District, Israel

Raphael Wormser also immigrated to Israel at some point. My Heritage reports that he married Greta Aufsasser in 1954. According to his gravestone at BillionGraves, he died August 5, 1973.

BillionGraves.com
Grave record for רפאל וורמסר (), BillionGraves Record 12700234 Holon, Central District, Israel

As for Helene Wormser, My Heritage shows that she married Dr. Herman Halberstadt and that they had two children; in addition, My Heritage reports that she died in Jerusalem, but did not provide a date of death.

Update: Thanks again to Aaron Knappstein, who found this entry at Gravez, showing that Helene Wormser Halberstadt died on June 22, 2007, in Israel.

The only Wormser child who did not immigrate to Palestine/Israel was Julius. He remained in Zurich where he married Betty Loewenthal and had several children, according to Baron/Cibella. Julius died in Zurich on May 11, 1989, according to My Heritage.

Thus, my information about the Wormser family is quite thin and based almost completely on My Heritage profiles. I’ve sent a message to the manager of those profiles, but have not heard anything back.

That brings me to Helene Katzenstein and Max Werner’s youngest surviving child, Moritz. We saw that Moritz married Jenny Kahn in Frankfurt in 1918 and that they had a son, Max, born in 1922. The only records I have for Moritz and Jenny after their marriage record are the 1939 England and Wales Register and their exemptions from being deemed enemy aliens in England. Thus, they had immigrated to England by 1939. Unfortunately part of the of the right margin of the 1939 Register is not visible, but it looks like Moritz was the director of London Win(dow?) Display Ltd.

Moritz and Jenny Werner,The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/828B, Enumeration District: BKER, Ancestry.com

He was exempted from being interned as an enemy alien; on this form he described his occupation as the company director of manufacturing company.

The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/101, Piece Number Description: 101: Internees at Liberty in UK 1939-1942: Wem-Wid, Ancestry.com. UK, World War II Alien Internees, 1939-1945

Here is Jenny’s exemption documentation:

The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/101, Piece Number Description: 101: Internees at Liberty in UK 1939-1942: Wem-Wid, Ancestry.com. UK, World War II Alien Internees, 1939-1945

This quotation, found on Moritz Werner’s Geni profile and translated by DeepL, from a book written by Anna Maria Zimmer, Juden in Eschwege:Entwicklung und Zerstörung der jüdischen Gemeinde, von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart (1993), p. 272, provides some touching details about Moritz Werner and his life during and after the Nazi era:

Moritz Werner was – like his father Max Werner – a partner and manager of the important textile factory Brinkmann since 1916. Because of the National Socialist persecution, Moritz Werner was forced to sell the company and flee to England.

His son Max Heinz Werner recalls this:

“In mid 1938 the purchase was perfected. A Catholic named Rhode from Kassel, who produced goods for the armaments industry, had bought L.S. Brinkmann. After the war, when Rhode was terminally ill, he developed feelings of remorse and tracked down my father Moritz in England. Mr. Rhode asked for a visit and my father and he made a contract, i.e. my father bought the company back – that was at a time when there was no official reparation! In 1949 the takeover was perfected. …

When my father celebrated his 25th anniversary with the company in 1931, the staff donated a bronze plate with a dedication and two knitting hands for him. During the forced sale [1939] the plate suddenly disappeared.

In 1949, when my father was sitting in his office again for the first time, there was a knock at the door and a small delegation of employees came in… They struggled to carry a box containing this bronze plate. Before taking over the company, these employees had fastened the plate in the chimney with strong wires and thus hidden it.”

My Heritage reports that Moritz died in Lugano, Switzerland, on April 27, 1966, and that Jenny died in Chile (no date provided). When had Moritz and Jenny moved from England? Why did he die in Switzerland, she in Chile? So many unanswered questions.

I cannot find their son Max on either the 1939 Register or on an enemy alien registration. Max would have been a teenager at the time. Where could he have been? All I could find for Max was an entry in the England & Wales, Marriage Index on Ancestry for his marriage in 1947 to Clara Amalia Reiss,2 and I know nothing more about Clara or Max except what I found on My Heritage and on David Baron and Roger Cibella’s family report: that Clara was born in Vienna on September 27, 1920, that she and Max had two children, that Clara died on April 6, 2011, and that Max died eight months later on December 9, 2011. According to their profiles on My Heritage, both Max and Clara are buried in Jerusalem.

UPDATE: My cousin Joanne Warner-Loewenthal shared a link with me about Max Werner, her cousin. It reports that he graduated from the University of Leeds in England and became a naturalized English citizen. After the war, however, he returned to Germany to become a director of the LS Brinkmann knitwear company in Eschwege. He also developed an interest in race cars and in photographing racing, as described here.


  1. A month or so ago I saw Max’s immigration file on the Israel Archives and saved the link, but did not download the documents, figuring I’d come back later. Then the Archives shut down for several weeks. They’ve since come back online, but Max’s file is now listed as “not yet scanned.” Fortunately, I took notes on what is in that file, and when it becomes available, I will update this post. 
  2.  Max H Werner, Registration Quarter: Jan-Feb-Mar, Registration District: Hendon
    Inferred County: Middlesex, Spouse: Amalia K Reiss. Volume Number: 5f, Page Number: 529, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 5f; Page: 529,
    Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 

Martha Loewenthal Wolff’s Family: An Update from Israel

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

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

Birth record of Anna Wolff

Birth record of Hans Anton Abraham Wolff

Birth record of Walter Wolff

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anna Wolff as a child Courtesy of the Wolff family

Hans Anton and Walter Wolff Courtesy of the Wolff family

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

Painting by Martha Loewenthal Wolff

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

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

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

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

The second letter translated as:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Escaping from Germany to Brazil and Israel: Brick Walls

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 


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

Escaping from Germany, Part VII: Children Separated from their Parents

This is the final chapter in the story of my cousin Sarah Goldschmidt, daughter of my fourth great-uncle, Meyer Goldschmidt. These last seven chapters about her descendants’ struggles during and for the most part survival of the Nazi era have been an inspiration to me during this pandemic. We need to remember that human beings have survived many other challenges as we continue to fight this one.

The youngest child of Sarah Goldschmidt and Salomon Stern was their son Mayer. As we have seen, Mayer was married to Gella Hirsch, and they had two children, Elsa (1891) and Markus Kurt (1895)(later known as Kurt Marco).

As of 1930, Mayer and Gella were living in Frankfurt. Their daughter Elsa had been married to her second cousin Jacob Schwarzschild, with whom she’d had a daughter Elizabeth (1915). That marriage ended in divorce, and in 1920, Elsa had married Alfred Hirsch, with whom she had three children in the 1920s. Kurt Stern was married to Rhee Mess; they had no children.

With the rise of Hitler, the family began to disperse. Kurt and Rhee left Germany first. From 1918 to 1923, Kurt had worked as an art dealer in Frankfurt with his father and Goldschmidt relatives in the firm of I & S Goldschmidt (more on them to come). He and Rhee had then moved to Paris, where he became an independent art dealer.1 Then they immigrated to the US, arriving in New York on October 4, 1934. Kurt declared his intention to become a US citizen on February 19, 1935, four months after arriving in New York.

Kurt Marco Stern declaration of intention, The National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.C.; Petitions for Naturalization from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1897-1944; Series: M1972; Roll: 1256
Archive Roll Descriptions: (Roll 1256) Petition No· 352904 – Petition No· 353350
Ancestry.com. New York, Naturalization Records, 1882-1944

Kurt registered for the US draft on April 26, 1942, at which time he was a self-employed art dealer, living in New York City.

Kurt Stern, World War II draft registration, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

Kurt’s parents Mayer and Gella Stern also left Germany around that time. According to Mayer Stern’s immigration papers, he and Gella arrived in Palestine on April 12, 1935. Sadly, Gella died less than two months later on June 1, 1935, in Haifa. She was 71 years old. Mayer remained in Haifa and became a Palestinian citizen on August 24, 1938.2

Mayer Stern, Palestinian citizenship certificate, found at https://tinyurl.com/ugr2b62

But Mayer did not live much longer. He died on September 15, 1939, in Haifa, where he is buried. He was 78.

The grave site of מאיר שטרן. Cemetery: Haifa Mahane David – Sde Yehoshua Cemetery, Location: Haifa, Haifa District, Israel. Birth: 7 Jan 1861, Death: 15 Sep 1939. Found at https://tinyurl.com/whnye25 Photographer  Nadezda

As for Mayer and Gella’s daughter Elsa Stern Schwarzschild Hirsch, she and her husband Alfred Hirsch and three children also immigrated to Palestine, arriving in 1938, according to their immigration file.3

The file includes letters indicating that two of Elsa and Alfred’s children returned to Europe after arriving in Palestine, one to Antwerp to study, the other to Italy for health reasons. Alfred requested that the two children be granted Palestinian passports expeditiously because they each had limited visas from those countries that would expire before they could return to Palestine to sign their new passports.

Alfred received a response that the Palestinian officials would ask the British consul to issue Palestinian passports to the two children once Alfred himself was naturalized. Alfred and Elsa were naturalized on August 14, 1938. Alfred was working as the general manager of the Palestine Milling & Trading Company at that time.4

Elsa and Alfred Hirsch, Palestinian citizenship certificate, found at https://tinyurl.com/vebdvxq

I assume the two children were able to return soon thereafter to Palestine to join their family. But can you imagine the anxiety experienced by them all, thinking that the two young teenagers might be stranded in Europe as the Nazi persecution of Jews intensified in 1938, culminating in Kristallnacht just a few months after Alfred and Elsa received their naturalization certificate?

One of their children immigrated to the US as early as 1940 and was residing without any family members in New York City at the YMHA on the 1940 US census;5 his uncle Kurt was, however, residing in New York at that time, where he was the owner of an “art shop,” according to the census.6

The rest of the family joined them in the US after the war. Alfred and Elsa arrived in New York on December 24, 1946.7 Alfred died less than two months later on February 6, 1947; he was only 56 years old.8 Elsa outlived him by over forty years; she died in Dallas, Texas, on October 4, 1988.  She was 97 years old.9

Elsa’s brother Kurt Stern unfortunately did not have his sister’s longevity. He died on April 16, 1962 at the age of 67 after a long illness, according to his obituary.10 He was survived by his wife Rhee, who died in August 1986 at the age of 91,11 and his sister Elsa and her three children.

Thus ends not only the story of Mayer Stern, but that of his parents Sarah Goldschmidt and Salomon Stern. Their story is overall a story shared by so many German Jews. They went from being successful merchants living in comfort and security, raising children and grandchildren in a country that they saw as their home, to being refugees from the worst kind of persecution and violence anyone can imagine.

Sarah Goldschmidt’s descendants were, however, among the more fortunate ones. Out of all of Sarah’s children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren living in Germany during the Nazi era, only one, little Margot Fulda, just thirteen years old, was murdered by the Nazis. The rest were uprooted from their homes and torn from the comfort they’d known, but were able to escape to Palestine, to England, and to the United States. Their descendants live among us today in places all over the world. How fortunate and blessed we are that they do.

Next I will turn my attention to Sarah’s younger brother Jacob Meier Goldschmidt and his family.


  1. “Kurt M. Stern Dies; Art Dealer Was 67,” The New York Times, April 17, 1962, p.34. 
  2. Mayer Stern, Immigration and Naturalization File, Israel Archives, found at https://tinyurl.com/ugr2b62 
  3. Elsa and Alfred Hirsch, Immigration and Naturalization File, Israel Archives, found at https://tinyurl.com/vebdvxq 
  4. Ibid. 
  5. Stephen Hirsch, 1940 US census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02663; Page: 83B; Enumeration District: 31-1658, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  6. Kurt M. Stern, 1940 US census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02656; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 31-1368, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  7. Alfred and Elsa Hirsch, ship manifest, Year: 1946; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 7250; Line: 1; Page Number: 10,
    Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  8. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948 
  9. Else Hirsch, Social Security Number: 119-36-5922, Birth Date: 4 Jan 1891
    Issue year: 1962, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 75219, Dallas, Dallas, Texas, USA, Death Date: 4 Oct 1988, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  10. Kurt M Stern, Birth Date: 28 Jan 1895, Death Date: 16 Apr 1962, Claim Date: 17 Aug 1962, SSN: 060070787, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. “Kurt M. Stern Dies; Art Dealer Was 67,” The New York Times, April 17, 1962, p.34. 
  11.  Rhee Stern, Social Security Number: 065-52-1280, Birth Date: 12 Jun 1895
    Issue year: 1973, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10028, New York, New York, New York, USA, Death Date: Aug 1986, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 

Escaping from Germany, Part VI: Germany’s Loss, America and Israel’s Gains

Abraham and Johanna (Goldschmidt) Stern’s daughter Clementine had died in 1919 during the 1918 flu epidemic, survived by her husband Siegfried Oppenheimer and three children: Erika (1909), William Erwin (1912), and Sarah Gabriele (1917). After Clementine’s death, Siegfried married her younger sister Alice Lea, with whom he had five more children, all born in the 1920s. All eight of those children as well as Alice and Siegfried themselves escaped from Germany in the 1930s.

The Children of Clementine Stern and Siegfried Oppenheimer

Siegfried and Clementine’s oldest child, Erika Oppenheimer, first escaped to the Netherlands in 1933, but she immigrated to the United States on July 4, 1938, appropriately enough. Two weeks later she married Paul Fromm in Chicago, Illinois, on July 20, 1938. Paul also had arrived on July 4, 1938, so the two may have met and fallen in love on the ship that brought them to the US. Paul was born in Kitzingen, Germany, on September 28, 1906, into a family with a long tradition as vintners. He had been living in Bingen, Germany, before immigrating. Erika and Paul both filed their naturalization papers on August 26, 1938, less than two months after their arrival.

Erika Oppenheimer Fromm, Declaration of Intent, National Archives at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois; ARC Title: Illinois, Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1991; NAI Number: 593882; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21
Description: Petitions for naturalization, v 1185, no 296351-296550, ca 1943-1944
Ancestry.com. Illinois, Federal Naturalization Records, 1856-1991

Paul Fromm, Declaration of Intent, National Archives at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois; ARC Title: Illinois, Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1991; NAI Number: 593882; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21
Description: Petitions for naturalization, v 1185, no 296351-296550, ca 1943-1944
Ancestry.com. Illinois, Federal Naturalization Records, 1856-1991

The 1940 census reports them living in Chicago, where Paul was the proprietor of a wholesale liquor importation business and Erika a psychologist working in a hospital clinic.1 They would have one child born in 1940.

Both Paul and Erika achieved great success in the US. Paul was a very successful wine merchant, but also made his name as a philanthropist who generously supported the arts, music specifically. He created the Fromm Foundation at Harvard to support musicians and composers and musical events such as Tanglewood and the Aspen Music Festival. John Rockwell, the long-time music critic for the New York Times, described Paul Fromm as “the most active and distinguished private patron of contemporary classical music in the United States.” Paul died on the 49th anniversary of his arrival in the US, July 4, 1987.  He was eighty years old.2

Erika also had a distinguished career. She had received her doctorate in psychology from the University of Frankfurt in 1933 before escaping to the Netherlands. After immigrating to the US in 1938, she became a research assistant in psychiatry at the University of Chicago for a few years and then spent years in practice, eventually returning to the faculty at the University of Chicago in 1961, where she became a scholarly expert in the use of hypnosis. Her obituary described some of her professional accomplishments:3

Dr. Fromm considered hypnosis a valuable analytical tool that, when used by a skilled practitioner, could provide access to a patient’s unconscious conflicts and desires. She said hypnosis could induce an altered state of consciousness involving heightened awareness and focus in approximately 1 in 12 people.

She used hypnosis to treat severely disturbed patients as well as victims of incest and those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorders. She also advocated self-hypnosis as a path to self-exploration.

In the 1980’s, Dr. Fromm joined the growing field of behavioral medicine, which uses hypnosis, meditation, biofeedback and other techniques to treat physical ailments. Her book ”Hypnosis and Behavioral Medicine,” written with Dr. Daniel P. Brown and published in 1987, presented research supporting those methods in treating allergies, asthma, migraines and hypertension.

Erika Oppenheimer Fromm died on May 25, 2003, in Chicago. She was 93.4

Clementine and Siegfried’s son William Erwin Oppenheimer (often called Erwin) left Germany very early; he arrived in Palestine on November 8, 1933, less than a year after Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany. By 1938, when he applied for Palestinian citizenship, he was married to Hannie Halpern, who was also a refugee from Germany. She was born in Frankfurt on September 1, 1914. Erwin was then working as a farmer near Rehovoth.5 According to trees on MyHeritage, he died on April 22, 1963, in Jerusalem. He was only fifty years old.

Immigration and Naturalization File, Israel Archives, found at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/archives/#/Archive/0b07170680034dc1/File/0b071706810638e5

As for Clementine and Siegfried’s younger daughter Sarah Gabriele Oppenheimer, known as Gabriele, I am missing some pieces to Gabriele’s story, but it appears from documents that she had been married to a man named Leon Schindel, whom she divorced in Jerusalem on July 28, 1941.6

Among Gabriele’s immigration documents is her original Palestinian passport, issued on December 2, 1937, so she was already a citizen of Palestine by then. She was a professional photographer, according to her passport.

She married a second time in Tel Aviv on September 11, 1942, to Martin Lederman; he was born in Dresden, Germany, on April 13, 1904, and had immigrated to Palestine on March 26, 1940; he had previously been living in Panama. According to his Palestinian naturalization papers, Martin was a publisher.7

Martin and Gabriele did not remain in Palestine, later Israel, for too long after the war ended.  They made several trips to England and the US after the war, and in June 1949, they indicated on the ship manifest taking them from England to the US that their intended future permanent residence was the “USA.”8  Gabriele became a naturalized US citizen on December 20, 1954,9 and Martin on February 14, 1955.10 They were residing in New York City.

Both Martin and Gabriele lived into their eighties. Martin died on July 9, 1991, at 87,11 and Gabriele died on January 11, 2001, at the age of 83.12 As far as I can tell, they did not have any children.

Alice Stern and Siegfried Oppenheimer

I don’t have many documents for what happened to Alice and Siegfried Oppenheimer before they arrived in Palestine in late 1938. But as we saw in my last post, a letter written by Erich Stern, Siegfried Stern’s son, to his brother Gunther Stern in 1938 on November 13, 1938, revealed that Siegfried Oppenheimer was arrested in the aftermath of Kristallnacht just days before his family planned to travel to Palestine.

But eventually Siegfried and Alice and all five of their children made it to Palestine. Alice and Siegfried Oppenheimer arrived with three youngest of those children, and their two oldest children arrived separately around the same time.13 They all became naturalized citizens of Palestine in 1941.

I do not have death records for Alice or Siegfried, but the research of Cibella/Baron indicates that both died in Israel, Siegfried in 1959, Alice in 1986. All but one of their five children also lived the rest of their lives in Israel; the other child immigrated to the US after the war.

Thus, of the eight children of Clementine and Alice Stern, six ended up in Israel, two in the United States. Clementine, Alice, and Siegfried Oppenheimer have many descendants living in both countries. What Germany lost—e.g., a brilliant psychologist, a philanthropist and entrepreneur, and a photographer–were gifts to the countries that took them in.


  1. Erika and Paul Fromm, 1940 US census, Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: m-t0627-00929; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 103-268, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  2. “Paul Fromm dies at 80; was Fromm week patron,” The Berkshire Eagle
    Pittsfield, Massachusetts, 07 Jul 1987, Tue • Page 12. “Paul Fromm, Philanthropist,” Hartford Courant, Hartford, Connecticut, 06 Jul 1987, Mon • Page 128. Paul Fromm
    Social Security Number: 323-12-0163, Birth Date: 28 Sep 1906, Issue State: Illinois
    Last Residence: 60637, Chicago, Cook, Illinois, USA, Death Date: Jul 1987, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  3. “Erika Fromm, 93, Psychologist and Expert in Use in Hypnosis,” The New York Times, May 30, 2003, Section B, Page 9. 
  4.  Erika Fromm, Social Security Number: 340-32-7862, Birth Date: 23 Dec 1909
    Issue year: 1955-1956, Issue State: Illinois, Last Residence: 60637, Chicago, Cook, Illinois, USA, Death Date: 25 May 2003, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  5. Erwin Oppenheimer, Immigration and Naturalization File, Israel Archives, found at https://tinyurl.com/rxv8ox4 
  6. Martin Lederman and Gabriele Oppenheimer Schindel Lederman, Immigration and Naturalization File, Israel Archives, found at https://tinyurl.com/tbvdq97 
  7. See footnote 6. 
  8. Martin and Gabriele Lederman, ship manifest, Departure Date: 22 Jun 1949
    Port of Departure: Southampton, England, Destination Port: New York, USA,
    Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 
  9. Martin Lederman, Naturalization Date: 14 Feb 1955, Residence: New York, New York, Ancestry.com. New York, Index to Petitions for Naturalization filed in New York City, 1792-1989 
  10. Gabriele Lederman, Naturalization Date: 20 Dec 1954, Residence: New York, New York, Ancestry.com. New York, Index to Petitions for Naturalization filed in New York City, 1792-1989 
  11.  Martin Lederman, Social Security Number: 060-26-6446, Birth Date: 13 Apr 1904
    Death Date: 9 Jul 1991, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  12.  Gabriele Lederman, Social Security Number: 121-54-6243, Birth Date: 20 Jul 1917, Death Date: 11 Jan 2001, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  13. Siegfried and Alice Stern Oppenheimer, Immigration and Naturalization File, Israel Archives, at https://tinyurl.com/r7k6qau 

Escaping from Germany, Part IV: Helene and Martha Loewenthal, An Unfinished Research Project

I am really torn. Do I post about my family history in these times when we are all so anxious and focused on the present and the future, not the past? I prepared this post a few weeks ago, and in re-reading it now, I decided that reading about how others faced serious threats to their lives and their family’s lives might provide hope and strength to some who read it. So I am going forward.


Thus far we have seen what happened to three of Abraham Loewenthal and Keile Stern’s children and their children during the Holocaust. This post will report on the two youngest siblings, Helene and Martha, and their families. How did their lives change as a result of the Holocaust?

We saw that Helene Loewenthal’s first marriage to Edward Feuchtwanger had not lasted and that in 1913 she had married Oscar Friedrich August Heinrich Maximilian Schultze. They had one child, Elisabeth Auguste Aloysia Schultze, born on December 3, 1914, in Coblenz, Germany, where she was baptized on May 12, 1915. Thanks to my dear friend Aaron Knappstein, I now have Elisabeth’s birth record.

Notice that it indicates that her religion was evanglische, i.e., Protestant.
Elisabeth Schultze, birth record, Coblenz

Oscar Schultze died on September 6, 1931, in Hanover, Germany. (Thank you again to Aaron Knappstein for obtaining this death record for me.) He was survived by his widow Helene and daughter Elisabeth.

StadtAH_1_NR_3_08_2_1057_1920_1931 Oscar Schultze death certificate

Despite the fact that Elisabeth was raised as a Christian and that her mother Helene had married a Christian, both Elisabeth and Helene were enumerated as minorities on the 1939 Minority Census in Germany, living in Hannover.1 Helene died three years later on November 28, 1942, according to this document found in the Arolsen Archives. She was 65. It incorrectly lists her birth name as Loewenstein, not Loewenthal, but this is definitely my cousin Helene.

1 Incarceration Documents / 1.2 Miscellaneous / 1.2.4 Various Organizations /
1.2.4.1 “Reichsvereinigung der Juden” Card File / 12673184 – HELENE SCHULTZE. ITS Digital Archive, Arolsen Archives

I don’t know what happened to Elisabeth during the Nazi era after 1939. She would have been considered a “Mischling” of the first degree since her mother was born Jewish as were her mother’s parents, and not as a Jew because she was not disqualified from being a Mischling under the criteria enumerated by the Nazis, that is, she was not raised as a Jew nor was she married to one before 1935. Whether she faced any persecution or not is not clear, but we’ve seen that other Mischlings were persecuted.

But Elisabeth did survive the war. As indicated on the annotation to the birth record shown below, Elisabeth married in Hamburg in 1955 and died in Bad Krozingen in 1991. Aaron Knappstein is now looking to see if he can find her marriage and death records. Since it appears that Elisabeth married when she was 41, I assume she did not have children.

Annotation to birth record of Elisabeth Schultze

As for Martha Loewenthal, I have mostly secondary information from my cousins Roger Cibella and David Baron and numerous unsourced family trees on Ancestry and Heritage, but I will report what I can as best I can to do honor to these cousins. We’ve seen already that she married Jakob Wolff and that they had three children in the first decade of the 20th century: Anna, Hans Anton, and Hans Walter.

UPDATE: Thank you once again to Aaron Knappstein, who has located the marriage record for Anna Wolff and Simon Wittekind. They were married on June 7, 1929, in Frankfurt. Simon was the son of Wilhelm Wittekind and Fanny Mendele, and he was born in Bad Kissingen on December 10, 1892. He had served in World War I for Germany.2 He was a doctor.

Less than a year after witnessing her daughter’s marriage, Martha Loewenthal Wolff died on May 19, 1930, in Frankfurt, as we saw.

Her widower Jakob Wolff immigrated to Palestine on August 21, 1934. By that time Jakob had remarried; his second wife was Ilse Gruenebaum, born October 27, 1901, in Maden, Germany. They became naturalized citizens of Palestine on July 21, 1938.3

Naturalization Certificate of Jacob and Ilse Wolff found at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/archives/#/Archive/0b07170680034dc1/File/0b07170680e4ea29

MyHeritage reports that Jakob and Martha (Loewenthal) Wolff’s children all also ended up in Palestine/Israel, where they married and had children and have descendants still living in Israel. Their father Jakob died on October 14, 1953, in Israel. He was 77.4

If and when I find more documentation for Elisabeth Schultze and the descendants of Martha Loewenthal Wolff, I will update this post. For now, that brings to a close the stories of the children of Sarah Goldschmidt Stern’s daughter Keile and her husband Abraham Loewenthal. Next I will turn to the families of Keile’s brother Abraham Stern and his wife and cousin, Johanna Goldschmidt, and their fate during and after the Nazi era.

 

 


  1. Helene and Elisabeth Schultze, German Federal Archives, Abteilung R (Deutsches Reich), List of Jewish Residents of the German Reich 1933-1945, found at https://tinyurl.com/tyzfaab and at https://tinyurl.com/tjfhud3 
  2.  Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; München; Abteilung IV Kriegsarchiv. Kriegstammrollen, 1914-1918; Volume: 20351. Kriegsstammrolle, Ancestry.com. Bavaria, Germany, WWI Personnel Rosters, 1914-1918 
  3. Immigration and Naturalization File of Jacob and Ilse Wolff, Israel Archives, found at https://tinyurl.com/r7524xh 
  4. https://tinyurl.com/regavyr