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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Dora Blumenfeld Livingston’s Two Youngest Children Irvin and Harold

We have already traced the stories of the six oldest children of Dora Blumenfeld Livngston and her husband Meyer Livingston, the six who were born in Germany and who came to the US with Dora in 1882 when they were young children. This last post about Dora will discuss her two youngest children, the two who were born in the US, Irvin and Harold.

Irvin Livingston, the seventh of the eight children of Dora Blumenfeld Livingston, was still a practicing lawyer in 1930, living with his wife Helen and their three children in Glencoe, New Trier, Illinois.1

Their daughter Julie married Gustav Freund (“GF”) Baer in Chicago on July 18, 1939.2 Gustav was born in Chicago on July 27, 1916, to Walter Baer and Hennie Freund. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1938.3 In 1940, they were living in Chicago where Gustav was working as a manager for Universal Wheel & Abrasive Corporation.4 Julie and Gustav had two children.

In 1940 Irvin was still practicing law and living in Chicago with Helen and their two sons. Robert was also a lawyer by that time.5 He married Gertrude Abercrombie later that year on August 29, 1940, in Chicago.6 Gertrude was the daughter of two opera singers, Thomas Abercrombie and Jane “Lulu” Janes. She was born in Austin, Texas, on February 17, 1909.7 Gertrude was already a recognized artist by the time she married Robert. She won first prize at the 1935 Chicago Art Institute Show and had a one-woman show there in 1944.

UPDATE: Thank you to Janice Webster Brown for calling to my attention this essay written by Dina Livingston, Robert and Gertrude’s daughter, about her mother’s art and how she used symbols to reveal her feelings about her marriage to Robert and other relationships.

But her marriage to Robert Livingston did not last. In 1948 she married Francis Sandiford, Jr. Robert also remarried, although I’ve yet to learn when or where or even the full name of his second wife, only that her first name is Virginia.8

Irvin and Helen’s youngest son Irvin, Jr., was a student at the University of California Berkeley when he registered for the draft on February 14, 1942.

Irvin I Livingston, Jr., World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for Illinois, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 1071, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

On July 19, 1947 he married Jean Louise Swarts in Chicago. Jean, the daughter of Charles Eugene Swarts and Louise Friedman, was born in Chicago on January 23, 1923,9 and like her husband Irvin, grew up in Glencoe, New Trier Illinois. Irvin, Jr., and Jean had two children.

Sadly, Irvin, Sr., did not live to see his five grandchildren grow up. He died suddenly on July 10, 1949, at the age of 65,10 just three months after the death of his brother Alfred. Irvin was the fifth sibling to die. He was survived by his wife Helen, his three children, and his remaining siblings: Herman, Gussie, and Harold.

His son Robert also was not blessed with longevity. He was only 52 when he died on August 1, 1967, in New York City. Robert had been a lawyer like his father and had been general counsel and then president of Walter E. Heller & Company, at that time the fourth largest commercial financing company in the US. He was survived by his mother and siblings as well as his wife Virginia and daughter.11

Robert’s mother Helen outlived him fifteen years; she was 91 when she died in June 1982.12 Her younger son Irvin, Jr., died on May 6, 1995, in California; he was 74.13 His sister Julie was blessed with her mother’s longevity; she was 93 when she died on October 25, 2012.14

The youngest child of Dora Blumenfeld Livingston was her son Harold Livingston. He was one of the two siblings still in Bloomington, Illinois, in 1930, along with his brother Herman. He was living with his wife Marion and son Ralph and continued to own the family department store at that time.15 In 1938, he had switched businesses and was now the owner of The House of Flowers in Bloomington. He is also listed there in 1940 with Marion listed as his wife, but by 1941, there is no listing for Harold in the Bloomington directory.16

The 1940 census record for Harold is rather confusing. It shows Harold as the owner of the flower shop living at the same address in Bloomington, but lists his wife as Lucille and son as Harold. At first I thought this was a different Harold Livingston, but given that he was the flower shop owner, I think the census record is just wrong.

Harold Livingston, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Bloomington, McLean, Illinois; Roll: m-t0627-00841; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 57-13, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

In any event, Harold did not stay in Bloomington much longer. By the time he registered for the World War II draft in 1942, he had relocated to Chicago and was self-employed.

Harold H Livingston, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration), for The State of Illinois; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M2097, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

By 1944 his marriage had ended and Marion had remarried.17 Harold died in Chicago on July 2, 1950; he was 62.18 He was survived by his son Ralph and his two remaining siblings, Gussie and Herman. Ralph married in 195719 and had two sons. He died February 23, 2008, in California, at age 79.20

As we saw, Herman died a year after Harold in 1951, and Gussie, the last remaining sibling, died in 1957. Not one of the siblings made it to eighty years old, though most lived into their seventies. They are survived today by their many descendants.

Thus ends the story of Dora Blumenfeld Livingston, born in 1847 in Momberg, Germany, the fourth child of Abraham Blumenfeld II and Gidel Straus, the mother of eight children, a woman who uprooted herself from her homeland, sailing with six of her eight children to America, and who lived to see all eight reach adulthood and attain prosperity in her new country. Dora left Germany in 1882 and by doing so changed the fate of her children and their descendants.

Next we turn to her younger brother Moses Blumenfeld IIA and his story.


  1. Irvin Livingston and family, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: New Trier, Cook, Illinois; Page: 18A; Enumeration District: 2207; FHL microfilm: 2340238, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  2. “Livingston-Baer,” Hyde Park Herald, August 24, 1939, p. 2 
  3. Gustav Freund Baer, Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 27 Jul 1916, Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois, Death Date: 2 Jun 2001, Father: Walter S Baer, Mother:
    Hennie Freund, SSN: 322186356, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. Gustav Baer, “U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; School Name: University of Michigan; Year: 1938, Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1999 
  4. Gustav and Julie Baer, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: m-t0627-00928; Page: 3B; Enumeration District: 103-240, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  5. Irvin Livingston, Sr., and family, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New Trier, Cook, Illinois; Roll: m-t0627-00783; Page: 63B; Enumeration District: 16-311, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  6. Robert I. Livingston, Marriage Date: 29 Aug 1940, Spouse: Gertrude Abercrombic
    Marriage Location: Cook County, IL,Marriage license: {4DDD0318-39EE-48C2-81D8-0E8A8EB63F37}, File Number: 1651842,Archive collection name: Cook County Genealogy Records (Marriages),Archive repository location: Chicago, IL
    Archive repository name: Cook County Clerk,Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Marriage Index, 1930-1960 
  7. Gertrude Abercrombie, Birth Date: 17 Feb 1909, Gender: Female, Birth Place: Austin, Travis, Texas, USA, Father: Thomas Abercrombie, Mother: Lula M James
    Mother Residence: Chicago, Illinois, Ancestry.com. Texas, U.S., Birth Certificates, 1903-1932 
  8. “R. Livingston Services To Be Held Here,” Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, 03 Aug 1967, Thu • Page 60 
  9. “Wedding July 19, ” Chicago Daily News, June 25, 1947, p. 26. Jean S. Livingston
    Maiden Name: Swarts, Gender: Female, Death Age: 86, Birth Date: 23 Jan 1923, Birth Place: Chicago, Marriage Date: 19 Jul 1947, Residence Place: Danville, Death Date: 10 Jul 2009, Death Place: Danville, Calif, Father: Charles E. Swarts, Mother:Louise Swarts
    Spouse: Irvin Livingston, Mercer Island Reporter; Publication Place: California, USA; URL: http://obituaries.blackpress.ca/obits.new.php?cmpRegion=&paper=201&paperSelect=0&submit=&name=&skip=630, Ancestry.com. U.S., Obituary Collection, 1930-Current 
  10. Death notice, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Illinois, 11 Jul 1949, Mon • Page 46. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/195693240/irvin-i-livingston : accessed 04 November 2021), memorial page for Irvin I. Livingston (1884–1949), Find a Grave Memorial ID 195693240, citing Rosehill Cemetery and Mausoleum, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Jim Craig (contributor 46551563) . 
  11. See Note 8. 
  12.  Helen Livingston, Social Security Number: 357-38-5531, Birth Date: 1 Aug 1890
    Issue Year: 1963, Issue State: Illinois, Last Residence: 60022, Glencoe, Cook, Illinois, USA, Death Date: Jun 1982, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  13. Irvin I Livingston Jr, Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 3 Apr 1921, Birth Place: Chicago, Illinois, Death Date: 6 May 1995, Father: Irvin I Livingston,
    Mother: Helen Baer, SSN: 322166988, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  14.  Julie L Baer, Social Security Number: 334-38-8021, Birth Date: 7 Jan 1919, Issue Year: 1962, Issue State: Illinois, Death Date: 25 Oct 2012, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  15. Harold Livingston and family, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Bloomington, McLean, Illinois; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 0011; FHL microfilm: 2340270, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  16. Harold H Livingston, Bloomington City Directories, 1938, 1940, 1941, Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 
  17. Marion K. Livingston, Marriage Date: 19 Jun 1944, Spouse: Murray S. Mahler
    Marriage Location: Cook County, IL, Marriage license: {DDB7A346-6764-42A1-AAF7-F746F4DB826F}, File Number: 1818237, Archive collection name: Cook County Genealogy Records (Marriages), Archive repository location: Chicago, IL
    Archive repository name: Cook County Clerk, Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Marriage Index, 1930-1960. 
  18. Harold Livingston, Death Date: 2 Jul 1950, Death Location: Cook County, IL, File Number: 6048068, Archive collection name: Cook County Genealogy Records (Deaths)
    Archive repository location: Chicago, IL, Archive repository name: Cook County Clerk,
    Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Death Index, 1908-1988 
  19. Ralph Livingston, Marriage Date: 1 Apr 1957, Spouse: Joan M. Aubineau, Marriage Location: Cook County, IL, Marriage license: {DE63F65C-99FC-44CB-AC2C-F9A71E20936A}, File Number: 2436286, Archive collection name: Cook County Genealogy Records (Marriages), Archive repository location: Chicago, IL, Archive repository name: Cook County Clerk, Ancestry.com. Cook County, Illinois Marriage Index, 1930-1960 
  20. Ralph H Livingston, Gender: Male, Birth Date: 17 Nov 1928, Death Date: 23 Feb 2008, SSN: 351202225, Enlistment Branch: A, Enlistment Date: 16 Jun 1951, Discharge Date: 27 Jan 1953, Page number: 1, Ancestry.com. U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 

German Jewish Immigrants in America in the 1800s: The Livingstons in Bloomington, Illinois, as a Classic Example

In 1882, Dora Blumenfeld Loewenstein and six of her children arrived from Germany and settled with her husband Meyer Loewenstein in Bloomington, Illinois, where they had two more children, completing their family. But why Bloomington? What brought them there? It was not near any major city—about 140 miles from Chicago, 170 from Indianapolis. But between 1850, when there were only about 1500 people living there, and 1880, when there were about 17,000 people, it had experienced a huge population explosion. Its rich farm land attracted settlers, and it grew to be a center for trade in central Illinois. Even Abraham Lincoln was known for traveling there from his home in Springfield, Illinois, seventy miles away.

But why did Meyer choose Bloomington? A February 10,1927, article (pp. 3, 5) from The Pantagraph, the Bloomington newspaper, provided the background to answer that question.

History of Livingston Family in Bloomington -

History of Livingstons in Bloomington part 2 -

The Pantagraph, February 10, 1927, pp, 3, 5

I will excerpt from and summarize some of the pertinent parts of this long article. Note that Meyer is spelled “Mayer” in this article as it sometimes was on other records as well.

Probably no other family in Bloomington has played such a prominent part in the mercantile history of the community as the Livingston. No other has produced so many buildings or taken such an active part in the commercial affairs of the city. Dating back to the middle ages and originating in Hessen, Germany, the father of the first representatives of the Livingston family to reach Bloomington was Hirsch, who resided at Daubriegn [sic], a suburb of Giessen in Hessen. He was the fiscal agent for a baronetcy and very prominent in that locality.

It was in the early fifties that two of his sons, Sam and Aaron, then in their teens, decided to emigrate to America to carve their fortune in the land of liberty. … They came over in a sailing vessel and the voyage required two months. …

The two lads came to Cincinnati where an uncle, Mayer Livingston [note: not Dora’s husband, but his uncle], was in business and with whom they resided until they had mastered the English language. They then started out with peddlers packs upon their backs and sold merchandise thru Ohio. Reports of a more prosperous condition in Illinois, led to their shift to this state in 1852, and they did so well with their merchandising that they were able to buy a horse and wagon with which they traveled from farm to farm. They found the farmers hospitable and the two boys accumulated a little money.

Aaron was the first to reach Bloomington, coming in 1855 and renting a little shack at the southwest corner of Main and Washington streets for a clothing store. ….

Prosperity came and a few months later, the brother Sam also laid aside the peddler’s pack and also opened a clothing store at the southwest corner of Main and Front streets…These two establishments marked the inaugural of the Livingston business in Bloomington….

On the early seventies Sam and Aaron erected the building at the northwest corner of Center and Washington streets [which a third brother, Maik, managed]. …Aaron also launched a dry goods store at the south side of the square and which he turned over to his cousins….

That was a notable event in the Livingston family when their beloved father, Hirsch, was induced to join his sons here and see the prosperity that had come to them. The old man made the long voyage in 1880, just arriving to witness the death of Aaron. Hirsch, a fine type of the old school of German families, was greatly interested in Bloomington, saw the need of a Jewish synagogue here and was the founder of the Moses Montefiore edifice which was erected in the early eighties. Hirsch passed to his forefathers in 1885, his couch surrounded by his sorrowing children and grandchildren.

When Aaron died, the remainder of the family sent for Isaac and Mayer to come over from Germany….Mayer arrived in 1881 and Isaac in 1882. [This confirmed my hunch that the Isaac Loewenstein sailing with Dora and her children was indeed her brother-in-law.] Following a conference, it was decided that Mayer should take charge of the clothing store at the corner of Main and Front streets; Isaac, the clothing store [at Main and Washington]; while Sam was to take charge of the 640-acre farm in Old Town township.

The article continues and brings the history of the Livingston family in Bloomington up to 1927, but I will stop here for now and return to the specific story of Meyer and Dora and their eight children.

The story of Hirsch Loewenstein and his sons is so typical in many ways of the German Jews who immigrated to the US in the mid-nineteenth century. Like my Katz/Katzenstein, Schoenthal, and Nusbaum families in particular, the Loewensteins/Livingstons came as young men, became peddlers traveling to far flung and rural parts of the growing country, eventually becoming successful enough to settle in one place and establish permanent stores there. Those stores grew to become department stores, leading to prosperity and security for those young immigrants and their families. It was not only my family’s story, but the story of many of the great department stores that grew all over this country in the mid to late 19th century, many of which still exist today.

 

Dusschen Dora Blumenfeld and Her Children: Immigrating to America in 1882

I am now up to the fourth child and first daughter of Abraham Blumenfeld II and his wife Giedel Strauss, Dusschen Blumenfeld. Dusschen would have eight children, and I admit that when I looked at that list, I grew a bit weary. After all, Dusschen is only the fourth of the eight children of Abraham II, and Abraham II is the oldest of the three children of Moses Blumenfeld, the oldest sibling of my three-times great-grandmother Breine Blumenfeld Katzenstein.

So I still have so much to do on this Blumenfeld branch of my tree. I am not complaining; well, not really. It’s all good. I am glad to have the work. But sometimes it does feel overwhelming. Does anyone else ever feel that way about researching large families with many children?

And then, to make things even more overwhelming, I ended up confusing two different Dusschen Blumenfelds, one the daughter of Abraham II, one the daughter of his brother Isaac. After getting a lot of help from other researchers, I managed to sort it out and learned which one was born when, which one married which man.1

Anyway, enough kvetching! On to Dusschen Blumenfeld I, the daughter of Abraham Blumenfeld II and Giedel Strauss.

She was born on June 27, 1847, in Momberg, Germany.

Birth record of Dusschen Blumenfeld I, daughter of Abraham Blumenfeld. Arcinsys Archives Hessen, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 628, p. 16

Unfortunately, that is the only German record I can find for Dusschen I. Since she was later known as Dora, I will use that name going forward when I refer to her.

In 1868, Dora married Meyer Loewenstein,2 who was born in Daubringen, Germany, on November 9, 1839.3 Unfortunately, I do not have an actual birth or marriage record for Meyer, but had to rely on the information that he provided after he immigrated to the United States. Similarly, I had to rely on US records to find the birth dates for his children. Giessen, the town where Dora and Meyer lived in Germany, does not have records online for the dates that are relevant to this family.

UPDATE: Since publishing this post, I was able to obtain a book titled Juden in Giessen 1788-1942 by Hanno Miller (Giessen, 2012) that lists on p, 392 information about Meyer, Dora, and six of their children. Although no primary sources are included, the descriptions of the records include enough detail (time of birth, witnesses to each birth) that the information appears to be quite reliable. According to this source, Meyer was born on November 9, 1839, and Dora and Meyer were married on April 23, 1868.

Hanno Miller, Juden in Giessen 1788-1942 (Giessen 2012), p. 392.

I have noted below where the Juden in Giessen book provides different birth dates for the children of Dora and Meyer than those found in US sources. These discrepancies corroborate the accepted notion that birthdays were less important to European Jews than here in the US and that people estimated their birthdates rather than knowing them exactly.

As noted above, Dora and Meyer had eight children, and the first six of those children were born in Germany. Their first born was Rosalie, born April 3, 1869.4 Then came Moritz, born January 14, 1871.5 A second son Sigmund was born on December 13, 1872,6 and then Hermann, their third son and fourth child, was born December 25, 1874.7

After giving birth to four children in five years, Dora may have had a bit of a respite. Her fifth baby Aaron (later Alfred) was born on January 15, 1879.8 Perhaps that break came because Meyer had been traveling; I found a Meyer Loewenstein from Germany who was 41 years old on an 1878 ship manifest from Hamburg to New York.9 But I can’t be certain that is the same Meyer, given the lack of identifying information on the manifest and the discrepancy in the age.10

Dora and Meyer did have one more child in Germany before immigrating. Their sixth child and second daughter Auguste or Gussie was born on October 30, 1881.11 Dora and her six children sailed to New York from Bremen, arriving on September 9, 1882. The children are listed as Pauline (11 ½), Moritz (10), Sigmund (1 ½ ??), Hermann (7), Alfred (3), and Auguste (1). Meyer was not sailing with them so perhaps he’d returned to the United States before his wife and children though I cannot find him on any manifest after the 1878 one mentioned above.

Listed right above Dora on the 1882 manifest is another Loewenstein family: Isaac Loewenstein (38), his wife Rosa (28) and their two children (presumably), Rosalie (11) and Hermann (9).

Dora Loewenstein and children on ship manifest, Year: 1882; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Line: 1; List Number: 1286, Ship or Roll Number: Elbe
Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

I speculated that Isaac was the brother of Meyer Loewenstein. Why? Both ended up settling in Bloomington, Illinois, and both changed their surnames to Livingston (sometimes spelled Livingstone).

In any event, Dora and the children arrived in October 1882 and settled in Bloomington, Illinois, where on January 2, 1884, Dora gave birth to their seventh child and fifth son, Isaac, later Irvin.12 Their last child, Harold, was born on November 16, 1887, in Bloomington.13

Why Bloomington, Illinois? Why did Meyer and Isaac choose that city? I didn’t know the answer until I found a long news article from the Bloomington newspaper, The Pantagraph, dated February 10, 1927. More on that in my next post.



  1. Thank you so much to Richard Bloomfield and Michael Rosenberg for the invaluable assistance with straightening out the two Dusschen Blumenfelds, including helping me find and transcribe their birth records, which appear on the same page of the Momberg registry. 
  2. Livingston family, 1900 US census, Year: 1900; Census Place: Bloomington Ward 1, McLean, Illinois; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0080; FHL microfilm: 1240321, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census 
  3. Hanno Miller, Juden in Giessen 1788-1942 (Giessen, 2012), p. 392. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9198505/mayer-livingston : accessed 27 October 2021), memorial page for Mayer Livingston (Nov 1839–10 Oct 1915), Find a Grave Memorial ID 9198505, citing Jewish Cemetery, Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Robin Farley Dixson Coon (contributor 46558224) .
  4. Hanno Miller, Juden in Giessen 1788-1942 (Giessen, 2012), p. 392. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9198011/rosalie-m-livingston : accessed 27 October 2021), memorial page for Rosalie M “Rosa” Livingston (3 Apr 1869–19 Jul 1943), Find a Grave Memorial ID 9198011, citing Jewish Cemetery, Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Robin Farley Dixson Coon (contributor 46558224) . 
  5. Hanno Miller, Juden in Giessen 1788-1942 (Giessen, 2012), p. 392. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9198500/maurice-livingston : accessed 27 October 2021), memorial page for Maurice Livingston (14 Jan 1871–19 Nov 1923), Find a Grave Memorial ID 9198500, citing Jewish Cemetery, Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Robin Farley Dixson Coon (contributor 46558224) . 
  6. Hanno Miller, Juden in Giessen 1788-1942 (Giessen 2012), p. 392. US sources say December 27, 1872 or December 29, 1872. Sigmund Livingston, Age: 39, Birth Date: 27 Dec 1872, Birth Place: Giessen, Germany, Residence Place: Bloomington, Illinois, Passport Issue Date: 25 Mar 1912
    Has Photo: No, Certificate Number: 68761, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; Roll #: 155; Volume #: Roll 0155 – Certificates: 68321-69176, 18 Mar 1912-30 Mar 1912, Ancestry.com. U.S., Passport Applications, 1795-1925 
  7. Hanno Miller, Juden in Giessen 1788-1942 (Giessen 2012), p. 392. US sources say December 29, 1874.  Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9199176/herman-livingston : accessed 27 October 2021), memorial page for Herman Livingston (29 Dec 1874–17 Feb 1951), Find a Grave Memorial ID 9199176, citing Jewish Cemetery, Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Robin Farley Dixson Coon (contributor 46558224) . 
  8. Hanno Miller, Juden in Giessen 1788-1942 (Giessen 2012), p. 392.Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9199178/alfred-livingston : accessed 27 October 2021), memorial page for Alfred Livingston (15 Jan 1879–1 Apr 1949), Find a Grave Memorial ID 9199178, citing Jewish Cemetery, Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Robin Farley Dixson Coon (contributor 46558224) . 
  9.  Meyer Loewenstein, Gender: Male, Ethnicity/ Nationality: German, Age: 41
    Birth Date: abt 1837, Place of Origin: Germany, Departure Port: Hamburg, Germany and Le Havre, France, Destination: USA, Arrival Date: 17 Dec 1878, Arrival Port: New York, New York, USA, Ship Name: Cimbria, Year: 1878; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Line: 53; List Number: 1326, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  10. The 1900 US census indicated that Dora had given birth to eighteen children, eight of whom were still living. So perhaps that gap between 1874 and 1879 reflects at least some children who did not survive. But ten deceased children in five years seemed unlikely, and when I checked the 1910 US census, it reported that Dora had had eight children, all of whom were still living. 
  11. Hanno Miller, Juden in Giessen 1788-1942 (Giessen 2012), p. 392. US sources say October 27, 1881. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9198642/gussie-l-wertheimer : accessed 27 October 2021), memorial page for Gussie L Wertheimer (27 Oct 1881–12 Sep 1957), Find a Grave Memorial ID 9198642, citing Jewish Cemetery, Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Robin Farley Dixson Coon (contributor 46558224) . 
  12. Irvin I Livingston, Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 2 Jan 1884, Birth Place: Bloomington, Illinois, USA, Residence Place: Glencoe, Illinois, USA, Military Draft Date: 1942, Relationship to Draftee: Head, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration), for The State of Illinois; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M2097, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 
  13. Harold Hirsch Livingston, Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 16 Nov 1887
    Birth Place: Bloomington, Illinois, Father: Mayer Livingston, Mother: Dora Blumenfeld
    SSN: 336146596, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 

Another Update from Another Cousin! The Story of Karl Gutmann

Once again, I have been very fortunate because another cousin found my blog and connected with me, sharing information and photographs of members of my ever-growing family tree. This time it was my fifth cousin, once removed, Jennifer, the granddaughter of Karl Gutmann, who has enriched my understanding of my family history. The information in this post, except where otherwise noted, came from my email correspondence with Jennifer, as did all the photographs.

You can read more about Karl and his family here and here, but let me provide a brief overview. Karl, born in 1923, was the only child of Moritz Gutmann and my cousin Nelly Goldschmidt; Nelly was the daughter of Hedwig Goldschmidt and Marcel Goldschmidt who themselves were first cousins, the grandchildren of Meyer Goldschmidt, my four-times great-uncle.

Jennifer shared with me this photograph of her grandfather Karl with his mother Nelly as well as the one that follows of Karl as a young boy.

Nelly Goldschmidt Gutmann and her son Karl Gutmann, c. 1927-1928 Courtesy of the family

Karl Gutmann Courtesy of the family

Nelly’s sister Else was married to Siegfried Gutmann, brother of Moritz Gutmann. Else and Siegfried, like Nelly and Moritz, had only one child, a son named Hermann Gutmann, later known as Dennis Goodman. I wrote about Dennis and his experiences here and here. Thus, Karl and Dennis were first cousins, and according to Jennifer, the two boys were very close growing up in Germany. They were both born in 1923, Dennis in February, Karl in May. They must have been like brothers to each other.

Tragically, Karl and Dennis were separated from each other because of the Nazis. As I wrote in my earlier post, Karl’s father Moritz came to the US in 1936, leaving his wife Nelly and Karl behind. What Jennifer shared with me was that her great-grandmother Nelly had long suffered from mental illness and had been institutionalized for some time before the Holocaust. Moritz, who resented the fact that her family had failed to disclose her mental health issues before they married, filed for divorce once he was in the United States. Jennifer shared this photograph of her great-grandfather Moritz Gutmann, whom she described as a very difficult man.

Moritz Gutmann Courtesy of the family

Meanwhile, Moritz and Nelly’s son Karl was living in Amsterdam as were his grandmother Hedwig Goldschmidt and his aunt Else Goldschmidt and uncle Siegfried Gutmann.  His cousin Hermann (Dennis) was sent in 1936 to England where he attended a Jewish boarding school, and the following year Karl went to the US.

From the apparent age of Karl in this photograph (he appears to be at least thirteen), I would guess that this photograph was taken either in Amsterdam or after he came to the US. I don’t know who the other boy was.

Karl Gutman and friend Courtesy of the family

What I did not know until Jennifer shared it with me was that Karl’s father Moritz traveled to Amsterdam to get his son and bring him back to the US; I now was able to locate Moritz on the same ship as the one that brought Karl to the US. Moritz, however, was sailing in a second class cabin whereas his fourteen-year-old son was sailing third class in a separate cabin (last line on second image below).

Moritz Gutmann, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 124,  Statendam, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Karl Gutmann (last line), Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 143,  Statendam, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Karl earned money selling newspapers when he first got to the US, but then enlisted in the US Army in 1943. By that time he had joined his father in the art dealing business and brought art work back and forth between Europe and the US during the war. Karl became one of the Ritchie Boys, the elite espionage unit made up of German Jewish refugees who used their knowledge of Germany and German to spy on the Nazis and obtain critical military intelligence for the Allies. Here is Karl in uniform during World War II.

Karl Gutmann, c. 1945 Courtesy of the family

But it was too late to save his mother Nelly, who was killed by the Nazis in 1940. Tragically, both of Dennis Goodman’s parents were also murdered in the Holocaust. Karl and Dennis’s grandmother Hedwig Goldschmidt, however, miraculously survived after hiding in the Netherlands during the war, as described here. Jennifer shared this photograph of Hedwig, taken after she had safely immigrated to the US after the war.

Hedwig Goldschmidt Gutmann  Courtesy of the family

When Karl returned to the US after the war, he married Joan Fenton. What I had not known before Jennifer contacted me was that Joan, her grandmother, was the best friend of Karl’s first cousin Gabrielle Heimerdinger, the daughter of Greta Goldschmidt, Karl’s aunt, his mother Nelly’s sister. Gabrielle introduced Joan to Karl, and together they had three children. Jennifer, Karl and Joan’s granddaughter, has many memories of visiting her relatives in New York, including her grandfather’s first cousin Gabrielle, whose children I wrote about here. Karl went into the television repair business after the war and became quite successful.

While serving overseas as one of the Ritchie Boys, Karl had run into his cousin Dennis, Karl fighting the Nazis for the US, Dennis fighting the Nazis for England. Once the two cousins reconnected, they remained close for the rest of their lives, traveling back and forth between England and the US after the war many times. Thanks to Jennifer, I can share this photograph of Karl and Dennis joyfully reunited after the war. The other man on the left is their paternal cousin John Gutmann, and the woman is Karl’s second wife Gisela.

John Gutmann, Karl Gutmann, Gisela Bartels Gutmann, and Dennis Goodman Courtesy of the family

Jennifer remembered her grandfather Karl as a man with a strong work ethic and one who never wanted to talk about his past. But through her grandmother Joan and other family members, Jennifer was able to learn more about her grandfather’s story and the tragedies that her other relatives suffered during the Holocaust. I am so grateful that she shared their stories and her photographs with me.

 

 

The Children of Thekla and Felix Blumenfeld, Part IV: The Survivors

Thekla Blumenfeld Gruenbaum and her brother Felix Blumenfeld lost their lives in the Holocaust as did Thekla’s son-in-law Walter Herzog; Thekla’s grandson Manfred Herzog was killed fighting against Nazi Germany. But Thekla and Felix’s children and the other grandchildren all survived because most of them were able to leave Germany before it was too late.

Thekla Blumenfeld Gruenbaum’s Children and Grandchildren

Franz Moritz Gruenbaum, Thekla’s younger son, was in South Africa by 19351 and on March 18, 1937, he immigrated to the United States.2  Franz soon settled in Springfield, Massachusetts, just a few miles from where I now live, where he married a woman named Maria Pauline Strasser in 1938.3 Maria was born in Munich, Germany, on April 21, 1901, and was previously married to Richard Bachmann.4 Maria had known Franz in Kassel before they all immigrated, and she and Franz had spent time together in South Africa and traveled back to the US together in March 1937 as you can see on this ship manifest.5

Maria Bachmann and Franz Gruenbaum, ship manifest, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 16, Ship or Roll Number: Rex
Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Sometime after immigrating, Franz changed his name to Frank Gruen. He and Maria settled in Springfield and lived there for at least twenty years where Frank worked in the printing business6 and Maria taught German.7 At some point they relocated to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where they were living in 1980 when they died. Frank and Maria died within months of each other, Maria in January 1980,8 Frank two months later in March.9 She was 78, and he 80.

Franz Grunbaum World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Draft Registration Cards for Massachusetts, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 402, Name Range: Gross, Abraham-Grundstrum, Edwin, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Thekla’s older son Curt Wilhelm Gruenbaum was still in Kassel, Germany, in 1935,10 but thereafter left for England and then arrived in the US on May 9, 1939. He was living with his brother Franz in Springfield by 1939, and his wife Gertrude and son Heinz joined him in Springfield on May 25, 1939.11 By 1940 Curt and his family had relocated from Springfield to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Curt, like his brother Franz, was working in the printing business.12

Curt Wilhelm Gruenbaum, declaration of intention, National Archives at Boston; Waltham, Massachusetts; ARC Title: Petitions and Records of Naturalization , 8/1845 – 12/1911; NAI Number: 3000057; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Description: Petition No 277730, Jayme Gonzalez – Petition No 278386, Sarah Govenar. Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1798-1950

In 1942, Curt, who changed the spelling of his name to Kurt, was working for the Fuller Brush Company.

Kurt Grunbaum, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Draft Registration Cards for Massachusetts, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 402, Name Range: Gross, Abraham-Grundstrum, Edwin, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Kurt and Gertrude’s son Heinz, who changed his name to Henry, married Barbara Ann Gillespie in 1955 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.13 She was born on December 23, 1933, in Boston to Leslie and Pearl Gillespie.14 Henry and Barbara Ann had two sons.

Kurt and his wife Gertrude remained in Cambridge for the rest of their lives, which may explain why his brother Frank and Maria relocated there. Gertrude died at the age of 76 on July 7, 1977;15 Kurt died eight years later on February 6, 1985.16 He was 87 years old. They were survived by their son Henry and his wife and children. Henry died October 22, 2008;17 he was 76; his wife Barbara Ann survived him by seven years. She died on April 24, 2015, at 81. The family created a tribute page to Henry and his family with many photos of Henry and his parents Kurt and Gertrude here.

While the two sons of Thekla Blumenfeld Gruenbaum ended up in Massachusetts, her two daughters Caecile and Rosemarie ended up in New York.

Rosemarie Gruenbaum first immigrated to England. I don’t know when, but she is listed with her husband Ernest Heymann on the 1939 England and Wales Register.18 Ernest, a silk merchant like Rosemarie’s brother-in-law Walter Herzog, was born January 24, 1902, in Brussels.19 I was unable to learn more about Ernest’s family background or to find a record for their marriage. They had one child born in England in 1940.

UPDATE: Thank you so much to Cathy Meder-Dempsey who read this post and on her own decided to look up Ernest Heymann’s birth record. Now I know that he was the son of Edouard Heymann, a trader who was  born in Krefeld, Germany, and Mathilde Kaufmann, who born in Aachen (Aix-la-Chapelle), Germany. Although I was able to go back another generation and find Eduoard’s parents’ names, I am still looking for a marriage record for Ernest and Rosemarie.

Birth record of Ernest Heymann, “Belgique, Brabant, registres d’état civil, 1582-1914,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:S3HT-DYHS-SBC?cc=1482191&wc=ST2N-6TG%3A966896201%2C967103401 : 22 May 2014), Brussel > Geboorten 14 dec (nr. 4370) 1901-sept 1902 > image 166 of 833; België Nationaal Archief, Brussels (Belgium National Archives, Brussels).

On November November 19, 1940, Rosemarie, Ernest, and their daughter left England for the US, arriving in the US in Boston on December 5, 1940.20 By February 1942 when he registered for the draft, Ernest and his family were living in Kew Gardens, Queens, New York, and he was working for Goodman and Theise, Inc., a textile company in New York City.

Ernest Heymann, 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

Ernest Heyman (he later dropped the second N) died when he was 74 in 1976.21 His wife Rosemarie Gruenbaum Heyman outlived him by almost thirty years. She died at the age of 91 on April 14, 2004. They were survived by their daughter and her family.

After surviving persecution in two concentration camps—at Riga and Stuffhof, Caecilie Gruenbaum Herzog arrived in New York on July 17, 1946. The manifest indicates that she was headed to 83-57 118th Street in Kew Gardens, Queens, New York, the same address listed on Ernest Heyman’s draft registration depicted above.  I have no records for Caecile between 1946 and when she died on December 13, 1990, at the age of 95 in New York.22

Year: 1946; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 51, Ship or Roll Number: Marine Perch, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Caecile’s daughter Renata married Hermann Luedecke in London in the summer of 194423 and had one child with him in 1947.24 She later married Gunther Cahn in 1952,25 and they immigrated to Canada in 1955.26 Renata died in Toronto in 1995 Her husband Gunther died in 2012 in Canada.27

Felix Blumenfeld’s Children and Grandchildren

As for the children of Felix Blumenfeld, Felix’s son Edgar Blumenfeld and his wife Anna Hanau left Germany by 1935 and were living in Paris, France, when their son Gerard Blumenfeld was born on August 20, 1935. They later left for Cuba and finally immigrated to the US on October 13, 1942.

Gerhard Blumenfeld naturalization papers, National Archives at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois; ARC Title: Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1991; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Petitions, V· 1323-1325, No· 327901-328515, 1945, Ancestry.com. Illinois, U.S., Federal Naturalization Records, 1856-1991

They settled in Chicago and first changed their surname to Bloomfield and then to just Field. Edgar was a chemical engineer. Edgar died on June 23, 1954, in Chicago. He was only fifty years old.28 His wife Anna later remarried and died in 1997 when she was 91.29

Edgar’s brother Gerhard Blumenfeld was still in Germany when he married Lotte Hedwig Rosenthal on June 21, 1936, in Giessen.30 Lotte was born in Giessen on February 27, 1915; her parents were Max and Emma Rosenthal. By 1939 Gerhard (known as Gerd) and Lotte were living in London with Lotte’s parents and siblings. I wonder whether the two blacked out names under the names of Gerd and Lotte Blumenfeld on the 1939 England and Wales Register are the two children of Gerd’s cousin Caecilie Gruenbaum Herzog, Renata and Manfred.

The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/244A
Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register

Gerd and Lotte came to the US on November 16, 194031 and settled in Chicago also. Gerd also changed his surname to Bloomfield (but not later to Field). He was an engineer like his brother Edgar and worked for Union Asbestos & Rubber Company.

Gerard Max Bloomfield, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for Illinois, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 150, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Gerd and Lotte had two sons born in Chicago after the war. Like his brother Edgar, Gerd died in his fifties. He was fifty-three years old when he died on August 11, 1959,32 leaving behind his wife and young children. Like her sister-in-law Anna, Gerd’s wife Lotte remarried after Gerd’s early death. Lotte died on October 18, 2010, at the age of 95.33

Thus, although Thekla Blumenfeld Gruenbaum and Felix Blumenfeld,  Salomon Blumenfeld’s two children with his first wife, both were killed during the Holocaust, they have living descendants today to carry on their legacy.

Salomon Blumenfeld’s connection to his children Thekla and Felix may have been long ago broken after their mother Caecilie Erlanger died and he remarried and moved to Spain, but he has descendants today only through those children.


  1. Franz Grunbaum, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts; Roll: m-t0627-01710; Page: 62A; Enumeration District: 22-129, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  2. Franz Moritz Grunbaum, ship manifest, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 16, Ship or Roll Number: Rex, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  3. Franz Moritz Grunbaum, Marriage Year: 1938, Marriage Place: Springfield, Massachusetts, USA, Index Volume Number: 119, Reference Number: F63.M36 v.119
    Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-1955 and 1966-1970 
  4. Marriage record of Maria Strasser and Richard Bachmann, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 910, Year Range: 1924, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930 
  5. “Asks Dedham Court to Cancel Divorce,” The Boston Globe, 28 May 1937, p. 5. 
  6. Frank Gruen, Title: Springfield, Massachusetts, City Directory, 1959, Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 
  7. E.g., “German Again to be Taught,” Springfield Union, September 16, 1959, p. 27. 
  8.  Maria Gruen, Social Security Number: 017-20-3941, Birth Date: 21 Apr 1901
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: Massachusetts, Last Residence: 02138, Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA, Death Date: Jan 1980, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  9.  Frank Gruen, Social Security Number: 031-01-6909, Birth Date: 9 Apr 1899
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: Massachusetts, Last Residence: 02138, Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA, Death Date: Mar 1980, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  10. Curt Gruenbaum, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll: m-t0627-01685; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 16-82,  Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  11. Gertrude and Heinz Gruenbaum, ship manifest, Year: 1939; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 4; Page Number: 122, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  12. See note 10. 
  13. Henry Walter Grunbaum, Marriage Year: 1955, Marriage Place: Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, Index Volume Number: 159, Reference Number: F63.M36 v.159,
    Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-1955 and 1966-1970 
  14. Barbara Ann Gillespie, Birth Date: 1933, Birth Place: Boston, Massachusetts, USA, Volume Number: 35, Page Number: 201, Index Volume Number: 128
    Reference Number: F63.M362 v.128, Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Birth Index, 1860-1970; Barbara G Grunbaum, Birth Date: 23 Dec 1933, Residence Date: 1993
    Address: 29 Huron Ave, Residence: Cambridge, MA, Postal Code: 02138-6705, Ancestry.com. U.S., Public Records Index, 1950-1993, Volume 1. 
  15. Gertrude B Grunbaum, Certificate: 034745, Death Place: Cambridge. Death Date: 7 Jul 1977, Birth Place: Other, Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Death Index, 1970-2003 
  16. Kurt W Grunbaum, Certificate: 017505, Death Place: Cambridge, Death Date: 6 Feb 1985, Birth Place: Other, Birth Date: 23 Mar 1897, Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Death Index, 1970-2003 
  17.  Henry W. Grunbaum, Social Security Number: 024-26-8623, Birth Date: 29 Jan 1932, Issue Year: 1951-1952, Issue State: Massachusetts, Last Residence: 02138, Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, Death Date: 22 Oct 2008, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  18.  The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/950H, Enumeration District: BWCO, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register 
  19. Ernest Heyman, Race: White, Age: 40, Birth Date: 24 Jan 1902, Birth Place: Brussels, Belgium, Registration Date: 15 Feb 1942, Registration Place: Kew Gardens, New York, New York. Employer: Goodman and Theise Inc., 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 
  20. Ernst Heymann and family, ship manifests, The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; BT27 Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and Successors: Outwards Passenger Lists; Reference Number: Series BT27-147363, Month: Nov, Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960; The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, Massachusetts, 1891-1943; NAI Number: 4319742; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85; Series Number: T843; NARA Roll Number: 451, Month or Roll: 451, Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1963 
  21.  Ernest Heyman, Social Security Number: 100-12-9367, Birth Date: 24 Jan 1902
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11375, Flushing, Queens, New York, USA, Death Date: Mar 1976, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  22. Ceci Herzog, Birth Date: 26 Apr 1895, Death Date: 13 Dec 1990, Claim Date: 3 Aug 1960, SSN: 110267687, Death Certificate Number: 169466, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  23.  Renate Herzoz, Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep, Registration District: Hampstead, Inferred County: London, Spouse: Hermann K A Luedecke, Volume Number: 1a, Page Number: 1109, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 1a; Page: 1109, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 
  24.  Carol A Luedioke [sic], Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep, Registration District: Hampstead, Inferred County: Greater London, Mother’s Maiden Name: Herzog, Volume Number: 5c, Page Number: 1526, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Reference: Volume 5c, Page 1526, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916-2007 
  25.  Guenther Cahn, Registration Quarter: Jan-Feb-Mar, Registration District: Hendon
    Inferred County: Middlesex, Spouse: Renate Luedecke Or Herzog, Volume Number: 5e
    Page Number: 1431, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 5e; Page: 1431, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 
  26.  The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; BT27 Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and Successors: Outwards Passenger Lists; Reference Number: Series BT27-, Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 
  27. I could not locate any records or obituaries for the deaths of Renata and Gunther Cahn so am referring to their profiles on MyHeritage for this information. 
  28. “Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1871-1998,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q2MH-PGMM : 17 March 2018), Edgar L Field, 23 Jun 1954; citing Lincolnwood, Cook, Illinois, United States, source reference , record number , Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm. 
  29. Anne Bloomfield, [Anne Prower] [Anne Field] [Anne Hanau]Gender: Female
    Race: White, Birth Date: 27 Mar 1906, Birth Place: Schiffweiler, France, Death Date: 24 Dec 1997, Father: Victor Hanau Mother:Mina May, SSN: 361208715
    Notes: Jul 1943: Name listed as ANNE BLOOMFIELD; : Name listed as ANNE PROWER; : Name listed as ANNE H FIELD; 04 Feb 1998: Name listed as ANNE H PROWER, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  30. Gerhard Max Bloomfield, petition for naturalization, National Archives at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois; ARC Title: Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1991; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Description: Petitions For Naturalization, V· 1291, No· 320051-320300, Ca· 1944-1946, Ancestry.com. Illinois, U.S., Federal Naturalization Records, 1856-1991 
  31. Gerd and Lotte Blumenfeld, ship manifest, The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, Massachusetts, 1891-1943; NAI Number: 4319742; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85; Series Number: T843; NARA Roll Number: 451, Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1963 
  32. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9198671/gerd-m-bloomfield : accessed 16 October 2021), memorial page for Gerd M Bloomfield (3 Mar 1906–11 Aug 1959), Find a Grave Memorial ID 9198671, citing Jewish Cemetery, Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Robin Farley Dixson Coon (contributor 46558224) . 
  33. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/137430315/lottie-rosenthal-klein : accessed 16 October 2021), memorial page for Lottie Rosenthal Bloomfield Klein (27 Feb 1915–18 Oct 2010), Find a Grave Memorial ID 137430315, citing Jewish Cemetery, Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Gary Ayers (contributor 48159041) . 

Salomon Blumenfeld’s Children Thekla and Felix: Killed by the Nazis

In April, 1933,  Salomon Blumenfeld’s two children from his first marriage, Thekla Blumenfeld Gruenbaum and Felix Blumenfeld, were both living in Kassel, Germany. All of their children and grandchildren were also still in Germany. With Hitler’s rise to power, some of the family members left Germany not long afterwards. But others were not so fortunate.

Thekla Blumenfeld Gruenbaum was murdered by the Nazis. She was first deported to Theriesenstadt on July 25, 1942.  Two months later on September 26, 1942, she was sent to the extermination camp at Treblinka where she was killed. She was seventy years old. She had lived a hard life—losing her mother when she was just a toddler, being left behind by her father a few years later, losing her husband, and then being killed at Treblinka.

Thekla’s daughter Caecilie and her husband Walter Herzog were living in Krefeld, Germany, before the war. I am still researching where and when, but the evidence indicates that the two children of Caecilie and Walter, Renata and Manfred, were sent to England before the war.1 Walter was a successful silk tie manufacturer and had deposited a fair amount of money in a Swiss banking account; that account was confiscated by the Nazis.2 In December 1941, both Walter and Caecile3 were deported to the concentration camp in Riga, Latvia. Walter was later transferred to Buchenwald where he was “declared dead” on May 8, 1945.

Caecile was sent from Riga to the Stutthof concentration camp.4 The Holocaust Encyclopedia provided this information about the Stutthof camp:5

Conditions in the camp were brutal. Many prisoners died in typhus epidemics that swept the camp in the winter of 1942 and again in 1944. Those whom the SS guards judged too weak or sick to work were gassed in the camp’s small gas chamber. Gassing with Zyklon B View This Term in the Glossary gas began in June 1944. Camp doctors also killed sick or injured prisoners in the infirmary with lethal injections. More than 60,000 people died in the camp.

The Germans used Stutthof prisoners as forced laborers. … In 1944, as forced labor by concentration camp prisoners became increasingly important in armaments production, a Focke-Wulff airplane factory was constructed at Stutthof. Eventually, the Stutthof camp system became a vast network of forced-labor camps….

The evacuation of prisoners from the Stutthof camp system in northern Poland began in January 1945. When the final evacuation began, there were nearly 50,000 prisoners, the overwhelming majority of them Jews, in the Stutthof camp system. About 5,000 prisoners from Stutthof subcamps were marched to the Baltic Sea coast, forced into the water, and machine gunned. The rest of the prisoners were marched in the direction of Lauenburg in eastern Germany. They were cut off by advancing Soviet forces. The Germans forced the surviving prisoners back to Stutthof. Marching in severe winter conditions and treated brutally by SS guards, thousands died during the march.

In late April 1945, the remaining prisoners were removed from Stutthof by sea, since Stutthof was completely encircled by Soviet forces. Again, hundreds of prisoners were forced into the sea and shot. … It has been estimated that over 25,000 prisoners, one in two, died during the evacuation from Stutthof and its subcamps. 

Soviet forces liberated Stutthof on May 9, 1945, and liberated about 100 prisoners who had managed to hide during the final evacuation of the camp.

How did Caecilie manage to survive this ordeal? Was she one of the hundred who were hiding in the camp during its final evacuation? Her odds for survival were overwhelmingly low, yet somehow she did. After time as a displaced person and with the help of HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), she was able to immigrate to the US in July 1946.

Arolesn Archives; Bad Arlosen, Germany, Resettlement Year: 1946, Ancestry.com. Free Acces Africa, Asia and Europe, Passenger Lists of Displaced Persons, 1946-1971

I was able to locate more information about Thekla’s brother Felix Blumenfeld through several sources, including a detailed and well-sourced biography online. Felix had studied medicine at both the University of Marburg and the University of Munich. He served as a ship’s doctor and later as doctor in a POW camp during World War I. As we saw, Felix lost his first wife Thekla Wertheim in 1917, and on February 16, 1920, in Nordhausen, Germany, he married his second wife Helene Petri, who was not Jewish. She was born on October 20, 1894, in Nordhausen, the daughter of Fritz Petri and Bertha Peter. Felix and Helene were living in Kassel, where Felix was a practicing pediatrician.

The detailed biography of Felix I found online describes in great detail all the contributions that Felix made as a doctor and citizen in Kassel.

Encouraged by the high infant mortality rate among children of poor parents, he began to use his position as a doctor and to get involved in society. At his suggestion, milk kitchens were built in which perfectly hygienic milk-grain mixtures were produced as baby food and sold using a deposit bottle system . The products were also given free of charge to the poor.

He also served as the medical director of the children and infant’s home/hospital in the city and also was involved in other charitable and civic organizations.

Despite his service in World War I and all these contributions he made as a doctor and citizen, Felix was persecuted by the Nazis. 

Just a few weeks after the National Socialists came to power on April 1, 1933, as a Jew, he was deprived of the management of the children’s hospital, he was banned from working and had to give up his apartment and practice…. His property and library were confiscated and owing to the fact that his wife Leni was not Jewish, he was initially allowed to live in his summer house a…. He was forced to do auxiliary and road construction work and had to collect rags and scrap at the municipal scrap yard . He was exposed to constant discrimination and surveillance by the Gestapo.

A second biography written for the occasion of the installation of Stolpersteine in Felix Blumenfeld’s honor in Kassel also reported this information and explained that Felix ultimately decided to end his own life in order to avoid deportation and also to protect his wife Helene.

Before killing himself on January 25, 1942, Felix wrote a long letter to his two sons in America, Edgar and Gerd, explaining why he had decided to take his own life. The first part of the letter details some of the abuse and persecution he had endured, and then he ends with these paragraphs, as translated by DeepL:

But enough of that ! Let’s get to the main thing ! Life is no longer bearable for me! All my hope, to which I had clung, was to get out of this hell and to be united with you in a near or distant time. I dare not count on that hope any longer. For with the years of war my years of life also increase. But the worst thing at the present moment is that out of sheer arbitrariness they have deprived me of all my property and referred me to my hands work or to public welfare. Subsequently, they also “expropriated the wife of the Jew”, although since 1939 there had been a legal separation of property, i.e. there was no legal basis for this. Leni was in Berlin and has the prospect of getting part of her property back if she gets a divorce. I want to agree to this divorce in order not to endanger Lenimutter’s livelihood again and again through my person. In that case, however, my life, which has been ruined through no fault of my own, has lost all the more meaning, especially since it is not known what else will be done to us.

Under these circumstances, death seems more desirable to me than an existence with ever new torments. I am therefore leaving this world of meanness, baseness and inhumanity in order to enter eternal peace and to seek the path that leads from darkness to light.

My last thoughts belong to my faithful comrade, on an often thorny path, and to you my beloved children, my Edgar, Gerd, Annchen, Lotte and Little Gerard ! You will be with me in the hour that demands strength and courage. Especially with you, my Gerd, I would have liked to hold a conversation, you dear, you good one! Stay as good as you have been so far, and be the one who makes sure that you always stay together faithfully. Then I am always in your midst and remain eternally connected with you. Without looking backwards, move forward and build a more beautiful life in a hopefully better world. May it be a comforting thought to you that your father is relieved of all fear, worry and pain after his departure. We remain united ! ! You will never forget me, I know that, because my love for you was, is and will be infinite.

V a t e r

*** Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) ***

Like his sister Thekla, Felix Blumenfeld lost his mother as a baby, then his father, and then his first wife. Nevertheless, he grew up to be a devoted father and pediatrician who contributed greatly to his community. Although not technically murdered by the Nazis, Felix is also rightfully counted among those whose deaths were caused by Nazi persecution.

There was one more death in the family attributable to Nazi Germany. Thekla Blumenfeld Gruenbaum’s grandson, Caecilie and Walter Herzog’s son Manfred, was killed in action while fighting for the Allies in Europe sometime in the spring of 1945.

Thus, the Nazis killed both Thekla and Felix, the two children Salomon Blumenfeld had with his first wife Caecilie Erlanger, as well as Thekla’s son-in-law Walter Herzog; in addition, Thekla’s grandson Manfred Herzog died fighting the Nazis in World War II. I can’t help but think about how Felix and Thekla’s lives would have been different if their father Salomon had taken them with him when he moved to Spain.

They were survived by the rest of the family. Their stories will be told in the next post.


  1. To be discussed in the next post. 
  2. Special Master’s Final Report on the Holocaust Victim Assets Litigation (Swiss Banks Settlement), Case No. CV 96-4849 (ERK)(MDG) (Consolidated with CV 96-5161 and CV 97-461) United States District Court, Eastern District of New York, pp.28-30. 
  3. Cecilia Herzog [Cecilia Gruenbaum] Birth Date: 26 Apr 1900 Birth Place: Kassel
    Residence: Krefeld Camp: Riga/Stutthof Ancestry.com. Poland, German Jews at Stutthof Concentration Camp, 1940-1945; Entry at the US Holocaust Memorial and Museum at https://www.ushmm.org/online/hsv/person_view.php?PersonId=3187531 
  4. See Note 3. 
  5. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. “Stutthof.” Holocaust Encyclopedia. https://encyclopedia.ushmm.org/content/en/article/stutthof Accessed October 5, 2021. 

Salomon Blumenfeld, Part II: The Children He Left Behind in Germany

When Salomon/Manuel Blumenfeld left Germany for Spain sometime in the 1880s accompanied by his second wife Emma Bendheim and their young son Moritz, what happened to the two children he’d had with his first wife, Caecilie Erlanger? Thekla, born March 18, 1872, and Felix, born May 2, 1873, were just babies when their mother died on December 31, 1873, and young children when their father married Emma in 1876. If Salomon and Emma left for Spain in 1883 or so, Thekla and Felix would only have been eleven and ten years old. Yet there is no record of them living with their father and stepmother and half-brother in Huelva, Spain.

As best I can tell, both children remained in Germany, probably with their mother’s family. Supporting that hypothesis is the fact that when Thekla married Max Gruenbaum on June 15, 1894, they were married in Marburg, the town where Caecilie Erlanger was born and where her parents and brother were still living in the 1880s. Note also that the witnesses were both named Erlanger.

Max Gruenbaum, the son of Hermann Gruenbaum and Betty Nussbaum, was born in Rotenburg an der Fulda on March 12, 1862, making him almost exactly ten years older than Thekla or 32 to her 22.

Thekla Blumenfeld and Max Gruenbaum marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5607, Year Range: 1894
Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Thekla and Max had their first child ten months after they married. Caecile Gruenbaum, obviously named for Thekla’s mother, was born on April 26, 1895, in Kassel.

Caecilie Gruenbaum birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 910; Signatur: 910_5118, Year Range: 1895, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Then came Curt Wilhelm Gruenbaum, born in Kassel on March 23, 1897.

Curt Wilhelm Gruenbaum birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 910; Signatur: 910_5127, Year Range: 1897, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Another son, Franz Moritz Gruenbaum, was born in Weimar, Germany, on April 9, 1899.

Franz Moritz Gruenbaum birth record, Stadtarchiv Weimar; Weimar, Deutschland; Geburtenbuch Weimar 1899; Series: Personenstandsregister Geburtsregister; Reference Number: 27 2/1 Bd 1899
Ancestry.com. Weimar, Germany, Births, 1876-1903

And finally arriving thirteen years later was Rosemarie Gruenbaum, born October 8, 1912, when Thekla was forty years old.1

Thekla’s brother Felix Blumenfeld married Thekla Wertheim on August 22, 1902, in Frankfurt, Germany,2 meaning Felix’s wife and his sister had the same first name. Thekla Wertheim was born on May 8, 1879, in Frankfurt to Louis Wertheim and Amalie Hammerschlag.

Felix Blumenfeld marriage to Thekla Wertheim, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Year Range: 1902, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Felix and his wife Thekla had two children. Edgar Leo Blumenfeld was born on July 20, 1903, in Kassel.3 His brother Gerhard Max Blumenfeld was born in Kassel on March 3, 1906.4

Thus, Salomon Blumenfeld had six grandchildren living in Germany by 1912. Did he know them? Did he ever visit them in Germany? I don’t know.

Unfortunately, both Thekla Blumenfeld Gruenbaum and her brother Felix Blumenfeld lost their spouses at a relatively young age. Felix’s wife Thekla Wertheim Blumenfeld died when she was just 38 on August 20, 1917, in Kassel; her children were just fourteen and eleven at that time.5 And Felix’s sister Thekla lost her husband Max Gruenbaum when he was 61; he died on November 26, 1923, in Kassel,6 leaving behind his wife and their four children, ranging in age from eleven to 28 years old. Thus, both of Salomon’s children with his first wife Caecilie were widowed by 1923.

But there was good news as well. Thekla Blumenfeld Gruenbaum’s daughter Caecilie married Walter Herzog in Kassel on September 27, 1921. Walter was born on July 31, 1887, in Krefeld, Germany, to Moritz and Luise Herzog;7 he was a silk tie manufacturer. Caecilie and Walter had two children. Renata Herzog was born April 4, 1924,8 and her brother Manfred Herzog was born July 15, 1926, in Krefeld.9

Caecilie Gruenbaum and Walter Herzog marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 910, Year Range: 1921, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Caecilie’s brother Curt Wilhelm Gruenbaum married Gertrude Babette Strauss in Worms, Germany, on March 9, 1930.10 She was the daughter of Leopold Strauss and Johanna Louise Goldschmidt and was born in Worms on May 20, 1901.11 Curt and Gertrude had a son Heinz Gruenbaum born January 29, 1932 in Kassel.12

Felix Blumenfeld’s son Edgar married Anna Hanau on March 27, 1933, in Neunkirchen, Germany. Anna was the daughter of Victor Hanau and Mina May and was born on March 27, 1906 in Schiffweiler, Germany. I found it sweet that Anna married Edgar on her 27th birthday.13

Unfortunately, the next month Hitler became Chancellor of Germany, and life changed dramatically for this family like it did for all Jews in Germany.


  1. Rosemarie’s birth place appears on this ship manifest: The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, Massachusetts, 1891-1943; NAI Number: 4319742; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85; Series Number: T843; NARA Roll Number: 451, Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1963. Her precise birth date appears on the England and Wales 1939 register, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/950H, Enumeration District: BWCO, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register 
  2.  Thekla Wertheim, Gender: weiblich (Female), Birth Date: 8 Mai 1879 (8 May 1879)
    Birth Place: Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Frankfurt a.M., Stadtteile, Father: Louis Wertheim, Mother: Amalie Wertheim, Certificate Number: 1570, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_8929, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901 
  3. Edgar Leo Bloomfield, Declaration of Intention, National Archives at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois; ARC Title: Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1991; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Description: Petitions, V· 1323-1325, No· 327901-328515, 1945, Ancestry.com. Illinois, U.S., Federal Naturalization Records, 1856-1991; “Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1871-1998,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q2MH-PGMM : 17 March 2018), Edgar L Field, 23 Jun 1954; citing Lincolnwood, Cook, Illinois, United States, source reference , record number , Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm. 
  4. Gerard Max Bloomfield, Declaration of Intention, National Archives at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois; ARC Title: Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1991; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Ancestry.com. Illinois, U.S., Federal Naturalization Records, 1856-1991 
  5. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/230608646/thekla-blumenfeld : accessed 10 October 2021), memorial page for Thekla Blumenfeld (1879–1917), Find a Grave Memorial ID 230608646, citing Jüdischer Friedhof Kassel-Bettenhausen, Kassel, Stadtkreis Kassel, Hessen, Germany ; Maintained by Frank K. (contributor 46941322) . 
  6.  Max Grünbaum, Age: 61, Birth Date: abt 1862, Death Date: 26 Nov 1923
    Death Place: Kassel, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Kassel I, Certificate Number: 1141, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 910; Signatur: 5591, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958 
  7. Walter Herzog, Yad Vashem entry at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=1226964&ind=1 
  8. Renata Herzog Cahn, ship manifest, The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; BT27 Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and Successors: Outwards Passenger Lists; Reference Number: Series BT27-, Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 
  9. Manfred Herzog, Yad Vashem entry, at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=1922326&ind=1 
  10. Kurt Wilhelm Grunbaum, Petition for Naturalization, National Archives at Boston; Waltham, Massachusetts; ARC Title: Petitions and Records of Naturalization , 8/1845 – 12/1911; NAI Number: 3000057; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Petition No 277730, Jayme Gonzalez – Petition No 278386, Sarah Govenar, Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1798-1950 
  11. Gertrude Babette Strauss birth record, Year Range: 1901 A, Ancestry.com. Worms, Germany, Births, 1876-1902 
  12.  Henry W. Grunbaum, Social Security Number: 024-26-8623, Birth Date: 29 Jan 1932, Issue Year: 1951-1952, Issue State: Massachusetts, Last Residence: 02138, Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, Death Date: 22 Oct 2008, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Kurt Wilhelm Grunbaum, Petition for Naturalization, National Archives at Boston; Waltham, Massachusetts; ARC Title: Petitions and Records of Naturalization , 8/1845 – 12/1911; NAI Number: 3000057; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Petition No 277730, Jayme Gonzalez – Petition No 278386, Sarah Govenar, Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1798-1950 
  13. Edgar Leo Bloomfield, Declaration of Intention, National Archives at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois; ARC Title: Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1991; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Description: Petitions, V· 1323-1325, No· 327901-328515, 1945, Ancestry.com. Anne Bloomfield, [Anne Field] [Anne Hanau] Gender: Female, Race: White, Birth Date: 27 Mar 1906, Birth Place: Schiffweiler, France [sic], Death Date: 24 Dec 1997, Father:
    Victor Hanau, Mother: Mina May, SSN: 361208715, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 

Salomon Blumenfeld: My Cousin in Spain

The life of Salomon Blumenfeld, the third child and third son of Abraham Blumenfeld II and Giedel Strauss, took a surprising (to me) turn and landed me in a country I had never before researched—Spain.

Salomon (also known as Scholem or Salli) was born on March 28, 1845, in Momberg.

Scholem Salli Blumenfeld birth record, Arcinsys Archives of Hessen, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 628, p. 14

According to one source, Salomon moved to Giessen, Germany, where he was the owner of a textile shop. Sometime before 1872 he married Caecilie Erlanger, the daughter of Moritz Erlanger and Rosa Wertheim. She was born on May 16, 1849, in Marburg.1

Salomon and Caecilie had two children. Thekla Blumenfeld was born on March 18, 1872, in Giessen,2 and her brother Felix was born there on May 2, 1873.3 I am very grateful to Michael Moritz for locating their birth records. Michael has been an immense help in my research of Salomon and his family, as you will see more of below. I never would have been able to decipher these records except for Salomon’s name at the bottom without Michael’s help.

Thekla Blumenfeld birth record, Matrikel, 1823-1909 Authors: Jüdische Gemeinde Gießen (KrSt. Gießen) (Main Author), Image 903 at https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS8H-QH3X?cat=834331

Matrikel, 1823-1909 Authors: Jüdische Gemeinde Gießen (KrSt. Gießen) (Main Author), Image 923, found at https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-CS8H-Q457?cat=834331

Then just seven months after giving birth to her son Felix, Caecilie Erlanger Blumenfeld died on December 31, 1873, or possibly January 1, 1874 (secondary sources vary, and even with Michael’s help, I cannot find a death record for her). She was only 24 years old, and Salomon was left with two babies, one just seven months old and the other not yet two years old. How was he able to care for those children? Or did he turn their care over to someone else—perhaps Caecile’s family?

I am not sure, but just over two years later on April 18, 1876, he married Emma Bendheim. Emma, the daughter of Loeb Bendheim and Carolina Lichtenstein, was born in Auerbach, Germany, on June 19, 1854.

Salomon Blumenfeld and Emma Bendheim marriage, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 330, Year Range: 1876, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Salomon and Emma had one child together, a son Moritz, born on January 24, 1877, in Giessen, Germany.4

Sometime within the next six years or so, Salomon, Emma, and Moritz left Germany and moved to Huelva, Spain. It took some digging and the help of Michael Moritz to figure that out. Let me explain my research path.

In researching Salomon and Emma’s son Moritz Blumenfeld, I kept running across another man named Moritz Blumenfeld who was born in 1887 whereas my cousin Moritz was born in 1877. Numerous trees on Ancestry indicated that my Moritz Blumenfeld died in World War I, fighting for Germany, but my research of the relevant sources revealed that those trees were confusing the 1887 Moritz Blumenfeld with my cousin Moritz. I couldn’t, however, find any death record for my Moritz.

So I posted a question on Tracing the Tribe that included the marriage record for my Moritz (more on that below), and Michael Moritz provided the answer. What I couldn’t decipher on that record was that Moritz was living in Huelva, Spain at the time of his marriage in 1903, not in Germany where he was born and where he was married.

Snip of Moritz Blumenfeld’s marriage record showing he was living in Huelva, Spain. Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 357, 1903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Michael then searched on FamilySearch for Blumenfeld in Spain and found numerous records indicating that Salomon Blumenfeld, now known as Emanuel or Manuel Blumenfeld, his wife Emma, and their son Moritz, known in Spain as Mauricio, had been living in Huelva, Spain, since sometime in the early 1880s. Here, for example, is the 1888-1889 register for Huelva listing Manuel and Emma Blumenfelt [sic], indicating that they had been residing there for nine years (the last column on the right). (Emma was not 24, but rather 34, in 1888, and Manuel/Salomon would have been 43, not 42.)

“España, Provincia de Huelva, registros municipales, 1760-1950,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GPJG-SPC?cc=2015357&wc=32PD-K68%3A336532701%2C336532702%2C336623501 : 20 December 2018), Huelva > Huelva > Padrones 1888-1889 > image 761 of 883; archivos municipales, Huelva (municipal archives, Huelva).

This is the 1894-1897 register showing Manuel, Emma, and Mauricio Blumenfels [sic] living in Huelva; this one says they’d been there for ten years. There is no sign of Thekla or Felix, the children born from Salomon/Manuel’s marriage to Caecilie Erlanger.

“España, Provincia de Huelva, registros municipales, 1760-1950,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GPXW-SHPB?cc=2015357&wc=32PD-ZNL%3A336532701%2C336532702%2C336629901 : 20 December 2018), Huelva > Huelva > Padrones 1905-1906 > image 430 of 1083; archivos municipales, Huelva (municipal archives, Huelva).

What would have taken Salomon/Manuel to Spain and specifically Huelva, Spain? Huelva is a port city in southwestern Spain in Andalusia. It experienced tremendous growth in the 1870s and afterward due to the important copper mines located to its north owned by a British mining company, Rio Tinto. The Andalucia website described the impact of the mining industry on Huelva in the following terms:

Huelva was declared provincial capital in 1833 and by the end of the 19th century was undergoing a massive transformation with the influx of foreign capital from mining interests. Its main function as a maritime port became secondary to its industrial importance as mining activities grew, based on the exploitation of the Río Tinto mines by the Río Tinto Company and five other British mining firms. 

The mining companies changed the architectural face of Huelva, building industrial structures like the wharfs in the port used for unloading minerals, workshops and the railway. Culturally, Huelva underwent a revival and cultivated a more cosmopolitan atmosphere with the arrival of mainly British and German workers. This was a time of great surplus wealth, which was lavished on elegant edifices in the centre….

The Spanish records that appear above indicate that Manuel was a “sastre” or a tailor, so it would not appear that his specific occupation drew him to Huelva. Perhaps Salomon was drawn by the city’s growth and the potential for personal prosperity. Maybe he just needed to leave behind the tragedy of losing his first wife.

He certainly wasn’t drawn to Huelva for its Jewish community. Although Spain had once been a center for Jewish life, that ended with the Inquisition in the late 15th century when most Jews either converted or left the country or practiced Judaism in hiding or were killed. Even today there are only about 50,000 Jews in all of Spain, and they tend to live in the bigger cities such as Madrid and Barcelona, but not in Huelva or even in Seville, the closest big city to Huelva.

That may explain why Salomon and Emma’s son Moritz/Mauricio returned to Germany to marry. On February 15, 1903, he married Rosa Bendheim in Auerbach, Germany. Rosa was the daughter of Jonas Bendheim and Julie Kapp and was born in Auerbach on September 28, 1883. Jonas Bendheim was a first cousin to Moritz’s mother Emma Bendheim, making Moritz and Rosa second cousins as well as husband and wife.

Marriage record of Moritz Blumenfeld and Rosa Bendheim, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 357, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Moritz and Rosa returned to Huelva to live after they married and had one child, a daughter Gertrudis, born in Huelva, Spain, on December 17, 1903.5

The last record I have for Salomon, Emma, and Moritz is the 1905-1906 register for Huelva. It shows that no one in the household had an occupation.

“España, Provincia de Huelva, registros municipales, 1760-1950,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:33SQ-GPXW-SHPB?cc=2015357&wc=32PD-ZNL%3A336532701%2C336532702%2C336629901 : 20 December 2018), Huelva > Huelva > Padrones 1905-1906 > image 430 of 1083; archivos municipales, Huelva (municipal archives, Huelva).

I did find a 1922 ship manifest for Moritz’s wife Rosa and daughter Gertrudis that indicates that Gertrudis was living in Kassel, Germany, but Rosa was living in Seville, and that both were traveling from Hamburg to Seville.6

Another document also indicated that Gertrudis once lived in Kassel, but had left in 1921.

Arolsen Archives, Digital Archive; Bad Arolsen, Germany; Lists of Persecutees 2.1.1.1, Reference Code: 02010101 oS, Ancestry.com. Free Access: Europe, Registration of Foreigners and German Persecutees, 1939-1947

If Rosa was living in Seville, perhaps Salomon, Emma, and Moritz had also moved there sometime after 1905-1906. Or perhaps one or more of them had died by 1922. Unfortunately I cannot locate any record of their deaths nor do I have any record of Rosa’s death. I contacted someone in Seville, but he was unable to find any record of my Blumenfeld family living or dying there. I also asked a native of Seville who now lives in the US and is the son-in-law of our close friends to see if he could find anything, but he also had no luck. So I think I may never find a record for the deaths of Salomon/Manuel Blumenfeld, his wife Emma, or his son Moritz/Mauricio or his wife Rosa.

But I do know what happened to Salomon and Emma’s granddaughter Gertrudis Blumenfeld. In 1922 she married Maximo Jose Kahan. He was born Maximilian Josef Kahn, son of Isidor Kahn and Emma Nussbaum, on August 11, 1897, in Frankfurt, Germany.7

In about 1920, Maximilian left Germany and settled in Madrid, where he became Maximo Jose Kahan. He became a successful writer of essays and books and a frequent contributor to magazines and newspapers. How and where he met Gertrudis is not known. But soon after they married, they moved to Toledo, Spain. Then he and Gertrudis left Spain during the Spanish Civil War and immigrated to Mexico in about 1939.

It appears that Gertrudis remained in Mexico for the rest of her life, dying there on February 3, 1964, at the age of 60.

Gertrudis Blumenfeld Kahn, death record, Archivo de Registro Civil de Distrito Federal (Civil Registry Archives); Federal District, Mexico, Year: 1959 – 1964, Ancestry.com. Federal District, Mexico, Civil Registration Deaths, 1861-1987

Maximo, however, left Mexico (and presumably Gertrudis) and immigrated to Argentina, where he died on July 20, 1953. He was 55. As far as I can tell, Gertrudis and Maximo did not have children.

It was a challenge and fun to dive into a brand new country. Now I hope I can learn what happened to Salomon/Manuel, Emma, Moritz/Mauricio and Rosa Blumenfeld.

But in the meantime, what about Salomon’s two children with his first wife Caecile Erlanger, Thekla and Felix? What happened to them?

To be continued…

 

 


  1. I cannot locate any original records for the dates of either Caecilie’s birth or her marriage to Salomon, but those are the dates incorporated into numerous secondary sources, including JewishGen and several trees on Ancestry and MyHeritage. 
  2.  Thekla Blumenfeld, Gender: weiblich (Female), Age: 22, Birth Date: 18 Mrz 1872 (18 Mar 1872), Marriage Date: 15 Jun 1894, Marriage Place: Marburg, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Marburg, Father: Salomon Blumenfeld, Mother: Cäcilie Blumenfeld, Spouse: Max Grünbaum, Certificate Number: 47, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5607, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930 
  3.  Felix Blumenfeld, Age: 29, Birth Date: 2 Mai 1873 (2 May 1873), Marriage Date: 22 Aug 1902, Marriage Place: Frankfurt am Main, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Frankfurt am Main, Father: Salomon Blumenfeld
    Mother: Cäcilie Blumenfeld, Spouse: Thekla Wertheim, Certificate Number: 1776, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930 
  4. Moritz Blumenfeld marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 357, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930 
  5. Gertrude Blumenfeld, Gender: weiblich (Female), Nationality: Deutsch Juden
    Residence Age: 17, Record Type: Residence, Birth Date: 17 Dez 1903 (17 Dec 1903)
    Birth Place: Bluelva (Spanien. Last Residence: Kassel, Sojourn Start Date: 1 Aug 1921
    Residence Place: Kassel Kassel, Notes: Foreigners who were living in the location during the war – permanently or temporarily, Reference Number: 02010101 oS
    Document ID: 70442412, Arolsen Archives, Digital Archive; Bad Arolsen, Germany; Lists of Persecutees 2.1.1.1, Ancestry.com. Free Access: Europe, Registration of Foreigners and German Persecutees, 1939-1947 
  6. Rose and Gertrudis Blumenfeld, ship manifest, Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Volume: 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 289; Page: 1395; Microfilm No.: K_1844, Description Month: Band 289 (30 Sep 1922 – 10 Okt 1922, 10 Aug 1922 – 5 Sep 1922), Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934 
  7. Maximilian Josef Kahn, birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_9188, Year Range: 1897, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901 

The Final Chapter of Baruch Blumenfeld’s Family: His Daughter Charlotte

Having told the story of Antonie Blumenfeld Engelbert and that of her children Margot, Julius, and Elfriede and of her grandchildren Edith, Werner, Gunther, and Inge, I now turn to the story of Antonie’s younger sister, Charlotte Blumenfeld, daughter of Baruch Blumenfeld and Emma Docter.

Charlotte Jeanette Blumenfeld, as we saw, married Hermann Hammel on January 24, 1900, and they had one daughter, Klara, who was born on February 17, 1901, in Frankfurt, Germany, where Charlotte and Hermann resided. Hermann was a merchant.

On July 26, 1920, in Frankfurt, Klara Hammel married Siegfried Braun. He was more than eleven years older than Klara and was born in Nuernberg on August 27, 1889. His parents were Isidor Braun and Kathi Hermann; both had died by the time Siegfried served in the German army during World War I. Siegfried served for at least three years of the war in the infantry and in the automobile replacement unit. When he married Klara in 1920, he was living in Frankfurt and working as a merchant.

Marriage record, Klara Hammel to Siegfried Braun, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; München; Abteilung IV Kriegsarchiv. Kriegstammrollen, 1914-1918; Volume: 18828. Kriegsstammrolle: Bd. 6, Volume: 18828- Kriegsstammrolle: Bd- 6, Ancestry.com. Bavaria, Germany, World War I Personnel Rosters, 1914-1918

Klara and Siegfried’s first child Lieselotte was born in Frankfurt on September 4, 1922.1 Her brother Walter Isidor Braun was born a year later on December 7, 1923, also in Frankfurt.2 A third child was stillborn on January 25, 1926, in Frankfurt.3

The life of this family changed dramatically once Hitler came to power. I am very grateful to Klara and Siegfried’s grandson Stephen for sharing their stories with me. They all immigrated to Amsterdam not long after Hitler’s rise to power. While there, Lieselotte, then a teenager, met the man who would later become her husband, Fritz (later Fred) Rothschild. He was son of Daniel Rothschild and Martha Aumann and was born in Bruchsal, Germany, on August 22, 1921. His family also had left Germany for Amsterdam to escape the Nazis.4

Hermann Hammel, Charlotte Blumenfeld’s husband, died in Amsterdam on February 19, 1939; he was 71 years old. After World War II started in September, 1939, the rest of the Hammel family left Amsterdam for Wales, where they were living at the time of the enumeration of the 1939 England and Wales Register. Lieselotte was thus separated from her boyfriend Fred Rothschild, but the two corresponded during the war; his family had also left Amsterdam and immigrated to Canada.5

Braun and Hammel, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/7534J, Enumeration District: ZDGM, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register (the two children of Siegfried and Claire Braun are hidden)

But even the UK was not a true safe harbor for the family. Siegfried was determined to be an enemy alien on October 12, 1939, and he and his family were sent to the Isle of Man like so many other Jewish refugees from Germany. Only Charlotte was not interned. They were released on September 30, 1940, and relocated to London where they lived for the duration of the war.6

Siegfried Braun, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/168, Piece Number Description: 168: German Internees Released in UK 1939-1942: Bohrman-Bud, Ancestry.com. UK, World War II Alien Internees, 1939-1945

Once the war ended, Lieselotte Braun was reunited with Fred Rothschild, and they were married in London on August 11, 1946.

The Montreal Gazette, August 23, 1946, p. 13

After marrying, Lieselotte and Fred immigrated to Canada and then the US and eventually settled in New York City; they would have two children.

A year after Lieselotte’s marriage, the rest of her family—her grandmother Charlotte, her parents Klara (now Claire) Hammel and Siegfried Braun, and her brother Walter—also immigrated to the US and settled in New York. They eventually owned a women’s clothing store in Washington Heights in New York.7

Walter Braun married Hannelore Delheim in 1954.8 She was born in Ludwigschafen, Germany, in August 1931, and came to the US with her parents, Friedericke and Rosette Delheim, and her brother in 1939.9 Walter and Hannelore had two children.

Charlotte Blumenfeld Hammel died on July 11, 1958; she was 83 years old.10 I found it poignant that she ended up in New York living not far from where her father Baruch had been living in 1920. I wonder whether she ever knew that.

Her son-in-law Siegfried Braun died on August 8, 1961 at the age of 71.11 His wife Claire Hammel Braun survived him by over twenty years. She died July 19, 1983, in Ridgewood, New Jersey. She was 83 and was survived by her children and grandchildren.12

Claire’s son Walter Braun only survived her by three years. He was 62 when he died on March 15, 1986, in Ridgewood, New Jersey. He was survived by his wife and children as well as his sister Lieselotte.13

Lieselotte lived to age 91 and died on October 13, 2013, in Palm Beach, Florida. Her husband Fred Rothschild died the following year, also in Palm Beach. He was 92 when he died on March 27, 2014.14 They are survived by their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Thus, Baruch Blumenfeld, who left his family in Germany sometime before 1900 and came to the US where he died in 1923, has numerous descendants now living in the US. They are here because their parents and grandparents and great-grandparents were either able to leave Germany before it was too late like Charlotte and her family and Antonie’s son Julius and his family and Gunther Goldschmidt or because they somehow managed to survive the tortures of the Holocaust like Antonie’s daughter Elfriede, her husband Rudolf and their daughter Inge.

Tragically, Baruch’s granddaughter—Antonie’s daughter—Margot, her husband Gustav, and their daughter Edith were not among those who survived or escaped in time. They are among the six million who must never be forgotten.


  1. Lieselotte Rothschild Arrival Age 38, Birth Date 4 Sep 1922, Birth Place, Frankfurt/Main, Arrival Date7 May 1961, Arrival Place New York, New York, USA, The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; NAI Number: 2848504; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85; Series Number: A3998; NARA Roll Number: 482, Ancestry.com. New York State, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1917-1967 
  2. Walter Isidore Braun, Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 7 Dec 1923
    Birth Place: Frankfort, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: Mar 1986
    Father: Frederick S Braun, Mother: Claire Hammel, SSN: 082240422, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  3.  Knabe Braun, Gender: männlich (Male), Death Date: 25 Jan 1926, Death Place: Frankfurt, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Frankfurt I
    Father: Siegfried Braun, Mother: Klara Braun. Certificate Number: 106, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10913, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958 
  4. Email from Steve Rothschild, August 27, 2021. Fred Rothschild, Age: 31
    Birth Date: 22 Aug 1921, Issue Date: 11 Aug 1953, 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: 114, Ancestry.com. U.S., Naturalization Records Indexes, 1794-1995. Geni Profile at https://www.geni.com/people/Fred-Fritz-Rothschild/6000000017506676383?through=6000000017506915284#name=Fred%20(Fritz)%20Rothschild? 
  5. Email from Steve Rothschild, August 27, 2021. 
  6. Email from Steve Rothschild, August 30, 2021. 
  7. Clara and Siegfried Braun, Walter Braun, Charlotte Hammel, ship manifest, Year: 1947; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Numbers: 190, 238, Ship or Roll Number: America,Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957. Email from Steve Rothschild, August 30, 2021. 
  8. Walter Braun, Gender: Male, Marriage License Date: 1954, Marriage License Place: Bronx, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Hannelore Dellheim, License Number: 423, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Bronx,
    Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  9. Delheim family, ship manifest, Year: 1939; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 4; Page Number: 127, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  10. Charlotte Hammel, Age: 63, Birth Date: abt 1895, Death Date: 11 Jul 1958
    Death Place: Manhattan, New York, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 15348, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Death Index, 1949-1965 
  11. Frederick Braun, Age: 71, Birth Date: abt 1890, Death Date: 8 Aug 1961, Death Place: Manhattan, New York, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 17272, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Death Index, 1949-1965 
  12.  Claire Braun, Social Security Number: 088-28-7956, Birth Date: 17 Feb 1901
    Issue Year: 1951-1953, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10964, Palisades, Rockland, New York, USA, Death Date: Jul 1983, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  13. Walter Isidore Braun, Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 7 Dec 1923
    Birth Place: Frankfort, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: Mar 1986
    Father: Frederick S Braun, Mother: Claire Hammel, SSN: 082240422, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  14. “Fred Rothschild,” Palm Beach Daily News, Palm Beach, Florida
    30 Mar 2014, Sun • Page A002