Bertha Blumenfeld Fernich: Another Family Destroyed in the Holocaust

Another tragic story. There are times I can barely bring myself to write about what happened to so many of my relatives. Bertha Blumenfeld Fernich was my third cousin, twice removed.

Bertha, the second child of Moses IIB and Sara Blumenfeld, was born in 1876 and married Ludwig Fernich in 1900, as we saw. They had two daughters, Jenny, born in 1904, and Else, born in 1905. Jenny had married Julius Asser in 1926, and they had two children, Kurt and Lissy, born in 1926 and 1927, respectively.

It appears that Bertha’s husband Ludwig died sometime before January 18, 1939 since he is not included in the marginal note on their marriage record made on that date, which reported that Bertha had had Sara added to her name to identify her asJewish as required by Nazi law. My assumption is that Ludwig must have died or the note would have indicated that Israel had been added to his name. But I’ve been unable to locate an actual death record for Ludwig.

Marriage record of Bertha Blumenfeld and Ludwig Fernich, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5028
Description
Year Range: 1900
Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Bertha, her daughter Jenny, son-in-law Julius Asser, and grandchildren Kurt and Lissy Asser were all deported to the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942 and were killed during Holocaust. Kurt and Lissy were young teenagers. Although I cannot fathom how a human being kills another human being for no reason, I find it especially hard to imagine how anyone kills innocent children who haven’t even had a chance to live life.

Bertha Blumenfeld Fernich Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=3579289&ind=1

Jenny Fernich Asser, Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=1882529&ind=2

Julius Asser, Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=1853283&ind=1

Kurt Asser Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=1853448&ind=1

Lissy Asser Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=1797444&ind=1

But Bertha’s younger daughter Else and her husband Josef Hauswirth did escape in time. Else had married Josef on August 19, 1932, in Dortmund, Germany, where Josef was born on January 8, 1904. They immigrated to the US on June 24, 1937, and settled in New York City,1 where in 1940 they were living at 153 West 80th Street and both were working as operators in the fur trade; Else was now using the name Ellen.2 On his World War II draft registration, Josef indicated that he was self-employed, so apparently this was their own fur business. And I was lucky to find Josef and Ellen on the 1950 census, my first real research use of the 1950 census! They were still living in New York City, and Josef was the owner of a fur business.

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

By 1958 Ellen and Josef Hauswirth were registered to vote in Los Angeles, California.3 They both died in California, Joseph on April 16, 1987,4 Ellen on March 12, 1998.5 As far as I can tell, Josef and Ellen did not have children as none was living with them in either 1940 or 1950 or when they immigrated. Did they choose not to have children because of the Holocaust? We will never know.

Thus, Bertha Blumenfeld Fernwich has no living descendants today. Most of her family was murdered by the Nazis, and her only surviving child Else/Ellen had no children.


I will be taking a much needed break from blogging next week. I will be back on May 17.


  1. Else Fernich Hauswirth Petition for Naturalization, The National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.C.; Petitions for Naturalization from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1897-1944; Series: M1972; Roll: 1440, Archive Roll Descriptions: (Roll 1440) Petition No· 430413 – Petition No· 430800,
    Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Naturalization Records, 1882-1944 
  2. Ellen and Josef Hauswirth, 1940 US Census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02636; Page: 12B; Enumeration District: 31-559, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  3. Josef Hauswirth, Residence Date: 1958, Street Address: 6052 Willouchby Ave, Residence Place: Los Angeles, California, USA, Party Affiliation: Democrat, California State Library; Sacramento, California; Great Register of Voters, 1900-1968, Ancestry.com. California, U.S., Voter Registrations, 1900-1968 
  4. Josef Hauswirth, Social Security #: 123039073, Gender: Male, Birth Date: 8 Jan 1904, Birth Place: Other Country, Death Date: 16 Apr 1987, Death Place: Los Angeles
    Mother’s Maiden Name: Kempler, Place: Los Angeles; Date: 16 Apr 1987; Social Security: 123039073, Ancestry.com. California, U.S., Death Index, 1940-1997 
  5.  Ellen F. Hauswirth, Social Security Number: 119-09-1530, Birth Date: 9 Dec 1905
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 90048, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, USA, Death Date: 12 Mar 1998, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 

Max Bloomfield: An American Immigrant Who Never Forgot His Family Back Home

As mentioned in my earlier post, when Dorothea Blumenfeld’s daughter Gertha came to the US in 1939, she listed on the ship manifest an aunt named “J. Bloomfield” who lived at 1162 Grant Avenue in the Bronx as the person she was going to. I determined, based on that address and the name, that J. Bloomfield was born Johanna Tannenbaum and that she was the widow of Dorothea’s younger brother Markus Blumenfeld (Gertha’s uncle), who became Max Bloomfield in the US. (Because Max also had a nephew who adopted the name Max Bloomfield, I have labeled this Max, the uncle, Max Bloomfield I.)

Max’s immigration story, however, is quite different from that of his niece Gertha as well as that of his older sister Berta and the children of his brother Moritz, who all came to the US in the 1930s to escape Nazi Germany. Max had left Germany fifty years earlier, long before Hitler came to power.

Max, as we saw, was born Markus Blumenfeld in Kirchhain, Germany, on December 3, 1871, the fifth child of Giedel Blumenfeld and Gerson Blumenfeld. His mother Giedel died when he was only eleven years old, and five years later when he was only sixteen, Markus left home and immigrated to America, arriving on August 3, 1888. On the ship manifest he listed his occupation as “dealer.”

Markus Blumenfeld passenger manifest, Year: 1888; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Line: 1; List Number: 1061, Ship or Roll Number: Lahn, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

What could have led a sixteen-year-old boy with a father and seven siblings back home to leave Germany? It’s hard to imagine why he left or how he managed when he arrived in New York on August 3, 1888.

Markus settled in New York and by 1894 had become Max Bloomenfeld, the name that he was using when on March 28, 1894, he married Johanna Tannenbaum Kahn, a widow who was also an immigrant from Germany. Johanna, who was born in 1868 to Mayer Tannenbaum and Minna Strauss,1 had arrived in the US on November 15, 1887.2 She had married Herman Kahn exactly four years later on November 15, 1891.3  Herman died less than a year after they married; he was 23 and died of an intestinal obstruction and general peritonitis on August 2, 1892.4 Johanna was already pregnant at that time and gave birth to their son two months later on October 10, 1892; she named the baby Herman in memory of his father, a father he never met.5

Then a year and a half later on March 28, 1894, Johanna married Max “Bloomenfeld.”6

On June 15, 1897, Max filed his naturalization petition under the name Max Bloomfield and reported his occupation as a butcher. He used the surname Bloomfield for the rest of his life.

Max Bloomfield naturalization petition, 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, US District Court for the Southern District of New York (058-059), Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

On the 1900 census, Max and Johanna were living in New York with Johanna’s son Herman, a ten month old daughter Minnie, and several of Johanna’s relatives. Max reported his occupation as carpet layer, as did his brother-in-law Max Tannenbaum.

Max Bloomfield 1900 US census, Year: 1900; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 2; Enumeration District: 0808; FHL microfilm: 1241116, Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census

I initially thought that Minnie was Max and Johanna’s first child, but a closer look at the 1900 census record alerted me to the fact that there had been two children born before Minnie. Johanna reported that she had had four children, two of whom were living. Given that her first husband died before the birth of their first child and within a year of their marriage, I assumed that the two other children who died were her children with Max, and I set out to locate their records.

I was able to locate both of those children. Gertrude Bloomfield was born on April 17, 1895, and died a month later on May 19, 1895. She died from a condition I’d never heard of before: erysipelas simple. According to WebMD, it is “a common bacterial infection of the skin. It affects the upper dermis (upper layer of the skin) and the lymphatic vessels within the skin. The condition begins with the breaking of the skin, followed by bacterial invasion. Erysipelas face occurs when the bacteria causes tender and bright red rashes to appear on the facial skin. Erysipelas infections usually affect the face and the legs but can occur anywhere on the skin.” According to Gertrude’s death certificate, she had this all over her body. Today it can be treated with antibiotics, but in 1895 that was not an option, and one month old Gertrude could not fight off the infection.7

Gertrude Blumenfeld death certificate

Ella Bloomfield, born October 16, 1896, a year after Max and Johanna lost Gertrude, died on October 26, 1898, at the age of two from complications from asthma.8 I can’t imagine how Max and Johanna must have felt after losing two daughters like that.

So in fact Minnie was Max and Johanna’s third child, and by the time she was born on August 9, 1899, both of her older sisters had died.9 Fortunately, Minnie survived to live a long life.

Max, Johanna, Herman, and Minnie were still living in Manhattan when the 1905 New York State census was taken, and Max now listed his occupation as a dyer.10 Johanna gave birth to their son Gerard Milton Bloomfield on December 4, 1905, in New York.11 I’ve not located any birth or death records for a child of Max and Johanna born between Minnie’s birth in 1899 and Gerard’s birth in 1905, but I wondered whether Johanna and Max had lost any more children between those two births.

The 1910 US census indicates that in fact there had been no other children born, as Johanna reported that she had had five children, three of whom were living (Herman, Minnie, and Gerard). The family had moved from Manhattan to the Bronx between 1905 and 1910, and Max now reported that he was a carpet cleaner.12  The 1915 New York State census found them all still living together in the Bronx, and Max was still cleaning carpets for a living.13 The same held true in 1920 as well, but by then Max was the owner of the carpet cleaning business, and his daughter Minnie was working as a stenographer in the business while his stepson Herman was also in the business. They were now living at the 1162 Grant Avenue address in the Bronx where Max’s niece Gertha would later look for Johanna when she came to the US.14

The following year Minnie Bloomfield married Richard Leon Altman on December 4, 1921, in New York.15 Richard was born in Port Jervis, New York, to Adolph Altman and Selma Schafronsky on July 31, 1897. On the 1920 census, Richard was living with his parents in New York and working as a salesman of cloaks and suits.16

The 1925 New York State census lists Max, Johanna, and Gerard Bloomfield as well as Herman Kahn and his wife Frances  (nee Gutman) all living together in the Bronx where Max and Herman were still in the carpet cleaning business and Gerard, now 20, was a student.17 Meanwhile, Minnie and Richard had also settled in the Bronx, and by 1925 had two children, Lawrence, born in 1922, and Gloria, born in 1925. Richard continued to work as a cloaks and suits salesman.

Altman family, 1925 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 65; Assembly District: 08; City: New York; County: Bronx; Page: 16, District: A·D· 08 E·D· 65, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1925

In 1930, Max and Johanna and their son Gerard were still living at 1162 Grant Avenue in the Bronx, and Max continued to own the carpet business, presumably with his stepson Herman, who also listed his occupation as owning a carpet business. Gerard was working as a lawyer.18 Minnie and her family were also living in the Bronx, and her husband Richard now owned a cleaning business.19

Sadly, Max died three years later on September 13, 1933, in New York; he was 61 years old.20 He was survived by his wife Johanna, stepson Herman Kahn, daughter Minnie, son Gerard, and two grandchildren. He did not live to see his son Gerard marry and have children of his own, giving Max a total of five grandchildren. He also did not live to see that a number of his siblings and their children would come to the US to escape Nazi Germany, including his niece Gertha who listed Max’s widow Johanna as the person she was coming to in the US.

On December 19, 1937, Max and Johanna’s son Gerard married Kathryn Federman, daughter of Morris Federman and Esther “Queenie” Mendel. She was born in Brooklyn, New York, on October 24, 1908. In 1930, she’d been living with her parents in Manhattan and working as an art teacher. Gerard and Kathryn had three sons.21

Now widowed, Johanna Tannenbaum Bloomfield was living with a servant at 1162 Grant Avenue in the Bronx in 1940. Her daughter Minnie and her family were living in an apartment in the same building and apparently right next door. Richard was still managing the cleaning business.

Johanna Bloomfield, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, Bronx, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02467; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 3-268C, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Richard Altman family, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, Bronx, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02467; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 3-268C, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

And Johanna’s son Herman Kahn and his family were also close by, living at 1420 Grand Concourse in the Bronx; Herman was still in the carpet cleaning business.22 Gerard and his family were also nearby at 1000 Grand Concourse in the Bronx, Gerard working a lawyer in his own practice while his wife Kathryn worked as a high school teacher.23

Johanna Tannenbaum Kahn Bloomfield died in October 1955 and is buried with Max at Mt Zion Cemetery in New York, according to FindAGrave. According to the Mt Zion Cemetery website, she was buried on October 30, 1955. (I was unable to locate any death record for Johanna.) She was 87 years old and was survived by her sons Herman Kahn and Gerard Bloomfield, her daughter Minnie Bloomfield Altman, her daughters-in-law and son-in-law, and five grandchildren.24

Herman Kahn only survived his mother by two years; he died on September 22, 1957, at the age of 64; he was survived by his wife Frances, their two children, and his half-siblings Minnie and Gerard and their families.25

Gerard Bloomfield also did not live a very long life. He died of a heart attack when he was 69 on September 10, 1975. According to his obituary, he was a member of the Mayor’s Economic Council in New York City at the time of his death and had a history of civic involvement. He was survived by his wife Kathryn and their three sons and grandchildren.26

Minnie Bloomfield outlived both of her brothers as well as her husband Lawrence, who died in 1982.27 Minnie died on March 8, 1990, in Hollywood, Florida, at the age of 90. She was survived by her children and grandchildren.28

The story of Max Bloomfield (born Markus Blumenfeld) and his family has its tragic elements; losing two young daughters must have been heartbreaking. But overall his story—coming to the US as a teenager and building a life, a business, and a family in the US—is so different from the stories of the families of his older siblings Moritz and Berta, who escaped from Nazi Germany in the 1930s, and especially different from the story of Max’s sister Dorothea, whose entire family was almost completely wiped out by the Nazis except for her daughter Gertha.

The fact that Gertha named Max’s widow Johanna as the person she was going to in the US indicates that even after over fifty years in the US, Max’s family was still in touch with their Blumenfeld relatives back in Germany. Max may have assimilated into American life, but it appears that he never forgot his family back in Germany.

 


  1. “New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24HX-4TD : 10 February 2018), Max Bloomenfeld and Johanna Taunenbaum Kahn, 28 Mar 1894; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,439,745. 
  2.  Johanna Dannenbaum, Gender: Female, Ethnicity/ Nationality: German, Age: 19
    Birth Date: abt 1868, Place of Origin: Germany, Departure Port: Bremen, Germany, Destination: USA, Arrival Date: 15 Nov 1887, Arrival Port: New York, New York, USA
    Ship Name: Fulda, Year: 1887; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Line: 16; List Number: 1466, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  3. Hannah Tannenbaum, Gender: Female, Marriage Date: 15 Nov 1891, Marriage Place: Manhattan, New York, USA, Spouse: Herman Kahn, Certificate Number: 14282,
    Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937 
  4. Herman Kahn Sex Male Age 23 Death Date 1 Aug 1892 Death Place Manhattan, New York County, New York, United States Death Place (Original) Manhattan, New York, New York, United States Birth Year (Estimated) 1869 Father’s Name Emanuel Father’s Sex Male Mother’s Name Sarah Kahn Mother’s Sex Female Record Type death Certificate Number cn 28859, New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949″, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2W68-YJC : 3 June 2020), Herman Kahn, 1892. 
  5. “New York, New York City Births, 1846-1909,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2W9X-C98 : 11 February 2018), Herman Kahn, 12 Oct 1892; citing Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, reference cn 39106 New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,322,269. 
  6. See note 1. 
  7. Name Gertrude Bloomfield, Sex Female, Birth Date 17 Apr 1895, Birthplace Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, Birthplace (Original) Manhattan, New York, Race White, Father’s Name Max Bloomfield, Father’s Age 23,Father’s Birthplace Germany, Mother’s Name Hannah Danober, Mother’s Age 27, Mother’s Birthplace Germany, “New York, New York City Births, 1846-1909,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WSH-CQY : 11 February 2018), Gertrude Bloomfield, 17 Apr 1895; citing Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, reference cn 17037 New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,322,314. Gertrude Blumenfeld Sex Female Age 0 Death Date 19 May 1895 Death Place Manhattan, New York County, New York, United States Death Place (Original) Manhattan, New York, New York, United States Birth Year (Estimated) 1895 Father’s Name Max Blumenfeld Father’s Sex Male Mother’s Name Johanna Blumenfeld Mother’s Sex Female Record Type death Certificate Number cn 17713, “New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949”, database, FamilySearch  (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2W62-FDD : 3 June 2020), Gertrude Blumenfeld, 1895. 
  8. Ella Bloomfield Sex Female Birth Date 16 Oct 1896 Birthplace Manhattan, New York, New York, United States Birthplace (Original) New York City, New York, New York Race White Father’s Name Max Bloomfield Father’s Age 24 Father’s Birthplace Germany Mother’s Name Hannah Dannenbaum Bloomfield Mother’s Age 29 Mother’s Birthplace Germany, “New York, New York City Births, 1846-1909,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WSR-C5T : 11 February 2018), Ella Bloomfield, 16 Oct 1896; citing Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, reference 46730 New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,322,343. Ella Bloomfield, Sex Female, Age 2, Residence Place Manhattan, New York City, N.Y.
    Burial Date 27 Oct 1898, Burial Place New York City, N.Y., Death Date 26 Oct 1898
    Death Place Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States, Death Place (Original) Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, Birth Date about 17 Oct 1896
    Birthplace New York, Marital Status Single, Race White, Father’s Name Max Bloomfield
    Father’s Sex Male, Father’s Birthplace Germany, Mother’s Name Johanna Bloomfield
    Mother’s Sex Female, Mother’s Birthplace Germany, Certificate Number cn 30322, “New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949,” database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WXM-1X7 : 3 June 2020), Ella Bloomfield, 26 Oct 1898; citing Death, Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States, New York Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,322,951. 
  9.  Minnie Altman, Social Security Number: 068-38-6048, Birth Date: 9 Aug 1899
    Issue Year: 1963, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 33019, Hollywood, Broward, Florida, USA, Death Date: 8 Mar 1990, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  10. Max Bloomfield and family, 1905 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1905; Election District: A.D. 30 E.D. 08; City: Manhattan; County: New York; Page: 14, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1905 
  11.  Gerard Bloomfield, Social Security Number: 065-12-6905, Birth Date: 4 Dec 1905
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10471, Bronx, Bronx, New York, USA, Death Date: Sep 1975, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  12. Max Bloomfield and family, 1910 US census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Bronx Assembly District 32, New York, New York; Roll: T624_996; Page: 14A; Enumeration District: 1421; FHL microfilm: 1375009, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  13. Max Bloomfield and family, 1915 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 11; Assembly District: 32; City: New York; County: Bronx; Page: 17, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1915 
  14. Max Bloomfield and family, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Bronx Assembly District 1, Bronx, New York; Roll: T625_1130; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 26, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  15. “New York, New York City Marriage Records, 1829-1940,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:24WJ-54S : 10 February 2018), Richard Altman and Minnie Bloomfield, 04 Dec 1921; citing Marriage, Manhattan, New York, New York, United States, New York City Municipal Archives, New York; FHL microfilm 1,653,316. 
  16. Richard Leon Altman, World War I Draft Registration, Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918; Altman family, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 21, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1224; Page: 16B; Enumeration District: 1443, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census, Selma Altman death record, New York City Department of Records & Information Services; New York City, New York; New York City Death Certificates; Borough: Manhattan; Year: 1939, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Index to Death Certificates, 1862-1948 
  17. Max Bloomfield and family, 1925 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1925; Election District: 38; Assembly District: 02; City: New York; County: Bronx; Page: 8, District: A·D· 02 E·D· 38, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1925 
  18. Max Bloomfield and family, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Bronx, Bronx, New York; Page: 45A; Enumeration District: 0149; FHL microfilm: 2341202, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  19. RIchard Altman and family 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Bronx, Bronx, New York; Page: 29A; Enumeration District: 0149; FHL microfilm: 2341202, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  20.  Max Bloomfield, Gender: Male, Race: White, Marital status: Married, Age: 61
    Birth Date: 3 Dec 1871, Birth Place: Germany, Years in US: 45 Years, Death Date: 13 Sep 1933, Death Street Address: 1162 Grant Ave, Death Place: New York City, Bronx, New York, USA, Cause of Death: Chronic Myocarditis, Acute Coronary Thrombosis
    Burial Date: 15 Sep 1933, Burial Place: MT Zion Cemetery, Occupation: Carpet-Eleaner
    Father’s Birth Place: Germany, Mother’s Birth Place: Germany, Father: Gersen Blumenfeld, Mother: Gitel Blumenfeld, Spouse: Johanna Bloomfield, Executor: Johanna Bloomfield, Executor Relationship: Wife, Certificate Number: 7827, New York City Department of Records & Information Services; New York City, New York; New York City Death Certificates; Borough: Bronx; Year: 1933, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Index to Death Certificates, 1862-1948 
  21. Gerard M Bloomfield, Gender: Male, Marriage Date: 19 Dec 1937, Marriage Place: Manhattan, New York, USA, Spouse: Kathryn Federman, Certificate Number: 28519, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937 ; Catheryne Federman, Gender: Female, Race: White, Birth Date: 24 Oct 1908
    Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York City, Kings, New York, USA, Residence Address: 49th Brooklyn 1122, Certificate Number: 35855, Father: Morris Federman, Mother:
    Queenie Federman, Mother Maiden Name: Mendel, New York City Department of Records & Information Services; New York City, New York; New York City Birth Certificates; Borough: Brooklyn; Year: 1908, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Index to Birth Certificates, 1866-1909. Federman family, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Manhattan, New York, New York; Page: 26A; Enumeration District: 0442; FHL microfilm: 2341291, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  22. Herman Kahn and family, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, Bronx, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02464; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 3-175, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  23. Gerard Bloomfield and family, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, Bronx, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02468; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 3-291,
    Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  24. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/80993503/johanna-bloomfield : accessed 07 February 2022), memorial page for Johanna Bloomfield (unknown–Oct 1955), Find a Grave Memorial ID 80993503, citing Mount Zion Cemetery, Maspeth, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Athanatos (contributor 46907585). 
  25. Herman Kahn, Birth Date: 12 Oct 1892, Death Date: 22 Sep 1957, Claim Date: 3 Oct 1957, SSN: 058100609, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  26.  Gerard Bloomfield, Social Security Number: 065-12-6905, Birth Date: 4 Dec 1905
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10471, Bronx, Bronx, New York, USA, Death Date: Sep 1975, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. “Gerard Bloomfield of Economic Panel,” The New York Times, September 11, 1975, p. 44, found at https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1975/09/11/76604030.html?pageNumber=44 
  27. Richard L Altman, Race: White, Age at Death: 84, Birth Date: 31 Jul 1897
    Death Date: 13 May 1982, Death Place: Broward, Florida, United States, Ancestry.com. Florida, U.S., Death Index, 1877-1998 
  28. Minnie Altman, Race: White, Birth Date: 9 Aug, Death Date: 8 Mar 1990
    Death Place: Broward, Florida, United States, Ancestry.com. Florida, U.S., Death Index, 1877-1998; death notice, South Florida Sun Sentinel, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
    10 Mar 1990, Sat • Page 34 

Moritz Blumenfeld’s Children and His Sister Berta Blumenfeld: Escape from Germany

As I slowly return to my genealogy work after losing my mother, I am weighted down by the world itself as well as other matters. I hope to get back to my regular posting schedule, but I am taking it slowly for now.

With that note, I will return to the history of my Blumenfeld family, picking up where I left off with the family of my second cousin, three times removed, Giedel Blumenfeld and her husband, Gerson Blumenfeld, my first cousin, four times removed, and Giedel’s first cousin, once removed.


When their mother Giedel Blumenfeld Blumenfeld died in 1883 at the age of 38, there were nine surviving children. Moritz, the oldest, was 16 when his mother died, and Franziska, the youngest, was just days shy of her first birthday. Their lives all took different directions, some living their whole lives in Germany, others immigrating as young adults to America, others coming to the US in the 1930s after Hitler came to power. Those choices had huge consequences for them and for their descendants. I will tell their stories separately while trying to keep in mind the bigger picture. This post will tell the story of the two oldest surviving children, Moritz and Berta (or Bertha).

Moritz was married to Blanka Bauer in 1895, according to the history of the Strauss family compiled by by Rabbi Isaak Strauss and Salomon Koppel Strauss, entitled Anleitung zum Stammbaum der Familie Strauss, and printed in 1910 by L. Schwann in Dusseldorf. I have not yet been able to locate an actual birth or marriage record for Blanka, but her death and burial records indicate that she was born in Merlau, Germany, on May 9, 1868, to Loeb Bauer and Fradchen Blumenfeld.1

Moritz and Blanka had four children. Gerda was born on June 16, 1896, in Kirchhain, Germany.

Gerda Blumenfeld birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 4997. Year Range: 1896, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Flora was born on June 9, 1898, in Kirchhain.

Flora Blumenfeld birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 4999, Year Range: 1898, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Gustav was born January 5, 1900, in Kirchhain.

Gustav Blumenfeld birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5001, Year Range: 1900, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

A fourth child, Herbert, was born on May 9, 1904, according to Anleitung zum Stammbaum der Familie Strauss by Rabbi Isaak Strauss, and Salomon Koppel Strauss.  I could not locate an actual birth record for Herbert, but that is consistent with his age at death as listed on his death record.2

After giving birth to these four children, Blanka died on January 17, 1909, when she was 40 years old, assuming the accuracy of her burial record on JewishGen. Her death record says she was 38 years old. Either way, she was very young and left behind her husband Moritz and their four young children. Thus, like their father Moritz, those four children grew up without their mother.

Blanka Bauer Blumenfeld death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5094, Year Range: 1909, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Moritz remarried on April 18, 1911, in Frielendorf, Germany. His second wife was Friedericke Plaut, who was born in Frielendorf on February 20, 1876, to Abraham Plaut and Betti Moses.

Marriage record of Moritz Blumenfeld and Friedericke Plaut, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 920; Laufende Nummer: 1591, Year Range: 1911, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Various sources indicate that Moritz and his second wife Friedericke had one child together, a son named Alfred born on August 2, 1912, but he is not listed in the 1910 Strauss Stammbaum book cited above since it predated his birth. The only record I’ve been able to locate for an Alfred Blumenfeld born on that date is a 1935 list of Jewish students at a school in Frankfurt in the collection of the United States Holocaust Memorial and Museum; it indicates that he was from Marburg and that he had left for South America.3 There is nothing that ties this record to Moritz and Friedericke, but, as we will see, there is one piece of evidence that indicates that there was a son named Alfred who ended up in South America.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; Washington, DC; Nazi Documentation-Munich Municipality (M.1.DN), 1925-1948; Record Group: RG-68.094M; File: rg-68.094m.0004.00000103, Ancestry.com. Munich, Germany, Nazi Documentation Regarding Jews, 1919-1946 (USHMM)

On May 1, 1922, Moritz’s son Herbert Blumenfeld died; he was only seventeen years old. I don’t know his cause of death, but how tragic to lose a son at such a young age.

Herbert Blumenfeld death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5107, Year Range: 1922, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Just ten years later, Moritz Blumenfeld himself died January 20, 1932, in Kirchhain, at the age of 65, according to a burial record listed on JewishGen.

When Moritz died, not one of his surviving children was married. The first to marry was Gustav Blumenfeld, who married Paula Blum on August 26, 1934, in Kassel, Germany. Paula was born in Mellrichstadt, Germany, on March 7, 1901, to Michael Blum and Ida Gutmann.4 Gustav and Paula did not have any children.

Fortunately, all the children of Moritz Blumenfeld left Germany in time to escape the Holocaust. Gerda and Flora left together, arriving in New York on April 4, 1935. They both changed their surnames to Bloomfield.5

Flora and Gerda Blumenfeld passenger manifest, Year: 1935; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 107, Ship or Roll Number: Washington, 
Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Their brother Gustav and his wife Paula arrived two years later on July 30, 1937, along with Berta Blumenfeld, Gerda, Flora and Gustav’s aunt and the sister of  their father Moritz Blumenfeld.  She was 69 years old at that time.6

By 1940, all three siblings were settled in New York. Gustav and Paula were living with his sister Gerda and with his aunt Berta (now Bertha) Blumenfeld in the Washington Heights neighborhood where many German Jewish refugees settled in the 1930s. Gustav was working as a salesman in a retail store, Paula as an operator for a manufacturer, and Gerda as a nurse for a private family.

Blumenfelds 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02676; Page: 14B; Enumeration District: 31-2115, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Flora Blumenfeld was working as a governess and living with a family with a five-year-old boy in the Bronx.7 Later that same year, Flora married Felix Viktor Vorcheimer. Felix was born in Thuengen, Germany, on May 4, 1896, to Adolf and Ida Vorcheimer,8

Bertha Blumenfeld died on December 16, 1944, in New York. She was 76 years old. She never married so has no descendants.9

Her nephew Gustav Blumenfeld died on April 2, 1945, in New York. He was only 45 years old.10 His widow Paula remarried in Detroit, Michigan, on April 14, 1951; her second husband was Moritz Marx.11

Flora and Gerda died within two months of each other. Flora died on March 17, 1974,12 and Gerda on May 19, 1974. 13 They were 76 and 78 years old, respectively.

As for Alfred Blumenfed, the youngest child of Moritz Blumenfeld, his son with his second wife Friedericke Plaut, as mentioned above, I have no official records that I can definitively tie to him. But this lovely death notice for Flora and Gerda certainly indicates that they had a brother named Alfred and that he, as the school register mentioned above indicated, had gone to South America. When he placed this death notice in the Aufbau newspaper, “Alfredo” was living in Cordoba, Argentina.14

Aufbau Newspaper, May 31, 1974, p. 25

The text translates as:

My sister, our cousin Gerda Bloomfield (Blumenfeld) (formerly Kirchheim/Kassel) was released from her long and patiently endured suffering on May 19, 1974, in the 78th year of her life. She followed her beloved sister Mrs. Flora Vorchheimer, née Blumenfeld, who died in the 76th year of her life after a short illness on March 17, 1974. We shall cherish their memory. Alfredo Blumenfeld, Cordoba, Argentina, and cousins.

The good news about this family is that they all escaped from Nazi Germany in time. But the sad news is that I’ve not located any descendants living today. Bertha Blumenfeld had no children. None of the children of her brother Moritz Blumenfeld and his first wife Blanka appear to have had children, and it appears from the obituary for their daughters Flora and Gerda that their half-brother Alfred also did not have any children as he only mentioned cousins, not nieces and nephews, among the mourners of his two sisters. But as I learned from my experiences with Albert Kaufmann, there is always the possibility that I just haven’t found those descendants yet.

 

 


  1. Blanka Blumenfeld, Gender: weiblich (Female), Age: 40, Birth Date: abt 1869
    Death Date: 17. Jan 1909 (17 Jan 1909), Death Place: Kirchhain, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Kirchhain, Father: Löb Bauer
    Mother: Fratchen Bauer, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5094, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958 
  2. Herbert Blumenfeld death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5107, Year Range: 1922, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958 
  3. United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; Washington, DC; Nazi Documentation-Munich Municipality (M.1.DN), 1925-1948; Record Group: RG-68.094M; File: rg-68.094m.0004.00000103, Ancestry.com. Munich, Germany, Nazi Documentation Regarding Jews, 1919-1946 (USHMM) 
  4. Gustav Blumenfeld, Declaration of Intention, he 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 529) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 407701-408700),
    Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943. Paula Marx [Paula Blumenfeld] [Paula Blum] Gender: Female, Birth Date: 7 Mar 1901
    Birth Place: Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: Nov 1992, Claim Date: 29 Dec 1965 Father: Michael Blum Mother: Ida Gutman  SSN: 07812568, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  5. E.g., Gerda Blumenfeld/Bloomfield 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, Description: (Roll 1302) Petition No· 371676 – Petition No· 372046, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943 
  6. Gustav and Paula Blumenfeld ship manifest, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 41, Ship or Roll Number: Hansa, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957. Berta Blumenfeld ship manifest, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 7; Page Number: 62, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957. 
  7. Flora Blumenfeld, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, Bronx, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02466; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 3-235B, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  8. Flora Bloomfield [Flora Blumonfeld] Gender: Female Race: White Marriage Age: 42
    Birth Date: Jun 1898 Birth Place: Kirchhain, Germany Marriage Date: 14 Aug 1940
    Marriage Place: New York, Manhattan, New York, New York, USA, Residence Street Address: 630 W. 122nd St., Occupation: None Father: Moritz Blumonfeld Mother:
    Blanka Blumonfeld Spouse: Felix Viktor Vorchheimer Certificate Number: 11414, New York City Department of Records & Information Services; New York City, New York; New York City Marriage Licenses; Borough: Manhattan; Year: 1940, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Index to Marriage Licenses, 1908-1910, 1938-1940 
  9. Name: Bertha Blumenfeld, Gender: Female, Race: White, Marital status: Single
    Age: 76, Birth Date: 27 Dec 1867, Birth Place: Germany-Kinschhain, Residence Street Address: 245 Ft Washington Ave, Residence Place: New York, Years in US: 7 1/2 Years
    Death Date: 16 Dec 1944, Death Street Address: 245 Fort Wahington, Death Place: New York City, Manhattan, New York, USA, Burial Date: 17 Dec 1944, Burial Place: Cedar Park Cem,N J, Occupation: Retired Housework, Father’s Birth Place: Germany
    Mother’s Birth Place: Germany, Father: Gerson Blumenfeld, Mother: Gudel Blumenfeld
    Certificate Number: 26617, New York City Department of Records & Information Services; New York City, New York; New York City Death Certificates; Borough: Manhattan; Year: 1944, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Index to Death Certificates, 1862-1948 
  10. Gustav Blumenfeld, Age: 45, Birth Year: abt 1900, Death Date: 2 Apr 1945
    Death Place: Manhattan, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 7811, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948 
  11. Paula Blumenfeld [Paula Blum] Gender: Female Race: White Age: 49
    Birth Date: abt 1902, Birth Place: Germany, Marriage License Place: Wayne
    Marriage Date: 14 Apr 1951, Marriage Place: Detroit, Wayne, Michigan, USA
    Residence Place: Detroit, Michigan, Father: Mike Blum Mother: Ida Gutman
    Spouse: Moritz Marx, County File Number: 802137, State File Number: 480889
    Michigan Department of Community Health, Division of Vital Records and Health Statistics; Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan, Marriage Records, 1867-1952; Film: 377; Film Title: 82 Wayne 479850-483199; Film Description: Wayne (Dates TBD), Ancestry.com. Michigan, U.S., Marriage Records, 1867-1952 
  12. Flora Vorchheimer Social Security Number: 095-42-4853 Birth Date: 9 Jun 1898
    Issue Year: 1964 Issue State: New York Last Residence: 10033, New York, New York, New York, USA, Death Date: Mar 1974, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  13. Gerda Bloomfield, Social Security Number: 081-14-2849, Birth Date: 16 Jun 1896, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10033, New York, New York, New York, USA, Death Date: May 1974, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  14. This also indicates that all those trees that say that Alfred died in Frankfurt in 1933 are not correct. 

Florence Goldschlager Cohen: A Life Filled with Love

Thank you to everyone who commented or emailed or texted me to express their condolences regarding the loss of my mother. I am deeply grateful to you all for your support during this difficult time. I hope to be back to regular blogging soon.

I wanted to share a little more about my mother’s life. She was born on October 15, 1930, in Brooklyn, New York. She was the third child of my maternal grandparents, Isadore Goldschlager and Gussie Brotman, whose stories were told in my family history novel, Pacific Street. My mother Florence was twelve years younger than her brother Maurice and thirteen years younger than her sister Elaine and so was very much the baby in the family. Her family lived in a small four unit building in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn at 1010 Rutland Road. My grandfather was a milkman whose route was overnight and whose earnings were limited, although my mother said she never felt poor. There was always good food on the table and a roof over their heads.

Goldschlagers 1931

My mother loved growing up in Brooklyn. Her best friend Beatty lived in the building, and as I wrote about here,  I was able to reconnect my mother and Beatty about six years ago after they’d been out of touch for seventy years.

My mother was a good student although being left-handed back then meant that the teachers tried to force her to write with her right hand. But she was too left-dominant for that. She was a voracious reader from a young age and visited the local library in Brooklyn often to borrow books.

Florence and Elaine Goldschlager

When she was eleven, her parents decided to move to a new apartment complex in the Bronx called Parkchester where my aunt had moved after she got married. My mother was devastated to leave behind her friends especially Beatty and her beloved dog Sparky.

Beatty and my mother c. 1940

But she adjusted to life in the Bronx and made new friends and graduated from high school in 1948.

Florence Goldschlager 1948

Two years later she met my father at a Jewish singles camp, as I described here. They were married in 1951 in New York and had a long and happy marriage until my father died in 2019.

Florence and John Cohen 1951

My mother was a stay-at-home mom until 1965 when she decided to get a job as a teacher’s aide in the local elementary school. Because she proved to be so skilled as a teacher, she soon moved up to be a resource room teacher working with children with different learning styles and challenges. She was a devoted, well-respected, and beloved educator for many years, and even after she retired from full-time teaching, she continued to tutor children for most of the rest of her life.

She had many interests and never stopped loving books as well as theater, music, travel, knitting, cooking, gardening, Cape Cod, and especially animals. She was absolutely crazy about dogs and cats, and our home was always filled with both. She had a wonderful sense of humor and incredible taste in clothes, decor, food, and art.

But perhaps the most important thing I can say about my mother is that she was an unbelievably kind, loving, and compassionate woman—especially to her family, but also to her students, her colleagues, her friends, and everyone who ever had the good fortune of spending any time with her. I know I will keep her close to my heart for the rest of my life.

You can learn more about my mother and her life in her obituary found here.

Ny mother and me, c. 1954

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

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

Thekla Blumenfeld Gruenbaum’s Children and Grandchildren

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Felix Blumenfeld’s Children and Grandchildren

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


  1. Franz Grunbaum, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Springfield, Hampden, Massachusetts; Roll: m-t0627-01710; Page: 62A; Enumeration District: 22-129, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  2. Franz Moritz Grunbaum, ship manifest, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 16, Ship or Roll Number: Rex, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  3. Franz Moritz Grunbaum, Marriage Year: 1938, Marriage Place: Springfield, Massachusetts, USA, Index Volume Number: 119, Reference Number: F63.M36 v.119
    Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-1955 and 1966-1970 
  4. Marriage record of Maria Strasser and Richard Bachmann, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 910, Year Range: 1924, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930 
  5. “Asks Dedham Court to Cancel Divorce,” The Boston Globe, 28 May 1937, p. 5. 
  6. Frank Gruen, Title: Springfield, Massachusetts, City Directory, 1959, Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 
  7. E.g., “German Again to be Taught,” Springfield Union, September 16, 1959, p. 27. 
  8.  Maria Gruen, Social Security Number: 017-20-3941, Birth Date: 21 Apr 1901
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: Massachusetts, Last Residence: 02138, Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA, Death Date: Jan 1980, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  9.  Frank Gruen, Social Security Number: 031-01-6909, Birth Date: 9 Apr 1899
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: Massachusetts, Last Residence: 02138, Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, USA, Death Date: Mar 1980, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  10. Curt Gruenbaum, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts; Roll: m-t0627-01685; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 16-82,  Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  11. Gertrude and Heinz Gruenbaum, ship manifest, Year: 1939; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 4; Page Number: 122, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  12. See note 10. 
  13. Henry Walter Grunbaum, Marriage Year: 1955, Marriage Place: Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, Index Volume Number: 159, Reference Number: F63.M36 v.159,
    Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-1955 and 1966-1970 
  14. Barbara Ann Gillespie, Birth Date: 1933, Birth Place: Boston, Massachusetts, USA, Volume Number: 35, Page Number: 201, Index Volume Number: 128
    Reference Number: F63.M362 v.128, Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Birth Index, 1860-1970; Barbara G Grunbaum, Birth Date: 23 Dec 1933, Residence Date: 1993
    Address: 29 Huron Ave, Residence: Cambridge, MA, Postal Code: 02138-6705, Ancestry.com. U.S., Public Records Index, 1950-1993, Volume 1. 
  15. Gertrude B Grunbaum, Certificate: 034745, Death Place: Cambridge. Death Date: 7 Jul 1977, Birth Place: Other, Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Death Index, 1970-2003 
  16. Kurt W Grunbaum, Certificate: 017505, Death Place: Cambridge, Death Date: 6 Feb 1985, Birth Place: Other, Birth Date: 23 Mar 1897, Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Death Index, 1970-2003 
  17.  Henry W. Grunbaum, Social Security Number: 024-26-8623, Birth Date: 29 Jan 1932, Issue Year: 1951-1952, Issue State: Massachusetts, Last Residence: 02138, Cambridge, Middlesex, Massachusetts, Death Date: 22 Oct 2008, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  18.  The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/950H, Enumeration District: BWCO, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register 
  19. Ernest Heyman, Race: White, Age: 40, Birth Date: 24 Jan 1902, Birth Place: Brussels, Belgium, Registration Date: 15 Feb 1942, Registration Place: Kew Gardens, New York, New York. Employer: Goodman and Theise Inc., National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New York City, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  20. Ernst Heymann and family, ship manifests, The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; BT27 Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and Successors: Outwards Passenger Lists; Reference Number: Series BT27-147363, Month: Nov, Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960; The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, Massachusetts, 1891-1943; NAI Number: 4319742; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85; Series Number: T843; NARA Roll Number: 451, Month or Roll: 451, Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1963 
  21.  Ernest Heyman, Social Security Number: 100-12-9367, Birth Date: 24 Jan 1902
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11375, Flushing, Queens, New York, USA, Death Date: Mar 1976, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  22. Ceci Herzog, Birth Date: 26 Apr 1895, Death Date: 13 Dec 1990, Claim Date: 3 Aug 1960, SSN: 110267687, Death Certificate Number: 169466, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  23.  Renate Herzoz, Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep, Registration District: Hampstead, Inferred County: London, Spouse: Hermann K A Luedecke, Volume Number: 1a, Page Number: 1109, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 1a; Page: 1109, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 
  24.  Carol A Luedioke [sic], Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep, Registration District: Hampstead, Inferred County: Greater London, Mother’s Maiden Name: Herzog, Volume Number: 5c, Page Number: 1526, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Reference: Volume 5c, Page 1526, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916-2007 
  25.  Guenther Cahn, Registration Quarter: Jan-Feb-Mar, Registration District: Hendon
    Inferred County: Middlesex, Spouse: Renate Luedecke Or Herzog, Volume Number: 5e
    Page Number: 1431, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 5e; Page: 1431, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 
  26.  The National Archives; Kew, Surrey, England; BT27 Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and Successors: Outwards Passenger Lists; Reference Number: Series BT27-, Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 
  27. I could not locate any records or obituaries for the deaths of Renata and Gunther Cahn so am referring to their profiles on MyHeritage for this information. 
  28. “Illinois, Cook County Deaths, 1871-1998,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:Q2MH-PGMM : 17 March 2018), Edgar L Field, 23 Jun 1954; citing Lincolnwood, Cook, Illinois, United States, source reference , record number , Cook County Courthouse, Chicago; FHL microfilm. 
  29. Anne Bloomfield, [Anne Prower] [Anne Field] [Anne Hanau]Gender: Female
    Race: White, Birth Date: 27 Mar 1906, Birth Place: Schiffweiler, France, Death Date: 24 Dec 1997, Father: Victor Hanau Mother:Mina May, SSN: 361208715
    Notes: Jul 1943: Name listed as ANNE BLOOMFIELD; : Name listed as ANNE PROWER; : Name listed as ANNE H FIELD; 04 Feb 1998: Name listed as ANNE H PROWER, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  30. Gerhard Max Bloomfield, petition for naturalization, National Archives at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois; ARC Title: Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1991; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Description: Petitions For Naturalization, V· 1291, No· 320051-320300, Ca· 1944-1946, Ancestry.com. Illinois, U.S., Federal Naturalization Records, 1856-1991 
  31. Gerd and Lotte Blumenfeld, ship manifest, The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, Massachusetts, 1891-1943; NAI Number: 4319742; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85; Series Number: T843; NARA Roll Number: 451, Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1963 
  32. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/9198671/gerd-m-bloomfield : accessed 16 October 2021), memorial page for Gerd M Bloomfield (3 Mar 1906–11 Aug 1959), Find a Grave Memorial ID 9198671, citing Jewish Cemetery, Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Robin Farley Dixson Coon (contributor 46558224) . 
  33. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/137430315/lottie-rosenthal-klein : accessed 16 October 2021), memorial page for Lottie Rosenthal Bloomfield Klein (27 Feb 1915–18 Oct 2010), Find a Grave Memorial ID 137430315, citing Jewish Cemetery, Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Gary Ayers (contributor 48159041) . 

Who Arranged Baruch Blumenfeld’s Burial? An Update

This is just a quick update to the questions raised in last week’s post about the death certificate of my relative Baruch Blumenfeld. I was mystified by the fact that someone named Mary Farley had made the burial arrangements as indicated on what (I thought) was the reverse of Baruch’s death certificate.

But then a very astute reader, Lisa K of the GerSIG group on Facebook, noticed that that was not in fact the reverse of Baruch’s death certificate, but the reverse of a death certificate for someone named James B. Graham. Boy, was I embarrassed that I hadn’t noticed that!

I sent away again to the Family History Library for Baruch’s death certificate, pointing out that they had sent the wrong image, and I’ve now received the correct image. Here it is:

As you can see, although it’s a bit hard to read, the person who arranged for Baruch’s burial was “M  Neuberger,” identified as his niece.

Some of you may recall that in 1920 Baruch was living with a widow and her daughter named Getta and Emma Neuberger. I am assuming Emma was the M Neuberger who arranged Baruch’s burial. Perhaps the person taking the information heard Emma as M.

Baruch Blumenfeld, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 14, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1212; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 1047
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

But was she in fact Baruch’s niece? I don’t think so. Getta Neuberger and her family came from Thalmassing, Germany, in Bavaria in the early 1900s.1 Thalmassing is over 200 miles from Momberg where Baruch had lived in Germany. All of Baruch’s siblings married people from the Hesse region, and none of them were named Neuberger or Schwab, Getta’s birth surname. Anything is possible, I suppose, but my guess is that Emma Neuberger saw Baruch like an uncle and thus called herself his niece in order to arrange his burial.

Getta Schwab Neuberger died in 1930,2 and Emma died in 1933.3 Like Baruch Blumenfeld, they are buried at Union Fields cemetery in Queens, New York. They may have been the closest thing he had to a family after leaving his family behind in Germany.


  1. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934, Name: Getta Neuburger, Gender: weiblich (Female), Ethnicity/Nationality: Bayern, Marital status: verheiratet (Married), Departure Age: 60, Birth Date: abt 1846, Residence Place: Thalmässing, Departure Date: 27 Okt 1906 (27 Oct 1906), Departure Place: Hamburg, Deutschland (Germany), Arrival Place: Cuxhaven; Boulogne-sur-Mer; Plymouth; New York, Ship Name: Pennsylvania
    Shipping Clerk: Hamburg-Amerika Linie (Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft), Shipping Line: Hamburg-Amerika Linie (Hamburg-Amerikanische Packetfahrt-Actien-Gesellschaft), Ship Type: Dampfschiff, Ship Flag: Deutschland
    Emigration: nein, Accommodation: 2. Klasse, Volume: 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 183
    Household Members: Getta Neuburger 60, Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Volume: 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 183; Page: 2591; Microfilm No.: K_1797, Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934 
  2. “New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949”, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WGW-1XW : 3 June 2020), Getta Newberger, 1930. 
  3. “New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949”, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2WGR-DGD : 3 June 2020), Emma Neuburger, 1933. 

Baruch Blumenfeld: Where and When Did He Die, Part II

The mystery of where and when Baruch Blumenfeld died led me down several rabbit holes to answer several questions. Did Baruch Blumenfeld move to New York and leave his wife Emma and his daughters and his grandchildren behind? Was the 1920 census accurate in reporting that he had immigrated to the US in 1869 and become a US citizen in 1875? If so, how did he marry Emma in 1872 and father two children between 1872 and 1875? And did he really die in New York City in 1923?

I turned to several Facebook groups for further help to confirm that this was the correct Baruch. First, I asked on Tracing the Tribe for help finding more information about the Baruch Blumenfeld who died in New York. My fellow Blumenfeld cousin Tova Levi suggested that I try and find a connection to the family with whom Baruch was living in 1920. That led me to search for Getta and Emma Neuberger and their place of origin, including locating their extended family in New York and searching for naturalization records that might reveal where they came from in Germany.

Baruch Blumenfeld, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 14, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1212; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 1047 Source Information Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

After hours of searching and getting help from the New York City genealogy group, the German genealogy group, and the GerSIG group, including from Sandy Hahn Lanman and Matt Luders, I concluded that the Neuberger family came from Thalmassig in Bavaria, not anywhere near Hesse where Baruch had lived, and that thus it was unlikely that my Baruch would have known them before coming to the US.

Steph Mayer, one of the members of the German Genealogy group, also was very helpful. She made several suggestions, including sending me a link to the entry for Baruch Blumenfeld on genealogy.net, an important Germany genealogy website. Steph recommended that I email the contact person, Hartwig Faber, to see if he had any additional information.

And so I did, and Hartwig helped solve one part of this mystery. He noted that on the 1900 marriage record for Baruch’s daughter Charlotte, Baruch is described as living at an unknown distance. That is, by 1900 Baruch’s whereabouts were no longer known by his family.

Marriage record of Charlotte Jeanette Blumenfeld and Hermann Hammel, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6510
Year Range: 1900, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Here is the transcription and translation of that part of the record:

Tochter des in unbekannter Ferne weilenden Kaufmanns Baruch Abraham Blumenfeld und der nochlebenden Ehefrau Emma geb. Docter wohnhaft in Neustadt.

Daughter of the merchant Baruch Abraham Blumenfeld, living in unknown distance, and the still living wife Emma, née Docter, living in Neustadt.

That record supports the possibility that Baruch did immigrate to the US and did die in New York in 1923.

But I can’t still cannot find a Baruch Blumenfeld on any ship manifest even when I search without limiting by dates or with wildcards on the name.

I also have had no luck finding any naturalization papers for him. I’ve gone through indexed and unindexed records on Ancestry and FamilySearch, and the only citizenship record that came close was a declaration of intention dated October 8, 1873 by a Baruch Blum. In that era declarations carried no identifying information other than the name and country of origin, so that doesn’t help very much. And I remain skeptical that Baruch would have been in the US at that time, given that he married Emma in 1872 and had a baby later that year and a second three years later.

I also cannot find a Baruch Blumenfeld on any census record in the US except the 1920 census. If he really immigrated to the US in 1869, he should have appeared on the 1870, 1880, 1900, and 1910 US census enumerations.

I did find a German-born Benny Blumenfeld living as a boarder in New York in 1915 on the New York State census of that year. He was 72, so born in or close to 1843. He had no occupation. Could that be Baruch? Maybe. It says he’s been in the US for 32 years or since 1883. That would make a lot more sense than 1869, the year given on the 1920 census. There’s even a young man listed below, also a boarder in the same household, who was a butcher. Do you think this could be my Baruch?

Benny Blumenfeld 1915 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 10; Assembly District: 10; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 38, District: A·D· 10 E·D· 10, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1915

But there is no one else with a similar name and age that I could locate on the 1900 or 1910 US census. My working hypothesis at this point is that Baruch Blumenfeld took on an assumed name when he immigrated and then changed it back years later.

When I received the copy of the actual death certificate for the Baruch Blumenfeld who died in New York in 1923, I was even more certain that he was the same person as my cousin Baruch Blumenfeld.

The first page of that certificate first of all made it clear that his mother’s surname was Strauss, not Lhauss. Secondly, his age is given as 80 years and eight months. Since he died in September, 1923, that means he was born in January, 1843. My Baruch was born on January 29, 1843. This definitely supports the conclusion that this was my Baruch Blumenfeld.

One other interesting bit of information is included on first page of the certificate. It reports that he had been living in the US and in New York for 42 years or since 1881. That would make a lot more sense than the year given on the 1920 census—1869. By 1881 both of Baruch’s daughters were born, and he very well might have left Germany around that time.

I was feeling pretty excited that I had enough information to confirm that this was my cousin Baruch Blumenfeld—until I looked at the reverse side of the certificate.

It indicated that Mary Farley, a sister of the deceased, had hired the undertaker to take care of Baruch’s burial. Mary Farley? A sister? There were many Mary Farleys living in the US 1923—too many to count. If I limited my search to New York City, I found 32 registered to vote in New York in 1924.1 I also searched for a Mary Farley born in Germany living in or near New York who might be the woman named on the death certificate. I only found one woman with that name born in Germany; she lived in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and was married to a native-born American named John Farley. Her maiden name was Richardt, not Blumenfeld.

UPDATE!! Thank you so much to Lisa K of the GerSIG group on Facebook for pointing out that this is NOT the reverse of the death certificate for Baruch Blumenfeld, but for someone named James Graham. So Mary Farley must have been HIS sister. I’ve now ordered a correct version of the reverse of Baruch’s death certificate.

I very much doubt any one of the many possible Mary Farleys was Baruch’s sister. Friend, neighbor, whatever—she likely said she was the sister so she could arrange the burial for him.

What do you think? Have I convinced you that the Baruch Blumenfeld who died in New York in 1923 was the same man born in Momberg, Germany, on January 29, 1843, to Abraham Blumenfeld II and Giedel Strauss? Please share you thoughts in the comments.

I am so very grateful to the genealogy village for all the help I’ve received to try and learn what happened to my cousin Baruch Blumenfeld.

Baruch Blumenfeld: Where and When Did He Die?

Searching for information about the death of my great-grandmother’s second cousin Baruch Blumenfeld led me down several rabbit holes. And I am still digging!

The first thirty years of his life were easy to uncover. Baruch Blumenfeld was the second child born to Abraham Blumenfeld II and Giedel Strauss. He was born on January 29, 1843, in Neustadt, Germany.

Baruch Blumenfeld birth record, Arcinsys Archives of Hessen, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 628, p. 13

On February 20, 1872, he married Emma Docter, daughter of Joseph Docter and Zerline Wallach. Emma was born on February 9, 1848, in Gilserberg, Germany; her father was a veterinarian. Baruch was a merchant.

Emma Docter birth record, Arcinsys Archives Hessen, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 359, p. 8

Marriage record for Baruch Blumenfeld and Emma Docter, Arcinsys Archives Hessen, HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 629, S. 19

Baruch and Emma had two daughters. Antonie was born in Momberg on December 25, 1872, and Charlotte Jeanette was born three years later on June 28, 1875, also in Momberg.

Antonie Blumenfeld birth record, Arcinsys Archives Hessen, HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 628, S. 29

Charlotte Jeanette Blumenfeld birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6458, Year Range: 1875, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Antonie married Sussel Siegfried Engelbert on November 5, 1894, in Neustadt. He was born on January 3, 1867, in Kassel, Germany, to Jacob Engelbert and Julie Oppenheim. Siegfried was a merchant.

Antonie Blumenfeld and Siegfried Engelbert marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6504, Year Range: 1894
Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

I am very grateful to Antonie’s great-granddaughter Marsha who shared the wonderful photographs of Antonie and her family included in this post. This is a photograph of Antonie and Siegfried on the occasion of their engagement.

Antonie Blumenfeld and Siegfried Engelbert engagement, c. 1894

Antonie and Sussel had three children. Margot Engelbert was born on November 15, 1895, in Kassel.

Margot Engelbert birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 910; Signatur: 910_5120, Year Range: 1895, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Joseph Julius Engelbert was born on October 18, 1897, in Kassel.

Siegfried Engelbert birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 910; Signatur: 910_5129, Year Range: 1897, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Elfriede Caroline Engelbert was born on June 3, 1900, in Kassel.

Elfriede Engelbert birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 910; Signatur: 910_5143, Year Range: 1900, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Here are two photographs of the Engelbert children, generously shared by Baruch’s great-great-granddaughter Marsha.

Elfriede Engelbert, c. 1901

Julius, Margot, and Elfriede Engelbert, c. 1902

On January 24, 1900, Antonie’s sister Charlotte married Hermann Hammel, son of Abraham Hammel and Karoline Kahn. Hermann was born in Roedelheim bei Frankfurt on November 5, 1867. He was previously married to Thekla Kass, who had died on July 21, 1898,  one week after giving birth to their daughter Caecelia, who then died when she was less than a month old on August 5, 1898.1 Charlotte and Hermann had one daughter together, Klara, born on February 17, 1901, in Frankfurt.

Marriage record of Charlotte Jeanette Blumenfeld and Hermann Hammel, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6510
Year Range: 1900, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Thus, by February, 1901, Baruch and Emma (Docter) Blumenfeld had four grandchildren.

Emma died on December 2, 1917; she was 69 years old. She’d been very fortunate to live to see those four grandchildren grow up or at least reach their teenage years.

Emma Docter Blumenfeld death record, Emma Blumenfeld, Maiden Name: Docter
Gender: weiblich (Female), Age: 69, Birth Date: abt 1848, Death Date: 2 Dez 1917 (2 Dec 1917)
Death Place: Kassel, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Kassel I
Father: Joseph Docter, Mother: Juline Docter, Certificate Number: 1512, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 910; Signatur: 5555, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Now we get to the mystery. Emma’s death record describes her as a widow, which would mean that Baruch had predeceased her. But I could not find a death record for Baruch in Germany nor has anyone else.

Several Ancestry trees and other secondary sources reported that Baruch died in New York City on September 22, 1923. When I first saw that, I was skeptical. Was this a mistake? Had someone attached a death record for the wrong Baruch Blumenfeld and then been copied by other tree owners?  I started to search for a source to prove where Baruch died.

Although I didn’t yet have the actual death certificate for the Baruch Blumenfeld who died on September 22, 1923, in New York, I found transcription on FamilySearch:2

Name    Baruch Blummenfeld

Sex         Male

Age        80

Residence Place Manhattan, New York, New York

Address 1505 E 83 St.

Burial Date         24 Sep 1923

Burial Place        Manhattan, New York, New York

Death Date         22 Sep 1923

Death Place        Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States

Death Place (Original)     Manhattan, New York, New York, United States

Birth Year (Estimated)     1843

Birthplace            Germany

Marital Status    Widowed

Occupation         Butcher

Race      White

Father’s Name   Abraham

Father’s Sex        Male

Father’s Birthplace           Germany

Mother’s Name Jette Lhauss

Mother’s Sex      Female

Mother’s Birthplace         Germany

Certificate Number          cn 23689

Cemetery            Union Fields

Note      Lenox Hill Hospital

In many ways this fit my Baruch Blumenfeld. He was a widower in 1923 and 80 years old. He came from a long line of butchers. His father’s name was Abraham. His mother’s name wasn’t Jette Lhauss, but it was Giedel Strauss, and that’s close enough to assume this was a transcription error by the indexer at FamilySearch.

But then…

I found a Baruch Blumenfeld on the 1920 US census living at the address given on this death certificate—1505 East 83rd Street in New York. He was single and living as a boarder with Getter [sic: actually Getta] and Emma Neuberger, who were also German born. But according to the census record, this Baruch had come to the US in 1869 and had become a naturalized US citizen in 1875.

Baruch Blumenfeld, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 14, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1212; Page: 2B; Enumeration District: 1047
Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

My Baruch married Emma Docter in 1872 and had two daughters between then and 1875 in Neustadt, Germany. How could he have been living in the United States and getting naturalized there? Was he living in New York and traveling to Germany to father those children? Or could the Baruch Blumenfeld living in New York be a different man who just happened to be born the same year and have a father the same name as my cousin Baruch?

More to come…including the actual death certificate.


  1.  Thekla Kass, Gender: weiblich (Female), Age: 24, Birth Date: 6 Jul 1871
    Marriage Date: 23 Dez 1895 (23 Dec 1895), Marriage Place: Frankfurt am Main, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Frankfurt am Main
    Father: Michael Kass, Mother: Esther Kass, Spouse: Hermann Hammel, Certificate Number: 46, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930. Thekla Hammel, Maiden Name: Kass
    Gender: weiblich (Female), Age: 27, Birth Date: abt 1871, Death Date: 21 Jul 1898
    Death Place: Frankfurt am Main, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany)
    Civil Registration Office: Frankfurt am Main, Father: Michael Kass
    Mother: Ester Kass, Certificate Number: 76, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister,
    Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958. Cäcilie Hammel, Age: 0
    Birth Date: abt 1898, Death Date: 5 Aug 1898, Death Place: Frankfurt am Main, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Frankfurt am Main
    Father: Hermann Hammel, Mother: Thekla Hammel, Certificate Number: 83,
    Personenstandsregister Sterberegister, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958. 
  2. “New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949”, database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:2W1H-FP1 : 3 June 2020), Baruch Blummenfeld, 1923. 

Photographs of My Hecht Cousins

Thanks to one grandson and three great-granddaughters of my great-aunt Taube “Tillie” Brotman Hecht, I have some photographs to share of Taube and Jacob’s children and grandchildren.

Harry Hecht’s granddaughter Jan shared these two photographs of Harry, Sophie, and their three children. The first is from Helene Hecht’s Sweet Sixteen celebration in 1944, and the second is from her sister’s Claire’s Sweet Sixteen in 1945:

Harry Hecht, Helene Hecht, Ed Hecht, Sophie Slotnick Hecht, and Claire Hecht 1944. Courtesy of Jan Lisa Huttner

Helene Hecht, Harry Hecht, Claire Hecht, Sophie Slotnick Hecht, Ed Hecht 1945.
Courtesy of Jan Lisa Huttner

Taube Brotman Hecht’s grandson Jerry shared these photographs of four of the Hecht sisters with him, probably taken in the 1940s:

Ruth Hecht Oshinsky, Joan Tushinsky, Etta Hecht Schwartz, Jerry Oshinsky, and Shirley Hecht Tushinsky Courtesy of Jerold Oshinsky

Shirley Hecht Tushinsky, Jerold Oshinsky, Etta Hecht Schwartz, Joan Tushinsky, Ruth Hecht Oshinsky c. 1947 Courtesy of Jerold Oshinsky

Ida Hecht Goldfarb’s granddaughters Sue and Debrah shared this photograph of the Hecht sisters and their families at a Hanukkah celebration in the 1950s:

Seated left to right: Joan Tushinsky, Sylvia Goldfarb Leyner Horowitz, Neil Horowitz, Shirley Hecht Tushinsky, Evelyn Goldfarb Block, Susan Leyner, Ida Hecht Goldfarb, Renee Gross, Jean Hecht Gross, Etta Hecht Schwartz. Standing left to right: Julius Goldfarb, Sam Oshinsky, Louis Tushinsky, Sam Block, Ethel Goldfarb Rothman, Louis Gross, Gertrude Goldfarb Levy, Herbert Rothman, Stan Rappaport, Ben Levy, Ruth Hecht Oshinsky c. 1955 Courtesy of Debrah Block-Krol and Sue Leyner Wartur

And Sue shared this photograph of the Hecht family at her wedding in 1959:

Etta Hecht Schwartz, Jean Hecht Gross, Louis Gross, Shirley Hecht Tushinsky, Louis Tushinsky, Joan Tushinsky. Standing are Sam Oshinsky, Ruth Hecht Oshinsky, Jerold Oshinsky. 1959. Courtesy of Sue Leyner Wartur

Jerry shared this undated photograph of Ruth Hecht Oshinsky, Joan Tushinsky, and Shirley Hecht Tushinsky:

Ruth Hecht Oshinsky, Joan Tushinsky, Shirley Hecht Tushinsky. Courtesy of Jerold Oshinsky

By the late 1950s, the family began to suffer losses of these Hecht siblings. Both of the Hecht brothers died in 1959. Harry Hecht died on February 11, 1959; he was 66 years old.1 His wife Sophie and their three children survived him. Sophie died sixteen years later on June 8, 1975; she was 81.2 There would be seven grandchildren to survive them.

Courtesy of Jan Huttner

Courtesy of Jan Huttner

David Hecht died ten months after his older brother Harry. He was 63 when he died on December 7, 1959.3

Sue shared this Hecht family photograph taken in 1961, the last photograph I have of all the Hecht sisters and their families:

Rear, left to right: Evelyn Goldfarb Block, Jerry Oshinsky, Renee Gross Rappaport, Stan Rappaport, Joan Tushinsky, Lou Tushinsky, Shirley Hecht Tushinsky, Ida Hecht Goldfarb, Lou Gross, Sylvia Goldfarb Horowitz, Susan Leyner. Middle row, left to right: Ruth Hecht Oshinsky, Jean Hecht Gross, Etta Hecht Schwartz. Front row, Toby and Jennifer Rappaport

Ida Hecht Goldfarb was the first Hecht sister to pass away. She died seven years after her brothers Harry and David on March 7, 1966, at the age of 71; she was survived by her husband Julius and their four daughters and nine grandchildren. Julius died two years later on November 20, 1968; he was 81.

Etta Hecht Schwartz was 77 when she died on February 4, 1976;4 her husband Nathan Schwartz had predeceased her in November 1965 when he was 72.5

Shirley Hecht Tushinsky died on December 20, 1980, when she was 77;6 her husband Louis Tushinsky had predeceased her. He’d died on December 6, 1977, when he also was 77.7They were survived by their daughter Joan.

Ruth Hecht Oshinsky and her husband Samuel Oshinsky both died in 1991.  Ruth was 86 when she died on February 7, 1991,8 and Samuel was 79 when he died on July 4, 1991.9 They were survived by their son Jerold and his family.

Jean Hecht Gross outlived all her siblings as well as her husband Louis Gross, who died on July 26, 1992, when he was 96.10 Jean was just a few months shy of her 101st birthday when she died on February 3, 2001.11 She was survived by her daughter Renee and her family.

The Hecht siblings—Harry, Ida, David, Etta, Jean, Shirley, Ruth, and Evelyn— were my mother’s (half) first cousins, yet as far as I know, she never knew them. Their children, Taube and Jacob’s grandchildren, are my (half) second cousins—including my cousin Jerry. Jan, Sue, and Debrah are my half second cousins, once removed.11 I am so grateful to them all for helping me tell the story of these two families, the Hechts and the Goldfarbs.


  1. Harry Sidney Hecht, Record Type: Military Service, Birth Date: 24 May 1892
    Military Date: 9 May 1919, Residence Place: Jersey City, New Jersey, Death Date: 11 Feb 1959, Ancestry.com. U.S., Veterans Administration Master Index, 1917-1940 
  2.  Sophie Hecht, Social Security Number: 140-18-4807
    Birth Date: 25 Apr 1894, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New Jersey
    Last Residence: 07306, Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Death Date: Jun 1975,
    Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  3. David Hecht, Age: 63, Birth Date: abt 1896, Death Date: 7 Dec 1959
    Death Place: Brooklyn, New York, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 24385,
    Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Death Index, 1949-1965 
  4.  Etta Schwartz, Death Date: 4 Feb 1976, Death Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Year Range: 1976; Surname Range: O-Z; Title: New Jersey, Death Indexes, 1904-2000, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Death Index, 1901-2017 
  5.  Nathan Schwartz, Social Security Number: 132-09-5377, Birth Date: 27 Apr 1893
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Death Date: Nov 1965, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  6.  Shirley Tushinsky, Social Security Number: 063-52-2110, Birth Date: 3 May 1903
    Issue Year: 1973, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11239, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, USA, Death Date: Dec 1980, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File; Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/64008057/shirley-tushinsky : accessed 22 June 2021), memorial page for Shirley Tushinsky (3 May 1903–20 Dec 1980), Find a Grave Memorial ID 64008057, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Erice Wilcox (contributor 47002678) . 
  7.  Louis Tushinsky, Social Security Number: 102-09-9667, Birth Date: 15 May 1900
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11239, Brooklyn, Kings, New York, USA, Death Date: Dec 1977, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/64008131/louis-tushinsky : accessed 22 June 2021), memorial page for Louis Tushinsky (3 May 1901–6 Dec 1977), Find a Grave Memorial ID 64008131, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Erice Wilcox (contributor 47002678) . 
  8. Ruth Oshinsky, Age at Death: 86, Birth Date: 2 Jun 1904, Death Date: 7 Feb 1991
    Death Place: Palm Beach, Florida, United States, Ancestry.com. Florida, U.S., Death Index, 1877-1998 
  9. Samuel H Oshinsky, Age at Death: 79, Birth Date: 25 Jan 1912, Death Date: 4 Jul 1991, Death Place: Palm Beach, Florida, United States, Ancestry.com. Florida, U.S., Death Index, 1877-1998 
  10.  Louis Gross, Social Security Number: 080-28-8420, Birth Date: 22 Oct 1895
    Issue Year: 1952-1953, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11374, Flushing, Queens, New York, USA, Death Date: 26 Jul 1992, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/88019160/louis-gross : accessed 22 June 2021), memorial page for Louis Gross (1896–26 Jul 1992), Find a Grave Memorial ID 88019160, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by DMC (contributor 47184694) . 
  11. Sue and Debrah are also my third cousins through Ida Hecht’s husband Julius Goldfarb, my grandmother’s first cousin, and so my double cousins, as I discussed in earlier posts

Taube Brotman Hecht’s Family Expands in the 1920s: Weddings and Grandchildren

My cousin Harry Hecht served valiantly in World War I and returned home safely. In 1920, he was back from the war and living at home in New York City with his parents Jacob and Taube (Tillie) Hecht and his seven siblings at 10 East 4th Street, revealing yet another move for the Hecht family.

The 1920 census reports that Jacob was 57, Taube was 47, and both now said they were born in Poland, a reflection of post-World War I boundary changes. Jacob said he immigrated to the US in 1887, and Taube said she arrived in 1885. Jacob was still an operator in a cloak factory; according to family lore, Jacob was a very talented tailor and clothing maker and made beautiful clothing for his daughters.1 He and Taube were still not US citizens.

Harry was a department store salesman; when he completed his Jewish Servicemen Questionnaire after his service, he wrote that he was working at Gimbels.2 David was a clerk for the War Department, and three of the sisters were working as stenographers: Etta, “Augusta” (Gussie), and Sadie.  The two youngest children, Rebecca (Rose, later Ruth) and Eva, were in school. The siblings now ranged from eleven year old Eva up to 27 year old Harry.

Hecht family, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 2, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1188; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 226 Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census

So Taube and Jacob still had a very large household in 1920. Fortunately by this time most of their children were working and Jacob no longer had to provide for them all on his earnings as a cloakmaker in a sweatshop.

In December 1924 Etta Hecht, the second oldest daughter and fourth child, married Nathan Louis Schwartz. 3 Nathan was born on May 27, 1893, in Romania, the son of Joseph and Esther Schwartz. They immigrated to the US in 1901 and settled in New York. Nathan was an artist; his World War I draft registration listed his occupation as “Jappanar.” From what I can find, it means that he created works that were varnished like works of Japanese art. His draft registration, however, says he was taking courses in medicine at Columbia as well.4

A Japanned tea tray. Elliott Brown from Birmingham, United Kingdom, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0&gt;, via Wikimedia Commons

By 1925, the family had once again relocated, this time to Jersey City, New Jersey, where Taube and Jacob’s oldest daughter Ida was living. Ida and Julius now had four daughters, Sylvia (1915), Gertrude (1917), Ethel (1923), and Evelyn (1925). Perhaps the lure of all those grandchildren was too much for Jacob and Taube, so they left New York and moved to New Jersey. Family lore5 is that Julius and Ida bought a house for Ida’s parents.

The 1925 Jersey City directory shows that Jacob was working as a tailor and Jean (formerly Gussie) and Shirley (formerly Sadie) were stenographers; they were living at 306 4th Street in Jersey City, presumably also with Taube and the younger children.

Hechts in 1925 Jersey City directory, Title : Jersey City, New Jersey, City Directory, 1925 Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995

Harry was also living in Jersey City, but at a different address, 364 Newark Street; most interesting to me is that he was working for my great-uncle and his first cousin, Herman Brotman. Herman is also listed in that 1925 Jersey City directory, and his place of business was at the same address Harry gave for his residence, 364 Newark Street.6

Two years later Harry married Sophie Slotnick in New York on May 9, in 1927.7 Sophie was born on April 25, 1894,8 in Russia, to Chaim Hersh Zolonitsky and Hadassah Hodes Levin. She arrived the US on August 21, 1911, as Shifre Zlotnitsky and said she was meeting her brother Alter (later Arthur) in New York.9 In 1915, she was living in New York with her sister Rose,10 and in 1920 she was living in Victoria, Texas with her brother Ed.11 But after Ed married in 1925, she returned to New York and in 1927, married Harry Hecht.

Here is a photograph of Harry and Sophie, courtesy of their granddaughter Jan:

Harry Hecht and Sophie Slotnick. Courtesy of Jan Lisa Huttner

Sophie and Harry had their first child Helene on October 4, 1928, in Brooklyn.12 They would have two more children in the next several years. In 1930 they were living in Brooklyn, and Harry was the proprietor of a store.13

Harry Hecht and family, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 15A; Enumeration District: 1357; FHL microfilm: 2341257, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

Jean Hecht also married around this time. She married Louis Gross, and the 1930 census indicates that they had been married two years at the time of enumeration so presumably in 1928.14 Louis was born Lieb on October 22, 1895, in Bojanow in what is now Poland to Herz (Harris in the US) Gross  and Chave (Eva in the US) Zuckerbrod.15  Louis and his mother and siblings immigrated to the US in 1906.16 Like Jean’s father Jacob, Louis’ father was a tailor. When he registered for the draft in 1917, Louis was working as a clerk for the Hy Grade Wine Company.17 In 1920, he was working in a candy store and living with his family in the Bronx.18

After Louis and Jean married, they settled in Jersey City, and in 1930, Louis was the owner of a luncheonette. They had one daughter who was born in 1930.

Gross family, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Page: 38B; Enumeration District: 0076; FHL microfilm: 2341087, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

Shirley Hecht was the third Hecht child to marry before 1930. According to the 1930 census, she’d been married to Louis Tuchinsky (later spelled Tushinsky) for a year when the census was enumerated.19 He was born in Kiev, Russia (now Ukraine) on May 4, 1900, and had immigrated when he was ten with his parents Jacob and Rose Tuchinsky.20 In 1920 Louis had been working as a spinner in a cotton and silk business and living with his parents on the Lower East Side.21

After they married, Shirley and Louis were living in Brooklyn. Louis was an operator in a shirt factory, and Shirley was doing clerical work in an office. Shirley and Louis had one daughter born in the 1930s.

Louis and Shirley Tushinsky 1930 census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 0211; FHL microfilm: 2341254, District: 0211, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census

Thus, by 1930, four of the children of Jacob and Taube Hecht were married: Harry, Ida, Jean, and Shirley. Harry and Shirley were living in Brooklyn, and Ida and Jean were living in Jersey City where Jacob and Taube also continued to live. Still at home living with their parents were David (34), Rose (24), and Eva (22), now called Evelyn. Jacob and Taube were still not US citizens, and Jacob was no longer employed. David was working as a real estate broker, and Rose and Evelyn were stenographers.

Jacob and Tillie Hecht 1930 US census
Year: 1930; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Roll: 1353; Page: 22A; Enumeration District: 0100; Image: 602.0; FHL microfilm: 2341088

I decided to track all the places Jacob and Taube had lived since they married. Between 1892 and 1930 they lived in at least nine places.

Finally Jacob and Taube seemed to have settled in one place, Jersey City, and Jacob was no longer responsible for supporting all those children. In fact, now it appears that their children were supporting them.

But unfortunately Jacob did not get to enjoy that luxury for very long.

 

 


  1. Email from Sue Wartur, September 28, 2016. 
  2. Harry S Hecht, Legal Residence: New York City, New York, Birth Date: 24 May 1892, Birth Place: New York City, New York, Series II: Questionnaires: Jews; Record Group Description: (B) Casualties (Boxes 6-9); Box #: 6; Folder #: 6; Box Info: (Box 6) H-Hez, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Jewish Servicemen Questionnaires, 1918-1921 
  3. Etta Hecht, Maiden Name: Hecht, Gender: Female, Marriage Date: Dec 1924
    Marriage Place: New Jersey, USA, Spouse: N S, New Jersey State Archives; Trenton, New Jersey; Marriage Indexes; Index Type: Bride; Year Range: 1920-1929; Surname Range: H – K, Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Marriage Index, 1901-2016 
  4. New York, County Naturalization Records, 1791-1980,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9M8-21J?cc=1999177&wc=MDSY-XZ9%3A326209701%2C329738001 : 7 November 2018), New York Petitions for naturalization and petition evidence 1918 vol 308, no 76051-76300 image 446 of 662; Citing multiple County Clerk offices of New York. Schwartz family, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 2, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1188; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 226, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census. Nathan Schwartz, World War I draft registration, Registration State: New York; Registration County: New York, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  5. See note 1. 
  6. Herman Brotman, Title: Jersey City, New Jersey, City Directory, 1925, Ancestry.com. U.S., City Directories, 1822-1995 
  7. Harry S Hecht, Gender: Male, Marriage License Date: 9 May 1927
    Marriage License Place: Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse:
    Sophie Slotnick, License Number: 7376, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Brooklyn, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  8. Sophie Hecht, Social Security Number: 140-18-4807, Birth Date: 25 Apr 1894
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New Jersey, Last Residence: 07306, Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey, USA, Death Date: Jun 1975, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  9. Shifre Zlotnitsky, ship manifest, Year: 1911; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 21; Page Number: 170, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957. Find a Grave, database and images (www.findagrave.com/memorial/75777178/haddasa-hodes-zolotnitzky : accessed 08 June 2021), memorial page for Haddasa Hodes Zolotnitzky (unknown–23 Nov 1924), Find a Grave Memorial ID 75777178, citing Mount Hebron Cemetery, Flushing, Queens County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Athanatos (contributor 46907585). 
  10. Sophie Zlotnick, 1915 NYS census, New York State Archives; Albany, New York; State Population Census Schedules, 1915; Election District: 16; Assembly District: 08; City: New York; County: New York; Page: 135, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State Census, 1915 
  11. Sophie Zlotnick, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Justice Precinct 4, Victoria, Texas; Roll: T625_1847; Page: 19B; Enumeration District: 154, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  12. Helene Huttner, Social Security Number: 149-16-9540, Birth Date: 4 Oct 1928
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New Jersey, Last Residence: 80904, Colorado Springs, El Paso, Colorado, USA, Last Benefit: 33446, Delray Beach, Palm Beach, Florida, USA, Death Date: 27 Nov 2007, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  13. Harry Hecht and family, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 15A; Enumeration District: 1357; FHL microfilm: 2341257, Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  14. Louis and Jean Gross, 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Jersey City, Hudson, New Jersey; Page: 38B; Enumeration District: 0076; FHL microfilm: 2341087,
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  15. Louis (Lieb) Gross, Declaration of Intention and Petition for Naturalization, The National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.C.; Petitions for Naturalization from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, 1897-1944; Series: M1972; Roll: 170, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Naturalization Records, 1882-1944; Gross family, 1910 US census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Manhattan Ward 11, New York, New York; Roll: T624_1012; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 1661; FHL microfilm: 1375025, Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census 
  16. Ship manifest, Year: 1906; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 27; Page Number: 93, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  17. Louis Gross, World War I draft registration, Registration State: New York; Registration County: Bronx, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918 
  18. Gross family, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Bronx Assembly District 4, Bronx, New York; Roll: T625_1136; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 249,
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  19. Dochinsky [Tushinsky], 1930 US census, Year: 1930; Census Place: Brooklyn, Kings, New York; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 0211; FHL microfilm: 2341254,
    Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census 
  20. Louis Tushinsky, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New York City, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147, Name Range: Schur, Samuel-Urban, George, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947; Tuchinsky, 1920 census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 2, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1186; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 116, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  21. Tuchinsky, 1920 US census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Manhattan Assembly District 2, New York, New York; Roll: T625_1186; Page: 6A; Enumeration District: 116,
    Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census