The Deportations from Thüringen: September 1942 to Theresienstadt Ghetto

On 6 June 1943, in the letter shown above, the Thüringen Office for Racial Issues in Weimar wrote Dr. Fritz Schorcht, the mayor of Themar, as follows:IMG_5344

Please provide us with information about Max Müller and his wife Frieda Müller, née Freudenberger, who lived in Themar, as to whether they were they full Jews or Mischlinge and if yes, which grade. The couple moved to Weimar on the 14.09.1942 but have not registered with the police here. We assume they were deported to the East. [Translation of letter in image above. Max and Frieda Müller are at right.]

Schorcht’s reply is not to be found in the Themar City Archives, but one can assume that he replied with brevity: “Yes, they were deported.”

On 19 September 1942, Max and Frieda Müller were deported with eight other Jews to Theresienstadt Ghetto: Meta Krakauer, née Frankenberg; her sister-in-law, Klara Frankenberg, née Bauer; Hugo and Klara Grünbaum, née Schloss; Max and Frieda Muller, née Freudenberger, and Markus and Else Rosenberg, née Kahn. Their departure from the town was noted in the normal manner in the City Register (above/Ordner 109 in the City Archives) and they each paid an administrative fee of 20 pfennig.

The group was initially transported to Weimar and there herded into a train with 357 other Jews of Thüringen. Other family members, identified on the map below, joined the transport at this point.

On 20 September 1942, they set off for Theresienstadt; 520 Jews joined the transport in Leipzig. The deportation train, which now included a total of 23 members of Themar’s Jewish families, stopped in 
Bauschowitz as the ghetto itself did not have a train station until the summer of 1943. The prisoners had to walk the three-kilometer 
stretch to the ghetto on foot and under guard.

Between 26 June 1942 and February 1945, 67 Jews connected to the families of Themar were transported to Theresienstadt Ghetto  from various other places in occupied Europe: Germany, Czechoslovakia, and Holland. The first were Georg and Rudolf Gassenheimer, both born in Themar, with their wives, sisters Selma and Thekla Schwab of Berkach. The two Gassenheimer couples had left Germany for Prague in 1938 hoping to escape the Nazi terror but it had followed. The last people to be taken to Theresienstadt Ghetto were those who had been protected earlier by their position within a so-called ‘privileged’ marriage or as the children of Jewish/non-Jewish parents.  Rita Dressel of Hildburghausen, members of the family of Salomon and Karoline Müller, and her two children were ‘safe’ until August 1944, but were then sent to Theresienstadt. Gertrud Heim, Rita’s sister, also married to a non-Jew, was deported on 31 January 1945. The last of Themar’s Jews, Doris Lorenzen, née Frankenberg, b. 1898,  lost protection of her ‘privileged’ marriage in September 1944, when she was probably arrested and imprisoned in a large camp in Kassel-Bettenhausen from fall 1944 until early spring 1945. On February 14, 1945 —  just 11 weeks before the liberation — Doris, age 46, and three other Dinslaken women of Dinslaken in similar marriages were deported to Theresienstadt.


Members of Themar’s Jewish families deported from elsewhere in occupied Europe, 1942-1945. Credit: C. Davis.

Nanny Steindler, née Rindsberg, was the first of the Themar Jews to die in the ghetto — 10 days after her arrival, at the age of 88 years. By the end of 1942, 10 more had died of hunger and typhus. In 1943, another twelve (12) Themarer Jews died, among whom were Max Muller I and his wife, Frieda,
 both of whom died in November 1943.

In September 1943, the first two Themar Jews were transported to Auschwitz and nineteen (19) more followed in 1944. Five were women such as Else Rosenberg, née Kahn, who was taken to Auschwitz after the death of her husband, Markus, simply 
to be murdered there immediately rather than wait for her death in Theresienstadt.

Of the sixty-seven (67) people deported to Theresienstadt who had a  connection to Themar, nine survived: with one exception, they were all women and with two exceptions, they all remained in Germany after the war.

Fourteen-year old Walter Dressel was the male survivor; a descendant of the S. M. Müller family, he lived the rest of his life in Greifwald, where he died in 2012, age 81. Other members of his family also survived: his mother, Rita Dressel, his sister, and his aunt, Gertrud Heim.  Rita Dressel and Gertrud Heim remained in Germany, settling in the western zone.

Doris Lorenzen, the other late arrival, also survived. She took her 77-year-old aunt, Meta Krakauer, née Frankenberg, home with her to Dinslaken. Meta died there in 1955, age 87; Doris in 1970, age 74. Minna Frankenberg, née Gassenheimer, related to Doris and Meta through marriage, returned to Halle/Saale where she had lived before the war. She died there in 1961, age 73. Hulda Grossmann, née Bär, a granddaughter of Samuel & Jette Baer, died in Berlin in 1948.

Two women left Europe: Helene Gassenheimer, née Hirsch, first went to Düsseldorf to live with her daughter but then moved to California to live with one of her two sons. Hulda Grünbaum, née Schlesinger, was in Switzerland at war’s end, freed as part of a 1000-prisoner-exchange in February 1945. After the war, she kept going — with her daughter, Ilse — to Australia where her son, Kurt, had decided to settle, having been sent there as an “enemy alien” by the British in 1940.

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Stolpersteine laid in 2013 in Dinslaken for the Katz family of Martha Katz, née Frankenberg, b.1887 in Themar. Source: Stolpersteine für Dinslaken

Hulda GROSSMAN, née Bär, b. 1874 Marisfeld, d. 1948 Berlin
Anneliese REHBOCK, née Gerau, b. 1911 Hildburghausen, murdered [Auschwitz]
Adolf REHBOCK, b. 1886 Gehaus, murdered 26 March 1944 Theresienstadt
Machol Peter REHBOCK, b. 1938 Hildburghausen, murdered [Auschwitz]

Hermann FRANKENBERG, b. 1862 Marisfeld, murdered Sept 1942 Treblinka
Klara FRANKENBERG, née Bauer, b. 1863 Albingshausen, murdered 30 Dec 1942 Theresienstadt
Meta KRAKAUER, née Frankenberg, b. 1868 Marisfeld, d. 1955 Dinslaken
Martha KATZ, née Frankenberg, b. 1887 Themar, murdered [Auschwitz]
Leopold KATZ, b. 1876 Hannover, d. 02. Juli 1944 Theresienstadt
Günter Norbert KATZ, b. 1923 Dinslaken, murdered 14 March 1945 Kaufering
Doris LORENZEN, née Frankenberg, b. 1895 Themar, d. 1970 Dinslaken

Sitta LEWIN, née Friedmann, b. 1903 Themar, murdered 22 Feb 1943 Theresienstadt
Ernst LEWIN, b. 1895 Falkenburg, murdered [Auschwitz]
Joachim LEWIN, b. 1935 Falkenburg, murdered [Auschwitz]


Stolpersteine laid for the Gassenheimer family in Hildburghausen. Credit: Meen

 Minna FRANKENBERG, née Gassenheimer, b. 1872 Themar, d. 1961 Halle a. d. Saale
Nathan FRANKENBERG, b. 1863 Marisfeld, murdered 06 Dec 1942 Theresienstadt
Siegfried FRANKENBERG, b. 1895 Coburg, murdered [Auschwitz]
Hertha FRANKENBERG, née Meyer, b. 1909 Berlin, murdered [Auschwitz]
Georg GASSENHEIMER, b. 1874 Themar, murdered [Auschwitz]
Selma GASSENHEIMER, née Schwab, b.1880 Berkach, murdered [Auschwitz]
Elise NEY, née Gassenheimer, b. 1876 Themar, murdered 06 Oct 1942 Theresienstadt
Max NEY, b. 1873 Halberstadt, murdered 28 Oct 1943 Theresienstadt
Rudolf GASSENHEIMER, b. 1880 Themar, murdered [Auschwitz]
Thekla GASSENHEIMER, b. Schwab, b. 1884 Berkach, murdered [Auschwitz]
Louis GASSENHEIMER, b. 1873 Bibra, d. 21 Jan 1943 Theresienstadt
Helene GASSENHEIMER, née Hirsch, b. 1877 Schweinfurt, d. 1953 Kalifornien
Alma STEINHARDT, née Gassenheimer, b. 1877 Bibra, murdered [Auschwitz]

Bertha SECKEL, née Grünbaum, b. 1867 Walldorf, murdered 30. Nov 1942 Theresienstadt
Bertha’s inlaws:
Rosa HERZBERG, née Seckel, b. 1864 Groß Munzel, murdered 29 March 1943 Theresienstadt
Hugo SECKEL, b. 1866 Groß Munzel, murdered Sept 1942 Treblinka
Ella SECKEL, née Heinemann, b.1874 Hull/Eng, murdered Sept 1942 Treblinka

Hugo GRÜNBAUM, b. 1868 Walldorf, murdered 24 Oct 1942 Theresienstadt
Minna ROSENTHAL, née Grünbaum, b. 1872 Themar, murdered. 01 June 1943 Theresienstadt
Klara GRÜNBAUM, née Schloss, b. 1873 Schwanfeld, murdered 25 Nov 1942 Theresienstadt
Ludwig Schloss, b. 1867 Schwanfeld, murdered 13 May 1943 Theresienstadt  [Klara Grünbaum’s brother]
Lina Schloss, b. Neubürger 1873 Ellingen, murdered 08 Dec 1942 Theresienstadt  [Klara Grünbaum’s sister-in-law]
Frieda Dottenheimer, née Reinhardt, b. 1889 Gerolzhofen, murdered 29 Jan 1943 Auschwitz [Klara Grünbaum’s niece]
Siegmund Dottenheimer, b. 1887 Gunzenhausen, murdered 1943 Auschwitz [Frieda’s husband]

Karl GRÜNBAUM, b. 1876 Themar, murdered 29 March 1943 Theresienstadt
Hulda GRÜNBAUM, née Schlesinger, b. 1876 Wasungen, d. 1963 Australia


In 1940, Kurt Grünbaum was sent to Australia from England, deemed an ‘enemy alien’. He listed his father as next of kin. Karl Grünbaum, b. in Themar, was murdered in Theresienstadt, but Hulda Grünbaum survived. After the war, Hulda and Ilse, Kurt’s sister, joined Kurt in Australia. Source: NAA: MP1103/1, E39644

Isaak KAHN, b. 1870 Marisfeld, d. 22 Dec 1942 Theresienstadt
Jacob KAHN, b. 1868 Marisfeld, d. 28 June 1943 Theresienstadt
Hulda KAHN, née Adler, b. 1875 Bremke, d. 18 June 1943 Theresienstadt
Else ROSENBERG, née Kahn, b. 1888 Themar, murdered [Auschwitz]
Markus ROSENBERG, b. 1886 Lichenroth, murdered 17 July 1943 Theresienstadt
Rosa LILIENFELD, née Kahn, b. 1906 Marisfeld, murdered [Auschwitz]
Hans LILIENFELD, b. 1930 Neustadt, murdered [Auschwitz]
Walter LILIENFELD, b. 1935 Neustadt, murdered [Auschwitz]

Rita DRESSEL, née. Walther, b. 1903 Hildburghausen, d. Frankfurt am Main
Walter DRESSEL, b. 1931 Hildburghausen, d. 2012 Greifswald
___ DRESSEL, b. Hildburghausen, survivor
Gertrud HEIM, née Walther, b. 1888 Hildburghausen, survivor
Max MÜLLER, b. 1873 Themar, murdered 26 Nov 1943 Theresienstadt
Frieda MÜLLER, née Freudenberger, b. 1874 Neustadt, murdered 06 Nov 1943 Theresienstadt
Ana Nanny STEINDLER, née Rindsberg, b.1854 Uehlfeld, murdered 17 Sept 1942 Theresienstadt
Emma NEUHAUS, née Steindler, b. 1887 Cham, murdered 1944 [Auschwitz]
Adolf NEUHAUS, b. 1879 Herelshausen, murdered 17 July 1943 Theresienstadt
Siegfried SCHWAGER (first cousin of Emma, Pauline, and Max Steindler), b. 1878 Cham, murdered 20  Mar 1943 Theresienstadt. 

Salomon HOFMANN, b. 1869 Marisfeld, murdered Auschwitz
Frieda HOFMANN, née Plaut, b. 1885 Schmalkalden, murdered Auschwitz  
Hedwig SACHS, née Sachs, b. 1866 Themar, murdered 09 Jan 1943 Theresienstadt
Hirschine BACHRACH, née Sachs, b. 1862 Berkach, murdered 19 Nov 1942 Theresienstadt
Rosalie FRIEDMANN, née Freudenthal, b. 1862 Tann, murdered 08 02 1943 Theresienstadt

Richard WALTHER, b. 1874 Themar, murdered 25 Dec 1942 Theresienstadt
Ida WALTHER, née Levor, b. 1881 Barchfeld, murdered [Auschwitz]

Milton WERTHEIMER, b. 1886 Themar, murdered 11 Oct 1944 Auschwitz
Rosa EDELMUTH, née Wertheimer, 1887 Themar, murdered 09 March 1944 Auschwitz
Jacob EDELMUTH, b. 1884 Beuern, murdered 09 March 1944 Auschwitz

For more detail, see this table.