The Memoir of Julius Loewenthal, Part V: Leaving Germany

This is the final chapter in the memoir of my cousin Julius Loewenthal. We saw in the prior chapter how his life began to fall apart after the Nazis took control of Germany and their persecution of the Jews began in 1933. Then the family suffered a great personal tragedy in October 1937 when Julius and Elsa’s daughter Ruth and her husband Leonhard Fulda were killed in a terrible car accident after traveling to Switzerland to find a sanitorium for Herbert Loewenthal, who was struggling with mental illness and was soon after confined to a sanitorium in Zurich.

In this last section of his memoir, Julius writes about the decision to leave Germany and their ultimate departure in December 1938.


Eventually the life of the German Jew became impossible. No longer could we travel. Our passports were taken away. Thus, we finally decided to sell the business. It was a very difficult decision. Our life blood and that of our ancestors was sentimentally involved in this enterprise, its buildings, its history.

If my departure from my desk after 45 years was difficult and slow, my departure from my homeland, however, was made brutally swift and final by the following events. During the night from the 9th to the 10th of November [1938], approximately 30 Nazi Storm Troopers broke into our home in Eschwege. They destroyed everything they could get their hands on. Furniture was broken. Upholstery was cut to shreds, china was broken, even paintings of internationally known artists were cut up. Even the marble window sills were broken in two.  My wife and our servant…had taken refuge in the upstairs bedroom as I was out of town on this night. They [the Nazis] broke into the bedroom, and my wife and [servant] took refuge on the outside balcony where they remained all night because had they been discovered, they would have been killed. It was a very cold and lonely frightful night.

I was reached by phone and came back to Eschwege to find my home in shambles and my wife frightened to the marrow of her bones. On the evening of my return, the Gestapo arrived at my home and told me that on order from higher authority, my life and that of my wife was not in danger. At that time I did not understand in full the meaning of this communication because it was not until later that I found out that nearly all the members of the Jewish congregation were arrested on that day, brutally mistreated, and shipped to the Concentration Camp at Buchenwald. Many, very many, never came back. I, however, had a guardian angel, as I was to find out later.

At night we drove to the Schlosshotel in Kassel where we were accepted and could stay, as in those days no Hotel accepted Jews anymore. We remained there two nights and obtained the necessary papers to emigrate from Germany….

It was the unbelievable energy and presence of mind of my dear wife that brought us through these hours, as it was she who arranged for the damaged silver and furniture to be repaired, arranged the travel papers, and supervised the packing of that which was possible to be taken with us. Thus, we were later able to sell a lot of these items in the USA in order to obtain some money and survive. …

During the second night of our stay in the Hotel in Kassel, the Hotel was checked by the Gestapo. We were not bothered this time, but preferred to move to Frankfurt where no Hotel accepted us. We took refuge in the empty Apartment of my niece Lotte Posen, my brother Siegfried’s daughter. Her husband had been arrested, and she had moved to her parents.

We had arrived on Friday afternoon, and our cousin Sitta Mainz sent us some fish and bread to eat; it was very nice of her. On Saturday morning my niece Lotte came to me and told me I could no longer stay in her Apartment as I resembled her father too much. My wife was at the English Consulate. What could I do? In spite of it being Shabbos, I took a taxi and drove to the English Consul in order to meet my wife. She became very upset when she saw me with my luggage, but she managed to take us to my cousin Selma Frankel, who took us with much love and cooperation and helped us in a very difficult situation. …

We returned once more to Eschwege for the final packing for just a few days and then back to Frankfurt where we stayed at the house of my aunt Hana Stern. [This must refer to Johanna Goldschmidt, wife of Abraham Stern, who was the brother of Julius’ mother Kiele Stern. Johanna was also, however, Kiele Stern’s first cousin, as Kiele’s mother Sarah Goldschmidt was the sister of Johanna’s father Selig Goldschmidt.] The house was occupied by her son-in-law who fled for his life in the middle of the night. [This must refer to Siegfried Oppenheimer, the husband of Alice Stern, as I wrote about here.] It was a terrible feeling as everyone around you took steps to save his naked life. Still living in the house upstairs lived the other son-in-law of my aunt, Albert Mainz [husband of Sitta Stern]. We had a last supper together, and the following morning we travelled to Stuttgart to ask at the American Consul for our visa. When we returned that same night, Albert Mainz and family also had fled. Our fright increased; we were very shaken and terrified. We decided to cross the Border that night. This move was long overdue.

We had just obtained the necessary railroad tickets and travel papers when 3 Gestapo Agents arrived and confiscated all my wife’s jewelry, even though we had received permission on a prior occasion to retain the same and take it with us. Now what? It was my last possession as I knew that none of the money I had left in the Bank would ever be transferred.

At that terrible moment I made a dangerous decision, unheard of in those days and beyond imagination. I called the head of the Internal Revenue for the State of Hessen, the top authority in the State, and requested his intervention. … My guardian angel who had protected me in the past so visibly also protected me now, and the Gestapo Agents were ordered to return the jewelry, which they did with much reluctance. Of course, this individual knew me as the seat of his Bureau was in Kassel and knew very well who I was, as in the past we were the largest taxpayers in the county of Eschwege.

We took the train to Holland. At the Border, the town of Emmrich, the passport control came through. After they had inspected us, the customs inspectors came through. In this sleeping car only people who were emigrating into Holland were travelling. All had to open their luggage and all had to surrender their jewelry and watches. When the inspectors came to me, they read my name and passed on. I did not have to open my bags nor did I have to surrender anything. My wife and myself looked at each other. We could not believe it. Fright was still deep in our bones. In a few minutes we were in Holland and finally able to sleep again. Our guardian angel was indeed a guardian to us.

It was the 8th of December, a dark and rainy day, but a happy day. We were only allowed to take with us 10 Marks in Dutch currency. Thus, I who had left Millions behind was happy to find a room on the third floor of a Pension where we could rest as now we were in a free land, and we were able to eat meat again. We were saved, but unfortunately without our Grandchild Margot. She eventually was brought out by her Grandfather Fulda, who even then still liked it in Germany. At this writing she is still in Amsterdam. I hope and with God’s help I will see her again. …

Thus, our lives’ work, our homes, our fortunes, absolutely everything went to nothing. I cannot express in this writing the feelings in my heart of how they have influenced my views on life itself. However, let me say that this is a Jewish destiny, which has not swayed me one iota in my faith in the Lord of our forefathers.


Julius Loewenthal and his wife Elsa left Holland for England and then immigrated to New York City in May, 1939, where their daughter Hilda and son-in-law Max Stern lived. When Julius wrote this memoir in 1940, his son Garry Warner was enlisted in the British Army. Garry immigrated to New York City a year after the end of World War II.

Garry Warner-Loewenthal, born Karl Werner Loewenthal.
Courtesy of Joanne Warner-Loewenthal

Julius died of a heart attack in Manhattan on November 26, 1946, at the age of 72. I assume he knew before he died that his beloved granddaughter Margot had been murdered by the Nazis at Sobibor along with her other grandparents. Elsa died in 1961, also in New York City.

According to Garry’s notes after his translation of the memoir, the firm of L.S Brinkmann, the knitwear company owned by Levi Brinkmann and later by Julius and his brother-in-law/second cousin Moritz Werner, was re-established after the war by Moritz and Garry and resumed business in 1949. It was once again a very successful business for many years, closing down in 1974.

Garry also commented on the fate of his brother Herbert, who was a patient in a sanitorium in Zurich during the war. He was released in 1953 and cared for by a Swiss guardian. He worked and was well liked and respected in the community. He was “an extremely intelligent and cultured person, a man of many abilities, the least of which was to become a painter.” Herbert died of a heart attack in Zurich in 1962. Garry and his wife and five year old daughter were in Europe at that time and on their way to visit him when he died.

According to his daughter Joanne, Garry continued to work in the knitwear business until 1969. He then moved to West Palm Beach, Florida. He died March 1, 2005, when he was 87. I am so grateful to him for translating his father’s memoir and to Joanne for sharing it with me.

Garry Warner-Loewenthal
Courtesy of Joanne Warner-Loewenthal

These are stories that must be shared. We must never, ever forget what these people endured or their courage and resilience in carrying on after surviving Nazi Germany and the Holocaust.

 

Charles Bloch Redux: A Lesson in French Genealogy Research

A few weeks ago I published my second post about Charles Bloch, searching for information about the time he spent in France during World War II. Charles was married to Amalie Meyer, granddaughter of Meyer Goldschmidt, my four-times great-uncle. He wasn’t related to me except by marriage, but I can’t seem to let go of his story. So this is my third Charles Bloch post. And there will be one more.

All I knew at the time of that second post was that Charles was still in Germany as of December, 1938, when he was released from the Buchenwald concentration camp, and that he arrived in the US from Toulouse, France, in 1946. I knew that his wife, Amalie Meyer Bloch, and his daughter Ilse Bloch, had both left Germany and were in the US by 1941, at which time Amalie reported on her declaration of intention that her husband Charles was in France.  But despite receiving additional documents from the International Tracing Service, I still didn’t know when Charles arrived in France or where or how he spent those war years.

I received a few suggestions from readers for additional research, but the most significant help came from a member of Tracing the Tribe named Danny Breslow. Danny has expertise in French genealogy research and was incredibly generous with his time helping me to find information.

First, he noticed something I should have noticed. On Charles’ ship manifest coming to the US in 1946, he listed as the person left behind in his former place of residence a person named Gaston Bloch, residing at 27 “Pomme St.” in Toulouse.

Charles Bloch, passenger manifest p. 2, Year: 1946; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 40, Ship or Roll Number: Fort Royal
Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Danny then searched the 1936 Toulouse census (the most recent one available online) and discovered that in 1936, a couple named Gaston and Alice Alexandre lived at 27 Rue de la Pomme in Toulouse.

City of Toulouse, Municipal Archives, Call Number 1 F94, p. 301 (1936)

Could Charles have mistakenly referred to Gaston Alexandre as Gaston Bloch? Possibly, but not necessarily, as you will see.

Danny discovered that a boy named Jean Bloch had also lived at 27 Rue de la Pomme in Toulouse. He was born in Marseilles, and according to an article Danny found in a French publication about the Jewish children of Toulouse, Jean Bloch was living in Toulouse with his grandmother and his older brother in 1944. Jean was only fourteen when he was arrested by the Nazis and sent to the concentration camp at Drancy and then to Auschwitz on March 24, 1944. He survived Auschwitz, but was later killed on a death march on April 17, 1945.

TOULOUSE-MÉMOIRE DES ENFANTS JUIFS DÉPORTÉS, September 2014

A profile on Geni managed by Jean Bloch’s nephew’s wife Hanna revealed that Jean Bloch was the son of Lucie Alexandre and Georges Bloch and that Lucie Alexandre was the daughter of Gaston and Alice Alexandre. Thus, young Jean Bloch had a grandfather named Gaston. Was this the “Gaston Bloch” living at 27 Rue de la Pomme that Charles Bloch named on his manifest? Connecting those dots proved challenging.

Danny and I tried to find some link between the lineage of Georges Bloch, whose in-laws lived at 27 Rue de la Pomme, and the lineage of Charles Bloch. According to Geni, Georges Bloch, Jean’s father, was the son of Albert Fortun Salomon Bloch, who in turn was the son of Joseph Bloch.1

Danny’s knowledge of French genealogy came in handy as he located a birth record for Jules Bloch, Charles Bloch’s father, showing he was born in Scherwiller, France, in 1855. (That explained why Charles was identified as French on the ITS documents even though he was born in Frankfurt; his father was French-born.)

Birth record of Jules Bloch, 1885, Scherwiller – Etat civil – Registre de naissances 1855 – 4 E 445/5  found at http://archives.bas-rhin.fr/detail-document/ETAT-CIVIL-C441-P1-R241585#visio/page:ETAT-CIVIL-C441-P1-R241585-3028132

As seen on Jules Bloch’s birth record, he was the son of Meyer Bloch and Sarra Weill. I’ve tried to dig back further to see if I could find a tie between the Scherwiller Blochs and the Marseilles Blochs, but without success. With Danny’s help and my discovery of a Scherwiller Bloch family tree on Ancestry, a tree that is well sourced, we were able to trace Charles Bloch’s lineage back to the 1700s without finding a link to the Marseille Bloch family.

I also contacted Hanna, the manager of that Geni profile of Jean Bloch and  the daughter-in-law of Jean Bloch’s brother Michel; Michel had survived the war and immigrated to Israel. Hanna did not know of any connection to Charles Bloch and pointed out that there had been another Bloch family also living at 27 Rue de la Pomme who were not related to the Alexandre family. I’ve yet to find any records for that family though.

In addition, Danny discovered that a young Jewish woman named Nicole Bloch Klein, a resistance activist in France, also once lived at 27 Rue de la Pomme in Toulouse. Perhaps Bloch was a common enough name and 27 Rue de la Pomme was a big enough building that it’s purely coincidental that Charles Bloch ended up knowing people living in that building who also happened to be named Bloch?

I went back to look at the 1936 census again and counted five households living at 27 Rue de la Pomme that year. I don’t know what the odds are that, ten years later in 1946 when Charles Bloch reported a Gaston Bloch living at that address, there would have been another family named Bloch, unrelated to the family of Jean Bloch, living at that address.

So I cannot prove that there was a familial tie between Georges Bloch, the son-in-law of Gaston and Alice Alexandre of 27 Rue de la Pomme, and Charles Bloch, who listed the same address on his ship manifest. And I still don’t know how Charles survived the war. Who did he live with? How did he avoid deportation? Why did he wait a year after the war ended before joining his wife and daughter in the United States?

I still don’t know. But, in the course of researching the Bloch family, I discovered another interesting twist in the family tree.

To be continued…


  1. There were no records on Geni to support this, but since the profile is managed by a close family member, I assume that it is reliable. 

Helmina Goldschmidt Rapp, Part II: Leaving Germany with Alice Rapp Stern

As we saw, Jacob Meier Goldschmidt’s youngest child Helmina was widowed as a young woman and raised her three children alone from an early age. By the 1920s all three of those children were married and had children of their own.

When the Nazis came to power, Helmina and her family were among the fortunate ones who left Germany before it was too late. Today’s post will look at Helmina and her youngest child Alice and their escape from Germany.

By 1939, Helmina, her daughter Alice and son-in-law Saly and their daughter Grete were living in Harrow, Middlesex, England. Saly reported on the 1939 England and Wales Register that he was a refugee and thus not allowed to do business. Grete was a secretary for a leather goods manufacturer. All four family members were living in one household along with a housemaid.

The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/799H
Enumeration District: BIHB, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register

Alice and Saly Stern’s son Walter Stern had instead immigrated to the United States. According to his declaration of intention to become a US citizen, he arrived from Germany to New York on May 16, 1938, and was working as a shipping clerk when he filed his declaration on August 2, 1938.  He was living on Wadsworth Avenue in New York City in the Washington Heights neighborhood where so many German Jewish refugees settled in the 1930s and 1940s. (In yet another small world coincidence, my husband lived on Wadsworth Avenue in his early childhood, although his parents were not German Jewish refugees.)

The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; NAI Title: Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1/19/1842 – 10/29/1959; NAI Number: 4713410; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: 21
Description: (Roll 539) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 417601-418600)
Ancestry.com. New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

Although I cannot find any record showing that Alice and Saly’s daughter Elizabeth was with them in England, I believe she must have been living there because on March 27, 1940, Alice, Saly, and Elizabeth all joined Walter in the United States. Strangely, this ship manifest shows all three sailing to New York, but Saly is listed separately and with a different English address.

Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960

On their US ship manifest, Alice and her daughter Elizabeth are again listed together, but Saly is listed on a different page. They all, however, were on the same ship arriving at the same time. And Alice’s declaration of intention shows that she and Saly arrived together and were residing together in New York on Ft. Washington Avenue, in the Washington Heights neighborhood where Walter had been residing in 1938.

Alice Stern, declaration of intention, The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; NAI Title: Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1/19/1842 – 10/29/1959; NAI Number: 4713410; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: 21,  (Roll 590) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 463201-464100), Ancestry.com. New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

But the ship manifests for Alice, Elizabeth, and Saly report that by the time of their arrival in the spring of 1940, Walter was living in Washington DC.

However, when Walter registered for the World War II draft in October 1940, he was back living in New York. His registration card has three New York City addresses, all crossed out, but lists his father Saly as his contact person, residing on Ft. Washington Avenue.

Walter Stern, World War II draft registration, Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Saly Stern’s draft registration, filed on April 26, 1942, two years after that of Walter, shows that he was then self-employed as a salesman and living at 612 West 188th Street in New York with his wife Alice.

Saly Stern, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System; Record Group Number: 147
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

The following year their younger daughter Elizabeth Stern married Gerhard Hirsch, another German Jewish refugee, on March 28, 1943, in New York. Gerhard was born on September 24, 1908, in Berlin, and immigrated to the US in 1938.1

Meanwhile, Saly and Alice’s older daughter Grete Stern remained in England, as Alice reported on her naturalization papers, as did Alice’s mother Helmina Goldschmidt Rapp. Helmina died in England in July 1941, not long after her children in England had all left for the US.  She was 77 years old.2

Saly Stern died in New York on December 7, 1946.3 He was 69 years old. He had lived long enough to see most of his family settle safely in the US, except for his daughter Grete, who’d remained in England. Unfortunately he did not live to see Grete’s wedding. In 1948, Grete Stern married Kurt Lissauer, who was also a German Jewish refugee. He was born in Luebeck, Germany, on January 10, 1909. They were married in England.4

Elizabeth Stern’s marriage to Gerhard Hirsch did not last very long. She remarried in 1973 when she was 54; her second husband was Paul Dannheisser, a widower who was also a refugee from Germany.

Alice Rapp Stern outlived her husband by almost thirty years. She died in New York on January 28, 1974, at the age of 83.5 She was survived by her three children, Grete, Walter, and Elizabeth, all of whom died within a year of each other. Grete and Walter both died in October 1996; Grete was 85,6 Walter was almost 79.7 Their younger sister Elizabeth died just four months later on February 13, 1997.8 She had just turned 78. None of the three siblings had children, so there are no descendants.

The next post will tell the story of Alice Rapp Stern’s brother and Helmina Goldschmidt Rapp’s son, Arthur David Leopold Rapp, and his family.

 


  1.  Elizabeth Stern, Marriage License Date: 24 Mar 1943
    Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA
    Spouse: Gerhard Hirsch, License Number: 5751, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 3, Source Information
    Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018. Also, Elizabeth’s declaration of intention, “New York, Southern District, U.S District Court Naturalization Records, 1824-1946,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QS7-99HD-2S59?cc=2060123&wc=M5P7-PTY%3A351618501 : 14 August 2019), Petitions for naturalization and petition evidence 1945 box 1026, no 515801-516050 > image 728 of 983; citing NARA microfilm publication M1972, Southern District of New York Petitions for Naturalization, 1897-1944. Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685 – 2009, RG 21. National Archives at New York. 
  2.  Helmina Rapp, Death Age: 78, Birth Date: abt 1863, Registration Date: Jul 1941
    Registration Quarter: Jul-Aug-Sep, Registration district: Hendon, Inferred County: Middlesex, Volume: 3a, Page: 656, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 3a; Page: 656, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 
  3.  Saly Stern, Marital status: Married, Age: 69, Birth Date: 26 Nov 1877, Birth Place: Germany, Residence Street Address: 612 W 188 St, Residence Place: New York
    Death Date: 7 Dec 1946, Death Street Address: 612 W 188th St, Death Place: New York City, Manhattan, New York, USA, Occupation: Clerk Stock’s, Father’s Birth Place: Germany, Mother’s Birth Place: Germany, Father: Marcus Stern, Mother: Francisca Stern, Spouse: Alice, Informant: Alice Stern, Informant Relationship: Wife
    Executor: Alice Stern, Executor Relationship: Wife, Certificate Number: 25862
    New York City Department of Records & Information Services; New York City, New York; New York City Death Certificates; Borough: Manhattan; Year: 1946, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Index to Death Certificates, 1862-1948 
  4. Greta Stern, Registration Date: Apr 1948, Registration Quarter: Apr-May-Jun
    Registration district: Hendon, Inferred County: Middlesex, Spouse: Kurt Lissauer
    Volume Number: 5e, Page Number: 1260, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 5e; Page: 1260, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005. Kurt Lissauer, Enemy Alien Registration, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/56, Piece Number Description: 056: Internees at Liberty in UK 1939-1942: Lir-Lov, Ancestry.com. UK, WWII Alien Internees, 1939-1945 
  5.  Alice Stern, Social Security Number: 051-18-8391, Birth Date: 4 Oct 1890
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York,Last Residence: 10040, New York, New York, New York, USA, Death Date: Jan 1974, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  6.  Grete Lissauer, Death Age: 85, Birth Date: 16 Sep 1911, Registration Date: Oct 1996, Registration district: Hendon, Inferred County: Greater London, Register Number: A41C, District and Subdistrict: 2351A, Entry Number: 108, General Register Office; United Kingdom, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 
  7. Walter Stern, Gender: Male, Birth Date: 1918, Death Date: 9 Oct 1996
    Claim Date: 2 Dec 1970, SSN: 056162574, Death Certificate Number: 350302
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  8. Elizabeth Ruth Stern, [Elizabeth Ruthhenrietta Hirsch], [Elizabeth Dannheisser]
    Gender: Female, Race: White, Birth Date: 21 Jan 1919, Birth Place: Frankfurt A, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 13 Feb 1997, Father: Sally Stern
    Mother: Alice Rapp, SSN: 127144714, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 

Anna Segher’s The Seventh Cross: A Story of Moral Choices

Back on May 1, I wrote about my cousin Netti Reiling, who under the pseudonym Anna Seghers became a well-known leftist intellectual, activist, and author. I wrote about her best-known book, The Seventh Cross, published both in German and in English while she and her family were living in Mexico in 1942. Two years later it was made into a film starring Spencer Tracy, Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy, and others.

I’ve just finished reading the book. It took me quite a while to read in part because I seem to read in short spurts these days, often when I am sleepy. It also was a difficult book to read—both in terms of the painfulness of the subject matter and in the way it was written. But when I got to the second half, I couldn’t put it down as it turned from a slow-moving set of character studies to a suspenseful escape and chase.

It is an extremely well-written book. Seghers takes you into the minds of her characters so that you see their psychological development as well as their actions. The basic plot is simple: a man named George along with six others escapes from a German prison camp where political prisoners are kept, and the Gestapo and SS chase them down. Various people living in the nearby towns get involved in different ways with the escape and the chase. I won’t spoil the story more than that, but it’s not really the story that is Segher’s dominant focus. Rather, her focus is on how this story affects and, in some ways, reveals and changes the inner thinking and moral choices of the numerous characters.

The structure of the book is what makes it difficult to read at first. Seghers introduces numerous characters without linking them to each other or to the main character, George. Both the number of characters and the fact that the reader has no idea why they matter to the story made the first half of the book a struggle for me. I couldn’t keep the characters straight. Who was Ernst the shepherd and why did I care about him? Why do I care about this boy named Fritz and his girlfriend? What role does Franz have in this whole story? Who are all these various Nazis working at the prison camp? And so on. Perhaps if I’d read the book faster and not just one short segment at a time, I’d more quickly would have seen the forest and not just each individual tree. But at the pace I was reading, I’d forget who Franz or Fritz or Ernst was and have to flip back a few chapters to refresh my memory.

But once I reached the middle of the book and was able to read more quickly, I realized what a brilliant work this is and well worth the struggle to get to know the various characters. Seghers’ ability to get into the heads of the characters and see how they struggle to choose between their own safety and what they know is right is masterful. As you read, you wonder whether Fritz and Franz and all the others will do what’s needed to be done to help George or to save themselves. That’s what makes the book suspenseful. It’s not a typical crime or war story where the suspense lies in finding clues or in watching the bad guys get closer to the good guy while the good guy uses his brain to find a new way to get away. No, the suspense lies inside the minds of the characters and their personal moral codes. Frankly, I still have no idea what role Ernst the shepherd has in the story. Maybe someone who’s read the book will have an explanation. But overall each character does in the end become three-dimensional and integral to the overall story.

One thing that I did find odd about the book is that aside from one very brief mention of the mistreatment of a Jewish man, Seghers does not at all address the Nazi persecution and slaughter of Jews; she does not refer to the Nuremberg Laws or the concentration camps or Kristallnacht. Seghers was, after all, Jewish. Yet she wrote a book about Nazi Germany that is only about political prisoners, not about the way the Nazis treated Jews. Did she do that to reach a broader audience? Or did she perhaps recognize that although ordinary Germans might assist a fellow German who escaped from a camp for political prisoners, they would not have had made the same choices if it had been a Jewish person who’d escaped from a concentration camp?

I’ve not yet seen the film, and unfortunately it’s not available on any streaming service. I could buy a DVD from Amazon, but alas—I no longer have a DVD player. Damn modern technology! Do I invest in a DVD player just to watch one movie? I am debating it. But usually I find that movies based on books are not nearly as good as the books themselves, and it was my cousin Netti’s writing that I was most interested in.

As I wrote about in my post about Netti/Anna, The New York Times review of the movie, which was overall a very positive review, made one unusual comment at the end.1 I will quote it again here:

Without in the least overlooking the bestiality of the Nazi brutes nor the miserable self-surrender of German citizens to their black regime, this film … visions a burning zeal for freedom in some German rebels and a core of decency in common folk. …[T]he basic theme…is that in men—even in Germans—there is an instinct for good that cannot be destroyed.….

The big reservation which this writer holds with regard to this film is that regarding the discretion of its theme at this particular time. Without any question, it creates a human sympathy for the people of a nation with whom we are at war and it tends, as have others, to load Germany’s crimes on Nazi backs. Obviously this film can make sentiment for a “soft” peace. It looks as though we are getting a dandy “thriller” at a pretty high price.

It is true that the book (and apparently the film) portrays many of the characters in ways that reveal their basic morality although it also certainly portrays those who worked at and led the prison camp as inhumane and lacking in moral decency and many of the minor characters as spineless and complicit with the Nazis. But I can understand why in 1944 when the US was fighting Germany in World War II a reviewer might have objected to a film that portrayed any German in a flattering light.

But with the perspective of hindsight, that seems less objectionable. Seghers was at heart an optimist about human nature and perhaps she needed some hope in 1942 that many ordinary Germans would make the right choices and act morally. She had fled from Germany and then from France, seen her husband arrested and then released, and would ultimately learn that her own mother, Hedwig Fuld Reiling, had been murdered by the Nazis. She was not naïve; she was not sympathetic to the Nazis or those who supported their cause or their actions. She was just a human being holding out hope that other human beings would do the right thing. Sadly, not enough of them did. Most Germans were too afraid to resist the Nazis or had been coopted and persuaded to adopt the Nazi cause, and thus far too many people were not saved from their murderous captors.

But Seghers’ point was that when good and brave people do stand up for what is right, evil can be defeated. We need that lesson today in 2020 as much as people did in 1942.

Anna Seghers (Netti Reiling) Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-P1202-317 / Sturm, Horst / CC-BY-SA 3.0 / CC BY-SA 3.0 DE (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)

 

 

 

 

 


  1. Bosley Crowther, “The Seventh Cross, Anti-Nazi Drama, with Spencer Tracy, at Capitol,” The New York Times, September 29, 1944, p. 18. 

A Photo Essay of the Family of Selma Loewenthal Schwabacher

Another cousin who found my blog during these pandemic days is my fifth cousin, once removed, Carrie Schwabacher. She is the granddaughter of Gerhard Schwabacher, the great-granddaughter of Selma Loewenthal Schwabacher, great-great-granddaughter of Kiele Stern Loewenthal, three times great granddaughter of Sarah Goldschmidt Stern, and four-times great-granddaughter of Meyer Goldschmidt.

Carrie kindly shared with me these wonderful photographs as well as some heartwarming stories about her family. They start with her great-great-grandmother, Kiele (Caroline) Stern Loewenthal, the daughter of Sarah Goldschmidt and Salomon Stern, wife of Abraham Loewenthal. I wrote about Kiele here and here.

Kiele Stern Loewenthal.
Courtesy of her family

Here is a lovely photograph of Kiele and Abraham Loewenthal’s daughter, Selma, as a young woman; I see a strong resemblance to her mother.

Selma Loewenthal
Courtesy of her family

Selma married Nathan Schwabacher:

Nathan Schwabacher Courtesy of the Schwabacher family

And they had three children. Their daughter Alice was the oldest:

Alice Schwabacher Courtesy of the Schwabacher family

Alice was followed by Julius Alfred Schwabacher:

Julius Alfred Schwabacher Courtesy of the Schwabacher family

Gerhard Schwabacher, Carrie’s grandfather, was Selma and Nathan’s youngest child:

Gerhard Schwabacher
Courtesy of the family

The two sons look remarkably similar to each other and to their father Nathan.

Alice Schwabacher married David Weinstein (later Wenten) and had one child, Wolfgang, depicted here as a young boy with his dog:

Wolfgang Weinstein and dog

Julius Schwabacher married Margaret Wuertenberg and had one child, Eva Lore, the adorable little girl shown here:

Eva Lore Schwabacher
Courtesy of the family

This photograph of Selma Loewenthal Schwabacher and her brother Julius Loewenthal is undated, but must have been taken before 1936 when Julius left for the United States. Selma died in 1937 in Berlin.

Selma Loewenthal Schwabacher and brother Julius Loewenthal
Courtesy of the family

Here is a closer one of Selma, probably taken around the same time:

The remaining photographs that Carrie shared with me appear to have been taken after the family immigrated to the United States. Their full story has been told here, so I won’t tell it again, but will share these photographs of the Schwabacher family in their new country and some of Carrie’s memories of her extended family.

She has wonderful memories of her grandparents, as she shared with me: “I have such great memories of my grand parents even though they died when I was 7. Christmas was a very special time – like a scene from the Nutcracker. As children, we celebrated Hanukkah, Christmas and Epiphany ( my mom’s side of the family is Russian Orthodox). We got presents for months, or it seemed like it.” She also wrote that her Opa, Gerhard Schwabacher, always gave each of his grandchildren a quarter every time he saw them.

Other holidays were spent with her great-uncle Julius Schwabacher, who became Fred Wenten in the US, and his wife Else in Proctor, Vermont: Fred and Elsa owned an Inn in Proctor Vt. The entire family spent a few holidays there as well. The toasts would go on for so long that someone would finally say “let the children eat their fruit cocktails before they fall asleep”. And then, dinner would start.”

Here’s a photograph of Fred Wenten in the US:

Fred Wenten (born Julius Alfred Schwabacher)
Courtesy of the family

Fred’s daughter Eva Lore was also a favorite of Carrie. Eva Lore married Henry Corton in 1951. Carrie wrote this about them:

“Henry was a fabulous dancer and would sometimes break into buck and wing ( tap dancing) in the kitchen even when he was old. We visited then often when they lived in Jamaica, Queens. We always went out for walks. We met Bella Abzug at the Cloisters in NY. He was very fond of Pavorotti and considered him a “distant cousin“. It got him back stage at the Met many times. Eva and Henri took us to Ringling Bro’s. And Barnum & Bailey Circus and the Ice Capades when we were little. We visited Eva Lore in LaGuna Hills, helped her pack and move to Baltimore, and took her to her first McDonalds meal. The “Apple Strudel “ was her favorite. Apple Pie. Even at 79, she was booking her own travel on her computer. They never had children, but spoiled us.”

Here are some of the photographs of Eva Lore and Henry that Carrie shared with me:

Eva Lore Schwabacher and Henry Corton Courtesy of the family

Eva Lore Schwabacher Corton Courtesy of the family

Eva Lore Schwabacher Corton Courtesy of the family

Eva Lore and Henry Corton Courtesy of the family

Carrie also has warm memories of her great-aunt Alice Schwabacher Weinstein (Wenten in the US):

“We went to visit Tanta Alice for the holidays every year in Washington Heights, NY. I always wanted to take a nap, because I loved the big square Feather pillows on the bed. She always had such great treats for us, German delicacies. She was extremely socially active. Wolf would remark that he had to make an appointment just to visit his mother. We had her 90 th birthday party at window on the worlds – top of the World Trade Center. It was incredible to meet so many people originally named Schwabacher.”

This photograph shows Alice with her son Wolfgang and his wife Ruth.

Alice Schwabacher Wenten Kingsley, Wolfgang Wenten, Ruth Pollinger Wenten
Courtesy of the family

Finally, this is a photograph of the three Schwabacher siblings and their spouses taken in the US:

Arthur Kingsley, Alice Schwabacher Kingsley, Julius (Fred Wenten) Schwabacher, Else Wenten, Alice Ferron Schwabacher, Gerhard Schwabacher
Courtesy of the family

I am extremely grateful to my cousin Carrie for sharing her memories and these photographs. She really has brought to life this strong and loving family who escaped from Germany and started a wonderful new life in the United States.

Hermann Gutmann Becomes Dennis Goodman: An Oral History, Part II

By the spring of 1940, Hermann Gutmann was seventeen years old and had been in England and separated from his parents since the fall of 1936.  He had completed his secondary education and had been working at a leather factory in Lancashire in the north of England since February 1940 and moved to London that May.1

On July 2, 1940, at 6 am he heard a knock on his door. The police told him to pack his bags and come with them to the police station. He protested, but to no avail, and along with many other German Jewish “enemy aliens,” he was taken to a camp, Huyton Camp, and housed in a tent with other young refugees from Nazi Germany. All those who were under eighteen, including Hermann, were told they were being taken out of England. He again protested and was told by the commanding officer that those leaving England would have the best chance of survival because England was likely to lose the war.

As the internees boarded the HMT Dunera on July 10, 1940, all their personal possessions were taken and never returned. The Jewish internees were placed in the hold in the rear of the ship and kept there by barbed wire fencing. They were only allowed up on the deck for thirty minutes a day for exercise where they were barefooted and often stepping on the broken beer bottles left behind by the guards, whom Hermann described as “football hooligans.” The internees slept on the hard floor and had open toilet stalls that he described as “awful.”  Hermann described the morale of the younger internees as fairly good, but said that those who were older had a much harder time and that there were even a few suicides during their voyage. There were also Nazi and Italian internees on the ship, but they were kept in a different location.

HMT Dunera. Not stated in the AWM record / Public domain

The internees had no idea where they were going until they arrived in Australia on September 6, 1940. Once in Australia, they were sent to New South Wales and housed at the Hay Internment Camp. There were about two thousand internees kept there, many of whom had been successful professionals—doctors, lawyers, professors, and so on. They formed their own government and even printed their own money. Hermann distributed newspapers and even started a Boy Scout group that was officially recognized by the London headquarters of the Boy Scouts.

They lived in huts, about forty to a hut, and conditions were good. Hermann noted several times that as a young man (he was seventeen), he was not as uncomfortable as those who were older, and he didn’t mind some of the living conditions. When asked whether he now resented having been interned during this time, he said no—that he understood it was done without much thought based on fear when the war started and that it was an awful waste of time and money, but that he did not feel any resentment towards the British for their actions.

In the fall of 1941, Hermann volunteered to join the British military as a means of getting out of the internment camp. He left Austrialia on October 13, 1941, and arrived back in England on November 28, 1941, just over a week before Pearl Harbor. He and other Jewish refugees were given no choice as to where to serve and were assigned to the Pioneer Corps, a corps assigned “light engineering tasks [that] included building anti-aircraft emplacements on the Home Front, working on the Mulberry harbours for D-Day, and serving during beach assaults in France and Italy. Pioneers also carried stretchers, built airfields, repaired railways, and moved stores and supplies.”

Pioneer Corps clearing rubble, Ministry of Information Photo Division Photographer / Public domain

It was during this time that his commanding officer asked him to change his name to something less German-sounding. Hermann chose the name Dennis John Goodman, his first name for a friend who had been killed in the war and Goodman as an Anglicized version of Gutmann. In the interview, he commented that he now regretted that he never returned to his birth name Hermann Gutmann as it had a very long history in his family.

Dennis was not content being in the Pioneer Corps because he wanted to be fighting the Nazis. In 1943, British policy changed, and Jewish German refugees like Dennis were allowed to serve more directly in combat. Dennis joined a tank unit and was on the beach at Normandy three days after D-Day, that is, on June 9, 1944. He ended up fighting in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and finally in Germany. He was involved in many difficult and dangerous battles, made more dangerous by the fact that the English tanks were outmatched by the German Tiger Tanks they were facing. He experienced some very close encounters with death or capture by the Germans.

The interviewer asked him how he felt when he entered Germany, his country of birth, and fought on German soil. Dennis commented that “by that time I felt more English than German” and that he had no difficulty facing his former countrymen in battle. When the war ended, he was in Berlin for the British Victory Parade on July 21, 1945.

British Victory Parade in Berlin, National Archives and Records Administration / Public domain

By that time he already knew about the concentration camps.  He was given compassionate leave to go to Amsterdam to learn what had happened to his parents and learned of the deportation to and murder at Sobibor. In the interview, Dennis mentioned that at that time he learned that his grandmother had been hidden in the northern part of Holland and had survived.

I checked to see which grandmother, and it had to be his maternal grandmother, Hedwig Goldschmidt, because his paternal grandmother had died in 1932. I have no wartime records for Hedwig after March 15, 1938, when she was a passenger coming to England from Amsterdam.2 I initially thought that meant that she had moved to England at that time, but it appears from Hermann’s information that she had returned to Amsterdam, perhaps after visiting him in England.

Dennis remained in Germany after the war and joined the Review and Interrogation staff in Neuengamme, near Hamburg, where he was involved in interrogating Nazis about war crimes. He was struck by the ordinariness of the people who committed these crimes and their weak excuses for what they did. He also found some of them very arrogant. Several times during the interview, Dennis made the point that it was well known throughout Germany that Jews were being persecuted and that those who afterwards claimed that they hadn’t been aware of what was happening were either lying or repressing what they’d known.

In 1947, Dennis was discharged from the military and returned to England. He married a Polish-born Holocaust survivor after the war and had three children. I don’t know much about his life after the war, but did find several immigration documents from Brazil, starting in 1949, suggesting he might have been involved in international business or perhaps visiting family members who had immigrated to Brazil.

Ancestry.com. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965. Original data: “Rio de Janeiro Brazil, Immigration Cards, 1900-1965”. FamilySearch, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2013.

Dennis John Goodman, born Hermann Gutmann, died in England in 2007. He had lived an extraordinary life, leaving his parents and homeland as a thirteen year old boy, being interned for over a year in Australia as an “enemy alien,” and then fighting valiantly against the Nazis for several years including post-war interrogation of war criminals. His parents had been murdered at Sobibor. He had every right to be an angry, resentful man.

But listening to his voice in the oral history interview, I detected no resentment towards his adopted country, despite the internment. Certainly he harbored anger with the Nazis for what they did to his parents and all the Jews in Europe and continuing bewilderment over the German citizenry’s acquiescence to it all. But I did not come away from the interview thinking of him as bitter or defeated; instead I heard a then 72 year old man who looked back on his life with pride in his ability to endure and succeed against all odds and in his strength and independence even as a young man. His story will stay with me forever.


  1. These facts come almost entirely from the oral history interview of Dennis Goodman, aka Hermann Gutmann, found on the Imperial War Museum website. Some of the dates in this post were found in an article written by his daughter, Naomi Levy, and published in the AJR [Association of Jewish Refugees] Journal of December 2018, on page 11, and found here
  2.  Hedwig Goldschmidt, Arrival Age: 61, Birth Date: abt 1877, Port of Departure: New York, New York, United States, Arrival Date: 15 Mar 1938, Port of Arrival: Plymouth, England, Ports of Voyage: New York, Ship Name: Washington, Shipping Line: United States Line, Official Number: 232210, The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and successors: Inwards Passenger Lists.; Class: BT26; Piece: 1158, Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960 

Marcel Goldschmidt’s Children: The Two Who Survived

Marcel (born Mayer) Goldschmidt, the fourth child of Jacob Meier Goldschmidt and Jettchen Cahn, died in 1928 and was survived by his wife and first cousin, Hedwig Goldschmidt, and their four children, Jacob, Nelly, Else, and Grete. Hedwig and two of those children, Jacob and Grete, would survive the Holocaust. Nelly and Else were not as fortunate. This post will tell the story of Hedwig and the two children who escaped.

Grete and her husband Berthold Heimerdinger and their daughter Gabrielle were the first to leave Germany. They arrived in New York on June 22, 1934, and were going to Berthold’s brother Leonard Heimerdinger in New York City.

Berthold Heimerdinger and family, ship manifest, Year: 1934; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 101, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Two months later Berthold declared his intention to become a US citizen.  He was working as a securities dealer at that time, and the family was residing at 1212 Fifth Avenue in New York City.

Berthold Heimerdinger, Declaration of Intent, 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 478) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 355901-357000), Ancestry.com. New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

Grete’s mother Hedwig came to visit them in New York in April, 1935, for a four month stay, listing her son Jacob as the person to contact back in Frankfurt,1 but Hedwig returned to Germany after her visit. She returned for another visit two years later on October 29, 1937, but this time listed her residence as Zurich, Switzerland, where her contact person was a friend named Julius Wolf.2

Sometime thereafter Hedwig must have left Switzerland because when she arrived in England on March 18, 1938, she listed her last address as Amsterdam.3 I don’t know where she was during World War II. More on that in a later post. By 1952, she was living in the United States.

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

In 1940, Grete, Berthold, and Gabrielle Heimerdinger were living in Queens, New York, and Berthold was working as a jewelry dealer.4 According to Berthold’s draft registration for World War II, he was self-employed.

Berthold Heimerdinger, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System; Record Group Number: 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

Grete’s brother Jacob arrived in New York on August 30, 1941, from Lisbon, Portugal, with his last residence being Nice, France. On his declaration of intention to become a US citizen, Jacob listed his occupation as an art dealer, like so many of his extended family members from Frankfurt.

Jacob Goldschmidt, Declaration of Intent, The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; NAI Title: Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1/19/1842 – 10/29/1959; NAI Number: 4713410; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: 21 Description Description: (Roll 644) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 512901-513900) Source Information Ancestry.com. New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

According to his World War II draft registration completed the following year, Jacob was living at 26 East 63rd Street in New York and listed Herman Goldschmidt as the person who would always know where he was. Herman was his cousin, the son of Julius Falk Goldschmidt and Helene Goldschmidt II, and was living at the same address, 26 East 63rd Street.

Thus, Jacob was living with his cousins, not his sister Grete. Jacob did not list an occupation on his draft registration, but listed his place of business as the same address as his (and his cousins’) residence, 26 East 63rd Street. (Note also that on the naturalization index card for his mother Hedwig above, she also listed 26 East 63rd Street as her address in 1952.)

Jacob Goldschmidt, World War II draft registration, The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System; Record Group Number: 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

Jacob had reported on his declaration of intent that he was not married and had no children. However, David Baron and Roger Cibella’s research reported that Jacob married in France on June 20, 1940, and thereafter had two children born in France, one in December 1941 and one in 1952. Although I have no documentation of the marriage or the births of the children, I did find airline documents showing that the wife and two children visited Jacob in New York City during the 1950s.[^5] By 1964, Jacob had relocated to France, presumably to be closer to his family.5

Gabrielle Heimerdinger, Grete and Berthold’s daughter, married Erwin Vogel on September 8, 1943, in New York City.6 Erwin was born in Frankfurt, Germany, on June 23, 1921, to Kurt and Edith Vogel, and had immigrated to the US with his family in 1937, coming from Antwerp, Belgium. They settled in Chicago, where they were living in 1940.7

On his 1942 draft registration for World War II, Erwin was living in Hoboken, New Jersey, and working for the Stevens Institute of Technology, from which he received a master’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1944. Gabrielle and Erwin had four children.8

Erwin Vogel, World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New Jersey, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 686
Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Thus, Hedwig and her son Jacob and her daughter Grete and Grete’s family all survived the Holocaust. Grete’s husband Berthold Heimerdinger died in June 1961 at the age of 71.9 Hedwig died on December 9, 1964; she was 87.10 Jacob Goldschmidt died in October 1976 in France. He was eighty years old.11

Grete was the last surviving child of Marcel and Hedwig Goldschmidt. She lived a long life, dying on January 2, 2003, in New York at the age of 98.12 She had outlived her daughter Gabrielle Heimerdinger Vogel, who died January 19, 1990, in Rockville, Maryland, where she and her family had relocated in 1972.13 Gabrielle was 65 and was survived by her husband Erwin and their four children.

Grete and Jacob were fortunate to have left Germany when they did. The other two siblings, Else and Nelly, faced tragic deaths at the hands of the Nazis, as we will see in my next post.

 

 

 


  1. Hedwig Goldschmidt, ship manifest, Year: 1935; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 80, Ship or Roll Number: Albert Ballin, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  2. Hedwig Goldschmidt, ship manifest, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 8, Ship or Roll Number: Manhattan, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  3. Hedwig Goldschmidt, ship manifest 1938, The National Archives of the UK; Kew, Surrey, England; Board of Trade: Commercial and Statistical Department and successors: Inwards Passenger Lists.; Class: BT26; Piece: 1158, Month: Mar, Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960 
  4. Berthold Heimerdinger and family, 1940 US census, Census Place: New York, Queens, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02732; Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 41-614, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  5. This information came from his mother’s death announcement in the December 11, 1964, New York Times, p, 39, found at https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1964/12/11/97361257.html?pageNumber=39 
  6.  Gabrielle J Heimerdinger, Gender: Female, Marriage License Date: 8 Sep 1943, Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Erwin Vogel, License Number: 21889, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 9, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  7. Kurt Vogel and family, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Chicago, Cook, Illinois; Roll: m-t0627-00934; Page: 1A; Enumeration District: 103-447, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census. 
  8. “Unconventional Aeronautics Engineer Erwin Vogel, 88, Dies,” The Washington Post, October 28, 2009, found at https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/27/AR2009102703825.html 
  9.  Berthold Heimerdinger, Social Security Number: 085-28-3608, Birth Date: 10 Sep
    Issue Year: 1952-1953, Issue State: New York, Death Date: Jun 1961, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  10. December 11, 1964, New York Times, p, 39, found at https://timesmachine.nytimes.com/timesmachine/1964/12/11/97361257.html?pageNumber=39 
  11.  Jacob Goldschmidt, Social Security Number: 085-28-0743, Birth Date: 1 Jul 1896
    Issue Year: 1952-1953, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 912, (U.S. Consulate) Paris, France, Death Date: Oct 1976, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  12. Greta Goldschmidt Heimerdinger, Birth Date: 25 Sep 1904, Birth Place: Frankfurt, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 2 Jan 2003, Father: Marcel Goldschmidt
    Mother: Hedwig Goldschmidt, SSN: 064167857, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  13. Gabrielle Joan Heimerdinger, [Gabrielle Vogel], Birth Date: 16 Dec 1924, Birth Place: Wiesbaden, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 19 Jan 1990, Father: Berthold Heimerdinger, Mother: Grete Goldschmidt, SSN: 102185390
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 

Ferdinand and Friederike Meyer: Why Did She Stay Behind?

As noted in my earlier post, Regina Goldschmidt and Aaron Meyer’s four oldest children had varying experiences during the Holocaust. Alfred appears to have escaped to France, but I don’t know where he was thereafter. Jacob died in 1928, but his wife and children escaped to England and Argentina in the 1930s; Max had his family ended up in Argentina. And Siegfried was killed at the Nazi concentration camp Theresienstadt in 1943. Their youngest child Amalie escaped to England and then the US. Today I will tell the story of their son Ferdinand.

Ferdinand Meyer had married Friederike Jaenecke, a non-Jewish woman, in 1920, and they had two children, Eleanore and Erich.  Even though Friederike was not born Jewish and her children were only half-Jewish, it appears that they faced persecution as Jews.

Friederike herself is included on a document from the Arolsen Archives that lists the “Deutsche Juden,” German Jews, living in Frankfurt. For Friederike, it records that the “Daten d. Austellung d. Urkunden,” the date of exhibiting certificates, was in 1939. What I didn’t understand is why Friederike was listed here, but not her husband or children.

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

Also, she was still classified as Aryan (Arisch) on this document found in the Arolsen Archives:

Arolsen Archives, Digital Archive; Bad Arolsen, Germany; Lists of Persecutees 2.1.1.1
Ancestry.com. Europe, Registration of Foreigners and German Persecutees, 1939-1947.
Original data: Arolsen Archives. Registration of Foreigners and German Persecutees by Public Institutions, Social Securities and Companies (1939-1947). Bad Arolsen, Germany. 2.1.1.1 American Zone; Bavaria Hesse; 2.1.1.2 American Zone: Bavaria, Wurttemberg-Baden, Bremen; 2.1.1.3 American Zone; Bavaria, Hesse (Children).

How do I reconcile this? And where was the rest of her family?

From several other documents I was able to piece together some of what happened. Ferdinand escaped to England some time before November 14, 1939, when he was initially exempted from being interned as an enemy alien. His record, however, indicates that he was interned as an enemy alien from June 21, 1940, until September 16, 1940.

Name: Ferdinand Meyer, Gender: Male, Nationality: German, Internment Age: 54, Birth Date: 27 Apr 1886, Birth Place: Germany, Internment Date: 21 Jun 1940, Discharge Date: 16 Sep 1940
The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/187, Ancestry.com. UK, WWII Alien Internees, 1939-1945

On October 31, 1940, Ferdinand left England and immigrated permanently to the US, arriving in Boston on November 16, 1940. The ship manifest recorded that his daughter E. Meyer was the person he left behind in England and that he was going to his son, E. Meyer, who resided at 627 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts. Thus, Erich was already in the US.

Ferdinand Meyer, ship manifest, The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving at Boston, Massachusetts, 1891-1943; NAI Number: 4319742; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85; Series Number: T843; NARA Roll Number: 451 Description Month or Roll: 451  Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Passenger and Crew Lists, 1820-1963

Erich had arrived on March 9, 1940, from England, so he also had escaped from Germany to England, presumably with his father and sister. He was only sixteen when they then put him on a ship for the US. Interestingly, the ship manifest indicates that he was heading to Niagara Falls, New York, as his permanent destination after landing in New York. Handwritten on the manifest it names August Kuhlman of Niagara Falls, New York as the person at his destination, but it also says that he was headed to an aunt, Lotto Karlmuller, who was living at 627 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston.1 That is the same address his father gave eight months later as Erich’s residence, so it appears that Erich did not end up going to Niagara Falls.

Erich Meyer, ship manifest, Year: 1940; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 6452; Line: 1; Page Number: 78, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Ferdinand filed a declaration of intention to become a US citizen on March 15, 1941. On that declaration he indicated that his daughter Eleanor was in England and his son Eric was in Boston. Friederike must have still been outside of the US because the line indicating when she entered the country is crossed out. The 1941 Boston directory lists his address as 348 Beacon Street and his occupation as “atndt,” attendant, I assume. (He had listed no occupation on his declaration of intention.)2

Ferdinand Meyer, National Archives at Boston; Waltham, Massachusetts; ARC Title: Petitions and Records of Naturalization , 8/1845 – 12/1911; NAI Number: 3000057; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21
Description: Declaration of Intention, V 501 No 295271, 2 Dec 1940 Breedy – V 503 No 297720, 17 Mar 1941 Oberg, Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1798-1950

Friederike finally arrived in the US on August 9, 1941. Her declaration of intention to become a US citizen was filed on December 9, 1941, two days after Pearl Harbor. She indicated that her prior residence had been Frankfurt, Germany, so it appears she had not left when her husband and children did, and that explains why only she was listed on the Nazi record that appears above.  Her declaration also states that Eleanora (spelled with the A here) was still in England.

Friederike Meyer, declaration of intention, National Archives at Boston; Waltham, Massachusetts; ARC Title: Petitions and Records of Naturalization , 8/1845 – 12/1911; NAI Number: 3000057; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: RG 21, Description: Declaration of Intention, V 512 No 305021, Oct 1941 Rydar – V 514 No 307480, Jan 1942 Patturelli, Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1798-1950

Ferdinand and his son Eric both registered for the draft in the US. Ferdinand listed his address as 99 Norway Street in Boston and also reported that he was self-employed at 152 Massachusetts Avenue in Arlington, Massachusetts. That caught my eye because for six years from 1975 to 1981 we lived in Arlington less than a mile from that address. I was very curious as to what Ferdinand might have been doing there since he lived in Boston, not Arlington, but I had no luck figuring that out.

Ferdinand Meyer, 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 Massachusetts; Record Group Title: Records of the Selective Service System; Record Group Number: 147; Series Number: M2090, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942

Erich registered for the draft, changing his name from Erich Adalbert Meyer to Eric Albert Meyer. He was living at the same address as his father Ferdinand, 99 Norway Street in Boston, and was working for Universal Tire and Auto Supply Company in Boston.

Eric Meyer, World War II draft registration, The National Archives in St. Louis, Missouri; St. Louis, Missouri; Draft Registration Cards for Massachusetts, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 662, Ancestry.com. U.S. WWII Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

He enlisted in the US Army on June 23, 1944, for the duration of the war.3 While he was in the service and stationed in Jacksonville, Florida, he petitioned for naturalization.

Eric Meyer, petition for naturalizaiton, The National Archives at Atlanta, Georgia; Atlanta, Georgia; ARC Title: Petitions for Naturalization, compiled 1880 – 1975; NAI Number: 2111793; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States; Record Group Number: 21
Description: Jacksonville Petitions 1895-1975 (Box 09), Ancestry.com. Florida, Naturalization Records, 1847-1995

Ferdinand Meyer did not live long after his immigration to the United States. He died in 1946 in Arlington, Massachusetts.4 He was only sixty years old. His wife Friederike survived him by close to thirty years. She died in September, 1974; her last residence was Yonkers, New York.5

Eric A. Meyer survived his parents. He graduated from Northeastern University in 1950 with a degree in mechanical engineering and married Carol Zimmerman in 1953.5 In 1960 they were living in Cortlandt, New York, where Eric was working as a project engineer for Trinity Equipment Company.6 Eric died in February 1987 in Alabama at 63, only three years older than his father had been at his death;7 his wife Carol died in 2010.8 They were survived by eight children and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“U.S., School Yearbooks, 1880-2012”; School Name: Northeastern University; Year: 1950b
Ancestry.com. U.S., School Yearbooks, 1900-1999

I’ve been able to connect with one of Ferdinand and Friederike’s grandchildren, and she told me that Eleanore Meyer remained in England. She married a man named Francis Alban Cowper in 1948 in Chaddesley Corbett, Worcestershire, England, and they had five children.9 Thanks to my newly found cousin, I now have an obituary for Eleanore; she died on December 23, 2013, in Chaddesley Corbett, and was survived by her children and grandchildren. She was 94 years old.10

Unfortunately, my newly found cousin was unable to answer some of the questions that remain unanswered. For example, she didn’t know why Friederike did not leave Germany when her husband and children left. Did Friederike think that she  would be safe because she was not born Jewish? Had Friederike stayed behind for health reasons or to protect the family’s property? We don’t know, and we don’t know what her life was like between the time Ferdinand and her children left and her own departure from Germany.

So many questions left to answer, as there always are.


  1. There is an August Kuhlman in Niagara Falls on the 1930 and 1940 census who was born in about 1900 in Kansas; his mother Clara and his wife Irma were born in Germany. I don’t know how they were connected to Erich Meyer. I could not find anyone named Lotto Karlmuller or even with just the surname Karlmuller in Boston or anywhere else. 
  2.  Boston, Massachusetts, City Directory, 1941, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  3.  Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946. Original data: National Archives and Records Administration. Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946 [Archival Database]; ARC: 1263923. World War II Army Enlistment Records; Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 64; National Archives at College Park. College Park, Maryland, U.S.A. 
  4. Ferdinand Meyer, Death Date: 1946, Death Place: Arlington, Massachusetts, USA
    Volume Number: 2, Page Number: 231, Index Volume Number: 109, Reference Number: F63.M363 v.109, Ancestry.com. Massachusetts, Death Index, 1901-1980 
  5.  Eric A Meyer, Marriage Date: 26 Dec 1953, Marriage Place: Manlius, New York, USA, Spouse: Carol M Zimmerman, Certificate Number: 53763, New York State Department of Health; Albany, NY, USA; New York State Marriage Index, Ancestry.com. New York State, Marriage Index, 1881-1967 
  6. Cortland, New York, City Directory, 1960, Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995 
  7.  Eric Meyer, Social Security Number: 028-16-9998, Birth Date: 30 Jan 1924,
    Issue State: Massachusetts, Last Residence: 35226, Birmingham, Jefferson, Alabama, USA, Death Date: Feb 1987, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  8. Carol Z. Meyer, Social Security Number: 278-22-7901, Birth Date: 2 May 1927
    Issue State: Ohio, Last Residence: 35048, Clay, Jefferson, Alabama, Death Date: 24 Aug 2010, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  9. Eleanore Meyer, Registration Date: Jan 1948, [Feb 1948], [Mar 1948],
    Registration Quarter: Jan-Feb-Mar, Registration district: Kidderminster, Inferred County: Worcestershire, Spouse: Frances A Cowper, Volume Number: 9d, Page Number: 315
    General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 9d; Page: 315, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 
  10. https://www.worcesternews.co.uk/announcements/deaths/deaths/10702391.Eleonore_Cowper/ 

Amalie Meyer Bloch: Where Was Her Husband During the War?

Although I said I was going to write next about Ferdinand, Regina Goldschmidt Meyer’s youngest son, I have just connected with one of his descendants and hope to get more information before I post. So I am skipping ahead to the youngest of Regina Goldschmidt and Aaron Meyer’s children, Amalie Meyer Bloch, and will return to Ferdinand in a later post.

Amalie Meyer was married to Charles Bloch and had one child, their daughter Else, born in 1913. They escaped from Nazi Germany in time and ended up in England and then the US.

By 1939, Else, now spelling her name as Ilse, was living in England, working as a domestic servant.

Ilse Bloch, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/1599D, Enumeration District: DEBC, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Registe

But she left England for the US and arrived in New York on July 29, 1940. When she filed her declaration of intention on September 2, 1941, she was living in New York City and working as a factory worker.

Ilse Bloch, declaration of intention, The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; NAI Title: Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1/19/1842 – 10/29/1959; NAI Number: 4713410; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: 21, Description: (Roll 628) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 498401-499300), Ancestry.com. New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

Her mother Amalie had arrived on August 9, 1941. On the ship manifest she was sailing without Charles and indicated she was heading to her daughter Ilse in New York and leaving behind her husband’s cousin, “Friedrike Meyer,” who, I believe, must have also be the same Friederike who was married to Amalie’s brother, Ferdinand.1

On her declaration of intention, Amalie wrote that her last residence had been Lisbon, Portugal.

Amalie Meyer Bloch, declaration of intent, The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; NAI Title: Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1/19/1842 – 10/29/1959; NAI Number: 4713410; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: 21, Description: (Roll 641) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 510101-511000), Ancestry.com. New York, State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

But where was her husband Charles? She still listed him as her husband, but she had not listed him on the passenger manifest as the person she was leaving behind. It would appear he was still living, but not in Germany or Portugal. So where was he?

This document, prepared by the occupying forces after the war, indicates that Charles, here identified as Carl, had most recently been living in Paris while Amalie had gone to the US.

Arolsen Archives, 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

This one identifies him as Charles:

Arolsen Archives, 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

I was also able to locate a ship manifest dated April 12, 1946, listing Charles Bloch going to his wife Amalie in New York. According to the manifest, he had last resided in Toulouse, France, and this was his first time in the United States. It also indicated this his wife had paid his fare and that he was coming permanently.

Year: 1946; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 7093; Line: 7; Page Number: 40, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

But I still don’t know exactly where Charles spent the years during the war or why he and Amalie ended up in separate countries or where he was for the year after the war ended in Europe until he left on April 12, 1946. Perhaps a displaced persons camp.

The good news, however, is that Amalie, Charles, and Ilse all survived and were living in New York City by the end of April, 1946.

Charles died eleven years later on November 11, 1957; he was 76.2 Amalie survived him less than four years; she died on May 31, 1961, at the age of 69.3 Ilse, who appears to have gone by her middle name Helen in the US, lived to 91, dying on November 28, 2004.4 It appears that she never married or had children.

Thus, there are no descendants of Amalie Goldschmidt Bloch to answer my questions about her husband’s whereabouts during World War II. Maybe there is a relative out there who will knows the answer. Or maybe a reader will have some suggestions for how to learn the answers.

 

 


  1. Amalie Bloch, Year: 1941; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Microfilm Roll: Roll 6568; Line: 6; Page Number: 80, Ancestry.com. New York, Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  2. Name: Charles Bloch, Age: 76, Birth Date: abt 1881, Death Date: 11 Nov 1957, Death Place: Manhattan, New York, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 24005, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Death Index, 1949-1965 
  3. Amalie Bloch, Age: 69, Birth Date: abt 1892, Death Date: 31 May 1961, Death Place: Manhattan, New York, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 12285, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Death Index, 1949-1965 
  4. Helen I Bloch, Gender: Female, Birth Date: 30 May 1913, Death Date: 28 Nov 2004
    SSN: 100121080, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 

Regina Goldschmidt’s Children: Did They Escape in Time or Not?

When Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933, Regina Goldschmidt Meyer had already outlived her husband Aaron Meyer, who had died in 1902, and two of her seven children, Sally having died in childhood and Jacob in 1928. Her other five children—Alfred, Max, Siegfried, Ferdinand, and Amalie— were still living as well as a number of grandchildren.

But Regina died in Frankfurt on October 7, 1938, just a month before Kristallnacht. She was 83 years old.

Regina Goldschmidt Meyer, death record, Personenstandsregister Sterberegister; Bestand: 903; Signatur: 11076, Year Range: 1938, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Deaths, 1851-1958

Some of her five surviving children fared better than others during the Holocaust. For some, I ran into brick walls when I tried to learn more about their lives during or after the war. For others, I discovered tragedy. This post will focus on her four oldest children and their families.

The fate of Regina’s oldest child, Alfred Meyer, is somewhat unclear. I found only two documents for him after his birth record. First, I found this card in the Arolsen Archives:

With help from the German Genealogy group, I learned that this card says that Alfred was a widower and that he had no occupation. The final column indicates that Alfred was still living in Frankfurt on April 24, 1939, and then left for France and was there until November 3, 1939.

The second card, also from the Arolsen Archives, came up through a search on Ancestry.com:

Arolsen Archives, 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

According to the description on Ancestry, this document was prepared after the war by the American forces occupying West Germany as an attempt to document the Jews who had been persecuted by the Nazis. This particular document lists those who had become or were French citizens. Under the last category, “Aufenthaltsdaten,” or dates of stay, it says April 24, 1939, to November 3, 1939. This appears to be consistent with the other card from the Arolsen Archives.

But what happened to Alfred after November 3, 1939? Did he return to Frankfurt and survive? Was he killed? He does not appear in either the Yad Vashem database or the US Holocaust Memorial and Museum database. There are many other post-war records for men named Alfred Meyer, but the name is so common and the records so vague in identification information that I have no idea what happened to my cousin Alfred Meyer. Cibella and Baron say he died in a concentration camp, and I fear that that is probably the case even though I can’t find him at Yad Vashem.

As noted above, Alfred’s brother Jacob Meyer had died in 1928, leaving his wife Elli and their children to survive him. I was able to find records for Elli showing that she had immigrated to England by 1939; she and her son Arthur are listed together on the 1939 England and Wales Register.

Ellie and Arthur Meyer, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/416H, Enumeration District: APCA, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register

Arthur also registered as an enemy alien in 1939; at that time he was working as an apprentice shirt cutter for Harrod’s. Note that his address is 28c Maida Avenue.

Arthur Meyer, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/187, Piece Number Description: 187: German Internees Released in UK 1939-1942: Mayer-Morgens, Ancestry.com. UK, WWII Alien Internees, 1939-1945

Also living at 28c Maida Avenue in 1939 when she registered as an enemy alien was Arthur’s sister Hilde Meyer, who was a student and an unemployed domestic worker.

Hilde Meyer, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; HO 396 WW2 Internees (Aliens) Index Cards 1939-1947; Reference Number: HO 396/61, Piece Number Description: 061: Internees at Liberty in UK 1939-1942: Mer-Mid, Ancestry.com. UK, WWII Alien Internees, 1939-1945

On the 1939 England and Wales Register, Hilde was working as a parlor maid and living elsewhere, so she must have found work by the time that was enumerated.1

As for the third child whom Cibella/Baron identified as a child of Jacob and Elli Meyer, Lotte Henriette Meyer, I did not have much luck locating records. Cibella/Baron report that she married Helmut Leopold Wallach in Frankfurt on April 27, 1934, and that they had twin daughters born in 1935, but I could not find a marriage record or birth records for the twins. I did find a 1937 ship manifest for a Lotte Wallach with two daughters born in 1935, heading from England to Argentina2 and a separate 1937 manifest for a Helmut Leopold Wallach heading to Uruguay,3 but nothing more specific to tie Lotte to Jacob and Elli Meyer or to Helmut Wallach.

Elli Loeser Meyer lived the rest of her life in England, dying there on April 18, 1966. The listing for her in the England & Wales, National Probate Calendar names “Arthur Meyers, company director,” as one of the executors.4 I have been unable so far to find any other later records for any of her children. Thus, I do not know when or where they died, whether or not they married or had children, or anything else.

Max Meyer and his family escaped from Nazi Germany to Argentina. It appears that their son Arnold had immigrated there in July, 1936, but had been living in Basel, Switzerland prior to heading to Buenos Aires:

Arnold Meyer, Ancestry.com. Swiss Overseas Emigration, 1910-1953. Original data: Schweizerisches Auswanderungsamt und Auswanderungsbüro. Überseeische Auswanderungen aus der Schweiz, 1910-1953. Schweizerisches Bundesarchiv (National Archives of Switzerland). E 2175 – 2.

According to Cibella/Baron, Arnold’s parents Max and Anna also both immigrated to Buenos Aires and died there, Anna in 1941 and Max in 1952. Unfortunately, I have no records for these events or for Arnold’s death in 1959.

Siegfried Meyer met a tragic end. He immigrated to the Netherlands, but on April 21, 1943, he was deported to the Theresienstadt concentration camp, where he was murdered on November 23, 1943, and cremated.5

Arolsen Arhives, 1 Incarceration Documents / 1.1 Camps and Ghettos / 1.1.42 Theresienstadt Ghetto /1.1.42.2 Card File Theresienstadt /Ghetto Theresienstadt Card File, Reference Code
11422001

Thus, for Regina’s four oldest children, I have mixed results. Jacob’s family ended up in England and possibly Argentina; Max’s family ended up in Argentina. Tragically, Siegfried was murdered by the Nazis, and Alfred probably was also.

The next post will report on Regina’s youngest son, Ferdinand, and his family.


  1.  Hilde Meyer, Gender: Female, Marital status: Single, Birth Date: 21 Nov 1912, Residence Year: 1939, Address: 24, Residence Place: Yiewsley and West Drayton, Middlesex, England, Occupation: Parlourmaid, Schedule Number: 167, Sub Schedule Number: 3, Enumeration District: BZAA, Registration district: 127/1, The National Archives; Kew, London, England; 1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/994A, Ancestry.com. 1939 England and Wales Register 
  2. Lotte Wallach, Gender: Female, Age: 31, Birth Date: abt 1906, Departure Date: 16 Oct 1937, Port of Departure: Southampton, England, Destination Port: Buenos Aires, Argentina, Ship Name: Almanzora, Shipping Line: Royal Mail Lines Limited, Official Number: 136353, Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 
  3. Helmut Wallach, Gender: Male, Age: 31, Birth Date: abt 1906, Departure Date: 5 Feb 1937, Port of Departure: Southampton, England, Destination Port: Montevideo, Uruguay, Ship Name: Arlanza, Shipping Line: Royal Mail Lines Limited
    Official Number: 132021, Ancestry.com. UK and Ireland, Outward Passenger Lists, 1890-1960 
  4. Elli Meyer, Death Date: 18 Apr 1966, Death Place: London, England, Probate Date: 6 Jun 1966, Probate Registry: London, England, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, National Probate Calendar (Index of Wills and Administrations), 1858-1995 
  5. Siegfried Meyer, entries at Yad Vashem:  https://tinyurl.com/yazazrxa and https://tinyurl.com/y6v946fm