Destination South America

Contributed by Nara Hirschland, — June 8, 2011

(From Victoria: I recently received an unexpected email from Nara Hirschland of Porto Alegre, Brazil. I had known from Sarah and Edna’s story that a family member of theirs had fled to Brazil, but they had lost touch with the family. Nara recently shared with me her father’s story, and I have put her back in touch with her extended family.)

Nara Hirschland

You asked me about my dad, Franz Yosef Hirschland. Let me tell you what I know. My dad was a very quiet man and didn’t like to share much about his past. Many times I found myself questioning him and my mom about my origins. My mom didn´t know much and respected his silence. But what we know was that he lived in Paris with my grandmother Erna and his stepfather when one day they looked up the sky and saw it full of planes. They took this as the first warning of war. My dad said he didn’t want to follow his brother Werner and his sister Lotte to Egypt. (Werner and Lotte were preparing to move to Palestine at the time.) He decided to travel to South America to see the Indians. Hahahahah. 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

Scandal: Dr. Hirschland

by Victoria Hess — Dec. 2010

Fritz H. Hirschland, found on Ancestry.com


Dr. Fritz Hirschland (born 1880) received his medical degree in Germany and moved to the US around 1913. (An Ellis Island document suggests it might have been the year before.) Of course, he took up his vocation in Flushings after he got settled. The authorities did not like that very much.

In March 2011, one of Fritz’s grandsons, Alex Ivsky, got in touch with us, having found our family tree on-line. He was surprised to have found us, since, as he said of his grandfather, “Fritz really never talked about his family.  How they came to live in Flushing?  I don’t know.  Did they know your grandparents??? (who lived on the upper west side at the time)  Unknown.”

Alex added that this news article makes sense in the context of little family history he knows, since it explains why “my grandmother took her three children BACK to Germany for a year in 1922.  Both my mother and her sister talked about that trip although, they never said why (they might not have known?)  My maternal grandmother (Lehnert) was one of eight so, there are plenty of relatives on that side, as well.”

Alex added that the only other Hirschland he had known was “was an actor who lived in Kontanz (Constance on the Lake of Constance) and who was on summer vacation while I lived there during the summer of 1978  (so I never met him).”

What Alex found even more amazing was that he lived only blocks from Roger Hirschland in Washington DC, who I first found when I lived across the street from him in Washington. Roger (my second cousin) had been the first Hirschland outside of my immediate family that I met as a adult, and it appears it will be the same for Alex (our fifth cousin)!

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

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

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