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

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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

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

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

Düsseldorf Park

by M. Hirschland (edited by Victoria Hess) 2010

Note: M. and his family are the only Hirschlands Victoria has found thus far who remained in and are still living in Germany. M. passes on this brief bit of information about our family.

I can tell you a short interesting story about Henriette Hirschland. At the beginning of the 20th century, there has been a big park in Düsseldorf, called “Simon Hirschland Park”. It was owned by the Hirschland Family from Essen. At that time it was common for wealthy traders to spend a portion of their wealth for the public good.

Click to view larger map — Henriettenstraße

Continue Reading

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