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

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