The Nussbaum family of Hersfeld in Hesse is connected to the Jewish community of Themar through Clara Müller, née Nussbaum, wife of Max Müller II, and mother of Herbert, Meinhold, and Willi. Our focus here is more on Clara’s mother, Bertha Stern, as Clara’s father died in 1919, before the Müller family moved to Themar.
Bertha Stern was born in 1850 in Beiseförth, a village in Hesse with about 730 residents, of whom about 10% were Jewish. She was the second of five children of Feist/Uri and Klara (née Katz) Stern. In 1879, she married Meier Nussbaum, b. 1838 in Erdmannrode, another Hessen village. Meier and Bertha set up house in Hersfeld, where they formed a family of six children, only one of whom, their 5th child, was female, Clara, b. 1890.
Bertha knew great personal loss: as a young child age 5, she lost her younger sister Jachet. Her older brother Samuel died in 1869, when Bertha was 19, her parents shortly after her marriage. David, a younger brother, died in 1885, and sister Hannchen died in 1911.
In the first decades of the 20th century, death severely struck the family she created: World War I killed her eldest son Sally in 1916; in 1919, her husband, Meier, died after 40 years of marriage; and another son, Willi, died before 1920.
As the 1920s opened, 70-year-old Bertha lived in Hersfeld; her three remaining children lived in other places: Leo lived in Hannover, Clara in Themar, and Felix in Rhina. All three had married and were forming families. Clara had left Hersfeld in November 1912 to marry Max Müller II of Marisfeld/Thüringen. In 1929, Max and Clara, and their three sons — Herbert, Meinhold, and Willi — moved to the Kleinstadt of Themar and became quickly integrated into the Jewish community of Themar.
Throughout the years, the Müllers remained in close contact with the Nussbaum relatives. Two daughters-in-law of Bertha Nussbaum, née Stern, continued to live in Hersfeld raising their families: the widow of Sally Nussbaum, another Bertha (born an Oppenheim), and her three sons, Siegfried, Max and Fritz. As well, the widow of Moritz Nussbaum, Else, and her three daughters — Sitta, Carola, and Käthe — lived in Hersfeld. Else was particularly close to the Müllers in Marisfeld/Themar as she was the sister of Max Müller, and Max and Clara had met at her wedding.
When the Third Reich began on 30 January 1933, 28 members of the family of Bertha (née Stern) and Meier Nussbaum family lived in Germany: these were the families of sons Sally, Moritz, Leo and daughter Clara. Family members early recognized the dangers posed by the Nazis’ antisemitic agenda, and younger members started to emigrate or make plans to leave. Between 1933 and 9/10 November 1938, four Nussbaums left Germany: the first was 17-year-old Meinhold Müller, who travelled to Italy in 1936 with a Jewish youth group; on 20 July 1937, 23-year-old Fritz Nussbaum obtained his visa to enter the United States and sailed from Hamburg just two weeks later. In June of the following year, Fritz’s older brother, 28-year-old Max Nussbaum, obtained his visa to enter the United States and sailed from Hamburg on 29 June 1938. The last to escape Germany before Kristallnacht/Reichspogromnacht of 9/10 November 1938 was 16-year-old Willi Müller who immigrated into Palestine. Leo Nussbaum in Hannover, who had contacted friends in Melbourne Australia in June 1938 had not yet received visas before November.
With the events of Kristallnacht/Reichspogromnacht, the circumstances changed dramatically. In late October/early November 1938, Bertha Nussbaum (née Stern) moved to Themar to live with her daughter, Clara and Max. She was with Clara through the events of Kristallnacht/Reichspogromnacht when Clara’s husband, Max, and son, Herbert, were arrested and hauled off to Buchenwald.
The search for refuge in other countries accelerated: Clara and Max Müller immediately contacted relatives in the States to assist them in obtaining visas to enter the United States. The relatives, members of the Schwed family, also supported Max’s sister, Else Nussbaum (née Müller). In March 1939, when it was clear that Bertha’s children — daughter-in-law Else, son Leo, and daughter Clara — were planning to leave Germany as soon as possible, Bertha moved into an old people’s home at Ellernstrasse 16 in Hannover
In the three years following Kristallnacht, fourteen (14) members of Bertha (née Stern) Nussbaum’s family were able to leave Germany. Only one, 14-year-old Manfred Nussbaum, entered England, probably one of the “Kindertransport” children. Four immigrated into Australia: Leo Nussbaum, his wife Mally and their two daughters, Marga and Jutta; one, Leo’s and Mally’s son Herbert Nussbaum immigrated into South Africa. On 2 March 1939, Siegfried Nussbaum, who received his American visa before his wife, left Germany alone, sailing from Hamburg to New York City, arriving on 14 March 1939.
The outbreak of World War II did not halt emigration from Germany; it just made it more urgent. On 11 September 1939, Siegfried Nussbaum’s wife, Ida, obtained her visa but it was not until late October that she sailed to join her husband. In November 1939, Sitta Amram, her husband Meinhardt, and son Manfred sailed from Antwerp, Belgium to New York City. Sitta’s mother, Else, did not obtain her visa until mid-1941; on 02 August 1941, Else Nussbaum (née Müller) sailed from Lisbon to New York City. Herbert Müller and his wife Flora also sailed from Lisbon to New York City, arriving in New York City on 09 July 1941.
Herbert and Flora Müller and Else Nussbaum (née Muller) were the last members of the family of Bertha Nussbaum (née Stern) to escape from Germany. In fall 1941, ten (10) members of Bertha’s family — including Bertha herself — were trapped in Europe. It is not known when Bertha died but the evidence (or lack thereof) suggests that she died in Hannover before the deportations of German Jews to ‘the east’ began in October 1941.
Nine (9) Nussbaums were deported and murdered: daughters-in-law Bella Nussbaum (née Katz) and Berta Nussbaum (née Oppenheim); daughter Clara (née Nussbaum) and son-in-law Max Müller; and granddaughters with husbands and one great-grand daughter, Carola (née Nussbaum) and Jacob Stern; and Käthe (née Nussbaum) Wurms, her husband Isaac and 2-year-old daughter Aaltje.
From November 1938 until May 1942, when Clara and Max were deported from Themar to Belzyce Ghetto in Occupied Poland, they regularly sent letters to their sons — Meinhold in Sweden and Willi in Palestine. The letters provide significant details about the lives of other members of the Nussbaum family. The letters can be found here.
Below is the Descendants List of Bertha (née Stern) and Meier Nussbaum. Profiles of each individual with identification of sources are on the geni.com database; one finds there as well the family context of the people who married into the Nussbaum family.
We welcome any corrections, additions, questions and/or comments. Please contact Sharon Meen at [email protected]
- Bertha Berle STERN, b. 19 Dec 1850 Beiseförth1Beiseförth is now Malsfeld/HE, Oct/Nov 1938 to Themar/TH, Mar 1939 to Hannover, d. bef 15.10.1941 Hannover/LS
- ∞ (10 Dec 1879 Beiseförth) Meier Moritz NUSSBAUM, b. 10 Aug 1838 Erdmannrode/HE, d. 15 Jul 1919 (Bad) Hersfeld/HE
- 1. Sally NUSSBAUM, b. 20 Oct 1879 (Bad) Hersfeld/HE, d. 16 May 1916 WWI/France
- ∞ (02 Oct 1907) Berta OPPENHEIM, b. 27 Feb 1885 Erdmannrode/HE, 1939 fr Hersfeld to Frankfurt a/Main, deported 1942 fr. Frankfurt to an unknown location, murdered 1942 Lublin District/occupied Poland
- 2. Siegfried (later Sidney) NUSSBAUM, b. 28 Aug 1908 (Bad) Hersfeld/HE, Mar 1939 fr Hamburg to NY/USA, d. 15 Nov 1985 Broward/FL
- ∞ Ida LIEBSTER, b. 02 May 1908 Reichenbach/Saxony, Oct 1939 fr Antwerp to NY/USA, d. 05 Dec 1991 Broward/FL
- 2. Max NUSSBAUM, b. 13 Jun 1910 (Bad) Hersfeld/HE, 29 Jun 1938 fr Hamburg to NY/USA, d. 14 Apr 1982 Bronx/NY
- ∞ (1946) Ilse Isabella STERN, b. 18 Aug 1921 Oberbrechen/HE, 22 Feb 1939 fr Hamburg to NY/USA, d. 20 Aug 1989 Bronx/NY
- 3. Steven J. NUSSBAUM, b. circa 1948 Maryland
- ∞ (1983) Lillah GREIF, b. Oct 1947 New York
- 4. Amy Sara NUSSBAUM, b. 8 May 1991 Bexar/TX
- 2. Fritz (later Fred) NUSSBAUM, b. 25 Apr 1914 (Bad) Hersfeld/HE, 05 Aug 1937 fr Hamburg to NY/USA, d. 18 Nov 1982 Pittsburgh/PA
- ∞ (01 Jul 1946 Pennsylvania) Anne Etta SCHWARTZ, b. 30 Apr 1923 Pittsburgh/PA, d. 16 Dec 2014 Pittsburgh/PA
- 3. Burton NUSSBAUM, b. circa 1949 Pennsylvania
- ∞ (Aug 1970) Diane FREIBERG
- 1. Moritz NUSSBAUM, b. 20 Sep 1881 (Bad) Hersfeld/HE, d. 1923 (Bad) Hersfeld/HE
- ∞ (15 Oct 1909) Else MÜLLER, b. 28 Oct 1886 Marisfeld/TH, Aug 1941 to NY/USA, d. 01 Oct 1980 Miami/FL
- 2. Sitta NUSSBAUM, b. 29 Jul 1910 (Bad) Hersfeld/HE, Nov 1939 fr Antwerp to NY/USA, d. 01 Jun 2003 Saint Paul/MN
- ∞ Meinhardt (later Milton) AMRAM, b. 22 Dec 1901 Osterrod am Harz/LS, Nov 1939 fr Antwerp to NY/USA, d. 23 Aug 1968 Red Bank/NJ
- 3. Manfred (later Fred) AMRAM, b. 19 Sep 1933 Hannover/LS, Nov 1939 fr Antwerp to NY/USA
- 2. Carola NUSSBAUM, b. 05 Sep 1911 (Bad) Hersfeld/HE, deported 09 Dec 1941 fr. Kassel to Riga Ghetto/01 October 1944 to Stutthof KZ, murdered 06 Jan 1945 Stutthof KZ/Occupied Poland
- ∞ (10 Jun 1934) Jacob STERN, b. 08 Dec 1891 Rodheim vor der Höhe/Hesse, deported 09 Dec 1941 fr. Kassel to Riga Ghetto, murdered after Dec 1941 Ghetto Riga/Occupied Latvia
- 2. Käthe NUSSBAUM, b. 22 May 1913 (Bad) Hersfeld/Hesse, deported fr. Amsterdam to Auschwitz, murdered 19 Feb 1943 Auschwitz/Occupied Poland
- ∞ Isaak WURMS, b. 05 May 1912 Amsterdam, deported fr. Amsterdam to Auschwitz, murdered 30 Apr 1943 Auschwitz/ Occupied Poland
- 3. Aaltje WURMS, b. 21 Aug 1939 Amsterdam, deported fr. Amsterdam to Auschwitz, d. 19 Feb 1943 Auschwitz/Occupied Poland
- 1. Levi Leo NUSSBAUM, b. 01 Sep 1883 (Bad) Hersfeld/HE, July 1939 to Australia, d. 23 Apr 1958 Melbourne/AU
- ∞ (30 Aug 1912) Mally MARX, b. 29 Jun 1887 Felsberg/HE, July 1939 to Australia, d. 14 Mar 1967 Melbourne/AU
- 2. Herbert NUSSBAUM, b. 24 Sep 1913, [1938?] to South Africa, d. 12 Dec 1997 Johannesburg/SA
- ∞ (24 Jan 1940; div. circa 1957) Paula ADLER, b. 10 Aug 1921 Poland, d. 31 May 2009 South Africa
- 3. Yvonne HEITNER
- 2. Marga NUSSBAUM, b. 1922 Hannover/LS, Jul 1939 to Australia
- ∞ Karlheinz MEYER
- 3. Hazel MEYER
- 2. Jutta NUSSBAUM, b. 1931 Hannover/LS, Jul 1939 to Australia
- ∞ Issac RUBENSTEIN
- 3. Esther GOLDSCHLAGER, b. circa 1955
- 3. NN RUBINSTEIN, b. circa 1957
- 3. NN RUBENSTEIN, b. circa 1959
- 1. Willi NUSSBAUM, b. 08 Jul 1885 (Bad) Hersfeld/HE, d. before 1920
- ∞ (28 Apr 1919 Fritzlar) Selma LOEWENSTEIN, b. 14 Mar 1889 Obermöllrich (now Fritzlar)/Hesse, deported 18 Nov 1941 fr. Osterholz-Scharmbeck via Hamburg to Minsk Ghetto, murdered 1941 Ghetto Minsk
- 1. David NUSSBAUM, b. 27 Feb 1887 (Bad) Hersfeld/HE, d. 1916
- 1. Clara/Klara NUSSBAUM, b. 14 Nov 1890 (Bad) Hersfeld/HE, deported 10 May 1942 fr. Weimar-Leipzig to Belzyce Ghetto, murdered after 12 May 1942 Belzyce Ghetto, Lublin District/Occupied Poland
- ∞ (Nov 1912 Hersfeld) Max MÜLLER, b. 08 Feb 1884 Marisfeld/TH, 1929 to Themar, deported 10 May 1942 fr. Weimar-Leipzig to Belzyce Ghetto, murdered 20 Oct 1942 Majdanek KZ, Lublin District/Occupied Poland
- 2. Herbert MÜLLER, b. 24 Nov 1913 Marisfeld/TH, Jun 1941 fr Lisbon to USA, d. 10 Oct 1994 Jamaica/NY
- ∞ (10 Aug 1938 Themar) Flora WOLF, b. 30 Dec 1909 Sulzburg/BV, Jun 1941 fr. Lisbon to NY/USA, d. 01 Oct 2000 NYC/NY
- 3. Helen MÜLLER, b. 28 Apr 1943 Queens/NY
- 2. Meinhold MÜLLER, b. 19 Nov 1919 Marisfeld/TH, 1936 to Italy/1938 to Sweden, d. 27 Jun 1993 Gothenburg, Sweden
- ∞ Rebecka LIWERANT, b. 17 Dec 1922 Hamburg, deported 1938 to Polish border/1939 Litzmannstadt Ghetto/survived, d. 2015 Göteborg/Sweden
- 2. Willi MÜLLER, b. 29 Dec 1922 Themar/TH, 1938 to Palestine, d. 1913 Israel
- 1. Felix NUSSBAUM, b. 01 Jul 1892 (Bad) Hersfeld/HE, d. 16 May 1931 Rhina/HE
- ∞ (23 Jan 1923 Rhina) Bella KATZ, b. 07 Apr 1894 Rhina/HE, deported 1943 fr. Frankfurt a/Main to unknown destination, murdered
- 2. Manfred NUSSBAUM, b. 25 Nov 1925 Rhina/HE, Jan 1947 to NY/USA, d. 19 Apr 1996 New York