The Children of Karoline Katzenstein: Together in Life, Together in Death

Although Mina and Wolf’s oldest daughter Rosa had left me with many unanswered questions (that were soon answered with the help of Aaron Knappstein), I had greater success with their second oldest child, Karoline.

Karoline was born on March 30, 1861, in Frankenau.

Karoline Katzenstein birth record from Arcinsys for Hessen
HHStAW Fonds 365 No 174, p. 8

She married Heineman Blumenfeld on October 10, 1884, in Frankenau. He was born in Momberg on October 8, 1854, to Abraham Blumenfeld and Giedel Straus. (There is another intrafamily relationship between the Blumenfelds and the Katzensteins, as Barbara Greve explained to me yesterday, but for now, I won’t confuse the narrative. I need to be sure I understand it first!) (UPDATE: So it turns out that Heinemann Blumenfeld was my second cousin, three times removed. More on that at some later point.)

Marriage record of Karoline Katzenstein and Heineman Blumenfeld
Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Standesamt Frankenau Heiratsnebenregister 1884 (Hstamr Best. 922 Nr. 3219); Collection: Personenstandsregister Heiratsregister; Signatur: 922

Karoline and Heineman had three children. Their oldest, Toni, was born on September 21, 1885, in Momberg:

Toni Blumenfeld birth record
Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Collection: Personenstandsregister Geburtsregister; Signatur: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6468

She married Moritz Schuster on October 5, 1912, in Momberg; he was born on June 20, 1883, in Sterbfritz, Germany, the son of David Schuster and Bertha Schuster:

Marriage record of Toni Blumenfeld and Moritz Schuster Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Collection: Personenstandsregister Heiratsregister;Signatur: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6197

Toni and Moritz had two children born in Sterbfritz: Kathryn/Kaete (1913) and Alfred (1915).

The second child of Karoline and Heineman Blumenfeld was their son Moritz (also Moses and later Morris). He was born on October 7, 1887, in Momberg.

Moritz Blumenfeld birth record
Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Collection: Personenstandsregister Geburtsregister; Signatur: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6470

He married Sophie Spier on December 23, 1924, in Momberg. Sophie was born in Momberg on June 28, 1894.

Marriage record of Moritz Blumenfeld and Sophie Spier
HStAMR Best. 915 Nr. 6209 Standesamt Momberg Heiratsnebenregister 1924, S. 9

Moritz and Sophie Blumenfeld had three children: Ursula, Ruth, and Werner.

The youngest child of Karoline and Heineman Blumenfeld was their daughter Bella. She was born May 23, 1890:

Bella Blumenfeld birth record
Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Collection: Personenstandsregister Geburtsregister; Signatur: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6473

She married Hermann Stein on January 23, 1922. Hermann was born in Burgsinn, Germany, on September 22, 1884, the son of Julius Stein and Regina Heil. Bella and Hermann did not have any children.

Bella Blumenfeld and Hermann Stein marriage record
Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Collection: Personenstandsregister Heiratsregister; Signatur: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6207

Fortunately, the Blumenfeld family decided quite early in Hitler’s reign to start emigrating from Germany. On October 5, 1934, the two children of Toni Blumenfeld and Moritz Schuster arrived in the US; Alfred Schuster was 18, his sister Kathryn was 21. They had been living in Sterbfritz and were going to a cousin named Hermann Livingston in Bloomington, Illinois, although the manifest notes that they were instead discharged to an uncle, Sid Livingston of Chicago.

Alfred and Kaete Schuster passenger manifest
Year: 1934; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 5559; Line: 1; Page Number: 139

Year: 1934; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 5559; Line: 1; Page Number: 139
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957

Karoline and Heinemann Blumenfeld did not live long after their grandchildren departed for the US. Karoline died on January 25, 1935, in Momberg.  She was 73 years old.  Her husband Heinemann died the following year on August 31, 1936; he was 81.

Karoline Katzenstein Blumenfeld death record
Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 915; Laufende Nummer: 6245

It was not long after their parents’ deaths that the three children of Karoline and Heinemann escaped from Nazi Germany to the United States. Bella left with her husband Hermann Stein on August 24, 1937. The manifest indicates that they had been living in Burgsinn before emigrating. Hermann was a merchant.  The manifest also reports that they were going to a cousin named Sigmund Livingston in Chicago, presumably the same individual who had picked up Alfred and Kathryn.[i]

Bella and Hermann Stein passenger manifest
Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 6030; Line: 1; Page Number: 85
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger Lists, 1820-1957

Bella’s sister Toni and her husband Moritz Schuster arrived a little over two years later on December 21, 1939. According to Toni Schuster’s obituary, her husband Moritz had spent some time in a concentration camp before escaping with Toni to the US. The manifest listed their son Alfred in Bloomington as the person they were going to, but that entry was crossed out and replaced with the name of a nephew, Milan (?) Schuster, in the Bronx.

Year: 1939; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 6428; Line: 1; Page Number: 170

It also appears that Moritz and Toni were detained for one day until December 22, 1939, because they were seen as LPC—likely to become public charges. I wonder whether that is why the person they were released to was someone in the New York City area instead of their son in Bloomington, Illinois.

Record of Aliens Held for Special Inquiry 12 21 1939
Supplemental Manifests of Alien Passengers and Crew Members Who Arrived on Vessels at New York, New York, Who Were Inspected for Admission, and Related Index, compiled 1887-1952. Microfilm Publication A3461, 21 rolls. NAI: 3887372. RG 85, Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

Finally, the remaining members of the Blumenfeld family arrived on March 18, 1940—Moritz Blumenfeld and his wife Sophie and their three young children. They also reported that they were going to their cousin, Sid Livingston of Chicago.

Moritz Blumenfeld and family ship manifest
Year: 1940; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 6451; Line: 1; Page Number: 37

All the Blumenfeld siblings and their spouses and children were living together in Bloomington, Illinois, in 1940, according to the census. Alfred Schuster, who was only 24, was listed as the head of the household. He was working as a salesman at a department store. His sister Kathryn was a clerk at a department store. Their father Moritz Schuster did not have any employment listed nor did their mother Toni. Bella’s husband, Hermann Stein, was working as a tailor, and Moritz Blumenfeld, who is listed here as Morris Bloomfield, a surname change that was adopted by his wife and children as well, was working as a janitor in a tailor shop, presumably with his brother-in-law Hermann.

Blumenfeld siblings and families 1940 census
Year: 1940; Census Place: Bloomington, McLean, Illinois; Roll: T627_841; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 57-26

In 1942, according to his draft registration Morris Bloomfield was working for Advance Cleaners in Bloomington. His brother-in-law Hermann Stein reported on his draft registration that he was working for a different cleaning company, Broleen’s Cleaners. Toni Blumenfeld’s husband did not identify any employment when he registered for the draft in 1942, but according to his obituary, he had owned a furniture store in Bloomington until 1944. “Morris M, Schuster,” The Pantagraph  (13 Aug 1964, p. 22)

After settling in Bloomington, all the Blumenfeld siblings and their spouses stayed in the Bloomington/Peoria region for the rest of their lives. Toni Blumenfeld died on October 2, 1964, just two months after her husband Moritz Schuster died on August 10, 1964; they had been living in Peoria at the time of their deaths and are buried in the Peoria Hebrew Cemetery. “Morris M, Schuster,” The Pantagraph  (13 Aug 1964, p. 22);  “Mrs. Schuster, Nazi Germany Escapee, Dies,”  The Pantagraph (7 Oct 1964, p 5).

Toni’s brother Morris Bloomfield died on May 14, 1966, three years after his wife Sophie.  They also are buried in the Peoria Hebrew Cemetery. Finally, Bella Blumenfeld Stein lost her husband Hermann in 1954; she died in 1984 in Chicago, but was buried with her husband and siblings in the Peoria Hebrew Cemetery.

When Karoline Katzenstein and Heinemann Blumenfeld died in 1935 and 1936, respectively, they must have been deeply concerned about the future of their family under Nazi rule; after all, two of their grandchildren had already left Germany. I imagine that Karoline and Heinemann would be greatly pleased to know that all three of their children escaped from Germany and spent the remainder of their lives living close to one another and are even buried near each other in Peoria, Illinois.

JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.

JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.

JewishGen, comp. JewishGen Online Worldwide Burial Registry (JOWBR) [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008.

 

____________

[i] Since Sigmund Livingston was identified as family on all the manifests for the Blumenfeld family, I assumed that he was somehow related to the Blumenfelds, and indeed, research uncovered that his mother’s name was Dora Blumenfeld. She was the sister of Heinemann Blumenfeld, so Sigmund was in fact the first cousin of Toni, Moritz, and Bella Blumenfeld. Dora and her husband Meyer Loewenstein had immigrated to the US by 1871, and their son Sigmund was born in the US in 1872. Sigmund and his siblings changed the surname from Loewenstein to Livingston.

Hettie Schoenthal, An Indomitable Spirit: Part I

With the next few posts I will finally complete the stories of the children of Simon Schoenthal, brother of my great-grandfather Isidore. These next few posts will be about Hettie Schoenthal Stein, the third youngest child and second youngest daughter of Simon and Rose.

Courtesy of the family of Hettie Schoenthal Stein

Courtesy of the family of Hettie Schoenthal Stein

In many ways I have saved the best for last because I was very fortunate to connect with Hettie’s grandson’s family, and they shared with me a number of photographs plus a memoir written by Hettie herself as well as an essay of memories written by her son Walter.  Some of those photographs and a bit of the memoir have already been included in earlier posts—with the family’s permission.  Hettie was almost ninety years old when she wrote her life story to share with her grandson.   I have kept the phrasing and spelling just as Hettie wrote it in 1973 and 1974.  All excerpts attributed to Hettie are from her memoir, “This is My Life.”

Hettie was born in Philadelphia on April 24, 1886, the eighth child of Simon Schoenthal and Rose Mansbach.  As Hettie tells it:

I was born and they named me Hettie Schoenthal in 1886, a tiney little girl weighing 8 ½ pounds. I was only two weeks old when Mother and I were taken to Wills Eye Hospital in Phila where Mother had an eye operation. My oldest sister [Gertrude] told me this story. She said I was such a good and pretty baby the Superviser wanted to adopt me as Mother only had seven more at home, then later on two more came along. There were six boy and four girls. The first were twins.

According to Hettie, the family left Philadelphia when she was five or in about 1891 for Atlantic City.  She described her childhood there:

I will tell you a little about my school days. I wish I had a picture of the school—it still looks the same as it did 85 years ago. I must tell you about the boy who sat in back of me. We liked each other. One day the teacher caught me turning around talking so she sent me to the coat room. When it was time for me to come out, she sent Frank in and I kissed him. I had a good time in there I played ball with the hats and tried on the coats.

They were the good old days.

I did not like school and I am sorry to say I did not go through high school but I am very happy and proud all my grandchildren are graduates of college. …

We had a big St. Bernard dog and I loved to take him on the beach. We would walk near the water. I made lots of friends both boys and girls.

Not all of Hettie’s memories were as pleasant:

Hettie Excerpt 1

 

I must tell you when I was seven or eight years old my sister was baking a cake and our maid said “Miss Gertie, you spilled some flour,” so I ran to get my little broom. When my sister came from the stove with boiling milk, I ran into her and was scalted very badely. I still have the scar. My hair covers it. I was lucky it did not go in my eye.

But that incident had some benefits:

My father was a strick man. He thought everything my mother cooked we should eat and I remember we had some sweet and sour beans. I would not eat them. I had a little apron on with a pocket and the beans landed in there. My dad happened to see me do it. He came over to my side of the table, took me by the hand, lead me in the other room, my panties came down, and the hand went to work. It was not to bad. I was the pet of the family because of my accident with the milk.

Clearly, Hettie was a spirited child.

Hettie also shared this story, which occurred when she was about twelve years old or in 1898:

One day I was walking on the Boardwalk and a photographer came along and wanted to take my picture so he did. Then Mr. Persky the Artist saw it and wanted to make a painting. It realey was beautiful it had a very expensive frame. It was put on display in a furniture store window. I was passing and I saw a crowd. I got way up front and some man said, “Here is the kid now.” My parents were able to buy it. It hung in our home for many years.

Fortunately, among the photographs I received from Hettie’s family was the one described above:

Hettie Schoenthal, c. 1898

Hettie Schoenthal, c. 1898

No wonder the photographer was taken with her! Hettie’s adventurous spirit is revealed in this anecdote from about 1903 when she was a teenager:

Now I think I am around 16 or 17 years old. I liked this boy very much. His name was Roy Willis. He wanted me to elope with him, so I would meet him around the corner. One night he had to work late, so I went for a walk and I met a boy who lived near us and he daired me to go on the Pier with him. So I went and Roy caught up to us and was very mad. The next day he and my brother Martin were going on vacation up in the mountain. He did not say good by. A few days later I got a post card with a picture of a fellow falling off of a horse saying I went off so suddenly he did not sign his name but did after he returned.

Hettie Schoenthal, 1906 Courtesy of her family

Hettie Schoenthal, 1906, about 20 years old
Courtesy of her family

In 1898, Hettie’s older sister Gertrude had married Jacob J. Miller and had moved soon thereafter to Tucson, Arizona.  When she was about twenty years old or around 1906, Hettie followed her big sister to Tucson. It must have been quite a shock for a girl who had grown up in the urban environment of Atlantic City.   Their house in Tucson “had a big screen porch and we slept out there most of the time and we would hear a coyot and sometimes we would smell a skunk.”

But Hettie seemed quite happy and had an active social life:

There were quite a few young folks in Tucson and I was having a good time horseback riding, card parties and Picnics. Two of the men were very nice to me. They wanted to date me every night. One was a traveling salesman and had to be out of town some time so Henry Stein was the winner. That summer it was very hot in Tucson so we went up to the mountains to a place called Orical. The hotel was run by an American Indian and his wife.

We had one very large room with four beds. When we went to bed the first night we saw a big Tarantular. That is a great big black spider on the ceiling. We were afraid for all of us to go to sleep so my sister and I took turns watching it. We had very little sleep.

On Sunday Henry and my sister’s husband drove up to see us and had dinner with us. Well we had a good dinner but I said the chicken tasted different. I found out later it was rabbit. I got so I liked Henry much better but I did not know if I loved him. He asked me to marry him but I thought he was so much older than I. There was 15 years difference. I came back to Atlantic City. After awhile I got restless, then my sister’s husband came east on a business trip and I was again for the west. I loved to travel.

Henry Stein and Hettie Schoenthal 1907 courtesy of their family

Henry Stein and Hettie Schoenthal 1907
courtesy of their family

Hettie also shared this story of her return to Atlantic City:

I must tell you, one day in Tucson Ariz, I think it was 1908, a girl from Phila and I went horse back riding. My horse belonged to our neighbor. I had ridden him many times and never had any trouble, but this time I don’t know if he got scared or what, but he tried to throw me. I stayed on him as long as I could. A man came along and told me I had better get off. I believe this girl’s name was Lena. One day she said “I am going back to Phila,” so I got restless so I said, “I will go with you.” So I got ready.

In those days it took 4 or 5 days by train. It had a Pullman car and the chairs were very comfortable. We met two very nice gentlemen. They wanted to treat us to a drink. We did not drink the kind they did. We had root beer. The one I liked best had a pretty red tie on. I admired it, so the next day when I saw him, he had a package for me. Guess what was in it? The red tie. That night I put on a white blouse and had the tie on. When they came in the dining car they got the next table to us. He said it looked better on me. Then he told me his wife made it. I said maybe I had better give it back and he said no. When we were getting near Phila he wanted my address. I told him I did not go with married men.

This photograph of Hettie with three of her siblings must have been taken during that return to Atlantic City in 1908 (love the wild hairstyles):

Hettie Schoenthal and her siblings, 1908 Atlantic City. Estelle, Martin, and Maurice?

Hettie Schoenthal and others—I think Sidney, Hettie, Estelle, and Jacob.  Atlantic City 1908 Courtesy of the family

Hettie must have returned to Arizona from the East not long after, and when she did, she seemed to have gotten over the fifteen year age difference between herself and Henry Stein:

 

Marriage license notice for Hettie Schoenthal and Henry Stein Los Angeles Herald Tribune, August 24, 1909, p. 14

Marriage license notice for Hettie Schoenthal and Henry Stein
Los Angeles Herald Tribune, August 24, 1909, p. 14

Hettie and Henry wedding photo

The summer of 1909 we went to Los Angeles, Cal, and Henry came up there and we decided to get married, so on Aug 24 we did and went on a nice honeymoon. Then we went back to Tucson to make our home.

Henry was the first white barber in Tucson. He shaved Grover Cleveland before we were married. His aunt brought him over from Uhel, Slovakia. He was very young. He had a younger brother over here who was in an accident and killed.

We built a very pretty home next to my sisters and we were very happy.

Two years later on Oct. 9, a little boy came along. We named him Walter, then Sept. 22nd two years later, a little girl. We named her Blanche. That was your mother. She was really beautiful.

Birth certificate of Walter Stein courtesy of the family

Birth certificate of Walter Stein
courtesy of the family

 

Henry Stein with his son Walter, 1910 courtesy of the family

Henry Stein with his son Walter, 1910
courtesy of the family

 

 

Walter and Blanche Stein, 1913 courtesy of their family

Walter and Blanche Stein, 1913
courtesy of their family

 

A few years after their daughter Blanche was born, Hettie and Henry and their children left Tucson for Ray, Arizona, a small mining town that was about 100 miles from Tucson.  What would have led them there?

Part II addresses that question and describes their life in Ray.

 

Blanche, Hettie, and Walter Stein

Blanche, Hettie, and Walter Stein