Cologne: Its Jewish History and My Family Ties to the City


On our second day in Cologne we focused on its Jewish history. Back in December 2015, I had contacted Barbara Becker-Jakli to help me find where my great-great-uncle Jakob Schoenthal and his wife Charlotte Lilienfeld were buried in Cologne; Barbara had been extremely helpful, so a year later while planning our trip, I contacted her again, asking if she knew someone who would show us the cemetery and other Jewish sites in Cologne.

She recommended Aaron Knappstein, who worked with her at the National Socialism Documentation Center in Cologne. Aaron and I had been in touch numerous times for almost eight months before the trip, and as I wrote here, he had located documents about my Nussbaum ancestors that I had given up ever finding (and they did not even live in Cologne, but in Schopfloch) as well as birth records for four of the five children of Jakob and Charlotte Schoenthal.  So I was looking forward to meeting him and spending the day with him.

Aaron did not disappoint us.  He is a thoughtful and knowledgeable man whose own background as the son of a Holocaust survivor gives him an interesting perspective on the Jewish history of Cologne.  It was a moving and very informative day.  He first took us to the Dom, which may seem a strange choice, but he wanted us to see the gargoyle of a pig being suckled—an anti-Semitic image once used widely.

He also pointed out a Holocaust memorial that we had passed the day before without knowing what it was.  It is not marked at all.  It is simply a long train rail placed on the ground running to the east with a six-segmented sculpture at its end.  The sculpture is meant to evoke the six million killed by the Nazis and the gate to the camps, and the train rail evokes the trains used to deport the Jews to the concentration camps in the east. It was very powerful.  We just didn’t understand why there was no marker or plaque explaining or identifying what it was.

Dani Karavan Holocaust memorial

After coming home, I searched for more information about this sculpture and found this very detailed description and analysis on a blog called Tapfer im Nirgendwo, which means Brave in Nowhere.  I didn’t read the other posts in the blog as they are in German, but this one was written in English.  Apparently the rail and sculpture we saw are part of a larger installation by an Israeli artist Dani Karavan (I am sure Aaron mentioned the artist’s name, but it slipped my mind).  The description of the overall work is fascinating and very powerful.

We then walked to the location of the old Jewish Quarter where today there are plans to build a Jewish museum in the heart of the center of the city.  Right now it is little more than an excavation site, and many relics of medieval times have been discovered.

The Jews have a very long history in Cologne.  As early as the 4th century, there was a Jewish community in Cologne; as in other places, there were good periods and bad periods for the Jews in medieval times.  Some archbishops protected the Jews, others did not.  The Crusades and the Black Death resulted in the deaths of many of the Jews in Cologne, and synagogues were built, destroyed, and rebuilt. Finally, Jews were expelled in 1424 because of a fight between the civil government and the Church regarding money and the payment of the taxes that were levied on the Jews.  Jews were not allowed to return to the city until Napoleon’s time in 1798.  Even then, they had to live across the Rhine in Deutz, although they were allowed to work on the other side of the river.

We then crossed the river ourselves and went to the cemetery in Deutz where Jakob Schoenthal and his wife Charlotte Lilienfeld are buried. Jakob Schoenthal was my great-grandfather Isidore’s brother.  As I wrote about here, he was one of only two of the ten Schoenthal siblings who did not emigrate from Germany.

At the cemetery we met Herr Gunther, who once was responsible for overseeing the care and condition of this very large cemetery; there are over 6000 stones at the Deutz cemetery.  The original stones for Jakob and Charlotte no longer exist, but the cemetery knew where they were buried, and the Jewish community of Cologne paid to put new markers at the gravesites.  I was touched and very appreciative of what they had done to preserve the memory of my relatives.

Stone for Jakob and Charlotte Schoenthal

Deutz Jewish cemetery

 

We then visited the one remaining pre-World War II synagogue still standing in Cologne, the Roonstrasse Synagogue. In 1933, there were approximately 20,000 Jews living in Cologne. Before the war there had been seven synagogues (although this source says there were only four), but all were damaged or destroyed on Kristallnacht, and only the one on Roonstrasse remains.  And it is still used as a synagogue; Herr Gunther is a member there and provided us with a tour.

Although the exterior of the building survived more or less intact, the interior of the synagogue was, like the other synagogues, destroyed on Kristallnacht.  During the 1950s, the interior was restored—not to its original style, but with more of a mid-century modern feel.   Whatever the décor, it was very uplifting to know that there is once again a Jewish community in Cologne.  Today there are about 5000 Jews living in the city. One of the stained glass windows installed in the 1950s depicts a dove to represent that the flood was over and that life was to begin again.

Roonstrasse synagogue

I very much wanted to see the place where Jakob Schoenthal and his family had lived and worked—65 Breite Strasse.  Jakob and Charlotte had five children.  Four of those children survived the Holocaust—Johanna, Lee, Meyer, and Erna.  As I wrote here, here, and here, Lee and Meyer had come to Pennsylvania early in the 20th century.  Erna and her son came in the 1930s, and Johanna and her husband came after the war, having been deported to France where they were incarcerated at the Gurs camp.  But the fifth child, Henriette, and her husband Julius Levi, had stayed in Cologne and had been deported to Lodz and then to the death camp at Chelmno, where they were killed.  The location of the Schoenthal’s home and business at 65 Breite Strasse is marked by Stolpersteine for Henriette and Julius.

Sadly, the buildings on the street were all destroyed during the war, but I took a photograph of the building that stands at that address today.  I also took a picture of a block of older buildings nearby that had survived the bombing so I could imagine what the Schoenthal home might have looked like. That’s Aaron, our guide, in that second photo.

65 Breite Strasse today

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Our final stop with Aaron was the National Socialism Documentation Center, where Aaron and I first spent some time trying to find records for a woman who was somehow related to my family.  After some research we concluded that she was related to me through Jakob Schoenthal’s marriage to Charlotte Lilienfeld.  More on that at some later time.

Aaron then left us to explore the basement of the National Socialism Documentation Center on our own.  The building that houses this organization had been Gestapo headquarters in Cologne during the war.  The basement was used as a place to imprison and torture prisoners.  Jews were not sent here, but some dissidents or those accused of being dissidents were.  There are hundreds of written messages all over the walls of the cells; they are angry, frightened, passionate, and heart-breaking.  Hundreds of people were shot in the courtyard of the building.  Some people were imprisoned only briefly, others for quite extended times.  The cells have been left untouched—the inscriptions remain to be seen.  It was a dark and depressing place for us to visit, but an important one.

We made a short stop at the Cologne city museum and then walked toward the Dom to return to our hotel.  We decided to skip Italian food that night and had Lebanese food near the Rhine at a restaurant called Beirut.  It was a welcome change and quite good.

The next morning we would leave Cologne to travel east to the Hessen region where my father’s maternal relatives came from—the Schoenthal, Hamberg, Goldschmidt, and Katzenstein families.

Cologne was the only major city we visited during our trip to Germany.  It is a fascinating city with a long and interesting history and a diverse and rich culture.  It is a reminder not only of the destructive forces of war and the human capacity for evil but also of our capacity for good.  People rebuilt Cologne into a city that now provides hope that human beings can be creative, inspirational, reflective, tolerant, and kind.

 

 

Cruising to Cologne

 

On Friday, May 5, our fourth day in Germany, we left the Mainz-Bingen region behind and took a three hour cruise on the Rhine from Bingen to Koblenz.  The weather was still quite dreary and cool, but the views out the window was nevertheless quite scenic—castles, little towns clustered at the shoreline, high cliffs and fields, and other boats cruising on the river.  It was very peaceful and relaxing, just what we needed after several very full and exciting days.

Burg Ehrenfels

We disembarked in Koblenz and walked through that city for an hour or so before taking a train to our next major stop, Cologne or Köln, as it is called in German.

Koblenz

Deutsches Eck where the Moselle meets the Rhine in Koblenz

Once we got to the Cologne train station, we realized we had no idea how far our hotel was, so we checked Google Maps on my phone and were delighted to see that our hotel, the Marriott, was just a short few blocks away.  Although the Marriott is a large, American-style hotel, we were not very pleased with it.  I won’t get into details here, but if anyone is planning a trip to Cologne, check with us first.  The best thing about it was its location. We should not have “played it safe” and chosen a known brand.  Live and learn.

Nevertheless, we very much enjoyed the two days we had in Cologne.  The first night we had dinner at a very chic Italian restaurant, Da Damiano.  It wasn’t far from the hotel, but somehow we got a bit twisted around looking for it.  But that gave us our first glimpse of the Dom, the huge Gothic cathedral that dominates everything in Cologne.  The Dom dwarfs all the churches we’d seen before and even cathedrals we had seen in other cities such as Milan and Paris.  It is awesome in the literal sense of the word.  And you can see its spires almost anywhere in the city.

Cologne Dom

The following morning we went to the Ludwig Museum, which is almost right behind the Dom.  (The Dom quickly became our point of orientation for anything in the city.) The Ludwig is an extremely well-planned museum with lots of light and open space and a very impressive and enjoyable collection of 20th century art.  There were many works by Picasso including a very provocative sculpture of a mother pushing a child in a stroller, a rich collection of Expressionist and Surrealist artists, and a collection of art that had been rescued by a collector during the 1930s when Hitler condemned all modern art as degenerate and corrupt.

But the piece that really took us aback was a lifelike sculpture of a modern-dressed woman staring at art in one of the galleries.  Both of us had at first thought it was an actual person and only realized it was a sculpture on a second or third look.  It really made us think about what is art and what is real and how we often walk by real people without realizing they are real.

Woman with a Purse, Sculpture, by Duane Hanson (1974) at Ludwig Museum, Cologne, Germany Photo found on Pinterest at https://www.pinterest.com/pin/26317979044298519/

In the afternoon we went on a walking tour of Cologne with Free Walk Cologne (there is no fee, but tips are encouraged early and often).  Julian, our tour guide, was fluent in English and very engaging, knowledgeable, and entertaining.  We met at the Eigenstein Tur, one of the old Roman gates that still exist in the city, and our group was made up of people from Switzerland, Poland, Ecuador, and Scotland, as well as Philadelphia and California.  Julian provided us with some background in Cologne’s long history—it was once a military garrison during the Roman Empire, and a woman from Cologne married the Emperor and made Cologne an important outpost in the empire.  Julian claimed that Cologne still had more of an Italian feel to it—more laidback and liberal than most of Germany.

Eigenstein Tur

We also learned that one of the reasons Cologne has such a tremendous cathedral is that the remains of the Three Kings are kept there.  That made Cologne a pilgrimage destination long ago and thus a wealthy city filled even in early times with constant visitors.

The symbol of Cologne —the three crowns for the Three Kings and eleven tears for the eleven virgins killed by Attila the Hun

Julian then skipped to modern times and informed us that over 90% of Cologne had been destroyed by Allied bombing in World War II and that the city was rebuilt as cheaply and quickly as possible after the war, leaving it with buildings that are eclectic in style and not very well-planned.  People were allowed to build whatever they wanted, including a building that is only two meters wide.

Two meter wide building on Eigenstein Strasse

Eigenstein Strasse

Mural by artists protesting the takeover of space in Cologne by media corporations

Many immigrants from Greece and Turkey came to Cologne after the war to do this rebuilding as the male population of Cologne had been greatly reduced by wartime casualties.  These immigrants stayed, giving Cologne a diversity that was for a long time unusual for Germany.  (Now there are many immigrants living in Germany from all over the world.)

We saw a church, St Maria Himmelfahrt, that was bombed during the war and restored afterwards:

before the war

after bombing during WW II

Today

St Maria Himmelfahrte

Perhaps the most bizarre thing we saw was a Roman wall that was discovered in recent years during excavation for a parking lot near the Dom.  The wall was preserved and now can be seen in the middle of a modern parking lot.

Roman wall in parking lot under the Dom

There was also a Roman floor mosaic discovered nearby, and that also can be seen today by looking into the window of the city’s archaeological museum.

Roman mosaic

Our last major stop with Julian was the Dom itself.  He explained how it took over 600 years for the cathedral to be completed—with a three hundred year gap when nothing was done.  It was started in the 13th century and not completed until the 19th.  I’ve already mentioned how awesome the Dom is from the outside—the interior is equally breathtaking.  The height of the vaults, the almost delicate feel of the structure, and the stained glass windows are magnificent.

After the tour we had a beer along the Rhine with a few people from the tour and then returned to our hotel before dinner in the Belgian Quarter where we once again had Italian food.  That made it our third night in a row eating pasta plus the lunch in Gau-Algesheim—and it wouldn’t stop there.  German food just didn’t work for us—too much meat, too little fish.  It’s a real challenge for someone who is kosher and lactose intolerant. So we ate mostly Italian food throughout the trip.  And it was very good.  On the other hand, we also ate a lot of delicious German bread, pastries, and pretzels and drank wonderful German beer.  My favorite lunch was a fresh German roll with either a hard-boiled egg or smoked salmon.  I learned that salmon in German in Lachs—hence, the Yiddish term “lox.”  Believe me, we ate quite well—too well!

Marketplace in Cologne

People relaxing along the Rhine

Our second day in Cologne focused on its Jewish past and present.

The Brother Who Stayed Behind: Adventures in Genealogy Research

Born just one year after Simon, the next sibling was Jakob Schoenthal. (I am using the German spelling for two reasons.  First, Jakob stayed in Germany and thus that is how he spelled his name.  Second, it helps to distinguish him from his nephew, Simon’s son Jacob.) Finding Jakob’s story was quite a lesson in genealogy research.  It took some lucky breaks and the help of others, and in the end it led to a story of both tragedy and triumph.

 

Centro de la ciudad de Koln, Alemania Deutsch:...

Köln Germany, where Jakob Schoenthal lived as an adult (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

First, some background. I’ve already written about eight of the ten children of Levi Schoenthal and Henriette Hamberg, my great-great-grandparents.  They were the eight children who came to America between 1866 and 1881 and settled here permanently, including my great-grandfather Isidore Schoenthal.  All of them lived relatively long and seemingly satisfying lives.  They started in western Pennsylvania, but eventually they and/or their children moved far afield across the United States—to California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, and elsewhere.  They thrived in America, and they have many descendants still living in this country.

But there were two siblings who did not end up in America.  One, the youngest child, Rosalie, had in fact immigrated to the US in 1881 with her mother Henriette and her brother Isidore, my great-grandfather.  But Rosalie returned to Germany to marry Willy Heymann in 1884, and that decision was in the end one with devastating consequences for her family.  I will write more about Rosalie in a subsequent post.

The only sibling who never left Germany was the sixth child of Levi and Henriette, Jakob, who was born in Sielen in 1850.  I will always wonder why Jakob stayed when almost all of his siblings had emigrated from Germany by 1874.  Jakob was 24 by then, only a year younger than Simon, who had left in 1867. Why did he stay? I don’t know, but my theory is that Jakob stayed to take care of his mother and youngest siblings. By 1874 when his father Levi died, Jakob was the oldest son still in Germany, and there were still some younger siblings at home, including my great-grandfather.  So perhaps Jakob stayed out of a sense of family obligation. As with his sister Rosalie, that decision to stay had tragic consequences.

On September 1, 1879, Jakob married Charlotte Lilienfeld, the younger half-sister of Helen Lilienfeld, who had married Jakob’s brother Henry in 1872 and moved with him to Washington, Pennsylvania.  Charlotte and Helen were both the daughters of Meyer Lilienfeld of Gudensberg, where Henry Schoenthal had once been a teacher before immigrating to the US.

Marriage record of Jakob Schoenthal and Charlotte Lilienfeld Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Wiesbaden: Trauregister der Juden von Gudensberg 1825-1900 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 386) 1825-1900

Marriage record of Jakob Schoenthal and Charlotte Lilienfeld
Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Wiesbaden: Trauregister der Juden von Gudensberg 1825-1900 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 386, p.42) 1825-1900

 

For a long time I could not find much more information about Jakob.  I knew from the 1893 Beers biography of Henry Schoenthal that Jakob had then been living in Cologne, Germany in 1893, but I didn’t know if he and Charlotte had had children or if they had ever left Germany or when they had died.

Then while I was researching Henry Schoenthal and his family, I kept coming across two men living in Washingon, Pennsylvania, with the same names as two of Henry’s sons: Meyer and Lee Schoenthal.  At first I thought they were Henry’s sons, but soon it became clear that there were in fact two Meyers and two Lees.  When I found the death certificates for the Meyer and the Lee who were not the sons of Henry Schoenthal, I saw that their parents were Jakob Schoenthal and Charlotte Lilienfeld.

 

Lee Schoenthal death certificate Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Lee Schoenthal death certificate
Ancestry.com. Pennsylvania, Death Certificates, 1906-1963 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014.
Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates, 1906–1963. Series 11.90 (1,905 cartons). Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

I knew then that Jakob and Charlotte had had at least two sons, both of whom had lived in Washington, Pennsylvania, where their Schoenthal uncles Henry and Isidore as well as their aunt Helen Lilienfeld Schoenthal were living.  And, of course, the identical names made sense.  Both Meyers were named for their maternal grandfather, Meyer Lilienfeld, and both Lees were named for their paternal grandfather, Levi Schoenthal.

And then I was stuck.   What else could I learn about Jakob and Charlotte? I asked in the German Genealogy group on Facebook whether there were records available online for Cologne, or Köln, as it is spelled in German, and I learned that there were in fact archives online with birth, marriage, and death records.  Unfortunately, the archives are divided into geographic areas in and around Köln, and I had no idea where in the city Jakob had lived.  In addition, I had no idea what years to search for births or deaths for his family, and the number of records was too overwhelming to search without some parameters.

But then another member of the Genealogy Group suggested I look in city directories to see if I could narrow down where in Köln Jakob and his family had lived.  I learned that there were city directories online that dated as early as 1797 all the way through to the 1960s.  I started searching year by year, and I eventually found many listings for him, starting with one in 1901 and going as late as 1935, and then he disappeared.  Here are a few examples:

 

Greven's address book for Cologne subtitle:and environment especially Mühlheim am Rhein and lime Author / Edit .: Ant. Carl Greven Publishing company: Greven's Cologne Address Book Publisher Ant. Carl Greven Vintage: 51 Year: 1905

Greven’s address book for Cologne
Author / Edit .: Ant. Carl Greven
Publishing company: Greven’s Cologne Address Book Publisher Ant. Carl Greven
Vintage: 51
Year: 1905

 

Grevens Adreßbuch 1915 Cologne and environs

Grevens Adreßbuch 1915 Cologne and environs

 

Greven's address book for Cologne subtitle:and neighborhood and business directory the circles Cologne-Mülheim country and a. Rh. Publishing company: Greven's Cologne Address Book Publisher Ant. Carl Greven Vintage: 67 Year: 1925

Greven’s address book for Cologne
Publishing company: Greven’s Cologne Address Book Publisher Ant. Carl Greven
Vintage: 67
Year: 1925

 

So I thought Jakob must have died or moved or emigrated around 1935, but not knowing German had once again proven to be a problem.  I posted the 1935 listing on the German Genealogy Facebook page, and my friend Matthias translated it and pointed out that the listing was not for Jakob, but rather for his widow.  He explained that the abbreviation Ww meant “widow,” and when I went back to look at the earlier directories, I saw that the Ww was included in almost all of the listings I had thought were for Jakob Schoenthal.

 

Greven's address book of Cologne subtitle:and its environs, as well as the address book of the circles Cologne-country Bensberg, Bergisch Gladbach u. Porz, Volume (→ Second volume ) Publishing company: Greven's Cologne Address Book Publisher Ant. Carl Greven Year: 1935

Greven’s address book of Cologne
Gladbach u. Porz, Volume (→ Second volume )
Publishing company: Greven’s Cologne Address Book Publisher Ant. Carl Greven
Year: 1935

 

I worked all the way back to 1905, seeing that Ww.  There were no directories on the website for 1902-1904, but in 1901, there was no Ww, so I assumed that meant that Jakob was still alive in 1900.  Thus, it seemed likely that Jakob had died sometime between 1901 and 1905.

 

Greven's address book for the borough Cologne subtitle:and for the environment especially: Mühlheim am Rhein and lime Author / Edit .: Ant. Carl Greven Publishing company: Greven's Cologne Address Book Publisher Ant. Carl Greven Vintage: 47 Year: 1901

Greven’s address book for the borough Cologne
Author / Edit .: Ant. Carl Greven
Publishing company: Greven’s Cologne Address Book Publisher Ant. Carl Greven
Vintage: 47
Year: 1901

 

From the address on Breite Strasse in the directories, my friends in the Germany Genealogy group thought that Jakob had lived in the central part of Köln.  Having narrowed down the years and the section of the city where he lived, I now combed through the relevant records until I found a death record for Jakob.  He had died on November 19, 1903.  He was only 53 years old when he died.  He was the first of his siblings to die.

 

Jakob Schoenthal death certificate Das Digitale Historiche Archiv Koln, Civil registry, civil registry Cologne I, deaths, 1903 1903 Vol 03 p.320

Jakob Schoenthal death certificate
Das Digitale Historiche Archiv Koln, Civil registry, civil registry Cologne I, deaths, 1903 1903 Vol 03 p.320

 

Since 1935 was the last year Jakob’s widow Charlotte was listed, I assumed that she must have died around 1935.  I wrote to the synagogue in Köln to see if they had information about Jakob and Charlotte, and the secretary there informed me that Jakob and Charlotte were both buried in their cemetery and that Charlotte had died on June 17, 1935.  She also confirmed Jakob’s date of death.  So I now knew when both Jakob and Charlotte had died and where they were buried.

But the 1935 Köln directory listing, along with a number of others, also revealed something else.  Notice that right above Jakob’s widow’s listing it says, “Schonthal & Co, Jul. Levi and Frau Jul. Levi,” and some additional text following, including the same address as that listed for Jakob’s widow.

Greven's address book of Cologne subtitle:and its environs, as well as the address book of the circles Cologne-country Bensberg, Bergisch Gladbach u. Porz, Volume (→ Second volume ) Publishing company: Greven's Cologne Address Book Publisher Ant. Carl Greven Year: 1935

Greven’s address book of Cologne
subtitle: and its environs, as well as the address book of the circles Cologne-country Bensberg, Bergisch Gladbach u. Porz, Volume (→ Second volume )
Publishing company: Greven’s Cologne Address Book Publisher Ant. Carl Greven
Year: 1935

My friends in the German Genealogy group explained that the first listing was for a Julius Levi and his wife, Henny nee Schoenthal.  Obviously Henny was Jakob and Charlotte’s daughter, living at the same address as her parents with her husband Julius Levi.

Julius Levi and Henny nee Schoenthal were listed again in 1936 (without a listing for Charlotte), but after that they disappeared.  By then, of course, Jewish-owned businesses were being restricted or closed by the Nazis.  What had happened to Julius and Henny? Had they left Germany, I hoped? Or had they been killed in the Holocaust?

Greven's address book of the Hanseatic City of Cologne subtitle:the circles Cologne-country, the county town of Bergisch Gladbach and Bensberg communities and Porz, Volume (→ Second volume ) Publishing company: Greven's Cologne Address Book Publisher Ant. Carl Greven Vintage: 78 Year: 1936

Greven’s address book of the Hanseatic City of Cologne
Publishing company: Greven’s Cologne Address Book Publisher Ant. Carl Greven
Vintage: 78
Year: 1936

Unfortunately, a search on Yad Vashem revealed that they were both victims of the Nazi atrocities.

Yad Vashem page of testimony for Henriette Schoenthal Levi Yad Vashem page of testimony for Julius Levi

I learned more details from a researcher in Köln named Barbara Becker, who informed me that Julius and Henriette Levi had been first moved to the ghetto in Köln in 1940 and then were deported to Lodz, Poland, on October 30, 1941.  From there they were sent to the death camp in Chelmno on September 10, 1942, where they were murdered by the Nazis.

Lodz Ghetto Bundesarchiv, Bild 137-051639A / CC-BY-SA 3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

Lodz Ghetto
Bundesarchiv, Bild 137-051639A / CC-BY-SA 3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Chelmno death camp 1942 By SS Unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Chelmno death camp 1942
By SS Unknown [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Two more names to add to the growing list of my relatives who were killed during the Holocaust:  Henriette Schoenthal and her husband Julius Levi.  Henriette was probably named for her grandmother, Jakob’s mother Henriette Hamberg, my great-great-grandmother.   Henriette Schoenthal Levi was my first cousin, twice removed.  She was my grandmother Eva Schoenthal Cohen’s first cousin.

When I looked at the Pages of Testimony filed on behalf of Henriette (Schoenthal) and Julius Levi more closely, I saw that they were filed in 1977 by their son, Henry Lyons.  There was even an address for Henry: 99-30 59th Avenue, Rego Park, New York.  My next step had to be locating Henry Lyons, my father’s second cousin.

To be continued….