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The Family of Hugo u. Klara (née Schloß) Grünbaum

The Family of Noah Grünbaum
The Family of Bertha (née Grünbaum) and Jakoby Seckel
The Family of Minna (née Grünbaum) and Samuel Rosenthal
The Family of Karl and Hulda (née Schlesinger) Grünbaum
List of Descendants: Heinrich u. Ida (née Schmalbach) Schloss
List of Descendants: Noah Grünbaum
Stolpersteine for family of Hugo and Klara Grünbaum

Hugo Grünbaum lived about 70 years-1871/2 to 1942-in Themar. His family, as a child of Noah Grünbaum, was one of the most important families for the Jewish community in Themar.

Hugo was born in Walldorf/Werra in 1868, the son of Noah and Minna (née Friedmann) Grünbaum. He moved with his parents to Themar sometime before 1872, as his sister Minna was born in Themar in 1872. When his father remarried, Hugo had a stepbrother, Karl, born in 1876.

At first Hugo lived with his parents and siblings at Hintertorstrasse 170 where Noah founded a haberdashery store. Later Noah moved his store and family closer to the railroad station to Bahnhofstraße 150.

In 1897 Hugo Grünbaum and Klara Schloß were married; Klara was one of eleven children of Heinrich (Hohna) & Ida (née Schmalbach) Schloß from Schwanfeld. In the Jewish register Themar the following is written:

“Hugo Grünbaum merchant son of the merchant Noa Grünbaum and his deceased wife Minna geb Friedmann, 29 years old, and Klara geb Schloß daughter of the merchant Heinrich Schloß and his wife Ida geb Schmalbach to Schwanfeld 24 years old.”

Source: Jewish Community Themar, Matriculation 1820-1938

They lived in Bernhardt Street where two children were born; the first in 1901 was stillborn, the second, Mira, was born on 17 Mar 1903.

Hugo’s father Noah died on 29 Jan 1901. Exactly what happened to the N.H. Grünbaum department store in the early 20th century has yet to be determined. Normally, the eldest son, in this case Hugo, would have inherited the family business. However, on October 14, 1901, Hugo Grünbaum registered a cut goods business under his own name. Stepbrother Karl, who was 29 years old at the time, and his wife Hulda continued to run the N.H. Grünbaum department store together.

Source: State Archives of Thuringia in Meiningen.

Four years later, when Hugo’s cousin, Bertha (née Grünbaum) and her husband, Jakoby Seckel, moved away from Themar, Hugo took over the Seckel store.

On May 1, 1905, Hugo announced the “business relocation and opening” of the store under his name and the move from Marktplatz to Bahnhofstraße 143, almost directly across from the N. H. Grünbaum department store.

Newspaper for Themar, 1 May 1905, Municipal Archives Themar

Source: Newspaper for Themar, June 1905. City Archive Themar

Source: Newspaper for Themar, 1916. City Archive Themar

In 1912, Karl Grünbaum sold his business to Markus Rosenberg and one year later moved to Erfurt with his wife Hulda. Thus, in 1914, there was only one Grünbaum family in Themar – Hugo and Klara Grünbaum with their two daughters, Mira, born in 1903, and Else, born in 1905.

Like most German Jews, Hugo and Klara were somewhat excited by the outbreak of the war. When they announced the birth of their son Hans on February 12, 1916, they chose very patriotic words for the announcement.

1933-1942: In the Third Reich

When the National Socialists took power in January 1933, Hugo and Klara Grünbaum reacted like most German Jewish families. They worried first about the safety of their children and then about their own safety. “Security” at that point meant leaving Germany and either fleeing to another country in Europe, or best of all, leaving Europe altogether. Two of Hugo and Klara Grünbaum’s children were among the first Jews to leave Germany. Hans Grünbaum went to Haifa, Palestine in 1934; he became a citizen of Palestine on July 24, 1939.

Dr. Fritz Schorcht, Mayor, Themar and the Police Administration Themar, December 12, 1938. Source: Municipal Archives Themar



Mira Grünbaum left Germany in 1936. She married Arno Sommer (from the Gassenheimer family in the neighboring town of Hildburghausen) and lived in Hanover, where a son was born, until 1936. Mira, Arno, and one-year-old Siegfried-and mother-in-law Hedwig Sommer, née Gassenheimer-went to Italy.


In Themar in 1936 lived Hugo and Klara, and daughter Else with her husband Arthur Neuhaus. Arthur, born in Werl on August 17, 1901, had married Else in September 1935 and moved to Themar; he worked in his father-in-law’s business “Hugo Grünbaum.” Ingeborg Neuhaus was born on April 1, 1937.

RG/SM, S.1938, S.674

Life for the Grünbaum and Neuhaus families in Themar became increasingly difficult. On November 3, 1938 Hugo had to liquidate his business. On the night of November 9-10, Hugo was one of the eighteen (18) men arrested and taken to Buchenwald. Sometime before December 1, 1938, he was released with other Themar Jews. Where Arthur Neuhaus was during these days we do not yet know.

On March 20, 1939, the Grünbaum and Neuhaus families had to leave the house in Bahnhofstraße; Clara Müller wrote to her son Willi in Palestine: “The synagogue here is to be sold u. der [Hugo] Grünbaum will move in upstairs because he has to get out of his house.” Else, Arthur and Inge Neuhaus moved to the house in S. A. Straße 20 (today Leninstr.). On September 17, 1939 Arthur Neuhaus had to move to Neuendorf where he did forced labor with Julius Rosenberg, Adolf Kahn, and Louis Sander for at least six (6) weeks.

Source: Municipal Archives Themar

From March 5, 1940, Clara Müller wrote to Willi Müller in Palestine, “Herbert, [Arthur] Neuhaus, [Louis] Sander and Julius Rosenberg are working on road construction near Siegritz [5 km southeast of Themar], after they had been trying to find work for weeks. On the 1st day, of course, there were calluses on the hands, but Herbert comes along well & he likes it.” In a letter to Meinhold Müller in Sweden on June 10, 1940, Clara again wrote something about the Grünbaums: “Maxens [Max Müller I, b. 1873] work with Rosenbergs on half the synagogue garden (the other half has Grünbaum and Neuhaus). Half the Kille meets there every day, it’s nice to sit there in the garden, we also go there sometimes.” In 1941 Arthur Neuhaus became a forced laborer in the Erfurt woodworking company. And on October 10, 1941, someone told the tax secretary that he had found the Jew Hugo Israel Grünbaum in the butcher shop of Ernst Kahl and that he was not wearing the Jewish star visibly.” There are no other documents in the municipal archives that indicate whether Hugo was imprisoned.

Source: Municipal Archives Themar


May 1942: Deportation to the Belzyce Ghetto – “As we wrote before,…” .

Source: Your Voice Life Still

On May 8, 1942, Max II and Clara Müller wrote to Meinhold:
,,Dear Meinhold!
As we already wrote
we are leaving tomorrow morning with
Neuhaus family. We cannot give you
we cannot give you,
but as soon as we can,
we will give you our new
address. In the meantime write to
Uncle Max. Since it is very urgent
I will write briefly today. Many
Greetings from your dad.
Heartfelt kisses Mama”

The families Max Müller II and Neuhaus “were notified in writing. They were instructed to take with them 50 RM, luggage up to 50 kg, clothing, suitable footwear, bedding, cutlery and food for three to four days. Everything else they had to leave behind as Reich property.

The Jews from Thuringia, approximately 342 men, women and children, were transported to Weimar on May 8 or 9, 1942, in regular passenger trains from several cities and towns. […] This happened in broad daylight.

[…] In Weimar, the Jews from Thuringia were interned in the local Gestapo headquarters, a former riding hall of the Marstall, in the east of the city. […] About 513 men, women and children were taken in the early morning hours of May 10, 1942, from the collection point through the city, to the already waiting train at the freight station, Ettersburger Straße. There they were crowded into freight cars. From Weimar the train went to Leipzig. Here, at the Engelsdorf freight station, about 369 more Jews boarded the train,[…].

The deportees from Saxony and Thuringia arrived in Belzyce on May 12, 1942. One day before their arrival in the ghetto, several young men from Belzyce had been deported to the Majdanek camp to make room for the Jews arriving from the Reich. […] The ghetto inhabitants of Belzyce had to live closely packed and in terrible hygienic conditions. Many people died due to hunger and diseases. Beginning in October 1942, most of the ghetto residents were murdered in the death camps in the surrounding area.”

Else Neuhaus, née Grünbaum, her husband Arthur Neuhaus and their five-year-old daughter Inge, were deported and murdered. Else’s cousins from Apolda-Grete, Norbert, and Max Rosenthal and his wife Ilse, née Benjamin-were in the same transport and were also murdered.

Source: Statistics and Deportation-Erfurt – Weimar – Leipzig – Chemnitz to Bełżyce

September 1942: Deportation to the Theresienstadt Ghetto

At the beginning of the Jewish New Year (Rosh Ha-Shanah), Hugo and Klara received news of the transport. “Rumors circulated of a destination in Bohemia. As in May, there were detailed instructions from the district councils and mayors to the local police and gendarmerie officials on how to carry out the deportation: on September 19 from Gleicherwiesen, two Jews, presumably on foot, had to be escorted to Hildburghausen; with five others from the district town, they continue by train to Themar, where eight Themar Jews and three from Marisfeld boarded. Two local policemen escorted the total of 18 Jews to the Gestapo in Weimar; the process was filed as routine police work.”

On September 19, 1942, Hugo and Klara Grünbaum left the small town of Themar forever; they were among the last Jewish people to be deported from Themar.

On September 20, they left Weimar for the Theresienstadt ghetto. Hugo and Klara were crammed into a train with the other 357 Thuringian Jews. In Leipzig, 520 more Jews arrived. The deportation train arrived in the village of Bauschowitz, since the Theresienstadt ghetto itself had no rail connection until the summer of 1943. The prisoners had to cover the three kilometers to the Theresienstadt ghetto on foot and under guard.

Source: Death notice, Hugo Grünbaum,

In the same transport were Hugo’s siblings Minna Rosenthal (née Grünbaum) from Apolda and Karl Grünbaum and his wife Hulda (née Schlesinger) from Erfurt. The three siblings were all murdered in Ghetto Theresienstadt: Hugo was the first to die, a month after arriving. Karl died on March 29, 1943, and Minna on June 1, 1943. Of the family of Klara Grünbaum (née Schloß), her brother Ludwig Schloß and his wife Lina Schloß (née Neuberger) and a sister-in-law, Klara Schloß, née Sämens, widow of Simon Schloß were also murdered in the Theresienstadt ghetto. Jacob Sommer, the father of Mira’s husband Arno, and an uncle, Louis Gassenheimer, were also murdered in the Theresienstadt ghetto. (Hedwig Sommer, née Gassenheimer, Arno’s mother and Louis’ sister, was deported from Italy to Auschwitz in 1943 and murdered).


At the end of the war lived siblings Hans and Mira Grünbaum. Hans was in Palestine and we only know that he died in Israel in 1980.1 Garry Meller, email to Sharon Meen, 22.09.2014 .

We know a little more about the lives of Mira, Arno and Sigfried Sommer. Mira was still in Italy with Arno and Sigfried. This file, in the Arolsen Archives, tells us something of their years in Italy.

Source: Arolsen Archives

They immigrated to the United States from Naples in May 1948.

In 1956, and perhaps earlier, the Sommers lived in an apartment in an apartment at 5 Mott Street in Worcester, Massachusetts. (A relative of Arno’s, Arnold Sommer, used to live in this house.) Arno was again an upholsterer and Sigfried, age 24, was a student at Clark University in Worchester.

Source: Worchester City Directory 1956.

In 1961, Sigfried was a trainee at John Hancock Life Insurance Company, an insurance company.

Source: Worchester City Directory 1961

Source: Private property Grünbaum/Meller

In 1970, Sigfried married Dorothy Zito in Boston and they lived in Boston. At some point they moved to Allston, a small town near Boston.

On 9 February 1991 Arno Sommer died in Worchester, and after that Mira spent some time living in Allston. On 4 August 200o Mira Sommer, née Grünbaum, died in Worchester; she was 97 years old.

Source: Find a Grave

Sigfried and Dorothy continued to live in Allston; in 2012 Dorothy died and on 14 August 2014 Sigfried passed away.

On November 27, 2019, Stolpersteine for the Grünbaum u. Neuhaus families were laid in front of the house on Bahnhofstrasse. A descendant of the family of Noah Grünbaum came from Australia to Themar to participate in the laying.

Source: Find a Grave

27 November 2019/G. Meller in front of the former house of Hugo and Klara Grünbaum

Privat Besitz Grünbaum/Meller
Arolsen Archiv 
Gedenkbuch: Opfer der Verfolgung der Juden unter der nationalsozialistischen Gewaltherrschaft in Deutschland 1933-1945
Jüdische Gemeinde Marisfeld (Kr. Hildburghausen). Matrikel 1768-1938, Koblenz: Bundesarchiv 1958.
Jüdische Gemeinde Themar (Kr. Hildburghausen). Matrikel 1820-1938, Koblenz: Bundesarchiv 1958.
Jüdische Gemeinde Walldorf Werra (Kr. Meiningen), ”Matrikel, 1839-1938”.
Liesenberg, Carsten und Harry Stein, Deportation und Vernichtung der Thüringer Juden 1942.
Regierungsblatt für das Herzogthum Sachsen-Meiningen (RG/SM, Staatsarchiv Meiningen
Yad Vashem, Transport, Zug Da 27 von Weimar, Weimar (Weimar), Thüringen, Deutsches Reich nach Belzyce, Lublin, Lublin, Polen am 10/05/1942