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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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

Don’t Believe Everything You Read on Public Records: An Update on Albert Kaufmann

It’s always good to be reminded that “official records” are only as accurate as the person who creates them and the information that person was able to obtain.

Back in December 2021, I wrote about Albert Kaufmann, the son of Hedwig Blumenfeld Kaufmann. He was married first to Dorothy Schimmelfennig in Germany in 1928, but they divorced in 1932. Albert had immigrated to Brazil sometime after his divorce from Dorothy and married a woman named Georgina Correa, who was born in 1921 and almost twenty years younger than Albert. I assume they married sometime in the 1940s, but I have no record. Albert died in Brazil in 1986 at the age of 84.

I did not believe that Albert had had any children in part because I could find no birth records or any other record for a child and also because Albert’s death record reported that he had no children. Thus, I reported originally on my blog that Hedwig had no living descendants since her daughter Anna and her entire family had been killed in the Holocaust and because her son Albert had not had any children.

Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, Registro Civil, 1829-2012,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6QQP-KV?cc=1582573&wc=9GYK-DPJ%3A113334201%2C120190503%2C122537201 : 7 January 2019), Rio de Janeiro 02ª Circunscrição Óbitos 1985, Nov-1987, Jan image 172 of 304; Corregedor Geral da Justicia (Inspector General of Justice Offices), Rio de Janeiro.

But it turns out that Albert’s death record was wrong. And I never would have known except for the good fortune that another Blumenfeld cousin, Gail Levy, found my blog. Gail is the granddaughter of Hedwig Blumenfeld Kaufmann’s brother, Ernst Blumenfeld. Thus, Gail’s father Paul Blumenfeld was Albert Kaufmann’s first cousin. Not only did Gail help me fill out Paul Blumenfeld’s branch of the family tree, she shared with me correspondence she’d had with another cousin, Paul St. George, who was, according to that correspondence, the grandson of Albert Kaufmann and Dorothy Schimmelfennig and thus Gail’s second cousin and my fifth cousin, once removed.

I contacted Paul, and he confirmed what he had told Gail—that his mother Inge Kaufmann was the daughter of Albert and Dorothy—and he shared with me Inge’s birth record from Berlin. She was born on November 23, 1928, nine months after her parents married on February 10, 1928.

Birth record of Inge Kaufmann. Courtesy of Paul St George

Transcribed birth record of Inge Kaufmann. Courtesy of Paul St George

Thus, the Brazil death record was wrong. Albert Kaufmann did have a child and does have living descendants, including my cousin Paul.

I asked Paul what he knew about his grandfather, but he had never met his grandfather and knew little about him. He only has one photograph of his grandfather, and he obtained it from Gail. It’s a 1980 photograph of Albert with his second wife Georgina or Gina with a New Year’s greeting on the reverse:

Albert and Gina Kaufmann. Courtesy of Paul St George

I also asked Paul about his grandmother Dorothy and his mother Inge. I knew from my research that Dorothy Schimmelfennig was born in England, married Albert Kaufmann in 1928, and died on March 31, 1938, in Berlin when she was a month shy of her thirtieth birthday. But I didn’t know the cause of her death. I had also wondered why she would have been in Berlin in 1938, given what was going on in Germany.

Paul told me that his grandmother Dorothy and his mother Inge went to England in 1933 and lived in London. But in 1938 Dorothy returned to Berlin, apparently just a few days before her untimely death on March 31, 1938.1 Paul told me that her death is listed as a suicide in the memorial book for victims of the Holocaust.  Also, the Arolsen Archives include a document that lists Dorothy’s cause of death as from poisoning (“Veronslvergiftug”).

AJDC Berlin Card File (Deportations) Subcollection 1.2.1, ITS Digital Archive, Arolsen Archives.

In addition, Paul told me that Dorothy is listed as a forced suicide in a 2007 book by Anna Fischer, Erzwungener Freitod: Spuren und Zeugnisse in Den Freitod Getriebner Juden der Jahre 1938-1945 in Berlin (translation: Forced Suicide: Traces and Testimonies in The Suicides of Driven Jews of the Years 1938-1945 in Berlin) (2007: Berlin : Text Verlag Edition Berlin).  Yad Vashem lists Dorothy as both murdered and as a suicide. There do not appear to be any more details, but it seems entirely possible that Dorothy felt hopeless and helpless in the face of Nazi persecution and became too despondent to go on with life in a world filled with so much hatred and fear. But as Paul wrote, it remains a mystery.

But what happened to young Inge Kaufmann, just ten years old at the time of her mother’s death in 1938? She was still in England, and Paul shared what happened to her after her mother’s death:2

My mother was looked after in England by a Jewish Charity (Central British Fund for German Jewry (CBF)). Some Jewish people in England could see the problems in Germany as early as 1933. They petitioned the UK government for permission to bring Jews from Germany to England. The UK government agreed but with strict rules. The refugee had to be self-supporting, looked after to a certain standard, and so on.

So this is why my mother did not live with a relative. Many if not most of these refugees did not live with a relative in England. Reasons against included over-crowding, too poor, etc. But a relative (Charlotte Pick) was a sponsor. She paid money to the charity and the charity bought clothes, shoes, etc. for my mum. My mother would have been housed in a series of homes in the Hemel Hempstead area. By housed I mean she had a room and meals. Those who provided the children with a place to live were not there to look after the children they housed. The charity did that. Also, my mother would have attended a normal local authority school near to the digs. The charity (now called World Jewish Relief) sent me her case file and that lists the monies and the check-up visits and so on.

Inge later attended the well-known St. Martin’s School for the Arts where she studied fashion and developed friendships with several people who became well-known artists. Paul, a well-known artist himself, recalls visiting the grand homes of these artists as a child, describing them as “full of clutter and the smell of oil paint and cake.”3

After she graduated, Inge became a costume designer for the theater, where she met Paul’s father, an acrobatic tap dancer born George Alexander Bernard, who adopted his stage name Buster St. George as his legal name. He was born in Manchester, England, to Alexander Bernard and Doris Matz on January 16, 1913. Inge and Buster were married in 1953 and had two sons, Julian and Paul. Paul was born in Norway while the theater group which employed them was on tour for performances of Kiss Me Kate. Inge and Buster divorced in 1957. Inge Kaufmann St. George, my fifth cousin, died on November 9, 2000; she was 71. Buster St. George died on October 10, 1986.4

I am very grateful that I was able to connect with my cousin Paul (via our mutual cousin Gail) and to learn that Hedwig Blumenfeld Kaufmann’s son Albert did have a child, his daughter Inge, and that thus today Hedwig has living descendants, unlike what I believed before finding Gail and thus Paul. This experience was an important lesson in remembering that just because a record records a “fact” does not necessarily make it true.

 


  1. Email from Paul St George, January 13, 2022. 
  2. Email from Paul St George, January 7, 2022. 
  3. Email from Paul St. George, January 13, 2022. 
  4. Emails from Paul St George, January 7, 13, and 17, 2022. Buster St George
    Registration Date: Jul 1953, Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep, Registration District: Brighton, Inferred County: Sussex, Spouse: Inge Kaufmann, Volume Number: 5h
    Page Number: 280, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 5h; Page: 280,
    Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005. Paul St. George Ancestry Family Tree, located at https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/tree/171856232/family/familyview?cfpid=122230313195&fpid=122231826460&usePUBJs=true 

The Fate of Caroline Blumenfeld Hoxter and Her Children: Final Chapter

As we saw, by the middle of 1940, all three of Caroline Blumenfeld Hoxter’s daughters and their families were safely out of Germany. Toni and Gerda were in the US as were their children, and Betty and her family were in Palestine.

But what about their mother Caroline? Last we knew she, having lost her husband Simon in 1932, had been living in Marburg with Toni and her family after Toni’s husband Sally was driven out of his haberdashery business in Hersfeld by Nazi persecution. But Caroline was not with Toni and Sally when they left for America in 1940 nor was she with Gerda and her family when they left Germany in 1939. Nor was Caroline with her daughter Betty in Palestine.

Tragically, Caroline was still in Germany. At some point she moved to Frankfurt, and in 1942 she was taken to Theriesenstadt where she died on February 17, 1942. Her daughter Betty (here spelled Beti) filed this Page of Testimony with Yad Vashem:

Caroline Hoxter, Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem, filed by her daughter Beti Openheimer, found athttps://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=1617046&ind=1

In her speech to middle school students in 2020, Caroline’s granddaughter Jane explained why Caroline had been unable to leave Germany with her family:1

Before we left [Germany], my sister and I went to see our grandmother who was blind and could not come with us. Much later she was deported to Thereisenstadt concentration camp. She was then in her late 80s. We were informed that she died of natural causes. Can you imagine for someone that old to travel for three weeks in a cattle car? It is still very hard for me to think about that and accept it.

Jane rightfully questioned whether her grandmother’s death was in fact from “natural causes.” Subjecting an elderly and blind woman to the conditions she must have experienced on that cattle car and then at Theriesenstadt surely contributed to her death as much as if she’d been gassed or shot by the Nazis.

I am very grateful to Andre Guenther from Tracing the Tribe who located Caroline’s death certificate from Theriesenstadt; she died from “enteritis darmkatarrah” or what we might call gastroenteritis.

At no point during the Shoah Foundation interview with Arthur Goldschmidt,2 did the interviewer ask about the fate of his grandmother Caroline Blumenfeld Hoxter, and Arthur did not bring it up himself. I don’t know whether this was an oversight or whether he simply could not bring himself to speak about what happened to his grandmother. I imagine the family must have been devastated by what happened to her. Peter, Jane’s son, told me that his mother still gets emotional when she talks about her grandmother Caroline and what happened to her.

But Caroline was blessed that her three daughters and her grandchildren all escaped and survived the Holocaust.

Her daughter Toni died in New York on April 21, 1956,[^3] two years after her husband Sol, who died on May 13, 1954, in New York.3 Their daughter Miriam died on January 7, 1988, in Queens, New York,4 followed by her husband Rudolf on January 21, 1993, in Los Angeles.5 They were survived by their daughter and her family.

Their son Arthur Goldschmidt shared this photograph of his parents with the Shoah Foundation:

Toni Hoxter and Sally (Sol) Goldschmidt. Arthur Goldschmidt, Interview 8542,  Visual History Archive, USC Shoah Foundation,  November 10, 1995. Accessed 15 August 2021, from the archive of the University of California Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, found at https://sfi.usc.edu/what-we-do/collections

Toni’s sister Betty/Beti lived the rest of her life in Israel and died on December 15, 1975, at the age of 86. She was predeceased by her husband Max, who died May 25, 1961, in Israel. They were survived by their daughter Lotte, who married Theo Kleeman in Israel and who died June 26, 1998, in Israel, and their son Shimon, who died August 14, 2012, in Haifa, Israel. Today they have grandchildren and great-grandchildren in Israel.6

The youngest sister Gerda died in New York on April 13 1974,7 two years after her husband Adolf, who died March 18, 1972.8 They were survived by their two daughters. Their daughter Alice Lore Goldschmidt married Richard Oster,9 with whom she had two children. Alice died on January 13, 2014.10

Their other daughter Jane Inge Goldschmidt married Ralph Keibel on August  11, 1950,11. Peter shared with me his parents’ wedding photograph.

Jane and Ralph had two children, including my cousin Peter. Jane is still living and is 98 years old. Imagine—she gave that speech to the Vermont middle school group when she was almost 97 years old. Just remarkable.

As for Arthur Goldschmidt, whose interview helped me tell this story, after World War II he returned to New York City where he met and married his wife Ruth Herz. As he told the story, they met in January 1950, were engaged by April, and married in August 1950. Ruth was also a refugee from Germany. She was born on April 18, 1922, in Holzheim, Germany, to Eugen Isaak Herz and Lilli Weinberg.12 Her father had died in 1932, and her mother was killed in the Holocaust.

According to her obituary, “Ruth left Germany at age 16 via the Kindertransport and spent nine years on the run, in hiding, in a displaced persons camp, and then came to the US where she was able to build a good life. She met her husband Arthur Goldschmidt on a blind date that blossomed into their beautiful marriage on August 27, 1950.”13 Ruth and Arthur had two children. It was clear from the video of the interview that they both still adored each other 45 years after their marriage began.

Arthur Goldschmidt and his wife Ruth during the Shoah Foundation interview. Arthur Goldschmidt, Interview 8542,  Visual History Archive, USC Shoah Foundation,  November 10, 1995. Accessed 15 August 2021, from the archive of the University of California Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, found at https://sfi.usc.edu/what-we-do/collections

Arthur worked for many years at a dairy company on Long Island, so the skills he learned back in the 1930s from the Zionist organization that prepared him to work on a kibbutz in Palestine/Israel held him in good stead. He died on January 15, 2021, in New York; he was 96 years old.14

It was an honor to watch his interview the Shoah Foundation. He was amazingly matter-of-fact through almost the entire interview, answering questions calmly and saying that he and his family survived because they were able to get out early enough. He didn’t seem angry or resentful at all—until the very end when the interviewer asked him a simple and straightforward question about what he hoped the world had learned. He then broke down in tears, unable to speak, finally saying in essence that we must never forget and that we must never let it happen again.15

Today Caroline Blumenfeld Hoxter has many living descendants in Israel and in the US. She may not have survived the Holocaust, but her daughters and their families did, and they and their descendants carry on her legacy.

I am deeply grateful to my cousin Peter Keibel for sharing so much of his information and his family photographs with me and especially for sharing his mother’s speech about her experiences before and during the Holocaust.


And this brings me to the end of not only Caroline Blumenfeld Hoxter’s story and that of her children and grandchildren, but also to the end of the story of Abraham Blumenfeld IIA since Caroline was the youngest of his eight children. Now I will turn to Abraham’s younger siblings. First, his brother Isaak, the second child of my four-times great-uncle Moses Blumenfeld.

 


  1. Jane Inge Goldschmidt Keibel, Speech to Hazen School, Hardwick, Vermont, 2020, shared by Peter Keibel. 
  2. Arthur Goldschmidt, Interview 8542,  Visual History Archive, USC Shoah Foundation,  November 10, 1995. Accessed 15 August 2021, from the archive of the University of California Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, found at https://sfi.usc.edu/what-we-do/collections 
  3. Toni Goldschmidt, Age: 70, Birth Date: abt 1886, Death Date: 21 Apr 1956, Death Place: Queens, New York, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 4251, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Death Index, 1949-1965 
  4. Sol Goldschmidt, Age: 72, Birth Date: abt 1882, Death Date: 13 May 1954, Death Place: Manhattan, New York, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 10469, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Death Index, 1949-1965 
  5.  Miriam Lauter, Social Security Number: 112-05-7561, Birth Date: 23 Apr 1911, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11375, Flushing, Queens, New York, USA, Death Date: 7 Jan 1988, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  6. These dates came from Peter Keibel, Betty’s nephew. Email from Peter Keibel, November 17, 2021.  I have no official records for them. 
  7. Date is from her grandson, Peter Keibel, FamilyTree on Ancestry.com, found at https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/52614823/person/372143503930/facts 
  8. Date is from his grandson, Peter Keibel, FamilyTree on Ancestry.com, found at https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/52614823/person/372143503930/facts 
  9. Alice L Goldsmith, Gender: Female, Marriage License Date: 18 Jul 1950, Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Richard Oster, License Number: 18819, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 27, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  10. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/130447894/alice-oster : accessed 02 December 2021), memorial page for Alice Oster (unknown–13 Jan 2014), Find a Grave Memorial ID 130447894, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Mom (contributor 48202874) . 
  11. From their son Peter Keibel, https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/52614823/person/372143503829/facts 
  12. Peter Keibel Ancestry Family Tree, https://www.ancestry.com/family-tree/person/tree/52614823/person/372145394061/facts; Ruth Goldschmidt
    Age: 29, Birth Date: 18 Apr 1922, Issue Date: 12 Jun 1951, State: New York
    Locality, Court: Eastern District of New York, District Court, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Index to Naturalization Petitions of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, 1865-1957; Microfilm Serial: M1164; Microfilm Roll: 63, Ancestry.com. U.S., Naturalization Records Indexes, 1794-1995. The other information came from Arthur Goldsdchmidt’s Shoah Foundation interview. Arthur Goldschmidt, Interview 8542,  Visual History Archive, USC Shoah Foundation,  November 10, 1995. Accessed 15 August 2021, from the archive of the University of California Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, found at https://sfi.usc.edu/what-we-do/collections 
  13. “Goldschmidt, Ruth,” The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, Maryland, 03 Jan 2021, Sun • Page A14 
  14.  Arthur Goldschmidt, Social Security Number: 099-24-1370, Birth Date: 9 Aug 1913, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11415, Jamaica, Queens, New York, Death Date: 15 Jan 2010, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  15. Arthur Goldschmidt, Interview 8542,  Visual History Archive, USC Shoah Foundation,  November 10, 1995. Accessed 15 August 2021, from the archive of the University of California Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, found at https://sfi.usc.edu/what-we-do/collections 

My Cousins on the SS St Louis: The Shameful Conduct of the US Government

We left off in my last post with the family of Gerda Hoxter and Adolph Goldschmidt about to board the SS St. Louis to go to Cuba and escape from Germany. As described on the US Holocaust Museum website:

On May 13, 1939, the German transatlantic liner St. Louis sailed from Hamburg, Germany, for Havana, Cuba. On the voyage were 937 passengers. Almost all were Jews fleeing from the Third Reich. Most were German citizens, some were from eastern Europe, and a few were officially “stateless.”The majority of the Jewish passengers had applied for US visas, and had planned to stay in Cuba only until they could enter the United States.

Gerda’s daughter Jane provided this more personal account in her speech to middle school students in early 2020:1

May 13, 1939, was a Saturday and the ship sailed in the afternoon. We stood at the railing of the ship to wave good-bye to relatives with a heavy heart. The possibility certainly existed that we were never going to see them again. One of the things we remember was that upon boarding the band was playing Strauss waltzes. In the captain’s daily log, he noted that the mood of the passengers was very solemn, but he was assured that good food and sea air for two weeks will lift the pain that was emanating from the passengers.

We settled into our new routine of shipboard life and day by day the moods lifted. My sister and I made friends with other young people on board. One of these people became my best friend. She lived in upstate NY with her husband who also was a passenger on the St. Louis.

Peter, Jane’s son, shared with me this remarkable photograph of his grandfather Adolf Goldschmidt boarding the St. Louis; he is the man on the far right in the light colored coat, holding a book:

Adolf Goldschmidt aboard the St. Louis. Courtesy of the family

Jane’s story continued:

After a two week voyage, we arrived in the harbor of Havana, Cuba. We were informed that we could not lay anchor at the pier because our credentials had to be checked. Even after they were checked, there were more excuses for not letting us land and disembark. A day before arrival in Cuba the Captain was informed that he cannot lay anchor at a pier, he had to stay in the middle of the harbor. We stayed in the harbor for one week.

We did not want to return to Germany, nothing was left there, no housing, no money – all the savings people had accumulated had to be left to the German government – so we would all be taken to a concentration camp, an impossible thought. We had people on board who were released from concentration camps under the condition never to return to Germany. These men considered mutiny or committing suicide. The captain was very diligent and did not want this to happen.

During that time one man slashed his wrist and jumped overboard. He was saved and taken to a hospital in Havana. His wife was not allowed to visit him, but after his recuperation he was returned to his wife.

Small boats came to the side of the St. Louis with relatives who lived in Cuba to shout encouragements to us. Meanwhile, organizations, Jewish and government, were at work to see what can be done to have us disembark. Also contact was made with almost every country to see if one of them would take us in.

The German propaganda had a field day. No one wanted Jews, Hitler was right in ridding his country of them.

The Captain tried everything to enable us to land. He even went so far and visited the President of Cuba to plead for us. Nothing helped.

Jewish refugees aboard the SS St. Louis attempt to communicate with friends and relatives in Cuba, who were permitted to approach the docked vessel in small boats. |Source=USHMM, courtesy of National Archives and Records Adminis (public domain)

The Holocaust Museum article describes the purported reasons for Cuba’s refusal to admit the refugees—not just anti-Semitism, but economic conditions and anti-immigration sentiment.

So the refugees and others tried to find help in places besides Cuba. As Jane described it:2

From the ship, telegrams were sent to heads of states and Jewish organizations. The children pleaded by telegram with Mrs. Roosevelt for shelter, but no reply came from her or the President. After 10 days in limbo, the captain was told to leave Cuban waters. Very slowly the Captain steered the ship toward the US, toward Miami, hoping that the President would relent and let us land. There were 935 people on board who were seeking refuge. Instead the Coast Guard was on watch to see that no one jumped overboard and swam ashore. We went up the coast to New York and then the captain was informed to hurry home. He was such a decent man that he really did not want to take us back, but he had no alternative. In his log, he wrote that he would scuttle his ship on the English shore if no result was forthcoming, to prevent us returning to Germany. This action cost him his job.

The Holocaust Museum article also described the US indifference to the needs of the refugees:

Sailing so close to Florida that they could see the lights of Miami, some passengers on the St. Louis cabled President Franklin D. Roosevelt asking for refuge. Roosevelt never responded. The State Department and the White House had decided not to take extraordinary measures to permit the refugees to enter the United States. A State Department telegram sent to a passenger stated that the passengers must “await their turns on the waiting list and qualify for and obtain immigration visas before they may be admissible into the United States.” US diplomats in Havana intervened once more with the Cuban government to admit the passengers on a “humanitarian” basis, but without success.

Having nowhere to disembark, the passengers on the St. Louis were forced to return to Europe, where Great Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, and France responded more humanely than the US or Cuba had to the needs of these refugees.

Jane described what happened next to her family and to others:3

Meanwhile, negotiations went on to find some country that had mercy on us. The passengers were becoming more desperate. Long face and worried looks were on everyone’s faces. We were close to the English Channel when we were informed that four countries were willing to take the passengers. Morris Troper of the European Joint Distribution Committee was responsible for securing that haven. The grateful passengers cabled him that their gratitude was as immense as the ocean on which they have been traveling. It was England, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. You could have heard the biggest sigh when the news was broadcast. Again people made plans and their outlook was improving.

On June 17, we landed in Antwerp, Belgium, and disembarked to immediately go on to a freighter that was provided by the Germans for those who went to France and England.

Our captain really tried his best and risked his life and career for us. Many years later, the surviving passengers signed a petition to recommend him as a righteous gentile, which afforded him a place at the Yad Vashem in Jerusalem.

Our family was sent to France, where my sister, I, and other children were taken in by an orphanage. Our parents and other adults were placed in Le Mans, a city west of Paris. Because no one had money, we were only allowed 10 German Marks (Approximately $80 today) to take out of Germany. We all lived on charity provided by Jewish organizations. During those six months my parents lived in Le Mans, they were supported by the HIAS, a Jewish relief organization that helps immigrants. They lived in a house that was shared with three other couples, one bedroom each, communal kitchen and living room.

When the War broke out, September 1, 1939, all the men were interned as foreigners and the women had to double up. My sister and I and all other children under 18 years were sent by train to OSE homes near Paris. The OSE is a Russian organization that is involved with the care of orphans. These homes were led by a Viennese educator and his wife, a physician. Personally, I enjoyed my stay there, although once the War broke out it got a little scary, especially when the air raid sirens sounded and we had to go to the shelters. The older children took care of the young ones.

But ultimately, after the Nazis took over France, Belgium, and the Netherlands in the spring of 1940, 254 of the over 900 passengers who had been on the St. Louis and had been forced back to Europe in May, 1939, were murdered by the Nazis.

Gerda and her family were among the lucky ones who were able to immigrate successfully to the US. They arrived in New York on January 8, 1940. I don’t know when this photograph of Gerda and Adolf was taken, but from their ages, I assume it was sometime during this era, either before or after they came to the US.

Adolf and Gerda (Hoxter) Goldschmidt. Courtesy of the family

This is one of the most shameful examples of the way the US acted during the 1930s and 1940s, knowing the dangers that Jews were facing in Nazi Germany and elsewhere in Europe, but cold-heartedly turning the other way, refusing to help those in need. I do wonder, however, whether we’ve learned our lesson. Money and jobs (not to mention xenophobia and prejudice) still seem to trump the needs of those who are suffering when it comes to US immigration policy.

 


  1. Jane Inge Goldschmidt Keibel, Speech to Hazen School, Hardwick, Vermont, 2020, shared by Peter Keibel. 
  2. Jane Inge Goldschmidt Keibel, Speech to Hazen School, Hardwick, Vermont, 2020, shared by Peter Keibel. 
  3. Jane Inge Goldschmidt Keibel, Speech to Hazen School, Hardwick, Vermont, 2020, shared by Peter Keibel. 

The Children and Grandchildren of Caroline Blumenfeld Hoxter: Leaving Germany

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you had a good holiday season and are safe and healthy. I have been trying to relax and gain some perspective on 2021, a tough year, and prepare for 2022, a year I expect to be just as tough. But genealogy and family history always help me put things in perspective, so I am ready to return and find new meaning and new discoveries in the history of my family.

Let me refresh your memories of where I was back in December 2021. I have been writing about my Blumenfeld branch and more specifically the line that begins with my four-times great-uncle Moses Blumenfeld and goes from his son Abraham Blumenfeld IIA to Abraham’s daughter Caroline Blumenfeld Hoxter. We saw that Caroline’s son Siegmund died fighting for Germany in World War I, that her husband Simon died in 1932, and that her daughter Toni Hoxter Goldschmidt and her family had all escaped from Nazi Germany by 1940.

But what about Caroline herself and her two other daughters, Betty and Gerda? What happened to them and their families?

Again I want to thank the Shoah Foundation for allowing me to have access to the interview done with Arthur Goldschmidt,1 Toni’s son, so that I could learn more about the fate of his family, including that of his aunts Betty and Gerda. I am also deeply grateful to Peter Keibel, grandson of Gerda Hoxter Goldschmidt, for sharing the speech his mother Jane Inge Goldschmidt gave to a middle school in Vermont in early 2020 about her experiences during the Nazi era.

Like Arthur and Miriam, her nephew and niece, Betty Hoxter Oppenheimer and her husband Max and their two children Lotte and Franz Siegmund left Germany not long after Hitler’s rise to power. According to Arthur, Max Oppenheimer was a doctor, and once he was restricted by Nazi law from being able to practice medicine fully, he and his family left for England. But they must not have stayed there long because on November 26, 1934, they arrived in Palestine. Max was a physician, Lotte, their daughter, was an orthopedist, and their son, who became Shimon, was a carpenter. By 1938, they had all obtained citizenship to Palestine.2

Max and Betty (Hoxter) Oppenheimer, Palestinian citizenship cards found at the Israel State Archives, at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/

Lotte Oppenheimer, Palestine citizenship card, found at the Israel State Archives, at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/

The family of Gerda Hoxter Goldschmidt, the youngest child of Caroline Blumenfeld and Simon Hoxter, had a harder time escaping from Germany. Gerda’s daughter Inge Goldschmidt, who became Jane in the US and who is Peter Keibel’s mother, provided this description of her family’s life in Germany before and during the Nazi era in a speech she gave to a middle school in Vermont in early 2020:3

My father owned a department store in that town [Wuppertal]. My sister and I attended public schools. My father was well known because of the store and we were in comfortable circumstances. … In 1933 when Hitler came to power my father’s store was closed to make the population aware that the owner was Jewish and to discourage the people from doing business with a Jewish establishment. Some days later business resumed at a normal rate, but our lives changed. It seems that every year another law was passed that made our lives almost unbearable. We could not attend school any more or use public pools. Park benches were marked where we could sit. [The Nazis] burned books by Jewish authors and … destroyed Jewish businesses. On November 9, 1938, Kristallnacht started, the synagogues, Jewish houses of worship were destroyed. Many Jewish men were sent to concentration camps.

Our parents were well known and liked. Our father was tipped off by an official and was therefore able to leave town and avoid internment. The Gestapo did come to our house to look for him, but we were not molested, and our house was not ransacked. We did not know where he went. Occasionally he called, but those were very tense days for us. His safety was always on our minds. After his return, he was seriously looking to leave the country.

We had received a quota number from the US Embassy, but we were also aware that it was a very high number and there was no way we could leave before a year or two. So my father searched for a country that we could go to while waiting for our quota number. Of course, the store was closed and had to be sold to the Germans for a very minimal amount. He preferred to leave Europe as he did not think it was safe to stay there. America let only a designated number of people to immigrate into their country. My father purchased Visas ($250 for each person which in today’s dollars is $4,362) for Cuba and booked passage on the ocean liner, SS St. Louis that belonged to a German shipping company.

Thus, Gerda and her family were among those who sailed to Cuba on the ill-fated St. Louis in May 1939.

For those who don’t know the story of the St. Louis, it is one example of the shameful and tragic ways the US government failed to respond to the cries for help of those seeking to escape the horrors of the Holocaust. Jane’s telling of the story will continue in my next post.

 

 


  1. Arthur Goldschmidt, Interview 8542,  Visual History Archive, USC Shoah Foundation,  November 10, 1995. Accessed 15 August 2021, from the archive of the University of California Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, found at https://sfi.usc.edu/what-we-do/collections 
  2. The Palestine citizenship papers can be found at the Israel State Archives by searching for their names. Unfortunately, the site does not provide specific links to those results, but the site can be found at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/ 
  3. Jane Inge Goldschmidt Keibel, Speech to Hazen School, Hardwick, Vermont, 2020, shared by Peter Keibel. 

Leaving Germany: The Family of Toni Hoxter Goldschmidt

By 1930, the three daughters of Caroline Blumenfeld and Simon Hoxter were married, and each had two children. Their son Siegmund had been killed fighting for Germany in World War I, but their lives otherwise as middle-class German Jews must have seemed secure and comfortable. Here is a wonderful photograph of Caroline and Simon, shared by their great-grandson Peter:

Simon and Karoline (Blumenfeld) Hoxter. c. 1930 Courtesy of the family.

The next decade saw the family ripped apart and separated as each daughter and her family had to find a way to escape from Nazi Germany. But even before Hitler came to power, the family faced another loss. Simon Hoxter died in Marburg, Germany, on June 10, 1932, at the age of 79.

Simon Hoxter death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5739, Year Range: 1932, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Less than a year later, Hitler came to power, and soon thereafter members of the family began to look for ways to leave Germany. I am grateful to the Shoah Foundation for providing me with access to the interview given by Arthur Goldschmidt, Caroline and Simon’s grandson and the son of Toni Hoexter and Sally Goldschmidt, in which Arthur shared much of the story of how most of his relatives escaped from Germany. Much of the information in this post came from Arthur’s interview, except where noted.1

Arthur and his sister Miriam were among the first to make plans to leave Germany. Arthur, who had been raised in the town of Hersfeld, described a relatively innocent childhood in that town. It was a town of about 12,000 people where most people worked as cattle dealers, but also as lawyers and doctors and merchants and other tradesmen. His father Sally owned a haberdashery store and did business with Jews and non-Jews in the town. Aside from some anti-Semitic taunting on occasion, Arthur experienced no sense of danger and no physical assaults. He went to school with and was friends with both Jewish and non-Jewish children. When he was sixteen, Arthur left school and left Hersfeld. He went to the city of Hamm in Westphalia about three hours from Hersfeld, where he trained in a department store to be a salesman. He was there for four years until Hitler came to power in 1933.

Here is a photograph of Hersfeld that Arthur shared with the Shoah Foundation. The building in the left background with the two little turrets is the house where Arthur and his family lived.

Arthur Goldschmidt. Arthur Goldschmidt, Interview 8542,  Visual History Archive, USC Shoah Foundation,  November 10, 1995. Accessed 15 August 2021, from the archive of the University of California Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, found at https://sfi.usc.edu/what-we-do/collections

In October 1933, Arthur joined a cousin in Berlin where a Zionist organization was training young people to become farmers in preparation for immigration to Palestine. Arthur was there until June 1934, working for a farmer who happened to be a Nazi, but who, according to Arthur, was very kind to him and the other Jewish youth. (He did note that they were providing the farmer with free labor.)  From there, Arthur was sent by the Zionist organization to Yugoslavia to continue his training until December 1935 when he received a certificate to go Palestine. He arrived in Palestine in January 1936.

Meanwhile, the rest of his immediate family was also experiencing relocation. His parents Sally Goldschmidt and Toni Hoxter relocated from Hersfeld to Marburg in 1933 after Sally’s haberdashery business began to fail as a result of Nazi persecution. He no longer could do business with non-Jewish residents, and many of the Jewish residents were leaving or planning to leave Germany. They decided to move in with Toni’s mother, Caroline Blumenfeld Hoxter, who still owned her home in Marburg after the death of her husband Simon in 1932.

Their daughter Miriam left Marburg for New York, arriving on November 1, 1934. She listed her occupation on the ship manifest as a clerk and listing her cousin Rosalie Livingston as the person she was going to in the US.2 On September 27, 1936, after settling in New York, she married Rudolf Lauter, who was also a refugee from Germany. Interestingly, Rudolf was born and had last lived in Hamm, Germany, the same city that Miriam’s brother Arthur had lived in from 1929 to 1933. Rudolf was born on April 27, 1906, the son of Isidore Lauter and Helene Schonberger.3

Thus, by 1936 Toni and Sally’s children Arthur and Miriam were safely out of Germany. Arthur was living on a kibbutz near Rehovoth in Palestine, working at the new port in Tel Aviv that had opened after the Arab-controlled port in Jaffa was closed to Jewish businesses. Miriam urged Arthur to come to the US, and in 1938 when she was able to provide an affidavit for her brother, he was able to do that. He arrived on May 31, 1938,4 and after a brief stay with Miriam and Rudolf, he got a job on a farm in upstate New York in the town of Windsor near Binghamton; he was living there with some paternal cousins in 1940.

But Toni Hoxter and Sally Goldschmidt, Arthur and Miriam’s parents, were still in Germany, living in Marburg. According to Arthur’s testimony, his father was taken to Buchenwald. Arthur didn’t know when or for how long, but he said the experience forever changed his father; my guess is that this was after Kristallnacht in November 1938 when thousands of Jewish men were rounded up and taken to Buchenwald. Sally had served for Germany in World War I, earning the Iron Cross. His brother and his brother-in-law Siegmund Hoxter, Toni’s brother, were both killed fighting for Germany in that war, and Sally could never forgive Germany for ignoring his service and those sacrifices just twenty years later, imprisoning him in a concentration camp and destroying his business and his family’s life.

By the spring of 1940, Arthur was able to provide an affidavit for his parents to leave Germany, and on April 29, 1940, Toni and Sally (soon to be known as Sol) arrived in New York.5 According to Arthur, that was the last or one of the last ships allowed to sail from Europe after the war broke out. At that time Arthur’s sister Miriam and her husband Rudolf and their daughter were living in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where Rudolf was working as a butcher.6 Thus, Toni Hoxter Goldschmidt’s family was safely out of Germany by the spring of 1940.

What about Toni’s sisters Betty and Gerda and their families? And what about their mother Caroline? What happened to them? And what happened to Toni and Sol and their children Miriam and Arthur after arriving in the US? Those stories will be told next.

But not until early January 2022. I will be taking the next couple of weeks off from blogging.

Happy Holidays to All! I wish all my readers who celebrate a merry Christmas and a happy New Year to everyone! May 2022 bring us all good health and peace and progress on the many challenges facing us all, globally and personally.

 

 

 

 


  1. The information in this post, except where otherwise noted, is from the Shoah Foundation interview with Arthur Goldschmidt. Arthur Goldschmidt, Interview 8542,  Visual History Archive, USC Shoah Foundation,  November 10, 1995. Accessed 15 August 2021, from the archive of the University of California Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, found at https://sfi.usc.edu/what-we-do/collections 
  2. Miriam Goldschmidt, Gender: Female, Ethnicity/ Nationality: Hebrew, Marital status: Single, Age: 23, Birth Date: abt 1911, Birth Place: Germany, Other Birth Place: Hersfeld, Last Known Residence: Frankfurt, Germany, Departure Port: Hamburg, Germany,Arrival Date: 1 Nov 1934, Arrival Port: New York, New York, USA, Final Destination: Chicago, Illinois, Years in US: Permanently, Citizenship Intention: Yes, Height: 5 Feet, 8 Inches, Hair Color: Blonde, Eye Color: Blue, Complexion: Fair, Money in Possession: 50 Person in Old Country: Sally Goldschmidt, Person in Old Country Relationship: Father Person in Old Country Residence: Marburg.gy, Person in US: Rosalie Livingston, Person in US Relationship: Cousin, Father: Sally Goldschmidt, Ship Name: Manhattan Year: 1934; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 12; Page Number: 32, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  3. Naturalization papers for Rudolf Lauter and Miriam Goldschmidt, Court District: Southern District, New York, Description: (Roll 1332) Petition No. 383569 – Petition No. 383997, 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: 1332, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Naturalization Records, 1882-1944. The naturalization papers filed for both Rudolf and Miriam indicate that they were married on September 27, 1936, but that Rudolf did not arrive in the US until December 24, 1936. I had no way to reconcile these two recorded assertions, but I then I found Rudolf on a passenger manifest arriving in New York on August 20, 1936. Given that there was just a month between his arrival and his marriage to Miriam, I believe they must have known each other in Germany before immigrating to the US. Since on that manifest Rudolf indicated he was intending to stay only four months, my hunch is that he then returned to Germany after they married and came back to the US permanently on December 24, 1936, as indicated on his naturalization papers. Rudolf Lauter, Marital status: Single,Age: 30, Birth Date: abt 1906, Birth Place: Germany, Other Birth Place: Hamm, Last Known Residence: Amsterdam, Hamburg??
    Place of Origin: Germany, Departure Port: France, Arrival Date: 20 Aug 1936
    Arrival Port: New York, New York, USA, Years in US: 4 Months, Citizenship Intention: No, Height: 5 Feet, 11 Inches, Hair Color: Brown, Eye Color: Brown, Complexion: Dark
    Money in Possession: $200, Person in Old Country: Helene Lauter, Person in Old Country Relationship: Mother, Person in Old Country Residence: Germany
    Person in US: George H Lauter, Mother: Helene Lauter, Ship Name: Washington
    Year: 1936; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 3; Page Number: 108, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  4.  Arthur Goldschmidt, Gender: Male, Ethnicity/ Nationality: Hebrew, Marital status: Single, Age: 24, Birth Date: abt 1914, Birth Place: Germany, Other Birth Place: Hersfeld
    Last Known Residence: Telaviv, Palastine, Place of Origin: Palastine, Departure Port: Cherbourg,France, Arrival Date: 31 May 1938, Arrival Port: New York, New York, USA
    Final Destination: L. I., New York, Years in US: Permanently, Citizenship Intention: Yes
    Height: 5 Feet, 9 Inches, Hair Color: Brown, Eye Color: Brown, Complexion: Fair
    Money in Possession: 19.00, Person in Old Country: Sally Goldschmidt, Person in Old Country Relationship: Father, Person in Old Country Residence: Marburg. Person in US: Miriam Lauter, Person in US Relationship: Sister, Father: Sally Goldschmidt
    Sibling: Miriam Lauter, Ship Name: Aquitania, Year: 1938; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 18; Page Number: 103, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  5. Sally and Toni (Hoxter) Goldschmidt ship manifest, Year: 1940; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 9; Page Number: 85, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  6. Lauter family, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Bridgeport, Fairfield, Connecticut; Roll: m-t0627-00532; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 9-92, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 

Caroline Blumenfeld Hoxter and Her Family, Part I: A Son Killed in Battle

Having told the stories of seven of Abraham Blumenfeld IIA’s eight children,1 I now turn to his youngest child, his daughter Gelle. She was born on July 16, 1857. Later records refer to her as Caroline (or Karoline) and so I will refer to her by that name was as well.2

Birth record of Gelle Blumenfeld, Arcinsys Hessen Archives, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 608, p. 5

Caroline married Simon Hoxter on November 30, 1882, in Neustadt, Germany. Simon was born in Gemunden, Germany, on August 26, 1852, to Anselm Hoxter and Betty Blumenthal. (Hoxter is spelled with an umlaut or an “oe” in German, but for simplicity purposes, I am just going to spell it Hoxter.)

Jettchen Blumenfeld, Gender: weiblich (Female),Age: 25, Birth Date: 16 Jul 1857
Marriage Date: 20 Nov 1882, Marriage Place: Neustadt, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany)
Civil Registration Office: Neustadt (Hessen), Father: Abraham Blumenfeld, Mother: Güdel Blumenfeld, Spouse: Simon Thoxter, Certificate Number: 16, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6492, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Thank you to my cousin Peter Keibel, great-grandson of Caroline and Simon, for sharing these two photographs of his great-grandparents.

Caroline Blumenfeld Hoxter. Courtesy of the family

Simon Hoxter. Courtesy of the family

Caroline and Simon had four children, one son and three daughters. Their son Siegmund was born on December 5, 1883, in Gemuenden.

Siegmund Hoexter birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 4110, Year Range: 1883, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Their daughter Toni was born on October 14, 1885, in Gemuenden.

Toni Hoxter birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 4112
Year Range: 1885, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Then came Betty, born August 3, 1889, in Gemuenden.

Betty Hoexter birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 4116, Year Range: 1889, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Finally, Gerda, the youngest child, was born June 7, 1895, in Gemuenden.

Gerda Hoexter birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 4122, Year Range: 1895, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

I am grateful to my cousin Peter Keibel for sharing this wonderful photograph of the four children of his great-grandparents Simon Hoxter and Caroline Blumenfeld: Betty, Siegmund, Gerda, and Toni.

Betty, Siegmund, Gerda, and Toni Hoxter, c. 1910. Courtesy of the family

Toni married Sally (later Sol) Goldschmidt on July 6, 1910. He was born on July 4, 1881, in Bad Hersfeld, Germany, to Isaak Goldschmidt and Malchen Greif.

Marriage record of Toni Hoxter and Sally Goldschmidt, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5625, Year Range: 1910, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Toni and Sally had two children, a daughter Miriam born on April 23, 1911, in Hersfeld,3 and a son Arthur born on August 9, 1913, in Hersfeld.4

The family’s life was cruelly disrupted when Caroline and Simon’s son Siegmund was killed while fighting for Germany in World War I. He was killed during the Second Battle of Ypres on May 8, 1915. His death record says that he was the Vizefeldwebel (vice-sergeant) of the Königlich-Preussisches Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment 46 No. 234, 8. Kompanie and died in Wieltje, Belgium. He was one of over 35,000 German soldiers killed in that battle; the Allies lost roughly 59,000 troops, making this one of the costliest battles in World War I. It is perhaps mostly remembered as the first time the Germans used chlorine gas in combat on the Western front, explaining why so many more Allies died as compared to the German losses.[5]

Siegmund Höxter, Age: 31, Birth Date: abt 1884, Death Date: 8 Mai 1915 (8 May 1915)
Death Place: Marburg, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Marburg, Father: Simon Höxter, Mother: Karoline Höxter, Certificate Number: 331, 
Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5705, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Caroline and Simon thus lost their oldest child and only son fighting for Germany in the war. Here is a beautiful photograph of Siegmund wearing his World War I uniform, courtesy of Peter Keibel and the family.

Siegmund Hoxter. Courtesy of the family

Five months after Siegmund’s death, his sister Betty married Max Oppenheimer on October 5, 1915. Max, a doctor, was born on August 28, 1886, in Hadamar, Germany, and was the son of Adolf Oppenheimer, a teacher, and Johanna WInkelstein.5

Betty and Max had two children, Lotte and Franz Siegmund. Lotte was born on January 29, 1917, in Posen in what was still a province of Germany at that time and  is now part of Poland, as it became in the aftermath of World War I.6 Franz Siegmund, presumably named in memory of Betty’s brother, was born on February 17, 1920, in Friedberg, Germany.7 I don’t know why Betty and Max’s children were born in two different cities, one quite far from the Hesse region where both Betty and Max were from.

Betty’s younger sister and Caroline and Simon’s youngest child Gerda married Adolf Goldschmidt on May 8, 1922, in Marburg, Germany. Adolf was the son of Louis Elieser Goldschmidt and Sophie Adler and was born on March 11, 1885, in Eldagsen in the Hanover region of Germany. Adolf Goldschmidt and Toni’s husband Sally Goldschmidt were first cousins, both grandsons of  Feist Goldschmidt and Minna Wallach.8

Marriage record of Gerda Hoxter and Adolf Goldschmidt, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5640, Year Range: 1922, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Gerda and Adolf’s grandson Peter shared this beautiful photograph of his grandparents:

Gerda Hoxter and Adolf Goldschmidt. Courtesy of the family

Gerda and Adolf had two daughters. Inge was born in Dusseldorf, Germany, in 1923, and Lore was born three years later on March 23, 1926, in Elberfeld, a section of Wuppertal not far from Dusseldorf where Adolf now owned a department store.9 This adorable photo of Inge (later Jane) and Lore (later Alice) was provided by Jane’s son, my cousin Peter.

(Alice) Lore Goldschmidt and (Jane) Inge Goldschmidt, c. 1931. Courtesy of the family

Thus, by 1926, Caroline Blumenfeld and her husband Simon Hoxter had six grandchildren. They had tragically lost their son Siegmund during his service for Germany in World War I, but I hope they were finding joy in those grandchildren and with their three daughters in the years after Siegmund’s death.

Of course, the family’s life would change drastically in the 1930s.

To be continued.


  1. As mentioned earlier, the sixth child Rebecca died when she was four years old, and the seventh child Heinemann married my cousin Caroline Katzenstein and their story and that of their children was told when I was writing about my Katzenstein family line. 
  2. Her marriage record refers to her as Jettchen Blumenfeld, but I don’t see that name used on any other records. 
  3.  Miriam Lauter, Social Security Number: 112-05-7561, Birth Date: 23 Apr 1911
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11375, Flushing, Queens, New York, USA, Death Date: 7 Jan 1988, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  4. Arthur Goldschmidt, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New York State, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  5. The marriage date came from Peter Keibel, grandson of Toni Hoxter and Sally Goldschmidt, and thus the nephew of Betty Hoxter Oppenheimer. Peter also provided me with some other information, as will be noted. Max’s birth and parent information was found on his birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 912; Laufende Nummer: 1832, Year Range: 1886, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901. Thank you to the members of the German Genealogy group for helping me to decipher Adolf’s mother’s birth name. 
  6. Lotte’s birth information was found in her immigration file at the Israel State Archives, which can be found by searching for her name at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/ 
  7. Franz Siegmund’s birth information was found in his father’s immigration file at the Israel State Archives, found by searching for his name at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/ 
  8. The familial connection between Adolf and Sally Goldschmidt was pointed out to me Peter Keibel; I then found the marriage records of their respective parents, which corroborated that their fathers were both the sons of Feist Goldschmidt and Minna Wallach. 
  9. Inge is still living, so I will not reveal her exact birth date; Lore’s birth information came from Ancestry.com. U.S., Public Records Index, 1950-1993, Volume 2. Inge (later Jane)’s son Peter provided the information about his grandfather’s store in Wuppertal. 

The Family of Ernst Blumenfeld Escaped to America (And His Widow Married My Cousin from Jesberg)

The Nazis altered the fates of all seven of the grandchildren of Moses Blumenfeld IIA. Whereas the two children of his daughter Antonie Blumenfeld Katz safely escaped to Palestine and his grandson Albert Kaufmann, son of Hedwig Blumenfeld Kaufmann, escaped to Brazil, his granddaughter Anna Kaufmann Leyser and her husband and sons were murdered at Sobibor in 1943.

As for the family of Ernst Blumenfeld, the youngest child of Moses Blumenfeld IIA, although he died at 42 in 1935, leaving behind his young widow Bella and their three young children, Bella and their children all ended up escaping Nazi Germany by coming to the US on December 5, 1939, and settling in New York City, where in 1940 they were living with Bella’s parents Levi and Rosa (Katz) Tannenbaum.1

Bella Blumenfeld and children on passenger manifest, Year: 1939; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 132, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Two years later Bella remarried. Her second husband was Gustav Katz,2 born in Jesberg, Germany, on October 24, 1893, to Josef Katz and Roschen Stern.3 When I saw Katz and Jesberg, I speculated that somehow Gustav was related to my Katz and Katzenstein relatives from Jesberg, and sure enough, Gustav was my fourth cousin, twice removed! My five-times great-grandfather Schalum Katz was Gustav’s three times great-grandfather.

Gustav arrived in the US just a few weeks after Bella and her children on December 22, 1939, listing his occupation as textile merchant.4 But on his Declaration of Intention filed on July 8, 1940, he reported that he was a laundry worker,5 a sign of how challenging it must have been for some middle-class German Jews who escaped Nazi Germany to adapt to life in the US. Gustav died in February 1964; he was seventy.6 Bella outlived her second husband by 23 years. She died March 11, 1987 at the age of 87.7

Bella was survived by two of her three children with Ernst Blumenfeld, her son Paul having predeceased her by less than ten months on June 13, 1986, at the age of 54.8 I wonder whether Paul’s death hastened Bella’s demise so soon afterwards. Paul was married to Edith Stark, a Baltimore native, who was born there on March 27, 1933, and died there on April 12, 2014.9 Paul and Edith are survived by their four children and their grandchildren.

Ernst and Bella’s daughter Lore Blumenfeld married Manfried “Fred” Oppenheim in 1947.10 Fred was also a German refugee; he was born on June 12, 1920 in Kassel, Germany to Hermann Oppenheim and Esther Lehrberger.11 Fred came to the US on March 12, 1938, and in 1940 was living with his parents in New York and working as a waiter.12 His World War II draft registration shows that he was working for the Jones Beach Catering Corporation.

Manfred Oppenheim, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New York City, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 [

Fred enlisted in the US Army on September 21, 1943, and served until June 8, 1946.13  Lore Blumenfeld Oppenheim died on November 14, 1991; she was 64.14 Her husband Fred Oppenheim died the following year on March 31, 1992.15 They were survived by their children.

Finally, Ernst and Bella’s other son Franz became Frank in the US. When he registered for the draft, he was living in New York with his mother and stepfather and working at Volume Dress Company. Frank married Rita Rae Nelkin, a native of Houston, on December 16, 1956.16 They had three children. Frank died when he was 73 on March 22, 200217. According to his obituary, “He was proud to be an American, having served in the First Infantry Division in his birthplace, Marburg. He moved to Houston in 1955 where he met his wife. In 1957 he founded Formcraft, Inc., the largest independently owned business forms company in Houston. He was known to have a kind and generous heart, a winning personality and a great sense of humor as well as being an avid fisherman, shrewd businessman and a lover of classical music.”18

Franz Blumenfeld, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New York City, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Fortunately Moses Blumenfeld IIA has many living descendants today in Israel and in the United States because the children of his children Antonie Blumenfeld Katz and Ernst Blumenfeld all left Germany in time, but tragically his daughter Hedwig Blumenfeld Kaufman has no living descendants since her son Albert had no children and her daughter Anna and her husband and their two children were wiped out by the Nazis. How cruel is fate that allowed some to escape and others to face a brutal death.

UPDATE: I received an email today (1/5/22) from the daughter of Paul Blumenfeld. I learned from her that Albert Kaufmann did have a daughter named Inge and that Inge had two sons. So Albert Kaufmann, and thus his mother Hedwig Blumenfeld Kaufmann, do have living descendants!

 


  1. Bella Blumenfeld and children, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02676; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 31-2115, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  2.  Bella Blumenfeld, [Bella Tannenbaum], Gender: Female, Race: White, Marriage Age: 42, Birth Date: Mar 1900, Birth Place: Germany, Marriage Date: 30 Aug 1942
    Marriage Place: New York, Manhattan, New York, New York, USA, Residence Street Address: 558 W. 164 St., Occupation: None, Father: Levi Tannenbaum, Mother : Rosa Tannenbaum, Spouse: Gustav Katz, Certificate Number: 17286, Current Marriage Number: 1, Witness 1: Leopold Blum, Witness 2: Herman Katz, New York City Department of Records & Information Services; New York City, New York; New York City Marriage Licenses; Borough: Manhattan; Year: 1942, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Index to Marriage Licenses, 1908-1910, 1938-1940 
  3.  Gustav Katz, Gender: männlich (Male), Birth Date: 24 Okt 1893 (24 Oct 1893)
    Birth Place: Jesberg, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Jesberg, Father: Joseph Katz, Mother: Röschen Katz, Certificate Number: 67, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 920; Laufende Nummer: 3824, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901 
  4. Gustav Katz, ship manifest, Year: 1939; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 6; Page Number: 99, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  5. Gustav Katz, 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, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943 
  6.  Gustav Katz, Social Security Number: 087-12-5580, Birth Date: 24 Oct 1893, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Death Date: Feb 1964, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  7. Death notice, The Evening Sun, Baltimore, Maryland
    17 Mar 1987, Tue • Page 51 
  8. Paul F Blumenfeld, Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 2 Feb 1932, Birth Place: Marbery [sic], Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: Jun 1986, Father:
    Ernst Blumenfeld, Mother: Bella Tannenbaum, SSN: 105247709, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  9. Edith S Blumenfeld, Birth Date: 27 Mar 1933, Address: 2413 Sugarcone Rd, Residence: Baltimore, MD, Postal Code: 21209-1033, Ancestry.com. U.S., Public Records Index, 1950-1993, Volume 1. The Baltimore Sun; Publication Date: 8/ Nov/ 1959; Publication Place: Baltimore, Maryland, USA; URL: https://www.newspapers.com/image/375160159/?article=b20a5477-efc0-41f3-948f-67ae9c33effd&focus=0.28432477,0.12329582,0.3987464,0.16311908&xid=3398,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Newspapers.com Marriage Index, 1800s-current. Obituary,The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, Maryland, 12 Apr 2014, Sat • Page A16 
  10. Lore Blumenfeld, Gender: Female, Marriage License Date: 18 Feb 1947, Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse:
    Manfred E Oppenheim, License Number: 5280, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 8, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018. 
  11. Manfried Oppenheim, [Manfrede Fred Oppenheim], Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 12 Jun 1920, Birth Place: Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 31 Mar 1992, Father: Hermann Oppenheim, Mother: Emma Lehrberger, SSN: 130128175, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  12. Manfried Oppenheim, Petition Age: 23, Birth Date: 12 Jun 1920, Birth Place: Kassel, Germany, Record Type: Naturalization Petition, Arrival Date: 12 Mar 1938, Arrival Place: New York, New York, Petition Date: 18 Dec 1943, Petition Place: Birmingham, Jefferson, Alabama, USA, Petition Number: 5477, National Archives and Records Administration; Washington D.c.; ARC Title: Petitions For Naturalization, Compiled 1909 – 1991; NAI: 4522188; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States; Record Group Number: 21, Ancestry.com. Alabama, U.S., Naturalization Records, 1888-1991. Oppenheim family, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02674; Page: 64B; Enumeration District: 31-2035, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  13. Manfred F. Oppenheim, National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland, USA; Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946; NAID: 1263923; Record Group Title: Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, 1789-ca. 2007; Record Group: 64; Box Number: 14938; Reel: 5, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 
  14. Lore Gertrude Blumenfeld, Gender: Female, Race: White, Birth Date: 13 Mar 1927, Birth Place: Marburg, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 14 Nov 1991
    Father: Ernest Blumenfeld, Mother: Bella Tannenbaum, SSN: 132142097, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  15. See Note 11, above. 
  16. Frank Martin Blumenfeld, Gender: Male, Marriage Date: 16 Dec 1956, Marriage Place: Harris, Texas, USA, Spouse: Rita Rae Nelkin, Document Number:  216758, Harris County Clerk’s Office; Houston, Texas; Harris County, Texas, Marriage Records,
    Ancestry.com. Texas, U.S., Select County Marriage Records, 1837-1965 
  17. Frank Martin Blumenfeld, Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 21 Mar 1929
    Birth Place: Marburg, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 22 Mar 2002, Father:
    Ernest Blumenfeld, Mother: Bella Kannenbaum, SSN: 120204479, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  18. Obituary, Houston Chronicle on Mar. 24, 2002, found at https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/houstonchronicle/name/frank-blumenfeld-obituary?id=10274095 

Moses Blumenfeld IIA’s Grandchildren: Did They Survive The Holocaust?

By 1939, all three of the children of Moses Blumenfeld IIA had died, leaving behind their children, the seven grandchildren of Moses Blumenfeld IIA. Their fates were determined by the Nazis. This post will examine the fates of the children of Moses’ daughter Antonie Blumenfeld Katz and her sister Hedwig Blumenfeld Kaufmann as well as that of Antonie’s husband Moritz Katz.

Antonie’s husband Moritz Katz stayed in Marburg after Antonie died in 1939 until he was deported to Theriesenstadt on September 7, 1942; he was killed there on September 11, 1944, at the age of 73. He and Antonie were survived by their two children, Artur Katz and Margarete Martha Katz Jacobsohn. Those two children survived by leaving Nazi Germany and immigrating to Palestine (now Israel) in the 1930s.

Moritz Katz Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=1627679&ind=1

Artur was a lawyer in Berlin until the Nazis deprived of him his right to practice law after 1933. According to his nephew Yoram Jacobson, Artur soon left for Palestine, where he changed his name to Avraham (which was probably always his Hebrew name). According to a profile on MyHeritage, Avraham was married to Edith (Hannah) Walter, and they had three children. I have no other sources so far to verify that information. Avraham Katz died on October 22, 1978, in Haifa, Israel.

Artur Avraham Katz gravestone on Gravez, found at https://gravez.me/en/deceased/275CF393-EB17-4B26-8BBF-D82EC06FEB94

Antonie’s daughter Margarete Martha Katz had married Friedrich (Fritz) Max Jacobsohn sometime before they immigrated to Israel in 1939. Fritz was born in Hanover, Germany, on July 13, 1899; his father’s name was Abraham. I have no information about his mother. Fritz, an insurance agent, had been taken to Buchenwald Concentration Camp after Kristallnacht in November 1938 and was determined to leave Germany once he was released. With the help of his brother-in-law Avraham Katz, he and Margarete immigrated to Palestine/Israel on July 24, 1939. They became citizens of Palestine on October 20, 1941.1

Margarete and Fritz Jacobsohn Palestine citizen certificate, found at the Israel State Archives website at https://www.archives.gov.il/

Margarete and Fritz had one child, their son Yoram, who was born on November 27, 1944, in Haifa. Yoram Jacobson became a prominent Kabbalist and Hasidic scholar. He taught at several academic institutions in Israel, including Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University, and overseas, including at Harvard. He was also the author of many books and articles. Yoram was married twice and had four children.

Fritz Jacobson died August 24, 1963, in Haifa. He was 64. He was survived by his wife Margarete Katz Jacobson, who died forty years later on April 12, 2003, at the age of 96. They were survived by their son Yoram and his children. Yoram died April 16, 2017, in Israel. He was 72.

Although Moritz Katz died at the hands of the Nazis in Theriesenstadt, the two children he had with Antonie Blumenfeld survived by immigrating to Palestine. Today they have living descendants in Israel.

The story of Antonie’s sister Hedwig Blumenfeld Kaufmann does not end as well.

Hedwig’s daughter Anna Kaufmann and her husband Julius Leyser did not go to Palestine with their cousins. They did, however, leave Germany for Amsterdam, but sadly that was not enough to escape the Nazis. Anna, her husband Julius, and their two young sons Ernst and Hans were all deported from the Westerbork detention camp in Amsterdam to the extermination camp at Sobibor on July 23, 1943, and were murdered there. Anna was 42, Julius was 45, Ernst thirteen, and Hans eleven.  An entire family wiped out, including two young boys.

Anna Kaufmann Leyser page of testimony at Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=3827826&ind=1

Julius Leyser Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=808099&ind=1

Ernst Leyser Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=8897102&ind=1

Hans Leyser page of testimony at Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=8897103&ind=1

Hedwig’s son Albert Kaufmann survived the Holocaust by immigrating to Brazil. His marriage to his first wife Dorothy had ended before she died on March 31, 1938, in Berlin, Germany.2 Albert had traveled to Brazil in 1924 before he’d married Dorothy, so perhaps he knew it was a good place to immigrate.3 He died in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on June 10, 1986, at the age of 84. According to his death record, he was survived by his second wife Georgina Correa. She was born in Brazil in 1921, the daughter of José Correa de Mendonça and Anna Emilia da Conceicao.4 The death record indicates that Albert left no children. He died from cancer.

Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, Registro Civil, 1829-2012,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HY-6QQP-KV?cc=1582573&wc=9GYK-DPJ%3A113334201%2C120190503%2C122537201 : 7 January 2019), Rio de Janeiro 02ª Circunscrição Óbitos 1985, Nov-1987, Jan image 172 of 304; Corregedor Geral da Justicia (Inspector General of Justice Offices), Rio de Janeiro.

UPDATE: I received an email today (1/5/22) from the daughter of Paul Blumenfeld. I learned from her that Albert Kaufmann did have a daughter named Inge and that Inge had two sons. So Albert Kaufmann, and thus his mother Hedwig Blumenfeld Kaufmann, do have living descendants!

The story of the family of their brother Ernst will be told in the next post.


  1. The immigration papers for Fritz and Margarete (Katz) Jacobsohn can be found at the Israel State Archives website at https://www.archives.gov.il/. You can also see them here at Friedrich Max Jacobsohn and Margarete Katz immigration documents from Israel Archives. Some of the information in this paragraph also came from the online interview with Fritz and Margerete’s son Yoram, found here
  2.  Dorothy Kaufmann, Maiden Name: Schimmelpfennig, Gender: weiblich (Female)
    Age: 30, Birth Date: abt 1908, Death Date: 31 Apr 1938, Civil Registration Office: Wilmersdorf, Death Place: Berlin, Berlin, Deutschland (Germany), Certificate Number: 545, Berlin, Deutschland; Landesarchiv Berlin; Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Laufendenummer: 1625, Ancestry.com. Berlin, Germany, Deaths, 1874-1955 
  3. Albert Kaufmann, ship manifest, Albert Kaufmann, Gender: männlich (Male), Ethnicity/Nationality: Hessen, Marital Status: ledig (Single), Departure Age: 22, Birth Date: abt 1902, Residence Place: Marburg, Departure Date: 9. Jul 1924 (9 Jul 1924)
    Departure Place: Hamburg, Deutschland (Germany), Destination: Buenos Aires
    Arrival Place: La Coruna; Vigo; Rio de Janeiro; Buenos Aires; Brasilien; Uruguay; Argentinien, Occupation: Kaufmann, Ship Name: Württemberg, Shipping Clerk: Hamburg-Amerika Linie (Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft)
    Shipping Line: Hamburg-Amerika Linie (Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft), Ship Type: Dampfschiff, Ship Flag: Deutschland, Accommodation: 3. Klasse, Volume: 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 316, Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Volume: 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 316; Page: 90; Microfilm No.: K_1856, Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934 
  4. Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, Registro Civil, 1829-2012,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:77HZ-FXW2 : 9 April 2020), Albert Kaufmann in entry for Georgina Correa Kaufmann, ; citing Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brasil; Corregedor Geral da Justicia (Inspector General of Justice Offices), Rio de Janeiro. 

Moses Blumenfeld IIA’s Surviving Children All Died Between 1930 and 1939

Moses Blumenfeld IIA and his wife Fanny Bachrach had two children who predeceased them, Frida and Karl, and three children who survived them after Moses died in 1911 and Fanny in 1928: Antonie Blumenfeld Katz, Hedwig Blumenfeld Kaufmann, and Ernst Blumenfeld. By 1939, all three had died, Ernst at 46, Hedwig at 57, and Antonie at 63.

Hedwig died first on September 5, 1934 in Marburg.

Hedwig Blumenfeld Kaufmann death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5744, Year Range: 1934, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

She was survived by her husband Moritz Kaufmann, who died just four months later on January 10, 1935. He was 79 years old. He also died in Marburg.1 I found it interesting to see that Hedwig and Moritz had returned to Germany after living some years in Paris, where their children were both born.

Hedwig and Moritz were survived by those two children. Their daughter Rachel Gertrude Anna Kaufmann (known as Anna) had married Julius Leyser on February 9, 1928, in Marburg. Julius was born in Marburg on June 2, 1898 to Markus Leyser and Lina Baum.2

Marriage record of Anna Kaufmann and Julius Leyser, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5650, Year Range: 1928, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Julius and Anna had two children: Ernst, born on February 7, 1930, in Marburg,3 and Hans, born June 18, 1932, in Marburg.4

Moritz and Hedwig’s second child, their son Albert, married Dorothy Alice Schimmelfennig in Berlin on February 10, 1928. Dorothy was born in London on April 11, 1907, the daughter of Leo Schimmelfennig and Cecelia Sarah Pick. As far as I’ve been able to determine, they did not have children. Their marriage ended in divorce.

Dorothy Schimmerfennig birth record, Registration District: Fulham, Subdistrict North East Fulham, County of London, 1907.

Marriage record of Albert Kaufmann and Dorothy Schimmelfennig, Landesarchiv Berlin; Berlin, Deutschland; Personenstandsregister Heiratsregister; Laufendenummer: 132, Register Year or Type: 1928 (Erstregister), Ancestry.com. Berlin, Germany, Marriages, 1874-1936

Ernst Blumenfeld, Moses and Fanny’s only surviving son and last born child, died on April 24, 1935, in Marburg. His three children Lore, Franz, and Paul were only eight, six and three years old, respectively, when they lost their father. Ernst was also survived by his wife Bella, who was widowed at 35.

Ernst Blumenfeld death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5745, Year Range: 1935, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Antonie Blumenfeld Katz was the first-born child of Moses and Fanny and the one who survived the longest. She outlived all her younger siblings. Yet she was only 63 when she died of uterine cancer on April 24, 1939, in Marburg. She was survived by her husband Moritz Katz and her children Artur/Avraham and Margarete.

Antonie Blumenfeld Katz death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5754, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Antonie’s death record is one of the very few German death records I’ve seen that listed a cause of death, and it was very useful to resolve a question I had about a document filed at Yad Vashem by Antonie’s son Artur, later known as Avraham. He wrote that his mother Antonie had been murdered. I found this a bit surprising since in April 1939, as far as I knew, Nazis were not generally killing Jewish women in their hometowns in Germany, though certainly there were persecution and deaths even that early. Why would Antonie have been killed at that time?

Antonie Blumenfeld Katz, Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=842831&ind=1

In searching for the answer, I asked for help in translating Antonie’s death record. Kira Dolcimascolo of Tracing the Tribe first alerted me to the fact that the death record included a cause of death and that it was uterine cancer, and  then Cathy Meder-Dempsey and Katherine O’Grady of the German Genealogy group  were able to transcribe and translate the remainder of the cause of death—cancer achexia or extreme weight loss and muscle wasting.

Antonie was not murdered, but died of natural causes, according to her death record. Did her son Avraham not believe the death record? Or did he somehow link his mother’s medical condition to the Nazi persecution going on in Germany in the 1930s? Was she unable to get medical help? Had she refused medical help because of persecution? I don’t know. 5

In any event, by April 1939, all three of Moses IIA and Fanny (Bachrach) Blumenfeld’s children had died. What about the seven grandchildren—the children of Antonie, Hedwig, and Ernst? Their story will be told in the next post.

 

 


  1.  Moritz Kaufmann, Age: 79, Birth Date: abt 1856, Death Date: 10 Jan 1935
    Death Place: Marburg, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Marburg, Certificate Number: 21, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5745, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958 
  2. Julius Leyser birth record,Birth Date: 2 Jun 1898, Birth Place: Marburg, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Marburg, Father: Markus Leÿser, Mother: Lina Leÿser, Certificate Number: 306, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5583, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901 
  3. Entry at Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=11572295&ind=1 
  4. Entry at Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=4266841&ind=1 
  5. I also found an interview that Antonie’s grandson Yoram Jacobson gave in 2012 in which he said his grandmother died in 1939, but did not attribute her death to the Nazis. See the interview at http://www.garten-des-gedenkens.de/?page_id=414&lang=EN