From Records to Revolution

by Victoria Hirschland Hess — Added March 6, 2011

Frits Hirschland, 1988, Bern

Frits Hirschland, 1988, Bern

In the last minutes of 1986, my boyfriend and I returned early from our New Years Eve outing and the phone was ringing. It was a Frits Hirschland, calling from Amsterdam. I have never heard from him or of him before, and in fact, had not at the time known that Hirschlands still lived in Europe, having survived the war there. I still believed the family myth that my grandfather, Franz, had saved the entire family, while those who told that story were really talking only of our branch of it.

Frits was obviously quite drunk, and surprised that he had found me home, since it wasn’t yet midnight in Washington. He said he had looked through phone books, found my name, knew we were related, and decided to call and wish me a Happy New Year. We went through the “are we related” dance, and he debunked the family myth. I had the impression that he had not yet slept that night, though it was almost 6 a.m. in Amsterdam. Continue Reading

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Recollections of the Hirschland Villa

Originally posted Jan. 2011

Detail of Hirschland crest atop the Villa door. This crest was also at Franz Hirschland’s house in Harrison, NY. thanks to Laura & Anne for allowing us to use it.

Alice Moore wrote Victoria about the Hirschland Villa, and stories she had shared with her grandmother about this fabulous house. Here are some of them:

My grandmother, Waltraude Hirschland Sendlinger, was born in 1900. She was an identical twin and the girls were a “surprise” to her parents, Marcus and Maria Hirschland, as they already had three older children. Continue Reading

The Hirschland Villa

Contributed by Victoria Hirschland Hess — January 2, 2011

When Marcus Hirschland, who was the owner of one of the most popular Department Stores in nearby Mannheim, built himself and his family a vacation home near Schriesheim, Germany, in 1903, who would have known that it would be in the news more than 100 years later.  But when M. Hirschland found mention of the Hirschland Villa, he forwarded it to me for follow up. Original Article in translation.

Hirschland Villa 2010 from Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung

Continue Reading

Just An Old Fashioned Love Story

Contributed by Victoria Hess and Joan Meijer — Nov. 2, 2010

After Dr. Franz Herbert Hirschland received his engineering degree in 1902, it was time to see the world, and perhaps do a little business along the way. Franz, our grandfather, left Essen, Germany, for New York with a business proposition in hand: he was to determine the opportunities for Goldschmidt Chemical to build its first American factory. He got that job done, opening Goldschmidt Detinning, and soon becoming its president. But like many young men, he found certain distractions along the way, a principle one being a stunning young woman named Gula Vixie Anderson, our grandmother.

Courting.

Of course, I could end the story there, but there were a few events along the way that made this more than the usual courtship. They courted, fell in love, and wanted to marry, but the problem was that Franz needed to get his parent’s blessing because Gula would take him away from them, and also……. She was a goy. Nothing against goys, of course, but would you want your son to marry one? So Gula made a plan. Continue Reading

Reunion possiblities

Hirschland Family circa 1870. Isaac Hirschland highlighted? (Possibly Isaac's and Heniette's 50th Anniversary.)

Since I sent an email out to family yesterday about this new blog, I have received a number of emails about possible reunions. We do have a page with some small reunion photos, but most people are looking for something bigger.

Our cousin Richard Harvey writes:

“For some time I have been wondering if there is interest in a re-union of Hirschlands in Essen – it would take a year or so to plan. Is anyone interested, perhaps for 2014?” Continue Reading

A Close Pre-WWI Escape

Contributed by Joan Meijer, Granddaughter of Franz Hirschland, Oct. 15, 2010


In 1914 Franz (Papa) and Gula (Gonny) Hirschland took one-year-old Richard (Dick) to Essen to visit the family. With them were Susan Anderson (Omi) and Mary Sheridan (Nana to Richard and Herb). At the time Papa was President of the American branch of Goldschmidt Detinning – a recycling company that separated the tin out of tin cans so that it could be reused.

Franz’s Lineage
  1. Salomon Herz Hirschland (one of the three original brothers)
  2. Simon Hirschland
  3. Isaac Hirschland
  4. Franz Hirschland

Franz (seated) and Friend in uniform.

War was in the air and the family and friends were urging Papa and Gonny to leave. Papa was conflicted. He was the highest ranking Jew in the German Army and he felt that he had a responsibility to honor his commission. One morning in September, Mr. Goldschmidt asked Papa to accompany him to the local constabulary. The head constable showed Papa a telegram from the Kaiser (Papa’s father had been decorated by the Kaiser by the way). The telegram said, “All German nationals who wish to leave the country should do so immediately. The bluffing is over.” If Papa stayed, he not only would have been trapped with his family, but he would have had to fight. Continue Reading

The Nathans

Posted Feb. 28, 2011

The tree: Salomon Herz Hirschland (one of the three original brothers) >> Moses Hirschland >>Johanna Hirschland Nathan >> Edgar Nathan >> John Nathan

This letter was contributed by John Nathan, who carries on his family’s textile business of 121 years.

You asked me about the Nathan Connection. The Nathans came from Emmerich, near the Dutch border. I went there four years ago and found an old man who had who had worked in one of the big engineering companies connected with the Krupp group. Although he was of Christian faith, he had produced a major record of the Jews  of Emmerich. Among them, I traced the Nathans back to 1816.

Isaak Nathan was a garment maker. He had four daughters and four sons. Two of the sons, Karl, born in 1846, and Sigismund, born in 1858, came to London in 1877. Karl changed his name to Carl, and in 1879 set up C. Nathan and Co. as textile agents at 65 Bread St. in London. This business lasted for 121 years, through four generations. It is in a different form today, though I am still engaged in it. Continue Reading