Sending Babies to Switzerland

Contributed by Victoria Hess — Nov. 2010

Gaby and Erich Grunebaum, circa 1985, walking in Dobbs Ferry, NY

Oy vey! It can be very difficult to transcribe family lore when there are so many people who know about it, and they don’t always agree! In this case, I spoke 15 years ago with Gaby Grunebaum about her experience with her children in Nazi Germany. This is her story.

But that discussion was very brief, so last week, I was directed to her grandchild, Vicki Koppel, who was very close to Gaby. After making adjustments to my early draft, Vicki directed me to her Uncle Michael (my second cousin), one of the principles in this story, who modified it further. Some of this mess is untangled, but some of it isn’t. Enjoy! Continue Reading

The Hirschland Bank’s Hobson’s Choice

Compiled by Victoria Hess from various sources. — updated Jan. 30, 2010

About 15 years ago, I had the pleasure of having dinner with Gaby Grunebaum, widow of Erich Grunebaum, one of the principles of the Simon Hirschland Bank. Erich had managed the Hamburg branch. Though Gaby was the wife of my first-cousin-once-removed, but she said to call her Aunt Gaby: everyone else did. 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

The Hannams

posted Dec. 9, 2010

The tree:  Salomon Herz Hirschland (one of the three original brothers) >> Levi Hirschland >> Joseph Hirschland >> Max Hirschland  >> Karl Hirschland (now Charles Hannam)

Charles Hannam was born Karl Hirschland in Essen in 1925. He lived there until he left in May, 1939. He was the son of Max Hirschland, owner of the Levi Hirschland Bank, and had an older (by five-years) sister named Margot.

Charles’ First Book

Karl grew up in a privileged life, though not as much as the children of the Simon Hirschland Bank owners. The Levi Hirschland Bank had fallen on hard times during the economic crisis following WWI, so much so that at least one historian has said that it went under. But family historians, as well as Charles in his book on his early life, A Boy in that Situation, differ. The bank still operated well into the 1930s, and Karl was being groomed to be a banker.

Karl grew up going to Services at what is now called the Alte Synagogue (built with funding from Simon Hirschland and others), but was not terribly observant at home. Ham and other sausages were a regular part of his diet. Continue Reading

The Hacketts

Last updated 12/2010

The Tree:  Salomon Herz Hirschland (one of the three original brothers )  >> Simon Hirschland >> Isaac Hirschland >> Agathe Hirschland Grunebaum (and Ernst) >> Charlotte Grunebaum (and Fred) >> Thomas Hackett

The Hacketts are apart of the family that ended up in England with a name change, but they didn’t come directly from Germany, Instead, they went to the United States first, before following a job to London.

Thomas Hackett offers this tale:

Born in Berlin in 1899, Friedrich Hachenburg was an engineer and patent attorney who had been forced by the Nuremberg laws in 1933/34 to give up his profession and his partnership in the Berlin patent attorney firm. He was offered a job in a firm designing and building heavy machinery for the steel industry (it still exists today) based in Düsseldorf managed (and largely owned) by the Czech-German-Jewish businessmen. My mother, Lotte or Charlotte, – a Grunebaum and thus through her mother, Agathe, a Hirschland – met my father, either through friends or her parents who lived in Düsseldorf and in due course they became engaged. During that period, life became more difficult and they decided to emigrate, initially to the USA, where they married in December 1937. Continue Reading

Kinder Transport — Margot & Karl’s Story

Last updated Oct. 20, 2010

Margo Hirschland Panofsky

Tree:   Salomon Herz Hirschland (one of the three original brothers) >>Levi Hirschland >>Joseph Hirschland >>Max Hirschland >>Margot Hirschland Panofsky

Margot Hirschland, and her brother, Karl (later taking the name Charles), fled Essen on the kindertransport in 1939. What follows is a detailed history Margot provided the Essen Old Synagoge in 1988 and 1992. Margo died in 2008. Her brother is still alive and the author of several books about his experiences.

The English translation is a combined effort of IGoogle’s translate page, my limited German and help with the idioms from my friend Patricia Linderman. I hope to be adding some comments from my correspondant about his step-grandmother’s experience. — Victoria Hess

Translated from the Archive of the Alte Synagoge, letter of Margot Hirschland Panofsky (1988)

Auf Deutsch

My father, MAX HIRSCHLAND, was a banker, and after the death of his brother, Louis H., sole owner of the bank company LEVI HIRSCHLAND. This bank, which was founded in 1840 by my great-grandfather, Levi H., was located, as well as the much larger bank, Simon Hirschland on Lindenallee. Continue Reading

Starting with the family

Last Updated 2010

In 1808 the Jews of Steinheim, Germany, were required to choose family names. One family chose the name Hirschland and the name is so rare that virtually everyone in the world with an ancestor named Hirschland (or Hirshland) is part of the family. The first Hirschlands were Herz Solomon, Jonas, and Markus.

In September, 2010, we met some second cousins who we had not previously met, and this web site, and a greatly expanded family tree produced by Daniel Kester, are the result of that meeting. A cousin asked me why I was doing this, and I started to tell him a long answer about this meeting and how exciting it was to meet so much family. When he interrupted me and asked again, I said, “Because I can.” How many reasons does one need to follow a family story? Continue Reading