Survival in Dusseldorf

Contributed by M. Hirschland, Victoria Hess, and Daniel Kester

M.’s words: Our family history is not very spectacular. As I have been told, my grandfather (a Jew) died in a hospital (in 1935) in a mysterious way. He had problems with his stomach, and went in for a check up. My Aunt Ilse visited him and he was ok. Yet when she arrived home, there was a small handwritten note that she should return immediately to the hospital. When she arrived there, her father, my grandfather, was dead. No one was able to say what happened. Continue Reading

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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

Escape to Palestine

Contributed by Victoria Hess,
compiled from emails by Sarah Hirschland — October  2010

Sarah Hirschland’s first letter to me said “congratulations, you have found the only Hirschlands in Israel.” Through Facebook, I connected with Sarah and a couple of her daughters, and was thrilled to find that some of our family had made it to Israel, though at the time it was still Palestine.

Sarah noted that she was only a Hirschland by marriage, but she and Werner (Zeev) Hirschland had several children together, and her husband had several from his first marriage. To see the family tree, go to Geni.com and search for Sarah. Continue Reading

Scandals: Albert Hirschland

by Daniel Kester– last updated Dec 2010

Der Sturmer

Albert’s Ancestors
  1. Jonas Herz Hirschland (one of the three original brothers)
  2. Salomon Hirschland
  3. Moses Hirschland
  4. Albert Hirschland

The Nazis had a thing about Jewish men having sex with “Aryan” women.  So in 1935 when Albert Hirschland, the principal of a business college in Magdeburg, was accused of having sex with underage non-Jewish students, the Nazis had a field day.

(Albert was the son of Moses, son of Salomon, son of Jonas, one of the three original Hirschland brothers.)

Hirschland was arrested and put on trial for “race defilement”, and details were published and broadcast throughout Germany. The Hirschland trial was one of the Nazi’s biggest propaganda efforts up to that time, and they used it to try and demonstrate the perverted nature of the Jews.

Accusations were made of Hirschland seducing hundreds of innocent girls, and of mass orgies in a friend’s apartment. The virulently anti-Semitic paper, “Der Sturmer” put out a special 16-page issue about, “Albert Hirschland, the Race-defiler from Magdeburg.”  Two million copies of the special issue were distributed. The media campaign in Magdeburg and nationally “reached a frenzy of demonization and hatred”. (Note that there were times in the American South that black men were summarily lynched for having relations with white women. No trial required.)

Hirschland was convicted of five counts of illicit sexual acts and sentenced to 10 years in prison and 10 years of “preventive detention”. The anti-Jewish hysteria that the Nazis whipped up helped set the stage for the Nuremburg laws introduced later that year, which stripped the Jews of many of their rights and made marriage as well as sexual relations between Jews and non-Jews illegal. After the trial, Albert Hirschland was sent to prison. In 1943 we was sent on to Auschwitz where he was murdered.

Julius Streicher, publisher of “Der Sturmer”, was tried at the Nuremburg trials and found guilty of crimes against humanity for his “incitement to murder and extermination”. He was executed in 1946.

(Source: Michael Abrahams-Sproud, Life under Siege: The Jews of Magdeburg under Nazi Rule) — Parenthetical material are notes from Victoria Hess

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