Henriette Katzenstein Schnadig, the third daughter of Amalie Goldschmidt and Juda Katzenstein, died in 1924 in Hamburg at the age of 66. She was survived by her three daughters, Helene, Betty, and Elsa, and ten grandchildren. Twenty years after Henriette’s death in 1924, only one of her daughters was still alive, her youngest daughter, Elsa. I don’t know exactly how Elsa and her husband Salomon Cats survived the Holocaust. But thanks to the amazing help of Bert de Jong of the Tracing the Tribe group, I learned a great deal more about Elsa and Salomon than I had been able to find on my own. UPDATE: According to Elsa’s great-niece Betty, Elsa and Salomon escaped to Suriname during the war. First, in my initial research, I had not found any evidence that Elsa and Salomon had children, but as seen in my last post, thanks to the family register located by Bert de Jong, I now know that they had two sons—Marcel, born February 25, 1916, in Schaerbeek, Belgium, and Harry, born August 20, 1919, in Amsterdam. So it appears that for some time, Elsa and Salomon were in Belgium before returning to Amsterdam.
But at some point—it’s not clear exactly when—Elsa and Salomon moved back to Belgium. Bert found a death notice for Salomon’s brother Leo Cats dated February 26, 1939, that shows that S.A. Cats and E. Cats-Schnadig were living in Brussels. Since that was more than six months before the start of World War II, it’s not likely that Salomon and Elsa left Holland because of the Nazis. Bert also located a residency card for Elsa and Salomon’s son Marcel that shows that he married Betty Agsteribbe in Tel Aviv on November 20, 1949, and had been residing in Haifa until 1956 when he returned to the Netherlands.1
Marcel’s younger brother Harry married Sipora Englelanger. Sipora was born in Amsterdam on October 9, 1920. Death notices for Sipora’s father Louis Engelander show that Harry and Sipora were living in Antwerp in 1953. In 1981, they were still living in Belgium, now Berchem, when Sipora’s mother Judith Engelander died. According to an index of Dutch genealogy, Salomon Cats died in Antwerp, Belgium, on June 9, 1978,2 when he was 96 years old. Elsa survived him by nine years, dying on June 8, 1987, also in Antwerp. She was 97.3 I have not found a death record for their son Marcel, but their son Harry died in April 16, 2008 in Strassbourg, France.4
UPDATE: Thank you to a reader named Naftaly who sent me a link to this Leiden, Holland newspaper notice of Marcel Cats’ death in the Netherlands on April 12, 2003. Now I know that Marcel was survived by his wife Betty, two children, and four grandchildren. The death notice translates as, “After a courageous battle my dear husband, our father, father-in-law and grandfather passed away…Respecting his wish, the cremation took place privately.”
UPDATE: Betty de Liever shared a cemetery listing confirming the dates of death for Elsa and Salomon and also shared this photograph of Elsa and Salomon and of their graves.
The fact that Salomon Cats and Elsa Schnadig lived such incredibly long lives makes what happened to Elsa’s sisters and their families even more upsetting. I wonder how long the others would have lived and what they would have contributed to our world and to each other if they had not been murdered by the Nazis.
- Marcel Cats, Archive cards , archive number 30238 , inventory number 152 Municipality : Amsterdam Period : 1939-1960, Resident registration card, https://archief.amsterdam/indexen/persons?ss=%7B%22q%22:%22marcel%20cats%22%7D Amstserdam Archives Gemeente Amsterdam Stadsarchiev ↩
- Salomon Aron Cats, Gender: Male, Birth Date: 3 jun 1882, Birth Place: Rotterdam, Zh, Nl, Death Date: 9 jun 1978, Death Place: Antwerpen, Antwerpen, België, Death Age: 96, Father: Aron Salomon Cats, Mother: Louisa Friezer, Spouse: Elsa Schnadig Ancestry.com. Web: Netherlands, GenealogieOnline Trees Index, 1000-2015. Original data: GenealogieOnline. Coret Genealogie. http://www.genealogieonline.nl/en/: accessed 31 August 2015. ↩
- Elsa Schnadig, Gender: f (Female), Birth Date: 14 jan 1890, Birth Place: Frankfurt Am Main, Hessen, D, Death Place: Antwerpen, Antwerpen, Belgie, Father: Simon Schnadig, Mother: Henriette Katzenstein, Spouse: Salomon Aron Cats Ancestry.com. Web: Netherlands, GenealogieOnline Trees Index, 1000-2015. Original data: GenealogieOnline. Coret Genealogie. http://www.genealogieonline.nl/en/: accessed 31 August 2015. ↩
- “France, Indice de décès de la sécurité sociale de l’Insee, 1970-2019”, database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:C55D-T2W2 : 10 May 2020), Harry Leo Cats, 2008. More on Elsa’s sisters in the posts to follow. Thank you once again to Bert de Jong for his incredible help. ↩