More on South America

From Victoria

Though we do not yet have stories from the other members of our family that took up residence in South America.  I understand from the Nathans that their family textile business included a branch in Buenos Aires. I have also been told that some of the banking members of the family had offices in that area. A look at the Hirschland Map shows that we have identified records of family member in Brazil, Argentina, and Chili. Yet we have not been in touch with most of them, and would love to hear their stories.

Recently, Daniel received an email from a family member of Kurt Rosenbaum, a Communist party member of the German Reichstag. Although it was thought that he disappeared in 1937, Daniel was told that Kurt and his wife had actually emigrated to Bolivia in 1943.

From Sigrun: Kurt Rosenbaum,  was the husband of my father’s aunt ( Hedwig Steiner, during the war she had the name : Sarah Rosenbaum). In 1942 she traveled alone (Tran-Siberian Railway, then by ship across the Pacific) to Cochabamba, Bolivia. Her husband Kurt Rosenbaum followed her, maybe 1 year later. They lived in Cochabamba with other Germans  cannot tell you whatwork they did for living. I only can tell you, that Kurt Rosenbaum lived safely in Cochabamba. The couple later divorced.  They had no children.

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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)!

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

From Records to Revolution

by Victoria Hirschland Hess — Added March 6, 2011

Frits Hirschland, 1988, Bern

Frits Hirschland, 1988, Bern

In the last minutes of 1986, my boyfriend and I returned early from our New Years Eve outing and the phone was ringing. It was a Frits Hirschland, calling from Amsterdam. I have never heard from him or of him before, and in fact, had not at the time known that Hirschlands still lived in Europe, having survived the war there. I still believed the family myth that my grandfather, Franz, had saved the entire family, while those who told that story were really talking only of our branch of it.

Frits was obviously quite drunk, and surprised that he had found me home, since it wasn’t yet midnight in Washington. He said he had looked through phone books, found my name, knew we were related, and decided to call and wish me a Happy New Year. We went through the “are we related” dance, and he debunked the family myth. I had the impression that he had not yet slept that night, though it was almost 6 a.m. in Amsterdam. Continue Reading