Meier Blumenfeld IIB, Part II: His Three Surviving Children Were All Murdered in the Holocaust

Meier Blumenfeld IIB, who died in 1922, and his wife Sarchen, who died in 1930, were survived by three of their five children: Moses Blumenfeld III and his wife Sarah Rothschild and their son Julius; Hermann Blumenfeld III and his wife Elsa Drucker and their three children, Eric, Hilde, and Liselotte; and Rosa Blumenfeld and her husband Julius Hess. As of 1933 when Hitler came to power, they were all living in Germany.

Tragically, all three of Meier IIB and Sarchen’s children were murdered in the Holocaust. Moses IIB and Sarah were deported to the Litzmannstadt Ghetto in Lodz on October 20, 1941, and died sometime thereafter. Fortunately, their son Julius escaped to Argentina in 1936. I don’t know what happened to Julius afterwards, but at least he managed to avoid the fate of his parents.1

Moses IIB’s sister Rosa and her husband Julius Hess were also both killed by the Nazis. They were deported on June 11, 1942, from Frankfurt either to the Sobibor death camp and/or to the camp at Majdanek, where they were murdered.2

Hermann Blumenfeld III and his wife Elsa were also murdered by the Nazis, as were their daughter Hilde and her family, despite the fact that they all had left Nazi Germany. Hilde had immigrated to Amsterdam in March 1934, and she had married Julius Seelig on April 28, 1937, in Amsterdam. Julius was born in Reichensachen, Germany, on December 10, 1908, to Joseph Seelig and Paula Wallach. Hilde and Julius had one child, a daughter Hanna born in Amsterdam on October 12, 1938. Julius and Hilde were divorced on June 9, 1942, and Julius soon remarried another woman, Margot Pauline Aharon, in July 1942.

Here are the Amsterdam registration cards for Hilde, Julius, and Hanna that report this information:

Amsterdam City Archives, Archive cards , archive number 30238 , inventory number 78
Municipality : Amsterdam, Period : 1939-1960, found at https://archief.amsterdam/indexen/deeds/98533418-6d7f-56a3-e053-b784100ade19

Amsterdam City Archives, Archive cards , Archive cards , archive number 30238 , inventory number 719, Municipality : Amsterdam, Period : 1939-1960 found at https://archief.amsterdam/indexen/deeds/9853340a-857d-56a3-e053-b784100ade19

Amsterdam City Archives, Archive cards , archive number 30238 , inventory number 719
Municipality : Amsterdam, Period : 1939-1960, found at https://archief.amsterdam/indexen/deeds/9853341a-53f7-56a3-e053-b784100ade19

Hilde’s parents Hermann and Elsa came to Amsterdam later than Hilde, arriving in May 1939, according to Hermann’s Amsterdam registration card.

Amsterdam City Archives, Archive cards , archive number 30238 , inventory number 78
Municipality : Amsterdam
Period : 1939-1960 found at https://archief.amsterdam/indexen/persons?sa=%7B%22person_1%22:%7B%22search_t_geslachtsnaam%22:%22Blumenfeld%22,%22search_t_voornaam%22:%22Hermann%22%7D%7D

But escaping to Amsterdam did not keep any of them safe. According to records at Yad Vashem, Hermann and Else were sent to the Westerbork Detention Camp in 1943 and from there deported to Auschwitz where they were both killed on February 11, 1944.

Hilde and her daughter Hanna were also first sent to Westerbork in August 1943 and then to Auschwitz. Hilde died on January 31, 1944, and her five-year-old daughter Hanna on February 11, 1944, according to Yad Vashem.

Fortunately, Hilde’s two siblings survived the Holocaust. Erich Blumenfeld immigrated to Palestine on September 13, 1937, and became a naturalized citizen there on December 19, 1939.3

Erich married Miriam Emerich, daughter of Robert and Hannah Emerich, on April 6, 1941.4

Erich changed his name in 1948 to Eliezer Shadmon. Shadmon means farm in Hebrew, and according to Erich/Eliezer’s application for naturalization, he was working as a farmer at Ein Harod at that time, as seen in the images above.5 Unfortunately, I’ve not yet found any further information about Erich/Eliezer.

Liselotte Blumenfeld, the youngest child of Hermann III and Else, immigrated to the US and arrived in New York City on August 5, 1937. She was heading to Lexington, Kentucky, according to the ship manifest,6 and in 1940, she was living with James and Nanette Strause in Fayette, Kentucky and working as a nurse, presumably for their seven year old son. I don’t know why Liselotte chose Kentucky as her destination, but I assume there was some friend or family member living there when she immigrated or she had arranged the job before leaving Germany. (I’ve recently learned that another branch of the Blumenfeld family that I’ve yet to research settled in Kentucky long before the 1930s, so perhaps that was Liselotte’s connection. To be determined…)

On January 10, 1943, Liselotte, referred to here as Liesel Lotte Bloomfield, married Corporal Herbert Isaak in Louisville, Kentucky.

“Bloomfield-Isaak Wedding in Louisville,” Lexington Herald-Leader, January 17, 1943, p. 18

Herbert was born in Munich, Germany, on March 21, 1920, and had immigrated to the US on April 25, 1941; he’d enlisted in the US Army on January 5, 1942. His parents were Emil Charles Isaak and Therese Meyer.7 Liselotte and Herbert had one child born in the 1940s. According to his obituary, Herbert had survived the Dachau Concentration Camp and had served as a field-commissioned second lieutenant in the US  Army at the Nuremberg Trials.8

In 1950, the family was living in New York City, and Herbert was working as a traveling salesman for a “ladies suits and coats factory.”9 The family must have relocated to the South at some later date because, according to Herbert’s obituary, “he was a traveling sales representative of women’s coats in Virginia and the Carolinas and had a showroom in Charlotte, N.C.”10 Herbert died on November 18, 2001, in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; he was 81. Liselotte outlived him by thirteen years; she was just a few days shy of her 97th birthday when she died on November 5, 2014. Herbert and Liselotte were both buried at Florence National Cemetery in Florence, South Carolina.11

I haven’t yet determined whether Liselotte Blumenfeld Isaak or Erich Blumenfeld/Eliezer Shadmon have living descendants. Nor have I found more information about their cousin Julius Blumenfeld, the son of Moses IIB. I am hoping that there are more descendants alive to carry on the legacy of Meier Blumenfeld IIB and his wife Sarchen Moses and their children.


  1. “Uruguay, listas de pasajeros, 1888-1980,” database, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3Q9M-C33M-19T3?cc=2691993 : 30 June 2020), > image 1 of 1; Archivo General de la Nación, Dirección Nacional de Migración (General Archive of the Nation, National Migration), Montevideo. Also, see Arolsen Archives, Digital Archive; Bad Arolsen, Germany; Lists of Persecutees 2.1.1.1, Description Reference Code: 02010101 oS, Ancestry.com. Free Access: Europe, Registration of Foreigners and German Persecutees, 1939-1947 
  2. The Gedenbuch and Yad Vashem records mention both camps. I guess the evidence of where Rosa and Julius ended up is unclear, but their ultimate fate is not. 
  3. Erich Blumenfeld, Palestine Immigration File, found at the Israel Archives website at https://www.archives.gov.il/catalogue/group/1?kw=erich%20blumenfeld 
  4. Marriage record found at the Israel Genealogy Research Association website by searching for Erich Blumenfeld. https://genealogy.org.il/AID/ 
  5. Name change found at the IGRA website by searching for Eliezer Shadmon. https://genealogy.org.il/AID/ 
  6. Liselotte Brilea Ingeborg Blumenfeld, ship manifest, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 21; Page Number: 37,
    Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  7. Herbert Jsaak [Herbert Isaak] Gender: Male Race: White Birth Date: 21 Mar 1920
    Birth Place: Munich, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 18 Nov 2001, Father:
    Emil Jsaak Mother: Therese Meyer SSN: 046143654, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007; Herbert Isaak, Petition for Naturalization, The National Archives at Atlanta; Atlanta, GA; Petitions For Naturalization , Compiled 1906-1978; NAI: 1275754; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States; Record Group Number: 21, Ancestry.com. Kentucky, U.S., Naturalization Records, 1906-1991; Herbert Isaak, National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland, USA; Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946; NAID: 1263923; Record Group Title: Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, 1789-ca. 2007; Record Group: 64; Box Number: 04782; Reel: 142, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 
  8. “Herbert Isaak,” Myrtle Beach Sun-News, November 21, 2001, p. 35. 
  9. Herbert Isaak and family, 1950 US census, United States of America, Bureau of the Census; Washington, D.C.; Seventeenth Census of the United States, 1950; Record Group: Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790-2007; Record Group Number: 29; Residence Date: 1950; Home in 1950: New York, New York, New York; Roll: 4377; Sheet Number: 12; Enumeration District: 31-2180, Ancestry.com. 1950 United States Federal Census 
  10. See Note 8, supra. 
  11. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/138910393/liesel-isaak: accessed 21 September 2022), memorial page for Liesel Bloomfield Isaak (23 Nov 1917–5 Nov 2014), Find a Grave Memorial ID 138910393, citing Florence National Cemetery, Florence, Florence County, South Carolina, USA; Maintained by Danny & Judy Ard (contributor 47789022); Liesel Isaak, Rank: T/5, Death Age: 96, Birth Date: 23 Nov 1917, Death Date: 5 Nov 2014, Interment Place: Florence, South Carolina, USA, Cemetery Address: 803 East National Cemetery Road, Cemetery Postal Code: 29501, Cemetery: Florence National Cemetery, Section: 11 Plot: 37, War: World War II, Branch of Service: US Army
    Relative: Herbert Isaak, Comments: Wife, National Cemetery Administration; U.S. Veterans’ Gravesites, National Cemetery Administration. U.S., Veterans’ Gravesites, ca.1775-2019; 

Finding Max Blumenfeld and His Family: A Postscript

Yesterday I Zoomed with four of my Blumenfeld cousins—Richard, whose been my research partner for quite a while now, his first cousin Jim, who is also a wonderful genealogy researcher, and the two surviving grandchildren of Max Blumenfeld, Max and Omri. We spanned three continents—Omri in Israel, Richard in Switzerland, and Max, Jim, and I in New England. We chatted for an hour, but could have gone on much longer and hope to continue the conversation another time.

During our conversation, we uncovered the answer to a question we still had been unable to answer despite all our research: when did Anna Grunwald Blumenfeld, Max Blumenfeld’s widow and Omri and Max’s grandmother, leave Italy and immigrate to Israel/Palestine? The records that Richard had obtained from Merano said she’d left in 1939, but Max had pointed out that that wasn’t possible since he and his sister were cared for by their grandmother Anna during World War II while their mother Edith worked with the Italian Resistance. Their father Josef had immigrated to the United States on November 1939.

For our Zoom, Omri had prepared a wonderful slide show of family photographs, some of which I’ve already shared on this blog, and some that were new to me. Among those photographs was one that helped to answer the question of when Anna arrived in Palestine. The photograph shows Anna in Palestine with two of her grandsons, Omri’s brothers Gideon and Hillel. Anna was holding Hillel, who was just a very small baby, and the photo was inscribed in Hebrew with the words, “Hillel is born! Oma [Anna] arrives! 29 May 1946.” So now we knew that Anna had only recently arrived in Palestine in May of 1946.

Here is another photo taken the same day showing Anna with Gideon and Hillel and their parents Fritz and Dora.

But then how do we explain the records that said Anna had left Merano in 1939? Well, Max had the answer to that question. Max explained that Anna and her daughter Edith and the two grandchildren, Max and his sister Margherita, all left Merano in 1939 and moved to Milan. Max has no memories of life in Merano since he was only a toddler when the family moved. But that would explain why the Merano records report that Anna left that place in 1939.

Max and his family stayed in Milan for several years, and then when Italy adopted laws persecuting the Jews in about 1942, his mother Edith was able to use her connections to obtain permission to leave Milan and move to the countryside outside of Milan.  The family remained there for the duration of the war, hiding the fact that they were Jews. They spoke Italian (although they all could also speak German) so that they could pass as Italian, and Max and his sister went to church on Sundays. In fact, Max and Margherita were not aware of the fact that they were Jewish and also didn’t know that their father was still alive—all to prevent the children from accidentally revealing the fact that they were Jews.

After the war, Edith took her children to America so they could all be reunited with Josef, and Anna went to Palestine to be with her son Fritz and his family, as depicted in the photograph above.

We spoke of many other interesting things during our Zoom, and there were many stories and many moments of laughter interspersed. It was truly a delightful hour and one I will always cherish and remember.

Thank you to Omri, Max, Richard, and Jim—all of whom are my fifth cousins, four people I never would have known if not for doing genealogy research.

And that, dear readers, is the magic of genealogy.

Clementine Blumenfeld Abraham’s Family: Her Sons Escaped; She, Her Husband, Daughter, Son-in-Law, and Grandson Did Not

I have returned from my break, and unfortunately, I have another sad post to publish about my third cousin, twice removed, Clementine Blumenfeld Abraham. Clementine was the youngest child of Moses Blumenfeld IIB, and like her siblings Hermann and Bertha, she and much of her family were killed in the Holocaust.

Clementine’s daughter Lilli married Leon Gerstenhaber sometime before June 23, 1937, when their son David was born in Metz, France.1 Leon was also born in Metz, France; he was born to Simon Gerstenhaber and Dinah Beiser on November 31, 1901.2

Martin Abraham, Clementine’s older son, traveled from Germany to France in 1932, perhaps to visit his sister Lilli, and then in the spring of 1936, he immigrated to Palestine. The documents below including his German passport are from his Palestinian immigration file found at the Israel State Archives. Martin married Corinne Bloch, who was born in Trimbach, France, on May 13, 1912. She immigrated to Palestine in 1938, and they had one child together born in the 1940s.

 

Martin’s brother Walter also immigrated to Palestine, arriving just a couple of months after Martin on July 24, 1936, as seen in these documents from the Israel State Archives.

Unfortunately, Clementine, her husband Richard Abraham, their daughter Lilli, and her husband Leon and their son David did not follow Martin and Walter to Palestine. They were all killed at Auschwitz. Richard was deported from the Drancy concentration camp to Auschwitz on Transport 40 on November 4, 1942. Clementine was also deported from the Drancy Camp to Auschwitz on Transport 62 on November 20, 1943. Lilli and her family were also sent from the Drancy concentration camp in France to Auschwitz on January 20, 1944 on Transport 66.

Clementine Blumenfeld Abraham, Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=612790&ind=2

Richard Abraham Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=612794&ind=2

Lilli Abraham Gerstenhaber Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem, https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=1949660&ind=2

Leon Gerstenhaber Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=13857240&ind=1

David Gerstenhaber, Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=1390876&ind=2

Thus, three of Moses IIB’s five surviving children—Hermann, Bertha, and Clementine—and most of their children and grandchildren were killed by the Nazis. I am totally drained by telling their stories and reading these Pages of Testimony. I am also so grateful that Israel exists to provide a sanctuary for those who escaped.

The remaining two children of Moses IIB and Sara Blumenfeld, Salomon and Max, were more fortunate than their other siblings.

 

 

 

 


  1. See Page of Testimony for David Gerstenhaber filed by Hilde Schattner at Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=1390876&ind=2 
  2. See Page of Testimony for Leon Gerstenhaber filed by nephew Michael Gerstenhaber at Yad Vashem, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=13857240&ind=1 

In Honor of Yom HaShoah and Yom HaAtzmaut: Hermann Blumenfeld and His Family

After Moses IIB and Sara (Stern) Blumenfeld died, Moses in 1911, Sara in 1928, they had five surviving children and eleven grandchildren.

Hermann and his wife Helma had two children: Hilde Nomi and Hans. Bertha and her husband Ludwig Fernich had two children: Jenny and Else. Salomon and his wife Malchen or known more often as Amalie had three: Gretel, Jenny, and Hilde. Clementine and her husband Richard Abraham had three: Lilli, Martin, and Walter.  Max and his wife Johanna Gruenwald had one child, a son Fritz.

Of those twenty-one family members, only about half are known to have survived the Holocaust. In addition, some of the great-grandchildren of Moses IIB and Sara were also killed in the Holocaust. This post will tell the story of Hermann Blumenfeld, the oldest child of Moses IIB and Sara. It is an appropriate post for today, just a day after Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, and just six days before Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel Independence Day, because although Hermann and his wife Helma were murdered in the Holocaust, their two children survived by escaping to what was then Palestine, but what became the independent state of Israel in 1948.

Hermann Blumenfeld and his wife Helma were deported from Frankfurt to the Littmanstadt Ghetto in Lodz, Poland, on October 19, 1941, and were killed sometime thereafter.

Hermann Blumenfeld, Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem by his daughter Hilde, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=1899981&ind=1

Helma Lillienstein Blumenfeld Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem by her daughter Hilde, found at https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=1899975&ind=1

Fortunately, their two children both left Germany earlier and eventually immigrated to what was then Palestine.

Hilde Nomi left Germany for Oslo, Norway, on August 19, 1933, and then entered Palestine on April 22, 1936. She applied for citizenship there on May 23, 1938, when she was living near Haifa and working as a teacher. She became a Palestinian citizen on June 21, 1938. You can see her full immigration file at Blumenfeld Hilda _ מחלקת ההגירה – ממשלת ארץ ישראל – בקשות לאזרחות _ ארכיון המדינה

Hilde Blumenfeld, Palestine Immigration file found at the Israel State Archives at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/

She remained in Palestine, later Israel, and married Isaac Schattner in Jerusalem on February 17, 1942.

Marriage record of Hilde Blumenfeld and Isaac Schattner, found at the Israel Genealogy Research Association at https://genealogy.org.il/AID/

Hilde Nomi died on January 2, 2012.

Her brother Hans arrived in Palestine on July 1, 1935, when he was seventeen. He applied for Palestinian citizenship on September 13, 1938, and was granted citizenship on October 16, 1938. He was working as a laborer at that time and living in Jerusalem. His full immigration file can be seen here: Blumenfeld Hans _ מחלקת ההגירה – ממשלת ארץ ישראל – בקשות לאזרחות _ ארכיון המדינה

Hans Blumenfeld Palestine immigration file found at the Israel State Archives at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/

Hans remained in Palestine, later Israel, and married Ruth Herman in Jerusalem on August 8, 1941. His marriage record confirmed my earlier assumption that he was in fact the son of Hermann and Helma Blumenfeld.

Marriage record of Hans Blumenfeld and Ruth Herman, found at the Israel Genealogy Research Association at https://genealogy.org.il/AID/

In 1947, Hans changed his first name to Hanan.

IGRA website found at https://genealogy.org.il/AID/

At some later point Hanan changed his surname to Bar Sadeh. He and his first wife Ruth were divorced, and in November 1954, he married Esther Asch, daughter of Hillel and Fredericka Asch. I am indebted to David Lesser of Tracing the Tribe who translated the headstone and then went even further and found the wedding announcement for Hanan and Esther on p. 3 of the November 22, 1954, issue of Hatzofe (the Observer), an the Israeli newspaper.  David translated the announcement as follows: “Hanan Bar-Sadeh (Blumenfeld) son of Herman, Divorcee, Germany Tel-Aviv to Esther Ash Daughter of Hillel, Single, Germany Tel-Aviv.”

According to their gravestone, Esther was born May 29, 1925, and died on June 25, 2006. Hans died on September 1, 2004.

Hanan Bar-Sadeh gravestone found at GRAVEZ at https://gravez.me/en/deceased/9A0712A0-3749-4251-A557-E8EDAA465AF2

Thus, because they were able to escape to what was then Palestine and is today Israel, the children of Hermann Blumenfeld and Helma Lillienstein survived the Holocaust. Unfortunately, Hermann and Helma did not.

Nor did Bertha Blumenfeld Fernich and most of her family, as we will see next.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Children and Grandchildren of Caroline Blumenfeld Hoxter: Leaving Germany

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you had a good holiday season and are safe and healthy. I have been trying to relax and gain some perspective on 2021, a tough year, and prepare for 2022, a year I expect to be just as tough. But genealogy and family history always help me put things in perspective, so I am ready to return and find new meaning and new discoveries in the history of my family.

Let me refresh your memories of where I was back in December 2021. I have been writing about my Blumenfeld branch and more specifically the line that begins with my four-times great-uncle Moses Blumenfeld and goes from his son Abraham Blumenfeld IIA to Abraham’s daughter Caroline Blumenfeld Hoxter. We saw that Caroline’s son Siegmund died fighting for Germany in World War I, that her husband Simon died in 1932, and that her daughter Toni Hoxter Goldschmidt and her family had all escaped from Nazi Germany by 1940.

But what about Caroline herself and her two other daughters, Betty and Gerda? What happened to them and their families?

Again I want to thank the Shoah Foundation for allowing me to have access to the interview done with Arthur Goldschmidt,1 Toni’s son, so that I could learn more about the fate of his family, including that of his aunts Betty and Gerda. I am also deeply grateful to Peter Keibel, grandson of Gerda Hoxter Goldschmidt, for sharing the speech his mother Jane Inge Goldschmidt gave to a middle school in Vermont in early 2020 about her experiences during the Nazi era.

Like Arthur and Miriam, her nephew and niece, Betty Hoxter Oppenheimer and her husband Max and their two children Lotte and Franz Siegmund left Germany not long after Hitler’s rise to power. According to Arthur, Max Oppenheimer was a doctor, and once he was restricted by Nazi law from being able to practice medicine fully, he and his family left for England. But they must not have stayed there long because on November 26, 1934, they arrived in Palestine. Max was a physician, Lotte, their daughter, was an orthopedist, and their son, who became Shimon, was a carpenter. By 1938, they had all obtained citizenship to Palestine.2

Max and Betty (Hoxter) Oppenheimer, Palestinian citizenship cards found at the Israel State Archives, at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/

Lotte Oppenheimer, Palestine citizenship card, found at the Israel State Archives, at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/

The family of Gerda Hoxter Goldschmidt, the youngest child of Caroline Blumenfeld and Simon Hoxter, had a harder time escaping from Germany. Gerda’s daughter Inge Goldschmidt, who became Jane in the US and who is Peter Keibel’s mother, provided this description of her family’s life in Germany before and during the Nazi era in a speech she gave to a middle school in Vermont in early 2020:3

My father owned a department store in that town [Wuppertal]. My sister and I attended public schools. My father was well known because of the store and we were in comfortable circumstances. … In 1933 when Hitler came to power my father’s store was closed to make the population aware that the owner was Jewish and to discourage the people from doing business with a Jewish establishment. Some days later business resumed at a normal rate, but our lives changed. It seems that every year another law was passed that made our lives almost unbearable. We could not attend school any more or use public pools. Park benches were marked where we could sit. [The Nazis] burned books by Jewish authors and … destroyed Jewish businesses. On November 9, 1938, Kristallnacht started, the synagogues, Jewish houses of worship were destroyed. Many Jewish men were sent to concentration camps.

Our parents were well known and liked. Our father was tipped off by an official and was therefore able to leave town and avoid internment. The Gestapo did come to our house to look for him, but we were not molested, and our house was not ransacked. We did not know where he went. Occasionally he called, but those were very tense days for us. His safety was always on our minds. After his return, he was seriously looking to leave the country.

We had received a quota number from the US Embassy, but we were also aware that it was a very high number and there was no way we could leave before a year or two. So my father searched for a country that we could go to while waiting for our quota number. Of course, the store was closed and had to be sold to the Germans for a very minimal amount. He preferred to leave Europe as he did not think it was safe to stay there. America let only a designated number of people to immigrate into their country. My father purchased Visas ($250 for each person which in today’s dollars is $4,362) for Cuba and booked passage on the ocean liner, SS St. Louis that belonged to a German shipping company.

Thus, Gerda and her family were among those who sailed to Cuba on the ill-fated St. Louis in May 1939.

For those who don’t know the story of the St. Louis, it is one example of the shameful and tragic ways the US government failed to respond to the cries for help of those seeking to escape the horrors of the Holocaust. Jane’s telling of the story will continue in my next post.

 

 


  1. Arthur Goldschmidt, Interview 8542,  Visual History Archive, USC Shoah Foundation,  November 10, 1995. Accessed 15 August 2021, from the archive of the University of California Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, found at https://sfi.usc.edu/what-we-do/collections 
  2. The Palestine citizenship papers can be found at the Israel State Archives by searching for their names. Unfortunately, the site does not provide specific links to those results, but the site can be found at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/ 
  3. Jane Inge Goldschmidt Keibel, Speech to Hazen School, Hardwick, Vermont, 2020, shared by Peter Keibel. 

Leaving Germany: The Family of Toni Hoxter Goldschmidt

By 1930, the three daughters of Caroline Blumenfeld and Simon Hoxter were married, and each had two children. Their son Siegmund had been killed fighting for Germany in World War I, but their lives otherwise as middle-class German Jews must have seemed secure and comfortable. Here is a wonderful photograph of Caroline and Simon, shared by their great-grandson Peter:

Simon and Karoline (Blumenfeld) Hoxter. c. 1930 Courtesy of the family.

The next decade saw the family ripped apart and separated as each daughter and her family had to find a way to escape from Nazi Germany. But even before Hitler came to power, the family faced another loss. Simon Hoxter died in Marburg, Germany, on June 10, 1932, at the age of 79.

Simon Hoxter death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5739, Year Range: 1932, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Less than a year later, Hitler came to power, and soon thereafter members of the family began to look for ways to leave Germany. I am grateful to the Shoah Foundation for providing me with access to the interview given by Arthur Goldschmidt, Caroline and Simon’s grandson and the son of Toni Hoexter and Sally Goldschmidt, in which Arthur shared much of the story of how most of his relatives escaped from Germany. Much of the information in this post came from Arthur’s interview, except where noted.1

Arthur and his sister Miriam were among the first to make plans to leave Germany. Arthur, who had been raised in the town of Hersfeld, described a relatively innocent childhood in that town. It was a town of about 12,000 people where most people worked as cattle dealers, but also as lawyers and doctors and merchants and other tradesmen. His father Sally owned a haberdashery store and did business with Jews and non-Jews in the town. Aside from some anti-Semitic taunting on occasion, Arthur experienced no sense of danger and no physical assaults. He went to school with and was friends with both Jewish and non-Jewish children. When he was sixteen, Arthur left school and left Hersfeld. He went to the city of Hamm in Westphalia about three hours from Hersfeld, where he trained in a department store to be a salesman. He was there for four years until Hitler came to power in 1933.

Here is a photograph of Hersfeld that Arthur shared with the Shoah Foundation. The building in the left background with the two little turrets is the house where Arthur and his family lived.

Arthur Goldschmidt. Arthur Goldschmidt, Interview 8542,  Visual History Archive, USC Shoah Foundation,  November 10, 1995. Accessed 15 August 2021, from the archive of the University of California Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, found at https://sfi.usc.edu/what-we-do/collections

In October 1933, Arthur joined a cousin in Berlin where a Zionist organization was training young people to become farmers in preparation for immigration to Palestine. Arthur was there until June 1934, working for a farmer who happened to be a Nazi, but who, according to Arthur, was very kind to him and the other Jewish youth. (He did note that they were providing the farmer with free labor.)  From there, Arthur was sent by the Zionist organization to Yugoslavia to continue his training until December 1935 when he received a certificate to go Palestine. He arrived in Palestine in January 1936.

Meanwhile, the rest of his immediate family was also experiencing relocation. His parents Sally Goldschmidt and Toni Hoxter relocated from Hersfeld to Marburg in 1933 after Sally’s haberdashery business began to fail as a result of Nazi persecution. He no longer could do business with non-Jewish residents, and many of the Jewish residents were leaving or planning to leave Germany. They decided to move in with Toni’s mother, Caroline Blumenfeld Hoxter, who still owned her home in Marburg after the death of her husband Simon in 1932.

Their daughter Miriam left Marburg for New York, arriving on November 1, 1934. She listed her occupation on the ship manifest as a clerk and listing her cousin Rosalie Livingston as the person she was going to in the US.2 On September 27, 1936, after settling in New York, she married Rudolf Lauter, who was also a refugee from Germany. Interestingly, Rudolf was born and had last lived in Hamm, Germany, the same city that Miriam’s brother Arthur had lived in from 1929 to 1933. Rudolf was born on April 27, 1906, the son of Isidore Lauter and Helene Schonberger.3

Thus, by 1936 Toni and Sally’s children Arthur and Miriam were safely out of Germany. Arthur was living on a kibbutz near Rehovoth in Palestine, working at the new port in Tel Aviv that had opened after the Arab-controlled port in Jaffa was closed to Jewish businesses. Miriam urged Arthur to come to the US, and in 1938 when she was able to provide an affidavit for her brother, he was able to do that. He arrived on May 31, 1938,4 and after a brief stay with Miriam and Rudolf, he got a job on a farm in upstate New York in the town of Windsor near Binghamton; he was living there with some paternal cousins in 1940.

But Toni Hoxter and Sally Goldschmidt, Arthur and Miriam’s parents, were still in Germany, living in Marburg. According to Arthur’s testimony, his father was taken to Buchenwald. Arthur didn’t know when or for how long, but he said the experience forever changed his father; my guess is that this was after Kristallnacht in November 1938 when thousands of Jewish men were rounded up and taken to Buchenwald. Sally had served for Germany in World War I, earning the Iron Cross. His brother and his brother-in-law Siegmund Hoxter, Toni’s brother, were both killed fighting for Germany in that war, and Sally could never forgive Germany for ignoring his service and those sacrifices just twenty years later, imprisoning him in a concentration camp and destroying his business and his family’s life.

By the spring of 1940, Arthur was able to provide an affidavit for his parents to leave Germany, and on April 29, 1940, Toni and Sally (soon to be known as Sol) arrived in New York.5 According to Arthur, that was the last or one of the last ships allowed to sail from Europe after the war broke out. At that time Arthur’s sister Miriam and her husband Rudolf and their daughter were living in Bridgeport, Connecticut, where Rudolf was working as a butcher.6 Thus, Toni Hoxter Goldschmidt’s family was safely out of Germany by the spring of 1940.

What about Toni’s sisters Betty and Gerda and their families? And what about their mother Caroline? What happened to them? And what happened to Toni and Sol and their children Miriam and Arthur after arriving in the US? Those stories will be told next.

But not until early January 2022. I will be taking the next couple of weeks off from blogging.

Happy Holidays to All! I wish all my readers who celebrate a merry Christmas and a happy New Year to everyone! May 2022 bring us all good health and peace and progress on the many challenges facing us all, globally and personally.

 

 

 

 


  1. The information in this post, except where otherwise noted, is from the Shoah Foundation interview with Arthur Goldschmidt. Arthur Goldschmidt, Interview 8542,  Visual History Archive, USC Shoah Foundation,  November 10, 1995. Accessed 15 August 2021, from the archive of the University of California Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History and Education, found at https://sfi.usc.edu/what-we-do/collections 
  2. Miriam Goldschmidt, Gender: Female, Ethnicity/ Nationality: Hebrew, Marital status: Single, Age: 23, Birth Date: abt 1911, Birth Place: Germany, Other Birth Place: Hersfeld, Last Known Residence: Frankfurt, Germany, Departure Port: Hamburg, Germany,Arrival Date: 1 Nov 1934, Arrival Port: New York, New York, USA, Final Destination: Chicago, Illinois, Years in US: Permanently, Citizenship Intention: Yes, Height: 5 Feet, 8 Inches, Hair Color: Blonde, Eye Color: Blue, Complexion: Fair, Money in Possession: 50 Person in Old Country: Sally Goldschmidt, Person in Old Country Relationship: Father Person in Old Country Residence: Marburg.gy, Person in US: Rosalie Livingston, Person in US Relationship: Cousin, Father: Sally Goldschmidt, Ship Name: Manhattan Year: 1934; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 12; Page Number: 32, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  3. Naturalization papers for Rudolf Lauter and Miriam Goldschmidt, Court District: Southern District, New York, Description: (Roll 1332) Petition No. 383569 – Petition No. 383997, 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: 1332, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Naturalization Records, 1882-1944. The naturalization papers filed for both Rudolf and Miriam indicate that they were married on September 27, 1936, but that Rudolf did not arrive in the US until December 24, 1936. I had no way to reconcile these two recorded assertions, but I then I found Rudolf on a passenger manifest arriving in New York on August 20, 1936. Given that there was just a month between his arrival and his marriage to Miriam, I believe they must have known each other in Germany before immigrating to the US. Since on that manifest Rudolf indicated he was intending to stay only four months, my hunch is that he then returned to Germany after they married and came back to the US permanently on December 24, 1936, as indicated on his naturalization papers. Rudolf Lauter, Marital status: Single,Age: 30, Birth Date: abt 1906, Birth Place: Germany, Other Birth Place: Hamm, Last Known Residence: Amsterdam, Hamburg??
    Place of Origin: Germany, Departure Port: France, Arrival Date: 20 Aug 1936
    Arrival Port: New York, New York, USA, Years in US: 4 Months, Citizenship Intention: No, Height: 5 Feet, 11 Inches, Hair Color: Brown, Eye Color: Brown, Complexion: Dark
    Money in Possession: $200, Person in Old Country: Helene Lauter, Person in Old Country Relationship: Mother, Person in Old Country Residence: Germany
    Person in US: George H Lauter, Mother: Helene Lauter, Ship Name: Washington
    Year: 1936; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 3; Page Number: 108, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  4.  Arthur Goldschmidt, Gender: Male, Ethnicity/ Nationality: Hebrew, Marital status: Single, Age: 24, Birth Date: abt 1914, Birth Place: Germany, Other Birth Place: Hersfeld
    Last Known Residence: Telaviv, Palastine, Place of Origin: Palastine, Departure Port: Cherbourg,France, Arrival Date: 31 May 1938, Arrival Port: New York, New York, USA
    Final Destination: L. I., New York, Years in US: Permanently, Citizenship Intention: Yes
    Height: 5 Feet, 9 Inches, Hair Color: Brown, Eye Color: Brown, Complexion: Fair
    Money in Possession: 19.00, Person in Old Country: Sally Goldschmidt, Person in Old Country Relationship: Father, Person in Old Country Residence: Marburg. Person in US: Miriam Lauter, Person in US Relationship: Sister, Father: Sally Goldschmidt
    Sibling: Miriam Lauter, Ship Name: Aquitania, Year: 1938; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 18; Page Number: 103, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  5. Sally and Toni (Hoxter) Goldschmidt ship manifest, Year: 1940; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 9; Page Number: 85, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  6. Lauter family, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Bridgeport, Fairfield, Connecticut; Roll: m-t0627-00532; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 9-92, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 

Hedwig Goldschmidt Cramer’s Three Sons: Can You Help Me Find More Records?

In the last post we saw that Hedwig Goldschmidt Cramer’s daughter Rosa Cramer Oppenheimer died young, her grandson William Oppenheimer died very young, and her son-in-law Arthur Oppenheimer also died young. But Rosa and Arthur’s three remaining children survived those losses and also survived the Holocaust.

This post will look at Hedwig’s three sons, Max, Sally, and Herbert Cramer, and their families in the 20th century. Unfortunately, there are many places in this post where I had to rely on secondary sources, which I am always reluctant to do, but I was unable to find many primary sources for the Cramer sons and their descendants. If anyone has suggestions—especially for finding Israeli birth, marriage, and death records and some English death records—please let me know.

UPDATE: Thank you to the many people who reached out to help, including Yehuda  from Tracing the Tribe, Anne from the German Genealogy Group on Facebook, Shirley, my cousin by marriage and friend, and a blog reader BRegenstein. I am updating this post with some of the new information and records I’ve received from them.

I was, however, able to learn more about the three Cramer sons from the book written by their nephew Arnold Selig Oppenheimer, and that source provided more inisghts into these three men. It also included some wonderful images including these portraits of Selig Goldschmidt and his wife Clementine Fuld and two photographs of their daughter Hedwig Goldschmidt Cramer:

From Arnold S Oppenheimer, The Story of My Life (2007)

From Arnold S Oppenheimer, The Story of My Life (2007)

Now, the story of Hedwig’s sons in the 20th century.

Max Cramer

From Arnold S. Oppenheimer, The Story of My Life (2007)

Max Cramer married Sidonie Charlotte Gestetner, the daughter of David Gestetner and Sophie Lazarus, in 1908.1 Sidonie was born in Islington, England, on March 12, 1888,2 and that’s where the two married.

Max and Sidonie settled in Frankfurt where their first child Ilse Caroline Cramer was born on September 17, 1909.3 Her sister Ellen was also born in Frankfurt, two years later on September 21, 1911.4 A third daughter Hilda was born on February 3, 1916,5 followed almost exactly two years later by Max and Sidonie’s fourth daughter Nelli Else, born February 13, 1918.6

When the Nazis took power in Germany, Max and his children all left Germany. Max went to Palestine. According to his Palestinian immigration papers, Max Cramer and his first wife Sidonie divorced in May, 1935, and Sidonie returned to England. Max then went to Palestine on October 21, 1935, first as a visitor, but he ultimately decided to stay and become a citizen. In 1949, he married Elfriede Sachs Gluecksohn in Israel.7 Max died in Jerusalem on July 22, 1952, according to his profile on Geni.

UPDATE: Thank you to Yehuda from TTT for locating Max’s headstone on Gravez, which confirms his date of death.

Max Cramer, Palestine Immigration File, Israel Archives, found at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/archives/Archive/0b07170680034dc1/File/0b07170680ee723e

As for the children of Max and Sidonie, their oldest daughter, Ilsa Caroline Cramer, was the only one who did not immigrate to England, according to various secondary sources. According to the research of David Baron and Roger Cibella, Ilsa married Marcel Fruchter Peri in Palestine in 1939, had one child, and died on March 21, 1954, in Tel Aviv, Israel. Profiles on My Heritage list her husband as Walter Skotzki and with no children, but with the same year of death. I’ve been unable to locate any primary source to verify any of these facts other than other profiles on My Heritage, Geni, and Ancestry.

Max and Sidonie’s three other daughters ended up in England with their mother Sidonie, who married Hans Feibusch, an artist, in 1935 right after her divorce from Max Cramer.8  The 1939 England and Wales Register lists Sidonie, Hans, and the three Cramer daughters in one household living in London. Hilda was working as a secretary-copywriter, Nelli was not employed, and Ellen was a studio photographer, listed under the surname Kay.

Sidonie Cramer Feibusch and family , The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/467I, Enumeration District: AROJ, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register

According to Baron and Cibella, Ellen Theresa Cramer had married Leo Knoepfelmacher in Prague, Czechoslovakia (today, the Czech Republic) on April 15, 1933. Leo was born on October 23, 1904, in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia. I have no marriage record for Ellen and Leo. They had two sons born in the 1930s, one in Vienna, one in Tel Aviv.9

I located a ship manifest for Ellen and her two sons dated September 21, 1936, showing that she and her sons were residents of Palestine, sailing to England to become permanent residents. It also indicates that she and her sons were Czech citizens. Leo was not sailing with them.

Ellen Cramer Knoepfelmacher, ship manifest, The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and successors: Inwards Passenger Lists.; Class: BT26; Piece: 1110, Month: Sep, Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960

So by 1939, as suggested by the 1939 England and Wales Register shown above, Ellen and Leo were apparently no longer together and she had changed her suname to Kay. But where were her sons on the 1939 register? And where was Leo?

He married a second time in England in 1942 to Elizabeth Irvine,9 but died less than four years later in England in January 1942 when he was only 41.10 Ellen Cramer Kay died June 28, 1962, in England; her listing on the probate calendar names her sisters Nelli and Hilda, but not her sons.11 I cannot find any record for either of them after that 1936 ship manifest.

UPDATE: Shirley located a marriage listing for one of the sons, showing he married in 1961. Since he may still be living, however, I won’t publish the specific details. Thank you, Shirley!

As for Ellen’s two sisters who survived her, Nelli and Hilda, Hilda married Frank Werth in London on March 24, 1950.12 They had two children in the 1950s. Frank died December 2, 1990.13 I’ve not been able to locate any record of Hilda’s death. Perhaps she is still living at 104.

UPDATE: Thank you to Anne from the German Genealogy Group on Facebook for alerting me to the fact that the General Register Office in the UK had updated its listings for births and deaths. Anne located Hilda Werth’s death on that index as being registered in the first quarter of 2013. To know the exact date, I need to order a copy of the record itself. I also searched for a death notice in The Gazette, as BRegenstein suggested, but unfortunately have not found one.

Nelli Cramer, the youngest of Max Cramer’s daughters, married Alfred Bozwiecki, who according to Baron and Cibella was born in Warsaw, Poland, on February 18, 1899.14 Alfred died in London on September 30, 1971,15 and Nelli died five years later on February 4, 1976, also in London.16 She was 57. As far as I can tell, Nelli and Alfred had not had children.

Sally Cramer

From Arnold S. Oppenheimer, The Story of My Life (2007)

As with Max Cramer, I am missing many records for his brother Sally. I’d love help tracking them down. For example, I have no marriage record, only information from his nephew Arnold Oppenheimer’s book and from Baron and Cibella. Like his older brother Max who married a woman from England, Sally Cramer married a woman from a foreign country. Baron and Cibella report that on January 29, 1911, he married Felicitas Weil in Strasbourg, France. Felicitas was born in Strasbourg on August 10, 1889.17 According to Arnold Oppenheimer, Felicitas became nearly blind after a failed operation, but had a “vivacious educated personality and played the piano well.”18

Like Max, Sally returned to Germany, and Sally and Felicitas had two children born there. A daughter Marion was born in Frankfurt on April 3, 1913,19 and a son Robert was born December 29, 1918, in Bad Neuheim, Germany.20

By 1939, Sally and Felicitas had escaped from Nazi Germany and were living in London. On the 1939 England and Wales Register, Sally described his occupation as a “veterinary preparations maker.” I have absolutely no idea what that means!

Sally Cramer and family, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/827H, Enumeration District: BKEN, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register

There is one line blacked out on the register, which I assume was for their son Robert. I only have two records for Robert. One is the card from the index of those whose German nationality was nullified by the Nazis, and the other is the card exempting him from being interned as an enemy alien by England in 1939. That card shows that Robert was training with the Modern Telephone Company and was living at the same address—26 Eagles Lodge—as his parents in 1939. Robert would marry Elizabeth Rosenberg in London in 1950, and they had two children born in London.21

Robert Cramer, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/14, Piece Number Description: 014: Internees at Liberty in UK 1939-1942: Cohn-Cz, Ancestry.com. UK, World War II Alien Internees, 1939-1945

Marion, Sally and Felicitas’ daughter, was already married and living in New York by 1939. She had immigrated to New York on September 2, 1937, and married Fritz Ludwig (Fred) Wolf in New York two and a half weeks later on September 19, 1937. Fritz was born on October 23, 1911, in Hamburg, Germany.  On her declaration of intention, Marion’s occupation is listed as interpreter/housewife. That was also true on her ship manifest, where she indicated that Fritz Wolf, her fiance, was the person she was traveling to in New York.22

Marion Cramer Wolf, declaration of intention, The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; NAI Title: Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1/19/1842 – 10/29/1959; NAI Number: 4713410; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: 21, Description: (Roll 529) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 407701-408700), Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

On the 1940 census, Marion and Fritz were living in Queens, New York, and Fritz was working as a “customer man” for a stock brokerage and Marion as a private secretary for an architect. Marion indicated that she had been living in Hamburg in 1935 while Fritz said he’d been living in Paris. He and Marion had two children born after the 1940 census.23

I don’t have much information about Sally and his family after 1940.  According to the English Probate Calendar, Sally died on June 12, 1951, in London, but Arnold Oppenheimer wrote that he died in the US while visiting his daughter Marion24. His widow Felicitas died on October 24, 1983.25 I could not find any record of deaths for either of their children. Marion and Robert would both be over one hundred years old now.

UPDATE: Thank you to Anne from the German Genealogy Group on Facebook for pointing out that I misread this! Sally’s probate notice does say he died in the US.

UPDATE: I went back and found an obituary for Marion Cramer Wolf. She died on July 26, 2017, at the age of 104. Death notice, New York Times, August 4, 2017. The notice described Marion as “Former Guggenheim museum reading room librarian. Lover of the arts, books and everything beautiful.” It can be found here.

Herbert Cramer

From Arnold S Oppenheimer, The Story of My Life (2007)

The youngest child of Hedwig Goldschmidt and Hirsch Cramer, Herbert, volunteered for the German army in World War I and served at the front. After the war he opened a small art gallery in Frankfurt.25 He married Elsa Seligmann on August 6, 1920, in Frankfurt. Elsa was the daughter of Leopold Seligmann and Anna Bockmann and was born on July 11, 1894, in Frankfurt.

Herbert Cramer marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Herbert and Elsa had one child, a daughter Ruth born in Frankfurt, on August 14, 1921.26

In the 1930s Herbert organized the first exhibit of Chagall paintings in Frankfurt. Then in 1933 he and his family left Germany for Italy.27 From there they immigrated to Palestine on March 2, 1939, and became naturalized citizens of Palestine on April 16, 1941. He listed his occupation as manager of the Society of the Friends of the Jewish National Museum on his application for Palestinian citizenship.

Herbert Cramer, Palestine Immigration File, Israel Archives, https://www.archives.gov.il/en/archives/Archive/0b07170680034dc1/File/0b07170680b58628

Sadly, Herbert died just six years later on April 24, 1947, in Jerusalem, according to a profile on My Heritage. His nephew Arnold Oppenheimer wrote that Herbert was killed when a convoy he was traveling with was ambushed by Arabs.27 His widow Else and daughter Ruth and Ruth’s husband Charles Taubes moved to Australia where Else died in 198328 and Ruth in 2011.29 They were survived by Ruth’s daughter.

UPDATE: Thank you to Yehuda from TTT for locating Herbert’s gravestone on Gravez and Ruth Cramer’s marriage record.

Thus, Hedwig Goldschmidt Cramer’s children and descendants ended up spread all over the world—to Israel, England, the United States, and Australia. Now if I only could find more records for them.

UPDATE: Once again, thanks to those who helped. I am still looking for the birth records for Max Cramer’s children born in the 1920s in Frankfurter, marriage records for Ilse Cramer, Max’s daughter, a marriage and death record for Robert Cramer, who may have died in Israel or in England. I will keep looking.

 


  1. Max Meyer Cramer, Registration Year: 1908, Registration Quarter: Apr-May-Jun
    Registration District: Islington, Inferred County: London, Volume: 1b, Page: 707
    Max Meyer Cramer, Sidonie Charlotte Gestetner, FreeBMD. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1837-1915 
  2. Sidonie Charlotte Gestetner, Registration Year: 1888, Registration Quarter: Apr-May-Jun, Registration District: Islington, Inferred County: London
    Volume: 1b, Page: 394, FreeBMD. England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915. Sidonie Feibusch, Gender: Female, Marital Status: Married, Birth Date: 12 Mar 1888, Residence Year: 1939, Address: 8 Westminster Court, Residence Place: St Marylebone, London, England, Occupation: Unpaid Domestic Duties, Line Number: 15
    Schedule Number: 8, Sub Schedule Number: 2, Enumeration District: AROJ, Borough: St Marylebone, Registration district: 7/3, Inferred Spouse: Hans N Feibusch, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/467I, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register 
  3. I have no actual biirth records for any of Max Cramer’s children, but had to rely on secondary sources.  MyHeritage profile, https://www.myheritage.com/research/record-1-217644591-1-543485/ilse-caroline-skotzki-born-cramer-in-myheritage-family-trees 
  4.  Ellen Theres Kay, Gender: Female, Marital Status: Married, Birth Date: 21 Sep 1911, Residence Year: 1939, Address: 8 Westminster Court, Residence Place: St Marylebone, London, England, Occupation: Studio Photographer, Line Number: 19
    Schedule Number: 8, Sub Schedule Number: 6, Enumeration District: AROJ
    Borough: St Marylebone, Registration district: 7/3, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/467I, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register. 
  5.  Name: Hilde Clementine Cramer, Gender: Female, Birth Date: 3 Feb 1916
    Birth Place: Frankfurt a/M, Germany, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/220,
    Ancestry.com. UK, World War II Alien Internees, 1939-1945 
  6.  Nelli Cramer, Birth Date: 13 Feb 1918, Birth Place: Frankfurt am Main, Last Residence: Frankfurt am Main, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, DC; Name Index of Jews Whose German Nationality Was Annulled by the Nazi Regime (Berlin Documents Center); Record Group: 242, National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized, 1675 – 1958; Record Group ARC ID: 569; Publication Number: T355; Roll: 2, Brüll, Erna – Fränkel, Werner, Ancestry.com. Germany, Index of Jews Whose German Nationality was Annulled by Nazi Regime, 1935-1944 
  7. David Baron and Roger Cibella, Goldschmidt Family Report. Arnold S. Oppenheimer, The Story of My Life (2007, Jerusalem), p. 5. 
  8.  Sidonie C Cramer, Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep, Registration District: Marylebone, Inferred County: Middlesex, Spouse: Hans N Feibusch, Volume Number: 1a, Page Number: 1783, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 1a; Page: 1783, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 
  9.  Leo Knopfelmacher, Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep, Registration District: Bradford, Inferred County: Yorkshire West Riding, Spouse: Elizabeth E Irvine, Volume Number: 9b, Page Number: 267, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 9b; Page: 267, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 
  10.  Leo Knoppelmacher, Death Age: 41, Birth Date: abt 1905, Registration Quarter: Jan-Feb-Mar, Registration District: Pancras, Inferred County: London, Volume: 1b, Page: 75, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 1b; Page: 75, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 
  11.  Ellen T Kay, Death Age: 50, Birth Date: abt 1912, Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep, 1962 Registration District: Paddington, Inferred County: London, Volume: 5d
    Page: 122, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 5d; Page: 122,
    Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007. Ellen Theresa Kay, Death Date: 28 Jun 1962, Death Place: London, England, Probate Date: 12 Oct 1962, Probate Registry: London, England, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995 
  12. Ancestry.com. England, Andrews Newspaper Index Cards, 1790-1976; Hilda C Cramer, Registration Quarter: Jan-Feb-Mar 1950, Registration District: Marylebone
    Inferred County: Middlesex, Spouse: Frank E Werth Or Wertheimer, Volume Number: 5d, Page Number: 713, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 5d; Page: 713, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 
  13.  Frank Edward Werth, Death Age: 72, Birth Date: 26 Apr 1918, Registration Date: Dec 1990, Registration District: Camden, Inferred County: Greater London., Volume: 14
    Page: 1849, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 14; Page: 1849, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007; Frank Edward Werth, Death Date: 2 Dec 1990, Death Place: London, Probate Date: 25 Jun 1991, Probate Registry: London, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995 
  14. David Baron and Roger Cibella, Goldschmidt Family Report. 
  15. Alfred Norbert Wit Bzowiecki, Death Date: 30 Sep 1971, Death Place: London
    Probate Date: 21 Nov 1972, Probate Registry: London, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995 
  16. Nellia Elsa Bzowiecka, Death Date: 4 Feb 1976, Death Place: London
    Probate Date: 4 Feb 1976, Probate Registry: London, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995 
  17.  Felicitas Fanny Cramer, Birth Date: 10 Aug 1889, Birth Place: Straßburg, Elsass (Alsace), Last Residence: Hamburg, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, DC; Name Index of Jews Whose German Nationality Was Annulled by the Nazi Regime (Berlin Documents Center); Record Group: 242, National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized, 1675 – 1958; Record Group ARC ID: 569; Publication Number: T355; Roll: 2, Brüll, Erna – Fränkel, Werner, Ancestry.com. Germany, Index of Jews Whose German Nationality was Annulled by Nazi Regime, 1935-1944 
  18. Oppenheimer, note 7, p. 5. 
  19. Marion Wolf, [Marion Cramer], Gender: Female, Declaration Age: 24, Record Type: Declaration, Birth Date: 3 Apr 1913, Birth Place: Frankfurt a/m Germany
    Arrival Date: 2 Sep 1937, Arrival Place: New York, New York, USA, Declaration Date: 13 Jan 1938, Declaration Place: New York, Court: U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Spouse: Fritz, Declaration Number: 408397, Box Number: 273
    The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; NAI Title: Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1/19/1842 – 10/29/1959; NAI Number: 4713410; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: 21, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943 
  20. Robert Cramer, Birth Date: 29 Dez 1918, Birth Place: Bad Nauheim
    Last Residence: Hamburg, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, DC; Name Index of Jews Whose German Nationality Was Annulled by the Nazi Regime (Berlin Documents Center); Record Group: 242, National Archives Collection of Foreign Records Seized, 1675 – 1958; Record Group ARC ID: 569; Publication Number: T355; Roll: 2, Brüll, Erna – Fränkel, Werner, Ancestry.com. Germany, Index of Jews Whose German Nationality was Annulled by Nazi Regime, 1935-1944 
  21. Baron and Cibella, Goldschmidt Family Report. 
  22. Marion Cramer, ship manifest, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 4; Page Number: 4, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  23. Fritz and Marion Wolf, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, Queens, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02725; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 41-242,
    Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  24. Salomon Sally Cramer, Death Date: 12 Jun 1951, Death Place: Lancashire, England, Probate Date: 20 Dec 1951, Probate Registry: London, England, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995. See also Oppenheimer, note 7, p. 5. 
  25. Oppenheimer, note 7, p. 6. 
  26. David Baron and Roger Cibella, Goldschmidt Family Report 
  27. Oppenheimer, note 7, p. 6. 
  28. The Sydney Morning Herald – 1 Dec 1984 – Page 136 
  29. https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/145293304/ruth-tadmore 

A Genealogy Story for Hanukkah: Looking for Light in the Darkness

Today is the first day of Hanukkah, a holiday that reminds us to find the light and hope even in the darkest of times. And in that spirit, this is a story of three children who lost their mother as children and then their father as young adults. Yet they found the strength to go on and survive the Holocaust. They looked for the light and hope despite the darkness.

Selig and Clementine Goldschmidt’s third daughter Hedwig Goldschmidt Cramer had five children with her husband Hermann Hirsch Cramer. Their oldest daughter Rosa Cramer married Arthur Abraham Oppenheimer on May 16, 1904, in Frankfurt. Arthur was born August 25, 1879, to William Oppenheimer and Ida Jettchen Cramer.

From Arnold S. Oppenheimer, The Story of My Life (2007)

I have had the great pleasure this week of talking with Arthur and Rosa’s grandson, my fifth cousin Arthur, who told me that Rosa and Arthur were first cousins, Ida Jettchen Cramer being the sister of Hirsch Hermann Cramer. Their parents were at first opposed to them marrying because they were first cousins. But they were deeply in love and insisted on being together.

Rosa Cramer marriage to Arthur Oppenheimer, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Rosa and Arthur had four children. Twins were born on March 3, 1905, in Frankfurt, William1 and Gertrud.2 Then Arnold Selig Oppenheimer was born on June 15, 1907,3 and finally Edith was born on June 13, 1911.4

Arnold Selig Oppenheimer wrote a wonderful book, The Story of My Life,5 which his son Arthur shared with me. It is filled with memories of his childhood and adult life as well as many photographs of the family. I wish I could add more of the rich details of his life described in the book, but for now I will include just some of those details as well as a few of his childhood pictures, including these two of the three older Oppenheimer children and, in the one on the right, their mother Rosa.

From Arnold S. Oppenheimer, The Story of My Life (2007)

And here is a fabulous photograph of Hedwig Goldschmidt Cramer with her husband Hermann Cramer, their daughter Rosa, and her husband Arthur, and their four children:

From Arnold S Oppeheimer, The Story of My Life (2007)

Here is one of all four children taken in 1916:

William, Gertrud, Arnold, and Edith Oppenheimer, c. 1916. From Arnold S. Oppenheimer, The Story of My Life (2007)

Those children were still quite young when their mother Rosa Cramer Oppenheimer died on December 24, 1918,  just two years after this photograph was taken; she was only 37 years old. According to her grandson Arthur, she died from the flu during the terrible epidemic of 1918.

Rosa Cramer Oppenheimer death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10794
Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Arnold wrote this about his mother’s death:6

When she became ill with influenza in December 1918, she knew that her life would soon come to an end. I remember her on her last morning when she called us in, one after the other and talked a little and bensched [blessed] us. 

It’s just heartbreaking to imagine how those children must have felt, saying goodbye to their mother.

Rosa’s widower Arthur Oppenheimer was left to raise the four young children on his own, though there was plenty of support from the extended family and from the nannies and housekeepers, as described in Arnold’s book. Arnold wrote that his father never fully recovered after Rosa’s death—that he became more serious and rarely laughed. But that he was a loving and caring father who tried to be both father and mother to his four children.7

Then three years later, sixteen-year-old William Oppenheimer died from meningitis on December 31, 1921; family lore is that he had a bad headache, but it was Shabbat, and the family was told that it would be safe to wait another day. Unfortunately, William died later that day, although it would seem that especially back then before antiobiotics, little could have been done even if he’d gotten medical attention sooner. Arnold described his brother William as an excellent student and a gifted artist.8

William Oppenheimer death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10857, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

The remaining three children were left orphans when their father Arthur died on March 22, 1925, just seven years after Rosa and four years after William. According to his son Arnold, Arthur died from misdiagnosed appendicitis. Arthur had been a banker and stockbroker as well as a synagogue leader and treasurer, who, according to his son Arnold, was “highly esteemed…and known for his just attitude.”9

Arthur Abraham Oppenheimer death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10907, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

It’s hard to fathom how the three remaining children—Gertrud, Arnold, and Edith—coped with so much loss. They were twenty, eighteen, and fourteen, and had lost their mother, their brother, and their father.

But Arnold’s son Arthur said that his father in fact was able to live quite a good life in the 1920s—traveling around the world, owning two horses and a sports car, studying in Frankfurt and Berlin, and generally enjoying the life of a wealthy young man in his twenties. Photographs of the extended Goldschmidt family in Arnold Oppenheimer’s book demonstrate that the children had a very large network of relatives who must have provided a sense of comfort and safety.

Those children then lost their grandmother Hedwig. Hedwig died on November 19, 1934. She was 73 and was survived by her four sons and her grandchildren.

Hedwig Goldschmidt Cramer death record. Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 11024, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

And then the Oppenheimer siblings had to face the rise of the Nazis.

Rosa’s two daughters both ended up in Palestine. Gertrud  Oppenheimer had decided to become a teacher against the resistance of her family, who believed that women should not work. But Gertrud persisted and ended up teaching in the Jewish elementary school in Frankfurt. Gertrud married Rabbi Bernhard Joel in 1928. As her brother Arnold wrote in his autobiography, Bernhard was the brother of Edith Joel, the housekeeper for the children who was like a surrogate mother to them. Bernhard had immigrated to Palestine in 1924 and was then a librarian at the Jewish National and University Library. After he and Gertrud married in Frankfurt, they returned to Palestine, where they had four children.10

Gertrude Oppenheimer marriage record to Bernhard Joel, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Gertrude (Ruth in Israel) died on November 15, 1979; her husband Bernhard (Issachar in Israel) died April 14, 1977. They were survived by their children and grandchildren.11

Gertrud’s younger sister Edith also immigrated to Palestine. Like her sister Gertrud, she also pursued a career and went to Stuttgart to become a nurse. There she met a second cousin of her brother-in-law Bernhard Joel and his sister Edith Joel, a doctor named Ernst Joel. They were married in 1932 and settled in Stuttgart.12

I was able to find the Palestinian immigration records for Edith and Ernst, and according to those records, they arrived in Palestine on April 24, 1933, just a few months after Hitler had been elected Chancellor of Germany. My cousin Arthur told me that after Ernst was told by a patient that he could no longer be his doctor because he was Jewish, Ernst told Edith they had to get out of Germany as soon as possible. They must have been among the earliest Jews to see the horrific handwriting on the wall.

Edith and Ernst had three children born in Palestine/Israel in the 1930s. Ernst died in Israel in 1980 and Edith in 2002.13

Ernst Ludwig Joel and Edith Hanna Oppenheimer, Palestine Immigration File, Israel Archives, https://www.archives.gov.il/en/archives/Archive/0b07170680034dc1/File/0b07170680ebc8ca

Rosa’s son Arnold Oppenheimer escaped to England, where he had better business prospects and which he liked better than other countries he’d visited. After clearing numerous bureaucratic hurdles, he was able to immigrate in the spring of 1936, but made several trips back to Germany to help family members emigrate, including one time that he narrowly escaped being arrested by the Gestapo. On August 1, 1939 he married Dorothy Duschinsky, whom he met at a Hanukkah party of a mutual friend in 1937.  She was born in London on March 27, 1911, to Charles Duschinsky, a rabbi and scholar from Hungary, and Blanche Barnett. By marrying Arnold, who was considered an “enemy alien,” Dorothy forfeited her British citizenship.14

But Arnold and Dorothy soon found themselves separated when Arnold was sent to a British internment camp for being an enemy alien soon after World War II started in September, 1939. Arnold, then working as a wool merchant, was first sent to an internment camp in southern England; he was released from that camp six months later, but then in May 1941, he was sent to the internment camp on the Isle of Man. Meanwhile, Dorothy was living with her brother Arthur in Hendon, working as a psychologist.15 Arnold wrote in detail about both the hardships and the more positive aspects of his internship in his book.16

Arnold Oppenheimer internment card UK, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/189
189: German Internees Released in UK 1939-1942: Nels-Orde, Ancestry.com. UK, World War II Alien Internees, 1939-1945

Arnold was finally released in 1942.  Arnold and Dorothy continued to live in England after the war. They had two children, one of whom is my fifth cousin Arthur. Arnold worked in the antique jewelry business for many years before retiring at the age of 82 in 1989.  Dorothy died November 1, 1976, in London; she was 65.17 Arnold outlived her by 35 years.  After having heart surgery at the age of 92, he moved to Israel to be closer to his daughter.18 He died at 104 in Israel on September 25, 2011.19

Thus, Rosa Cramer’s three orphaned children all managed to survive not only the tragedy of losing their parents and brother when they were still young, but also the Holocaust. They found lives for themselves in their new homelands and are today survived by their children and grandchildren all over the world.

So when we are all feeling down and discouraged by COVID and quarantining, it’s important to remember that others have endured terrible ordeals and found light in the darkness. As we light the Hanukkah candles or celebrate whatever holiday traditions we observe that bring light to the darkness this time of year, let’s keep our eyes on the light at the end of the tunnel.

Happy Hanukkah!


  1.  William Oppenheimer, Gender: männlich (Male), Age: 16, Birth Date: abt 1905
    Death Date: 31 Dez 1921 (31 Dec 1921), Death Place: Frankfurt, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Frankfurt , Certificate Number: 7
    Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10857, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958 
  2.  Gertrud Karoline Oppenheimer, Gender: weiblich (Female), Age: 23, Birth Date: 3 Mrz 1905 (3 Mar 1905), Marriage Date: 22 Mrz 1928 (22 Mar 1928)
    Marriage Place: Frankfurt am Main, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany)
    Civil Registration Office: Frankfurt am Main, Spouse: Bernhard Joel, Certificate Number: 218, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930 
  3.  Arnold S Oppenheimer, Gender: Male, Nationality: German, Birth Date: 15 Jun 1907, Birth Place: Frankfurt, Germany, Internment Place: Isle of Man, Discharge Date: 15 May 1941, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/189, Ancestry.com. UK, World War II Alien Internees, 1939-1945 
  4. Edith Oppenheimer Joel, Palestinian Immigration File, Israel Archives, found at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/archives/Archive/0b07170680034dc1/File/0b07170680ebc8ca 
  5. Arnold S. Oppenheimer, The Story of My Life (2007, Jerusalem). 
  6. Oppenheimer, note 5, at p. 1. 
  7. Oppenheimer, note 5, at p. 2. 
  8. Oppenheimer, note 5, at p. 3 
  9. Oppenheimer, note 5, pp. 1-2, 61. 
  10. Oppenheimer, note 5, at p. 2. 
  11. Oppenheimer, note 5, at p.3. 
  12. Oppenheimer, note 5, at p. 3. 
  13. Oppenheimer, note 5, at p.4. 
  14. Oppenheimer, note 5, at pp. 69-70. Arnold S Oppenheimer, Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep, Registration District: Marylebone, Inferred County: Middlesex, Spouse: Dorothy Duschinsky, Volume Number: 1a, Page Number: 2673, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 1a; Page: 2673, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 
  15. Dorothy Oppenheimer, Gender: Female, Marital Status: Married, Birth Date: 27 Mar 1911, Residence Year: 1939, Address: 11 Residence Place: Hendon, Middlesex, England, Occupation: Psychologist Intelligence Tests, Line Number: 27, Schedule Number: 76, Sub Schedule Number: 1, Enumeration District: BKCV, Borough: Hendon
    Registration district: 130/3, Household Members Age, Dorothy Oppenheimer 28, Arthur Dusckinskyh 27, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/822C, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register 
  16. Oppenheimer, note 4, at pp. 73-75. See also The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/236, Description Piece Number Description: 236: Dead Index (Wives of Germans etc) 1941-1947: Nicht-Plunn, Ancestry.com. UK, World War II Alien Internees, 1939-1945. Duschinsky Family, Class: RG14; Piece: 32, Enumeration District: 32, Ancestry.com. 1911 England Census. Dorothy Duschinsky, Registration Year: 1911, Registration Quarter: Apr-May-Jun, Registration District: Paddington, Inferred County: London, Volume: 1a, Page: 14, FreeBMD. England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1837-1915 
  17. Dorothy Oppenheimer, Death Age: 65, Birth Date: 27 Mar 1911, Registration Quarter: Oct-Nov-Dec, Registration District: Hendon, Inferred County: Greater London
    Volume: 13, Page: 0495, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 13; Page: 0495, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007. Dorothy Oppenheimer, Death Date: 1 Nov 1976, Death Place: London, Probate Date: 15 Aug 1977, Probate Registry: London, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995 
  18. Oppenheimer, note 5, at pp. 85-86. 
  19.  MyHeritage at https://www.myheritage.com/research/record-1-317197441-7-501665/arnold-selig-oppenheimer-in-myheritage-family-trees 

Searching for Helene Rapp Lehmann and Her Family: A Genealogy Adventure

Helmina Goldschmidt’s oldest child, her daughter Helene Rapp Lehmann, was harder to trace than her two younger siblings, Arthur and Alice. I knew that Helene, her husband Sally, their daughter Else Berta, and their son Ludwig all eventually ended up in the United States because all four are listed in the Social Security Death Index. But it was hard to find information about their departure from Germany and about their eventual arrival and life in the US and the years in between.

This document from the Arolsen Archives on Ancestry provided the first clues. It shows that Sally Lehmann was a dentist and that Else Berta, daughter of Helene and Sally Lehmann, had immigrated to Palestine.

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

I then found Else’s immigration papers showing that she first entered Palestine on February 21, 1939, when she would have been only seventeen. She became a naturalized citizen of Palestine on June 25, 1941. She was unmarried at that time and a hair dresser. (These papers are located at the Israel Archives website located here.)

I assumed that since Else was so young, the rest of her family might have immigrated to Palestine also around the same time, but I could at first not find any Palestinian immigration papers for her parents Helene and Sally or for her brother Ludwig.

At the same time I was researching them all, I received an email from someone in Israel who had questions about one of my other relatives, and so I asked him for advice about finding more information about those who had left Europe for Israel in the 1930s and 1940s. He recommended that I become a member of IGRA—the Israel Genealogy Research Association. I had seen their website many times before, but had hesitated to spend the money to become a member. This time I bit the bullet and joined.

And I am so glad that I did because a quick search uncovered two records for Sally Lehmann. Sally was listed in a 1940 and a 1946 Tel Aviv directory of doctors, dentists, pharmacists and other medical professionals. Thus, I know now that he had immigrated to Israel by 1940.

In addition, I found a 1948 divorce record for Else Berta Lehman, daughter of Shlomo (Sally), from Leopold Ickelheimer, suggesting that Else was likely still in Israel in 1948.

Finally, the IGRA website had a file indicating that a Ludwig Lehmann had changed his name to Yehuda in April 1936. I couldn’t be certain that this was the same Ludwig Lehmann, but if it was, that would mean that the Lehmann family, or at least Ludwig, was in Palestine as early as 1936.

And then, you know how sometimes you search and search and find nothing, and then you return to the same source days later and suddenly a record appears? That’s what happened here. I returned to the Israel Archives website where the Palestinian immigration records are available, and this time found Sally and Helene (Rapp) Lehmann’s immigration and naturalization. The file revealed that Sally and Helene had first arrived in Palestine on July 4, 1938, and that they became naturalized citizens on June 17, 1941.

Sally Lehmann and Helene Rapp Palestinian immigration file found at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/archives/#/Archive/0b07170680034dc1/File/0b07170680bf6119

However, no one in the Lehmann family remained permanently in Israel. I found a 1955 manifest for a ship sailing from Haifa, Israel, to New York, that lists Sally and Helene Lehmann as passengers and as Israeli citizens.1

I also found one for an Else B. Spitzer, arriving April 24, 1953, that I thought might be Else Berta Lehmann, but wasn’t sure. There was no age or other identifying information, and she was listed as a German citizen, not an Israeli citizen. 2 But then I located this naturalization index card that shows an Else Berta Spitzer with the same birth date as Elsa Berta Lehmann, residing at 550 West 172nd Street in New York City.

Ancestry.com. New York, Index to Petitions for Naturalization filed in New York City, 1792-1989

I used that address to search for Spitzers in the 1959 New York City directory living at 550 West 172nd Street and found a Kurt Spitzer living at that address, so now I knew that Else’s second husband was Kurt Spitzer.3 I also found his naturalization index card:

Ancestry.com. New York, Index to Petitions for Naturalization filed in New York City, 1792-1989

Unfortunately I cannot find any records showing Else with Kurt except for these two cards that show that they were living at the same address at the time of their naturalization. I did, however, find a record for Kurt’s enlistment in the US military on October 28, 1942, in New York, showing that he was a barber, beautifician, or manicurist, meaning he and Else were both in the hair dressing field. Kurt was already at that time a US citizen;4 he was born in Wurzburg, Germany, and immigrated to the US in 1925.5

Else’s brother, Sally and Helene’s son Yehuda Ludwig Lehmann, was particularly hard to locate with much certainty, After searching under all possible combinations of his names, I found a manifest with a Yehuda L. Lehmann coming to the US on December 29, 1952, from Cannes, France. He identified himself as divorced and as an Israeli citizen. He was 44 years old, and that would be consistent with the 1908 birth date I have for Ludwig Lehmann.

Yehuda Lehman, passenger manifest, Year: 1952; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 137, Ship or Roll Number: Constitution
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Thus, all the members of Sally and Helene’s family had left Israel for the US in the 1950s. I don’t have much information about their lives after their arrival, although records show that Yehuda married in 1954, was divorced in 1956, and remarried in 1965.  I don’t know whether either Yehuda or Else had children in any of their marriages.

Their mother Helene Rapp Lehman died when she was 82 on September 17, 1969, in New York;6 her husband Sally was 94 when he died three years later in 1972.7 Their son Yehuda Louis Ludwig Lehmann died October 7, 1989, when he was 81.8 And Else Berta Lehmann Spitzer died on March 15, 2008, at age 86.9 According to her listing in the SSDI, her last residence had been in Berlin, Germany.

Thus, Helene Rapp Lehmann was among the fortunate ones who escaped Nazi Germany along with her husband and her children, first to Palestine/Israel, and then to the US. In fact, her siblings Arthur and Alice and their families as well as their mother Helmina Goldschmidt Rapp were also among those who safely escaped. That is quite remarkable.


Having completed the story of the family of Helmina Goldschmidt Rapp, I have now written about all the children of Jacob Meier Goldschmidt and Jettchen Cahn. Next I will turn to Jacob’s younger sister Malchen Goldschmidt, the fourth of the seven children of Meyer Goldschmidt and Lea Katzenstein and their youngest daughter. But first some updates to prior stories.


  1. Sally Lehmann and Helene Lehmann, passenger manifest, Year: 1955; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 149, Ship or Roll Number: Jerusalem, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  2. Else B. Spitzer, passenger manifest, Year: 1953; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 347, Ship or Roll Number: Ryndam, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  3. Manhattan, New York, City Directory, 1959, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  4.  Kurt B Spitzer, Marital status: Single, without dependents (Single), Rank: Private
    Birth Year: 1908, Nativity State or Country: Danzig or Germany, Citizenship: Citizen
    Residence: New York, New York, Education: Grammar school, Civil Occupation: Barbers, beauticians, and manicurists, Enlistment Date: 28 Oct 1942, Enlistment Place: New York City, New York, Service Number: 32610147, Branch: Branch Immaterial – Warrant Officers, USA, Component: Selectees (Enlisted Men), Source: Civil Life
    Height: 66, Weight: 149, National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland, USA; Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946; NAID: 1263923; Record Group Title: Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, 1789-ca. 2007; Record Group: 64; Box Number: 05392; Reel: 203, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 
  5. Kurt Spitzer, Born: 1 Feb 1908, Birth Place: Wuerzburg, District: Lower Franconia
    Father: Josef, Mother: Karoline (Lina) nee STRAUSS, Last Residence: New York, NY
    Occupation: Merchant, employee, Naomi Teveth, comp. Germany, Jews in Würzburg, 1900-1945; Kurt Spitzer, ship manifest, Year: 1925; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 197, Ship or Roll Number: Luetzow, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  6. Helene Rap Lehmann, Gender: Female, Birth Date: 25 Aug 1887, Birth Place: Federal Republic of Germany, Claim Date: 21 Mar 1966, Father: Leopold Rapp
    Mother: Hermine[sic] Godschmidt, SSN: 076424080, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  7.  Sally Lehmann, Social Security Number: 057-38-7312, Birth Date: 2 Sep 1877
    Issue Year: 1963, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10474, Bronx, Bronx, New York, USA, Death Date: Feb 1972, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  8. Lou Ludwig Lehman, [Lou L Lehman], Gender: Male, Race: White
    Birth Date: 9 Feb 1908, Birth Place: Frankfort, Federal Republic of Germany
    Death Date: 7 Oct 1989, Father: Sally Lehmann, Mother: Helene Rapp
    SSN: 120280768,nAncestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  9.  Else B. Spitzer, Social Security Number: 109-28-8645, Birth Date: 8 Jan 1922
    Issue Year: 1952-1954, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 702, (U.S. Consulate) Berlin, Germany, Death Date: 15 Mar 2008, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 

Escaping from Germany, Part VII: Children Separated from their Parents

This is the final chapter in the story of my cousin Sarah Goldschmidt, daughter of my fourth great-uncle, Meyer Goldschmidt. These last seven chapters about her descendants’ struggles during and for the most part survival of the Nazi era have been an inspiration to me during this pandemic. We need to remember that human beings have survived many other challenges as we continue to fight this one.

The youngest child of Sarah Goldschmidt and Salomon Stern was their son Mayer. As we have seen, Mayer was married to Gella Hirsch, and they had two children, Elsa (1891) and Markus Kurt (1895)(later known as Kurt Marco).

As of 1930, Mayer and Gella were living in Frankfurt. Their daughter Elsa had been married to her second cousin Jacob Schwarzschild, with whom she’d had a daughter Elizabeth (1915). That marriage ended in divorce, and in 1920, Elsa had married Alfred Hirsch, with whom she had three children in the 1920s. Kurt Stern was married to Rhee Mess; they had no children.

With the rise of Hitler, the family began to disperse. Kurt and Rhee left Germany first. From 1918 to 1923, Kurt had worked as an art dealer in Frankfurt with his father and Goldschmidt relatives in the firm of I & S Goldschmidt (more on them to come). He and Rhee had then moved to Paris, where he became an independent art dealer.1 Then they immigrated to the US, arriving in New York on October 4, 1934. Kurt declared his intention to become a US citizen on February 19, 1935, four months after arriving in New York.

Kurt Marco Stern declaration of intention, 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: 1256
Archive Roll Descriptions: (Roll 1256) Petition No· 352904 – Petition No· 353350
Ancestry.com. New York, Naturalization Records, 1882-1944

Kurt registered for the US draft on April 26, 1942, at which time he was a self-employed art dealer, living in New York City.

Kurt Stern, World War II draft registration, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

Kurt’s parents Mayer and Gella Stern also left Germany around that time. According to Mayer Stern’s immigration papers, he and Gella arrived in Palestine on April 12, 1935. Sadly, Gella died less than two months later on June 1, 1935, in Haifa. She was 71 years old. Mayer remained in Haifa and became a Palestinian citizen on August 24, 1938.2

Mayer Stern, Palestinian citizenship certificate, found at https://tinyurl.com/ugr2b62

But Mayer did not live much longer. He died on September 15, 1939, in Haifa, where he is buried. He was 78.

The grave site of מאיר שטרן. Cemetery: Haifa Mahane David – Sde Yehoshua Cemetery, Location: Haifa, Haifa District, Israel. Birth: 7 Jan 1861, Death: 15 Sep 1939. Found at https://tinyurl.com/whnye25 Photographer  Nadezda

As for Mayer and Gella’s daughter Elsa Stern Schwarzschild Hirsch, she and her husband Alfred Hirsch and three children also immigrated to Palestine, arriving in 1938, according to their immigration file.3

The file includes letters indicating that two of Elsa and Alfred’s children returned to Europe after arriving in Palestine, one to Antwerp to study, the other to Italy for health reasons. Alfred requested that the two children be granted Palestinian passports expeditiously because they each had limited visas from those countries that would expire before they could return to Palestine to sign their new passports.

Alfred received a response that the Palestinian officials would ask the British consul to issue Palestinian passports to the two children once Alfred himself was naturalized. Alfred and Elsa were naturalized on August 14, 1938. Alfred was working as the general manager of the Palestine Milling & Trading Company at that time.4

Elsa and Alfred Hirsch, Palestinian citizenship certificate, found at https://tinyurl.com/vebdvxq

I assume the two children were able to return soon thereafter to Palestine to join their family. But can you imagine the anxiety experienced by them all, thinking that the two young teenagers might be stranded in Europe as the Nazi persecution of Jews intensified in 1938, culminating in Kristallnacht just a few months after Alfred and Elsa received their naturalization certificate?

One of their children immigrated to the US as early as 1940 and was residing without any family members in New York City at the YMHA on the 1940 US census;5 his uncle Kurt was, however, residing in New York at that time, where he was the owner of an “art shop,” according to the census.6

The rest of the family joined them in the US after the war. Alfred and Elsa arrived in New York on December 24, 1946.7 Alfred died less than two months later on February 6, 1947; he was only 56 years old.8 Elsa outlived him by over forty years; she died in Dallas, Texas, on October 4, 1988.  She was 97 years old.9

Elsa’s brother Kurt Stern unfortunately did not have his sister’s longevity. He died on April 16, 1962 at the age of 67 after a long illness, according to his obituary.10 He was survived by his wife Rhee, who died in August 1986 at the age of 91,11 and his sister Elsa and her three children.

Thus ends not only the story of Mayer Stern, but that of his parents Sarah Goldschmidt and Salomon Stern. Their story is overall a story shared by so many German Jews. They went from being successful merchants living in comfort and security, raising children and grandchildren in a country that they saw as their home, to being refugees from the worst kind of persecution and violence anyone can imagine.

Sarah Goldschmidt’s descendants were, however, among the more fortunate ones. Out of all of Sarah’s children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren living in Germany during the Nazi era, only one, little Margot Fulda, just thirteen years old, was murdered by the Nazis. The rest were uprooted from their homes and torn from the comfort they’d known, but were able to escape to Palestine, to England, and to the United States. Their descendants live among us today in places all over the world. How fortunate and blessed we are that they do.

Next I will turn my attention to Sarah’s younger brother Jacob Meier Goldschmidt and his family.


  1. “Kurt M. Stern Dies; Art Dealer Was 67,” The New York Times, April 17, 1962, p.34. 
  2. Mayer Stern, Immigration and Naturalization File, Israel Archives, found at https://tinyurl.com/ugr2b62 
  3. Elsa and Alfred Hirsch, Immigration and Naturalization File, Israel Archives, found at https://tinyurl.com/vebdvxq 
  4. Ibid. 
  5. Stephen Hirsch, 1940 US census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02663; Page: 83B; Enumeration District: 31-1658, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  6. Kurt M. Stern, 1940 US census, Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02656; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 31-1368, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  7. Alfred and Elsa Hirsch, ship manifest, Year: 1946; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 7250; Line: 1; Page Number: 10,
    Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  8. Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948 
  9. Else Hirsch, Social Security Number: 119-36-5922, Birth Date: 4 Jan 1891
    Issue year: 1962, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 75219, Dallas, Dallas, Texas, USA, Death Date: 4 Oct 1988, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  10. Kurt M Stern, Birth Date: 28 Jan 1895, Death Date: 16 Apr 1962, Claim Date: 17 Aug 1962, SSN: 060070787, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. “Kurt M. Stern Dies; Art Dealer Was 67,” The New York Times, April 17, 1962, p.34. 
  11.  Rhee Stern, Social Security Number: 065-52-1280, Birth Date: 12 Jun 1895
    Issue year: 1973, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10028, New York, New York, New York, USA, Death Date: Aug 1986, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014