Gerson Blumenfeld II, Final Chapter: Katinka Blumenfeld Rosenberg and Her Family

This is the final chapter in the story of the children of Gerson Blumenfeld II, son of Isaak Blumenfeld I. It completes the story of the family of Gerson’s daughter, Katinka Blumenfeld Rosenberg. Thank you to my cousin Michael, Katinka’s grandson, and his uncle, Henry, Katinka’s son, for sharing their family’s story.

Michael shared this adorable photograph of Katinka’s three sons, Guenther, Heinz, and Walter, taken in 1931 when they were still in Germany. Walter was ten, Guenther five, and Henry two years old.

Guenther, Heinz, and Walter Rosenberg, 1931. Courtesy of Michael Rosenberg

Michael also provided me with scans of his grandmother Katinka’s German passport, which included photographs of Katinka and her two younger sons, Guenther and Heinz.

As we saw, the family arrived in the US in early 1940, and when the 1940 US census was taken, Katinka and her husband Emanuel (known primarily as Emil) Rosenberg and their three sons, Walter, Guenther, and Heinz, now Henry, were living in Manhattan, and Emanuel was a salesman for a retail grocery business. Walter, then 19, was a machine operator in a watch factory. Gunter (14) and Henry (11) were in school.

Katinka filed a declaration of intention to become a US citizen on July 5, 1940, as did her husband Emanuel. Their son Walter filed his two weeks later on July 20, 1940.

The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, PA; 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 Source Information Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, PA; 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 Source Information Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

Walter Rosenberg declaration of intention, The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, PA; 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 596) Declarations of Intention For Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 468501-469500), Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

Walter registered for the draft on February 15, 1942. Although the official records from the National Archives and Records Administration show that Walter enlisted on November 27, 1942,1 his petition for naturalization dated April 21, 1945, states that he joined the US Army on December 5, 1942. His petition was granted, and Walter became a US citizen that day in Alexandria, Louisiana, where he was stationed. Because he knew German, he worked as a translator interrogating German POWs.

Walter Rosenberg, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New York City, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Walter Rosenberg petition for naturalization, National Archives and Records Administration – Southeast Region (Atlanta); Atlanta, GA; Petitions For Naturalization, Compiled 1922-1964; Series Number: 648598; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States; Record Group Number: 21 Naturalization Petitions, 1944-1945, Ancestry.com. Louisiana, U.S., Naturalization Records, 1836-2001

On his eighteenth birthday, July 7, 1943, Guenther Rosenberg registered for the draft. He was then working for his cousin, Kurt Simon, son of his aunt Meta Blumenfeld Simon, and living in Wayawanda, New York, where Kurt was also living, as we saw. Guenther entered the US Army on June 28, 1944, and on September 15, 1944, he became a US citizen in Jacksonville, Florida, where he was stationed. He was honorably discharged from the army on November 5, 1944,2 after his foot was injured by a hand grenade.3

Guenther Rosenberg, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New York State, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147 Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Guenther Rosenberg, petition for naturalization, The National Archives at Atlanta; Atlanta, Ga; ARC Title: Petitions For Naturalization, 1880-1975; NAI Number: 2111793; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States, 1685-2009; Record Group Number: 21
 Jacksonville Petition and Records, Oct 1944 – Jan 1945 (Roll 190), Ancestry.com. Florida, U.S., Naturalization Records, 1847-1995

Henry (now using that name), the youngest son, also registered for the draft shortly after his eighteenth birthday; he filed his registration on August 22, 1946. He was living at home with his parents in New York and was a student. Fortunately, by that time World War II had ended.

Katinka became a citizen on December 6, 1945.

Katinka Blumenfeld Rosenberg certificate of naturalization. Courtesy of Michael Rosenberg

After Walter was discharged from the US army, he returned to New York and opened up a grocery store with his brother Guenther in 1947, located on Broadway at 163rd Street in Washington Heights and  called Rosenberg Brothers Dairy.4

On July 10, 1949, Walter Rosenberg married Margot Scharlack in New York City. They met when she came into his grocery store.5 Margot was born in Frankfurt, Germany, on May 24, 1924, to Max Scharlack and Recha Hirsch,6 and had immigrated to the US with her family on November 1, 1937.7 In 1940, she and her family were living in San Antonio, Texas, where her father was a bookkeeper for a music store.8

In 1950, Walter and Margot were living in New York City where Walter owned a retail grocery store and Margot was a radio assembler.9 Walter and Margot would have two children, including my cousin Michael.

Michael shared with me these photographs taken in the early 1950s, one of him as a baby with his Uncle Henry and the other with his grandparents Katinka and Emil, and one of his grandparents alone.

Katinka Blumenfeld Rosenberg, Michael Rosenberg, Emil Rosenberg. Courtesy of Michael Rosenberg

Michael Rosenberg and Henry Rosenberg. Courtesy of Michael Rosenberg

Katinka and Emil Rosenberg   Courtesy of Michael Rosenberg

Meanwhile, Katinka, Emanuel (using Emil here), and their other two sons Guenther, here listed as George, and Henry were also living in New York City in 1950, not too far from Walter and Margot. Emil listed his occupation as a shipping clerk for a wholesale grocery store and George reported that he was the proprietor of a retail grocery store, the store he owned with his brother Walter. Henry had no occupation listed.

Emil Rosenberg and family, 1950 US census, United States of America, Bureau of the Census; Washington, D.C.; Seventeenth Census of the United States, 1950; Record Group: Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790-2007; Record Group Number: 29; Residence Date: 1950; Home in 1950: New York, New York, New York; Roll: 3572; Sheet Number: 7; Enumeration District: 31-2292, Ancestry.com. 1950 United States Federal Census

On June 17, 1951, Guenther/George married Lottie Rosenthal in Napa, California.10 She was the daughter of Frederick Rosenthal and Bella Lorch and was born in Frankfurt, Germany, on May 8, 1929.11 She came with her parents to New York on November 11, 1937,12 but then sailed from New York to San Francisco, California, on November 27, 1937, arriving there on December 13, 1937.13 Lottie and her parents settled in Napa, California, where her father worked as a power machine operator in a garment factory in 1940.14

According to Lottie’s obituary, “[i]n 1950, she traveled to New York City to visit family, and, in turn, met her future husband, George. Married in 1951, they continued in the family business of Rosenthal’s Fresh Ranch Eggs, which later changed to the Rosenthal’s Dried Fruit and Nut business, which is now known as Napa Nuts. In 1953, both Lottie and George along with several other families co-founded Congregation Beth Shalom, where she was an active member for more than 50 years.” George and Lottie had two children born in the 1950s.15

Henry Rosenberg married Victoria Hammerschlag in 1963. Victoria was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1937, after her parents immigrated there from Germany. Victoria is the second cousin, once removed, of Vera Hammerschlag, who later married Milton Hamburger, Henry’s first cousin, once removed. Henry and Victoria have three children, seven grandchildren, and six great-grandchildren.16

A year after Henry married Victoria, Emil Rosenberg died at age 79 on August 1, 1964.17 Katinka survived her husband by less than three years; she died on April 19, 1967, at the age of 75.18

Photo courtesy of Michael Rosenberg

Their son Guenther/George also did not live to see his eightieth birthday. He died on October 27, 1998, in Napa, California; he was only seventy-three.19 Fortunately, both of his brothers have had greater longevity. Walter Rosenberg was 94 when he died on November 28, 2014, in New York.20 And Henry Rosenberg, with whom I had the great pleasure of speaking, is still alive and well at 94.

Thank you again to my cousins Michael Rosenberg and Henry Rosenberg for sharing their stories, memories, and photographs.

That completes the story of Gerson Blumenfeld II and his family. Tomorrow morning I will be participating in a Blumenfeld Hanukkah Zoom with some of Gerson’s descendants as well as many descendants of other Blumenfeld ancestors. I will be sure to report on that next week.

Happy Hanukkah, everyone!

 

 


  1. Walter J Rosenberg, Race: White, Marital Status: Single, with dependents (Single)
    Rank: Private, Birth Year: 1920, Nativity State or Country: Danzig or Germany, Citizenship: Not Yet a Citizen, Residence: New York, New York, Education: 2 years of high school, Civil Occupation: Semiskilled occupations in manufacture of clocks, watches, jewelry, and articles of precious metals, Enlistment Date: 27 Nov 1942
    Enlistment Place: New York City, New York, Service Number: 32645393, Branch: Branch Immaterial – Warrant Officers, USA, Component: Selectees (Enlisted Men)
    Source: Civil Life, Height: 66, Weight: 114, National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland, USA; Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946; NAID: 1263923; Record Group Title: Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, 1789-ca. 2007; Record Group: 64; Box Number: 05442; Reel: 208, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 
  2. Guenther G Rosenberg, Race: White, Marital Status: Single, without dependents (Single), Rank: Private, Birth Year: 1925, Nativity State or Country: Danzig or Germany
    Citizenship: Not Yet a Citizen, Residence: New York, New York, Education: 2 years of high school, Civil Occupation: Skilled occupations in the manufacture of miscellaneous products, Enlistment Date: 28 Jun 1944, Enlistment Place: Camp Upton Yaphank, New York, Service Number: 42138415, Branch: No branch assignment, Component: Selectees (Enlisted Men), Source: Civil Life, National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland, USA; Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946; NAID: 1263923; Record Group Title: Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, 1789-ca. 2007; Record Group: 64; Box Number: 15088; Reel: 20, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 
  3. Email from Michael Rosenberg, November 30, 2022. 
  4. Ibid. 
  5. Ibid. See also Walter J Rosenberg, Gender: Male, Marriage License Date: 5 Jul 1949, Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse:
    Margot Scharlack, License Number: 18136, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 26, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  6. Margot Scharlack, [Margot Rosenberg], Gender: Female, Race: White, Birth Date: 24 May 1924, Birth Place: Frankfurt, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 3 Apr 2005, Father: Max Scharlack Mother: Recha Hirsch, SSN: 461261953, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007. 
  7. Margot Scharlack, ship manifest, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 15; Page Number: 81, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  8. Scharlack family, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: San Antonio, Bexar, Texas; Roll: m-t0627-04206; Page: 3A; Enumeration District: 259-149, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  9. Walter Rosenberg, 1950 US census, United States of America, Bureau of the Census; Washington, D.C.; Seventeenth Census of the United States, 1950; Record Group: Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790-2007; Record Group Number: 29; Residence Date: 1950; Home in 1950: New York, New York, New York; Roll: 3572; Sheet Number: 71; Enumeration District: 31-2291, Ancestry.com. 1950 United States Federal Census 
  10. Guenther G Rosenberg, Gender: Male, Estimated Birth Year: abt 1926
    Age: 25, Marriage Date: 17 Jun 1951, Marriage Place: Napa, California, USA
    Spouse: Lottie Rosenthal Spouse Age: 22, Ancestry.com. California, U.S., Marriage Index, 1949-1959. 
  11. Napa Valley Register (August 19, 2014) , obit for Lottie Rosenberg, GenealogyBank.com (https://www.genealogybank.com/doc/obituaries/obit/14FD71AE3A70B180-14FD71AE3A70B180 : accessed 2 December 2022) 
  12. Rosenthal family, ship manifest, Year: 1937; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 15; Page Number: 171, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  13. Rosenthal family, ship manifest, The National Archives at Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Passenger Lists of Vessels Arriving At San Francisco, California; NAI Number: 4498993; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85, Ancestry.com. California, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists, 1882-1959 
  14. Rosenthal family, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: Napa, Napa, California; Roll: m-t0627-00269; Page: 12A; Enumeration District: 28-12A, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  15. See Note 11, supra. 
  16. Phone conversation with Henry Rosenberg on October 30, 2022. Email from Michael Rosenberg, November 30, 2022. 
  17.  Emanuel Rosenberg, Social Security Number: 092-16-4853, Birth Date: 29 Jun 1885 Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Death Date: Aug 1964, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  18. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/236669638/katinka-rosenberg: accessed 02 December 2022), memorial page for Katinka Rosenberg (1891–1967), Find a Grave Memorial ID 236669638, citing Cedar Park Cemetery, Paramus, Bergen County, New Jersey, USA; Maintained by dalya d (contributor 46972551) . (Headstone has date.) 
  19. Guenther Rosenberg, [George G Rosenberg], [George Rosenberg], Gender: Male
    Race: White, Birth Date: 7 Jul 1925, Birth Place: Frankfurt MA, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 27 Oct 1998, Father: Emil Rosenberg Mother:  Katinka Blumenfeld, SSN: 093129735, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  20. Information from Michael Rosenberg, email dated December 21, 2022. 

Gerson Blumenfeld II: His Surviving Son Friedrich and His Family in America, Keeping Tradition Alive

I have been very fortunate to connect with four more Blumenfeld cousins, Steven, Milton, Alan, and Debbie, four of the grandchildren of Friedrich Blumenfeld, the last surviving son of Gerson Blumenfeld II. Alan has generously shared with me some wonderful family photographs, including the first I’ve seen of Gerson Blumenfeld II, Alan’s great-grandfather.

Gerson Blumenfeld II. Courtesy of his family.

Alan also shared these photos of his grandparents Friedrich and Lina and their two children, Gretel and Guenther (later spelled Gunter).

Fritz Blumenfeld as a young man. Courtesy of the family.

Lina Neuhas and Fritz Blumenfeld at their wedding, October 26, 1921. Courtesy of the family

Guenther and Gretel Blumenfeld, c. 1928 Courtesy of the family

Friedrich (also known as Fritz) and his wife Lina and their two children Gretel and Guenther were safely in the US by 1939 and were living in the Bronx, according to the declaration of intention to become US citizens that Friedrich filed that year.

Friedrich Blumenfeld Declaration of Intention, The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, PA; 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 567) Declarations of Intention For Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 444001-444900), Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

Alan also shared this photograph of his father Guenther’s immigration card:

Guenther Blumenfeld immigration card, 1939. Courtesy of the family

By 1941 when Gretel filed her own declaration of intention, the family was living in the Washington Heights area of Manhattan. Gretel was then eighteen and working as an “operator.” According to her sons, she was working for a company manufacturing army blankets.1

Gretel Blumenfeld Declaration of Intention, The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, PA; 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 622) Declarations of Intention For Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 492901-493800), Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

Her brother Gunter (now using that spelling) registered for the draft on February 23, 1944; they were still living in Washington Heights, and he was a high school student at that time and had just turned eighteen. He enlisted in the US Army on January 30, 1945, and served until August 28, 1946.2

Gunter Blumenfeld, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New York City, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Alan shared this photograph of his father Gunter in uniform during World War II:

Gunter Blumenfeld, c. 1945. Courtesy of the family

Gretel Blumenfeld married Joseph Hamburger on January 18, 1946.3 Joseph was born in Heuttengesass, Germany, on February 4, 1915, son of Simon Hamburger and Bertha Adler,4 and had immigrated to the US on April 2, 1936.5 According to his sons Steven and Milton, Joseph would have left earlier, but had to wait until he was twenty-one to leave without his parents’ consent; he had wanted to leave three years earlier when the Nazis prohibited Jews from being butchers, Joseph’s livelihood, but his parents refused. Gretel and Joseph met before the war, but waited to marry until after he came back from serving in World War II.6

In 1950, they were living in New York City, and Joseph was the owner of a kosher butcher shop. Gretel and Joseph had three children.

Joseph Hamburger 1950 US census, United States of America, Bureau of the Census; Washington, D.C.; Seventeenth Census of the United States, 1950; Record Group: Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790-2007; Record Group Number: 29; Residence Date: 1950; Home in 1950: New York, New York, New York; Roll: 3572; Sheet Number: 71; Enumeration District: 31-2292, Ancestry.com. 1950 United States Federal Census

Gretel’s parents Friedrich and Lina and her brother Gunter were also living in New York City in 1950, and Friedrich was working as merchandise distributor for a clothing manufacturer. Gunter was working as a television mechanic.

Friedrich Blumenfeld 1950 US census, United States of America, Bureau of the Census; Washington, D.C.; Seventeenth Census of the United States, 1950; Record Group: Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790-2007; Record Group Number: 29; Residence Date: 1950; Home in 1950: New York, New York, New York; Roll: 3572; Sheet Number: 73; Enumeration District: 31-2289, Ancestry.com. 1950 United States Federal Census

Gunter took out a marriage license to marry Hilde Hes on August 14, 1951.7 Hilde was born on April 8, 1931, in Bremen, Germany, and immigrated with her parents Paul Hes and Gertrude Wolff on September 14, 1939.8 Gunter and Hilde would have two children.

The extended family all lived close by in Washington Heights and were very close; Debbie and Alan lived in the same apartment building as their grandparents Fritz and Lina and saw them all the time, including regular shabbat dinners. Debbie shared that Lina was an excellent cook, and she has many warm memories of growing up with her cousins and other relatives.9

Alan shared this photo of Friedrich and Lina at the celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary in 1971:

Lina Neuhaus and Friedrich Blumenfeld, 1971. Courtesy of the family

Friedrich and Lina and their two children all lived relatively long lives and remained in New York City for the rest of their lives. Friedrich was 88 when he died in New York on November 14, 1977.10

Fritz Blumenfeld death notice, Aufbau, November 25, 1977, p. 28, found at https://archive.org/details/aufbau431977germ/page/n677/mode/1up?view=theater

Lina died three years later on December 15, 1980. She was 86. 11

Lina Blumenfeld death notice , Aufbau, Jan 2 1981, p. 24, found at https://archive.org/details/aufbau471981germ/page/n11/mode/1up?view=theater

Gretel Blumenfeld Hamburger died on July 25, 2008, when she was 85;12 her husband Joseph had predeceased her, dying on December 18, 2004, when he was 89.13  Gunter Blumenfeld died on July 16, 2010; he was 84.14

Perhaps some of my favorite photographs of those shared by Alan are these three that show the Sefer Torah (Torah scroll) that had been rescued by Friedrich Blumenfeld during Kristallnacht while the Momberg synagogue was burning and then safely brought to the US from Momberg by the family.15 The photographs were taken at Alan’s son’s bar mitzvah and show Gunter, Alan, and his son Sandy honoring that Sefer Torah during the bar mitzvah service.

c. 2008 Courtesy of the family

c. 2008 Courtesy of the family

c. 2008 Courtesy of the family

Friedrich and Lina are survived by their grandchildren and great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. I was privileged to connect with four of their five grandchildren—Steven, Milton, Alan, and Debbie (and will be talking to the fifth, Kenny, soon during a Blumenfeld family zoom).  Thank you all for sharing  these fabulous photographs and your stories with me and for keeping alive the memories, traditions, and legacy of your family.


  1. Zoom call with Steven Hamburger and Milton Hamburger, November 10, 2022. 
  2. Gunter Blumenfeld, Race White, Marital Status Single, without dependents (Single)
    Rank Private, Birth Year 1926, Nativity State or Country Danzig or Germany, Citizenship Not Yet a Citizen, Residence New York, New York, Education 3 years of high school, Enlistment Date 30 Jan 1945, Enlistment Place New York City, New York, Service Number 42205064, Branch No branch assignment, Component Selectees (Enlisted Men), Source Civil Life, Height 80, Weight 995 [??], National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland, USA; Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946; NAID: 1263923; Record Group Title: Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, 1789-ca. 2007; Record Group: 64; Box Number: 15188; Reel: 30, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 
  3. Gretel Blumenfeld, Gender: Female, Marriage License Date: 18 Jan 1946, Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse:
    Joseph Hamburger License Number: 2005, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 3, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  4. Joseph Hamburger, Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 4 Feb 1915, Birth Place: Huettengesae, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 18 Dec 2004, Father:
    Simon Hamburger, Mother: Bertha Adler, SSN: 077073405, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  5. Joseph Hamburger, passenger manifest, Year: 1936; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 20; Page Number: 39, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  6. See Note 1, supra. 
  7. Gunter Blumenfeld, Gender: Male, Marriage License Date: 1951, Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse: Hilde M. Hes, License Number: 21506, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018 
  8. Paul Hes, Declaration of Intention, The National Archives at Philadelphia; Philadelphia, PA; 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 569) Declarations of Intention For Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 445801-446600), Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943 
  9. Email from Debbie Salamon, December 7, 2022. 
  10. Friederich Blumenfeld, Social Security Number: 065-12-8954, Birth Date: 7 Dec 1888, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10033, New York, New York, New York, USA, Death Date: Nov 1977, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  11. Lina Blumenfeld, Social Security Number: 119-18-7181, Birth Date: 19 Sep 1894, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10033, New York, New York, New York, USA, Death Date: Dec 1980, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  12. Gretel Hamburger, Social Security Number: 081-12-7517, Birth Date: 21 Aug 1922, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10040, New York, New York, New York, Death Date: 28 Jul 2008, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  13. Joseph Hamburger, Social Security Number: 077-07-3405, Birth Date: 4 Feb 1915, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10040, New York, New York, New York, USA, Death Date: 18 Dec 2004, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  14. Gunter Blumenfeld, Social Security Number: 081-20-7923, Birth Date: 22 Feb 1926, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10040, New York, New York, New York, Death Date: 16 Jul 2010, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  15. Email from Alan Blumenfeld, December 6, 2022. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Dusschen Blumenfeld Strauss, Part III: Her Children Bertha and Moritz and Their Lives in America

By 1940, the five surviving children of Dusschen Blumenfeld and Isaac Strauss—Bertha, Moritz, Hermann, Meier (Max), and Rebekah—were all living in the US. Their children were also safely in the US as were their spouses (although Rebekka’s husband Albert Meyer had died in 1928). It almost seems like a miracle that not one of Dusschen’s children had been killed in the Holocaust. In this post and the next three I will continue the stories of each of those children. This post is about the oldest child, Bertha Strauss Herz and her family and about the second oldest child Moritz Strauss and his family.

Bertha, the oldest child, was living with her husband Morris Herz and their daughter Henrietta (Henny on the 1940 census), their son-in-law Alfred Gaertner, and granddaughter Ingeborg in New York City where both Alfred and Morris were working as tailors, Alfred for a mail order house and Morris for a retail tailor shop.

Herz and Gaertner family 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02674; Page: 5A; Enumeration District: 31-2030, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Morris and Bertha’s son Manfred Edgar Herz had changed his name to Fred Edgar Herz and registered for the World War II draft under that name on October 16, 1940. At that time Fred was living in Charleston, West Virginia, and working for the Interstate Home Equipment Company.

Fred Herz, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for West Virginia, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Box: 216 Description Name Range: Hern, Author-Hess, William Source Information Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

He enlisted in the US Army on June 21, 1943, and was honorably discharged on October 12, 1945.1 By that time, he had obtained a license to marry Zelma Anderson Risher, as announced in the March 22, 1945, issue of the Knoxville (Tennessee) News-Sentinel. Both Fred and Zelma were residing in Charleston, West Virginia, at that time.2 They did not have children, although Zelma had a daughter from a prior marriage.

Meanwhile, Fred’s mother Bertha, the oldest of the siblings, died at age 71 in New York on October 31, 1942.3 She was survived by her husband Morris and children Henrietta and Fred and granddaughter Ingeborg. Morris outlived Bertha by almost twelve years; he died on January 8, 1954, at the age of 78.4

Henrietta’s husband Alfred Gaertner died in December 1968,5 and she followed him fifteen years later on August 2, 1983.6 They were survived by their daughter Ingeborg and her family. Fred Herz and his wife Zelma both died in Palm Springs in 1987, she on January 20,7 and Fred on June 9, 1987.8

Bertha’s brother Moritz (Morris in the US) Strauss, who had been in the US since 1889 when he was a teenager, was living in the Bronx with his wife Therese in 1940. He was now retired.9

Their daughter Blanche had married between 1930 and 1940; her husband was Irving Heller, and he had lost his first wife, Frances Lippmann, on July 13, 1937.10 Although I cannot find a marriage record for Blanche and Irving, I assume they married sometime between July 13, 1937, and April 17, 1940, when the 1940 census was enumerated, as they appear together on that census as husband and wife, living in New York City with Irving’s son Lester. Irving was the owner of a wholesale egg business, and Blanche was still a teacher in the New York City public schools.

Irving Heller 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02674; Page: 10A; Enumeration District: 31-2063, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census

Morris Strauss died on October 20, 1947, in New York; he was 74.11 He was survived by his wife Therese and daughter Blanche.

In 1950, Therese was living with Blanche and her husband Irving Heller in New York, where Irving still had the egg business and Blanche was still teaching.

Irving Heller 1950 US census, United States of America, Bureau of the Census; Washington, D.C.; Seventeenth Census of the United States, 1950; Record Group: Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790-2007; Record Group Number: 29; Residence Date: 1950; Home in 1950: New York, New York, New York; Roll: 4378; Sheet Number: 83; Enumeration District: 31-2222, Ancestry.com. 1950 United States Federal Census

Therese died three years later at the age of 80 on October 22, 1953.12 Irving Heller died on February 19, 1970; he was 78.13 Blanche lived another twelve years; she died on March 15, 1982, at the age of 84.14 As Blanche had had no children of her own with Irving, there are no biological descendants of Morris and Therese, although Irving’s son from his first marriage may have been adopted by Blanche.

My next post will be about Bertha and Moritz’s next oldest sibling, Hermann Strauss, and his family’s life in the United States.


  1.  National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland, USA; Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946; NAID: 1263923; Record Group Title: Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, 1789-ca. 2007; Record Group: 64; Box Number: 09895; Reel: 51, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946; Manfred Edgar Herz, Gender: Male,Birth Date: 18 Feb 1909
    Death Date: 9 Jun 1987, SSN: 235266471, Enlistment Branch: ARMY, Enlistment Date: 5 Jul 1943, Discharge Date: 12 Oct 1945, Page number: 1, Ancestry.com. U.S., Department of Veterans Affairs BIRLS Death File, 1850-2010 
  2. The Knoxville News-Sentinel – 22 Mar 1945 – Page 8. 
  3. Bertha Herz, Age: 71, Birth Year: abt 1871, Death Date: 31 Oct 1942, Death Place: Manhattan, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 21563, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948 
  4. Date obtained from the Cedar Park Cemetery in Paramus, NJ, where Morris and Bertha are buried. 
  5.  Alfred Gaertner, Social Security Number: 052-07-5367, Birth Date: 9 Aug 1895
    Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10033, New York, New York, New York, USA, Death Date: Dec 1968, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  6.  Henrietta Gaertner, Social Security Number: 094-46-9690, Birth Date: 14 Nov 1901
    Issue Year: 1969, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10033, New York, New York, New York, USA, Death Date: Aug 1983, Sociial Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  7. Zelma A Herz, [Zelma A Anderson], Social Security #: 234303318, Gender: Female
    Birth Date: 1 Apr 1906, Birth Place: West Virginia, Death Date: 20 Jan 1987, Death Place: Riverside, Mother’s Maiden Name: Snyder, Father’s Surname: Anderson, Place: Riverside; Date: 20 Jan 1987; Social Security: 234303318, Ancestry.com. California, U.S., Death Index, 1940-1997 
  8. See Note 1, supra. 
  9. Morris Herz, 1940 US Census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, Bronx, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02467; Page: 7B; Enumeration District: 3-251A, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  10. Frances Heller, Age: 40, Birth Year: abt 1897, Death Date: 13 Jul 1937, Death Place: Manhattan, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 16513, Wills and Probates: Search for Frances Heller in New York Wills & Probates collection, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Extracted Death Index, 1862-1948; Frances Lippman, Gender: Female, Marriage Date: 8 Mar 1925, Marriage Place: Manhattan, New York, USA
    Spouse: Irving Heller, Certificate Number: 7528, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Extracted Marriage Index, 1866-1937 
  11. Morris Strauss, Gender: Male, Race: White, Marital Status: Married, Age: 74
    Birth Date: 19 Jan 1873, Birth Place: Germany, Residence Street Address: 150 Bennett Ave, Residence Place: New York,Death Date: 20 Oct 1947, Hospital: Beth Abraham Home, Death Place: New York City, Bronx, New York, USA, Death City Ward: 9
    Cause of Death: Cerebral Thrombosis, Old Right Side Hemiplegia General, Arteriosclerosis, Burial Date: 22 Oct 1947, Burial Place: Union Field Cemetery
    Occupation: Butcher, Father’s Birth Place: Germany, Mother’s Birth Place: Germany
    Father: Isaac Strauss, Mother: Duse Strauss, Spouse: Theresa Strauss, Informant: Theresa Stauss, Informant Gender: Female, Informant Relationship: Wife, Executor: Therese Strain, Executor Relationship: Wife, Certificate Number: 10219, New York City Department of Records & Information Services; New York City, New York; New York City Death Certificates; Borough: Bronx; Year: 1947, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Index to Death Certificates, 1862-1948 
  12. Theresa Strauss, Age: 80, Birth Date: abt 1873, Death Date: 22 Oct 1953, Death Place: Bronx, New York, New York, USA, Certificate Number: 10571, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Death Index, 1949-1965 
  13.  Irving Heller, Social Security Number: 093-10-9363, Birth Date: 5 Dec 1891, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 10040, New York, New York, New York, USA, Death Date: Feb 1970, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  14. Blanche Heller, Race: White, Age at Death: 84, Birth Date: 8 Apr 1897, Death Date: 15 Mar 1982, Death Place: Dade, Florida, United States, Ancestry.com. Florida, U.S., Death Index, 1877-1998 

Moritz Werner And Family, Part III: After The War

After the war Max Werner, now 25 years old, married Klara Reiss on January 5, 1947, in London, England.1 Klara (known by the family as Klari) was born in Vienna, Austria, on September 27, 1920, to Ida Spergel and Salomon Reiss. According to his granddaughter Joyce:2

Salomon Reiss had made a fortune in Vienna and was a well-known multi-millionaire. After the Anschluss (March 1938) [he] was arrested at the seder table [and] stripped of his Austrian wealth, and the family managed to escape to Prague (not at the time under German control and where my grandfather owned assets).

Klara’s brothers were able to immigrate to Palestine, but Klara didn’t want to leave her parents so stayed with them in Prague. But as things became more dire, she was able to obtain a visa to go to England, as seen on her exit visa from Prague shown below. As Joyce noted, Klara left Prague “quite late in August 1939. Her entry Visa in Dover is stamped 30st August. The curtain came down [two days later started on September 1, 1939, when Germany invaded Poland and World War II started.]”

Klara Reiss 1939 visa for travel to England

Klara’s parents were, however, stuck in Prague once the war started and unable to escape. They were eventually deported to Theriesenstadt and then from there on one of the last transports from Theriesenstadt to Auschwitz, where they were murdered.3

Klara met Max Werner eight years later in England. As Joyce tells the story,

Our parents met at a friend of Moritz and Jenny on a Shabbat afternoon in 1946. The couple were cousins of Klari’s father and, apparently, when [Max] got home, he told his parents he had met the girl he was going to marry. He was two years younger than Klari, involved with Klari’s cousin, and Klari told him to go away. Repeatedly. My father did not take no for an answer and pursued her relentlessly. She gave in and went on a date with him. The rest is history.

Judith provided these additional insights:

My mother liked my Dad when they met but felt that as a sophisticated dress designer she was way too old for the very young looking Max. She had a career path that she had worked very hard to carve out for herself and was in line to go to Paris for her firm.  She wasn’t interested in marriage at that point in her life especially after learning what happened to her parents. I believe her long range plan was to join her brothers in Israel. When however my Dad persisted, she relented…. They were married 6 months later on 5th January, 1947.

Joyce and Judith shared these photographs of their parents Max and Klara:

Max and Klara Werner Courtesy of the family

Max and Klara Werner Courtesy of the family

At the time of his marriage, Max was working for his father Moritz in the Benlo company in London. In 1949, Moritz was able to buy back LS Brinkmann from the man who purchased it. As his son Max told the story (and as I previously shared here),

A Catholic named Rhode from Kassel, who produced goods for the armaments industry, had bought L.S. Brinkmann. After the war, when Rhode was terminally ill, he developed feelings of remorse and tracked down my father Moritz in England. Mr. Rhode asked for a visit and my father and he made a contract, i.e. my father bought the company back – that was at a time when there was no official reparation! In 1949 the takeover was perfected. …

When my father had celebrated his 25th anniversary with the company in 1931, the staff had donated a bronze plate with a dedication and two knitting hands for him. During the forced sale [1939] the plate suddenly disappeared.

In 1949, when my father was sitting in his office again for the first time, there was a knock at the door and a small delegation of employees came in… They struggled to carry a box containing this bronze plate. Before taking over the company, these employees had fastened the plate in the chimney with strong wires and thus hidden it.

Joyce and Judith shared this photograph of the plaque that had been given to honor Moritz in 1931 and then hidden by his employees to keep it safe from the Nazis.

Moritz and Jenny did not remain in Germany, but Moritz did continue to oversee LS Brinkmann from England. He gave a large share of the business to his sister Elsa Werner Loewenthal, wife of Julius Loewenthal, whom I wrote about here.

Meanwhile, according to Judith, there were problems within the partnership of Benlo; contrary to an informal agreement between Moritz and his partner, the partner brought a new partner into the business, and together they took over control of the business and away from Moritz. Eventually, the two other partners drove Moritz out of the business and moved his son Max from company headquarters in London to a sales job, which he found to be unsatisfying and a dead end position.

Here is a photograph of Max and Klara in the early 1950s:

Max and Klara Werner c. 1953 Courtesy of the family

Thus, in 1953, Max decided to move to Germany and take over LS Brinkmann after his father Moritz retired. By that time, both Judith and Joyce were born, and Judith was already in school. Max, Klara, and Joyce went to Eschwege, and Judith stayed behind with her grandparents Moritz and Jenny in England to continue her schooling. Under Max’s leadership, LS Brinkmann once again became a highly successful knitware company.

But after a relatively short time, Klara and Joyce returned to England as Klara was not happy living in Eschwege, where there was no longer a Jewish community after the Holocaust. Max would come to England periodically, usually for Jewish holidays, and Klara and their daughters would spend the summers in Eschwege.

Joyce and Judith have wonderful memories of spending summers in Eschwege. Judith wrote:

Part of the perks of working for LSB was reduced rental flats on the factory property. It was great fun for us children of the workers. Every afternoon and early evening when the workday was over we would gather in the courtyard and play all kinds of games, including hide and seek and different ball games.

Judith shared this photograph of the LS Brinkmann grounds along with this description:

On the far left are the worker residences including ours. Bottom right is the green house. The larger tree in front of the white knitting operation was a delicious pear tree under which our pet dog Cracky was buried. The other greenery were apple, pear, plum, and cherry (not seen) trees. We had all kinds of berries that I used to spend many hours picking and eating. In the distance is the very picturesque town of Eschwege.

LS Brinkmann factory grounds Courtesy of the family

Joyce added this memory:

I also remember those holidays as a time of freedom. We played with local children as Judy said and were left largely to our own devices. Judy and some of the older kids would take me along to the local swimming pool or they Iet me trail along and join in with whatever they did. My own age group was a group of dare-devil boys. In the foreground (front left side) [of the photograph] is a grey roof above the dustbins [trash cans] with a drop of about 6 to 7 feet to the rear exit road below. All the boys and I used to play a ‘chicken’ type game jumping off with as much bravado as possible.

By 1958, Moritz Werner’s health had declined, and he and Jenny decided to leave England for a better climate and move to Lugano, Switzerland. He died eight years later in 1966 at the age of 78. This photograph of Moritz was taken at the celebration of the 100th anniversary of LS Brinkmann’s founding in 1965.

Moritz Werner 1965 Courtesy of the family

Jenny kept the apartment in Lugano and remained there, although she spent the first year after Moritz’s death living with Klara and the girls in London. Eventually, when she could no longer live alone, she moved to an assisted living facility in Zurich, where she died in November 1987 at the age of 93. Here is a beautiful photograph of Jenny:

Jenny Kahn Werner Courtesy of the family

Max Werner eventually retired from LS Brinkmann and returned to England. Judith shared this memory with me:

My father had a fantasy of living in Devon, England on the coast. He had fallen in love with the Devon and Cornwall coastline when he was a very young man. So when he was about 55 [about 1977], he sold [the home in] London and bought a house in Devon. He proceeded to knock most of it down and rebuilt it to his own specifications. This home was on the top of the hill that he owned overlooking the channel. On this hill he had an area for a pool and a rock garden. And when we swam in this pool, you could overlook this beautiful seaway.

Max Werner and his wife Klara died within eight months of each other. Klara died at age 90 in April 2011 in Devon, England, and Max died in December of that year, also in Devon, England. He was 89.4

I am so deeply grateful to Judith and Joyce for sharing their family’s stories and photographs. The story of their grandparents and parents is one of persistence and strength despite being subjected to harassment, theft of their business, and loss of their home and their homeland. Somehow they rebuilt their lives and their business and found ways to survive both before, during, and after World War II.


  1.  Max H Werner, Registration Date: Jan 1947, Registration Quarter: Jan-Feb-Mar, Registration District: Hendon, Inferred County: Middlesex, Spouse: Amalia K Reiss, Volume Number: 5f, Page Number: 529General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 5f; Page: 529, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 
  2. As with the two prior posts, most of the information in this post came from a series of emails exchanged among Max and Klara’s daughters Judith, and Joyce and myself during May and June, 2022. 
  3. https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=4788092&ind=1; https://yvng.yadvashem.org/nameDetails.html?language=en&itemId=4783626&ind=1 
  4. These dates came from Max and Klara’s daughters Joyce and Judith. 

Finding Max Blumenfeld and His Family: A Postscript

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Finding Max Blumenfeld, Part III: Finding His Grandsons

Although my cousin Richard and I had learned that Max Blumenfeld died in Merano, Italy, in 1936, we still didn’t know where and when his wife Anna died. We had some hints, but nothing definite. Her son Fritz’s marriage record in 1940 seemed to suggest she was still living in Italy. But her daughter Edith’s failure to list her mother on the 1946 ship manifest as her nearest relative in Italy, the place Edith had last resided, seemed to indicate that either Anna had died by then or had left Italy.

We were hoping that one of Max and Anna’s grandchildren might know the answers, and so I turned to locating those grandchildren. We knew that Max and Anna’s daughter Edith had two children with her husband Joseph Bermann, so I started to search for them. They all appear together on the 1950 US census, living in New York City. Joseph was practicing medicine, and Edith was working as a secretary for a general export business. Their two children Margherita (spelled Margaret on the census) and Max were 14 and 12.1 As of 1958, Edith and Joseph were still living in New York City.

Joseph Bermann, passenger manifest, The National Archives At Washington, D.C.; Washington, D.C.; Series Title: Passenger Manifests of Airplanes Arriving At San Juan, Puerto Rico; NAI Number: A3534; Record Group Title: Records of the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 1787-2004; Record Group Number: 85, Ancestry.com. Puerto Rico, U.S, Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists, 1901-1962

According to FindAGrave, Joseph died on May 1, 1966; he was 68.2 Edith died two years later on August 12, 1968. She was only 61.3 They were both buried in Westchester Hills Cemetery in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York. They were survived by their two children. Their daughter Margherita died on August 21, 2008;4 she was 72. Max, however, was as best I could tell, still living.

After using Google and other online tools, I finally located what I assumed was Max Bermann’s Facebook page. I noticed that he had a Facebook friend named Omri Bar Sadeh. You may recall that Hermann Blumenfeld, Max Blumenfeld’s older brother, had a son Hans who had changed his name to Hanan Bar Sadeh after immigrating to Israel/Palestine. I used the Google Translate tool and learned that “sadeh” means a cultivated field. So Bar Sadeh means son of a cultivated field. Since Blumenfeld translated from German as field of flowers, it made sense that Hanan had adopted a name that meant he was the son of a cultivated field, or a field of flowers, or a “Blumenfeld.”

So when I saw that Max Bermann had a Facebook friend with the surname Bar Sadeh, I assumed that this other person must be a descendant of Edith’s first cousin, Hanan Bar Sadeh. But David Lesser had reported that Hanan had no children, so I was not certain. Was it just a coincidence that Edith’s son Max had a friend with that surname? Or was this Facebook friend one of his cousins?

On Omri Bar Sadeh’s Facebook page, there was a video in Hebrew. I could not understand it, but I could translate the comment that had been included with the post, and it indicated that the video was about Omri Bar Sadeh’s brother Gideon Bar Sadeh. When I googled that name, I found this page:

Bar-Sadeh, Gideon

Son of Moses HaKohen and Devorah. He was born in Ein Harod on June 16, 1942, and completed his twelfth grade at the Kibbutz Ha-Meuchad School there. He had a penchant for drawing and found talent in his paintings. He would decorate his notebooks and make handsome posters and posters. He was quiet and humble in his ways. Was an animal breeder and loved them. Was drafted into the Israel Defense Forces in October 1960. On October 18, 1962, he fell in the line of duty and was brought to eternal rest in Ein Harod.

I knew that Edith Blumenfeld Bermann had listed her brother Fritz on her ship manifest in 1946 indicating that he was residing in “En Charod,” Palestine. Could Gideon have been Fritz’s son, I wondered? Fritz had married a woman named Devorah so that fit the puzzle. But then why did it say Gideon’s father was named Moses?

Then I remembered seeing on the IGRA website that in 1942 Fritz Blumenfeld, residing in En Harod, had been identified as “Moshe (Fritz) Blumenfeld, son of Max.” And given that Max’s father’s name had been Moses, it made sense that Fritz’s Hebrew name was Moshe and that he was named for his grandfather and adopted that name as his primary name in Israel.

Record located on the Israel Genealogy Research Association website at https://genealogy.org.il/AID/

With that additional insight, I realized that I had found the family of Fritz Moshe Blumenfeld and that Fritz, like his cousin Hanan, had changed his surname from Blumenfeld to Bar Sadeh for the same reasons. Just to be sure, I asked David Lesser if he would watch the video posted on Facebook about Gideon, and he confirmed that the video says that Gideon’s parents were Fritz and Devorah.

I sent messages to both of the surviving grandsons of Max and Anna (Grunwald) Blumenfeld, hoping that I would eventually learn what happened to Anna and the rest of the story of their family. Much to my delight, I heard from both of them.

Max Bermann, Edith’s son, was born in Merano, Italy, where his father Giuseppe (later Joseph) Bermann was born. That’s where the family was living (along with Anna) after Joseph left for the US in 1939. Although the family was originally supposed to follow once Joseph was settled, the war intervened, and they could not leave Italy. Max was just a toddler at the time. His grandmother Anna became the primary caregiver for his sister and him because their mother Edith was often away. Max later learned from his sister that Edith was acting as a courier for the partisans during the war.

Max shared with me this photograph of Merano, where he and his father were born, as well as this photograph of his father and his father’s father, Max Bermann, both of whom were doctors at the Waldpark Sanitorium in Merano. The elder Max Bermann is the man with the long black beard and his son Joseph/Giuseppe Bermann, the younger doctor in the white coat, is standing next to him.

Dr Max Bermann and his son Dr Joseph Bermann in Waldpark Sanitorium, Merano, Italy. Courtesy of the family

When the war ended, Edith brought her children to the US, but Anna went to live with her son Fritz and his family in Ein Harod in Palestine. Neither Omri nor Max knew exactly when Anna immigrated, but as I was doing some of the final edits for this post, Richard emailed me with new information he’d found online—a database of information about the Jews of Merano.

There was an entry for Anna Grunwald Blumenfeld that reported that “Anna Grünwald-Blumenfeld came from Berlin and lived in Merano since 23.4.1936. On 22.8.1938 she was recorded in the census of “Jews” living in Italy by the fascist authorities as permanently resident in Merano. On 13.2.1939 her file received the note: “di razza ebraica”. On 1.4.1939 she fled to an unknown place, according to the registration office of the municipality of Merano. Later, April 1939 is given as the date of the flight abroad.”5 Thus, it would appear from this record that Anna left Merano for Palestine in April, 1939.

But as noted by Max and by my reader Teresa, this cannot be accurate. Max knows that his grandmother did not leave in 1939 because she cared for him during the war years. It appears more likely that these Merano records are inaccurate and that Anna was in Italy at least until the end of the war.

Now that I knew that Anna had survived the war and had immigrated to Palestine, I searched again on the Israel Genealogical Research Association website and found this record:

Anna Grunwald Blumenfeld died on September 7, 1946, in Ein Harod; she was only 61 years old. She had survived the move from Germany to Italy, the loss of her husband Max in 1936, World War II, and then a move from Italy to Palestine. She was survived by her daughter Edith and her family and her son Fritz and his family.

Anna and Max Blumenfeld’s grandson Max Bermann shared these lovely photographs of his family. First, some photographs of Anna and Max:

Anna Grunwald Blumenfeld Courtesy of the family

Anna Grunwald Blumenfeld and Max Blumenfeld Courtesy of the family

Max Blumenfeld Courtesy of the family

This photograph is of Max and Anna’s children Fritz and Edith as well as, on the right, Fritz’s wife Dora Salpeter Blumenfeld.

Fritz Blumenfeld, Edith Blumenfeld Bermann, and Dora Salpeter Blumenfeld Courtesy of the family

And this final photograph from Max shows him and his sister Margherita with a soldier they met when they visited Palestine (now Israel) with their mother after the war.

Margherita and Max Bermann in Italy shortly after the end of World War II with a soldier from Palestine. Courtesy of the family

Omri also shared some photographs, including this one of his grandmother Anna’s gravestone.

Anna Blumenfeld, Ein Harod Photo courtesy of Omri Bar Sadeh

In addition, he shared photographs of the gravestones of his parents Fritz (Moshe) and Dora/Devorah and his two brothers Gideon and Hillel.

Gideon, as we saw, died fighting for Israel on October 18, 1962.

Gideon Bar Sadeh, Ein Harod Photo courtesy of Omri Bar Sadeh

Omri’s father Fritz Moshe Blumenfeld Bar Sadeh died December 12, 1977 in Ein Harod; he was 67. Devorah Salpeter Blumenfeld Bar Sadeh, outlived her husband by almost 23 years and died at 92 on November 27, 2000, in Ein Harod.

Dora and Fritz Bar Sadeh, Ein Harod Photo courtesy of Omri Bar Sadeh

Fritz and Devorah’s middle child, their son Hillel, died from cancer on December 30, 1996, in Ein Harod. He was only 50 and left behind a wife and four children.

Hillel Bar Sadeh, Ein Harod Photo courtesy of Omri Bar Sadeh

I am so grateful to my fifth cousins Max and Omri for sharing their family’s stories and their own stories and their photographs with me and allowing me to share them with you. I now have answers to all the questions I had when I first started searching for what happened to Max Blumenfeld after he married Anna Grunwald in 1906, thanks to the incredible help of Richard Bloomfield, David Lesser, Max Bermann, and Omri Bar Sadeh.


  1. Joseph Bermann family, 1950 US census, United States of America, Bureau of the Census; Washington, D.C.; Seventeenth Census of the United States, 1950; Record Group: Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790-2007; Record Group Number: 29; Residence Date: 1950; Home in 1950: New York, New York, New York; Roll: 5665; Sheet Number: 72; Enumeration District: 31-675, Ancestry.com. 1950 United States Federal Census 
  2. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/173690239/joseph-bermann : accessed 18 May 2022), memorial page for Joseph Bermann (unknown–1 May 1966), Find a Grave Memorial ID 173690239, citing Westchester Hills Cemetery, Hastings-on-Hudson, Westchester County, New York, USA ; Maintained by BKGeni (contributor 46895980) . 
  3. Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/173690238/edith-bermann : accessed 18 May 2022), memorial page for Edith Bermann (unknown–12 Aug 1968), Find a Grave Memorial ID 173690238, citing Westchester Hills Cemetery, Hastings-on-Hudson, Westchester County, New York, USA ; Maintained by BKGeni (contributor 46895980) . 
  4.  Margherita M. Bermann, Social Security Number: 085-30-0023, Birth Date: 22 Aug 1935, Issue Year: 1954-1956, Issue State: New York, Last Residence: 12550, Newburgh, Orange, New York, Death Date: 21 Aug 2008, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  5.  There were also entries for Max and for their two children Fritz and Edith. Max’s entry confirmed that he died on March 7, 1936 and is buried in the Jewish cemetery in Merano. Edith’s entry reported that she had “married Josef Bermann on January 30, 1935. After a stay in London in the spring of 1935, she lived in Merano from April 8, 1935. On August 22, 1938, Edith Bermann was included in the census of “Jews” living in Italy by the fascist authorities. On February 13, 1939, her file received the note: “di razza ebraica”. Edith Bermann, who stayed in Milan again and again, fled to Milan.” Fritz’s entry in the Merano Jewish database reported that he “had lived in Merano since October 3, 1936, where his sister was married to the doctor Josef Bermann. On August 22, 1938, Fritz Blumenfeld was recorded by the fascist authorities as permanently residing in Merano in the census of “Jews” living in Italy. According to the registration office of the municipality of Merano, Fritz Blumenfeld fled to Palestine on May 15, 1939.” 

The Search for Max Blumenfeld, Part II: Finding His Daughter Edith

There were several questions that remained unanswered even after Richard and I learned that Max Blumenfeld had died in Merano, Italy, on May 8, 1936. What happened to his wife Anna Grunwald Blumenfeld after he died? Did Max and Anna have any children other than their son Fritz? And are there living descendants of Max and Anna? With continued research, Richard and I, along with additional help from David Lesser from Tracing the Tribe, were able to find some answers to these questions.

First, Richard saw on MyHeritage that Max and Anna did have another child, a daughter Edith. According to that page, Edith was born on February 16, 1907, in Graudenz, Germany. There was even a birth announcement attached to her profile on this MyHeritage page. 

That tree on MyHeritage also had an announcement for Max and Anna’s engagement in 1905.1

Now that we knew there was a daughter born to Max and Anna, I started to look for information about Edith. Although I could not locate a birth record, based on the dates given on MyHeritage and the birth announcement, I was able to narrow down the search. I also knew from the MyHeritage profile that Edith was reportedly married to a doctor named Joseph Berman and had two children.

With that information to get my research started, I soon located numerous documents that appeared to be related to Edith Blumenfeld, daughter of Max and Anna. Putting together what I’d found in chronological order, Edith at 22 sailed from Hamburg to Antwerp on August 9, 1929. I assume that this was a pleasure trip, not an immigration move.

Edith Blumenfeld, 1929 passenger manifest, Staatsarchiv Hamburg; Hamburg, Deutschland; Hamburger Passagierlisten; Volume: 373-7 I, VIII A 1 Band 370; Page: 1843; Microfilm No.: K_1977, Month: Band 370 (Aug 1929 – Sep 1929), Staatsarchiv Hamburg. Hamburg Passenger Lists, 1850-1934

According to the England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 index on Ancestry, Edith married Giuseppe Bermann in the first quarter of 1935 in England. Richard, however, found a wedding announcement in the February 13, 1935 issue of the Alpenzeitung that indicates that they married on February 3, 1935, in Berlin. We are not sure whether there were two weddings or whether there is some other explanation for the inconsistency.2

Edith next turned up as Edith Bermann on a ship manifest sailing with her two children from Naples, Italy, to New York, arriving on February 20, 1946. She reported her last residence had been Naples, Italy. How did I know this was the right Edith? Because she named her brother Fritz Blumenfeld living in “En Charod, Palestine” as the person she left behind and her husband Joseph Bermann as the person she was going to in New York, where he was residing at 752 West End Avenue. In addition, she was 39 years old in 1946, meaning she was born in about 1907, and her birth place was given as “Grundzias” in Poland. Since Graudenz was located in a region that was given to Poland after the war, these additional facts convinced me that this was Edith Blumenfeld.

Edith Berman and children, 1946 ship manifest, Year: 1946; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 34, Ship or Roll Number: Gripsholm, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

The manifest form asked for the name and address of the “nearest relative or friend in country whence alien came, or if none there, then in country of which alien is a citizen or subject.” The fact that Edith gave the name of her brother Fritz who was living in Palestine at that time raised a few questions for me. If Edith was last living in Milan, Italy, why would she name a relative living in Palestine?

Second page of manifest seen above.

To me that suggested that her mother Anna was no longer living in Italy or Edith would have named her, given that Edith’s last residence was Italy. Whether or not Anna was deceased or living elsewhere is not known. Secondly, Edith listed her nationality as Italian on the manifest, not as a “citizen or subject of Palestine,” yet she listed Fritz in Palestine, who was neither in the place she last lived or in the place where she was a citizen. Did the authorities simply allow her to list Fritz because he was the only relative or friend she could name even though he was not in Italy? I don’t know.

Since Joseph apparently had arrived in New York before his wife Edith and their two children, I looked and located a ship manifest for his immigration to the US. I found him on a manifest for a ship sailing from Genoa, Italy, to New York, arriving on November 17, 1939, five and a half years before Edith and the children arrived and a month and a half after World War II started. He sailed as Giuseppe Bermann and gave his birthplace and last residence as Merano, Italy, and his occupation as “medical.” Interestingly, his passport had been issued in September, 1939, from Jerusalem. Although I searched both the Israel State Archives and the IGRA website, I could not find any record establishing that Joseph or Edith ever was in Palestine before 1946.

Giuseppe Bermann, ship manifest, Year: 1939; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 63, Ship or Roll Number: Saturnia, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Joseph settled in New York City, and in 1940 he filed a Declaration of Intention to become a US citizen, listing his family back in Italy and noting that they were now living in Milan. From this document I also learned that Joseph and Edith were married in London, England, on January 31, 1935, as also confirmed by the entry in the England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 on Ancestry.3 I wonder when they arrived and for how long they lived in England.

Joseph Bermann, Declaration of Intention, he 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 579) Declarations of Intention for Citizenship, 1842-1959 (No 453801-454600), Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943

In 1942, Joseph registered for the World War II draft. He was living at 121 West 77th Street and practicing medicine. He listed his mother Caroline Ullmann Bermann as his contact person.

Joseph Bermann, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New York City, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

And then finally in February, 1946, he was reunited with his family. Joseph had left Edith and two very young children in Italy in November, 1939, probably assuming they would be able to follow him in the reasonably foreseeable future. Instead, the war intervened, and they were separated for five and a half years. Joseph missed all those years when his children were young, and Edith had to raise them alone for all that time. It must have been a joyous reunion when Edith and the children finally arrived in February, 1946.

Of course, there were more questions. How did Edith and the children stay safe during the war? Italy was after all an ally of Germany in World War II. The US Holocaust Museum has this information on its website about the fate of Jews in Italy during World War II.

Despite its alliance with Germany, the Fascist regime responded equivocally to German demands first to concentrate and then to deport Jews residing in Italian occupation zones in Yugoslavia, Greece, and France to killing centers in the German-occupied Poland. Italian military authorities generally refused to participate in mass murder of Jews or to permit deportations from Italy or Italian-occupied territory; and the Fascist leadership was both unable and unwilling to force the issue.

Italian-occupied areas were therefore relatively safe for Jews. Between 1941 and 1943, thousands of Jews escaped from German-occupied territory to the Italian-occupied zones of France, Greece, and Yugoslavia. The Italian authorities even evacuated some 4,000 Jewish refugees to the Italian mainland. Incarcerated in southern Italy, these Jewish refugees survived the war.

But that situation changed for the worse after there was a vote of no-confidence in Mussolini after many military defeats in North Africa, and the Italian king, Victor Emmanuel III, removed Mussolini as prime minister and named Pietro Badoglio to replace him. Badoglio negotiated a secret surrender to the Allies on September 8, 1943. At that point Germany took action.

The Germans, who had grown suspicious of Italian intentions, quickly occupied northern and central Italy. ….The German occupation of Italy radically altered the situation for the remaining 43,000 Italian Jews living in the northern half of the country. The Germans quickly established an SS and police apparatus, in part to deport the Italian Jews to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

In October and November 1943, German authorities rounded up Jews in Rome, Milan, Genoa, Florence, Trieste, and other major cities in northern Italy. ….In general, these operations had limited success, due in part to advance warning given to the Jews by Italian authorities and the Vatican, and in part to the unwillingness of many non-Jewish Italians…to participate in or facilitate the roundups.

Germany ended up deporting almost 9000 Jews to the concentration camps, and over a thousand survived. All in all, 40,000 Jews in Italy survived the Holocaust. Was Anna Grunwald Blumenfeld one of them? I still didn’t know.

But her two children survived, Fritz in Palestine, which soon became Israel, and Edith in the US. More on them and their children in my next post. And the answers to my questions about Anna.

Stay tuned.

 


  1. That announcement confused me since it says Anna’s parents were J. Grunwald and Rosa Israel, and I had from her birth record that their names were Isidor Grunwald and Nanny Braun. But Richard found a passage in Inge Lassel’s book about the Jewish orphanage in Pankow, Berlin, that explained the discrepancy; it revealed that Isidor’s first wife Nanny had died in 1903 and that he had then married Rosa Israel. Inge Lammel, Das Jüdische Waisenhaus in Pankow (2001), p. 24. 
  2.  General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 1a; Page: 861, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005. 
  3. Giuseppe Bermann, Registration Date: Jan 1935, Registration Quarter: Jan-Feb-Mar, Registration District: Westminster, Inferred County: Middlesex, Spouse: Edith N Blumenfeld, Volume Number: 1a, Page Number: 861, General Register Office; United Kingdom; Volume: 1a; Page: 861, Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Civil Registration Marriage Index, 1916-2005 

The Family of Ernst Blumenfeld Escaped to America (And His Widow Married My Cousin from Jesberg)

The Nazis altered the fates of all seven of the grandchildren of Moses Blumenfeld IIA. Whereas the two children of his daughter Antonie Blumenfeld Katz safely escaped to Palestine and his grandson Albert Kaufmann, son of Hedwig Blumenfeld Kaufmann, escaped to Brazil, his granddaughter Anna Kaufmann Leyser and her husband and sons were murdered at Sobibor in 1943.

As for the family of Ernst Blumenfeld, the youngest child of Moses Blumenfeld IIA, although he died at 42 in 1935, leaving behind his young widow Bella and their three young children, Bella and their children all ended up escaping Nazi Germany by coming to the US on December 5, 1939, and settling in New York City, where in 1940 they were living with Bella’s parents Levi and Rosa (Katz) Tannenbaum.1

Bella Blumenfeld and children on passenger manifest, Year: 1939; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 1; Page Number: 132, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957

Two years later Bella remarried. Her second husband was Gustav Katz,2 born in Jesberg, Germany, on October 24, 1893, to Josef Katz and Roschen Stern.3 When I saw Katz and Jesberg, I speculated that somehow Gustav was related to my Katz and Katzenstein relatives from Jesberg, and sure enough, Gustav was my fourth cousin, twice removed! My five-times great-grandfather Schalum Katz was Gustav’s three times great-grandfather.

Gustav arrived in the US just a few weeks after Bella and her children on December 22, 1939, listing his occupation as textile merchant.4 But on his Declaration of Intention filed on July 8, 1940, he reported that he was a laundry worker,5 a sign of how challenging it must have been for some middle-class German Jews who escaped Nazi Germany to adapt to life in the US. Gustav died in February 1964; he was seventy.6 Bella outlived her second husband by 23 years. She died March 11, 1987 at the age of 87.7

Bella was survived by two of her three children with Ernst Blumenfeld, her son Paul having predeceased her by less than ten months on June 13, 1986, at the age of 54.8 I wonder whether Paul’s death hastened Bella’s demise so soon afterwards. Paul was married to Edith Stark, a Baltimore native, who was born there on March 27, 1933, and died there on April 12, 2014.9 Paul and Edith are survived by their four children and their grandchildren.

Ernst and Bella’s daughter Lore Blumenfeld married Manfried “Fred” Oppenheim in 1947.10 Fred was also a German refugee; he was born on June 12, 1920 in Kassel, Germany to Hermann Oppenheim and Esther Lehrberger.11 Fred came to the US on March 12, 1938, and in 1940 was living with his parents in New York and working as a waiter.12 His World War II draft registration shows that he was working for the Jones Beach Catering Corporation.

Manfred Oppenheim, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New York City, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947 [

Fred enlisted in the US Army on September 21, 1943, and served until June 8, 1946.13  Lore Blumenfeld Oppenheim died on November 14, 1991; she was 64.14 Her husband Fred Oppenheim died the following year on March 31, 1992.15 They were survived by their children.

Finally, Ernst and Bella’s other son Franz became Frank in the US. When he registered for the draft, he was living in New York with his mother and stepfather and working at Volume Dress Company. Frank married Rita Rae Nelkin, a native of Houston, on December 16, 1956.16 They had three children. Frank died when he was 73 on March 22, 200217. According to his obituary, “He was proud to be an American, having served in the First Infantry Division in his birthplace, Marburg. He moved to Houston in 1955 where he met his wife. In 1957 he founded Formcraft, Inc., the largest independently owned business forms company in Houston. He was known to have a kind and generous heart, a winning personality and a great sense of humor as well as being an avid fisherman, shrewd businessman and a lover of classical music.”18

Franz Blumenfeld, World War II draft registration, National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for New York City, 10/16/1940 – 03/31/1947; Record Group: Records of the Selective Service System, 147, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940-1947

Fortunately Moses Blumenfeld IIA has many living descendants today in Israel and in the United States because the children of his children Antonie Blumenfeld Katz and Ernst Blumenfeld all left Germany in time, but tragically his daughter Hedwig Blumenfeld Kaufman has no living descendants since her son Albert had no children and her daughter Anna and her husband and their two children were wiped out by the Nazis. How cruel is fate that allowed some to escape and others to face a brutal death.

UPDATE: I received an email today (1/5/22) from the daughter of Paul Blumenfeld. I learned from her that Albert Kaufmann did have a daughter named Inge and that Inge had two sons. So Albert Kaufmann, and thus his mother Hedwig Blumenfeld Kaufmann, do have living descendants!

 


  1. Bella Blumenfeld and children, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02676; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 31-2115, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  2.  Bella Blumenfeld, [Bella Tannenbaum], Gender: Female, Race: White, Marriage Age: 42, Birth Date: Mar 1900, Birth Place: Germany, Marriage Date: 30 Aug 1942
    Marriage Place: New York, Manhattan, New York, New York, USA, Residence Street Address: 558 W. 164 St., Occupation: None, Father: Levi Tannenbaum, Mother : Rosa Tannenbaum, Spouse: Gustav Katz, Certificate Number: 17286, Current Marriage Number: 1, Witness 1: Leopold Blum, Witness 2: Herman Katz, New York City Department of Records & Information Services; New York City, New York; New York City Marriage Licenses; Borough: Manhattan; Year: 1942, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, Index to Marriage Licenses, 1908-1910, 1938-1940 
  3.  Gustav Katz, Gender: männlich (Male), Birth Date: 24 Okt 1893 (24 Oct 1893)
    Birth Place: Jesberg, Hessen (Hesse), Deutschland (Germany), Civil Registration Office: Jesberg, Father: Joseph Katz, Mother: Röschen Katz, Certificate Number: 67, Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 920; Laufende Nummer: 3824, Ancestry.com. Hesse, Germany, Births, 1851-1901 
  4. Gustav Katz, ship manifest, Year: 1939; Arrival: New York, New York, USA; Microfilm Serial: T715, 1897-1957; Line: 6; Page Number: 99, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., Arriving Passenger and Crew Lists (including Castle Garden and Ellis Island), 1820-1957 
  5. Gustav Katz, 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, Ancestry.com. New York, U.S., State and Federal Naturalization Records, 1794-1943 
  6.  Gustav Katz, Social Security Number: 087-12-5580, Birth Date: 24 Oct 1893, Issue Year: Before 1951, Issue State: New York, Death Date: Feb 1964, Social Security Administration; Washington D.C., USA; Social Security Death Index, Master File, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Death Index, 1935-2014 
  7. Death notice, The Evening Sun, Baltimore, Maryland
    17 Mar 1987, Tue • Page 51 
  8. Paul F Blumenfeld, Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 2 Feb 1932, Birth Place: Marbery [sic], Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: Jun 1986, Father:
    Ernst Blumenfeld, Mother: Bella Tannenbaum, SSN: 105247709, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  9. Edith S Blumenfeld, Birth Date: 27 Mar 1933, Address: 2413 Sugarcone Rd, Residence: Baltimore, MD, Postal Code: 21209-1033, Ancestry.com. U.S., Public Records Index, 1950-1993, Volume 1. The Baltimore Sun; Publication Date: 8/ Nov/ 1959; Publication Place: Baltimore, Maryland, USA; URL: https://www.newspapers.com/image/375160159/?article=b20a5477-efc0-41f3-948f-67ae9c33effd&focus=0.28432477,0.12329582,0.3987464,0.16311908&xid=3398,
    Ancestry.com. U.S., Newspapers.com Marriage Index, 1800s-current. Obituary,The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore, Maryland, 12 Apr 2014, Sat • Page A16 
  10. Lore Blumenfeld, Gender: Female, Marriage License Date: 18 Feb 1947, Marriage License Place: Manhattan, New York City, New York, USA, Spouse:
    Manfred E Oppenheim, License Number: 5280, New York City Municipal Archives; New York, New York; Borough: Manhattan; Volume Number: 8, Ancestry.com. New York, New York, U.S., Marriage License Indexes, 1907-2018. 
  11. Manfried Oppenheim, [Manfrede Fred Oppenheim], Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 12 Jun 1920, Birth Place: Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 31 Mar 1992, Father: Hermann Oppenheim, Mother: Emma Lehrberger, SSN: 130128175, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  12. Manfried Oppenheim, Petition Age: 23, Birth Date: 12 Jun 1920, Birth Place: Kassel, Germany, Record Type: Naturalization Petition, Arrival Date: 12 Mar 1938, Arrival Place: New York, New York, Petition Date: 18 Dec 1943, Petition Place: Birmingham, Jefferson, Alabama, USA, Petition Number: 5477, National Archives and Records Administration; Washington D.c.; ARC Title: Petitions For Naturalization, Compiled 1909 – 1991; NAI: 4522188; Record Group Title: Records of District Courts of the United States; Record Group Number: 21, Ancestry.com. Alabama, U.S., Naturalization Records, 1888-1991. Oppenheim family, 1940 US census, Year: 1940; Census Place: New York, New York, New York; Roll: m-t0627-02674; Page: 64B; Enumeration District: 31-2035, Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census 
  13. Manfred F. Oppenheim, National Archives at College Park; College Park, Maryland, USA; Electronic Army Serial Number Merged File, 1938-1946; NAID: 1263923; Record Group Title: Records of the National Archives and Records Administration, 1789-ca. 2007; Record Group: 64; Box Number: 14938; Reel: 5, Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Army Enlistment Records, 1938-1946 
  14. Lore Gertrude Blumenfeld, Gender: Female, Race: White, Birth Date: 13 Mar 1927, Birth Place: Marburg, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 14 Nov 1991
    Father: Ernest Blumenfeld, Mother: Bella Tannenbaum, SSN: 132142097, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  15. See Note 11, above. 
  16. Frank Martin Blumenfeld, Gender: Male, Marriage Date: 16 Dec 1956, Marriage Place: Harris, Texas, USA, Spouse: Rita Rae Nelkin, Document Number:  216758, Harris County Clerk’s Office; Houston, Texas; Harris County, Texas, Marriage Records,
    Ancestry.com. Texas, U.S., Select County Marriage Records, 1837-1965 
  17. Frank Martin Blumenfeld, Gender: Male, Race: White, Birth Date: 21 Mar 1929
    Birth Place: Marburg, Federal Republic of Germany, Death Date: 22 Mar 2002, Father:
    Ernest Blumenfeld, Mother: Bella Kannenbaum, SSN: 120204479, Ancestry.com. U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 
  18. Obituary, Houston Chronicle on Mar. 24, 2002, found at https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/houstonchronicle/name/frank-blumenfeld-obituary?id=10274095 

Another Update from Another Cousin! The Story of Karl Gutmann

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

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

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

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

Karl Gutmann Courtesy of the family

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

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

Moritz Gutmann Courtesy of the family

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

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

Karl Gutman and friend Courtesy of the family

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

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

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

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

Karl Gutmann, c. 1945 Courtesy of the family

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

Hedwig Goldschmidt Gutmann  Courtesy of the family

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

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

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

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