Where was the money?

From my half-sister, Joan Meijer:

For some reason two separate Gonny and Paps stories have conjoined in my head in a way that always makes me laugh.

Grossvater, Isaac Hirschland

Grossvater, Issac Hirschland

Grossmutter, Henrietta Simon Hirschland

Grossmutter, Henrietta Hirschland

The first was a story Paps used to tell me about my great-grandmother Henrietta or Grossmutter. She came the Simon Bank banking family in Cologne. Grossvater (was it Isaac?) came from the Essen Bank, banking family. They had courted for a long time in letters, had met on a few occasions….when he proposed to her. She said yes and returned to Cologne where she learned that her father had offered Grossvater a sizable dowry – which he evidently had accepted. When she learned of the transaction she cancelled the wedding.

“If you don’t love me enough without the dowry then I will not marry you,” or something like that – she said.

He loved her enough, refused the dowry and they lived happily for many years.

Evidently Grossvater was proud of telling his children that if they weren’t wealthy enough it was all her fault.

Honeymoon Voyage

Franz & Gula Hirschland, Honeymoon Voyage

Second story. The time was later when gossamer dresses were the order of the day, all frilly and feminine. They were in Germany and Paps had met a peddler on the street who was peddling a new invention, the zipper.

Paps was very excited by the invention, bought one, and hurried home with it.

“Mammy,” he said. “Look what I have found.”

I think he told her that he intended to get the patent and return with it to America where he would make a fortune. Anyway it was a big, clunky commercial thing and Gonny took one look at it, thought of her filmy gowns, and said – “Never work.”

Now really if we aren’t hugely wealthy, I don’t think it had anything to do with Henrietta’s dowry and everything to do with Gon’s pronouncement of “Never work.”

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Villa Franzenshöhe, Georg S. Hirschland’s Estate

Our correspondent in Essen, Fabio, whose interest is the history of his hometown Essen, recently researched the Georg S. Hirschland Estate, Franzenshöhe. He has sent us maps, pictures, postcards, and more of the property as it existed in the early 20th century, and as it exists now. Note that a lot of this information relies on Google Translate  from German to English and back. If we have made a mistake, please comment below.

Franzenshohe is about eight kilometers (approx 5 miles) south of Essen.

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Rotterdam Resistance

from Annemarie den Hartog,
Frits Hirschland’s cousin

My uncle Herbert Hirschland and his brother Rudy came to the Netherlands before the war started because of the rise of Adolf Hitler. Frits’ father, my Uncle Herbert, hide from the Germans in both my grandparents’ houses. He hid in The Hague (in a basement). My grandfather (Leen Boender, my father’s dad), was a member of the resistance in Rotterdam. He helped Jews with false passports and food stamps (ration coupons?). Uncle Herbert lived in their house in 1943/45, and before that he he lived in a chicken house.

Rotterdam after the 1940 Blitz. Photo from Wikipedia.

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The Sinking of the ZamZam

by Victoria Hirschland Hess — comment added Feb. 6, 2012

The story of the Zamzam and how six-year-old Peter Levitt, his sister Wendy, and their mother Kathleen (nee Hirschland) survived its being shelled and captured by a German Raider in 1941 could be just another sad WWII story. Yet our cousins survived the sinking and the almost a year and a half of imprisonment afterwards, finally traveling from Liebenau, Germany, to Palestine, as part of a prisoner exchange, and eventually to a delayed reunion with their father and husband, Lionel Levitt, in South Africa. Continue Reading

Hirschland Art

By Victoria Hess  — Posted Feb. 9, 2011

When I was a child, my mother used to take me regularly into New York City to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I was fascinated, when  as she pointed out to me as we walked up the grand staircase to the second floor painting galleries, that my grandparents’ names were carved into the walls of that staircase. I never learned what they gave to the museum to deserve such recognition, but it must have been big to be carved in stone: smaller gifts, I knew, such as one by our father, merited smaller recognition, like life-time memberships. A search of the MMA database shows 102 items under the name Hirschland. Continue Reading

Hidden in Belgium

From emails by Edna Southard to Victoria Hess — Oct. 2010

My grandmother was Erna Pintus and my grandfather was Hugo Hirschland who died of his WW I war wounds. Left with three small children, she stayed in close touch with the Hirschland in-laws. She married Arnold Alexander who had a department store in Essen that was destroyed during Kristallnacht. They spent the war in hiding in Belgium, but Arnold was captured and died on the way to Auschwitz. My grandmother survived in hiding and came to the US in 1948. Continue Reading