The Adopted Son: Who Was He?

As I move closer to closure on the family of Levi Schoenthal and Henriette Hamberg, my great-great-grandparents[1], I want to ask for your help regarding a mystery involving a boy I believe was part of Henriette’s family, the Hambergs. I need to know if my thinking about him makes sense.

His name was Samuel Hamberg (spelled Hamburg here), and in 1880 he was twelve years old and living in Washington, Pennsylvania, as the adopted son of my great-great-uncle Henry Schoenthal and Helene Lilienfeld.

Henry Schoenthal and family 1880 census Year: 1880; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1202; Family History Film: 1255202; Page: 596A; Enumeration District: 271

Henry Schoenthal and family 1880 census
Year: 1880; Census Place: Washington, Washington, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1202; Family History Film: 1255202; Page: 596A; Enumeration District: 271

 

Who was he? Was he part of my great-great-grandmother’s family?  According to the 1880 census, Samuel was born in 1868 in South Carolina.  Henry Schoenthal, the first of Henriette Hamberg’s children to emigrate from Germany, hadn’t arrived until 1866, two years before Samuel was born.  Henry settled in Pennsylvania.  How would a boy born in a state so far away two years after Henry arrived  in the US have ended up with Henry unless there was a family connection?  The surname Hamberg couldn’t just be a coincidence, could it?

His first name also seemed unlikely to be a coincidence.  Henriette’s father was Moses Hamberg, my three-times great-grandfather.  Moses had a younger brother named Samuel, my four-times great-uncle. Young Samuel could have been named for him.  The name similarities added to my hunch that this Samuel Hamberg was in some way related to my great-great-grandmother and the other Hambergs from Breuna.  I had to figure this one out.

I was able to locate a two year old boy named Samuel Hamberg on the 1870 census living in Columbia, South Carolina, in the household of a Charles Hamberg, age 46, and a Tenah Hamberg, age 21.  Given the birth place, name, and age of the boy, I felt it quite likely that this was the same boy who ten years later was living with Henry Schoenthal in Pennsylvania.  Unfortunately, the 1870 census did not include information describing the relationships among those in a household, but I assumed that Charles and Tenah were the father and mother of little Samuel.  If so, who were they?

Charles Hamberg household 1870 US census Year: 1870; Census Place: Columbia, Richland, South Carolina; Roll: M593_1507; Page: 140B; Image: 287; Family History Library Film: 553006

Charles Hamberg household 1870 US census
Year: 1870; Census Place: Columbia, Richland, South Carolina; Roll: M593_1507; Page: 140B; Image: 287; Family History Library Film: 553006

According to the 1870 census, Charles was born in Prussia 46 (or is it a 40?) years earlier or in 1824 or so. (Breuna was within the boundaries of Prussia from 1866 until the German Federation was created in 1871.)  Charles was working as a “ret gro” merchant, which I interpret to mean a retail grocery merchant. Tenah was born in South Carolina as was Samuel.

I was able to trace Charles back ten more years to the 1860 census, where he was also living in Columbia, South Carolina, but married not to Tenah but a woman named Mary.  According to the 1860 census, Charles was then 28, so born in 1832; according to this census, he was born in Germany and working as a merchant.  Mary was a North Carolina native and 27 years old.

Charles Hamberg and household 1860 US census Year: 1860; Census Place: Columbia, Richland, South Carolina; Roll: M653_1227; Page: 26; Image: 57; Family History Library Film: 805227

Charles Hamberg and household 1860 US census
Year: 1860; Census Place: Columbia, Richland, South Carolina; Roll: M653_1227; Page: 26; Image: 57; Family History Library Film: 805227

I then discovered a marriage record for Charles Hamberg and Mary Hanchey reporting their marriage in 1853 in New Hanover, North Carolina.

Charles Hamberg and Mary Hanchey marriage record 1853 Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015. Original data: North Carolina County Registers of Deeds. Microfilm. Record Group 048. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC.

Charles Hamberg and Mary Hanchey marriage record 1853
Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.
Original data: North Carolina County Registers of Deeds. Microfilm. Record Group 048. North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh, NC.

But that was the earliest record I could find for Charles Hamberg.  And I still didn’t know whether he was related to the Hambergs of Breuna, my great-great-grandmother’s family.

Fortunately for me, others, including the noted genealogist Hans-Peter Klein, had already done extensive research of the Hamberg family tree. You can find it here.[2]  There was no Charles Hamberg listed in the records in Breuna.  But there were other men in the family with the surname Hamberg who would have been about the same age as Charles Hamberg.  I had to find out whether any of them came to the United States and perhaps changed his name to Charles.

Moses Hamberg, my 3x-great-grandfather, had five sons:

Juda, who died in Breuna in 1863;

Seligmann, who died in Breuna in 1897;

Salomon, who married and had several children in the 1850s in Breuna (no death record has been located;

Marcus, who died in Breuna in 1846;

And finally, Abraham, born in Breuna in 1828 and for whom there was no marriage or death record in Breuna.

Of Moses Hamberg’s five sons, the only one who might have emigrated by 1853 was Abraham.

As for the sons of Samuel Hamberg, brother of Moses, there were three sons:

another Juda, who died in Breuna in 1863;

Baruch, born in 1824 and for whom there was no marriage or death record;

And Moses, born in 1829 and for whom there was also no marriage or death record in Breuna.

So it was possible that Baruch and/or Moses had emigrated.

The three Hamberg men from Breuna who could have immigrated to the US by 1853 were thus Abraham, Baruch, and Moses: no one named Charles.  All three of those Hamberg men were close in age to the Charles Hamberg in Columbia, South Carolina.  All were born between 1824 and 1829.  But had any of them actually immigrated to the United States? I decided to search for them on ship manifests and other US records and found that all three did in fact leave Germany for the United States before 1853.

Moses Hamberg arrived in New York from Breuna in August, 1846, when he was seventeen, according to the ship manifest.  This is clearly Moses, the son of Samuel Hamberg, who was born in 1829 and thus would have been 17 in 1846.  Moses was a shoemaker, according to the manifest.

Year: 1846; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 063; Line: 1; List Number: 680

Year: 1846; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 063; Line: 1; List Number: 680

Baruch and his first cousin Abraham arrived in New York together in September 1852.  According to the ship manifest, they were coming from Breuna, and both were 24 years old, meaning they were born in about 1828.  My great-great-grandmother’s brother Abraham was born in 1828; according to Breuna records, Baruch was born in 1824.

Despite the disparity in the ages between the Baruch on the manifest and the Baruch born in Breuna, I believe that the two men on this manifest were in fact Abraham Hamberg, son of Moses Hamberg, and Baruch Hamberg, son of Samuel Hamberg.  The ship manifest reports that their destination in the US was “Sevanna,” which I assume meant Savannah, Georgia.

Year: 1852; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 119; Line: 1; List Number: 1321

Year: 1852; Arrival: New York, New York; Microfilm Serial: M237, 1820-1897; Microfilm Roll: Roll 119; Line: 1; List Number: 1321

 

So did any of these three young men become Charles Hamberg of Columbia, South Carolina?  And if so, which one? Since Abraham and Baruch were headed to a city in the South whereas Moses indicated that New York was his intended destination, my inclination was to focus on Abraham and Baruch as the ones more likely to have become Charles Hamberg.[3]

Searching for further records for Abraham Hamberg led me to the sad discovery that he died not too long after arriving in the US.  He died in Savannah, Georgia, his intended destination, on August 26, 1854, of yellow fever and was buried in that city.  He was my great-great-grandmother Henriette’s younger brother.  He was only 26 years old.

Abraham Hamberg death record 1854 Ancestry.com. Savannah, Georgia, Select Board of Health and Health Department Records, 1824-1864, 1887-1896 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors. Original data: City of Savannah, Georgia. Savannah, Georgia, Select Board of Health and Health Department Records, 1822–1864, 1887–1896. Subseries 5600HE-050 and 5600HA-010. Microfilm, 27 reels. City of Savannah, Research Library & Municipal Archives, Savannah, Georgia

Abraham Hamberg death record 1854
Ancestry.com. Savannah, Georgia, Select Board of Health and Health Department Records, 1824-1864, 1887-1896 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors.
Original data: City of Savannah, Georgia. Savannah, Georgia, Select Board of Health and Health Department Records, 1822–1864, 1887–1896. Subseries 5600HE-050 and 5600HA-010. Microfilm, 27 reels. City of Savannah, Research Library & Municipal Archives, Savannah, Georgia

Abraham Hamberg burial record Ancestry.com. Savannah, Georgia, Cemetery and Burial Records, 1852-1939 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. Original data: Savannah Georgia Cemetery and Burial Records. Savannah, Georgia: Research Library & Municipal Archives City of Savannah, Georgia.

Abraham Hamberg burial record
Ancestry.com. Savannah, Georgia, Cemetery and Burial Records, 1852-1939 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012.
Original data: Savannah Georgia Cemetery and Burial Records. Savannah, Georgia: Research Library & Municipal Archives City of Savannah, Georgia.

So what then happened to his cousin Baruch Hamberg? Had he made it to Savannah?

My guess is that somewhere along the way from New York to Savannah, Baruch and Abraham stopped in New Hanover, North Carolina, where Baruch met and married his first wife Mary Hanchey in 1853.  And by then, he had dropped the Hebrew name Baruch and adopted the much more American name Charles.  In fact, his full name was Charles B. Hamberg.  Perhaps that B was for Baruch.

What else supports this conclusion that Baruch Hamberg became Charles Hamberg? Recall that Baruch Hamberg was the son of Samuel Hamberg of Breuna.  And what did Charles Hamberg name his son born in 1868? Samuel.

If I am right, then Charles/Baruch Hamberg was Henriette Hamberg Schoenthal’s first cousin; their fathers Samuel and Moses were brothers.  Charles’ son Samuel was therefore a second cousin to Henriette’s son Henry Schoenthal, the man who had adopted him by 1880.

So does my analysis make sense?  Did Baruch Hamberg become Charles Hamberg?

And if so, why was his son Samuel living with and adopted by Henry Schoenthal in 1880? That question will be addressed in a later post.

 

 

 

[1] And while I wait to talk with my third cousin Betty, who is also their great-great-granddaughter.

[2] I wrote a little bit about the Hambergs of Breuna, Germany here when I described the remarkable story of how I learned that my fifth cousin Rob and I shared not only some DNA,  but had lived at one point just a few miles from each other, and, even more remarkably, were both close friends with the same couple.  We had a lovely dinner back in December hosted by Rob and his wife Ann where all of us—our mutual friends included—had a great evening.  I remain amazed by what a small world it is.   Rob and I are both the four-times great-grandchildren of Jeudah ben Moses, the father of Moses Hamberg and Samuel Hamberg.  Rob is descended from Samuel; I am descended from Moses.

[3] I will follow up on Moses Hamberg in a later post.

Another Delightful Conversation: My Cousin Maxine

I love it when a cousin finds me.  Usually I am the one searching for them, hoping they will be interested and open to sharing their family histories with me.  So when a cousin finds my blog, it is a delightful experience—I know they are interested, and there is none of the awkwardness of trying to explain who I am and that I am not a scammer trying to get money from them or steal their identity.

I’ve had that great pleasure again recently when my third cousin Maxine found my blog and left a comment about her connection to me and her family.  Maxine is the daughter of Hattie Arnold and Martin Schulherr, about whom I wrote here.  Maxine’s grandparents were Jennie Stern and Max Arnold, and her great-grandmother was Hannah Schoenthal Stern.  Hannah was my great-grandfather Isidore Schoenthal’s older sister.  Thus, Maxine and I are both the great-great-granddaughters of Levi Schoenthal and Henriette Hamberg.  We are third cousins.

Relationship Amy to Maxine Schulherr

 

Maxine was born and raised in the Pittsburgh area and has lived there all her life.  We had a wonderful phone conversation and have exchanged many emails since.  Maxine knew many of the cousins about whom I’ve written, including Lee and Meyer Schoenthal, Erna and Werner Haas, and the members of the extended Oestreicher family.  She was able to bring to life many of these people, who thus far had been mostly names and dates and occupations to me.

Her grandmother Jennie lived with Maxine and her parents for a number of years, and Maxine even shared a room with her grandmother during that time.  She knew her well, and so I was hoping that Maxine would have stories about Jennie’s youth.  Jennie came to the United States from Germany in the 1880s with her mother Hannah when she was thirteen years old, and I was interested in hearing any stories about Jennie’s life in Germany or about her experiences as a teenager settling in western Pennsylvania.  But as with so many immigrants, Jennie did not talk about the past.  Maxine said she never heard her grandmother talk about Germany or about her early days in the US.

But she did have some old photographs of Jennie with two other women whom we both assume are Jennie’s two sisters, Sarah (on the left) and Edith (on the right). (All photos in this post are courtesy of my cousin Maxine.)

Jennie Stern Arnold, center, and perhaps Sarah Stern Ostreicher on the right and Edith Stern Good on the right

Jennie Stern Arnold, center, and perhaps Sarah Stern Ostreicher on the left and Edith Stern Good on the right

Stern sisters

Stern sisters

 

Maxine then told me about her grandmother Jennie’s life as an adult in Pennsylvania.  Jennie married Max Arnold, who had originally owned a dairy called Sweet Home Dairy. (Maxine was named for her grandfather Max.)  It was the first dairy to deliver milk to homes in the Pittsburgh area, according to Maxine.  Max had to close the dairy when he had trouble hiring reliable men to come and milk his cows, and he then went into the meat business, as I wrote about here.   Max eventually he retired and his son Sylvan ran the business when Maxine was a child.  Max, Jr., helped his brother Sylvan doing deliveries, but after having several accidents he moved on to other endeavors.

Sylvan closed the meat market when he enlisted in the army during World War II.  He would not have been drafted, given his age, but according to Maxine, Sylvan was looking to get away as his marriage was failing.  He and his first wife Ada divorced, and Sylvan remarried while in the service and stationed in Arkansas.  Based on Maxine’s information, I found a marriage record for Sylvan Arnold and Gladys Evans dated June 20, 1945, in Saline, Arkansas.  He and his second wife Gladys later moved to California, and the family in Pittsburgh never met her.

Here is a photo of Jennie and Max with their first child, Jerome, who was born in 1897.

Jennie Stern Arnold, Jerome Arnold, and Max Arnold, Sr. c. 1897

Jennie Stern Arnold, Jerome Arnold, and Max Arnold, Sr. c. 1897

Jennie and Max had five children, and Maxine had this wonderful picture that she believes is of those five:

Children of Jennie Stern Arnold: Hattie, unknown, top; Jerome, possibly Max, Jr., and Bernice, center row, and Sylvan, foreground at bottom, c. 1912

Children of Jennie Stern Arnold: Hattie, unknown, top; Jerome, possibly Max, Jr., and Bernice, center row; and Sylvan, foreground at bottom, c. 1913

Maxine’s mother Hattie is the girl in the light dress on top next to an unknown girl.  Her uncle Jerome is on the left and her aunt Bernice on the right in the middle row, and her uncle Sylvan is the boy on the ground in the front.

The little boy on the swing might be Max, Junior, but the age seems off, so I’m not sure. Since Jerome looks to be no more than sixteen here, I think this photo is probably dated no later than 1913.  In 1913, Jerome was 16, Hattie 14, Bernice 12, and Sylvan 10, and that does seem to line up with what I think are the maximum ages of the children in the photograph. I actually think they look even younger than those ages.  What do you all think? Are the children older than that?

So if the photo was taken in 1913, Max, Jr. would have been two years old.  Does the little boy on the swing look to be only two years old?  I think he looks at least three or four.  What you think?

From Maxine, I also learned more about the lives of Maxine’s mother Hattie and Hattie’s four siblings. Hattie was very proud to be one of the first women to learn to drive in Pittsburgh.  She was sixteen, and her father brought home a car that he couldn’t drive, but somehow Hattie and her brother Jerome learned to drive it.

Hattie’s sister Bernice was married twice, first to Julius Averback, whom she later divorced.  Maxine was very fond of Julius and recalled that he had taken her to the circus where he bought her a pet chameleon. Maxine told me, “The circus sold chameleons in little boxes with a string around their necks and a  safety pin at the end of the string so you could pin it on your clothes!!”  Even though he was divorced from Bernice at the time, Julius sent Maxine eighteen roses for her eighteenth birthday. Bernice’s second husband was Abe Sultanov.  Bernice did not have children with either husband.

All three of Hattie’s brothers worked in the meat business initially, but Max, Jr. later branched out into the movie theater business, living in Morgantown, West Virginia for some time before returning to the Pittsburgh area where he owned another theater in Verona and then worked in the furniture business with his brother-in-law Abe, Bernice’s second husband.  Later on, Max, Jr. owned a drive-in theater in the Pittsburgh area known as the Maple Drive-In.

According to Maxine, her grandmother Jennie as well as Jennie’s older sister Sarah Stern Oestreicher converted to Christian Science at some point in their adult lives. Maxine recalled going to church services with her grandmother.  But Martin and Hattie remained Jewish, and Maxine was confirmed at Rodef Shalom synagogue in 1944, the same synagogue where her mother had been confirmed about thirty years earlier.

Maxine was married to Alan Stein in August, 1948.  She generously shared with me these pictures from her wedding day:

Hattie Martin Maxine Alan Henrietta Stein Alan's mother

Hattie Arnold Schulherr, Martin Schulherr, Maxine Schulherr Stein, Alan Stein, Henrietta Stein (Alan’s mother)

Hattie Arnold Schulherr, Max Arnold, Jr., and Bernice Arnold Averbach Sultanov

Hattie Arnold Schulherr, Max Arnold, Jr., and Bernice Arnold Averbach Sultanov

Hattie Martin Ceil RIchard Lou Ann daughter of Jerome and ELlen, Maxine, Max. Bernice and Ellen

Hattie Arnold Schulherr, Martin Schulherr, Richard Arnold (son of Max, Jr.), Cecilia Lefkowitz Arnold, Lou Ann Arnold (daughter of Jerome Arnold), Maxine Schulherr Stein, Max Arnold, Jr., Bernice Arnold Averbach Sultanov, and Ellen Schwabrow Arnold

In addition to her grandparents, parents, and aunts and uncles, Maxine also knew our mutual cousins Lee and Meyer Schoenthal quite well, and she was able to answer one of my lingering questions about Lee.  When I wrote about Lee’s draft registration for World War II, I’d been puzzled by the person he’d named as the one who would always know his address, a woman named Mary Reinbold.

Lee Schoenthal World War II draft registration The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II draft cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Pennsylvania; State Headquarters: Pennsylvania; Microfilm Series: M1951; Microfilm Roll: 278

Lee Schoenthal World War II draft registration
The National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; World War II draft cards (Fourth Registration) for the State of Pennsylvania; State Headquarters: Pennsylvania; Microfilm Series: M1951; Microfilm Roll: 278

 

Maxine shared with me that Mary Reinbold was Lee’s girlfriend for many years.  They were together a long time but never married because Mary was Catholic and Lee was Jewish.  Maxine recalled that Lee and Mary regularly came to her parents’ home for Sunday dinners.  She remembers them both very fondly.  She said Lee was a successful tailor who sold made-to-order men’s suits; her father Martin owned suits he purchased from Lee.  Lee’s shop was in the basement of building on E. Beau Street in Washington, Pennsylvania.

He must have done quite well, as Maxine told me, “Lee always drove a Lasalle car which in it’s day was in the Cadillac or more expensive class.  And he belonged to a club in  Washington, called the “Arms Club” although he never went hunting.  It was a bar, some tables, slot machines, a dance floor, and other games of chance.” Maxine said that Lee always brought her mother candy that he won at the club.   Her father Martin was also a member of the club, and Maxine visited there as well.  She told me, “I liked to pull the handle on the slot machine and watch the coins come out!!  And Daddy would stand beside me and hand me the quarters.  (I never had to spend my allowance, which then was probably one dollar a week.)”  I just love the images that this anecdote evokes.

Here are some photographs Maxine shared of Lee, Meyer, Mary, her mother Hattie, and herself as a twelve year old, taken in about 1940.

Lee Schoenthal, c. 1940

Lee Schoenthal, c. 1940

Mary Reinbold and Lee Schoenthal, c. 1940

Mary Reinbold and Lee Schoenthal, c. 1940

Mary Reinbold, Meyer Schoenthal, Hattie Arnold Schulherr, and Maxine Schulherr, c. 1940

Mary Reinbold, Meyer Schoenthal, Hattie Arnold Schulherr, and Maxine Schulherr, c. 1940

It’s just wonderful to be able to see the faces that go with the names.

Maxine also remembers Lee and Meyer’s sister Erna Haas and her son Werner, but does not remember Lee and Meyer’s other sister, Johanna, the one who survived the Gurs internment camp in France and came to the US with her husband in 1947.  Since Johanna outlived Lee and Meyer and also lived in Pittsburgh, I was surprised that Maxine had no recollection of meeting her nor any awareness of this fourth sibling.  Perhaps Johanna’s suffering during the war had made her less able to interact with the extended family.

Maxine also knew members of the Oestreicher family, that is, the family of Sarah Stern and Gustav Oestreicher.  Sarah was her grandmother Jennie’s older sister, as discussed here and here.  Maxine knew Sarah’s son Sidney and his children, Gerald, Betty, and Elaine very well.  She said that Elaine had lived with her family for a while in the 1940s when Sidney and his wife Esther moved to New York and Elaine wanted to finish the school year in Pittsburgh.  But Maxine didn’t know what had happened to Elaine or the rest of the family after that and was curious to learn more about her long-lost second cousins.

I told her I would see what else I could find as I also had not yet been able to learn much about the Oestreicher family after about 1940.  With a few clues from Maxine, I was able to find those long-lost Oestreicher cousins.  I will report on what I’ve learned in a later post after I’ve had a chance to speak with my other third cousins, Betty and Elaine.

 

Passover 2016: The Exodus

In many ways Jewish history is about one exodus after another.  The Jewish story begins when God tells Abra(ha)m, “Lech Lecha,”  or “Go, Go out.”  He instructs him to leave his father’s land and go to a new land where his children would be as numerous as the stars.

There are many journeys throughout the Bible—Noah’s journey, Jacob’s journey, Joseph’s journey, and, of course, the exodus from Egypt led by Moses, which is recalled and re-enacted every year on Passover.

This Friday evening we will once again remember and re-enact that journey.  We will read the story of the Exodus.  We will drink wine, recline like free people, and eat matza to remember that our ancestors had no time to wait for the dough to rise before exiting from Egypt.  We will eat the bitter herbs to remember the bitterness of slavery, and we will eat the charoset—a mixture of apples, nuts, and wine—to embrace the sweetness of freedom from slavery.

English: Passover Seder Table, Jewish holidays...

English: Passover Seder Table, Jewish holidays עברית: שולחן הסדר, Original Image Name:סדר פסח, Location:חיפה (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


But that exodus was not the last journey our people took to freedom.  Over the centuries Jews kept moving from one land to another, either having been expelled or deciding on their own to seek freedom from oppression, violence, and hatred.  They moved to Babylonia, to Spain, to eastern Europe, to Germany, to places all over the globe, including eventually to the Americas.

I have spent much of the year since last Passover studying the journeys of my paternal relatives from Sielen, Germany—my father’s maternal grandfather’s family, the Schoenthals.  Although I still have a few more stories to share about my Schoenthal cousins, now that I have written about all the children of Levi Schoenthal and Henriette Hamberg, I want to spend this Passover looking back over the story of this particular family.

Levi and Henriette Schoenthal had ten children who survived to adulthood, all born in Sielen, Germany.  Of those ten, eight settled permanently in the US, and all but one of those eight started their lives in America in western Pennsylvania—either in Pittsburgh or the town thirty miles away, known as Little Washington.  Henry, the oldest son, arrived first in 1866, and by 1881, eight of the siblings were living in the US.  Henry over the years was a book seller and a china dealer, but underneath was a deeply religious and well-educated man.

His youngest brother was my great-grandfather Isidore, who arrived in 1881, also settled in Washington, and also worked as a china dealer.

Isidore Schoenthal

Isidore Schoenthal

In between Henry and Isidore were four other brothers in the US plus two sisters.  Over the years almost all of them prospered.  Some moved away from western Pennsylvania.  Simon ended up in Atlantic City, where he and his wife raised nine children, many of whom ended up in the hotel business there; Felix and his wife and two daughters ended up in Boston, where he became successful in the typewriter repair business. Julius lived in Washington, DC, worked as a shoemaker and had four children.  Nathan lived in many different places.  And even Isidore and Henry eventually left Pennsylvania, Isidore for Colorado and Henry for New York.  The two sisters, Hannah and Amalie, stayed in Pittsburgh for most of their lives.  Both were married and had children.

Felix and Margaret Schoenthal from 1919 passport application, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925; Roll #: 728; Volume #: Roll 0728 - Certificates: 70500-70749, 19 Mar 1919-20 Mar 1919

Felix and Margaret Schoenthal from 1919 passport application,
National Archives and Records Administration (NARA); Washington D.C.; NARA Series: Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 – March 31, 1925; Roll #: 728; Volume #: Roll 0728 – Certificates: 70500-70749, 19 Mar 1919-20 Mar 1919

 

Simon Schoenthal, my great-great-uncle

Simon Schoenthal, my great-great-uncle

 

The next generations wandered even further afield, although many ended up not too far from where their parents had originally settled.  My grandmother, who was born in Washington, PA, and grew up in Denver, spent her whole adult life in Philadelphia and New Jersey.

My Grandma Eva

My Grandmother Eva Schoenthal Cohen

Martin Schoenthal, Gertrude Sch., Hettie Sch Blanche Walter

Walter Schoenthal, Gertrude Schoenthal, Hettie Schoenthal, Blanche Stein and Walter Stein in Arizona

 

Arthur Schoenthal promoted 1942-page-003

 

Washington Evening Star, September 14, 1928, p. 9

Washington Evening Star, September 14, 1928, p. 9

 

 

Washington Star, December 2, 1928 p. 64

Washington Star, December 2, 1928 p. 64

Washington Evening Star, February 18, 1963, p. 24

Washington Evening Star, February 18, 1963, p. 24

 

Overall, the Schoenthals in the US prospered; most were successful business owners.  Most of these people appeared to have full and happy lives, although there were some who struggled.  Today there are numerous living descendants of those eight siblings, myself included.

On the other hand, the two siblings who stayed in Germany did not have as happy a legacy.  Jakob died young, and his daughter Henriette was killed in the Holocaust.  His four other children survived and, like their aunts and uncles, ended up in western Pennsylvania. Lee, Meyer, and Erna came before the war.  But Johanna was deported to a camp in Gurs, France, during the war and did not come until 1947.   From these five children, there were just two grandchildren: Helmut Levi, son of Henriette and Julius Levi, and Werner Haas, Erna’s son.  Both grandsons made it to the US before World War II.  Neither had children, however, so there are no living descendants of Jakob Schoenthal and his wife Charlotte Lilienthal.

Jewish Chronicle of Pittsburgh, June 14, 1984, p. 23 ewish+Chronicle+Vol.+23+No.+18 Formed+by+the+union+of:+Jewish+criterion+;++and:+American+Jewish+outlook. http://doi.library.cmu.edu/10.1184/pmc/CHR/CHR_1984_023_018_06141984

Jewish Chronicle of Pittsburgh, June 14, 1984, p. 23
ewish+Chronicle+Vol.+23+No.+18
Formed+by+the+union+of:+Jewish+criterion+;++and:+American+Jewish+outlook.
http://doi.library.cmu.edu/10.1184/pmc/CHR/CHR_1984_023_018_06141984

 

And finally Rosalie, the youngest child of Levi and Henriette, after living in the US for a few years made the fateful decision to return to Germany to marry Willy Heymann.  They had six children.  Four survived the Holocaust.  The three sons, Lionel, Max, and Walter, settled in Chicago before the war, where Lionel became a well-regarded photographer.   One daughter, Johanna, who was widowed at a young age, followed her stepdaughter Else Mosbach to Sao Paulo, Brazil, to escape the Nazis.

The other two daughters, Helene and Hilda, were murdered in the Holocaust as were Helene’s two daughters, Liesel and Grete.  From Rosalie’s six children, only one grandchild survived, the son of Max Heymann.  I am still hoping to find him.

Stolperstein for Julius Mosbach and family

The Schoenthal story illustrates how one fateful decision can alter the future irrevocably. One decision to take a chance and leave what you know—to listen to the call of Lech Lecha, to venture out to a new land—can make all the difference.  By taking a chance that the sweet charoset of that new land would outweigh the bitterness of leaving a land they knew, my great-grandfather and seven of his siblings changed their own fates and those of their descendants.

What if Jakob and Rosalie had left Germany when their siblings did?

And what if the other eight siblings had never left at all?  This story would have a very different ending.

In fact, it never would have been written.

 

Blog Update: The Mystery of Baby Rose Schoenthal of Atlantic City

Before I move on from the Schoenthal family line, I have a few updates to write about, including some newly discovered cousins and some wonderful photos.  But first an update to one mystery.   Unfortunately an update but not a solution.

Remember the mystery of Baby Rose Schoenthal, the daughter of Jacob Schoenthal and Florence Truempy? She had appeared on the 1930 census as a fifteen month old child living with her parents in Atlantic City.

Jacob Schoenthal and family 1930 US census Year: 1930; Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: 1308; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0003; Image: 129.0; FHL microfilm: 2341043

Jacob Schoenthal and family 1930 US census
Year: 1930; Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: 1308; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 0003; Image: 129.0; FHL microfilm: 2341043

Then she disappears.  She does not appear on the 1940 census with her parents or elsewhere as far as I can tell, and there is no death record for her in either New Jersey or Pennsylvania, no obituary for her, no news articles that mention her.  Nothing at all.

Jacob Schoenthal and family 1940 census Year: 1940; Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: T627_2300; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 1-9

Jacob Schoenthal and family 1940 census
Year: 1940; Census Place: Atlantic City, Atlantic, New Jersey; Roll: T627_2300; Page: 9A; Enumeration District: 1-9

And she wasn’t buried with her parents.  Nor was she buried with her grandparents.  She just seemed to disappear.

Many people gave me suggestions on where else to look.  Some people thought Rose had been given up for adoption or sent to live elsewhere or institutionalized.  Others thought she was just omitted from the 1940 census and that she might have married and changed her name sometime later.  But I haven’t found any records with her birth name or her parents’ names to link her to a different name, whether she was adopted, institutionalized, or married.

Someone suggested I see if Rose was mentioned in Florence or Jacob’s will or obituary.  I wrote to the Atlantic City public library and asked them to do an obituary search.  Neither obituary mentioned a child.

Atlantic CIty Press July 5, 1967 p 5

Atlantic CIty Press July 5, 1967 p 5

 

Atlantic City Press February 18, 1976 p 16

Atlantic City Press February 18, 1976 p 16

 

Then I searched the online land records for Atlantic County, and found a record for a May, 1976 transfer of land owned by Jacob Schoenthal.  The transfer had been handled by the executrix of Jacob’s estate, who was not his daughter Rose, but his sister, Hettie Schoenthal Stein.   That meant that Jacob had had a will.

 

Deed of Jacob Schoenthal s land in Atlantic City-page-001

 

Deed of Jacob Schoenthal s land in Atlantic City-page-002

Transfer of Deed of Land Belonging to Jacob Schoenthal

 

 

I decided to request a copy of his will from the Atlantic County Surrogate’s Court.  That will, seen below though not easily read as reproduced, named the following people as his heirs at law and next of kin: his sister Hettie Schoenthal Stein, his sister Estella Schoenthal Klein, and his brother Sidney Schoenthal.  According to the will, there were no other surviving heirs or next of kin.  There was no mention of Rose or any other child.  (All of Jacob’s other siblings and his wife Florence had already died as of the time of his death in February, 1976.)

Jacob Schoenthal will Jacob will p 2

jacob will p 3

jacob will 4

 

Thus, Jacob’s daughter Rose either was no longer alive at the time of his death or she had been given up for adoption and thus was no longer his legal kin.  Unfortunately, I don’t know which is the case.  Next step is to check for adoption records.  I’ve contacted the appropriate office and am waiting to see if I am even eligible to request such records.  I frankly think it’s a real long shot, and I think this will remain one of those unsolved mysteries.

But I remain open to other suggestions.

 

In Memory of Murray Leonard: May 4, 1922-March 27, 2016

Murray Leonard

Murray Leonard

My second cousin Richard Leonard contacted me to let me know that his father, Murray Leonard (born Murray Leonard Goldschlager) had passed away on March 27, 2016, in Tucson, Arizona.  Murray was my mother’s first cousin.  He was the son of David Goldschlager, my grandfather’s younger brother, and Rebecca Schwarz.  He was named for his grandfather, my great-grandfather Moritz Lieb Goldschlager, and shared the same Hebrew name with his first cousin, my uncle Maurice Goldschlager.

I never had the chance to meet Murray, but I know from Richard how well loved he was.  With Richard’s permission, I am quoting from Murray’s obituary and Richard’s own personal tribute:

Murray Leonard, 93, of Tucson, Arizona, passed away peacefully on March 27th 2016. He was born in Scranton, Pennsylvania on May 4th 1922.

Murray grew up in The Bronx, following all the NY Yankee greats.

David Rebecca Sidney and Murray at Brighton Beach

Murray, Sidney, Rebecca and David Goldschlager at Brighton Beach

David and Murray Goldschlager

David and Murray Leonard Goldschlager

 

When World War Two broke out he answered his country’s call to duty as a PFC in the US Army (83rd Reconnaissance Troup, 83rd Division), participating in the Battle of the Bulge, sustaining injuries and was awarded a Purple Heart.

Ancestry.com. U.S., WWII Jewish Servicemen Cards, 1942-1947 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc. Original data: Alphabetical Master Cards, 1942–1947; Series VI, Card Files—Bureau of War Records, Master Index Cards, 1943–1947; National Jewish Welfare Board, Bureau of War Records, 1940–1969; I-52; boxes 273–362. New York, New York: American Jewish Historical Society, Center for Jewish History.

Ancestry.com. U.S., WWII Jewish Servicemen Cards, 1942-1947 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.
Original data: Alphabetical Master Cards, 1942–1947; Series VI, Card Files—Bureau of War Records, Master Index Cards, 1943–1947; National Jewish Welfare Board, Bureau of War Records, 1940–1969; I-52; boxes 273–362. New York, New York: American Jewish Historical Society, Center for Jewish History.

After getting married to the love of his life Edna in 1958, he moved to Tucson, Arizona to pursue a career in the mail-order and retail women’s clothing business with his wife at Old Pueblo Traders and the Vicki Wayne retail stores, retiring at the age of 78.   

He was a keen golfer and enjoyed playing with his buddies as part of the ‘Grumpy Old Men” golfing group, playing until he was 87. He also enjoyed playing the US stock market/investing mostly on his own, including reading the Wall Street Journal every day.

Murray_Leonard_Lacey_Busby_Hadwin_Layla_Hadwin_11_JAN_2014

Murray Leonard

 

He is survived by a son, Richard (Stephanie) and loving wife of 57 years, Edna Leonard. He was preceded in death by his brother Sidney Goldschlager (Nora) of Rumson, New Jersey and parents, David and Rebecca Goldschlager, who immigrated to the US [from] Iași, Romania. He is also lovingly remembered by all his nieces and nephews as fun-loving “Uncle Mursh”, who would do anything for a laugh.

Richard wrote:

He was a fantastic father, patriotic American and overall great guy. He heeded his country’s call to duty fighting in WWII, seeing combat action in the Battle of the Bulge (getting wounded and was awarded a Purple Heart). A successful businessman retiring at the age of 78, he also was a keen golfer, playing until he was 87. He will be certainly missed but the great memories will always remain! Time to toast him with a Tanqueray & Tonic, his favorite drink!

I will be sure to have that Tanqueray & Tonic in his memory and will think of my cousin Murray, the son of Romanian immigrants who grew up to live the life his parents must have dreamed for him: a long and happy marriage and a loving son, a successful business, and dedicated service to the country that his parents had adopted as their own when coming here as young adults in the early 20th century.

May his memory be for a blessing, and may his family be comforted by their memories.

Murray Leonard older

 

More Names to Remember and Never Forget

As I move towards closure on my Schoenthal family history, this post has been the hardest one to write.  It is a tragic chapter in that history.

As I’ve already written, four of the six children of my great-great-aunt Rosalie Schoenthal and her husband Willy Heymann left Germany before they could be killed by the Nazis. The three sons went to Chicago, and the oldest daughter Johanna went to Sao Paulo. They all survived.  The other two daughters were not so lucky.

The second oldest daughter, Helene, was born in Geldern in November 9, 1890, a year after Johanna.  She married Julius Mosbach, who was the younger brother of Johanna’s first husband, Hermann Mosbach.  After marrying, Julius and Helene were living in Iserlohn, a town about 80 miles east of Geldern.  According to an article written in 2000 by the archivist of Iserlohn, Gotz Bettge, Julius and Helene Mosbach owned a fruit and vegetable business in the town square in Iserlohn.  They had two daughters: Liesel, who was born March 8, 1921, and Gretel, born October 26, 1926.

 

Iserlohn By No machine-readable author provided. Asio otus assumed (based on copyright claims). [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Iserlohn
By No machine-readable author provided. Asio otus assumed (based on copyright claims). [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/) or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5-2.0-1.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons


On December 18, 1939, Liesel married Ernst Georg Lion. From the incredibly moving autobiography written by Ernst Lion entitled The Fountain at the Crossroads and available online here, I was able to learn a great deal about his life and also about the lives of Julius, Helene, and their daughters.  All the information and quotes below are from his book unless otherwise indicated.  (Special thanks to Dorothee Lottmann-Kaeseler for sending me some of the additional links and information.)

Ernst was born December 15, 1915, in Brambauer, the son of Leo Lion and Bertha Weinberg Lion.  When Ernst was a very young child, his father Leo was badly injured while serving in the German army during World War I.   Leo Lion considered himself a German patriot.

Ernst grew up as the only Jewish child in Brambauer during the hard years of the Weimar Republic, but his childhood was overall quite happy. Then Hitler came to power, and his life was forever changed.  The Nazis tried to impose a boycott on his father’s business by having a Gestapo member stand in the doorway and take photographs of those who patronized his store.  Ernst’s father insisted that the man leave, even threatening to beat him up.  He did not think the Nazis would be in power for very long.  But then when the Nuremberg laws were enacted in 1935, the family had to sell their home and their store for less than their value and move to Dortmund.

Many members of the extended Lion/Weinberg family left Germany around that time, but Ernst had difficulty getting the necessary visas and permits to go elsewhere even though he had an affidavit of support from a cousin in New York.  Then on November 9, 1938, Ernst was one of thousands of German Jews who were arrested and sent to Buchenwald in the aftermath of Kristallnacht.  In his autobiography he described in graphic detail his experiences there.  It’s horrifying.

Ernst was released a few weeks later and told to leave the country within three weeks.  All the Jewish businesses were now closed, and he was forced to work on street repairs while waiting to emigrate.

 

Buchenwald Watch Tower undesarchiv, Bild 183-1983-0825-303 / CC-BY-SA 3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

Buchenwald Watch Tower
undesarchiv, Bild 183-1983-0825-303 / CC-BY-SA 3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons


But then he met Liesel Mosbach in Iserlohn.  He was introduced by his Aunt Selma who lived there, and they immediately took a liking for each other.  At that time Liesel’s family was living in the apartment above their former business, which had been confiscated by the Nazis.  Julius Mosbach had suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of the harassment by the Nazis and the loss of his business, and he was doing very poorly.

Ernst moved to Iserlohn in 1939, where his aunt was able to help him get a job at a metal working company owned by a family that was unsympathetic to the Nazi government and its policies; the owners even provided Ernst with extra food to supplement the very restrictive allotments allowed to the Jews by the Nazis.

When the Nazis then imposed travel restrictions and required Jews to wear the yellow Star of David, Ernst was no longer able to get to Dortmund to visit his parents.  His mother died shortly thereafter, having given up on life, according to his father; Ernst was not even allowed to go to her funeral.

Yellow badge Star of David called "Judens...

Yellow badge Star of David called “Judenstern”. Part of the exhibition in the Jewish Museum Westphalia, Dorsten, Germany. The wording is the German word for Jew (Jude), written in mock-Hebrew script. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

On December 18, 1939, Ernst and Liesel were married.  As Ernst wrote, although they had no idea what the future would bring, “The secret of maintaining one’s sanity under those conditions is to live as normal a life as one can.” (p. 18)   Unfortunately, that became more and more difficult to do.  Conditions for the Jews continued to worsen, and there was less food available.  People were beginning to hear about Jews being arrested and sent away.

In January, 1941, Julius Masbach was admitted to a mental hospital and died shortly thereafter.  Ernst wrote (p.15):

We soon discovered that we should have opposed the doctor’s decision [to hospitalize Julius], for the Nazis had decided that all institutionalized, so-called “insane” persons no longer had the right to live and had become a burden to society.  They were led into sheds equipped with gasoline engines, which were installed in reverse fashion: the exhaust escaped to the inside of the building.  After they were asphyxiated, the bodies were burned and the ashes delivered to the surviving families.  No one realized that this activity was the rehearsal for later mass destruction of humans.

On April 28, 1942, Helene Heymann Mosbach, my grandmother’s first cousin, and her daughter Gretel, just sixteen years old, were arrested and sent to Zamosc, near Lublin, Poland.  They were never heard from again.  Ernst’s father Leo Lion was also arrested around this time, and Ernst never heard from him again either.

To add to this heartbreaking account, Helene’s sister Hilda, the youngest of the six children of Rosalie Schoenthal and Willy Heymann, was also killed by the Nazis.  Although she is not mentioned in Ernst Lion’s autobiography or on the website memorializing the Mosbach family, according to Yad Vashem, Hilda also had been living in Iserlohn before being sent Zamosc where her sister Helene and niece Gretel had been deported.   I assume that Hilda had moved to Iserlohn to live with her sister Helene after both her mother Rosalie (1937) and her father Willy (1939) had died.

I had not heard of Zamosc before, and my friend Dorothee Lottmann-Kaeseler sent me this link that reveals the absolutely horrifying story of this place.  There are no records of what happened specifically to Helene, Gretel, and Hilda, but it is possible that they were killed in Zamosc itself or deported to the death camp at Majdanek or Belzec or Sobibor, where they were killed.

 

Crematoria at Majdanek death camp near Lublin, Poland Deutsche Fotothek‎ [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)], via Wikimedia Commons

Crematoria at Majdanek death camp near Lublin, Poland
Deutsche Fotothek‎ [CC BY-SA 3.0 de (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/de/deed.en)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

On February 26, 1943, Ernst and Liesel received orders to report to a school in Dortmund with just one suitcase each.  There were about a thousand people at the school that night, and everyone was forced to sleep on the floor. Ernst wrote, “They took our wedding bands and watches, telling us that we would not need them where we were going.” (p. 19)

The next morning they were put on a freight train (pp.19-20):

I found myself inside such a freight car among a hundred men, women and children.  The doors were locked; there were no windows to look through.  This precaution would keep us from recognizing our route or destination.  A few buckets for relief, no food or water.  This should be a short ride, I mused.

… Liesel was shoved on this train with me.  At least we were together.  Just twenty-three, she was a thin, wiry lady, strong and energetic.  Her dark eyes expressed the will to endure.  I was twenty-four.  Where was our future?

Although they were told they were being taken to a safe place for resettlement, Ernst was skeptical, as he had good reason to be.  They were being taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau.  When they arrived, they were told to leave their suitcases on the train; then they stepped onto the platform surrounded by SS guards and prisoners in striped uniforms who were helping with the unloading.

Then the men and women were separated.

Ernst wrote, “All the women were led away.  My wife looked at me for one last time before she disappeared.  It was dark now, and I saw her walk away like a shadow.”

He never saw her again.  Liesel Mosbach Lion, my father’s second cousin, was murdered at Auschwitz.

 

English: Aushwitz I crematoria memorial

English: Aushwitz I crematoria memorial (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

I consider the entire family to be victims of the Holocaust: Rosalie, Willy, Helene, Julius, Liesel, Gretel, and Hilda as well as Leo and Bertha Lion.

 

Stolperstein for Julius Mosbach and family

 

Ernst Lion, however, survived.  The story of how he survived is remarkable.  It’s a tale of incredible courage, strength, persistence, and luck. It’s also a horrifying, nightmarish account of how cruel human beings can be to one another.  You should all read it.  I cannot do it justice in a blog post.  You must read it.  Again, you can find it here.  Please read it.

I am so grateful that Ernst, Liesel’s husband, survived and recorded his story and their story for us all to read.  We must never forget.

 

 

A New Look

You may have noticed a new look when you clicked on the blog.  I have changed the “theme” to a new one for a few technical reasons.  I think this is a little easier to read, but if not, let me know.  The links should be more visible now.  The font is a little larger.cropped-100_0357.jpg

But the main reason I changed it was that my old theme did not have a feature I wanted—the ability to select a particular image to use as the thumbnail when I post the link to another site such as Facebook.  I am hoping this will now work.  This one is a test so I am inserting some random images and then selecting one to be the
“featured” image so I can see if it works when I post the link to the blog.

Sepia Remy and Nate kissing

Please let me know what you think of the new look.

Walk In New York - NYC Vintage - Lower East Side

Bessie Brotman

Bessie Brotman

My Cousin in Sao Paulo

In an earlier post I mentioned that I had been fortunate to have several German sources of information about Rosalie Schoenthal Heymann, her husband Willy, and their six children, three sons, Lionel, Walter, and Max, and three daughters, Johanna, Helene, and Hilda.  I’ve already posted about the lives of the three sons. This post and the next will tell about the lives of the three daughters.

The death notice for one of those sons, Lionel, mentioned a sister named Henny Mosbach Rothschild; his full obituary mentioned an unnamed sister living in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

 

Ancestry.com. Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003 [database on-line].

Ancestry.com. Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003 [database on-line].

Ancestry.com. Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003 [database on-line].

Ancestry.com. Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003 [database on-line].

 

From the Steinheim site, I knew that the second-born child of Rosalie (Schoenthal) and Willy Heymann was their daughter Johanna; that site reported that Johanna was born in 1889, married someone named Mosbach, and died in Brazil.  From the Juden in der Geschichte des Gelderlandes book, I learned that Johanna’s husband was Hermann Mosbach, a merchant in Ratingen, and that they had married on April 8, 1915.

 

page 370 for blog

Bernhard Keuck and Gerd Halmanns, eds., Juden in der Geschichte des Gelderlandes, p. 370

Thus, I assumed that the sister mentioned in the obituary and the one named in the death notice were one and the same: Johanna (“Henny”) Schoenthal, who had married a man named Hermann Mosbach and who had ended up in Brazil.  But I didn’t know anything about what had happened in between: Why had she gone to Brazil, not Chicago where her three brothers were living? When had she gotten there? What had happened to Hermann Mosbach? And who was the apparent second husband named Rothschild?

I did not find anything helpful on Ancestry, but on FamilySearch.org, I found two records from Brazil. The first was a record for a widow (“viuva”), Johanna Mosbach, born February 27, 1889, in Geldern, Germany, daughter of Willy Heymann and Rosalie Schoenthal.  She was being admitted to Brazil as a permanent resident.  The card was dated February 18, 1939, and indicated that she had arrived at the Porto de Santos on the ship Monte Sarmento.

 

Brasil, São Paulo, Cartões de Imigração, 1902-1980," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKD5-RQ52 : accessed 31 March 2016), Joana Mosbach Rothschild, 1939; citing Immigration, São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil, certificate 544986, registration 20634, Arquivo Público do Estado de São Paulo (São Paulo State Public Archives, São Paulo).

Brasil, São Paulo, Cartões de Imigração, 1902-1980,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKD5-RQ52 : accessed 31 March 2016), Joana Mosbach Rothschild, 1939; citing Immigration, São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil, certificate 544986, registration 20634, Arquivo Público do Estado de São Paulo (São Paulo State Public Archives, São Paulo).

 

The second record I found for Johanna through FamilySearch’s Brazil database was not dated, but was presumably some years later.  Her name is now recorded as Joana Mosbach Rothschild, same birth date as above, and she is now “casada” or married.  She was apparently still an alien as this was a card issued by the public security secretary for registration of foreigners or “estrangeiros.”

 

Brasil, São Paulo, Cartões de Imigração, 1902-1980," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKJG-XR67 : accessed 31 March 2016), Joana Mosbach, 1939; citing Immigration, São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil, certificate 20634, registration 544986, Arquivo Público do Estado de São Paulo (São Paulo State Public Archives, São Paulo).

Brasil, São Paulo, Cartões de Imigração, 1902-1980,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QKJG-XR67 : accessed 31 March 2016), Joana Mosbach, 1939; citing Immigration, São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil, certificate 20634, registration 544986, Arquivo Público do Estado de São Paulo (São Paulo State Public Archives, São Paulo).

 

But that was as far as I could get without more assistance, so I sent an inquiry to a woman named Anita on the JewishGen Family Finder, who listed Mosbach as one of her family names.  I also wrote to three of the JewishGen listservs, including one for Latin America.  Once again, the genealogy village came through and provided me with helpful suggestions and ultimately many answers.

First, Anita from the JewishGen Family Finder sent me three links that provided more information about Johanna and her first husband Hermann Mosbach.  All pertained to the Jewish community in Ratingen, Germany, before World War II.  From these three sources, I learned that Johanna was Hermann Mosbach’s second wife and that he’d had a daughter named Else with his first wife.  Hermann was born on July 18, 1877, and died on October 30, 1931, in Ratingen, when he was 54 years old.  Here is a photograph of Hermann, standing far right.

 

 

(Caption under photograph says, “Hermann Mosbach, owner of the “Rheinische department store C. Schmidt & Co.”, was a member of the Catholic Mercantile Association (CISO). In the picture he is seen at an event of the club in the second row on the right. (1928).”

These sources also indicated that Hermann’s daughter Else had immigrated to Brazil in 1936 and that Johanna also had left Ratingen by 1936.  Three years later she arrived in Brazil, presumably to be with her stepdaughter Else.  That might explain why she did not go to Chicago to be with her brothers.

I was curious as to why Else and then Johanna would have selected Brazil as their new home.  Was there a Jewish community there? Why Sao Paulo?

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, Sao Paulo had a long history of being a city that welcomed immigrants, receiving over three millions immigrants from all over the world before 1940.  Jewish immigrants began to arrive in the late 19th century, but Jewish immigration really surged in the 1920s as immigration obstacles in the US and Canada made those less likely destinations for Jews leaving Europe.  Sao Paulo, however, welcomed these immigrants, and during the 1920s, synagogues, Jewish schools, cemeteries, and other institutions were created to serve the growing Jewish population.  After Hitler came to power in 1933, there was another large influx of Jewish immigrants to Sao Paulo.  Thus, it made sense that Else Mosbach and her stepmother, Johanna Heymann Mosbach, would have settled there.

English: aerial photograph of Sao Paulo Brazil...

English: aerial photograph of Sao Paulo Brazil 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Neither Anita nor I could find any information about what happened to Johanna or her stepdaughter Else once they got to Brazil.

Fortunately, I then heard from Sandra through the LatinAmSig on JewishGen; she was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil; her family had also immigrated there to escape Nazi Germany.  Sandra was incredibly generous and had asked her mother to see if she could find any information about Johanna or Else; she then sent me three links to additional online sources, including links to two newspaper articles regarding Else Mosbach Simon’s successful application to become a citizen of Brazil in 1950.

From those articles, I learned that Else was born on February 8, 1905, to Hermann and Selma Mosbach.  Thus, Else had been only ten years old when Johanna married her father in 1915, further explaining why Johanna would have moved to Sao Paulo—to be closer to the child she had helped to raise.  Else had married someone with the surname Simon by 1950, but unfortunately, I’ve not yet found out more information about her.

Sandra also gave me a link to the Arquivo Historico Judaico Brasileiro and suggested I contact the synagogues and Jewish cemeteries in Sao Paulo.  She then translated into Portuguese an email I drafted and sent it to a person she knew at the synagogue when I had trouble trying to contact them directly through their website.  From these sources, I learned that Johanna had died on September 11, 1971, and was buried at the Buntantan cemetery in Sao Paulo.  She was 82 years old.

 

By Dornicke (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Synagogue Beth El in Sao Paulo By Dornicke (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

The pieces were starting to come together, except that I still had no information about Johanna’s presumed second husband named Rothschild.  Then someone sent me (I apologize for failing to note who that was) this marriage announcement in the September 29, 1957 issue of the O Estado de Sao Paulo (p. 12) for someone named Hans Joseph Schmitz, described as the son of Ferdinand Rothschild and Johanna Mosbach Rothschild:

 

 

Could this be my Johanna? Could she have remarried and had a son born sometime after 1939 who was now marrying—although he could be no more than 18 years old?  That seemed unlikely, but now at least I had a first name to use for her presumed second husband.

I found a tree on Ancestry that included Ferdinand Rothschild and contacted the tree’s owner, Rainer.  He informed me that Ferdinand Rothschild had married Johanna Heymann on April 9, 1955, when Johanna was already 66 years old and Ferdinand was 67.  Ferdinand had been previously married to Grete or Gretchen Schmitz, Rainer’s great-aunt, who had died in Brazil on April 29, 1939.  Hans was her son.  He died on April 5, 1970, according to these death notices from the April 7, 1970, issue of O Estado de Sao Paulo, p. 35:

 

Hans Schmitz death notice April 7, 1970 O Estado de Sao Paulo Hans schmitz second death notice same paper p 35 same as other april 1970 o estado

 

Rainer also sent me Ferdinand’s death record.  He had died on December 31, 1958, while on a visit to Germany  and was buried in Dusseldorf, Germany, not in Sao Paulo where Johanna was living.  At the bottom of that record you can see a reference to the marriage date for Ferdinand and Johanna.

 

Ferdinand Rothschild death certificate

Ferdinand Rothschild death certificate

 

Johanna and Ferdinand had been married only three years when he died; he was seventy years old.  Johanna would outlive her second husband by another thirteen years, dying, as noted above, on September 11, 1971, in Sao Paulo.  Like her brothers Lionel and Walter, Johanna left no descendants behind, except for her stepdaughter Else Mosbach Simon and her stepson Hans Joseph Schmitz.

Once again, I am very grateful to all those who helped me put together these pieces of my cousin Johanna Heymann Mosbach Rothschild’s life, including my new cousins-by-marriage, Rainer and Anita, and especially Sandra, without whom I’d never have been able to learn where and when Johanna died and was buried.

That leaves me with the two remaining daughters of Rosalie Schoenthal and Willy Heymann: Helene and Hilda.

 

 

 

 

Quick Update on Lionel Heymann

In my last post, I discussed how I was puzzled to learn that Lionel Heymann had been a well-regarded photographer, but had listed his occupation as a waiter on the census records for 1930 and 1940.  Well, now I have found an explanation.

In the course of looking for a print of one of Lionel’s photographs to purchase (which I’ve not yet been able to locate), I found this bit of information about Lionel online, quoting from the catalog of  the Sixteenth Detroit International Salon of Photography, Photographic Society of Detroit, Detroit Institute of Arts, 1947.

“Started photography as a hobby by joining Fort Dearborn Camera Club in Chicago in 1928. Started professionally January 1945, and conducts a portrait studio in Blackstone Hotel. Conducts a weekly photographic class on portrait and paper negative process. Associated professionally with a photographer in Detroit, 1937-38.”

This explains so much.  First, it explains what Lionel was doing in Detroit when his brother Walter arrived from Germany.  Second, it explains why Lionel did not list photography as his occupation on the 1930 or 1940 census or on his World War II draft registration.  He did not become a professional photographer until 1945.

Lionel Heymann: His Other Life

In my earlier post, I wrote about the three sons of my great-great-aunt Rosalie Schoenthal and her husband Willy Heymann:  Lionel, Walter, and Max.  All three had left Germany and settled in Chicago by 1939.

The oldest brother, Lionel, had arrived first in the 1920s and had consistently reported on passenger manifests and census records that he worked as a hotel waiter.  So I was quite surprised when I found this obituary written when Lionel died in November, 1966:

 

Ancestry.com. Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003 [database on-line].

Chicago Tribune, December 2, 1966, Ancestry.com. Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003 [database on-line].

According to the obituary, Lionel Heymann had had a long and distinguished career as a photographer.  The obituary states that he had retired in 1964 after 40 years as a photographer in Chicago, including 25 years as the photographer at the Blackstone Hotel.  That is, although Lionel consistently listed his occupation as a waiter on various government forms, if the obituary is for the same man, he had been working as a photographer since 1924—in other words, since his very earliest days in Chicago.

But was this in fact the same Lionel Heymann?  The name and age and residence in Chicago certainly made it seem so, but there were no named survivors in the obituary, just an unnamed sister living in Brazil.  Could this be my cousin?

I then found a death notice for Lionel Heymann on the same date in the same paper that contained further information about his surviving family:

 

Ancestry.com. Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003 [database on-line].

Chicago Tribune, December 2, 1966, Ancestry.com. Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage, & Death Announcements, 1851-2003 [database on-line].

This obviously was my cousin, whose two sisters-in-law were named Frieda and Lucy (or Lucie).  He was in fact the photographer described in the first obituary.

And he was not just a hotel photographer taking snapshots of guests. When I Googled his name and “photographer,” a number of links popped up, listing Lionel as an artist whose works are still being  auctioned by various art houses, online and elsewhere.  Lionel also wrote articles about photography and lectured frequently about the art of portrait photography. His works include portraits, nudes, architectural works, and highly stylized artistic photographs.

Here are two examples of the work done by Lionel Heymann; see the links above for others:

"The Shell", photograph by Lionel Heymann, April 1932 Camera Craft Magazine, accessed at http://s3.amazonaws.com/everystockphoto/fspid30/72/22/91/5/vintage-photograph-cameracraft-7222915-o.jpg

“The Shell”, photograph by Lionel Heymann, April 1932 Camera Craft Magazine, accessed at http://s3.amazonaws.com/everystockphoto/fspid30/72/22/91/5/vintage-photograph-cameracraft-7222915-o.jpg

 

Photograph by Lionel Heymann of Robert Maynard Hutchins, University of Chicago president (1929-1945) and chancellor (1945-1951), with team members of the Manhattan Project, the program established by the United States government to build the atomic bomb. Standing, from left: Mr. Hutchins, Walter H. Zinn, and Sumner Pike; seated: Farrington Daniels, and Enrico Fermi. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, [apf digital item number, e.g., apf12345], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library. accessed at http://photoarchive.lib.uchicago.edu/db.xqy?one=apf1-05063.xml

Photograph by Lionel Heymann of Robert Maynard Hutchins, University of Chicago president (1929-1945) and chancellor (1945-1951), with team members of the Manhattan Project, the program established by the United States government to build the atomic bomb. Standing, from left: Mr. Hutchins, Walter H. Zinn, and Sumner Pike; seated: Farrington Daniels, and Enrico Fermi. University of Chicago Photographic Archive, [apf digital item number, e.g., apf12345], Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library. accessed at http://photoarchive.lib.uchicago.edu/db.xqy?one=apf1-05063.xml

 

Why hadn’t Lionel claimed on the census records and World War II draft registration that he was a photographer? Why wouldn’t he have wanted to reveal that information?  Was it just an avocation, not his livelihood?  Did that change after the 1940s?

UPDATE:  In the course of looking for a print of one of Lionel’s photographs to purchase (which I’ve not yet been able to locate), I found this bit of information about Lionel online, quoting from the catalog of  the Sixteenth Detroit International Salon of Photography, Photographic Society of Detroit, Detroit Institute of Arts, 1947.

“Started photography as a hobby by joining Fort Dearborn Camera Club in Chicago in 1928. Started professionally January 1945, and conducts a portrait studio in Blackstone Hotel. Conducts a weekly photographic class on portrait and paper negative process. Associated professionally with a photographer in Detroit, 1937-38.”

This explains so much.  First, it explains what Lionel was doing in Detroit when his brother Walter arrived in 1938.  Second, it explains why Lionel did not list photography as his occupation on the 1930 or 1940 census or on his World War II draft registration.

The obituary and death notice not only revealed that Lionel was a well-known photographer, but also provided more clues about his family.   First, who was this sister in the death notice named Henny Mosbach Rothschild? And was she the one described as living in Brazil in the obituary? And second, who was the nephew named Robert Heyman?

Since only one of Lionel’s brothers had had a child, I assume that this had to be Klaus Heymann, the son of Lionel’s brother Max. Unfortunately, I’ve not been able to yet find out more about Klaus Heymann/Robert Heyman, but I have requested the military records of a Klaus Robert Heymann from the national archives and hope that those records will relate to my cousin.  If so, I will provide an update.

As for the sister named Henny Mosbach Rothschild, I will address her in my next post.