Die Familie von Nathan & Malwine (geb. Frankenberg) WERTHEIMER

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Courtesy P. Wertheimer

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Courtesy P. Wertheimer

Also: Rosa (née Wertheimer) & Jakob EDELMUTH

Both Nathan Wertheimer and Malwina Frankenber were born in the same year, 1859, in the same village — Marisfeld close to Themar. Both families had roots in the village going back into the 1700s: Nathan’s grandfather was Jacob Samuel Wertheimer, b. 1768; Malwine’s grandfather was Nathan Jonas Frankenberg, b. 1770.

We do not know as yet whether Nathan and Malwine came to Themar as individuals or as a married couple. From the birthdates of their children — Julius, b. 1886, Rosa, b. 1887, and Bella, b. 1890 — we know that they were living in Themar by the mid-1880s. The address we have for them is Mangersgasse 85.

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Alfred & Heinz Wertheimer. Courtesy: P. Wertheimer

The family of five moved from Themar to Coburg in the 1900s, probably in the years around WWI. Coburg was a much larger place than Themar: in the early 1900s the city had some 20,000 citizens, including 205 Jews; by 1925, the population total was 25,000 residents, including 316 Jews. Julius established himself as a butcher in the center of the city. Nathan identified himself as a businessman dealing in property, etc.

all Wertheimers in Coburg

Coburg Adressbuch 1932.

All three children married: Julius married Käthe Meinstein, b. 1896 in Zirndorf/Bavaria, and they had two sons, Heinz, b. 1926, and Aflred, b. 1930. Rosa married Jakob Edelmuth of Beuern (near Giessen), a businessman or ‘Kaufmann’. The Edelmuths settled in Dessau in Anhalt, north of Coburg, at Franzstrasse 3-4. In 1921, Bella married a cousin, Milton Wertheimer, b. 1886 in Themar, the son of Louis and Emma (née Frankenberg) Wertheimer. They lived in Coburg, and Milton travelled frequently to other places throughout eastern Germany. Milton’s younger brother, Nathan, also lived in Coburg, with his wife Else, née Frankenberg, a Coburg-born woman.

In 1926, Malwine Wertheimer died of diabetes complications and was buried in the Jewish cemetery of Coburg. In October 1934, Nathan. age 75, moved to Dessau to live with daughter Rosa and her husband Jakob Edelmuth; Nathan died in Dessau a year later, on 18 October 1935.

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Julius-Wertheimer

As with many of the young men of Themar’s Jewish families who escaped to the States, Julius was registered by the Americans for military duty in 1942.

Some members of the Wertheimer extended family left Germany after the Nazi Regime took power. Julius Wertheimer and his family were the first to leave — in June 1936 — sponsored by an uncle, Joseph Kaltenbacher. Milton’s brother, Nathan, and his wife Else, left Germany in February 1938 for Argentina.

Others did not leave until after the Reichspogromnacht of 9/10 November 1938. But the harrowing events of that night prompted the Edelmuths and Milton Wertheimer to seek refuge in Holland. Rosa and Jacob left in February 1939 before Holland closed its doors to the inward flood of refugees; they settled in Rotterdam. Milton Wertheimer came sometime later that year and lived in Amsterdam at a variety of addresses, indicating his probably illegal status in the Netherlands.

Thus at the outbreak of WWII, only Bella remained in Germany. Since 1935, she had worked in the kitchen at ‘Hohe 30’, the boarding school for Jewish boys run by Hermann Hirsch. Whether she was hoping to move to Holland to join her husband Milton, or perhaps to flee to America sponsored by her brother Julius, we do not know. On 9 November 1938, the Jewish school where she both lived and worked was smashed, the school director was arrested and sent to Buchenwald, and the school closed. Bella left Coburg on 7 March 1939, and we find her bouncing back and forth between the towns of Marisfeld/Themar and Meiningen. When the Nazis halted emigration in October 1941, her fate was sealed. On 10 May 1942, Bella was rounded up in Meiningen and taken to Weimar and on to Belzyce Ghetto. Her fate is known as ‘verschollen‘ — ‘disappeared’. Bella was 52 years of age.

Unfortunately, emigration to Holland did not provide refuge for Bella’s husband or sister. The invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940 had more or less trapped them even though the first years of Nazi occupation were somewhat bearable. But on 15 July 1942, the deportations from the transit camp of Westerbork began and the trains went direct to Auschwitz. On 3 October 1942, Rosa and Jacob Edelmuth were rounded up in Rotterdam and taken to the transit camp of Westerbork where they remained imprisoned for six months.

On 22 April 1943, Rosa and Jakob were taken to Amsterdam and deported from there to Theresienstadt Ghetto. This was the first transport of Jews from Holland to Theresienstadt Ghetto, rather than directly to Auschwitz or Sobibor. The 286 people transported were exclusively German Jews, who were duped into believing that they were going to a retirement settlement. Milton Wertheimer, who had still living in Amsterdam, was deported on the same transport.

But the promise of a retirement home in the ghetto was a delusion: on 6 September 1943, Rosa and Jakob were transported from Theresienstadt Ghetto to Auschwitz; they were murdered on 9 March 1944. Milton remained in Theresienstadt until 9 October 1944. He was then transported to Auschwitz and murdered upon arrival. Rosa was 56 years of age, Jakob, 60, and Milton, 58.

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Coburg-Friedhof-1512

Foto: Jürgen Hanke, Kronach. Quelle: alemannia-judaica

After the war, someone set up a gravestone for Malwine in the Coburg Jewish cemetery. Curiously, it honours Bella and Milton Wertheimer, but makes no mention of Rosa or Julius. To date, we have not been able to confirm who sponsored the stone, or when and/or why. While the information about Bella’s fate is incorrect, and Milton’s incomplete, we believe it reflects what was known at that time. It has taken a long time for the transport to Belzyce Ghetto to have been identified and recognized.

anerkannt wurde.

In den USA angekommen, lebte die Familie von Julius Wertheimer in der Stadt New York. Die Familienerinnerung beschränkte sich im Wesentlichen auf Coburg, wo Heinz und Alfred geboren worden waren und aufwuchsen. Ihr Großvater väterlicherseits, Nathan, lebte vor seinem Umzug nach Dessau bis 1934 bei ihnen in Coburg, weswegen die Jungen möglicherweise selten oder nie nach Themar fuhren, um Verwandte zu besuchen. Es ist denkbar, dass sie nie von Themar gehört haben.

 Zu Jahresbeginn 2013, als eine Enkelin von Julius Wertheimer uns kontaktierte, war sie von den Informationen über Wurzeln ihrer Familie in Marisfeld / Themar überrascht. Sie schrieb:

  „Ich bin vor ein paar Wochen über diese Website gestolpert, als ich Nachforschungen über Coburg anstellte, den Geburtsort meines Vaters Henry Wertheimer. Lange Zeit hatte ich keine Ahnung davon, dass die Geschwister meines Großvaters im Konzentrationslager gestorben waren. Ich wusste nicht einmal, dass er überhaupt Geschwister hatte. Mein Vater starb 1991. Mein Onkel Alfred Wertheimer ist noch am Leben und erfreut sich mit 83 Jahren guter Gesundheit. Er kann sich nicht daran erinnern, dass sein Vater Geschwister hatte … ” Wertheimer, died in 2015.

Es war uns natürlich eine große Freude, ein Mitglied der Familie Wertheimer persönlich kennenzulernen! Pam (Mitte) reiste im gleichen Jahr noch nach Deutschland und besuchte u. a. Marisfeld und Themar. Ihr Onkel Alfred Wertheimer verstarb leider 2015.

 Über Informationen oder Fragen bezüglich der Familie von Nathan und Malwine Wertheimer (geb. Frankenberg) würden wir uns sehr freuen. Wenden Sie sich bitte an Sharon Meen @ s.meen79@gmail.com oder smeen@mail.ubc.ca.

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  Unten stehend befindet sich die Nachkommenliste mit den Daten der Familienmitglieder von Nathan und Malwine Wertheimer.

  • Nathan WERTHEIMER, geb. 18 Okt 1859 Marisfeld, 1939 nach Amsterdam, gest. 03 Aug 1942 Amsterdam
  • ∞ Malvine FRANKENBERG, geb. 19 Okt 1859 Marisfeld, gest. 02 Okt 1926 Coburg
  •      1. Julius WERTHEIMER, geb. 27 Mai 1886 Themar, 1936 nach Amerika, gest Jul 1971 NY/NY
  •      ∞ Käthe MEINSTEIN,geb. 19 Feb 1896 Zirndorf, 1936 nach Amerika, gest 12 Aug 1990  NY/NY
  •           2. Heinz WERTHEIMER, geb. 18 Mai 1926 Nürnberg, 1936 nach Amerika, gest. 03 Sep 1991 NY/NY
  •           2. Alfred WERTHEIMER, geb. 16 Nov 1929 Coburg, 1936 nach Amerika, gest 2015 NY/NY
  •      1. Rosa WERTHEIMER, geb. 07 June 1887 Themar, 1939 nach Amsterdam, ermordet 09 Mar 1944 Auschwitz
  •      ∞ Jakob EDELMUTH, geb. 14 Jan 1884 Beuern, 1939 nach Amsterdam, 09 Mar 1944 Auschwitz
  •           2. Liselotte EDELMUTH, geb. 15 Sep 1913 Halle/Saale, 952 nach Süd Afrika, gest. Süd Afrika
  •           ∞ Erwin MEDER, geb. 24 Mai 1906 Frankfurt a/Main, 1952 nach Süd Afrika, gest. Süd Afrika.
  •           2. Siebert EDELMUTH, geb. 1917, gest. 03 Sep 1981 Süd Afrika.
  • 1. Bella WERTHEIMER, geb. 17 Dec 1890 Themar, ermorde 1942-3/Belzyce Ghetto, Distrikt Lublin
  •      ∞ Milton WERTHEIMER, geb. 17 Mar 1886 Themar, 1936 nach Amsterdam, ermordet 11 Okt 1944 Auschwitz

Acknowledgments: We wish to thank
1. the family of Julius Wertheimer who have provided information, documentation, and the images of Stadtarchiv Coburg records.
2. Dr. Bernd Ulbrich of Dessau and the Stolpersteine initiative of Dessau.
3. Ms. S. Rodriguez Pereira, a volunteer at the Dutch Digital Monument, for providing the information about Milton Wertheimer in Amsterdam.

Sources:
Alemannia-judaica Friedhof, Coburg.
Ancestry.com. U.S., World War II Draft Registration Cards, 1942 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.
Deutsches Bundesarchiv, Gedenkbuch.
Gedenkkultur Dessau-Rosslau.
Stadtarchiv Coburg. Registerblatt für das Wohnungsregister Coburg.
Werkstatt Gedenkkultur. STOLPERSTEINE für Dessau-Roßlau Ein Beitrag zur lokalen Gedenkkultur. Dessau, 2008.