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

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

The Children of Clementine Stern and Siegfried Oppenheimer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alice Stern and Siegfried Oppenheimer

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

StadtAH_1_NR_3_08_2_1057_1920_1931 Oscar Schultze death certificate

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

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

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

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

Annotation to birth record of Elisabeth Schultze

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 


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

Escaping from Germany, Part II: Julius Loewenthal’s Family

Although the story of Selma Loewenthal Schwabacher’s family had happy endings in that the entire family safely left Germany and made new lives for themselves in the US, the story of Selma’s brother Julius is more complicated and more heartbreaking.

Julius Loewenthal and his wife Elsa Werner had four children, as we have seen: Ruth, born in 1905, Herbert, born in 1907, Hilda, born in 1911, and Karl Werner Loewenthal, born in 1918. Ruth had married Leonhard Fulda on March 16, 1928, in Eschwege, where her family lived.

Marriage Record of Ruth Loewenthal and Leonhard Fulda, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 923; Laufende Nummer: 1913
Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

On September 21, 1930, Ruth gave birth to their daughter, Margot Fulda, in Mainz, Germany.1

That happy event was followed by the marriage of Julius and Elsa’s younger daughter Hilda Loewenthal to Max Stern on July 25, 1934, in Hamburg.

Hilda Loewenthal and Max Stern marriage record (found in a biography of Max Stern posted on Ancestry)

Max Stern was born in Fulda, Germany, on October 22, 1898, to Emanuel and Caroline Stern,2 and had immigrated to the United States in 1926.3 He brought with him a shipment of five thousand singing canaries he’d accepted as repayment for a debt4 and started a bird store, as seen on the 1930 census. That business eventually grew into the highly successful pet and pet food company, Hartz Mountain Corporation.

Max had returned to Germany to marry Hilda Loewenthal, and then he and his bride returned to New York in August 1934.5 They visited Germany in 1935,6 but returned to New York, where their three children were thereafter born.

Max Stern, 1930 US census, Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 0270; FHL microfilm: 2341293, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

Meanwhile, during these years, Hitler had taken power in Germany, and the Nazi persecution of the Jews had begun by the time Hilda and Max married in 1934. Herbert Loewenthal, Julius and Elsa’s second child and older son, left Germany and arrived in New York on February 22, 1935, with the intention of remaining permanently. He filed a declaration of intention to become a citizen on September 20, 1935, describing his occupation as international clearing and barter.

Herbert Loewenthal, Declaration of Intention, The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; NAI Title: Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1/19/1842 – 10/29/1959; NAI Number: 4713410; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: 21, Description: (Roll 489) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 367301-368300), Ancestry.com. New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

Julius and Elsa came to New York to visit their children in February, 1936, but only for sixty days, according to the ship manifest.7

To learn more details about what happened to the family of Julius Loewenthal thereafter, I was fortunate to find the award and decision of the Claims Resolution Tribunal (hereinafter referred to as the “Warner-Loewenthal Claims Resolution Tribunal Opinion”) issued in response to a claim filed in the Holocaust Victim Assets Litigation by Julius and Elsa’s youngest child Karl Werner Loewenthal, also known as Garry Warner-Loewenthal .

According to the official website for the Holocaust Victim Assets Litigation:

In 1996 and 1997, a series of class action lawsuits were filed in several United States federal courts against Swiss banks and other Swiss entities, alleging that financial institutions in Switzerland collaborated with and aided the Nazi Regime by knowingly retaining and concealing assets of Holocaust victims, and by accepting and laundering illegally obtained Nazi loot and profits of slave labor. All of the cases were consolidated in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (“the Court”). ….

The lawsuits were filed because in the decades after the Holocaust, Swiss financial institutions had failed to return deposits to the Nazi victims (or their relatives) who had entrusted their assets to the banks. Although the issue of these bank accounts had been raised many times during the decades after the Holocaust, in the late 1990s, the banks’ behavior came under scrutiny of a type that Switzerland had not experienced before.

The litigation was settled in 2000, and a special master was appointed to establish a process for distributing compensation to claimants. Garry Warner-Loewenthal filed a claim for the account of his father, and the tribunal’s full decision on his claim can be found here. It details the facts alleged by Julius’ son in support of his claim, for which he was awarded 47,400 Swiss francs.

According to the Warner-Loewenthal Claims Resolution Tribunal Opinion, Herbert Loewenthal moved from the US to Zurich, Switzerland before 1937. Ruth Loewenthal and her husband Leonhard Fulda were planning to move to the US and in the fall of 1937, they went to visit Ruth’s brother Herbert in Switzerland before immigrating, accompanied by Ruth and Herbert’s father Julius Loewenthal. Central to the claim was the allegation that Julius had deposited money in a Swiss bank while in Zurich.

Tragically, Ruth and Leonhard were killed in a terrible automobile accident on October 3, 1937, while returning to Germany from Switzerland. Julius was seriously injured, but survived. Ruth and Leonhard’s daughter Margot, orphaned at seven years old, went to live with her father’s parents, Isaak and Joanna Fulda in Mainz.

In November 1937, just a month after the accident that killed their daughter and son-in-law, Julius and Elsa again visited New York for a limited time but returned to Germany.8 I have to wonder whether at this point they wanted to immigrate, given what was happening in Germany. Perhaps they could not get a visa allowing them to stay permanently. According to information given to Warner-Loewenthal Claims Resolution Tribunal Opinion, after the Nazis confiscated Julius’ business, he and Elsa fled to the Netherlands in 1938 and then to London. Finally, in May 1939, they were able to immigrate permanently to the United States.9

Julius and Elsa Loewenthal, ship manifest from England to New York, Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 . Original data: Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and successors: Outwards Passenger Lists. BT27. Records of the Commercial, Companies, Labour, Railways and Statistics Departments. Records of the Board of Trade and of successor and related bodies. The National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, England.

By the time the 1940 census was enumerated, Julius and Elsa were living in Kew Gardens, Queens, New York. Neither listed an occupation.10 Their daughter Hilda and her family were living in Manhattan, and Max Stern listed his occupation as a bird food merchant.11

Julius and Elsa’s youngest child Karl had fled to England in 1938, according to the Warner-Loewenthal Claims Resolution Tribunal Opinion. In November, 1939, Karl was found exempt from being interned as an enemy alien. He was working as a trainee in a hosiery factory in Leicester.

The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/56,  056: Internees at Liberty in UK 1939-1942: Lir-Lov
Ancestry.com. UK, WWII Alien Internees, 1939-1945

During the war Karl joined the British Armed Forces and was advised to change his name to Garry Charles Warner “for his own protection.”  When he immigrated to the United States after the war in August, 1946, he added “Loewenthal” back to his name and was known as Garry Charles Warner-Loewenthal, as described in the Warner-Loewenthal Claims Resolution Tribunal Opinion.

It might seem that Julius Loewenthal’s family was relatively fortunate as Julius, Elsa, Hilda and her husband Max Stern, Herbert, and Karl/Garry all survived the Holocaust and the war. Ruth and her husband Leonhard Fulda were killed, but not by the Nazis; they died in a car accident. Of course, Ruth and Leonhard might never have been involved in an accident if they hadn’t gone to Switzerland to visit Herbert, who had been forced to leave Germany because of the Nazis.

But that is not the end of the story. Recall that Ruth and Leonhard’s daughter Margot had gone to live with her paternal grandparents, the Fuldas, in Mainz after losing her parents in October 1937. The Fulda family—Isaac and Johanna, their son Ernst and his wife Emma, and Margot, Ruth and Leonhard’s orphaned daughter—all escaped to Amsterdam in 1939. But they were ultimately deported from there to Sobibor, where every single one of them was murdered by the Nazis in 1943, including little Margot, who was not yet thirteen years old.12

Julius Loewenthal had survived a terrible car accident that caused him serious harm, the deaths of his daughter Ruth and her husband Leonhard in that accident, the confiscation of his business, the loss of his homeland, the escape first to the Netherlands, then England, and finally to the US, and, worst of all, the murder of his granddaughter Margot. Having survived all that, he died not long after the war ended on November 20, 1946, at the age of 72.13

Four years later, his daughter Hilda divorced Max Stern. She would marry again, but that marriage also did not last.14 Her mother Elsa Werner Loewenthal died in 1961 in New York at the age of 77,15 and then her brother Herbert died in Zurich in 1962; he was only 53 and had never married.16 Hilda Loewenthal Stern Duschinsky died on July 29, 1980; she was 68 and was survived by her children and grandchildren.17

That left only Garry Charles Warner-Loewenthal, born Karl Werner Loewenthal. He had married after the war and had one child.18 I could not find much other information about Garry, but we do know that just a few years before he died when he was already in his eighties, he filed a claim in the Holocaust Victim Assets Litigation and received some compensation for all that his family had lost. Garry died at the age of 87 in West Palm Beach, Florida, on March 1, 2005.19

The story of the family of Julius Loewenthal serves as a painful reminder that even those who survived the Holocaust suffered greatly and lived with those scars forever after.

 

 

 

 


  1. German Federal Archives Residents’ List Annotations:Für tot erklärt.,
    1939 Census ID Number(s):VZ392415, German Federal Archive ID Number: 871897, found at https://tinyurl.com/vb6ntsu 
  2. Birth record of Max Stern, Familien- und Geburtsregister der Juden von Fulda 1748-1899 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 345)AutorHessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Wiesbaden, p. 202. 
  3.  Staats Archiv Bremen; Bremen, Germany; Bremen Passenger Lists; Archive Number: AIII15-18.08.1926-2_N, Ancestry.com. Web: Bremen, Germany, Passenger Lists Index, 1907-1939 
  4. “Max Stern, Founder of Hartz Mountain,” The Herald-News
    Passaic, New Jersey, 21 May 1982, Fri • Page 31 
  5. Max and Hilda Stern, ship manifest, Year: 1934; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 5526; Line: 1; Page Number: 118, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island) 
  6. Max and Hilda Stern, ship manifest, Year: 1935; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 5683; Line: 1; Page Number: 8,
    Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  7. Julius and Elsa Loewenthal, ship manifest, Year: 1936; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 5769; Line: 1; Page Number: 4, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  8. Julius and Elsa Loewenthal, ship manifest, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 6081; Line: 25; Page Number: 48, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  9. Julius and Elsa Loewenthal, ship manifest, Year: 1939; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 6328; Line: 1; Page Number: 6, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  10. Julius and Elsa Loewenthal, 1940 US census, Census Place: New York, Queens, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02746; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 41-1374B, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  11. Max and Hilda Stern and family, 1940 US census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02642; Page: 4B; Enumeration District: 31-774, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  12. German Federal Archives Residents’ List Annotations:Für tot erklärt.
    1939 Census ID Number(s):VZ392415, German Federal Archive ID Number: 871897 at https://tinyurl.com/vb6ntsu  Also, see the entries at Yad Vashem, https://tinyurl.com/ts3xacc 
  13. Certificate Number: 9313, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948 
  14. Divorce Date: Mar 1950, County: Elmore, Ancestry.com. Alabama Divorce Index, 1950-1959. Original data: Alabama Center for Health Statistics. Alabama Divorce Index, 1950-1959. Montgomery, AL, USA: Alabama Center for Health Statistics. Marriage of Hilda Stern to Eugene Duschinsky, License Number: 609, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  15. Death Date: 22 Mar 1961, Death Place: Queens, New York, New York, USA
    Certificate Number: 3535, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Death Index, 1949-1965 
  16. See Warner-Loewenthal Claims Resolution Tribunal Opinion 
  17.  Social Security Number: 057-38-8878, Birth Date: 22 Oct 1911, Death Date: Jul 1980, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  18.  License Number: 650, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Queens, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  19. Death Date: 1 Mar 2005, SSN: 056244639, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 

Sarah Goldschmidt’s Sons 1910-1930: Years of Comfort, Years of Loss

We saw that the family of Sarah Goldschmidt and Salomon Stern’s daughter Keile Stern Loewenthal experienced much growth and prosperity during the 1910s and 1920s. This post will focus on their two sons, Abraham and Mayer, and their lives between 1910 and 1930.

As of 1910, Abraham (known as Adolf) Stern and his wife and first cousin Johanna Goldschmidt had four grown children: Siegfried, Clementine, Sittah Sarah, and Alice. I am so grateful to Siegfried’s grandson Rafi Stern, my fifth cousin, who kindly shared the photographs that appear in this post.

This photograph shows the house where Abraham and Johanna lived and raised their children in Frankfurt. As you can see, the family was quite comfortably situated as Abraham was a successful merchant in Frankfurt.

Home of Abraham Adolf Stern and Johanna Goldschmidt in Frankfurt. Courtesy of their great-grandson, Rafi Stern.

Their son Siegfried Stern married Lea Hirsch on June 4, 1912, in Frankfurt.1 She was born in Halberstadt, Germany, on April 10, 1892, to Abraham Hirsch and Mathilde Kulp.2 Siegfried and Lea had two sons, Erich Ernst Benjamin Stern, born March 27, 1913, in Frankfurt,3 and Gunther Stern, born May 5, 1916, in Frankfurt.4

Siegfried Stern, courtesy of Rafi Stern.

Siegfried, Lea, and Erich Stern c.

Siegfried, Lea, and Erich Stern, 1913. Courtesy of Siegfried’s grandson, Rafi Stern.

Home of Siegfried Stern as it looks today. Courtesy of his grandson, Rafi Stern.

Abraham and Johanna’s second child Clementine Stern was married to Siegfried Oppenheimer, a doctor, and had a daughter Erika, born in 1909, as seen in my earlier post. Clementine would have two more children, William Erwin Oppenheimer, born on October 29, 1912, in Frankfurt,5 and Sarah Gabriele Oppenheimer, born July 20, 1917, in Frankfurt.6

Clementine’s sister Sittah Sarah Stern married Abraham Albert Mainz on October 3, 1911, in Mainz. He was born in Paris, France, on May 31, 1883, to Leopold Mainz and Hermine Straus.

Marriage record of Sarah Sittah Stern and Abraham Mainz, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Sittah Sarah and Abraham Mainz would have two children, Marguerite Wera Mainz, born in Frankfurt on October 22, 1913,7 and Helmut Walter Solomon Mainz, born April 13, 1918, in Frankfurt.8 The photograph below depicts their home in Frankfurt on the first and second floors of the building.

Building in Frankfurt where Sittah Sarah and Abraham Mainz lived. Courtesy of Rafi Stern.

Abraham and Johanna would lose their two oldest children in the next several years. First, Clementine Stern Oppenheimer died on January 18, 1919, in Frankfurt. She was only 29 years old and left behind three young children, Erika (ten), William Erwin (seven), and Sarah Gabriele (two). Like millions of others, Clementine died from the Spanish flu epidemic, according to her great-nephew, my cousin Rafi.

Clementine Stern Oppenheimer death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10812, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

A year later, as so often happened in Jewish families back then, Clementine’s younger sister Alice Lea Stern married Clementine’s widower Siegfried Oppenheimer. They were married on October 6, 1920, in Frankfurt.

Marriage record of Alice Lea Stern to Siegfried Oppenheimer, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Alice and Siegfried would have five children together in the 1920s.

Just two years after losing Clementine, Abraham and Johanna lost their first born, Siegfried Stern. He died on July 9, 1921, in Oberursel, Germany. He was only 32.  He died at the Frankfurter Kuranstalt Hohemark, a psychiatric hospital.  According to his grandson Rafi, Siegfried had suffered a business failure and become despondent. He was hospitalized and tragically took his own life. He left behind his wife Lea and their two young children Erich (eight) and Gunther (five).

Siegfried Stern death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 908; Signatur: 3821, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Below is Siegfried’s gravestone, one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen, and the inscription is heartbreaking to read, knowing Siegfried’s story. I am grateful to the members of Tracing the Tribe for this partial translation:

Here lies buried Mr. Shlomo son in Mr. Asher Avraham STERN “shlita” (indicates that his father was alive at the time of the sons death).
A man who feared G-d, he revived the hearts of the downtrodden in secret.

He was pure in his thoughts and pure in his body, and all his purpose was the returning of his soul, pure, to his maker.

He respected his father and his mother with all of his ability.

He respected his wife more than his own body.

He died with a good name at the age of 32 to the sorrow of all that knew him, on the holy day of Shabbos, 3 Tamuz, and was buried with crying and eulogies on Monday the 5th of the same month. (5)681 (according to the small count) (1921).
May his soul be bound in the bonds of life.

 

Gravestone of Siegfried Stern, courtesy of his grandson Rafi Stern.

Siegfried’s widow Lea remarried a few years after Siegfried’s death and would have two more children with her second husband, Ernst Sigmund Schwarzschhild.9

Not long after losing his children Siegfried and Clementine, Abraham Adolf Stern himself passed away. He died on December 29, 1925, at the age of 67. He was survived by his wife/cousin Johanna and his two remaining children, Sittah Sarah and Alice Lea, and his grandchildren.

Abraham Stern death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10909, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

The kind people at Tracing the Tribe translated Abraham’s gravestone for me:

Here is buried
Asher Avraham son of Shlomo called Adolf Albert Stern
a great man and a leader of his people
complete in his deeds and of good discernment.
The beginning of his wisdom comes from his belief in God

He oversaw his children and descendants

His house was a house of the righteous and a dwelling place of Torah
His soul is entwined in that of his humble wife.
You are gone and caused the middle of the day to turn dark. From heaven you are alive with us.

Died 12 Tevet and buried 14th of the month, [year] 5686 / [abbreviation]

May his soul be bound in the bond of life.

 

Abraham Adolf Stern gravestone. Courtesy of his great-grandson, Rafi Stern.

Abraham’s brother Mayer Stern and his wife Gella Hirsch had two children born in the 1890s, Elsa and Markus. Elsa married Jacob Alfred Schwarzschild on January 22, 1911, in Frankfurt. Jacob was the son of Alfred Isaac Schwarzchild and Recha Goldschmidt and was born February 12, 1885 in Frankfurt.  Jacob was Elsa’s second cousin. His mother Recha was the daughter of Selig Goldschmidt, and Elsa’s father Mayer was the son of Sarah Goldschmidt, Selig’s older sister. Once again, the family tree was bending around itself.

Marriage record of Elsa Stern and Jacob Schwarzschild, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Elsa and Jacob had one child, Elizabeth, reportedly born July 26, 1915, in Frankfurt.10

Elsa’s marriage to Jacob did not last, despite the cousin relationship. The marginal comment on their marriage record attests to their divorce. Thank you to the members of the German Genealogy group who provided the translation of this comment:

Certified transcript
By decree nisi of the Regional Court at Frankfurt on Main, which became final at the end of 27 June 1920, the marriage between the banker Jakob Alfred Schwarzschild and Else Sara Schwarzschild née Stern has been divorced.
Frankfurt on Main, 13 October 1920
Civil Registry Clerk
pp. Dippel
Certified
Frankfurt on Main, 9 February 1921
[Signature]
Court Clerk

On August 18, 1920, just months after the divorce became final, Elsa Stern Schwarzschild married Alfred Hirsch.  Alfred was born in Hamburg to Esaias Hirsch and Charlotte Wolf on May 19, 1890.  Together, Alfred and Elsa had three children born in the 1920s.11

Marriage record of Elsa Stern to Alfred Hirsch, Year Range and Volume: 1920 Band 03
Ancestry.com. Hamburg, Germany, Marriages, 1874-1920

Mayer and Gella’s son Markus married Rhee (Rosa) Mess on August 25, 1923, in Frankfurt. She was born in Radziwillow, Poland on July 25, 1898, to Samuel Mess and Ester-Raza Landis.12

Thus, as the family approached the 1930s, Sarah Goldschmidt’s surviving descendants were living comfortable lives, but had suffered a number of terrible losses between 1910 and 1930, including two of Sarah’s children, Keile and Abraham, and three of her grandchildren, Abraham’s children Clementine Stern Oppenheimer and Siegfried Stern, and Keile’s daughter Martha Loewenthal Wolff.

But Lina and Mayer were still living as of 1930 as were eight of Sarah’s grandchildren. All of them would see their comfortable and prosperous lives as German Jews upturned by the rise of Nazism in the coming decade.

 


  1. The marriage date comes from the Cibella/Baron research; I have no primary source for this specific date, but it is clear that Siegfried and Lea married before 1913 when their son Erich was born. 
  2. Certificate Number: 98, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930. 
  3.  The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/89, Ancestry.com. UK, WWII Alien Internees, 1939-1945 
  4. The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/197, Ancestry.com. UK, WWII Alien Internees, 1939-1945  
  5. Application for Palestinian Citizenship, Israel State Archives website found at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/archives/#/Archive/0b07170680034dc1/File/0b071706810638e5 
  6. SSN: 121546243, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  7.  The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/222, Description
    Piece Number Description: 222: Dead Index (Wives of Germans etc) 1941-1947: Eastw-Fey, Ancestry.com. UK, WWII Alien Internees, 1939-1945 
  8.  The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/58, Ancestry.com. UK, WWII Alien Internees, 1939-1945 
  9. Marriage record of Ernst Schwarzschild and Lea Hirsch Stern, Certificate Number: 98, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930 
  10. This is the date provided by Cibella/Baron. I also found one record for an Isabel Schwarzschild Weil born on that date: 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: 701, Ancestry.com. New York State, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1917-1967. I believe this is for Elsa and Jacob’s daughter. I am still looking for additional records. 
  11. Application for Palestinian Citizenship, Israeli State Archives, at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/archives/#/Archive/0b07170680034dc1/File/0b07170680fd6abf 
  12.  National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, DC; NAI Title: Index to Petitions for Naturalizations Filed in Federal, State, and Local Courts in New York City, 1792-1906; NAI Number: 5700802; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Description
    Description: (Roll 1256) Petition No· 352904 – Petition No· 353350, Ancestry.com. New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943 

Sarah Goldschmidt’s Daughters and Their Children, 1910-1930: The Calm Before The Storm

In this post, I will focus on the two daughters of Sarah Goldschmidt and Salomon Stern, Lina and Keile, and their lives and the lives of Keile’s family between 1910 and 1930 in Germany.

Lina Stern Brinkmann

We saw last time that Lina lost her husband Levi Brinkmann on September 14, 1907, when she was fifty-five years old. Lina and Levi had not had children, and the only other record I have for Lina is her death record. She died on January 31, 1935, in Frankfurt, Germany. She was 84 years old. Lina experienced the first few years of Nazi reign in Germany. I wonder if in some way it hastened her death.

Lina Stern Brinkmann death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 11044, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Keile Stern Loewenthal

We also saw last time that Lina’s sister Keile had lost her husband Abraham Loewenthal in the first decade of the 20th century.  He was survived by Keile and their five children: Selma, Julius, Helen, Siegfried, and Martha.

Selma Loewenthal was married to Nathan Schwabacher and had three children: Alice, Julius, and Gerhard.

Alice Schwabacher married David Weinstein on October 7, 1912, in Frankfurt. David was the son of Cappel Weinstein and Cecelia Weinstein and was born in Eschwege on December 19, 1885.

Marriage record of Alice Schwabacher and David Weinstein , Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Alice and David had one son, Wolfgang Carl Weinstein, born in Eschwege on November 9, 1913. He was Keile’s first great-grandchild.1

Julius Schwabacher married Margarete Wurtemberg on September 20, 1920, in Erfurt Germany.  Margarete was born in that city in 1894; I could not find the names of her parents.2 Margarete gave birth to Eva Lore Schwabacher on June 11, 1921, in Frankfurt.3 But the marriage between Julius and Margarete did not last, and they were divorced in 1928.4

Julius Loewenthal and his wife Elsa Werner, had two children before 1910, Ruth and Herbert, and two more before 1920.  Hilda Henriette Loewenthal was born on October 22, 1911,5 and Karl-Werner Loewenthal, who was born on February 14, 1918, in Eschwege.6 Only Ruth married before 1930. She married Leonhard Fulda on March 16, 1928, in Eschwege. Leonhard was the son of Isaac Fulda and Johanna Rosenblatt, and he was born May 2, 1898, in Mainz, Germany.

Marriage Record of Ruth Loewenthal and Leonhard Fulda, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 923; Laufende Nummer: 1913
Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Marriage Record of Ruth Loewenthal and Leonhard Fulda, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 923; Laufende Nummer: 1913 Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Helene Loewenthal had married Eduard Feuchtwanger in 1897, but it appears that that marriage did not last. On October 9, 1913, Helene married Oskar Friedrich August Heinrich Maximilian Schultze. As you can see from the marriage record, Oskar was not Jewish, but “evangilische,” Protestant.

Helene Loewenthal Feuchtwanger marriage to Oskar Friedrich August Heinrich Maximilian Schultze, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 925; Laufende Nummer: 2493, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Helene and Oskar had one child, Elisabeth Auguste Aloysia Schultze born on December 3, 1914, and baptized on May 12, 1915, in Koblenz, Germany.

Birth record of Elisabeth Schultze, Description: Taufen, Heiraten u Tote 1869-1920
Ancestry.com. Rhineland, Prussia, Lutheran Baptisms, Marriages, and Burials, 1533-1950

Siegfried Loewenthal’s family also continued to grow in the 1910s. He and his wife Henriette Feuchtwanger had two more children in that decade, following the births of the first three children, Rosel in 1908 and Albert in 1909, and Louise Sarah Loewenthal in 1910, all in Frankfurt. Grete was born on April 16, 1913, and lastly, Lotte Loewenthal was born on October 3, 1914.7

UPDATE: Aaron Knappstein located Grete’s birth record.

Grete Loewenthal birth record from AK

Martha Loewenthal, Keile’s fifth and youngest child, and her husband Jakob Wolff did not have any additional children after 1910. Their three children Anna, Hans Anton, and Hans Walter, were growing up in that decade.

Thus, by 1920, Keile had fifteen grandchildren and one great-grandchild. The 1910s had been good to her and her children. But 1920 brought the next loss to the family when Nathan Schwabacher, Selma’s husband and Keile’s son-in-law, died on March 6, 1920, at the age of sixty.8

The decade ended with two big losses for the family. Keile Stern Loewenthal died on January 9, 1927, in Frankfurt; she was 73. She was survived by her five children, sixteen grandchildren, and one great-grandchild with more to come.

Keile Stern Loewenthal death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10926, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

And her daughter Martha died three years later on May 19, 1930. She was only 47 years old and was survived by her husband Jakob Wolff and their three children.9

UPDATE: Aaron Knappstein also located Martha’s actual death record.

Martha Loewenthal Wolff death cert from AK

For Keile’s other children, Selma, Julius, Helene, and Siegfried, and for their children, the 15 years after Keile’s death in 1927 would bring many challenges and much heartache when life for Jews in Germany was forever altered by the rise of Hitler and Nazism.

Before we turn to that era, let’s catch up with Keile’s siblings, Sarah Goldschmidt’s sons, Abraham Stern and Mayer Stern, and their families.

 

 


  1. SSN: 041105870, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  2. Julius Schwabacher naturalization papers, The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; NAI Title: Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1/19/1842 – 10/29/1959; NAI Number: 4713410; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: 21, Ancestry.com. New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943 
  3. SSN: 045121672.
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  4. See footnote 2. 
  5.  National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, DC; NAI Title: Index to Petitions for Naturalizations Filed in Federal, State, and Local Courts in New York City, 1792-1906; NAI Number: 5700802; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Description: (Roll 1126) Petition No· 304900 – Petition No· 305314, Ancestry.com. New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943 
  6. Arolsen Archives, Digital Archive; Bad Arolsen, Germany; Lists of Persecutees 2.1.1.1; Series: 2.1.1.1, Reference Code: 02010101 oS, Ancestry.com. Europe, Registration of Foreigners and German Persecutees, 1939-1947 
  7. Grete’s birthdate comes from her immigration file at the Israel Archives, found at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/archives/#/Archive/0b07170680034dc1/File/0b07170680a31bed.  Lotte’s birth date appears in several documents including at Arolsen Archives, Digital Archive; Bad Arolsen, Germany; Lists of Persecutees 2.1.1.1; Series: 2.1.1.1, Reference Code: 02010101 oS, Ancestry.com. Europe, Registration of Foreigners and German Persecutees, 1939-1947. 
  8. Death record of Nathan Schwabacher, Certificate Number: 426,
    Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10828,
    Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958 
  9. Translated death record located in Jakob Wolff’s immigration file at the Israel Archives, found at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/archives/#/Archive/0b07170680034dc1/File/0b07170680e4ea29 

Sarah Goldschmidt’s Descendants: The Family Expands 1889-1909

As seen in my last post, Sarah Goldschmidt Stern was survived by four children, Lina, Keile, Abraham, and Mayer, and by eleven grandchildren: Keile’s five children, Abraham’s four children, and Mayer’s two children. Lina did not have children.

Before the dawn of the 20th century, Keile had herself become a grandmother. Her daughter Selma Loewenthal married Nathan Schwabacher on August 1, 1890, in Bornheim. He was born on December 30, 1860, in Feuchtwangen, Germany, to Elias Baer Schwabacher and Jette Gutmann. Notice that Levi Brinkmann, husband of Selma’s aunt Lina, was one of the witnesses.

Marriage record of Selma Loewenthal and Nathan Schwabacher, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 9490
Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Selma and Nathan’s first child was Alice Therese Schwabacher, born December 29, 1891, in Frankfurt.

Alice Schwabacher birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_9093, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Next came Julius Schwabacher, born May 17, 1893, in Frankfurt.

Julius Schwabacher birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_9120, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Their third child Gerhard Schwabacher was actually born in the 20th century. He was born in Frankfurt on June 27, 1902.1

Keile and Abraham Loewenthal’s second oldest daughter Helene also married in the 1890s. She married Eduard Feuchtwanger on April 4, 1897, in Frankfurt. He was the son of Jacob Loew Feuchtwanger and Auguste Hahn, and was born in Munich on April 21, 1862. Keile’s brother Abraham Stern was a witness to this marriage.

Marriage of Helene Loewenthal and Eduard Feuchtwanger, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

But the happiness brought by the marriages of Keile’s daughters Selma and Helene and the births of her grandchildren between 1891 and 1902 was unfortunately darkened by the death of her husband Abraham Loewenthal on January 28, 1903. He was sixty years old.

Abraham Loewenthal death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10570,Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

The first decade of the 20th century brought one other loss to the family when Lina’s husband Levi Brinkmann died on September 14, 1907, in Eschwege, Germany. He was only 65.

Levi Brinkmann death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 11044, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Thus, both Keile and her sister Lina were widowed during that decade.

But that first decade also brought new members into the family as more of the grandchildren of Sarah Goldschmidt Stern began to marry and have children. First, Julius Loewenthal, Keile’s son, married Elsa Werner on November 16, 1903, in Eschwege, Germany. Elsa was the daughter of Max Werner and Helene Katzenstein, and she was born on June 27, 1883, in Eschwege.

UPDATE: Thank you to David Baron for pointing out that Elsa Werner was a second cousin to Julius Loewenthal. Her mother Helene Katzenstein Werner was the daughter of Malchen Goldschmidt Katzenstein, younger sister of Sarah Goldschmidt Stern. Thus, Julius and Elsa were both the great-grandchildren of Meyer Goldschmidt.

Julius Loewenthal and Elsa Stern marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 923, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Julius and Elsa had two children in the first decade of the 20th century. Ruth Loewenthal was born on October 22, 1905, in Eschwege,2 and Herbert Loewenthal was born on September 2, 1909.3 Two more children would come in the next decade.

Keile and Abraham Loewenthal’s daughter Martha also married in this decade. On November 8, 1904, she married Jakob Abraham Wolff, son of Abraham Wolff and Hannchen Wolff, in Frankfurt. Jakob was born in Aurich, Germany, on December 20, 1875. Keile’s brother Abraham Stern was once again a witness to this marriage.

Martha Loewenthal marriage to Jakob Wolff, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Martha and Jakob had three children.  Anna was born on July 23, 1905,4  Hans Anton was born on December 1, 1906, and Hans Walter on December 6, 1909. 5

Martha’s brother Siegfried Loewenthal also married in this decade. Siegfried married Henriette Feuchtwanger, daughter of Amson Feuchtwanger and Roeschen Oppenheimer, sometime before 1908. Henriette was born in Furth on October 13, 1881.6  Siegfried and Henriette had three children born between their marriage and 1910: Rosel on February 14, 1908,7 Albert on March 25, 1909,8 and Louise on December 25, 1910,9 all in Frankfurt. They would have two more children in the next decade.

Thus, by the end of 1910, Keile Stern Loewenthal had eleven grandchildren, Sarah Goldschmidt’s great-grandchildren, Meyer Goldschmidt’s great-great-grandchildren. My fourth cousins, once removed.

Keile was not the only child of Sarah Goldschmidt Stern to have grandchildren in the first decade of the 20th century. On April 14, 1909, Abraham Stern’s daughter Clementine married Siegfried Oppenheimer in Frankfurt. He was born in Hannover on October 16, 1882, the son of Wilhelm Oppenheimer and Jettchen Cramer. He was a physician.

Marriage of Clementine Stern and Siegfried Oppenheimer, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Clementine and Siegfried had twins on December 23, 1909. Sadly, one was stillborn. The other twin Erika survived.10 Given that Clementine and Siegfried were married just eight months when Clementine gave birth, I wonder whether the twins were born prematurely, thus contributing to or causing the death of one of those babies.

Death record of Oppenheimer infant, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10652, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Clementine and Siegfried would have more children in the next decade, as would Clementine’s siblings and her first cousins. But with the growth of the family tree during the twenty years that followed Sarah Goldschmidt’s death in 1889, it’s time to focus on each of her children and their children and grandchildren separately as we move forward into the 1910s and beyond.


  1. National Archives at Boston; Waltham, Massachusetts; ARC Title: Naturalization Record Books, 12/1893 – 9/1906; NAI Number: 2838938; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Ancestry.com. Connecticut, Federal Naturalization Records, 1790-1996 
  2.  Certificate Number: 12, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 923; Laufende Nummer: 1913, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930 
  3.  Arolsen Archives, Digital Archive; Bad Arolsen, Germany; Lists of Persecutees 2.1.1.1; Series: 2.1.1.1, Reference Code: 02010101 oSm Source Information
    Ancestry.com. Europe, Registration of Foreigners and German Persecutees, 1939-1947 
  4. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, DC; Name Index of Jews Whose German Nationality Was Annulled by the Nazi Regime (Berlin Documents Center); Record Group: 242, National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized, 1675 – 1958; Record Group ARC ID: 569; Publication Number: T355; Roll: 9, Stern, Johanna (Löb) – Zysmann, Judith, Ancestry.com. Germany, Index of Jews Whose German Nationality was Annulled by Nazi Regime, 1935-1944 
  5. I encountered trouble finding birth records as I began to research children born in Frankfurt after 1901 because the online records for Frankfurt births end with 1901. Although these birth dates are listed on trees on Ancestry and MyHeritage, the trees do not cite to specific sources.  I never rely on these unsourced trees unless I can find a source to verify the information. In this case, there is also the extensive research done over many years by my cousin Roger Cibella and his husband David Baron, both on the website they created in 1998, The History of the Jewish Community of Frankfurt am Main, and in the updated family report they shared with me more recently. Roger and David’s research has always proven to be thorough and accurate, so I have faith in their work, even though I do not have access to their sources for these birth dates.  Where I have relied on Roger and David’s research, I will cite to their work as “Cibella/Baron,” either in the text or in a footnote. That is the case for two of the three children of Martha Loewenthal and Jakob Wollf, Hans Anton, and Hans Walter. 
  6. Arolsen MArchives, Digital Archive; Bad Arolsen, Germany; Lists of Persecutees 2.1.1.1; Series: 2.1.1.1, Reference Code: 02010101 oS, Ancestry.com. Europe, Registration of Foreigners and German Persecutees, 1939-1947. Several unsourced trees on Ancestry and MyHeritage provide a wedding date of May 16, 1907, in Wuerzberg. 
  7. Rosa Loewenthal marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930 
  8. Albert Loewenthal immigration and naturalization papers found at the Israel Archives at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/archives/#/Archive/0b07170680034dc1/File/0b07170680fd584e 
  9. SSN: 122285989, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. 
  10. National Archives at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois; ARC Title: Illinois, Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1991; NAI Number: 593882; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Description: Petitions for naturalization, v 1185, no 296351-296550, ca 1943-1944,
    Ancestry.com. Illinois, Federal Naturalization Records, 1856-1991 

The “Good and Noble Angel of A Sister,” Sarah Goldschmidt Stern

I am finally returning to the family of Meyer Goldschmidt, brother of my three-times great-grandfather Seligmann Goldschmidt. As I’ve already written, Meyer Goldschmidt was born in about 1787 in Oberlistingen, Germany. He married Lea Katzenstein with whom he had seven children: Ella (1822?), Sarah (1823), Malchen (about 1827), Selig (1828), Joseph (1830?), and Falk (1836). Joseph died a month before his sixth birthday on November 27, 1836, five months after Falk was born, but the other children all lived to adulthood. They lost their mother Lea when she was 45 in 1839 when those children ranged in age from three to seventeen.

All the children but the oldest, Ella, remained in Germany, although Falk did spend some years in the United States before returning for good to Germany. They took care of their much beloved father until his death in 1858, by which time they were all adults living their own lives. I’ve already blogged extensively about Ella. In the posts to come I will report on the four children who lived their lives in Germany: Sarah, Malchen, Selig, and Falk. I will start with Sarah, the second oldest child of Meyer and Lea.

Sarah Goldschmidt was born on December 26, 1823, in Grebenstein, Germany. After her mother died when Sarah was 16, Sarah helped to care for her younger siblings. Her younger brother Selig talked about her cooking for the family and described her as “our good and noble sister.” Sarah, or Sarchen, whom Selig also described as “our angel of a sister,” married Salomon Stern on August 1, 1849. Salomon was born on May 24, 1815, in Ziegenhain, Germany, to Abraham Stern and Keile Maier.

Marriage record of Sarah Goldschmidt and Salomon Stern, Certificate Number: 225a
Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland
Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Sarah and Salomon had four children. Their daughter Lina was born on January 11, 1851, in Ziegenhain. She presumably was named for Sarah’s mother, Lea.

Birth record of Lina Stern, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_8797, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

A second daughter Keile, named for Salomon’s mother and sometimes known as Caroline, was born on July 11, 1853, in Ziegenhain.

Birth record of Keile Stern, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_8803, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Then came Abraham, also born in Ziegenhain, on May 17, 1858. I assume he was named for Salomon’s father Abraham.

Birth record of Abraham Stern, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_8812, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Finally, a fourth child was born on January 7, 1861, named Mayer. He was born in Frankfurt, so the family must have relocated between 1858 and 1861.

Birth record of Mayer Stern, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_8818, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Unfortunately, Sarah and her children suffered a great loss when Salomon Stern died on February 9, 1870, in Frankfurt. He was only 54, and his children were still quite young. Mayer was nine, Abraham, not yet twelve, Keile seventeen, and Lina was nineteen.

Death record of Salomon Stern, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10269, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Lina was already married when her father died. She had married Levi Brinkmann on November 20, 1868, in Frankfurt, when she was only seventeen years old. Levi was the son of Suschen Brinkmann and Goldchen Plock and was born on October 29, 1841, in Wanfried, Germany. Thus, Levi was ten years older than Lina and 27 when they married. As far as I can tell, they had no children.

Marriage record of Lina Stern and Levi Brinkmann, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Sarah’s second child Keile married Abraham Loewenthal on March 8, 1872, in Frankfurt. She was eighteen years old. Abraham was the son of Isaac Loewenthal and Sarah Maier, born in Schierstein, Germany, on February 17, 1842. He was thirty when he married Keile.

Marriage record of Keile Stern and Abraham Loewenthal, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

They had five children. Selma was born on February 6, 1873, in Wiesbaden, Germany.1Their second child was Julius, born August 24, 1874, also in Wiesbaden.2 A third child Helene was born February 20, 1877, but in Frankfurt, so Keile and Abraham must have relocated by that time.

Birth record of Helene Loewenthal, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Laufende Nummer: 143, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Siegfried came next; he was born on May 12, 1879, in Frankfurt.

Birth record of Siegfriend Loewenthal, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_8929, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

And finally, Martha was born to Keile Stern and Abraham Loewenthal in Frankfurt on August 15, 1882.

Birth record of Martha Loewenthal, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_8970
Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Abraham Stern, Sarah Goldschmidt and Salomon Stern’s third child, married his first cousin Johanna Goldschmidt on June 24, 1887, in Bornheim, Germany. Johanna was the daughter of Selig Goldschmidt, Sarah Goldschmidt’s younger brother, and Clementine Fuld. She was born in Frankfurt on December 18, 1867, making her nine years younger than her husband and cousin Abraham and not quite twenty years old when she married.

Marriage record of Abraham Stern and Johanna Goldschmidt, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 9460
Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Abraham and Johanna had four children. These children were not just siblings to each other, but also second cousins since their parents were first cousins.

Siegfried Salomon Stern (named for his paternal grandfather) was born on September 17, 1888, in Frankfurt.

Birth record of Siegfried Salomon Stern, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_9047
Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Clementine was Abraham and Johanna’s second child. She was born on August 31, 1889, in Frankfurt.3 She was named for her maternal grandmother Clementine Fuld Goldschmidt, who had died in 1888.4

Two years later, Johanna and Abraham had a third child, Sittah Sarah, born July 12, 1891, in Frankfurt.5

Sittah Sarah must have been named for her paternal grandmother Sarah Goldschmidt Stern, who died on February 1, 1889, in Frankfurt, at the age of 65. At her death Sarah was survived by her four children and eight grandchildren as well as all but two of her siblings. She had outlived her husband Abraham by nineteen years.

Death record of Sarah Goldschmidt Stern, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10420, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

But Sarah’s family continued to grow. On June 5, 1894, Sarah’s ninth grandchild Alice Lea Stern was born to her son Abraham Stern and his wife (and Sarah’s niece) Johanna Goldschmidt.

Birth record of Alice Lea Stern, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_9136, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Sarah Goldschmidt and Salomon Stern’s youngest child Mayer had married Gella Hirsch on March 5, 1886, in Bornheim, Germany. Gella was the daughter of Marcus Hirsch and Hannchen Schwabacher, and she was born on February 17, 1864, in Frankfurt.

Marriage record of Mayer Stern and Gella Hirsch, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 9449
Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Mayer and Gella had two children. Elsa Sara Stern was born January 4, 1891, in Frankfurt. She was presumably named in part for her paternal grandmother Sarah Goldschmidt Stern.

BIrth record of Elsa Sara Stern, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_9085,  Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Four years later Mayer and Gella’s son Marcus (named for his maternal grandfather) was born in Frankfurt on January 28, 1895. He was Sarah Goldschmidt Stern’s eleventh grandchild.

Birth record of Markus Kurt Stern, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_9149, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

As you may have noticed, Sarah Goldschmidt Stern and all of her children were living in Frankfurt, Germany, by the late 19th century. That is not surprising because Frankfurt had at that time the second largest Jewish community in Germany. In fact, Jewish life in Frankfurt had a long history, not all of it very pleasant.

According to one source:

The history of Frankfurt’s Jewish population dates back to approximately 1150. …. Sadly, even Emperor Frederick II’s official charter could not stop the first Frankfurt pogrom from occurring in 1241.

The next major conflict occurred in 1349, when Frankfurt’s Jewish population was blamed for an outbreak of the plague. When a fire broke out in the cathedral, a rumour was started that it had been laid by Jews, which once more brought upon them the people’s wrath. More than 200 Frankfurt Jews were murdered in the civil unrest that followed.

In 1462, Frankfurt’s Jews were forced to move into a ghetto at the edge of town. For the next 350 years, approximately 2,200 Jews resided there, crammed into some 160 houses situated along a 330-metre stretch of the city wall. The lives of the ghetto’s inhabitants were further hamstrung by a variety of restrictive city ordinances. …

This former compulsion [to live in the ghetto] was officially annulled in 1811.

In 1804, a general-education school named the “Philanthropin” was founded in Frankfurt, becoming a prominent centre of liberal Judaism. In 1850, Orthodox Jews established what later became known as the Jewish Religious Community. Despite these achievements, Frankfurt’s Jews still did not enjoy the same basic civil rights as the city’s Christian population. Only in 1864 did they achieve full equality, which enabled the Jewish community to grow and prosper.

In 1882, the Börneplatz Synagogue was consecrated, followed by the consecration of the Synagogue Friedberger Anlage in 1907 and the Westend Synagogue in 1910. Consisting of approximately 30,000 members, Frankfurt’s Jewish community was at the time the second largest in Germany. …

Frankfurt would therefore have been a good place for Jews to relocate during the 1880s and 1890s, and Sarah’s family took advantage of that opportunity. These photographs show the bustling and beautiful city it was at that time.

Alte Oper (“Old Opera”) of Frankfurt am Main, ca. 1880, found at https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Oper1880.jpg

Sarah Goldschmidt Stern, the “good and noble” “angel of a sister,” was survived by her four children, Lina, Keile, Abraham, and Mayer, and by eleven grandchildren. What would become of those children and grandchildren in the 20th century? That is the subject for my next series of posts.

Children of Sarah Goldschmidt and Salomon Stern and Their Spouses


  1.  Certificate Number: 1044, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 9490, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930 
  2. Certificate Number: 83, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 923, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930 
  3.  Certificate Number: 295, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930 
  4.  Certificate Number: 628, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10411, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958 
  5.  Certificate Number: 721, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland,
    Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930 

My Vogel Cousins: From Germany to Argentina

Before I return to the family of Meyer Goldschmidt, I have two more posts to share relating to other family members.

Today I want to share some wonderful photographs I received from my fourth cousin, once removed, Patricia, the daughter of Heinz Vogel, granddaughter of Sophie Katz and Isaak Vogel, great-granddaughter of Rosa Katzenstein and Salomon Feist Katz.

On September 10, 2019, I wrote about this family and told the story of the escape of Sophie and Isaak and their sons Heinz and Carl to Argentina from Nazi Germany in the 1930s. It was due to the generosity of Patricia and also Carl Vogel’s daughter that I was able to share details of the Vogel’s story and how they rebuilt their lives in Buenos Aires as well as many wonderful photographs.

In November, Patricia shared several more wonderful family photographs.

This is a photograph of Rosa Katzenstein in 1887 when she was 28 and married to Salomon Feist Katz for six years. (I’ve edited these photographs a little to improve clarity.) Rosa was my great-grandmother Hilda Katzenstein’s second cousin, once removed. I see a resemblance to Hilda. What do you think?

Rosa Katzenstein Katz, 1887

Hilda Katzenstein Schoenthal

Taken that same year is this photograph of Salomon, who was 35 at that time. Salomon was also my cousin (and Rosa’s cousin). He was my third cousin, three times removed, through our shared ancestors, Schalum and Brendelchen Katz, my fifth great-grandparents. He was Hilda’s third cousin.

Salomon Feist Katz, 1887

Patricia also sent me images of what was on the reverse of these photographs. Can anyone read the words above their names?

UPDATE: Thank you to Cathy Meder-Dempsey for transcribing the top words as Grossmutter (grandmother) and Grossvater (grandfather).

This photograph of Rosa and Salomon’s daughter Sophie Katz and her husband Isaak Vogel was taken in July, 1948, after they had immigrated to Argentina; the inscription on the reverse appears below it. Can someone decipher what it says? The second line says “63(?) Geburtstag 10 Jul 1948.”  Sophie was born on July 10, 1885, so this would have been her 63rd birthday. She and Isaak don’t look very happy, however.

UPDATE: Thank you again to Cathy Meder-Dempsey for transcribing the first word in the top line as aufgenommen, meaning “taken.” She wasn’t certain whether the next word was “bei,’ indicating where the photo was taken, or “von,” indicating who took the photo. And the third word was not legible.

SECOND UPDATE: Thank you to Eric, who commented below and was able to read that last word. It says Aufgenommen bei meinem 63rd geburtstag or Taken at my 63rd birthday. Thanks, Eric!

Sophie Katz and Isaak Vogel, 1948

Finally, Patricia shared a photograph taken at Sophie and Isaak’s 50th anniversary celebration on June 9, 1959. That adorable little girl in the center of the photograph is Patricia herself.

In the front row from left to right are Sophie Katz Vogel, Isaak Vogel, and Rosa Hamburger, Carl Vogel’s mother-in-law. Standing behind them from left to right is Carl Vogel, Gertrud Lippman Vogel (Heinz Vogel’s wife), Heinz Vogel, and Beate Hamburger Vogel (Carl’s wife).

When I look at this photograph and see the love and the smiles that permeate it and compare it to the stern expressions on the faces of Sophie and Isaak in 1948, it makes me think of how hard their adjustment to Argentina must have been, but also how fortunate they must have felt to have left Germany behind and to have made a whole new life for themselves in their new homeland.

I am so grateful to Patricia for sharing these with me.

 

 

 

 

 

Meyer Goldschmidt: A Man with a Pure Soul

After Meyer Goldschmidt’s wife Lea died in 1839 in Grebenstein, Germany, Meyer and his children worked together to support each other. At that time the oldest daughter Ella was about seventeen and the youngest child Falk was only three.  The two sons, Selig and Jacob, were still young boys, but went to work to help the family, and Ella ran a millinery business from their home.1

But Ella eventually decided that she had to leave Grebenstein and seek a better life in the United States. In remembering her decision to leave, her brother Selig wrote that “Ella, who had received many compliments for her beauty while she was learning her trade in Cassel had, perhaps, become a little more selfish.”2

Selig continued:3

After she had run her own little business for about a year, during which time she probably encountered many difficulties, she realized that she would have no future in Grebenstein. Conditions were bad indeed for all of us; so she quickly decided, I believe even against our father’s wishes, to emigrate to America, together with several cousins. For me it was a great shock at that time. I borrowed as much money as I could from school friends in order to help her with her travel expenses. I think it only amounted to two and a half Groschen. After she had been gone for about one hour, I told myself I had to see her just once more. I ran after for two hours, weeping softly, but did not meet her again. 

Selig’s description of his emotions about her leaving moved me and brought home the reality of the impact these departures had on a family.

Ella Goldschmidt was the only one of Meyer Goldschmidt’s six surviving children to leave Germany and settle permanently in the US. According to the 1900 US census, Ella immigrated in 1849, but that cannot be right because she married Albert Sigmund, another German immigrant, on April 26, 1846, in Baltimore, Maryland:

Marriage record of Albert Sigmund and “Helena Goldsmith.” Maryland County Marriages, 1658-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:F4JC-GYH : 16 March 2018), Albert Sigmond and Helena Goldsmith, 25 Apr 1846; citing Baltimore, , Maryland, United States, clerk of the circuit court from various counties; FHL microfilm 13,694.

I will be devoting many posts to Ella and her life in the US, but for now let’s return to Grebenstein and the rest of Meyer’s children.

Selig wrote that once Ella left, times were challenging for the rest of the family.4

Our dear father was very weak and sickly. His constant prayer was “G-d Almighty do not let me die before I have repaid my debts.” This constant prayer gave us an added incentive to work day and night with all our energy. The just and noble man did not realise how the future prosperity of his children would spring forth from hidden roots. 

But Meyer’s financial burdens were reduced as the children became adults and married and moved away. Sarah, or Sarchen, whom Selig described as “our angel of a sister,” married Salomon Stern on August 1, 1849. Salomon was born on May 24, 1815, in Ziegenhain, Germany, to Abraham Stern and Keile Maier.

In 1852, Falk Goldschmidt, Meyer’s youngest son, who was only sixteen at the time, traveled to the US5 and in 1860 was living with his older sister Ella and her family.6 Falk did return to Germany, however, by 1870, as we will see in a later post.

Meyer’s youngest daughter Malchen married in June, 1853, according to David Baron’s research. Malchen married Juda Callman Katzenstein of Eschwege, Germany. He was born there in 1824, the son of Callman Katzenstein and Jettchen Katzenstein. As Selig wrote in the Selig Goldschmidt book, after marrying Juda, Malchen moved to live with him in Eschwege.5

Her brother Jacob married Jettchen Cahn one month later in Frankfurt. She was the daughter of Aaron Simon Cahn and Minna Gamburg, and Jettchen was born on April 13, 1830, in Frankfurt.

Marriage record of Jacob Goldschmidt and Jettchen Cahn, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Selig wrote that after Malchen married and moved to Eschwege, the family sold everything they had in Grebenstein, and Meyer moved to Eschwege to live with Malchen and Juda. Selig noted that they did this because Selig and his brother Jacob were traveling often for business and not able to be in Grebenstein to care for their father. Selig described the outpouring of love Meyer received when he moved away from his long-time home in Grebenstein:6

Poor and rich came to the station to see him off, and when the train departed, the sound of sobbing and weeping could be heard. Wealthy neighbours had offered to give him whatever he wanted if he would stay there. However, we did not wish him to stay in Grebenstein all by himself. 

Selig was the next child to marry. On May 27, 1857, he married Clementine Fuld in Frankfurt. She was born in Frankfurt on January 8, 1837, to Herz Fuld and Caroline Schuster.

Marriage record of Selig Goldschmidt and Clementine Fuld, Certificate Number: 30
Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

After marrying, Selig and Clementine settled in Frankfurt and soon moved Meyer to Frankfurt to live with them. Selig wrote:6

I was determined to let him live with me as soon as I married, in order to brighten the days of his old age and give him joy, with G-d’s help, and in order to compensate him for all the suffering he had endured. I was enabled to do this, thanks to my good and noble wife who loved and admired by dearest father so sincerely. Clementine arranged a beautiful and comfortable room for him.  He moved in with us in Frankfurt and we, as well as he, were extremely happy together. 

Meyer was not destined to stay in Frankfurt for very long. Selig told the heartwarming story of why his father returned to Eschwege. Meyer had befriended and taken care of a blind man while living in that town, and the man wrote to Meyer, asking him to return to Eschwege. The man said that Meyer had given him comfort and restored his spirit and that without him, he was lost. Meyer was determined to move back to Eschwege so that he could help this man who needed him and asked for his help. He felt it was the most important thing he could do at that point in his life.7

But sadly Meyer did not live much longer himself. He died on November 5, 1868, in Eschwege. He was 74 years old, according to his death certificate, and was deeply mourned.

Meyer Goldschmidt death record, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 146, p. 36

His children set up a foundation to honor their parents, Meyer and Lea, and his congregation in Eschwege wrote this about Meyer in their obituary for him:8

The deceased had gained the love, respect and admiration of all members of the congregation through his exemplary way of life, his generosity and his sincere Jewish religious dedication. Hence, all of us endeavored to bring him relief on his sickbed, to cheer him up with friendly advice and, finally, to provide the last rites.

The editors of the Selig Goldschmidt book, Meyer’s descendants, wrote this about their ancestor:9

Pure was the soul of Meyer Goldschmdit when he passed away to follow the soul of his departed wife. In spite of adverse circumstances his mind had managed to attain the tranquil and unshakable repose of genuine Jewish wisdom. He realized that the pursuit of earthly comforts and physical pleasures are not the main content and aim of life. Only the acquisition of the goods which G-d desires, namely the fulfillment of the Mitzvos can bring lasting peace of mind. Thus, the existence of the village dweller had gradually become enriched and ennobled, until his life drew to a worthy end with an almost heroic act of Jewish humane love. 

From Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life, p. 15

UPDATE: One reader asked for a translation of the headstone, and Leah of the Tracing the Tribe group kindly provided this translation:

An upright man who enlightened/educated the poor
“He left behind him a legacy of blessings (?)
“He established a good thing for the poor, H”H (HaRav HaGaon)
“K”H Meir, son of K”H Yaakov
”When his days were full
“He returned to his palace? at a ripe old age
“On the even of Shabbat, the 25th, and he was buried
“In an ‘auspicious hour’/with a good name on Day 1 (Sunday), the 30th
“Of MarChesvan, on the first day of Rosh Chodesh
“[Kislev?] . . .”

Meyer Goldschmidt was clearly a good and well-loved man by his family and his community. His children and descendants carried on this legacy in Germany and in the United States, as we will see as I now examine the lives of each of them, starting with Meyer and Lea’s oldest child, Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund.


  1. “The Story of A Ring,” Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life (1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies), p.19-21 
  2. “The Story of A Ring,” Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life (1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies), p. 21 
  3. “The Story of A Ring,” Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life (1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies), pp.21-22. 
  4. “The Story of A Ring,” Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life (1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies), p.22. 
  5. Juda Callman Katzenstein death record, Certificate Number: 175, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 923; Laufende Nummer: 1941, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958. Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life,(1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies)  p, 22. 
  6. “The Story of A Ring,” Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life (1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies), p.23. 
  7. Ibid. 
  8. “Obituary,” Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life (1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies), p.15. The use of the term “last rites” should not be confused with the Catholic tradition of giving last rites; under Jewish law there are certain rules and practices for the treatment of the deceased’s body between the time of death and burial. That must be what the obituary meant by “last rites.” 
  9. “Of Noble Origins,” Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life (1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies), p.10. 

Returning to Goldschmidt Research: A Dearth of Records, but A Wealth of Information

After a long break focused on photographs shared by some of my generous cousins, I am now returning to posting about my research of my Goldschmidt/Goldsmith family, the descendants of my four-times great-grandparents Jacob Falcke Goldschmidt and Eva Reuben Seligmann.

They had five children: Seligmann, my three-times great-grandfather; Levi; Meyer; Jette; and Simon. In addition, Jacob had been married twice before marrying Eva and had two children with those wives, Elieser Falcke Goldschmidt and Jude Jacobs, my half-four-times great-uncles. I have already written about Seligmann, Lehman, and Simon and their descendants.1

Now I will turn to the fourth brother, Meyer Goldschmidt. Although I had many secondary sources providing information about Meyer and his family, it was very difficult to find any primary sources, as discussed below. I was very fortunate, however, to connect with a distant cousin in the Netherlands, and he sent me a book published in Israel by Meyer Goldschmidt’s descendants in 1996, Selig Goldschmidt: A Picture of A Life, hereinafter referred to as the Selig Goldschmidt book.2

The book includes remembrances, letters, obituaries, and images that Meyer’s descendants collected and translated to English in order to preserve and honor the memory of Meyer’s son Selig Goldschmidt. It sheds light not only on Selig, but also on his parents, his siblings, and his children.

I also benefited greatly from the research and support of David Baron, husband of my cousin Roger, a descendant of both Meyer and Seligmann Goldschmidt.

There are many trees on Ancestry and other secondary sources that say that Meyer Goldschmidt was born in Oberlistingen on June 10, 1787, but none of them has a primary source for that date. Meyer’s death record says he was 74 when he died on November 5, 1858. That would mean he was born in 1784, not 1787.

Meyer Goldschmidt death record, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 146, p. 36

Unfortunately, I cannot find a birth or marriage record for Meyer, so I do not know whether the trees are accurate or whether the death record is accurate. This photograph from the Selig Goldschmidt book includes the birth date found on those family trees:

Meyer Goldschmidt on p. 7, Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life (1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies)

Since I have not located a marriage record for Meyer, I do not know when or where he married, but I do know who he married—Lea Katzenstein. I also have no birth records for Lea, but Ancestry trees and other sources show her birth date as March 20, 1794, in Grebenstein, Germany, and her parents as Jesajas ha Cohen Katzenstein and Edel Ganz.

I presume that Meyer and Lea were married by 1823 because their daughter Sarah was born on December 26, 1823, according to her marriage record.

Marriage record of Sarah Goldschmidt and Solomon Stern, Certificate Number: 225a
Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Another daughter, Ella, was possibly born that same year. Ancestry trees and other sources report that Ella was born March 26, 1823. That date apparently came from her death record:

Ella Goldschmidt Sigmund death certificate from David Baron

But unless her sister Sarah was conceived the day after Ella was born and was born several months prematurely, that seems impossible. I think Ella was more likely born in 1822. According to obituaries written about Ella when she died on March 19, 1904, and her death certificate, she was 81 years old when she died. That would mean that she was born between March 20, 1822, and March 19, 1823.3

At any rate, we can assume that Meyer and Ella were married by 1823, if not before.  They had seven children: Ella (1822?), Sarah (1823), Malchen (about 1827), Selig (sometimes spelled Seelig) (1828), Joseph (1830?), and Falk (1836). According to David Baron’s Goldschmidt family tree, Joseph died a month before his sixth birthday on November 27, 1836, five months after Falk was born. I am still working on finding records for some of these children and will report on what I find once I do, if I do. But given the depth of David’s research, I don’t think such records exist. All of us are relying on older family trees that include these dates.

Despite this dearth of records, I can tell quite a bit about the lives of Meyer, Lea, and their children based on the Selig Goldschmidt book and other later sources.

Three years after giving birth to her last child Falk at age 42, Lea Katzenstein Goldschmidt died on September 28, 1839. She was 45 years old and left behind her husband Meyer and six children under the age of eighteen.

Lea Katzenstein Goldschmidt death record, Sterberegister der Juden von Grebenstein 1827-1882 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 377)AutorHessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Wiesbaden, p. 34

In the Selig Goldschmidt book, there are some translated remembrances written by Selig in 1887 about his mother Lea. Apparently the family had run into some hard times after Meyer suffered a prolonged illness and was confined to bed and unable to work for fourteen weeks. This took a toll on Lea. Selig wrote:4

My mother, who now rests with G-d, was an ideal woman, wife, and mother. She was beloved in the whole of our district, the benefactress and the support of many poor families. Everyone received ready comfort from her. Even when we were so poor that she could no longer help, people would still seek her advice and share their burdens with her.

I was only nine years old when she died. When I heard the loud sighs and groans of innumerable mourners who wept and cried out, “What shall we do, how shall we manage now that our benefactress is buried?,” I was roused from my childish grief. I asked myself how had she been able to help the needy? We are so poor ourselves that we have barely enough bread and potatoes to eat. I was a wild and carefree boy, but it was probably at this juncture that a turning point occurred in my life.

After her death, the family worked together  to provide for each other.5

Jakob and I had begun to work properly even though I was just ten years and Jakob twelve. Thus, we managed to add a little oil and fried onions to our boiled potatoes. That was quite amusing. Our good and noble sister Sarah fried small slices of onion in a little oil. This was then mixed with hot water and one had to fish out the onion. A big pot stood in the center of the table and each of us dipped his peeled potato into it. He who caught a slice of onion in this way was indeed the lucky one.

Behind our little house we had a small garden which my sister Ella tended. … My sister Ella learned millinery and ran a small millinery shop in our house. …[A]ll of us were working very diligently in order to support our dear father and little brothers and sisters.

These simple paragraphs describing the life of the family of Meyer and Lea Goldschmidt paint a picture of a tight-knit and loving family that managed to deal together with poverty and the tragic loss of their mother. I may not have all the dates and records, but I do have a sense of the values and life of Meyer Goldschmidt and his family.

More to come…


  1. For Jette, Elieser, and Jude, I have been fortunate to find the research of others, but no primary sources. I have added the names and dates to my Ancestry tree, but I do not have enough reliable information about them or their families yet to write about them on the blog. Maybe someday I will learn more, but for now I have decided that I will wait to see if any more can be learned about these distant relatives and their descendants before trying to write about them. 
  2. Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life (1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies) 
  3. US census records are also inconsistent with respect to Ella’s birth year. The 1870 census says she was then 47, giving her a birth year of 1823. But the 1880 census reports her age as 55, meaning she was born in 1825. And the 1900 census records her birth date as 1833. I think Ella’s birth date was not known by her family and perhaps even by Ella herself. 
  4.  “The Story of A Ring,” Selig Goldschmidt: Picture of A Life (1996, Elmar Printers Ltd. and Bezalel Bookbinders, Jerusalem, Israel)(limited edition of 300 copies), p. 19.If  Selig was nine when his mother died in 1839, then he was born in 1830, not 1828. The 1828 birth date came from his marriage record, however, so perhaps he did not remember his age at the time his mother died. 
  5. Ibid., pp. 20-21.