The Family of Josef & Hulda (née Walther) KAHN

For at least 60 years, members of the Josef and Hulda Kahn family were an integral part of both the Jewish and Christian communities of Themar. It is possible that Hulda Walther, b. 14 November 1860 in Themar, was one of the first Jewish babies to be born in Themar. The marriage of Josef Kahn, who was born in Marisfeld, and Hulda Walther linked the Kahn and Walther families, both key families in the establishment and growth of Themar’s Jewish community in the mid 1860s. Marriages of their children and grandchildren forged links with the Christian community. The loss of the Kahn family and its deep roots in the Themar community was — and still is — significant.

The eight Kahn children, 5 sons and 3 daughters, were all born in Themar and grew up there. Josef was a master butcher and owned a  butcher shop in Themar in the Market Square just at the entrance to Bahnhofstrasse (site #37 on Manfred Rosengarten’s map). The Kahns served both kosher and non-kosher customers and the quality of their meats attracted the hotels in the surrounding area to buy at the shop.

The Kahns experienced both tragedy and joy in the early years of the 20th century: in 1909, their eldest son, Albert, died, apparently in an event related to military service. A year later, their eldest daughter, Else, married Markus Rosenberg and the couple continued to live in Themar; by 1913, Josef and Hulda had three young grandchildren: Julius, b. 1910, Irma, b.1911 and Elly, b. 1913. In 1914, three Kahn sons, and one son-in-law, Markus Rosenberg, the husband of Else, went to war for their country, and two Kahns — Leonhard and Friedrich Daniel — gave their lives.

After close to 40 years of marriage, Josef and Hulda Kahn died: Josef in 1923, Hulda in 1929. They were both buried in the Marisfeld cemetery. Sometime in the 1920s, two children, Paula and Julius, left Themar to live in other cities, Paula in Erfurt and Julius in Nürnberg. The two youngest children, Erna and Adolf, remained in Themar: Erna, the youngest daughter, married Hermann Haaß, a Themar non-Jew, and on 21 December 1928, they had twins — Günter and Johanna — just months before Hulda’s death in April 1929. Adolf Kahn, the youngest of the eight children, continued to live in Themar; he took over the butcher business from his father and moved the store to Schulstrasse 3. In the early 1920s, he fathered a child with a non-Jewish woman but remained unmarried.

The 1930s were years of increasing crisis for the family: in 1932, one daughter, Paula, took her own life; in August 1933, in what would earlier have been an occasion of great joy, Julius Rosenberg married Elsa Papst, a non-Jew born in Darmstadt, and they had a daughter, Lotte, in 1934. As the Nazi persecution increased, the Rosenberg family returned to Themar and Julius worked for the Gassenheimer company as a driver.

In November 1938, the three men who were in Themar — Adolf Kahn, Markus and Julius Rosenberg — were rounded up and hauled off to Buchenwald in the ‘Reichspogromnacht’ known as ‘Kristallnacht.’ (We do not know about Julius Kahn who was living in Nürnberg in 1938.) They were released but it took time: Adolf Kahn was still in Buchenwald in late January, delaying his ability to seek emigration abroad.

In December 1938, Hermann Haaß died, and Erna faced the “Aryanization” process of the Haaß machine shop business alone. In October 1939, less than a year after Hermann’s death, Erna died, leaving the twins orphaned and potentially vulnerable, like Lotte Rosenberg and Adolf’s child, to the Nazi persecution of “Mischling” children (children with two Jewish grandparents).

Before WWII started, Julius Kahn made it to England, as did his niece, Irma Rosenberg; Elly Rosenberg also left Germany in 1939, heading for the United States, where she married Bernard Eisemann from Meiningen.

As World War II started, Else, Markus, and Julius Rosenberg were in Themar; Adolf, we believe was in Berlin. In Delaware, Pennsylvania, Elly and Bernhard Eisemann did everything they could to assist their parents and their brother’s family to immigrate into the United States but failed. Else and Markus Rosenberg, and Julius Rosenberg were all murdered in the Holocaust. So too was Adolf Kahn and his wife Rosa (née Glass) whom he had met and married in Berlin.

Elsa Rosenberg (née Pabst) and her daughter, Lotte, the Haaß twins, and Adolf Kahn’s child survived.

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  • Josef KAHN, b. 19 Mar 1860 Marisfeld, d. 22 Mar 1923 Themar
  • ∞ Hulda WALTHER, 14 Nov 1860 Themar, d. 19 Apr 1929 Themar
    • 1. Albert KAHN, b. 22 Aug 1887 Themar, d. 25 Dec 1909 Meiningen.
    • 1. Else KAHN, b. 12 Dec 1888 Themar, murdered 18 May 1944 Auschwitz
    • ∞ Markus ROSENBERG, b. 07 March 1886 Lichenroth, murdered 17 July 1943 Theresienstadt
    •      2. Julius ROSENBERG, b. 30 Jan 1910 Themar, murdered bef. 08 May 1945
    •      ∞ Elsa PABST, b. 26 Jul 1911 Darmstadt, d. 03 Oct 1995 Vancouver
    •           3. Lotte ROSENBERG, b. 30 Jul 1934 Darmstadt
    •      2. Irma ROSENBERG, b. 15 Feb 1911 Themar, d. May 1990 England
    •      2. Elly ROSENBERG, b. 16 May 1913 Themar, d. 01 May 2001 USA
    •     ∞ Bernhard EISEMANN, b. 25 Apr 1899 Bauerbach, d. Jan 1978 USA
    • 1. Leonhard KAHN, b. 12 Oct 1890 Themar, d. 30 Oct 1914 (WWI)
    • 1. Paula KAHN, b. 19 Jul 1892 Themar, d. 28 Dec 1932 Themar (suicide)
     2. Heinrich Willy KAHN, b. 25 Mar 1913 Erfurt
    • 1. Friedrich Daniel KAHN, b. 28 Oct 1894 Themar, d. 21 Feb 1915 (WWI)
    • 1. Julius Joseph KAHN, b. 04 Feb 1896 Themar, d. 1965 Sydney Australia
∞ Therese HUTZLER, b. 07 Nov 1904 Forth, murdered 24 Mar 1942 Izbica
    •      2. Bella Betty KAHN, b. 30 Jan 1928 Regensburg,  murdered 24 Mar 1942 Izbica
    •      2. Hannelore KAHN, b. 08 Sep 1929 Weiden, murdered 24 Mar 1942 Izbica
    • 1. Erna KAHN , b. 27 Nov 1897 Themar, d. 12 Oct 1939 Themar
∞ Hermann HAAß, b. 27 Dec. 1896 Themar, d. 21 Dec. 1938 Themar
    •      2. Günter HAAß, b. 21 Dec 1928 Themar, d. 21 Oct 1988 Suhl
    •      2. Johanna HAAß, b. 21 Dec 1928 Themar, d. 04 June 1968 Hildburghausen [Themar]
    • 1. Adolf KAHN, b. 23 Sep 1902 Themar, murdered 1943 Auschwitz
     2. child, b. Themar
    • ∞ Rosa GLASS, b. 20 May 1908 Rogowo Posen, murdered 1943 Auschwitz. (n1)

See also:
The Family of Else & Markus Rosenberg
The Family of Erna & Hermann Haaß