More Cousins Discovered: The Family of Sigmund Livingston, Founder of the ADL

One of the other cousins whose name always stays with me is my third cousin, twice removed, Sigmund Livingston, the founder of the Anti-Defamation League, as I wrote about here as well as about his earlier years and his family here, here, here, here, and here.

Sigmund was related to me through our mutual ancestors Abraham and Geitel (Katz) Blumenfeld, as shown on this chart. He was my father’s third cousin, once removed:

To briefly summarize what I’d learned about Sigmund: he was born in Giessen, Germany, in 1872, to Meyer Loewenstein (later changed to Livingston) and Dora (Dusschen) Blumenfeld. He was only nine years old when his family immigrated to the United States in 1882 and settled in Bloomington, Illinois, where his father’s relatives had already established themselves as successful entrepreneurs. Sigmund ended up going to law school and practicing law in Bloomington. He married Hilda Freiler in 1918, and they had one child, Richard, born in 1920. The family later moved to Chicago where Sigmund continued to practice law.

After experiencing anti-Semitic stereotypes and slurs during a vaudeville show in the early 1900s, Sigmund decided to do something to fight back against anti-Semitism. He founded an organization in Bloomington that eventually grew to become known as the Anti-Defamation League, an international organization that still exists today, fighting against all forms of discrimination, including but not only anti-Semitism. When I learned that I was related, albeit very distantly, to the founder of the ADL, I felt incredibly proud to have that connection. Today the ADL continues to be at the forefront of those fighting against hatred and prejudice.

Recently I was thrilled to hear from two of Sigmund’s grandchildren, Richard and Laurie, who found me through my blog. Richard has done a great deal of genealogical research also and provided me with more information about the Livingston/Loewenstein side of his family tree. Richard and Laurie have also given me some additional new cousins on the Blumenfeld side of our family tree to contact, which I plan to do in the near future. And Richard caught two errors in my tree that I’ve now corrected both on the tree and on my blog; I am so grateful that Richard found those mistakes and told me.

But I was most excited to see additional photographs of Sigmund and his family and to learn a little more about his life and the life of his family. I particularly enjoyed seeing this photograph of Dora Blumenfeld and Meyer Loewenstein/Livingston:

This is the house where Sigmund was born in Giessen, Germany, in December 1872:

Birthplace of Sigmund Livingston in Giessen, Germany Courtesy of the family

Here are several photographs of Sigmund from age 20 up to age 47:

Sigmund Livingston, 1893 Courtesy of the family

Sigmund Livingston, 1903 Courtesy of the family

Sigmund Livingston, 1914 Courtesy of the family

Sigmund Livingston, 1918 Courtesy of the family

Sigmund Livingston, 1920 Courtesy of the family

Here is Sigmund’s diploma from law school:

Sigmund Livingston diploma at McClean County Historical Museum Courtesy of the family

Finally, this photograph shows the family in about 1918-1919: Dora (Meyer had passed away in 1915) and her children and their spouses:

Back Row (left to right): Sigmund Livingston, Alfred Livingston, Eva Siegel Livingston (married to Alfred); Irvin Livingston; “Gramma” Dora (Dusschen) Blumenfeld Livingston; Dorothy Ensel Livingston (married to Herman); Herman Livingston, Rosalie Livingston Livingston; Harold Livingston (in back); Albert Livingston (cousin who married Rosalie); Maurice Livingston; Sol Salzenstein (married to Gussie). Front Row (left to right): Helen (Cubby) Baer(?) Livingston (married to Irwin); Hilda Freiler Livingston (married to Sigmund); Bertha August Livingston (married to Maurice); and Gussie (Gutschen) Livingston. Courtesy of the family

Richard shared what he knew about his grandfather Sigmund’s career after leaving Bloomington and moving to Chicago in 1928:1

When Sigmund left Bloomington in 1928, he gave his share in his local law practice to a young cousin, Herb Livingston; and joined a major Chicago law practice with his brother-in-law Charles Lederer. Charles was married to Hilda’s [Sigmund’s wife Hilda Freiler] older sister Florence. The firm was known as Lederer, Livingston, Kahn, and Adler or similar until approx. 1958; at which time its name became Arnstein and Lehr. Lederer & Livingston were Sears Roebuck & Co.’s legal counsel during its heyday.

Richard also filled me in on how his father Richard, who was known as Dick and who was born in Bloomington and then moved with his parents to Chicago when he was a boy, had ended up living in the suburbs of New York City as an adult:

My father Dick attended Duke University and was supposed to be class of ’42; but joined the US Army Air Corp for 5 years of WWII around his junior year. He was an airplane instruments technician or mechanic and trained pilots to read and understand the gauges and dials in a cockpit; but never was a pilot himself and fortunately never was stationed overseas or faced combat during the war. After the army, he returned to Duke University, graduating in Spring, 1947. Following graduation, he returned to Highland Park, IL, living with his mother Hilda (as best we know) and not sure if he was employed or not.

In February 1948, Hilda and Dick were vacationing at the Hollywood Beach Hotel in Hollywood Beach, Florida. Dick met a recent Wellesley graduate from New York City named Mimi Spector. They fell instantly in love and were soon thereafter married on May 30, 1948. Dick and Mimi moved into Mimi’s parent’s Manhattan apartment for a while before getting their own place. Dick initially worked in sales for his father-in-law’s business.

In the 1950s Dick and Mimi and their family moved to Westchester County in the suburbs of New York City, eventually settling in Scarsdale, less than five miles from where I lived and went to high school. Richard and Laurie and I were tickled to learn that we had all grown up not far from each other and went to neighboring high schools and even knew some of the same people. We likely crossed paths many times without knowing we were distant cousins.

It has taken over 50 years since high school before we finally connected. And I am so grateful that Richard and Laurie found my blog and reached out to me and have shared their stories and photographs.

  1. The quotes and other information from Richard Livingston were from emails dated from February 11 to February 21, 2023. 

Florence Goldschlager Cohen: A Life Filled with Love

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

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

Goldschlagers 1931

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

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

Florence and Elaine Goldschlager

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

Beatty and my mother c. 1940

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

Florence Goldschlager 1948

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

Florence and John Cohen 1951

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

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

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

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

Ny mother and me, c. 1954

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, 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

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 
  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:, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 1940 United States Federal Census 

Caroline Blumenfeld Hoxter and Her Family, Part I: A Son Killed in Battle

Having told the stories of seven of Abraham Blumenfeld IIA’s eight children,1 I now turn to his youngest child, his daughter Gelle. She was born on July 16, 1857. Later records refer to her as Caroline (or Karoline) and so I will refer to her by that name was as well.2

Birth record of Gelle Blumenfeld, Arcinsys Hessen Archives, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 608, p. 5

Caroline married Simon Hoxter on November 30, 1882, in Neustadt, Germany. Simon was born in Gemunden, Germany, on August 26, 1852, to Anselm Hoxter and Betty Blumenthal. (Hoxter is spelled with an umlaut or an “oe” in German, but for simplicity purposes, I am just going to spell it Hoxter.)

Jettchen Blumenfeld, Gender: weiblich (Female),Age: 25, Birth Date: 16 Jul 1857
Marriage Date: 20 Nov 1882, Marriage Place: Neustadt, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany)
Civil Registration Office: Neustadt (Hessen), Father: Abraham Blumenfeld, Mother: Güdel Blumenfeld, Spouse: Simon Thoxter, Certificate Number: 16, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6492, Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Thank you to my cousin Peter Keibel, great-grandson of Caroline and Simon, for sharing these two photographs of his great-grandparents.

Caroline Blumenfeld Hoxter. Courtesy of the family

Simon Hoxter. Courtesy of the family

Caroline and Simon had four children, one son and three daughters. Their son Siegmund was born on December 5, 1883, in Gemuenden.

Siegmund Hoexter birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 4110, Year Range: 1883, Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Their daughter Toni was born on October 14, 1885, in Gemuenden.

Toni Hoxter birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 4112
Year Range: 1885, Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Then came Betty, born August 3, 1889, in Gemuenden.

Betty Hoexter birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 4116, Year Range: 1889, Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Finally, Gerda, the youngest child, was born June 7, 1895, in Gemuenden.

Gerda Hoexter birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 4122, Year Range: 1895, Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

I am grateful to my cousin Peter Keibel for sharing this wonderful photograph of the four children of his great-grandparents Simon Hoxter and Caroline Blumenfeld: Betty, Siegmund, Gerda, and Toni.

Betty, Siegmund, Gerda, and Toni Hoxter, c. 1910. Courtesy of the family

Toni married Sally (later Sol) Goldschmidt on July 6, 1910. He was born on July 4, 1881, in Bad Hersfeld, Germany, to Isaak Goldschmidt and Malchen Greif.

Marriage record of Toni Hoxter and Sally Goldschmidt, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5625, Year Range: 1910, Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Toni and Sally had two children, a daughter Miriam born on April 23, 1911, in Hersfeld,3 and a son Arthur born on August 9, 1913, in Hersfeld.4

The family’s life was cruelly disrupted when Caroline and Simon’s son Siegmund was killed while fighting for Germany in World War I. He was killed during the Second Battle of Ypres on May 8, 1915. His death record says that he was the Vizefeldwebel (vice-sergeant) of the Königlich-Preussisches Reserve-Infanterie-Regiment 46 No. 234, 8. Kompanie and died in Wieltje, Belgium. He was one of over 35,000 German soldiers killed in that battle; the Allies lost roughly 59,000 troops, making this one of the costliest battles in World War I. It is perhaps mostly remembered as the first time the Germans used chlorine gas in combat on the Western front, explaining why so many more Allies died as compared to the German losses.[5]

Siegmund Höxter, Age: 31, Birth Date: abt 1884, Death Date: 8 Mai 1915 (8 May 1915)
Death Place: Marburg, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Marburg, Father: Simon Höxter, Mother: Karoline Höxter, Certificate Number: 331, 
Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5705, Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Caroline and Simon thus lost their oldest child and only son fighting for Germany in the war. Here is a beautiful photograph of Siegmund wearing his World War I uniform, courtesy of Peter Keibel and the family.

Siegmund Hoxter. Courtesy of the family

Five months after Siegmund’s death, his sister Betty married Max Oppenheimer on October 5, 1915. Max, a doctor, was born on August 28, 1886, in Hadamar, Germany, and was the son of Adolf Oppenheimer, a teacher, and Johanna WInkelstein.5

Betty and Max had two children, Lotte and Franz Siegmund. Lotte was born on January 29, 1917, in Posen in what was still a province of Germany at that time and  is now part of Poland, as it became in the aftermath of World War I.6 Franz Siegmund, presumably named in memory of Betty’s brother, was born on February 17, 1920, in Friedberg, Germany.7 I don’t know why Betty and Max’s children were born in two different cities, one quite far from the Hesse region where both Betty and Max were from.

Betty’s younger sister and Caroline and Simon’s youngest child Gerda married Adolf Goldschmidt on May 8, 1922, in Marburg, Germany. Adolf was the son of Louis Elieser Goldschmidt and Sophie Adler and was born on March 11, 1885, in Eldagsen in the Hanover region of Germany. Adolf Goldschmidt and Toni’s husband Sally Goldschmidt were first cousins, both grandsons of  Feist Goldschmidt and Minna Wallach.8

Marriage record of Gerda Hoxter and Adolf Goldschmidt, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5640, Year Range: 1922, Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Gerda and Adolf’s grandson Peter shared this beautiful photograph of his grandparents:

Gerda Hoxter and Adolf Goldschmidt. Courtesy of the family

Gerda and Adolf had two daughters. Inge was born in Dusseldorf, Germany, in 1923, and Lore was born three years later on March 23, 1926, in Elberfeld, a section of Wuppertal not far from Dusseldorf where Adolf now owned a department store.9 This adorable photo of Inge (later Jane) and Lore (later Alice) was provided by Jane’s son, my cousin Peter.

(Alice) Lore Goldschmidt and (Jane) Inge Goldschmidt, c. 1931. Courtesy of the family

Thus, by 1926, Caroline Blumenfeld and her husband Simon Hoxter had six grandchildren. They had tragically lost their son Siegmund during his service for Germany in World War I, but I hope they were finding joy in those grandchildren and with their three daughters in the years after Siegmund’s death.

Of course, the family’s life would change drastically in the 1930s.

To be continued.

  1. As mentioned earlier, the sixth child Rebecca died when she was four years old, and the seventh child Heinemann married my cousin Caroline Katzenstein and their story and that of their children was told when I was writing about my Katzenstein family line. 
  2. Her marriage record refers to her as Jettchen Blumenfeld, but I don’t see that name used on any other records. 
  3.  Miriam Lauter, Social Security Number: 112-05-7561, Birth Date: 23 Apr 1911
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11375, Flushing, Queens, New York, USA, Death Date: 7 Jan 1988, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  4. Arthur Goldschmidt, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New York State, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147, U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 
  5. The marriage date came from Peter Keibel, grandson of Toni Hoxter and Sally Goldschmidt, and thus the nephew of Betty Hoxter Oppenheimer. Peter also provided me with some other information, as will be noted. Max’s birth and parent information was found on his birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 912; Laufende Nummer: 1832, Year Range: 1886, Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901. Thank you to the members of the German Genealogy group for helping me to decipher Adolf’s mother’s birth name. 
  6. Lotte’s birth information was found in her immigration file at the Israel State Archives, which can be found by searching for her name at 
  7. Franz Siegmund’s birth information was found in his father’s immigration file at the Israel State Archives, found by searching for his name at 
  8. The familial connection between Adolf and Sally Goldschmidt was pointed out to me Peter Keibel; I then found the marriage records of their respective parents, which corroborated that their fathers were both the sons of Feist Goldschmidt and Minna Wallach. 
  9. Inge is still living, so I will not reveal her exact birth date; Lore’s birth information came from U.S., Public Records Index, 1950-1993, Volume 2. Inge (later Jane)’s son Peter provided the information about his grandfather’s store in Wuppertal. 

Another Update from Another Cousin! The Story of Karl Gutmann

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

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

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

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

Karl Gutmann Courtesy of the family

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

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

Moritz Gutmann Courtesy of the family

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

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

Karl Gutman and friend Courtesy of the family

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

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

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

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

Karl Gutmann, c. 1945 Courtesy of the family

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

Hedwig Goldschmidt Gutmann  Courtesy of the family

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

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

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

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



Who Was That Baby? A Question Answered!

You never know when you publish a blog post asking a question when, if ever, that question will be answered. And I’ve learned never to give up hope. Just recently I learned the answer to a question I posed over four years ago on this post about Jake Katz, the Oklahoma cousin who started the Katz Department Stores in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and who eventually helped to rescue several of his cousins who were still living in Germany during the Nazi era.

Included in that post was a photograph of the three children Jake had with his wife Sophia Salzenstein: Albert Jerome, Margaret, and Helen.

Albert Jerome Katz in rear, Helen Katz and Margaret “Babe” Katz seated with unknown cousin on laps
Courtesy of the Goldman family

Under that photograph I posed this question:

Perhaps some Katz family member can identify the two unknown little cousins? Since we know Albert Jerome died in 1919, I am assuming this photo was taken in about 1918, meaning the two young children were likely born in 1916-1917. I am thinking one might be the daughter of Lester Katz and Mayme Salzenstein, Mildred “Bobbie,” since she was born in January 1916 and was related to Jake and Sophia on both sides, Lester being Jake’s cousin and Mayme being Sophia’s sister.

I didn’t get any answers when I published this post, but on September 19, 2021, I received this comment on that blog post from a reader named Jerry Richards:

Hi Amy, I have the same picture you do of Helen, Margaret and Jerome Katz. The two babies are, as you guessed, on the left Mildred Henderson nee Katz, born 1916, two years old. The baby on the right is Peggy (Mary Carolyn) Richards nee Salzenstein, born 8/6/1917. She is my mother.

I emailed Jerry and learned that his grandfather Solomon Wolf Salzenstein was the brother of Sophia Salzenstein, Jake Katz’s wife. Thus, Jerry is the grandnephew of Sophia and grandnephew-in-law of Jake.

And now I can correct the caption under the photograph:

Albert Jerome Katz in rear, Helen Katz and Margaret “Babe” Katz seated, left to right. Mildred Katz Henderson and Peggy (Mary Carolyn) Salzenstein Richards sitting on their cousins’ laps, left to right.
Courtesy of the Goldman family

Another reminder that you never know when a question you never thought would be answered will in fact be answered! Thank you, Jerry!

A Survivor’s Story: The Shoah Foundation Testimony of Inge Goldschmidt Oppenheimer, Part II

By the time she turned sixteen on April 13, 1945, Inge Goldschmidt had been to three concentration camps and beaten by Nazi youth in Kassel and by guards at the concentration camps at Auschwitz and Oederan. She had been separated from her brother, who was sent to the US in October 1938, and then from her parents in 1944 when she was sent from Theriesenstadt to Auschwitz. She had no idea whether her parents were alive and assumed that they were not.1

The day after her sixteenth birthday, she and the others imprisoned at the Oederan camp were transported in cattle wagons away from the Eastern front where Russia was making headway into Germany. They stopped at many camps, and finally on April 21, 1945, Inge and the others were dropped off at Theriesenstadt, the place where she had last seen her parents, Elfriede Engelbert and Rudolf Goldschmidt. She had not seen them in close to a year and did not expect to find them alive. They also assumed she had been killed at Auschwitz.

Someone recognized Inge as she entered Theriesenstadt, and when she told Inge that her parents were still alive and still at Theriesenstadt, Inge passed out. Inge was dangerously sick with typhoid, weighing only sixty pounds. Her mother didn’t recognize her when she saw her. Slowly Inge was nursed back to health and joyfully reunited with her parents.

The war ended, and the Russians took over Theriesenstadt. Even though they were no longer at war, the people had nowhere to go and no way to get anywhere because of the destruction of the train lines and roads by Allied bombing during the war. Inge and her parents stayed at Theriesenstadt until July 1945 when they then returned to Cologne, where they were provided with an apartment.

Transit card from Terezin, Elfriede Goldschmidt, 1945. Courtesy of the family

You can see from their eyes and expressions in this photograph taken after the war some of the effects of their experiences during the Holocaust.

Elfriede, Rudolf, and Inge Goldschmidt c. 1945 Courtesy of the family

Inge joined a youth group of other Jewish survivors; most did not have any family members who survived, and her parents helped many of them, becoming like surrogate parents to her friends. Here is a photograph of her with some of her friends in post-war Cologne.

Inge Goldschmidt and friends in Cologne, c. 1947-1948. Courtesy of the family

These two photographs of Inge taken in post-war Cologne show some of the rubble caused by the bombing of Cologne.

Inge Goldschmidt, c. 1947-1948, Cologne. Courtesy of the family

Inge Goldschmidt, c. 1949 Courtesy of the family

Inge’s brother Gunther sent her this photograph for her nineteenth birthday in April, 1948.

Gunther Goldschmidt, 1948. Courtesy of the family

Elfriede and Rudolf desperately wanted to get to the US and be reunited with their son Gunther, but because Cologne was in the British Sector, they could not get permission to do so. So for three and a half years they waited until Gunther was able to get his parents out, and then once they arrived in the US, Elfriede and Rudolph were able to get Inge out. Apparently children could get visas for parents and vice versa, but siblings could not get them for siblings.

Rudolf and Elfriede Goldschmidt in Bremen, leaving for the US, 1949. Courtesy of the family

Finally in July 1949, the family was reunited. Inge was now twenty years old. Her parents were working at a hotel in the Catskills and had no money.

Rudolf and Elfriede Goldschmidt in the Catskills (Fleishmans) in the summer of 1949. Courtesy of the family

Inge got a job in a factory in New York, and in the fall her parents joined her in New York also where they all lived in a furnished room together. Gunther was in school in Boston; although he came and lived with his family for some period of time, he remained closest to his foster family, never fully recovering from the long separation from his parents and sister. But this photograph captures Gunther and Inge in a joyful moment together.

Inge and Gunther Goldschmidt c. 1950-1951 Courtesy of the family

Inge married Ernst Oppenheimer on October 14, 1950.2 Ernst was born in Augsburg, Germany, on October 17, 1919, to David Oppenheimer and Maria Kraus.3 Ernst had been sent to Dachau Concentration Camp in November 1938  after Kristallnacht, and after he was released, he was immediately sent to England, where he was in the Kushner displaced person camp until he left for the US in March, 1940. He then served in the US Army, where he was stationed at Fort Knox. He also worked on the Manhattan Project.4 Ernst and Inge had two children. Inge, who had been forced to end her formal education at age ten, passed her GED test and went to college and received not only her bachelor’s degree but also a master’s degree. She became a teacher and a librarian and worked in the New York City schools for many years.

Ernst Oppenheimer and Inge Goldschmidt, 1950 Courtesy of the family

I also learned from Gunther Goldschmidt’s daughter Lisa more about his life after World War II. He married Barbara Cohen on May 16, 1959. They had three children and had moved to southern California by 1962, eventually settling in Encino. Gunther started his own advertising business there and was very successful; more importantly, Lisa described him as a devoted father.He remained close to his foster family for the rest of his life.1

Gunther and Inge’s father Rudolf Goldschmidt died on February 25, 1960, in New York; he was 73 years old.5

Tragically Gunther died from a heart attack when he was only 47; he died on November 30, 1972, in San Francisco, and was survived by his wife and young children.6

Inge and Gunther’s mother Elfriede Engelbert Goldschmidt made the surprising decision to return to Germany when she grew older. She wanted to live in a Jewish home for the elderly there and not burden her daughter. She died there on May 20, 1986; she was 85 years old.7

Inge Goldschmidt Oppenheimer, who gave this interview in 1996, died twenty years later on January 24, 2016, at the age of 86.8 She was survived by her children and grandchildren, her husband Ernst having died on July 2, 2010,9 when he was ninety years old.

We should all be forever grateful to Inge Goldschmidt Oppenheimer and those like her who shared their stories and allowed us all to understand not only the cruel side of human nature, but also the strength and resilience of human nature. Inge’s will to survive as a young teenager under the worst of circumstances was remarkable, and her ability to move forward—to marry and have children, to go back and receive a college education and to pursue a career as a teacher and librarian—is an inspiration and a lesson in hope for all of us.

  1. The information in this post, except where otherwise noted, is from the Shoah Foundation interview with Inge Oppenheimer. Inge Oppenheimer, Interview 11370. Visual History Archive, USC Shoah Foundation, 1996. Accessed 17 August 2021. The photographs are all courtesy of Marsha Eidlin.
  2. Ernst Oppenheimer, Gender: Male, Marriage License Date: 1950
    Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse:
    Ingeborg Goldschmidt, License Number: 26365, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan, New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018. Email from Marsha Eidlin, daughter of Ernst and Inge Oppenheimer, August 31, 2021. 
  3.  Ernst Oppenheimer, Declaration Age: 24, Record Type: Petition, Birth Date: 17 Oct 1919, Birth Place: Rugsburg, Bavaria, Germany, Declaration Date: 13 Jan 1944
    Declaration Place: Jackson, Mississippi, USA, Court District: U.S. District Court for the Jackson Division of the Southern District of Mississippi, Petition Number: 400, The National Archives at Atlanta; Atlanta, Georgia; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States; Record Group Number: 21, Mississippi, U.S., Naturalization Records, 1907-2008. Name: Max Oscar Oppenheimer
    [brother of Ernst Oppenheimer], Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 19 Apr 1915
    Birth Place: Schrobenhaus, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 16 Oct 2006
    Father: David Oppenheimer, Mother: Maria Kraus, SSN: 092147186, U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. 
  4. Email from Marsha Eidlin, daughter of Ernst and Inge Oppenheimer, August 31, 2021. 
  5. Rudo Goldschmidt, Age: 73, Birth Date: abt 1887, Death Date: 25 Feb 1960
    Death Place: Brooklyn, New York, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 4206, New York, New York, U.S., Death Index, 1949-1965 
  6. Gunther Goldschmidt, Social Security #: 488207584, Gender: Male
    Birth Date: 17 Jul 1925, Death Date: 30 Nov 1972, Death Place: San Francisco, Place: San Francisco; Date: 30 Nov 1972; Social Security: 488207584, California, U.S., Death Index, 1940-1997. Inge Oppenheimer, Interview 11370. Visual History Archive, USC Shoah Foundation, 1996. Accessed 17 August 2021. 
  7. Inge Oppenheimer, Interview 11370. Visual History Archive, USC Shoah Foundation, 1996. Accessed 17 August 2021. 
  8. New York Times obituary at; Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed 12 September 2021), memorial page for Inge Goldschmidt Oppenheimer (unknown–24 Jan 2016), Find a Grave Memorial ID 214436745, citing Beth-El Cemetery, Paramus, Bergen County, New Jersey, USA ; Maintained by Lauren A. Hubberman Cohen (contributor 49135178) Burial Details Unknown. 
  9. Ernest Oppenheimer, Social Security Number: 094-14-0365, Birth Date: 17 Oct 1919, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 11375, Flushing, Queens, New York, USA, Last Benefit: 11375, Flushing, Queens, New York, USA, Death Date: 2 Jul 2010, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 

  1. Email from Lisa Goldschmidt, September 25, 2021. Gunther Goldschmidt, Spouse: Barbara Anne Cohen, Marriage Date: 2 Sep 1958, Recorded county: Clark, Page: F01, Nevada, U.S., Marriage Index, 1956-2005 

A Survivor’s Story: The Shoah Foundation Testimony of Inge Goldschmidt Oppenheimer

Antonie Blumenfeld and her husband Siegfried Engelbert died before Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933 and thus were spared seeing that their daughter Margot and her husband Gustav Neuhaus were sent to the Warsaw Ghetto and killed there in September 1942 and that their granddaughter Edith Neuhaus Kempner was killed at Auschwitz just two months later.

They were also spared knowing that their son Julius and his wife Ilse and son Werner were forced to leave Germany in 1939 to escape Hitler, but eventually survived and settled in the United States.

And they were spared knowing the terrible ordeals endured by their youngest child Elfriede and her husband Rudolf Goldschmidt and their children Gunther and Inge.

But we must remember their experiences and honor their memories. Thanks to the Shoah Foundation, we now have extensive interviews with many of the Holocaust survivors, including one with Inge Goldschmidt Oppenheimer, my fifth cousin.

I was privileged to listen to Inge’s interview and will attempt in my own words to tell her story. I am grateful to the Shoah Foundation for allowing me to do so. Except where noted, all the information below came from Inge’s interview.1 All the photographs are courtesy of Inge’s daughter Marsha.

Inge was born to Elfriede Engelbert and Rudolf Goldschmidt on April 13, 1929, in Kassel, Germany, just four years before Hitler came to power. She had almost no memory of life in Germany before the Nazis took control. She and her family lived in Kassel until 1938 when they moved to Cologne. Her memories of life in Kassel were terrible because of the persecution and harassment they faced as Jews. She and her brother Gunther went to a Jewish school and were often beaten up on the way home by Nazi youth members. As a result of incidents like that, the school decided to close fifteen minutes before the non-Jewish schools so that children could get home safely.

Here is a photograph of Inge with her brother Gunther taken in about 1934.

Gunther and Inge Goldschmidt. c. 1934-1935. Courtesy of the family

Inge’s father Rudolf was a veteran of World War I and had suffered a serious head injury while fighting for Germany. As a result, he eventually became paralyzed and wheelchair-bound. The family was living on the pension he received for his service in the war while also being forced to endure the anti-Semitism promoted by the government. Rudolf was very well-informed and followed the news on a radio tuned to the BBC, and although he wanted to leave Germany, his disability and their limited resources made that impossible.

Here is a photograph of Rudolf in uniform during World War I.

Rudolf Goldschmidt, c. 1914-1918. Courtesy of the family

Instead the family decided to leave Kassel and move to Cologne in 1938, believing that in the larger city they would be safer and also that life would be easier because it was less hilly than Kassel and thus easier for Elfriede to push Rudolf’s wheelchair. Here are two photographs of Inge from around this time.

Inge Goldschmidt, c. 1938-1939. Courtesy of the family

Inge and Rudolf Goldschmidt. Courtesy of the family

Gunther celebrated his bar mitzvah in Cologne in the summer of 1938, and a few months later in October his parents registered him for a children’s transport out of Germany to the United States. He ended up in St. Louis living with a foster family for many years. He was only thirteen. Inge was only nine and too young for those transports, so she stayed in Cologne with her parents. The photograph below shows the family at the train station in Cologne the day Gunther left for the US.

Margot Engelbert Neuhaus, Gustav Neuhas, Elfriede Engelbert Goldschmidt, Rudolf Goldschmidt, Inge Goldschmidt, unknown man. 1938. Courtesy of the family

Although things were initially better in Cologne than they had been in Kassel, after Kristallnacht and then once the war started in September 1939, conditions worsened. Their phones were taken, then their bicycles, and they lived in constant fear of being arrested. Then when the Allies started bombing Cologne in the early 1940s, they lived in fear of the bombs and poison gas as well. They moved frequently from one apartment to another and were later rounded up with other Jews and taken to a temporary camp outside of the city. By then they were required to wear the yellow star to identify them as Jews. Inge had hers pinned instead of sewn on as required so that she could sneak out of the camp and shop for the family, removing her star to do so without revealing that she was Jewish.

The star Inge Goldschmidt wore in Germany. Courtesy of the family

Elfriede Engelbert Goldschmidt identity card, 1939. Courtesy of the family

Then in 1942 the family was deported to Theriesenstadt. Inge and her mother Elfriede were in one of the barracks together, and her father Rudolf was in a separate men’s barrack. Interestingly, he was living with other men who were disabled World War I veterans. Inge speculated that but for his service in World War I he never would have been allowed to survive at all, given his physical disability.

Inge’s memories of life in Theriesenstadt are horrendous. She was scared and hungry all the time and often very ill. Her knee became infected, and she had to have it drained in the camp hospital without receiving anesthesia. They lived with bed bugs, lice, and a lack of sanitary facilities. They had no news of what was happening in the war or outside the camp itself.

Inge lived at Theriesenstadt for two years, and then in 1944 she was sent to Auschwitz and separated from her family. She was now fifteen years old and sick with typhus. Despite being sick, she knew enough not to let on and so did not get transported with those who were ill and were instantly killed when they arrived at Auschwitz. The train to Auschwitz was a nightmare—all of them standing packed into the cars with no food and sleeping standing up with only a bucket for a toilet.

She remembered vividly her arrival at Auschwitz. They arrived at night, and it was bitterly cold. The Kapos (Jewish prisoners forced to act as guards and agents for the Nazis) were screaming at them all to move out of the train while armed Nazi guards surrounded them. Inge went with the other women into one large room where they were forced to strip and have their heads shaved. They took cold showers and were disinfected and given rags to wear. She recalled one woman going into labor and giving birth during this ordeal and remembered hearing the women around her screaming when they realized they would never see their children again.

Inge was only at Auschwitz for a few weeks, but her memories of that time and place were seared in her memory. She recalled standing for hours each day in the snow for inspection while the guards selected those who would go to the gas chambers. Once she needed to urinate so badly that she just squatted on the ground and was beaten by the guard for doing so. At one point she was so despondent that she was going to run into the electric fence and kill herself, as she’d seen others do. But a kind woman convinced her not to, and so she survived.

After a few weeks she was selected to be sent to another camp near Leipzig, Germany, called Oederan. Oederan opened in September 1944; three transports brought five hundred women from Auschwitz to work in a munitions factory in a converted thread factory. Inge worked in the munitions factory making bullets; she recounted how she and the other prisoners tried to do things to sabotage the machines, although they knew they could be killed if they were caught. While at Oederan, she saw bright lights in the distance and asked innocently if that was the sun. It was in fact the fires from the Allied bombing of Dresden, which was about 35 miles away. A guard, thinking she was being disrespectful, punched her in the mouth and knocked out one of her teeth.

On April 12, 1945, the day before her 16th birthday, Inge heard that FDR had died, and she was bereft, believing that America was their one hope for survival and that FDR was a hero. But the news about the war was also starting to break through, and there were rumors that the Russians were coming to liberate them. What would she do if she survived to be liberated? What would she learn about the fate of her parents?

To be continued…

  1. Inge Oppenheimer, Interview 11370. Visual History Archive, USC Shoah Foundation, 1996. Accessed 17 August 2021. 

Baruch Blumenfeld’s Daughter Antonie: Life Before the Nazis

Although I have no definitive answer as to when Baruch Blumenfeld left his family in Germany, I do have information about what happened to his two daughters and their children.

As we saw, Baruch and Emma had two daughters: Antonie and Charlotte Jeanette, born in 1872 and 1875, respectively. This post and the three that follow will focus on Antonie and her descendants. I am deeply grateful to Antonie’s great-granddaughter Marsha for sharing her collection of family photos with me so that I can bring Antonie and her family to life.

Antonie married Sussel Siegfried (known as Siegfried) Engelbert in Neustadt, Germany, in 1894, and they had three children: Margot (born 1895), Joseph Julius (known as Julius) (born 1897), and Elfriede (born 1900). Siegfried owned a clothing store in Kassel, shown in this photograph.

Engelbert store, c. 1900, Kassel. Courtesy of the family.

The photograph below is of Antonie and below that are three photographs of her children, one taken in 1911 of Elfriede and Margot and an unknown little girl, the other taken in about 1920 of all three of Antonie and Siegfried Engelbert’s children, and the last a photograph of Julius Engelbert with his parents Antonie and Siegfried.

Antonie Blumenfeld Engelbert undated. Courtesy of the family

Elfriede Engelbert, unknown girl, Margot Engelbert, 1911. Courtesy of the family

Margot, Julius, and Elfriede Engelbert, c. 1920. Courtesy of the family

Julius, Antonie, and Siegfried Engelbert. Courtesy of the family

Margot married Gustav Neuhaus on December 3, 1920. He was born on December 5, 1884, in Bremke, Germany, to Hermann Neuhaus and Bernhardine Neuhaus. He was a cattle dealer in Goettingen, Germany; his grandfather had started the business in 1858.1

Marriage record of Margot Engelbert and Gustav Neuhaus, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 910, Year Range: 1920, Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Margot and Gustav had one child, a daughter Edith, born on March 9, 1922.

Elfriede Caroline Engelbert married Ruben Rudolf (known as Rudolf) Goldschmidt on August 19, 1924, in Kassel, Germany. Rudolf, the son of Gabriel Goldschmidt and Jettchen Levi, was born in Spangenburg, Germany, on January 23, 1887.2

Marriage record of Elfriede Engelbert and Ruben Goldschmidt, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 910, Year Range: 1924, Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Here is a photograph of Elfriede and Rudolf taken when they were engaged in 1924.

Elfriede Engelbert and Rudolf Goldschmidt, 1924. Courtesy of the family

Marsha also shared the menu from Elfriede and Rudolf’s wedding. It must have been quite a lavish celebration.

Elfriede and Rudolf had two children, Gunther, born July 17, 1925,3 and Inge, born April 13, 1929,4 in Kassel where they resided.

Here are some photographs of Gunther and Inge as young children.

Gunther and Elfriede Engelbert Goldschmidt, 1925. Courtesy of the family

Inge and Gunther Goldschmidt, 1931. Courtesy of the family

Inge and Gunther Goldschmidt, c. 1931. Courtesy of the family

Elfriede, Gunther, and Inge Goldschmidt c. 1931. Courtesy of the family

Antonie lived long enough to see her three grandchildren born, but she died on May 23, 1929, a month after Inge’s birth. She was survived by her husband and her children and grandchildren.

Antonie Blumenfeld Engelbert death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 910; Signatur: 5619, Year Range: 1929, Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Here is one more photograph of Antonie and Julius and a photograph of Antonie’s headstone.

Siegfried Engelbert and Antonie Blumenfeld Engelbert. Courtesy of the family

Courtesy of the family

Julius Engelbert married a few months after his mother’s death. On August 29, 1929, he married Ilse Wolf in Marburg, Germany. She was born in Marburg on March 31, 1906. Julius and Ilse had one child, Werner, born in Kassel in 1930.5

Julius Engelbert and Ilse Wolf marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 5652, Year Range: 1929, Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Two years later Siegfried Engelbert died on July 12, 1932, in Kassel.6 He was 65 and died before the Nazi takeover of Germany the following year.  He and Antonie were spared seeing what would happen to their children.

In this photograph are Elfriede, Rudolf, and Inge with Margot and her daughter Edith taken in 1936.  No one could have predicted what was to happen to them all in the next decade.

Elfriede Engelbert Goldschmidt, Inge Goldschmidt, Rudolf Goldschmidt, Edith Neuhaus, Margot Neuhaus, 1936. Courtesy of the family

To be continued.


  1. Gustav Neuhaus, Yad Vashem entry, and from the Neuhaus Family Tree on Ancestry found at See also Uta Schaefer-Richter and Joerg Klein, Die Juedischen Buerger im Kreis Goettingen 1933-1945: Ein Gedenkbuch (Wallstein Verlag 1992), p.190. 
  2. Arcinsys Archives Hessen, HHStAW Fonds 365 No 782, p. 63. Inge Oppenheimer, Interview 11370. Visual History Archive, USC Shoah Foundation, 1996. Accessed 17 August 2021. 
  3. Gunther Goldschmidt, Social Security #: 488207584, Gender: Male
    Birth Date: 17 Jul 1925, Death Date: 30 Nov 1972, Death Place: San Francisco, California, U.S., Death Index, 1940-1997 
  4. Inge Oppenheimer, Interview 11370. Visual History Archive, USC Shoah Foundation, 1996. Accessed 17 August 2021. 
  5. Arolsen Archives, Digital Archive; Bad Arolsen, Germany; Lists of Persecutees, Reference Code: 02010101 oS, Free Access: Europe, Registration of Foreigners and German Persecutees, 1939-1947; Werner Jack Engelbert, Age: 22, Birth Date: 21 Jul 1930, Issue Date: 29 Jan 1952, State: New York
    Locality, Court: Eastern District of New York, District Court, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington, D.C.; Index to Naturalization Petitions of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, 1865-1957; Microfilm Serial: M1164; Microfilm Roll: 53, U.S., Naturalization Records Indexes, 1794-1995 
  6. LAGIS Hessen Archives, Nr 587, p. 291, Standesamt Kassel I Sterberegister 1932, Eintrags-Nr. 301-600 (StadtAKS Best. A 3.35.1 Nr. 3.1.310) Autor Stadtarchiv Kassel Erscheinungsort Kassel IErscheinungsjahr 1932 

July 2021: Scenes of the Outer Cape

I will be taking a break for the first two weeks in August, so I will leave you with some of the highlights of July in Wellfleet. See you soon!

Low tide at Indian Neck Beach:

A hike over Uncle Tim’s Bridge to Cannon Hill

My garden:

My cats:

After the storm:

Long Nook Beach in Truro, the ocean beach we frequented when I was a child:

That’s it for now. See you in August when I will return with stories about a whole new branch of the family tree!