Rotterdam Resistance

from Annemarie den Hartog,
Frits Hirschland’s cousin

My uncle Herbert Hirschland and his brother Rudy came to the Netherlands before the war started because of the rise of Adolf Hitler. Frits’ father, my Uncle Herbert, hide from the Germans in both my grandparents’ houses. He hid in The Hague (in a basement). My grandfather (Leen Boender, my father’s dad), was a member of the resistance in Rotterdam. He helped Jews with false passports and food stamps (ration coupons?). Uncle Herbert lived in their house in 1943/45, and before that he he lived in a chicken house.

Rotterdam after the 1940 Blitz. Photo from Wikipedia.

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A Hirschland Hallmark Moment

contributed by Michael & Danie Reisner


My grandmother’s (Elizabeth) father, Wilhelm Marx, owned a substantial printing concern in Munich. My grandfather Hans worked in that business.

In addition, Hans’ father-in-law, Solomon Archenhold, had owned a factory in Wetzlar/Ehringshausen, Germany, that manufactured meat grinding equipment for butchers. In the first world war, the factory was turned into a munitions factory. Continue Reading

The Sinking of the ZamZam

by Victoria Hirschland Hess — comment added Feb. 6, 2012

The story of the Zamzam and how six-year-old Peter Levitt, his sister Wendy, and their mother Kathleen (nee Hirschland) survived its being shelled and captured by a German Raider in 1941 could be just another sad WWII story. Yet our cousins survived the sinking and the almost a year and a half of imprisonment afterwards, finally traveling from Liebenau, Germany, to Palestine, as part of a prisoner exchange, and eventually to a delayed reunion with their father and husband, Lionel Levitt, in South Africa. Continue Reading

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

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

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.

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