Another Update from Another Cousin! The Story of Karl Gutmann

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

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

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

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

Karl Gutmann Courtesy of the family

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

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

Moritz Gutmann Courtesy of the family

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

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

Karl Gutman and friend Courtesy of the family

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

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

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

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

Karl Gutmann, c. 1945 Courtesy of the family

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

Hedwig Goldschmidt Gutmann  Courtesy of the family

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

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

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

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



Hermann Gutmann Becomes Dennis Goodman: An Oral History, Part II

By the spring of 1940, Hermann Gutmann was seventeen years old and had been in England and separated from his parents since the fall of 1936.  He had completed his secondary education and had been working at a leather factory in Lancashire in the north of England since February 1940 and moved to London that May.1

On July 2, 1940, at 6 am he heard a knock on his door. The police told him to pack his bags and come with them to the police station. He protested, but to no avail, and along with many other German Jewish “enemy aliens,” he was taken to a camp, Huyton Camp, and housed in a tent with other young refugees from Nazi Germany. All those who were under eighteen, including Hermann, were told they were being taken out of England. He again protested and was told by the commanding officer that those leaving England would have the best chance of survival because England was likely to lose the war.

As the internees boarded the HMT Dunera on July 10, 1940, all their personal possessions were taken and never returned. The Jewish internees were placed in the hold in the rear of the ship and kept there by barbed wire fencing. They were only allowed up on the deck for thirty minutes a day for exercise where they were barefooted and often stepping on the broken beer bottles left behind by the guards, whom Hermann described as “football hooligans.” The internees slept on the hard floor and had open toilet stalls that he described as “awful.”  Hermann described the morale of the younger internees as fairly good, but said that those who were older had a much harder time and that there were even a few suicides during their voyage. There were also Nazi and Italian internees on the ship, but they were kept in a different location.

HMT Dunera. Not stated in the AWM record / Public domain

The internees had no idea where they were going until they arrived in Australia on September 6, 1940. Once in Australia, they were sent to New South Wales and housed at the Hay Internment Camp. There were about two thousand internees kept there, many of whom had been successful professionals—doctors, lawyers, professors, and so on. They formed their own government and even printed their own money. Hermann distributed newspapers and even started a Boy Scout group that was officially recognized by the London headquarters of the Boy Scouts.

They lived in huts, about forty to a hut, and conditions were good. Hermann noted several times that as a young man (he was seventeen), he was not as uncomfortable as those who were older, and he didn’t mind some of the living conditions. When asked whether he now resented having been interned during this time, he said no—that he understood it was done without much thought based on fear when the war started and that it was an awful waste of time and money, but that he did not feel any resentment towards the British for their actions.

In the fall of 1941, Hermann volunteered to join the British military as a means of getting out of the internment camp. He left Austrialia on October 13, 1941, and arrived back in England on November 28, 1941, just over a week before Pearl Harbor. He and other Jewish refugees were given no choice as to where to serve and were assigned to the Pioneer Corps, a corps assigned “light engineering tasks [that] included building anti-aircraft emplacements on the Home Front, working on the Mulberry harbours for D-Day, and serving during beach assaults in France and Italy. Pioneers also carried stretchers, built airfields, repaired railways, and moved stores and supplies.”

Pioneer Corps clearing rubble, Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer / Public domain

It was during this time that his commanding officer asked him to change his name to something less German-sounding. Hermann chose the name Dennis John Goodman, his first name for a friend who had been killed in the war and Goodman as an Anglicized version of Gutmann. In the interview, he commented that he now regretted that he never returned to his birth name Hermann Gutmann as it had a very long history in his family.

Dennis was not content being in the Pioneer Corps because he wanted to be fighting the Nazis. In 1943, British policy changed, and Jewish German refugees like Dennis were allowed to serve more directly in combat. Dennis joined a tank unit and was on the beach at Normandy three days after D-Day, that is, on June 9, 1944. He ended up fighting in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and finally in Germany. He was involved in many difficult and dangerous battles, made more dangerous by the fact that the English tanks were outmatched by the German Tiger Tanks they were facing. He experienced some very close encounters with death or capture by the Germans.

The interviewer asked him how he felt when he entered Germany, his country of birth, and fought on German soil. Dennis commented that “by that time I felt more English than German” and that he had no difficulty facing his former countrymen in battle. When the war ended, he was in Berlin for the British Victory Parade on July 21, 1945.

British Victory Parade in Berlin, National Archives and Records Administration / Public domain

By that time he already knew about the concentration camps.  He was given compassionate leave to go to Amsterdam to learn what had happened to his parents and learned of the deportation to and murder at Sobibor. In the interview, Dennis mentioned that at that time he learned that his grandmother had been hidden in the northern part of Holland and had survived.

I checked to see which grandmother, and it had to be his maternal grandmother, Hedwig Goldschmidt, because his paternal grandmother had died in 1932. I have no wartime records for Hedwig after March 15, 1938, when she was a passenger coming to England from Amsterdam.2 I initially thought that meant that she had moved to England at that time, but it appears from Hermann’s information that she had returned to Amsterdam, perhaps after visiting him in England.

Dennis remained in Germany after the war and joined the Review and Interrogation staff in Neuengamme, near Hamburg, where he was involved in interrogating Nazis about war crimes. He was struck by the ordinariness of the people who committed these crimes and their weak excuses for what they did. He also found some of them very arrogant. Several times during the interview, Dennis made the point that it was well known throughout Germany that Jews were being persecuted and that those who afterwards claimed that they hadn’t been aware of what was happening were either lying or repressing what they’d known.

In 1947, Dennis was discharged from the military and returned to England. He married a Polish-born Holocaust survivor after the war and had three children. I don’t know much about his life after the war, but did find several immigration documents from Brazil, starting in 1949, suggesting he might have been involved in international business or perhaps visiting family members who had immigrated to Brazil. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965. Original data: “Rio de Janeiro Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965”. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2013.

Dennis John Goodman, born Hermann Gutmann, died in England in 2007. He had lived an extraordinary life, leaving his parents and homeland as a thirteen year old boy, being interned for over a year in Australia as an “enemy alien,” and then fighting valiantly against the Nazis for several years including post-war interrogation of war criminals. His parents had been murdered at Sobibor. He had every right to be an angry, resentful man.

But listening to his voice in the oral history interview, I detected no resentment towards his adopted country, despite the internment. Certainly he harbored anger with the Nazis for what they did to his parents and all the Jews in Europe and continuing bewilderment over the German citizenry’s acquiescence to it all. But I did not come away from the interview thinking of him as bitter or defeated; instead I heard a then 72 year old man who looked back on his life with pride in his ability to endure and succeed against all odds and in his strength and independence even as a young man. His story will stay with me forever.

  1. These facts come almost entirely from the oral history interview of Dennis Goodman, aka Hermann Gutmann, found on the Imperial War Museum website. Some of the dates in this post were found in an article written by his daughter, Naomi Levy, and published in the AJR [Association of Jewish Refugees] Journal of December 2018, on page 11, and found here
  2.  Hedwig Goldschmidt, Arrival Age: 61, Birth Date: abt 1877, Port of Departure: New York, New York, United States, Arrival Date: 15 Mar 1938, Port of Arrival: Plymouth, England, Ports of Voyage: New York, Ship Name: Washington, Shipping Line: United States Line, Official Number: 232210, The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and successors: Inwards Passenger Lists.; Class: BT26; Piece: 1158, UK and Ireland, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960 

Hermann Gutmann, Child Refugee from the Nazis: An Oral History

As we saw last time, my cousin Else Goldschmidt Gutmann, daughter of Marcel Goldschmidt and Hedwig Goldschmidt, was murdered by the Nazis in 1943 at the Sobibor concentration camp along with her husband Siegfried Gutmann. They were, however, survived by their son, Hermann Gutmann. His story is captured in a moving and detailed oral history interview that was recorded for the British Imperial War Museums in 1995 and available online here.

The oral history interview is two hours long, and I listened to it in the course of one afternoon. If anyone has the time and the interest to listen, even if just to the first thirty minutes, it will provide insights into the strength and courage of those who escaped Nazi Germany as children. My words cannot possibly capture the emotion and the personality expressed by this man in retelling his life story fifty to sixty years after these tumultuous events. When you listen, the clarity of his memory, his composure, and his strength come shining through. Despite living in England since 1936, he still had the traces of a German accent. I will try and do justice to his story, but again, if you have time, listen to at least some of this interview.

One other editorial explanation. Hermann Gutmann changed his name in 1943 to Dennis John Goodman. I will refer to him as Hermann in discussing the years before that change and then as Dennis for the years after the name change. I hope that’s not too confusing.

All the facts in this post come directly from the oral history interview with Dennis John Goodman at the Imperial War Museum, Catalogue 15101.

Hermann Gutmann’s father Siegfried Gutmann was from a family of bankers in Stuttgart, and after the Stuttgart bank was taken over by a larger bank, Siegfried moved to Frankfurt to work for a bank in that city where he met and married Else Goldschmidt. Their only child Hermann Gutmann was born in Frankfurt on February 28, 1923. Hermann believed that the economic circumstances experienced in Germany in the 1920s made his parents reluctant to have more than one child. He described his childhood as a happy middle-class childhood in Frankfurt where his family was actively involved in the Jewish community as well as the general community.

Frankfurt, Germany, 1918,Carl Andreas Abt / Public domain

Hermann experienced anti-Semitism as early as 1931 when he was eight years old and saw people carrying anti-Semitic political posters while marching in the streets of Frankfurt. But things grew much worse after 1933 when Hitler was elected Chancellor. Hermann described himself as an outspoken and opinionated boy who fought back when he was attacked by students for being Jewish. When he finished primary school, his parents could no longer send him to a general secondary school because Jews were banned. Instead they sent him to an excellent Jewish day school where he was one of several hundred students.

But by 1936, his parents were concerned that Hermann would not be able to receive a quality education, and they decided that the best thing to do for their son was to send him to boarding school in England. His father spoke to young Hermann, expressing his fears, given how Hitler had perverted Germany and how their non-Jewish friends had drifted away out of fear.  When asked by the oral history interviewer how he felt about leaving his parents and his home, Hermann responded that he “just had to face it.” His acceptance of this reality seemed remarkable to me, especially given that he was only thirteen at the time.

So on October 5, 1936, thirteen year old Hermann Gutmann traveled to England with a family friend who happened also to be heading to England.  When they arrived in London, a relative met him at the station and made sure he boarded the right train to Brighton, where his new school, a Jewish boarding school called Whittinghame College, was located. He described his first year there as very lonely. He knew just a little English when he arrived, and there were only one or two other German students at the school. More German refugees had arrived by the time he left in 1939.

Thank you to the alumni association of Whittinghame College for permission to use these two photographs.

Hermann is probably in this photograph, but I don’t know which young man he is.

Whitinghame College students, 1939

His parents left Germany for Amsterdam in 1937. The interviewer asked him why his parents hadn’t come to England instead of Amsterdam, and he explained that his father had been offered a job in Amsterdam and that his parents believed they would be safe there. He said that no one anticipated in 1937 that Hitler would later invade the Netherlands and deport Jews to concentration camps. Hermann was able to visit his parents in Amsterdam during this time, and he said that although it was a big adjustment for them and especially for his father, whose new job was not in the banking field, they were reasonably happy living there.

Although Hermann said that he did not enjoy the “monastic existence” of the all-boys boarding school, he stated that he received an excellent education and that he even qualified to matriculate at Cambridge University for the fall of 1939, but “events intervened,” that is, the start of World War II. Once the war started, Hermann also was no longer able to visit his parents.

He finished his time at Whittinghame and obtained a job in a leather manufacturing factory in Lancashire, England, where he worked from February, 1940 until May, 1940. He had been in England for more than three years at that point. He had coped with adjusting to a new country, learning a new language, completing his secondary education at a Jewish boarding school, and enduring the long separation from his parents. In the interview, he commented that he had experienced no hostility in England based on his German background and that people had been very friendly.

But his life was about to change in the spring of 1940.

Marcel Goldschmidt’s Children: The Two Who Did Not Survive

Although Marcel Goldschmidt’s widow (and cousin) Hedwig and two of their children escaped safely from Germany and survived the Holocaust, their other two children, Nelly and Else, met tragic fates.

Nelly and Else were the two middle children, and they married brothers. Nelly was married to Moritz Gutmann and Else to Siegfried Gutmann. Each had one child; Nelly’s son was Karl Hermann Gutmann, and Else’s son was Hermann Gutmann; both were named for their paternal grandfather, Hermann Gutmann. Up until the Nazi era, both families were living in Frankfurt. I have no information about Siegfried Gutmann’s occupation, but his brother Moritz was an art dealer like so many of his Goldschmidt in-laws.1

Nelly Goldschmidt Gutmann’s story is particularly heartbreaking because she could have survived had the family made a different decision. On January 13, 1936, Moritz Gutmann arrived in the United States and filed a declaration of intention to become a US citizen two months later. On his declaration he listed his wife Nelly and reported that she was residing in Frankfurt and that their son Karl was living in Holland. Moritz also indicated that his prior residence before entering the US had been Toronto, Canada, and that he had entered the US in Buffalo, New York, but was now residing in New York City.

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
Source Information New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

Moritz and Nelly’s son Karl arrived the following year on December 16, 1937 when he was fourteen. On the ship manifest he indicated that he was going to his father in New York and leaving behind his uncle, “S. Gutmann,” i.e. Siegfried Gutmann, in Amsterdam. Thus, by that time Else Goldschmidt and her husband Siegfried Gutmann had also left Germany.2

But where was Else’s Goldschmidt’s sister Nelly Goldschmidt Gutmann, the wife of Moritz Gutmann, mother of Karl Gutmann? She was still in Germany, now in Coblenz, according to the petition for naturalization that Moritz filed on November 21, 1941. She and Moritz had divorced in August, 1940 in Florida.3

Moritz Gutmann petition for naturalization, National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, DC; NAI Title: Index to Petitions for Naturalizations Filed in Federal, State, and Local Courts in New York City, 1792-1906; NAI Number: 5700802; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21
(Roll 1347) Petition No· 390451 – Petition No· 390950, New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

Nelly thus never came to live in the US and was still in Germany as late as November 21, 1941, two years after the beginning of World War II. According to the Page of Testimony filed at Yad Vashem by her cousin Regina Blanche Rosenberger, Nelly was living in a mental institution during the war and was killed sometime during the war. She was gassed on a train.

We don’t know all the circumstances surrounding Nelly’s life—why she was institutionalized and when, why her extended family wasn’t able to take her with them when they left Germany, or even where and when she was murdered. But we know that her life ended tragically and violently at the hands of the Nazis.

Fortunately, Nelly was survived by her son Karl, who did escape in time. As noted above, Karl had arrived in 1937 when he was fourteen years old. According to his declaration of intention filed on October 28, 1941, when he was seventeen, Karl was at that time a student at Pennington School, a boy’s college preparatory school in Pennington, New Jersey. (The declaration says Pennsylvania, but that’s incorrect.)

Karl Gutmann 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,  (Roll 638) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 507401-508300), New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

Karl enlisted in the US Army on February 11, 1943, and petitioned for naturalization while stationed in Spartanburg, South Carolina.4 In August 1945 he was hospitalized in an unidentified hospital for a non-battle-related injury to his eye caused while cleaning a firearm.5 I could not (yet) find other records of his military service, but I did find him on a Navy transport ship returning from France on April 12, 1946, a year after the war in Europe had ended.6

Interestingly, Karl married Joan C. Fenton just six days after returning from Europe. They were married on April 18, 1946, in New York, and had three children.7  Karl and Joan later divorced, and he married Gisela Bartels in 1974.8 They moved to Florida, where Karl died on February 8, 1995, at the age of 71.9

Thus, although Nelly did not survive the Holocaust, she has descendants who are alive today and living in the United States. I hope that I can connect with them and learn more about their grandmother.

As mentioned above, Nelly’s sister Else Goldschmidt Gutmann did leave Germany before World War II started. She and her husband Siegfried Gutmann were in Amsterdam when their nephew Karl arrived in the US in 1937.  Unfortunately Else and Siegfried were not safe from the Nazis in the Netherlands. At some point after Hitler conquered the Netherlands, they were sent to the camp at Westerbork in the Netherlands and then from there on July 20, 1943, they were deported to the Sobibor concentration camp where they were murdered. These Pages of Testimony and a letter found in their files at Yad Vashem attests to the cruelty of their deaths:

Siegfried was 57 when he was killed, and Else only forty.

But as was the case with Else’s sister Nelly, Else and Siegfried were survived by their son, Hermann Gutmann. His story merits separate posts that will come next.

  1. Moritz Gutmann, Declaration of Intent, 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, New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943 
  2. Karl Gutmann, passsenger manifest, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 143, Ship or Roll Number: Statendam, New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  3. Moritz Gutmann, Gender: Male, Spouse’s name: Nelly Gutmann, Divorce Date: 1940, Divorce Place: Dade, Florida, USA, Certificate Number: 6976, Florida, Divorce Index, 1927-2001 
  4.  Karl Hermann Gutmann, Gender: Male, Declaration Age: 20, Record Type: Petition
    Birth Date: 4 May 1923, Birth Place: Frankfort On Maim, Germany, Arrival Date: 16 Dec 1937, Arrival Place: New York, NY,Declaration Date: 8 May 1943, Declaration Place: Greenville, South Carolina, USA, Court District: U.S. District Court for the Greenville Division of the Western District of South Carolina. (06/26/1926 – 03/18/1966)
    Petition Number: 2589, The National Archives at Atlanta; Morrow, Georgia, USA; Record Group Title: 21; Record Group Number: Records of District Courts of the United States, South Carolina, Naturalization Records, 1868-1991; U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946. 
  5. National Archives and Records Administration; Hospital Admission Card Files, ca. 1970 – ca. 1970; NAI: 570973; Record Group Number: Records of the Office of the Surgeon General (Army), 1775-1994; Record Group Title: 112, U.S. WWII Hospital Admission Card Files, 1942-1954 
  6. Karl Gutmann, ship manifest, Year: 1946; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 285, New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  7.  Karl H Gutmann, Marriage License Date: 18 Apr 1946, Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Joan C Fenton, License Number: 12447, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 18, New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  8. Karl H Gutmann, Marriage License Date: 1974, Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Gisela E Bartels, License Number: 23231, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan, New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  9. Karl Gutmann, Birth Date: 4 May 1923, Death Date: 6 Feb 1995, SSN: 067180184 U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 

Two Sisters Who Were Second Cousins Married Brothers: More Twists in the Goldschmidt Family Tree

This post and the ones that follow will focus on Jacob and Jettchen’s fourth child, Mayer Goldschmidt,  who, like his brother Julius, married a first cousin. On August 30, 1895, he married Hedwig Goldschmidt, who was born on January 1, 1877, to Falk Goldschmidt and Babette Carlebach, in Frankfurt.

Marriage record of Mayer Goldschmidt and Hedwig Goldschmidt, Certificate Number: 1392
Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Hedwig’s father Falk Goldschmidt was Jacob Meier Goldschmidt’s younger brother, so Mayer and Hedwig were first cousins on their paternal sides. Hedwig was seventeen years younger than Mayer and only eighteen when she married him; he was 35.

The annotation on the left margin of the marriage record was translated by Matthias Steinke of the German Genealogy Group on Facebook:

Frankfurt am Main, at the 24th November
To the signing registrar came today, the personally known salesman Marcel Goldschmidt, residing in Frankfurt am Main, Fichtestrasse 18, and showed a permission of the royal district-president in Wiesbaden, dated 7th November 1902, P. I A. 9406 wherein he was permitted, to change his firstname from Mayer into Marcel.
Readed, confirmed and signed
Marcel Goldschmidt

Thus, Mayer changed his name from Mayer to Marcel in 1902 when he was 42 years old.

Marcel and Hedwig had four children, Jacob, Nelly, Else, and Grete.

Jacob Goldschmidit (named for his grandfather and to be referred to as Jacob Goldschmidt II) was born on July 1, 1896, in Frankfurt.

Jacob Goldschmidt II birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_9170, Year Range: 1896, Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Their second child was named Nelly Goldschmidt. She was born on July 16, 1898, in Frankfurt:

Nelly Goldschmidt, birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_9206, Year Range: 1898, Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Else Goldschmidt was born on October 2, 1902, in Frankfurt.1 Then Marcel and Hedwig had a third daughter and fourth child, Grete Goldschmidt, born on September 25, 1904, in Frankfurt.2

Because Marcel and Hedwig were first cousins, their four children were not just siblings, but also second cousins to each other. All three daughters married in the 1920s. Amazingly, none married a cousin. But two of them married men who were brothers.

Nelly Goldschmidt married Moritz Gutmann on August 2, 1920, in Frankfurt.  Moritz was born on June 1, 1892, in Stuttgart, Germany. Some sources say his parents were Hermann Gutmann and Jettchen Ries, but I have not found a record to verify that since the marriage record does not include the names of his parents.

Marriage record of Nelly Goldschmidt and Moritz Gutmann, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Year Range: 1920, Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Nelly and Moritz had one child, a son Karl Hermann Gutmann, born on May 4, 1923, in Frankfurt.3

Nelly’s younger sister Else Goldschmidt married Nelly’s presumed brother-in-law Siegfried Gutmann on May 15, 1922, in Frankfurt. He was born April 28, 1886, in Stuttgart, to Hermann Guttmann and Jettchen Ries. Siegfried was sixteen years older than Else and had served in World War I for Germany.4

Marriage record of Else Goldschmidt and Siegfried Gutmann, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Year Range: 1922, Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Else and Siegfried had one child, Hermann Guttmann, born February 28, 1923, in Frankfurt.5 He later changed his name to Dennis John Goodman.

The third sister Grete Goldschmidt married Berthold Heimerdinger on January 18, 1924, in Frankfurt.6 Berthold was the son of Moritz Heimerdinger and Leontine Seligmann; he was born on September 20, 1890, in Wiesbaden, Germany. Berthold was slightly wounded while serving in World War I for Germany.7

After marrying, Grete and Berthold settled in Wiesbaden, where their daughter Gabrielle Heimerdinger was born on December 16, 1924.8

Marcel (Mayer) Goldschmidt lived long enough to see his three daughters married and several of his grandchildren born, but then died on November 2, 1928, in Koenigstein im Taunus, Germany. He  was 68.

Marcel Goldschmidt, death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 908; Laufende Nummer: 1933, Year Range: 1928, Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

I was curious about the location of his death since Marcel was a resident of Frankfurt. According to Wikipedia, Koenigstein im Taunus, located about 15 miles northwest of Frankfurt, was “famous as “Jewish spa” mainly due to the high proportions of Jewish guests …. who stayed in the internationally famous sanitarium Dr. Kohnstamm … and Hotel Cahn, which offered kosher food. For these reasons, Königstein was an attractive city to visit for a day trip for many Jews in Frankfurt. Königstein became even more easily accessible from Frankfurt am Main in 1906, when the railway between Königstein and Frankfurt was built.”

Koenigsburg im Taunus, Brion Vibber / CC BY-SA (

Life was thus very good for Marcel, Hedwig, and their children and grandchildren up through the 1920s. Much would change in the 1930s.

  1. Else Goldschmidt, Gender: weiblich (Female), Age: 19, Birth Date: 2 Okt 1902 (2 Oct 1902), Marriage Date: 15 Mai 1922 (15 May 1922), Marriage Place: Frankfurt am Main, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Frankfurt am Main, Spouse: Siegfried Gutmann, Certificate Number: 561, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930 
  2. Grete Goldschmid, Birth Date: 25 Sep 1904, Birth Place: Frankfurt, Federal Republic of Germany, Father: Marcel Goldschmidt, Mother: Hedwig Goldschmidt
    SSN: 064167857, U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  3. Karl Herrmann Gutmann, Birth Date: 4 May 1923, Birth Place: Frankfurt, Federal Republic of Germany, Father: Moritz Gubmann, Mother: Nelly Goldschmidt, SSN: 067180184, U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  4. Siegfried Gutmann, Residence Year: 1914, Residence Country: Deutschland (Germany), List Date: 21 Nov 1918, List Number: 2218, Volume: 1918_XVI, Germany, World War I Casualty Lists, 1914-1919 
  5. Dennis John Goodman, Gender: Male, Marital status: Single, Birth Date: 28 fev 1923 (28 Feb 1923), Birth Place: Frankfort, Arrival Date: 1949, Arrival Place: Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Father: Sigfried Goodman, Mother: Elsa Goodman
    Traveling With Children: No, FHL Film Number: 004564017, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965 
  6. Grete Goldschmidt Heimerdinger 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, Description: (Roll 478) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 355901-357000), New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943 
  7. Berthold Heimerdinger, Residence Year: 1914, Residence Country: Deutschland (Germany), List Date: 22 Sep 1917, List Number: 1637, Volume: 1917_XVI, Germany, World War I Casualty Lists, 1914-1919 
  8. Gabrielle Joan Heimerdinger, Birth Date: 16 Dec 1924, Birth Place: Wiesbaden, Federal Republic of Germany, Father: Berthold Heimerdinger, Mother: Grete Goldschmidt, SSN: 102185390, U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. According to Cibella/Baron, Grete and Berthold had two other children, but they did not have any dates for these other two, and I found no records for any other children born to Grete and Berthold.