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

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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 Harveys

updated Feb. 27, 2011, with thanks to Peter Levitt, Richard’s cousin

The tree: Salomon Herz Hirschland (one of the three original brothers) >> Moses Hirschland >> Richard Hirschland >> Sydney Harvey (born Hirschland) >>Anthony Harvey >>Richard Harvey

I have found another renamed UK Hirschland family, the Harveys. The Harveys were actually known to several living Hirschland family members through their banking connections, though they were not listed on any of the family trees that I had in my possession. One evening while scrolling through many pages of Google search results for Hirschland, I found the following listing and opened the 50 page e-book that it referred to:

But I’m Jewish!
headmaster at his school told him, “Hirschland, in the future you will be known as Harvey.” The story goes that my grandfather recognised that a name like
jewsforjesus.org/resources/ebooks/archive/harvey/harvey.pdf Continue Reading

The Hannams

posted Dec. 9, 2010

The tree:  Salomon Herz Hirschland (one of the three original brothers) >> Levi Hirschland >> Joseph Hirschland >> Max Hirschland  >> Karl Hirschland (now Charles Hannam)

Charles Hannam was born Karl Hirschland in Essen in 1925. He lived there until he left in May, 1939. He was the son of Max Hirschland, owner of the Levi Hirschland Bank, and had an older (by five-years) sister named Margot.

Charles’ First Book

Karl grew up in a privileged life, though not as much as the children of the Simon Hirschland Bank owners. The Levi Hirschland Bank had fallen on hard times during the economic crisis following WWI, so much so that at least one historian has said that it went under. But family historians, as well as Charles in his book on his early life, A Boy in that Situation, differ. The bank still operated well into the 1930s, and Karl was being groomed to be a banker.

Karl grew up going to Services at what is now called the Alte Synagogue (built with funding from Simon Hirschland and others), but was not terribly observant at home. Ham and other sausages were a regular part of his diet. 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

Walter & Ruth’s Escape

Contributed by Dan Olson … October 9, 2010

Tree:   Salomon Herz Hirschland (one of the three original brothers) >>Salomon Hirschland >>Levi Hirschland >>Otto Hirschland >>Walter Leo Hirschland (and Ruth).. >>Sandra Lee Hirschland Olson >>Daniel Olson

Otto’s son, Walter Hirschland (my grandfather, Opa). He left Germany in the late 1930’s with his girlfriend … (my grandmother, Oma, Ruth Kapizky). They went to England, where she had family (an uncle?) who ran a chemistry lab. They gave Walter a job as a janitor in the lab while he awaited the paperwork for his application to go to America. By mistake, he disposed of some chemicals in the incinerator, and they exploded. As a result, he spent a bit of time in the hospital.

Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. wikipedia

At one point during the war, England decided to kick out all the Germans who were temporarily residing there. While Walter was in the hospital, he received both the notice to leave England and the paperwork to go to America. He and Ruth went to the American Embassy to get everything in order. Walter’s hope was to go to America alone, then, once he had established himself, bring Ruth over to marry. He was informed the only way she would ever be allowed to America was if they were married in England, and if they went over together. Walter asked where the closest place was they could marry, and the ambassador volunteered to perform the ceremony. That was Joseph Kennedy. Continue Reading

On Tracing the Hirschland Family Tree

Contributed by Victoria Hirschland Hess — October 2, 2010

I set up this Hirschland family group after meeting my second cousins here in Jackson Hole last month, I recognized that there was so many more Hirschlands than we realized, even with the almost 300 descendants of Isaac Hirschland that Henry Hirschland identified. I became inspired to track down lost Hirschlands, and learn their stories.

Two versions of the Hirschland Family ring. Do you have one too?

But we don’t know much about the broken branches Hirschland family. The descendents of Simon Hirschland’s siblings — Levi, Abraham, Moses, Solomon, and Goltchen — were not recorded on the available family trees. So imagine my joy (and sorrow) when Karrie Hirschland Sundbom wrote me after I started to find Hirschlands on Facebook. In her words:

Unfortunately I personally do not know which of the Essen Hirschlands we are descended from. My great grandfather was Otto Hirschland and he was married to Lily. They were taken into Dachau I believe the day before they were to emigrate to England and then America to meet their child, Walter (my grandfather) and sadly never made it out. Walter and his fiancee (my grandmother Ruth) made it to America sponsored by Frank or Franz Hirschland … I would love it if you knew how we could trace Otto into the Hirschland family. All we know is that they (we) are Essen Hirschlands!

Continue Reading