Escaping from Germany, Part I: Selma Loewenthal Schwabacher’s Family

As discussed in an earlier post, by the late 19th century, the city of Frankfurt had the second largest Jewish population in Germany. During the early decades of the 20th century, that community continued to grow and prosper, as described in this source, the February 2005 issue of Hadassah Magazine:

As the 20th century got under way Frankfurt’s Jews were at the peak of their influence. They were bankers, brokers, manufacturers, retailers, lawyers and doctors. They fought in World War I under the Kaiser and Frankfurt became a center of learning in the Weimar Republic. Jewish Frankfurters were active in politics, and in 1925 Ludwig Landmann became the city’s first Jewish mayor.

And this source added to this picture of the thriving Jewish community in Frankfurt during the first three decades of the 20th century:

Before 1933, Frankfurt am Main had the largest percentage of Jewish citizens in Germany, and its Jewish community was the second largest in Germany following Berlin. In finance, education, science, and through numerous associations and foundations, Jewish citizens influenced the city of Frankfurt in a distinct way.

It is quite evident that Frankfurt was a comfortable place for Jews to live and do business in those early decades of the 20th century.

All that changed, of course, in 1933 when Hitler came to power. And certainly by 1935 with the enactment of the Nuremberg Laws, life became miserable for Jews all over Germany. Thus, it is not surprising that Sarah Goldschmidt’s descendants began to leave Germany, some for the United States, some for England, and some for what was then Palestine, today’s Israel.

The next series of posts will tell the story of what happened to the descendants of Sarah Goldschmidt and Abraham Stern during and after the Holocaust. This post will tell the story of Kiele Stern Loewenthal’s oldest child, Selma Loewenthal Schwabacher, and her children, Alice, Julius, and Gerhard, and their children.

Selma’s three children all went to the United States after Hitler’s rise to power, as did her grandchildren. Selma’s youngest child Gerhard Schwabacher had in fact left for the United States before Hitler came to power. According to his naturalization papers, he arrived in the United States on February 9, 1927, and by September 6, 1927, had declared his intention to become a United States citizen.

Gerhard Schwabacher, Petition for US Citizenship, National Archives at Boston; Waltham, Massachusetts; ARC Title: Naturalization Record Books, 12/1893 – 9/1906; NAI Number: 2838938; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Petition for naturalization, v 67-69, petition no 17330-17847
Ancestry.com. Connecticut, Federal Naturalization Records, 1790-1996

Gerhard married Alice Ferron, a Connecticut native, on September 4, 1931.1 Alice was born on April 18, 1905 to Charles J. and Alice Ferron.2 Gerhard and Alice were living in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 1933 when he filed his petition for citizenship, and Gerhard was working as an electrical engineer for General Electric.3

On September 8, 1934, his mother Selma Loewenthal Schwabacher (who was a widow) arrived in New York to stay with Gerhard in Bridgeport. The manifest listed Berlin as her place of residence  and indicated that she only planned to stay in the US for six months.4  It appears that Selma did not stay in the US;  the research done by my cousins Roger Cibella and David Baron indicates that she died in Berlin on February 20, 1937.

Julius Schwabacher arrived in the US on September 30, 1935. Like his mother, he indicated that Berlin was his place of residence in Germany and that he was going to see his brother Gerhard in Bridgeport. The manifest reports that Julius was a reporter and that he was going to stay only 30 days,5 and it appears he also returned to Germany. But on November 14, 1937, Julius sailed from Havana, Cuba, to Florida, ultimately heading to Bridgeport where his brother lived. This time Julius indicated he intended to stay in the US permanently and that his occupation was a journalist.

And on September 20, 1938, he filed his Declaration of Intention to become a US citizen.

Julius Schwabacher, The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; NAI Title: Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1/19/1842 – 10/29/1959; NAI Number: 4713410; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: 21, (Roll 541) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 419501-420500)
Ancestry.com. New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

Julius’ daughter Eva Lore Schwabacher arrived two years later on July 29, 1940, heading to New York where her father, now using the surname Wenton, was living. Eva Lore had been residing in London before immigrating to the US.6  Julius and Eva Lore’s mother Margarete had divorced in 1928, as Julius’s declaration indicates, and tragically, Margarete did not leave Germany and was murdered at Auschwitz.7

Selma’s daughter Alice Schwabacher Weinstein and her husband David and son Wolfgang also left Germany in time. Wolfgang left first; he arrived in the US on December 7, 1935, heading to his uncle Gerhard in Bridgeport.8 He filed his Declaration of Intent the following year and by that time had changed his surname to Wenten.

Wolfgang Weinstein (Wenten), Declaration of Intent, National Archives at Boston; Waltham, Massachusetts; ARC Title: Naturalization Record Books, 12/1893 – 9/1906; NAI Number: 2838938; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Petition for naturalization, v 100-103, petition no 25563-26184, Ancestry.com. Connecticut, Federal Naturalization Records, 1790-1996

Wolfgang’s parents Alice and David arrived on March 28, 1939,9 and like their son Wolfgang and Gerhard, settled in Bridgeport. David would also change his surname to Wenten and filed a Declaration of Intent for them to become US citizens in 1940.

David Wenten, Declaration of Intent, National Archives at Boston; Waltham, Massachusetts; ARC Title: Naturalization Record Books, 12/1893 – 9/1906; NAI Number: 2838938; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21
Declaration of intention, no 38436-40677, 1938-1940, Ancestry.com. Connecticut, Federal Naturalization Records, 1790-1996

Thus, in 1940, all of Selma Loewenthal Schwabacher’s children and grandchildren were safely settled in the US. The 1940 US census shows Gerhard living with his wife and two American-born young sons in Bridgeport, working as an electrical engineer.10 His sister Alice and her husband David were also living in Bridgeport where David was in the real estate business. Their son Wolfgang was living with them and working as a shipping clerk for a novelty store.11

I could not locate Julius or his daughter Eva Lore on the 1940 US census, but in 1942 when he registered for the World War II draft, Julius was also living in Bridgeport, working for the Surgical Shears Company.

Julius Wenteo, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II Draft Cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Connecticut; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M1962, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

Unfortunately, the story of the Selma’s children’s transition to the United States ends on a sad note. David Weinstein aka Wenten died on September 25, 1941, at the age of 55.12 One must wonder whether the stress of leaving his homeland and adjusting to life in a new country contributed to his death.

As for the other members of the family, they safely survived the war in the United States. Gerhard Schwabacher remained in Bridgeport for the rest of his life, working as an engineer for General Electric. He died on July 26, 1971, at the age of 69.13 His wife Alice died the following year.14 They were survived by their two sons.

Julius Schwabacher Wenton died a year after his brother on September 29, 1972, in Laguna Hills, California; he was 79.15 He was survived by his second wife, Elsie Simon, whom he had married in Fairfield, Connecticut on March 13, 1943,16 and his daughter Eva Lore. Eva Lore had married twice, first to Jack Stern in 1943, and then, after divorcing Jack Stern in 1946, to Henry Corton, in April, 1951.17 As far as I’ve been able to determine, she did not have children with either man. Eva Lore Corton passed away on March 3, 2003.18

Alice Schwabacher outlived both of her younger brothers. After losing her first husband David Weinstein/Wenten in 1941, she married Arthur Kingsley (originally Koenigsberger) on August 1, 1951.19 She outlived him as well; he died in January 1972.20 Alice lived to the age of 93; she died on her 93rd birthday on December 29, 1984.21 She was survived by her son Wolfgang Wenten, who was in the construction estimating business in Bridgeport. Sadly, Wolfgang did not inherit the same longevity as his mother. He died less than six years after she did on March 20, 1990; he was 76 and was survived by his wife Ruth and their two children.22

Selma Loewenthal Schwabacher still has numerous descendants living in the United States—her great-grandchildren and their children and grandchildren. She and her family were among the fortunate ones who left Germany in time.

 

 


  1.  Connecticut State Department of Health; Hartford, CT; Connecticut Vital Records — Index of Marriages, 1897-1968; Ancestry.com. WEB: Connecticut Marriage Records, 1897-1968 
  2. Charles Farron (sic) and family, 1920 US census, Census Place: Bridgeport Ward 5, Fairfield, Connecticut; Roll: T625_175; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 26, Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census 
  3. “Gerhard P. Schwabacher,” The Bridgeport Post, Bridgeport, Connecticut
    27 Jul 1971, Tue • Page 45 
  4. Selma Schwabacher, ship manifest, Year: 1934; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 5554; Line: 1; Page Number: 112, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  5. Julius Schwabacher, ship manifest, Year: 1935; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 5713; Line: 1; Page Number: 128, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  6. Eva Lore Schwabacher, ship manifest, Year: 1940; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 6485; Line: 15; Page Number: 126, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  7. Entries for Margarete Schwabacher at Yad Vashem https://tinyurl.com/wlm399u 
  8. Wolfgang Weinstein, ship manifest, Year: 1935; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 5739; Line: 18; Page Number: 21, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  9. David and Alice Weinstein, ship manifest, Year: 1939; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 6303; Line: 18; Page Number: 104, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  10. Family of Gerhard Schwabacher, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Bridgeport, Fairfield, Connecticut; Roll: m-t0627-00531; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 9-69, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  11. Family of David Wenten, 1940 US census, ear: 1940; Census Place: Bridgeport, Fairfield, Connecticut; Roll: m-t0627-00533; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 9-125,
    Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  12.  State Vital Records Office; Hartford, Connecticut; Connecticut Vital Records — Index of Deaths, 1897-1968, Ancestry.com. WEB: Connecticut Death Records, 1897-1968 
  13. “Gerhard P. Schwabacher,” The Bridgeport Post, Bridgeport, Connecticut
    27 Jul 1971, Tue • Page 45. Social Security Number: 041-09-0962, Birth Date: 27 Jun 1902, Last Residence: 06492, Wallingford, New Haven, Connecticut, USA, Death Date: Jul 1971, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  14. State File #: 02273, Connecticut Department of Health. Connecticut Death Index, 1949-2012 
  15.  Social Security Number: 104-10-6866, Birth Date: 17 May 1893, Last Residence: 92653, Laguna Hills, Orange, California, USA, Death Date: Sep 1972, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  16.  Connecticut State Department of Health; Hartford, CT; Connecticut Vital Records — Index of Marriages, 1897-1968, Ancestry.com. WEB: Connecticut Marriage Records, 1897-1968 
  17. Marriage of Eva Lore Schwabacher to Jack Stern, Marriage certificates 1943 vol 57A, Ancestry.com. Washington, County Marriages, 1855-2008. Divorce of Eva Lore Schwabacher and Jack Stern, Ancestry.com. Florida, Divorce Index, 1927-2001,
    Original data: Florida Department of Health. Florida Divorce Index, 1927-2001. Jacksonville, FL, USA: Florida Department of Health. Marriage of Eva Lore Schwabacher Stern to Henry Corton, License Number: 9785, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 14,
    Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  18. SSN: 045121672, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  19.  License Number: 20152, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  20.  Social Security Number: 112-26-6899, Death Date: Jan 1972, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  21.  Social Security Number: 044-12-5712, Birth Date: 29 Dec 1891,
    Last Residence: 10040, New York, New York, New York, USA, Death Date: Dec 1984
    Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014. JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR), 
  22. “Wenten Named to Head County School,” The Bridgeport Post, Bridgeport, Connecticut, 28 Jul 1968, Sun • Page 66. SSN: 041105870, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 

Sarah Goldschmidt’s Descendants: The Family Expands 1889-1909

As seen in my last post, Sarah Goldschmidt Stern was survived by four children, Lina, Keile, Abraham, and Mayer, and by eleven grandchildren: Keile’s five children, Abraham’s four children, and Mayer’s two children. Lina did not have children.

Before the dawn of the 20th century, Keile had herself become a grandmother. Her daughter Selma Loewenthal married Nathan Schwabacher on August 1, 1890, in Bornheim. He was born on December 30, 1860, in Feuchtwangen, Germany, to Elias Baer Schwabacher and Jette Gutmann. Notice that Levi Brinkmann, husband of Selma’s aunt Lina, was one of the witnesses.

Marriage record of Selma Loewenthal and Nathan Schwabacher, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Signatur: 9490
Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Selma and Nathan’s first child was Alice Therese Schwabacher, born December 29, 1891, in Frankfurt.

Alice Schwabacher birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_9093, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Next came Julius Schwabacher, born May 17, 1893, in Frankfurt.

Julius Schwabacher birth record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 903_9120, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901

Their third child Gerhard Schwabacher was actually born in the 20th century. He was born in Frankfurt on June 27, 1902.1

Keile and Abraham Loewenthal’s second oldest daughter Helene also married in the 1890s. She married Eduard Feuchtwanger on April 4, 1897, in Frankfurt. He was the son of Jacob Loew Feuchtwanger and Auguste Hahn, and was born in Munich on April 21, 1862. Keile’s brother Abraham Stern was a witness to this marriage.

Marriage of Helene Loewenthal and Eduard Feuchtwanger, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

But the happiness brought by the marriages of Keile’s daughters Selma and Helene and the births of her grandchildren between 1891 and 1902 was unfortunately darkened by the death of her husband Abraham Loewenthal on January 28, 1903. He was sixty years old.

Abraham Loewenthal death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10570,Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

The first decade of the 20th century brought one other loss to the family when Lina’s husband Levi Brinkmann died on September 14, 1907, in Eschwege, Germany. He was only 65.

Levi Brinkmann death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 11044, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Thus, both Keile and her sister Lina were widowed during that decade.

But that first decade also brought new members into the family as more of the grandchildren of Sarah Goldschmidt Stern began to marry and have children. First, Julius Loewenthal, Keile’s son, married Elsa Werner on November 16, 1903, in Eschwege, Germany. Elsa was the daughter of Max Werner and Helene Katzenstein, and she was born on June 27, 1883, in Eschwege.

UPDATE: Thank you to David Baron for pointing out that Elsa Werner was a second cousin to Julius Loewenthal. Her mother Helene Katzenstein Werner was the daughter of Malchen Goldschmidt Katzenstein, younger sister of Sarah Goldschmidt Stern. Thus, Julius and Elsa were both the great-grandchildren of Meyer Goldschmidt.

Julius Loewenthal and Elsa Stern marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 923, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Julius and Elsa had two children in the first decade of the 20th century. Ruth Loewenthal was born on October 22, 1905, in Eschwege,2 and Herbert Loewenthal was born on September 2, 1909.3 Two more children would come in the next decade.

Keile and Abraham Loewenthal’s daughter Martha also married in this decade. On November 8, 1904, she married Jakob Abraham Wolff, son of Abraham Wolff and Hannchen Wolff, in Frankfurt. Jakob was born in Aurich, Germany, on December 20, 1875. Keile’s brother Abraham Stern was once again a witness to this marriage.

Martha Loewenthal marriage to Jakob Wolff, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Martha and Jakob had three children.  Anna was born on July 23, 1905,4  Hans Anton was born on December 1, 1906, and Hans Walter on December 6, 1909. 5

Martha’s brother Siegfried Loewenthal also married in this decade. Siegfried married Henriette Feuchtwanger, daughter of Amson Feuchtwanger and Roeschen Oppenheimer, sometime before 1908. Henriette was born in Furth on October 13, 1881.6  Siegfried and Henriette had three children born between their marriage and 1910: Rosel on February 14, 1908,7 Albert on March 25, 1909,8 and Louise on December 25, 1910,9 all in Frankfurt. They would have two more children in the next decade.

Thus, by the end of 1910, Keile Stern Loewenthal had eleven grandchildren, Sarah Goldschmidt’s great-grandchildren, Meyer Goldschmidt’s great-great-grandchildren. My fourth cousins, once removed.

Keile was not the only child of Sarah Goldschmidt Stern to have grandchildren in the first decade of the 20th century. On April 14, 1909, Abraham Stern’s daughter Clementine married Siegfried Oppenheimer in Frankfurt. He was born in Hannover on October 16, 1882, the son of Wilhelm Oppenheimer and Jettchen Cramer. He was a physician.

Marriage of Clementine Stern and Siegfried Oppenheimer, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930

Clementine and Siegfried had twins on December 23, 1909. Sadly, one was stillborn. The other twin Erika survived.10 Given that Clementine and Siegfried were married just eight months when Clementine gave birth, I wonder whether the twins were born prematurely, thus contributing to or causing the death of one of those babies.

Death record of Oppenheimer infant, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 10652, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Clementine and Siegfried would have more children in the next decade, as would Clementine’s siblings and her first cousins. But with the growth of the family tree during the twenty years that followed Sarah Goldschmidt’s death in 1889, it’s time to focus on each of her children and their children and grandchildren separately as we move forward into the 1910s and beyond.


  1. National Archives at Boston; Waltham, Massachusetts; ARC Title: Naturalization Record Books, 12/1893 – 9/1906; NAI Number: 2838938; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Ancestry.com. Connecticut, Federal Naturalization Records, 1790-1996 
  2.  Certificate Number: 12, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 923; Laufende Nummer: 1913, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930 
  3.  Arolsen Archives, Digital Archive; Bad Arolsen, Germany; Lists of Persecutees 2.1.1.1; Series: 2.1.1.1, Reference Code: 02010101 oSm Source Information
    Ancestry.com. Europe, Registration of Foreigners and German Persecutees, 1939-1947 
  4. 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: 9, Stern, Johanna (Löb) – Zysmann, Judith, Ancestry.com. Germany, Index of Jews Whose German Nationality was Annulled by Nazi Regime, 1935-1944 
  5. I encountered trouble finding birth records as I began to research children born in Frankfurt after 1901 because the online records for Frankfurt births end with 1901. Although these birth dates are listed on trees on Ancestry and MyHeritage, the trees do not cite to specific sources.  I never rely on these unsourced trees unless I can find a source to verify the information. In this case, there is also the extensive research done over many years by my cousin Roger Cibella and his husband David Baron, both on the website they created in 1998, The History of the Jewish Community of Frankfurt am Main, and in the updated family report they shared with me more recently. Roger and David’s research has always proven to be thorough and accurate, so I have faith in their work, even though I do not have access to their sources for these birth dates.  Where I have relied on Roger and David’s research, I will cite to their work as “Cibella/Baron,” either in the text or in a footnote. That is the case for two of the three children of Martha Loewenthal and Jakob Wollf, Hans Anton, and Hans Walter. 
  6. Arolsen MArchives, Digital Archive; Bad Arolsen, Germany; Lists of Persecutees 2.1.1.1; Series: 2.1.1.1, Reference Code: 02010101 oS, Ancestry.com. Europe, Registration of Foreigners and German Persecutees, 1939-1947. Several unsourced trees on Ancestry and MyHeritage provide a wedding date of May 16, 1907, in Wuerzberg. 
  7. Rosa Loewenthal marriage record, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 903, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Marriages, 1849-1930 
  8. Albert Loewenthal immigration and naturalization papers found at the Israel Archives at https://www.archives.gov.il/en/archives/#/Archive/0b07170680034dc1/File/0b07170680fd584e 
  9. SSN: 122285989, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. 
  10. National Archives at Chicago; Chicago, Illinois; ARC Title: Illinois, Petitions for Naturalization, 1906-1991; NAI Number: 593882; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Description: Petitions for naturalization, v 1185, no 296351-296550, ca 1943-1944,
    Ancestry.com. Illinois, Federal Naturalization Records, 1856-1991