MEMOIRS of Albert [Ludwig] DANN




The “Family Memories of our brother and brother-in-law Wilhelm have pleased  my daughters so much   that I decided at once to  record my memories as well for my descendants as far as they concern  my youth and the families DANN-STEIN.  For this purpose,  I can rely on the one hand upon the “Family Tree of the Danns” where the succession of generations is recorded from the year 1627,  on the other hand on the blue book which  aunt Bettina Landauer compiled for his descendants and in his honour on the occasion of  the 100th anniversary of  grandfather Leopold Stein’s birth     -  The Dann family tree  was the diligent effort of Wilhelm Dann who had it printed in 1870. It contains, however,  only the names and the dates of birth, as well as those of marriage and death as far as they were known.  Dr.Alexander Dietz refers to this family tree in his “Stammbuch der Frankfurter Juden” (Register of the Frankfurt Jews),  p.54,  but remarks “like all  similar occasional efforts,  it contains many mistakes as far as the older generations are concerned.” According to Dietz,  the Danns immigrated to Frankfurt  in 1530;  they were descendants of the Levi rabbi Joseph from Mantua (p.569). Be that as it may,  it seems sure to me that the Danns belonged to the tribe of Levi.

All the houses in the Judengasse (street of the Jews) had badges (Schilder), hence the names Rothschild, Schwarzschild etc. The Dann’s house had a badge with a pine tree (Tanne), and with time and use this was shortened to “Dann” ( the same book, p.54)

In this context, I want to mention at once two pictures that hang here in our room in the same disposition as they used to  hang over my sister Clemy’s desk  in Augsburg.  One is the portrait of the Schutzjude Baer Dann, born 1634, who was entitled to practice his trade in Frankfurt  under the protection of the government.  The other  picture shows Beer Loeb Dann (born 11 May 1781) and his wife Karoline née Gompertz (born October 1785).  On the back is the remark “Mr. Beer  Loeb Dann and his wife Gellche Gompertz have today sworn their citizen’s  oath; Frankfurt /Main 12 February 1812,  the Mayor.” The portrait of the protected Jew appears to be widely known,  as documented by an incident that occurred in Elisheva’s room in Haifa. A gentleman came in order to enquire about English lessons.  Suddenly he stopped in the conversation  and pointing at this little picture asked: “How is it you have this portrait of the protected Jew Dann? It hangs in the Jewish Museum in Vienna of which I used to be the director.”   I mention these two pictures already now at the beginning because in the following I will limit myself only to my personal experience and recollection.

  A “Schutzjude,  literally “protected Jew”  was entitled,  under the authority of the local  prince to practise  his trade

My parents were  Ludwig and Thea Dann.  My father  was born  on January 18, 1838 and died on 29th February 1908. My mother was born  on 11th March 1841 and died on 1st November 1900.  Both parents are buried  in Augsburg. Since my father was  an admirer of the then rabbi of Frankfurt Jewish Community,  he  frequently came to his house, and thus came to love the rabbi’s daughter Thea. My  parents were married on November 15, 1863.    In my parent’s home reigned an atmosphere of  harmony,  mutual respect and piety. Observance of duty and conscientiousness were the supreme law. The Sabbath was rigorously kept.  Never would my father open a business letter or tolerate matters of business to be discussed on that day,  whereas that was when he loved to write to his children or read their letters.  He was highly educated,  rather made to be a scientist;   well versed in the classics and strictly truthful. ”Truth, - he maintained – must never be veiled. You can and should tell the truth to anyone ; it must only be done in the proper form. If I have to face an unpleasant conversation,  I start  right away; after  that , I feel better.”  It shows that my father would not have been suitable for the diplomatic career; nor was he always the right person for business talks.  As long as he had an income,  he always gave 10% to the poor,  even at times when the income was far below  the modest expenses of his household.  He never touched tobacco or a card game but did not despise a good glass of wine.  His business obliged him to travel a lot both for buying and selling. When a travelling salesman set up a competitive firm,  a  Berlin branch was opened,  and it was proudly stated that Leopold Stein was the only firm in Stralauer Strasse to be closed on Saturday.  About  business development I will report later.  My father could be quite harsh if he saw that somebody close to him was being wronged or whenever it became known that disreputable means were used in politics.   For all his life he was a convinced democrat and every day read his  Frankfurter Zeitung,  also reading from it to his wife,  who,  with her lively intelligence  , often spotted between the lines what   father had hardly suspected.  For recreation,  he went to the Citizen’s Association where he played chess not at all badly.  His most prominent trait was his boundless trust in God which never failed him,  not even in the saddest moments.  He firmly believed that he would be reunited with his  beloved Thea.  “With everyone of our dear ones that  leaves us,  the ties to Heaven become stronger until they finally  become so strong that  we are pulled up there in our turn. “ What a wonderful gift is a faith so strong.  Shortly before his death, he said to me: “Nilah is drawing close.”  I wanted to contradict him, but he insisted:  “My bags are packed, I can depart  any time.”


My mother!  It has always been  my deep regret  that none of you has known her.  While gifted with a most lively mind, she had a wonderful heart. She was open to all that is good and beautiful,  understood with lightening speed things that others  realized only much later.  Full of energy and always serene,    her “sayings” were a source of pleasure for all who heard them; her letters in which she described  what had happened to her bubbled with liveliness.  Apt to act on the spur of the moment,  she was  most generous to others in spite of the strained conditions in which my parents had to live. Yes,  helpful and generous,  that was my mother. When she had an idea – and often she had good ones -  she  put it into practice at once.   One example for many:  Close to our home, was the wholesale  business  Feisenberger Brothers.  One of the owners had recently lost his wife, his two daughters were therefore  motherless. When she went into the premises,  my mother was told they did only wholesale business,  but mother managed to get hold of the owner himself and asked him for “a dozen little combs for my Clemy;  she breaks so many that I want  to buy them by the dozen.  Salomon Feisenberger gave  her the little combs and  also accepted with pleasure her invitati0on  for a cup of coffee.  Not much later, he became the husband of  aunt Bella.  Also Mathilde Landauer and subsequently Anna Landauer  owed their marriages to mother’s initiative and also these matches were very happy.  Before her marriage at the age of 22,  mother had taught various subjects in the girls finishing school  her father had founded.  My parent’s marriage was most harmonious; they used to share all their worries as well as their joys.


My parents were married on November 15, 1863 and soon moved to Schnurgasse  43, 3rd floor.  That is where I was born on January 5, 1868 as my parent’s third child.  Before me, Bertrand was born  on November 21, 1864 but died on 29 May 1865.  Clementine Thea was born on 24th February 1866.  After me,  another little girl came,  Laura, born 7 December 1871,  but she lived only five days.   Soon after my birth,  there were serious differences with  grandfather Stein who insisted that I should be called after his father, Abraham. My father would have consented but mother  refused resolutely. “I won’t call a child Abraham so that he will be mocked  because of his name during military service.”   The result was that for a long time grandfather refused to enter our home.


I must have been a very obedient child; my mother used to tell that when I was restless after being put to bed,  she would shout at me: “turn towards the wall and sleep,”   I would fall asleep at once. Clemy and I always got on well with each other and we were rarely separated.   Once,  on Yom Kippur, while our parents were in the synagogue,  we went out with the dolls’ pram and when we came back,  the maid demanded that we clean the wheels before going up to the 3rd floor.  To make up for this chore unsuitable for the solemnity of the day, we lifted the pram to the outer window sill, where we crossed each other repeatedly. How easily could we have fallen down from the 3rd floor! Children  have their guardian angel!  I often used to sit astride the window sill and chat with the people of the 2nd floor., and how I adored riding down the stairs on the banisters; wonderful, how fast it went from the 3rd floor!

Once, when together with my parents I visited my grandfather  Dann who was a widower and had to rely on  housekeepers who always asked for higher wages,  there was again a case of this kind that had to be discussed.  This was  a subject I should be involved in and therefore I was sent to the kitchen to keep company to  the lady in  question.  What did the enfant terrible do? ! “You know,  Frau Boog, what they are talking about and I should not hear? They want to give you notice because you have asked for more money.”  That was of course a stupid and cheeky thing to do and if I had not known myself,  I would have been sure to learn it on the way home.


I had a good relationship with my only sister. We were very close to each other for all our lives. I owed my position in Augsburg to her clever and important influence; About this,  I will tell later. In our childhood,  she was quicker and cleverer than I and occasionally I had to suffer bitterly from her superiority.  We went both to the same school,  the Philantropin, and thus had the same way.  Once, Frau Stern,  the needlework teacher, came into my classroom during lessons.  “Albert Dann, give this note to your  parents  but don’t tell Clemy.”  On the way home,  Clemy asked me whether Frau Stern had given me a note, which I confirmed. “Listen to me,  today is Friday and I have to go back to school immediately after lunch. You give the note after I have gone out. When I come home,  it is already the eve of Shabbat and  I won’t be scolded.” I, of course,  did exactly as she had told me with the result that I was beaten and had to stand in the corner while Clemy went scot-free.  The note said that she had been reading under the bench during lessons.


Our way to school was alarming: all lessons ended at the same time and we pupils of the Philantropin were  always the minority.  When we met the pupils of the other schools, there always resounded the war cry – I can still hear it -  “the Jews are coming!” and immediately the brawl began.  Only when Alfons Landauer was with us things went a little better, because he was capable of hitting out hard.  Thus, we met with and were worried by anti-semitism already in our childhood.

I was an indifferent pupil.  Homework was hideous to me;  I much preferred to play.

However,  I came through my school years without much effort  and even  took the “Selecta” follow-up and received  a copy of Goethe’s “Hermann und Dorothea” with a dedication from the headmaster as a parting gift . But I was always ready to take part in any mischief one of my companions had thought  out;  mostly, I was the fool in the forefront who put it into practice.    Hence,  many bad marks in the register and the notes of confinement which had to be signed  and never failed to provoke a  dressing down  from my mother the text of which I knew by heart; from the paedagogic point of view they were totally inefficient.  Of course,  the boy always  intended  to better himself but at the topical moment,  all good intentions  were forgotten.   During the dressing  down I was threatened with the reformatory,  with being sent to America,  and during the last years at school it was predicted that I would “end up in a penitentiary”.  But America was the least, more impressive for me  was that I would cause my mother to “cry herself to death”. 

I was top of the class in English,  earned praise for my pronunciation for which my classmates mocked me. Also in French I was fairly good and managed to pronounce the sentence “ quand il y a des troubles dans un pays, les affairs vont mal” like a real Frenchman.  In the remaining subjects I usually had good marks;  only in conduct there were problems. Mostly it said III – satisfactory: only once, ( please really only once)  , it said  IV “not without blame,  has failed to respect his teacher.” That really spoiled the annual report! But it was justified. This is how it had happened: I had again to be confined from 12 to 1 o’clock because there were three remarks in the register.  However,  since I had to be back at school at 2 o’clock and the way back home and back to school  took about 30 minutes,  it was decided  that I stay at school.  I was given 13 Pfennige with which I bought a piece of bread and a Salzgurke which I  ate with great pleasure in the company of Rosenbaum, who  was some years older than myself and was a rascal; he was even confined for the whole of the lunchtime break.  He pointed out the  large white patches  on the map of Africa where the Sahara desert was,  tempting me: “What about writing something in there; it looks so empty.”   I was prepared immediately and with large letters wrote “Hampel”  (our geography and history teacher, Dr. Steinhardt who had bow legs and therefore was nicknamed Hampel). It seemed a wonderful idea to my  naughty brain. How often had we  wished we could send Hampel to the desert!  Wonderful!   What followed could hardly have showed me more stupid.  Dr.Steinhardt stopped me on the stairs asking: “What have you written in room .. on the map of Africa?”  Taken aback by the sudden question and having been convinced that the culprit could never have been identified,  instead of  any excuse I said: “Your nickname, Herr Professor.” I could slap my face even now for having been so idiotic,  but Dr.Steinhardt took it upon himself  do it thoroughly with his bony hands.  In addition, I had another hour’s confinement and another  dressing down from mother.  To make matters even worth,  the headmaster visited us during our confinement and gave me  two more resounding boxes on the ear.  Enough about my pranks although I could record many more.


My mother was a great friend of baroness Therese von Rothschild.  The friendship must have originated  when my grandfather  Rabbi Leopold Stein was the teacher of  Baron Meyer Carl Rothschild’s daughters..   When the youngest daughter Clementine died in  1865, Baroness Therese asked  my mother to call the child she was expecting,  provided it would be a girl,  after the deceased. That is how my sister got her name.  Even after our mother died,  Baroness Rothschild  kept in touch with us.    I still possess a series of very affectionate letters , as well as a particularly lovely pastel portrait. There was also  a photo in a silver frame with the name and dates of the late baroness Clementine, both of which came to my sister after our mother’s death. We wanted to prevent these things falling into the hands of the Nazis and my sister had exchanged letters about them with Baron Henri.  According to his suggestion,   in December 1938 we sent it to Paris,  but Baron Henri’s secretary wrote to us that the portrait had not arrived.   Probably, it was kept back in Germany.  - 


When we were children we were often invited to the Guentersburg” to play with Henri and Jeanne.  How proud were we when the butler served us at lunch with  white gloves and I don’t know whether that was more thrilling or whether it was even better when we  were brought home in  the coach lined with blue velvet,  drawn by two horses and with the liveried servant at the back.. Sometimes,  when she received a present from Baroness R.,  my mother would say: ”From a little golden carriage, sometimes a little golden nail will drop.” Great excitement was always caused when the valet came to bring “ the box”,  i.e. the ticket for the  stage-box (first floor) in the theatre and it was a real feast when we were allowed to join.   When our parents went out in the evening,  Clemy and I would play “Rothschilds”;  each of us had a cup of  millk and a roll. “Henri,  what have you brought along for supper ?” “To night, I have humming-bird tongues and Regina Victoria salad; and you, Jeanne?”  “I have  nectar and ambrosia.” We felt like the children of dukes sitting on the desk with  two little chairs in front of us which we shook in order to imitate the pattering of the horses hoofs until the people from the floor below sent up to say would we please  stop the noise.

After she had moved to France,  the Baroness had often invited mother to Berque-sur-mer  but mother had never managed to make use of the invitation.  However,  whenever she came back to her old home, the Baroness visited my mother and when the three flights of stairs became too hard for her,  two valets carried her up the narrow stairs.  We  had to leave to the Nazis,  like all our silver,  the very beautiful table decoration that had been our wedding present from the Baroness. And the same was the fate of a number of valuable objects my parents had received from her over the years and which had passed into our possession.  My mother was very good at embroidery and over the years had  presented a number of beautiful  pieces of needlework to the Baroness.  I can still see mother  sitting by the window and embroidering partly from nature and partly from her own fancy.  Mostly   carnations in all shades were her speciality; a gigantic effort were  the covers of our sitting room furniture – carnations in all colours on black material – after we moved to Unterlindau 11.   Whenever something got a spot or mark that would not come off,  mother would say comfortingly: “I will embroider a butterfly on it.”  Even shortly before her death when she had completely lost conscience,  she still moved her hands on the bed cloth as if she were embroidering;  embroidery had become her second nature.  The hours when I could sit by her side and chatter with her enjoying her amusing and unassuming ways, belong to my most treasured memories.  This  happened mostly on Saturday afternoons; for her,  embroidering was not work  but pleasure.


Later, however,  she put her art at the service of  the firm Leopold Dann & Co. about which I have to tell that it was founded in 1864 by Leopold and Ludwig Dann in premises opposite our home in Schnurgasse 36,  “Trimmings for curtains and furniture”. Initially perhaps the business yielded sufficient income for the upkeep of two families; subsequently, however,  after several travelling agents had set up their own businesses thus becoming competitors, this was no longer the case.  In addition,  there was altogether no future for this type of article, but nevertheless it was decided to start production.  Uncle Leopold was  an enthusiast about machinery and industry but was heavily cheated when acquiring second-hand machinery that required a lot of  repairs and therefore proved unprofitable.   As a matter of fact,  the business had never been a real financial success.  All my parents’ hopes were pinned upon my entry into the business, i.e. that I would boost it to success.  However,  instead of  placing me into a different business where I could have learned new methods to be then used in our firm,  I was  made to enter into the family business where I learned  the trade from scratch.   After that,  I did my one-year’s military service and then I was supposed to start travelling and raise the business to new fortune.  I did not bring new ideas to this job; where should I have got them from? Thus, things went on in the style of Leopold and Ludwig Dann as before but it became clear that the business did not yield enough for the upkeep of two families. As a result, uncle Leopold left the firm and my mother started a department of embroidery of which , of course,  she was the soul. New modern premises were found in a good position (Zeil,  corner Kaiser Karl street, called also “Fratzeneck”).  But even this change did not bring the hoped-for  uplift. Greater expenses for rent and personnel ate up most of the gains.

The embroidery business was on the entresol and could be reached from the shop by a flight of stairs.  In order to spare the clients these stairs   mother had her embroideries brought down into the ground floor shop which meant that there was always personnel on the stairs and often  brought the wrong pieces which mother did not want. Once,  one of the shop assistants said “The last straw would be Mrs. Dann saying. ‘Please Mr.Wolf,  carry this lady upstairs,  or better still, bring the whole entresol down.’”   Every client’s complaint was taken most seriously;  never loose a client at any price! was mother’s motto.   Before my parents moved to Augsburg,  I managed to sell the firm for a satisfactory price to our competitors Frankfurter & Kaufmann in Frankfurt.


Owing to his activity as a supervisor in the synagogue  my father had   met a wine merchant,  Heinrich Strauss, who had moved into Frankfurt from Kreuznach.  Our two families became friendly and one day,  returning from the synagogue, Mr.Strauss said to my father: “If I could find a reliable young man like your Albert,  I would send him as a salesman to America where, so far,  I have not done any business “.We came quickly to an agreement and at the beginning of August 1892, I departed armed with 101 letters of introduction, on the HAPAG steamer “Fuerst Bismarck” , first class,  for New York.  For me, this was quite an adventurous undertaking.  I had learned English at school but a travelling salesman intent on selling wine on his own would have needed a little more  practice in conversation. To start from the beginning: on Saturday, immediately before our landing,   shortly before midday, there  were sandwiches of which I devoured several with the intention of swapping lunch.  About 1 o’clock, I came to my hotel, , unpacked my suitcase and  … cried from home-sickness when I put up my parents’ photos. Nevertheless,  hunger made itself felt after a while so that I entered the dining room about 3 o’clock. I found myself in an enormous completely empty hall in which I was the only guest. To the waiter who brought me a glass of ice water and a little plate with some butter. I said “I will no butter” Waiter. “This does not cost anything.”  I:  “All right, let it here. I will eat something.” He brought the menu; I was shocked by the prices and ordered the  dish that cost less: kidney  of beef with mushrooms, having calculated that  75 cents corresponded to  3.15 Mark. The food comes, bone dry, absolutely uneatable even though in the meantime I had become quite hungry.  The waiter asked me if perhaps I could speak German,  reveals himself a compatriot  and brings a proper American  beefsteak with an egg on top.  From then on,  he was my “friend” as he took back the uneatable dish without charging for it. 


Practically all my letters of introduction had the business addresses and being Saturday,  everything was closed.  The only person whose private address I had was a Mr.Gerstle whom I went to visit.  I found him at home but on the point of leaving for the countryside,  He invited me for lunch on Monday  and bowed me out immediately.  There I was again, utterly alone on a foreign continent; what was I to do during all of  Sunday?  At the hotel desk they suggested  I should  walk up Broadway and there I was lucky to meet two acquaintances from the boat:  the Austrian consul from Havana,  Berndt who could proceed there only on Monday,  and Geheimrat Dietrich,  admiral of the German fleet.  They were busy looking for a third man for a game of skat;  thus all three of us were satisfied.  In the following weeks, I quickly learned to converse in English.


Thanks to all those letters of recommendation,  I was quickly introduced into a number of family  households,  most of them Jewish.  Above all Jacob H.Schiff, the well-known financier and benefactor,  who is also mentioned in the Dann genealogical tree,  welcomed me most kindly as a result of the recommendation of his brother  Phillip Schiff whose son was so helpful for the refugees in London. 


This first trip was quite successful and in December 1892. I returned home. A second tour in January ’93 was a mistake.  My clients had not yet  unpacked the first delivery,  I had no new letters of introduction and to make matters even worse there was a black day at the stock exchange .  If my first trip had been only moderately successful,  the second one was a downright failure and this was the sorry end of my career as wine merchant.


At once I resumed my activity as a commercial traveller for my father’s business but soon realized  that there was no future in furniture trimmings.  It was the time when furniture without upholstery started becoming the fashion.  When,  early in 1897 my sister came to visit our parents in Frankfurt and invited me in the name of her husband to move to Augsburg and become his partner,  I accepted this offer with pleasure.  Benno and Eduard Heymann had retired and on 1st April 1897, I entered as the fully authorised co-proprietor of Gebrueder Heymann  . Uncle Siegmund, whom only Sophie and Thea knew, loved our daughters as if they were his own children.  Although for him nothing was more important than work,  he was prepared to leave everything as soon  the two came into the premises.  While as a rule he was a man of few words,  he became downright amiable  and never let the girls go away without  a little gift (chocolate tree). In summer 1905, he had gone to St.Moritz  for a holiday and there had to undergo an appendix operation as a result of which after six weeks of suffering he died in the Samaden hospital.  He had been an exceptionally upright man with an excellent character.  We had all been very fond of him. For my sister who was only 39 it was an extremely hard blow.  As for myself,  not only did I have to run the business all alone,  I also had  to assist my sister in all her affairs.


 Giving way to our insistence,  our parents had moved to Augsburg in the spring of 1900.  Unfortunately,  mother could not enjoy for long the life in common with her offspring.  However affectionately and  attentively she was looked after,  her diabetes and kidney  trouble were too far advanced for the competence of our dear and very competent Dr.Kalb  to be of any help.  She died on 1st November 1900.  My father’s household was soon dismantled and he moved to live with his daughter in Voelkstrasse .  From now on,  he was the object of all our solicitude. For his 70th birthday,  we prepared a  lovely celebration which he termed the best thing that had happened to him in his old age.  It was a fitting conclusion to his life; he died on 29th February 1908.

From now on,  my widowed sister devoted all the energy of her strong personality  to social work.  She started assisting the president of the Jewish Women’s Association, Kathy Haymann and subsequently took over the chairmanship herself.  She helped the poor and needy not only with monetary subsidies but tried to  identify herself with the situation of those who sought her help and thanks to her lively intelligence was often able to offer good advice owing to which more than  a few  people could successfully make a new start.  She founded the    Hauspflege  and the Brockensammlung    She was active also in the setting up of the Soziale Frauenschule   and you will remember that during the war she was the  head of the Naehsaal    In addition to her  public activity,  she did a lot of good privately and anyone,  Jew or Non-Jew,  knew that they could  come to her  with their worries and sorrows.  As a result,  even in her last years when she was no longer able to leave her home she had a full life . She died on 19th February 1939 and thus her wish  to die before our emigration was fulfilled.   It would have been very difficult for us to depart and leave the severely ill woman alone to her fate.  We had been very close throughout our lives and she had extended her attachment to me to  your mother and to you, our children.

You will certainly remember that because of my voluntary  military service in 1914-16 and in recognition of  my voluntary activity as director of the  meat assignment organisation  I was awarded the title of “Kommerzienrat”  But it seems important to me that also the conversation I had a long time before with the Mayor should be recorded: about September 1924, the Mayor summoned me  and told me that  in view of my commitment for the good of our city he wanted to nominate me for this title;  was I ready to accept it?   I assured him of my gratitude  for his benevolence and that I would gladly accept the title if it was   awarded to me. He adde4d: “There is a little question to be discussed in advance:   the Ministry  appreciates it if  on these occasion a certain sum is offered for some public purpose.

In your case I will not suggest the amount,  I leave it to you; think about it and let me have  your reply as soon as possible.”   I answered: “Unless  it be considered immodest on my part,  I will answer here and now.” He: “That makes things a lot easier.”   My answer: “You know that you have always found me ready  to sustain any good cause I felt deserving,  by financial contributions.   As a result of to-day’s conversation,  in future I will no longer be prepared to do the same.  In fact,  I do not want to give even the impression  that I was trying to  make myself popular  in order to receive the recognition you mentioned.  Either I have deserved it and in that case I want to get it free of charge or I have to BUY it which would cost me all my self-respect.”  He replied: “That is what I had expected.  I will try nevertheless but you will have to wait..”  I answered him: “My dear Mayor, I am not in a hurry.  I am the man I am with or without the title.”   As a matter of fact,  I was awarded the title at Christmas 1927,  quite unexpectedly, when I had   altogether forgotten the above conversation.


But now I want to end the recollections that concern mainly myself,  and tell you about my extended family.

My grandparents DANN:  Samuel Baer Dann, born 18.6.1807, died 13.1.1889, married (March 1832)  to Sophie née Gundersheim, born 3.3.1806, died  6.12.1875. They lived  on the ground floor of nr. 20 Obermainstrasse which   uncle Leopold.  had bought.  A large garden belonged to it at the bottom of which the river Main flowed by.  There was a sukkah which during the year was used as a summer-house  since it was very solid; during Sukkot, the roof could be removed by a hoist. The street was  quite out of the way; far from any  traffic,  or as my mother used to say, “at the very end of Frankfurt”.  But it was a well-built house and the price was low; the unfavourable position did not disturb the buyer (according to the principle: as much as possible for as little money as possible).


My grandmother was  a well-bred lady; she spoke  fluent French and when perusing the diary she kept through the years 1832-1842   one has  proof of the conscientiousness and devotion to duty with which she brought up and took care of the five children that were born during  that time.  Every minor  health problem  was immediately dealt with  while she sat day and night at the bedside of the sick child.  The diary is written in most beautiful German.  When we children came to visit while she was getting dressed,  she would open the door and call to her husband: “Samuel,  don’t give the children  any goose because I want to give them cake later.”  Of course,  the household was run on strictly orthodox lines.  Grandfather was a pious man who went to the synagogue also on working days and never missed a service. His advisor was his brother-in-law Niederhofheim  about whom I will say something below.  It seems, however,  that  grandfather was somewhat inconstant concerning his religious persuasions:  for some time he was a follower of Stein’s liberal teaching.  Therefore his sons had composed a rhyme: “Have you heard the very  latest news,  that our dear father has converted to Islam?”   He was a modest, simple person and very thrifty. He run a draper’s business in Frankfurt.  As an appendix I add an advertisement which shows the wide range of articles offered, as well as a “codicil  to the marriage contract” of which I possess the original and which shows the  extremely  modest conditions and mentality according to which people were marred at the time.  Whenever a visitor came to see him,  he would first go to look at the clock on the Kaunitz ;  one had to stay at least as long as it took to come to him and go back home.  As a matter of fact,  he was very lonely,  could no longer read and if you tried  to comfort him by saying  that his daughter Sidonie lived on the floor above he would answer disparagingly: “Sidonie buttons her gloves”  (in other words,  she comes in for a moment when she goes out).  My grandparents had seven children: Sidonie (8.8.35-9.3.09), Wilhelm (10.10.36 – 23.12.92),  Ludwig (18.1.38 – 29.2.08), Joseph (11.3.39 – 19.10.90),  Max (8.11.40 – 8.11.14),  Leonore (16.9.43 – 20.10.02),  Gustav (29.12.44 – 22.3.75).  Their silver wedding must have been a big celebration.


Before I start telling about the families of their offspring, I want to deal with  the personality of Benjamin Niederhofheim.   He lived in Rechneigrabenstrasse opposite our school and sometimes when I met him he would say I should greet my mother from him, making a mistake in German (Gruss an DER Mamma,  instead of  an DIE Mamma)  and when I corrected him,  he termed me a “cheeky boy” and continued to make the same mistake every time.   This Benjamin  (please the accent was on ja) often came to see grandfather to keep the lonely man company and told the  biggest lies,  it was obvious there was not a shred of truth in them but grandfather listened wide-eyed whereas I, the rascal, watched the movements of his hands and then retold the stories everywhere not without     imitating his faint lisp which enhanced the success of my mockery. I must admit,  I never had a more attentively listening audience.  (I still remember after almost 70 years the tale of the sugar basin, the beans frying in the heat of the sun or the keys sewn into the lining).  One should not “make fun of one’s neighbours weaknesses”,  but why did he have to dish up such

macroscopic lies?!


I don’t know much about the eldest son.  He was a bank clerk at Montague’s in London and was married to an uninteresting  Englishwoman: I was told that as a young man, if invited “Wilhelm, make a torrent of words”,  he could talk for hours on end  always passing from one subject to the next so that each one had a logical connection with the following one while the whole of the speech was  complete nonsense.   I have already ,mentioned that it was he who drew up  the Dann genealogical tree.  For his funeral, at Christmas 1892 – the cause of his death was never discovered – I went to London as the representative of the family wearing uncle Max’s elegant fur coat. It was shortly after I had returned from the States and due to my pronunciation I was taken for  an American.


Joseph was a scientist: He was fluent in nine languages and was professor at a language school or university.  He lived in London but for a time also in Amsterdam.  Because he had married a Christian,  he was no longer welcome in his parents’ home.  But after their death, he came repeatedly to Frankfurt and it was a real pleasure for my parents and myself to talk with him thanks to his brilliant intelligencve and  vast culture.  He had married far below his station   (“boarding house catch”). The family had three children: Lilly looked very much like my sister;  she was a nurse and was due to work in a lunatic asylum in South Africa.  On her voyage there in 1901 she happened to be on the same boat as uncle Berthold. He was asked if he was ready to play the piano with her,  and when he was told her name he found that she was my cousin.  Berthold  saw to it that she obtained some advantages on the further journey.   Lilly married in England one Dr.Middleweek   who died young. Her younger sister Agnes married one Mr.Hayworth;  she was much less interesting than Lilly and often came to uncle Berthold asking his advise about this and that.  Both sisters have completely vanished from our view.  Herbert,  the only son had a mental illness and spent many years in an institution.  After his father’s death  about which we learned only a lot later, I became his guardian and every year had to present a short report to the British authorities. However,  Herbert died soon.


Gustav,  the youngest was a cripple.  It was said that the maid had let him fall. He had a real hunchback and probably  suffered also from asthma,  he died aged 31 unmarried. He was a refined, intelligent and highly cultured person.  I only remember that he would come to lunch with us once a week;  apart from that he was rarely with us.


Max; well, uncle Max was the highlight of the family. Witty, amiable and well educated.  Contrary to his siblings,  he was a man of the world through and through.

His trade was in furs which meant that he had travelled  widely and many people came to him from all sorts of places. He always knew the latest jokes  and told them with a very serious attitude.  You had to start laughing as soon as he started, but you could also ask his advice for the most serious problems. He played skat and he smoked,  two things that were severely frowned upon in the family.   But on Friday evening, he sang the smithot songs for his aging father for whom that was the greatest joy.  There existed, however,  also a funny version, as Rebbe Danechumsche,  a Frankfurt original, had sung them and if uncle Leopold on the 1st floor heard it,  he came tearing down the stairs to “stop the nonsense” with the result of a heated juridical discussion ,  much to the amusement of the children.  And if in addition the light on the stairs leading from the ground floor to the first floor had been turned down and Leopold,  grandfather’s brother, landlord and son-in-law, commanded it to be turned  up, there followed an endless struggle with the gaslight being turned up and down.  Leopold,  the landlord wanted the stairs to be well lit, grandfather  wanted to economize and had it turned down; it was impossible to come to an agreement. on Friday night it fell to the free-thinking visitors to reduce the flame.  In order to economize,  grandfather used to save every scrap of paper and to store them in the Kaunitz;  he would not part with them.  The governess, Mrs.Hebel, complained that she could not write to her son. Uncle Max promised to help her.  In the stationary shop he asked for writing paper at a reduced price. What was offered to him were sheets with the initials I.Z;  they were extremely cheep.  Who can describe Margarete Hebel’s happiness .when she got the box and uncle Max explained that he had taken them on purpose, I.Z. meaning “immer zufrieden” (always satisfied). Whether subsequently she nevertheless asked for higher wages I don’t remember. -  Uncle Max was also a member of the supervising committee of our school, altogether he enjoyed a position of much respect in Frankfurt. – His wife,  Ida née Wolf came from Darmstadt;  they were married on 18.10,1874,  they had no offspring.  This and the fact that we  almost always lived close to them explains why  we were often at their place,  almost as if we were their own children. Every week either  of us had lunch with them and I  often joined uncle for a game of skat.  Whatever  happened was first of all discussed with clever and experienced aunt Ida.  Every summer they made beautiful trips (once we even met them at Vulpera) and  one year they took Clemy with them albeit at our parents’ expenses.  Altogether they were not a bit generous towards us.  They lived in  more than comfortable circumstances and it would not have been  at all hard  for them if they had invited Clemy.  Equally, I would have been sure to have better prospects in the important fur firm but uncle always refused to take me into his business,  not even as an apprentice. The contract with his partner Haas,  he maintained, did not allow for it.  Uncle Max died in extremely sad circumstances on his 74th birthday.  You all knew aunt Ida, who used to come to Augsburg frequently,  and remember her good and less agreeable qualities.—I only want to add that it was her birthday when your mother consented to marry me.  The ladies  were together having coffee when my mother joined them and told them of our engagement, exclaiming again and again: “Isn’t that  girl lucky!”   Uncle Max must have been very much like me, since at my  father’s funeral several people came up to me saying they did not know I had an older brother.


The older ones of you have also known  Sidonie; she was   married to Leopold.. (born 11.6.1826,  died 19.9.1900),   her father’s youngest brother.  This couple, too, had no offspring. When she returned from school her mother told her. “Sidonie,  you are engaged” and her answer was “who says so?”  I  am not sure what to make of this strange reply:  was she who had turned 16 the day before, in no doubt about the choice of her betrothed,  or did she only want to be sure that the information was reliable?   At any rate,  it shows how in 1831 marriages were decided and contracted. Her mother’s diary has nothing to say  about the arrangements before the engagement but tells us that on 14.11.52 a dowry of ten thousand gulden was  paid to the father-in-law,  i.e. to the father of Sidonie’s  father! Aunt Sidonie Dann was known far beyond Frankfurt for her social activity.  Contrary to most of  Frankfurt’s citizens she had a sensitive heart for the Jews from Eastern Europe;  a number of people owed her good positions and respect,  she found for the Russian Moritz Graetz  who later played an important role in the British diamond industry, a wonderful wife.  She founded the institution in Rueckert Strasse where single professional women  could live for a modest fee; it was a big help for them and in addition  they were often her guests for coffee on Friday evening  Und for Shabbat,.   cakes were always sent to the institution.    The poor also enjoyed the  generous charity of L & S Dann:  frequently, poor children were invited to the opera,  including a special tram to get there and back home at the expenses of the donors.  Here, at Ramot Hashavim, there lives  a woman whose parents  met  and fell in love at the Dann’s.   I remember both of them well.  They often arranged  big outings with up to 30-40 participants and with picnics in woods  where one ate what had been brought along in a cheerful and lively atmosphere since both Leopold and Sidonie were highly cultured and stimulating.  Three subjects were tabu:   I am hungry or thirsty  I am hot,  I am tired..    In spite of all these admirable qualities that cannot be sufficiently appreciated even nowadays,  the Dann’s standing in Frankfurt was not all that it should have been.  People inclined to show off found a lot to be criticized;  they gave money for  charitable purposes  and thought to have done enough good; but real social work and welfare,  understanding and help for those who were seeking employment, while limiting ones own expenses,  that was frowned upon  and mocked in Frankfurt and  there were not a few nasty remarks.    Sometimes aunt Sidonie got on our nerves  because she had a habit of telling things down to the most minute detail;  my mother used to call this: ”the table with a drawer”.

Sidonie and Leopold travelled widely and hardly ever missed an exhibition. Uncle Leopold had many interests and was incredibly eager to learn.  Whenever he met an expert,  especially during exhibitions,  he would buttonhole him and shower him with questions so that nobody else could get a word in.  My mother called him “sticky sand” or “paragon of virtue” and my father once said to him: “Some people make themselves popular by their amiable defects and some make themselves unpopular by their unbearable virtues;  you belong to the second lot.”   For Pesach we were all their guests;  I had started military service a few days before, and on the way to their home, Leopold asked me if I had eaten bread in the mess: At my affirmative reply he said: “If it were not that I don’t want to shame you in front of everybody,  I would disinvited you.” I answered: “That  you don’t need to do” and turned on my heels,  telling my parents what had passed between us and we all went home for our breakfast.  From then on, the   5 marks that up to then he had regularly  given me on Purim and Chanukah  failed to turn up.   Once when we were children,  we had  shortly entered the zoo before Friday evening without paying the entrance fee; uncle Leopold went there next day and paid for us.  He adored puns and in order to make them he would not even stop at hurting someone. During his last illness ,  I suggested  he try caviar;  he answered. “Ich weiss es wuerde mich erhalten, aber ich erhalte es nicht.” (I know it would save me, but I don’t get it;  “erhalten “ can have both these meanings).  On Yom Kippur he would stand all day long.  He died on 19.9.1900.


Aunt Sidonie mourned him deeply.   However,  after his death she became much more generous as she no longer had to fear her husband’s  miserly objections.  She came often to us in Augsburg  and showed much interest for our children.  Every year,  she made a lovely trip with my father whom she survived by almost two years.   When the first signs of her  illness appeared and the doctor told her she should keep to her bed,  she went to an art exhibition in order to take some beautiful impressions with her.  She was a woman of noble character,  great intelligence, and efficiency.  The wealth of admiration she had deserved from many quarters was clearly shown by

the many obituaries.  A number of ex-Frankfurters who live here in Ramot Hashawim and have known her still remember her  well.  Even her old family doctor, Dr.Guenzburg, often talks about her with admiration.

My grandparents’ youngest daughter was, I believe,  not normal. She was very irascible and one never knew where one was  with her;  she did not get on with her father.  After grandmother’s death,  she was sent to stay with some family in the countryside and one was not allowed to mention her name in grandfather’s presence

and spoke only about m.L. (mei’ Lorche)  I have no idea whether she did any work in the home or in agriculture in that place.   It seems, however, likely to me that if things had been really so bad,  she would have had to be interned in an institution.


My mother used to say: “The Dann have little drawers.  If something is disturbing,  they shut the drawer and open it only if  it is absolutely necessary.”  Or else she said: “they mend”,  i.e. they pick up the good threads and skip the disagreeable ones. How many of her “sayings” have become part of our family slang:  “I know his chickens and his geese”. “I knew him when he was only a little plumboy.”  Concerning a very magnificent meal she would say: “They held the paper bags by their tips”  You have to know that in the shops,  things were delivered in pointed paper bags and what she meant was that  the complete contents had been used. Whenever Clemy complained that one day she had no letter from her fiancée,  mother said: “Read the one from yesterday”.   She wanted her dear Sansche to move to Augsburg with her and tried to convince her saying:”  In Augsburg three regiments are stationed: infantry, artillery and cavalry;  therefore it will be easier for you to find a husband.”   As a matter of fact,  Sansche moved to Augsburg with my parents but I don’t know whether she found a husband.  With this I want to end my memories of the Danns and report something about the Stein family.


Your great ancestor Dr.Leopold Stein, born 5.11.1810,  died 2.12.1882 in Frankfurt/Main. Blessed be his memory.


As I mentioned already at the beginning,  aunt Bettina Landauer has written a book about his life,  including a number of letters and poems.  If you have read at least the first seven pages of the blue book that all of you possess,  you are well informed about your great-grandfather’s  life. 

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of his death, Dr.Seligmann in a speech given in the Frankfurt synagogue, said: “In 1826,  a bomb crashed into the medieval contemplative tranquillity of the Fuerth Talmud Highschool and caused  its  several hundred “bachurim”, i.e.  students of Jewish theology,  to scatter in all directions. The government of Bavaria  issued a disposition according to which  in addition to the Talmud the students had to study also German.  In order to be engaged as a rabbi one had to have a highschool and a university degree.  Stein had considered even before that the students were wasting their time with the  sole study of the Talmud and its hair-splitting interpretations. The German word for   wasting  (vergeuden)  was perhaps  not known to the learned rabbis or it was reported to them deliberately altered;  they understood he had said “vergoit” i.e.  contaminated with Christian influence.  They were shocked, exclaiming “he says vergoit!!” and from then on he was considered  a heretic. Many a time my grandfather told me about this misunderstanding on our walks with an amused grin,  calling it a fortunate turn since it meant that he could move from the yesheeva to a gymnasium  (highschool).  Whereas for many of his school mates it was a disaster,  for him it was definitely a turn for the better. Seligmann went on to say:  “A new generation of rabbis grew up who in addition to the traditional  study of the Talmud had absorbed into their soul all  the cultural elements offered by   their time..  Among the great leaders who stood at the cradle of a new age we find Leopold Stein,  one of the most admirable and influential  personalities among the 19th century rabbis.”

At the age of 24,  he was called to become the rabbi of Burgkundstadt   a busy place in Franconia:  He especially influenced the religious education of the young generation.  Many of his pupils emigrated to America  where they obtained wealth and standing.  They  always remembered their venerated teacher and kept their allegiance to him.  Some of them retired later to Frankfurt  where they all lived in the West of the town and founded the “Western Union”, a synagogue where men and women sat together, the men without headgear.  I can still see him as he contemplates his audience from the pulpit with the most amiable smile, and pronounces  his profound and brilliant sermons in a flowery language.


He had serious differences concerning matters of principle with the heads of the community.  He wanted to be a member of the administration  and to have a say  in questions concerning education and the religious needs of the young.  Since this was denied to him,  he resigned from his position as  rabbi of the community,  thus  renouncing a respected position in spite of his large family.   He subsequently founded a young ladies boarding school in his house at Mainzer Landstrsse 53 which for a long time enjoyed great consideration.  My mother and her sister  Bella helped him with the teaching.  When it was discussed whether your mother should go to a school of this type,  her father said: “If there were still a Stein boarding school,  I would gladly send you there. “   But the house had to be sold to the State to be pulled down so as to make way for   the street to the main railway station and therefore the school was closed and grandfather together with my parents bought the house in Unterlindau 11 where he lived on the 1st floor and we on the ground floor.  My mother run his household,  separately from ours.  When we were children,  we often had our meals with him which we thoroughly appreciated. It was very stupid of me not to take the Hebrew lessons he tried  to give me seriously so that he soon gave up. How useful this knowledge would be for me now!!


I have a very lively memory of the celebrations at grandfather’s 7oth birthday.  A large number of delegations came from Frankfurt and from elsewhere and I was full of admiration  as grandfather  immediately answered every speech in the most  gracious fashion.  Public utility organizations of which he was a member and in many cases also one of the founders, celebrated him with declarations, speeches and well thought out presents and the family organized a lovely festivity.   Grandfather declared he would never forget that day.  “Someone who has been so honoured  on his 70th birthday should not celebrate another birthday after that.  Therefore,  if I survive,  I do not want any notice to be taken of  my birthday.”   Consequently,  he did not receive any present for his 71st birthday;   only the Baroness send an enormous flower arrangement.  He was furious:  “Your non-surprise is my surprise” and with that he retired to his room. It was  often difficult  to please him.

In his view, the bar mizwah celebration was not suitable for a 13-year-old boy. If a young man  is to become responsible,  there must be an appropriate course of preparatory teaching  and 13-year-olds are not mature for that.  Therefore,  I had my bar mizwah in 1883 together with the girls.


Grandfather died on 2nd December 1882. An endless procession of mourners accompanied him to his last place of rest.  One of them said to me: “If only one tenth of those who go behind his hearse had stood in front of the doctor,  he would have remained the rabbi of our community until the very end!”  The epigraph on his tombstone in his own wording reads:  “My  legacy:  I proclaimed the world-redeeming,  world-uniting teaching of the only God,  his name be praised.  This teaching prevents any kind of exclusion, while uniting all human beings in an only brotherhood! – An only God,  an only humanity! To proclaim this was my scope in life, is my bequest in death.”  


Below I will  tell you about the solemn celebration in the Frankfurt main synagogue on the occasion of his 100th birthday.


I cannot tell you from personal memory about my maternal grandmother Eleonore née Wertheimer as she died when I was less than 2 years old.    However,  the blue book tells all that is worth knowing.   My grandparents had eight children,  three boys and five girls.


The eldest boy,  Dr.Siegmund Stein,  physician to the court of Wuerttemberg,  was a very competent doctor.  He was actively interested in the medical use of electricity,  having soon recognized its  importance for medicine and  advocating its employment with all his energy.  It was partly the merit of his initiative that the  electricity exhibition in Frankfurt in the 60ies was a great success.  Thanks to numerous scientific papers and newspaper articles he had made a very good name for himself and was known to a wide  circle.   It is an interesting fact that Sophie casually opening  an 1876 volume of the “Gartenlaube” found an article by him in which he already used the term  “Volkswohlfahrt” (peoples’ welfare) which the Nazis claim to have invented.    During the 1870 war,  he was  physician at the headquarters of the king of Wuerttemberg   who liked to converse with him and honoured him with the title of Hofrat (court physician).  This uncle of mine died after a long and severe illness in his 52nd year.

His wife, Thekla née Levi from Offenbach was a  good mother and housewife but suffered cruelly from her husband’s bad relationship to her parents.  Whether justified or not,  from the very beginning, uncle Siegmund  talked disparagingly about his parents-in-law,   His hostility went so far that they were not allowed to come into his house while he was at home;  they had a coach referred to as “Equipage” drawn by two horses and the driver always had to make sure that “the air was clear” before they  could  visit their daughter and grandchildren.  One can easily understand how dreadful this condition was for my poor aunt.  Uncle was irascible and used very heavy language.  They lived at the corner of Kaiser – and Mainzerstrasse where they occupied two floors,  the lower one was the doctor’s study,  the family lived in the  upper  one: When husband and wife travelled together,  I had t o sleep there for the protection of the children: Albert, Ella and Bettina.


Albert who was a doctor like his father,  settled at Wiesbaden as an orthopaedic surgeon. He had been christened,  had married a Christian wife.  As far as I know,   they had four daughters. Albert could have  come to the Hessing orthopaedic  hospital at Goeggingen near Augsburg on condition that he forego his private practice.  This we could not advise him t accept. As a result of his having been christened,  his position in 1933 became particularly unfavourable so that he could keep up his practice only with the greatest difficulty.  The Jews would not help him and for the Nazis he was and remained “the Jew Stein”. One of the daughters is happily married in Italy, What became of the others I don’t know.  One,  Ella emigrated to the US.

As to Albert,  I want to add  that as a result of my mother’s recommendation he was introduced to Baroness Therese von Rothschild when he went to Paris to study  French hospitals.  Her son, Henri, who was  also a physician  and director of a modern hospital,  welcomed him very kindly,  markedly enriching his experience.


Ella, the elder daughter,  was perhaps slightly mentally retarded.   She married Ferdinnand Baermann who  deserted her and went to America,  after which she returned to her mother and was an efficient and reliable help in the household.


Bettina,  the younger daughter, , married notary Heinrich Machol.  They lived in a pretty villa at Koenigstein in the Taunus.  Heinrich died young.  Their children: Else,  married to Robert Goldschmidt, and Fritz emigrated soon after 1933 to South Africa.  Thus it was natural for Bettina to follow them.  She runs  the household of her husband’s unmarried brother in Pretoria. He has been established there for a long time as a very well-known physician. 


The description of Siegmund Stein’s family would not be complete if I failed to mention the faithful Kaethe Jores who was for a lifetime the never failing help in their home taking part in the education of the children as well as in the running of the household.  Only on the occasion of Clemy’s wedding she  unwittingly caused  some problem: uncle Siegmund did not think the place assigned to her good enough and immediately before the dinner shifted  some place-cards,  causing me,  who was responsible for the celebrations,  considerable trouble.

Uncle Siegmund died  in 1891.

Louis Stein went to the States as a young man.  The famous painter Oppenheim,  author of “Bilder aus dem Juedischen Familienleben” (Pictures from Jewish family life) for which grandfather Leopold Stein has written the text,  used  him as model for the picture “Beginning of the Sabbath”.  Quite by chance, I met uncle Louis in Buffalo  in a clothing shop where he wanted to sell material and I tried to sell wine.   His children were Lenard who came several times to Augsburg.  At the time of the inflation,  he,  being the “rich American”, invited the family for a marvellous dinner in the hotel Drei Mohren which will have cost him only a few dollars.  Clever Georg Landauer asked permission to pay the bill only the next day thus saving probably half the dollars.   Lenard died young.  Also uncle Louis’ younger son Clarence,  died young without offspring.  Once he came to Augsburg with his very charming wife; he had a register and every time a new relative turned up,  he consulted it.    His sister Blanche had drawn it up for him with precise information about the degree of  relationship, profession and  a note on the degree of popularity.  Unfortunately, he would not show it to us. 

Blanche is married to Joe Thorman; they live in New York and have no children and therefore she is very active in social work. She has been in Germany many times and was very attached to aunt Bettina and especially  to Clemy.  She has always shown great interest for the family and has shown her attachment by giving affidavits as far as it was possible for her,  or attempting to find them otherwise.  She welcomed the new arrivals with the greatest generosity,  offered a home in her house to Elsa Stein  as a result of which she suffered great disappointments.  This is perhaps the reason why she appears to have broken all ties with the family.  At least,  since we came to Palestine we have not heard from her in spite of many letters we sent to her and to her sister Lillie.

Lillie,  married to  Eugene Goodman,  has repeatedly accompanied her sister  to Germany.  They were referred to as “the girls”.  Together with her daughter Jeanne, who in the meantime has been married,  she gave  Gertrud an affidavit.

Lillie had also  a son and another daughter.


Issaak Stein, now Styne,  went t0 the States as a young man.  There, he  married a Christian  and that was probably the reason why he did no longer exist for his father.  He has vanished completely from our horizon.


Our grandparents Stein had  five daughters: Thea, Bella, Franziska. Bettina and  Louise who died very young.


I believe I have described my mother as far as it was possible for me so that perhaps you can make some sort of a picture for yourselves.  She was without doubt the most remarkable and also the most lovable of the five sisters.


Next came Isabella,  aunt Bella married to Salomon Feisenberger  (as to how the marriage came about,  see p.  2 )  co-owner of the firm Gebrueder Feisenberger.  His partner  was his brother Jakob and the two brothers raised the firm to high standing having the exclusive right for the sale in Germany of rubber balls and combs produced in the big Harburg rubber factory. They had introduced a most ingenious system of distribution.  The  brothers always quarrelled who of the two was the cleverest. “the warring brothers”. Uncle Salomon  was a big man both as to his bodily size as well as to his opinion of himself: “the head of the table is where I sit!” When his doctor advised him to drink cider,  he said absolutely seriously: “I will summon Freyeisen (the cider producer).  He was firmly convinced that there was  nothing  more important than a well  filled money safe. Although he came from the countryside,  he was an ingrained Frankfurter so that whenever somebody came from Augsburg he would ask: “let’s have some tales from the village.”  After grandfather’s death, we were always at the Feisenbergers’ on Friday evening whereas on the eve of the other  holidays,  the family gathered in our place  and those evenings were celebrated according to our late grandfather Stein; especially the Seder  in German was very solemn  when my father recalled the  joyful and sad events in the family and in the world during the past year.  Also the meal was always very delicious at the Danns’.  Julius Landauer  said on those occasions: “At the Dann s’ one is treated generously: everyone gets a whole orange!”

Aunt Bella was a tender wife.  She treated  her husband’s two daughters exactly like her own children;  there was never any difference and this  is why,  in spite of their not being real relatives of ours  I want to tell about them;  also because the whole  family has always considered them as belonging to us.  Anna was very well educated; she was for a considerable time at Rollen near lake Geneva.  She was married to Joseph Landauer in Augsburg   (see p. 3   )  and theirs was a very happy marriage.  Her three children meant everything to her and she was bent on keeping  every possible harm from them. I need not tell you about Joseph and his children;  you know that the sons were Otto and Fritz and the daughter was Ida,  married to Conrad Oberdorfer at Ingolstadt, and died young.

Flora,  the wife of Julius Katz was an amiable, very intelligent lady whom everybody liked.  Her husband was a particularly clever business man and raised the firm Moses Jantoff Oppenheim to  high standing;  it was an export firm that traded with every possible country,  even overseas.  Julius Katz  was also very generous,  as I still remember with gratitude.  My sergeant major demanded that I provide him within a few hours with 400 mark in small change which he needed urgently for to-morrow’s pay day. Julius gave me the money when I described my difficulty to him.  I would not have known where else  to turn  since my father was out of town.   Besides,  he would not have given it to me the sum for that  purpose,  nor would uncle Max have done it and least of all uncle Leopold!   After April 1st and after repeated requests,  we finally got our money back and I had the advantage of being in the good books of the sergeant mayor.  -  Julius and Flora Katz had married in 1884;  their first son Freddy,  born in 1886,  died very young.  Due to the  second son Walter’s marriage to Marie Landauer our relationship has become even closer.  The Feisenbergers lived in their own house in Guiollettplatz 43 where they occupied  the ground floor while the Katzens lived on the 2nd.  There was a large garden on all sides of the building and a large terrace where we often gathered and loved to play.  Altogether,  the children of both families were a good assortment since there were always two years between one and the next: Anna, then  Flora, followed by Clemy, myself, Otto, Albert  Feisenberger, then    Elenor.


Otto Feisenberger, born 2.9.1870 remained a bachelor.  After his father’s death (uncle Salomon died  in 1888),  he continued to run and enlarge the firm very successfully together with his cousin Moritz.  They built  modern business quarters in Kronprinzenstrasse ;  where Otto was in charge while  Moritz run the Berlin branch.   We were on very good terms and  often went out together.  Once when I came on a visit from Augsburg and went to pick up Otto in his office,  quite by chance I discovered  a monster theft in the Feisenberger firm;  the whole story of which  would take up too much room here.  Otto served with the Bockenheimer Husaren,  a very expensive  regiment .  He looked very elegant in the light blue uniform with white cords.  He was as tall as his father and ressembled him also in his manner of talking  and living. But he was  very fussy and slow to come to a decision.  His brother Albert  on the other hand took after his mother:  witty, extremely intelligent and delightful to talk to. He served with the artillery.  He had studied law and, having been christened he became Reichsanwalt   He admitted freely to my father that accepting baptism he had shown a lack of character but being ambitious he had chosen to ignore his scruples.   Once he was sent to London on a diplomatic assignment. Uncle Fritz who met him  frequently at conferences had  high consideration for his capabilities.  Albert’s wife was Emmy Opdenhoff; they had  two children, Elenor  and Helmuth.  Albert died before he would have had to relinquish his position at the Reichsgericht.  Both children emigrated in time.


Elenor,  born in 1876 married lawyer  Albert  Kallmann in 1897; her husband was much older than she. We had made a bet – a slab of chocolate – who of the two of us would marry first;  Elenor won the bet.  She was an intelligent person and if she liked you you could get on very well with her, while her dislikes were often far too marked. She was a great egoist. Very early on, relations  with her son Ernst,  born in 1899,   were broken off and his name was never to be mentioned  in her presence. We had no idea about the reasons for such an unnatural attitude and  had to assume that something very dishonourable had happened.   When,  during a stay at Gastein I went for a long walk with his father, I made an attempt at mediation. The answer I got was that no one must talk to Elenor about Ernst.  Clemy, however, visited Ernst a few times at his pottery shop in Darmstadt.  In Tel-Aviv I went to see him and to my amazement learned  the reason for the hostility:  his mother could not forgive Ernst that she had suffered very much during the pregnancy. Ernst was happy to be in touch with the family again and we liked to visit him whenever we were in Tel-Aviv for a longer visit.  He is an intelligent person,  a good business man and his (2nd) wife helps him efficiently  in his profitable  factory of raffia goods.  Trude,  as you know,  lives in London;  the younger daughter Lotte was married to lawyer Kulp who unfortunately died early after their emigration to the States.  About her,  you are well informed via Trude.


Franziska,  called “die Frenz”  is said to have been a real beauty.  I remember her with her long blond curls.  She was married  to Moses Wiesenthal,  a coal merchant at Homburg vor der Hoehe. She died in childbirth.  Her son,  called Franz after her married a charming woman, Julie whose health was rather poor.  Franz, too, complained repeatedly about his heart.  He was a wine merchant and often asked aunt Bettina for help in his affairs.  Once I accompanied aunt Bettina to Karlsruhe in order to assess the situation.  He then gave up his business and became a commercial traveller in Frankfurt,  always for wine.  Unfortunately,  the Frankfurt family has never bothered about him and only Clemy went to see the Wiesenthals every time she came to Frankfurt.  I, too, had an endless correspondence with him since every time something did not turn out as ha wished,  there would be a long letter from him.  Their only son, Herbert,  went in time to America with his wife.


Bettina is the one who lived longest with her father and survived him the longest time.  In her memory,  she exalted his personality to an ideal model and engaged the whole of her piety and her wonderfully sensitive nature in extolling  his memory in the blue book I have already mentioned.   (p. 1 ). In 1874, she married Heinrich Landauer in Augsburg.


And now,  my dear readers, as we leave  the big city,  I invite you for a short visit to Huerben because in this village a number of people particularly dear to us throughout our lives have first seen the light of day.  The first time I went there, I had to leave the local train at Dinkelscherben and mount on the two-horse coach that was waiting there.   For the last forty years, Huerben, a village inhabited mostly by Jews, has vanished from the map and has been incorporated into the  “town of Krumbach”. It was there that the weaver Moses Landauer lived and practiced his trade which he expanded  more and more,  founding the “Mechanische Weberei M.S.Landauer, Huerben (later Krumbach). He had four sons: Heinrich about whom we will speak later,  Samuel, Sigmund, and Joseph  ,  and four daughters, all married in Fuerth and among whom Fanny, married to Fritz Hirschmann who together with grandfather Kitzinger founded and very successfully run the private bank Hirschmann  & Kitzinger,  Nuernberg and Fuerth,


Three of the brothers moved to Augsburg where  in the suburb of Oberhausen they founded an important  textile factory, while Samuel stayed for some time at Huerben as head of that textile factory   He was married to Amalie née Heymann; this couple had three daughters: Claer, and the twins Hedwig and Bertha.


Since this family was so closely connected to ours,  I want to add the following: Amalie had three brothers: Eduard, Benno and Sigmund,  your uncle Sigmund. Their mother,  “Mutter Elise”,  who had early lost her husband,  moved to Augsburg  with Samuel and Amalie, Fuggerstrasse 11,  where we went almost daily after business hours.  As you well know,  our relationship with the Heymanns was particularly close.  I mention this and what follows only for the sake of completeness knowing full well that none of it is new to you.  On the occasion of its 100th anniversary, Otto Landauer has written a beautiful  history  of the firm  Weberei M.S.Landauer that gives  ample information about its development.  Fritz who lives in England will certainly be glad  to show it to you.


Aunt Bettina was the most faithful soul one can imagine. Charitable and always ready to help for whoever turned to her and full of interest for the whole family, a true matriarch.  Her husband, uncle Heinrich Landauer was a very successful man both in business and in society.  He played an important role in Jewish affairs: for a lifetime, he presided over the synagogue and for equally long  he was active in town administration and was awarded a medal of honour for “25 years of honorary activity in the town council”.  He was also awarded the title of Kommerzienrat. His kind personality ,  charitable  and upright character earned him universal respect.  He died  on 4.2.1917.  He  had married aunt  Bettina  after his first wife,  née Hirsch,  had died, leaving him two sons, Julius and Hugo who aunt Bettina  looked after as if they were her own children.  Unfortunately,  her little daughter, Lorle,  lived only a short time.  However, considerably later,  in 1889,  they had another lovely girl, Grete who grew up for her parents’ joy and was the darling of all who knew her. She married Arthur Arnold, the liberal  head  of the textile factory Kahn & Arnold,  Augsburg.  The Arnolds had three children.  Hans who is married and lives in the States,  Ellen who married Walter Feldberg, Stettin and now lives with her twin girls in Los Angeles, and the younger son Wilhelm who died in London at the age of about 20. 

Julius married his cousin Clear Landauer,  a very remarkable woman, highly intelligent, an outstanding pianist and absolutely reliable.  Their only daughter, Marie,  her husband Walter Katz and their darling girl Hanne are all well known to you. I mention them only for the sake of completeness.

The other son Hugo , born  on 5.12.1867, was married to Hedwig née  Bernert.  He died young. ,   They had four children.  Kaethe married to Leo Lehmann,  Julius Fritz married to the clever and pleasant Else Morgenthau, Georg who died young in the States, and  Peter,  now a driver in Tel-Aviv and married to a nice woman.   Hedwig, Julius and family now live in Cali,  Columbia.


With Julius and Claer our friendship was particularly close and only because during the last few years Claer was   ailing  we did not see much of them.  More frequently we met with the Arnolds thanks to the fact that we lived close  to them.  Since we arrived in Palestine,  we and especially Frieder have tried very  hard to make it possible for them to come here., all in vain.  We never got a reply to the most important questions from the Feldbergs, neither to our airletters nor to normal ones.  Also Otto Landauer and Ernst Kahn in Jerusalem and Paul Landauer in Ramat Gan  tried together with us  to  obtain a certificate for them.   It was all in vain and thus these wonderful people met with a tragic fate.   On the eve of our departure we were their guests and Grete spoke the following  farewell:

“”With love and regret  - grandfather Stein wrote for my mother, his beloved Bettinchen,   when she left Frankfurt, her former home,  -  I believe there is nothing more healthy in the world  than to live in an atmosphere  of love and sincere  benevolence among people  who we feel and know to belong to us and to have a warm heart for us.”  You  will continue to live  is such an atmosphere because  this is part of your being,  of your nature. You have inherited what was best in your grandfather,  his trust in God.  This will accompany you wherever you go and will sustain you  in all the sorrows and joys of life.  There is no power on earth that could deprive you  of this treasure which accompanies you  to your children towards a new and yet old atmosphere of love and understanding.  God has helped so far; He will help you also in future!”


As we had to leave the old homeland which had become very dear to us,  and move towards  a foreign country,  as we had to separate from you our beloved children albeit in the comforting hope to join Elisabeth,  we  started out courageously and trusting in God and are happy to be in this,  the Promised Land.  However painfully we feel the separation from you, our dear children,  we have the joy often to witness the progress of our beloved grandchildren.  There is a further good side to it: in our letters we can tell each other things that make us happy and we would never have  been able to put into spoken words.  In this context,  I think especially of the letters you have written to me  for various birthdays and which make me proud and  content.   From that point of view,  I think differently from grandfather Stein,  because although not many people  will be surrounded by as much love and respect as was shown to me on my 70th birthday from family and community,  every year I have  considered it a blessing from Heaven  when I could pass another 5th January at the side of your dear mother in good health.   Thus, my mother’s saying  “You will always be lucky in your life because you are  so good to your parents”   has come true.  A parent’s blessing  comes true for the children and I am firmly convinced that you, too, will be lucky in your lives because you make your parents happy by your love and respect!




On November 5, 1910,  the 100th birthday  of Dr. Leopold Stein, solemn celebrations took place  in Augsburg and in the main synagogue of Frankfurt. Your mother could not bring herself to leave the children;  apart from that the whole family was present in Frankfurt,  while she represented the family in Augsburg.  In his truly  accomplished  speech Dr.Gruenfeld said that great and really cultured people in whom moral and spiritual gifts are in harmony are able to indicate also to others  the way towards what is good and that on a day of recollection such  as the present one it is good to dwell upon  a guiding personality of this kind.  He described how Leopold Stein had viewed everything with an inspired poet’s eye,  how for him  Judaism was the embodiment of everything good and beautiful and how he fought for it.  He spoke about the reform of divine service and  of the beautiful and poetic translations of the prayer-books and of his writing and his sermons.  Altogether a wonderful appreciation of my grandfather.

In Frankfurt, too, Dr.Seligmann gave a warm commemoration,  surrounded by beautiful choir and solo music which made a profound impression on everyone.  By chance and luckily the commemorative service happened to coincide with the Sabbath so that there was not one empty seat in  the synagogue. Thanks to  Dr.Seligmann,  who naturally took part in the dinner arranged by the family in a hotel,  it was a day of high tribute  and happy memory.

Many  newspapers and periodicals in  both Germany and  the States  published highly appreciative obituaries.  I think if I quote some of the publications I have in front of me,  it will give a good picture  of the universal appreciation of the famous man:

In Monatsschrift fuer das gesamete Judentum Ost und West (A. 10, N.12, p. 822)  Dr.Seligmann published a long article  with Stein’s picture,  making among others the following point: “”Surrounded by the brilliance of his poetry,  he will continue to live in his work and in his writing,  above all in “Die Schrift des Lebens”,  as one of the most noble,  most firmly convinced and most warm-hearted personalities among the nineteenth century rabbis, true and liberal,  full of the deepest love for Judaism,  and of the noble urge to reform it in order to make it again the wisdom and  glory of those who profess it…  The climax of the first period of his activity in Frankfurt was  the conference of rabbis in 1846 over which he presided.   Even his great antagonist, Samson R.Hirsch (the most orthodox among the orthodox)  could not help recognizing his merits as a poet.  “If I am not mistaken  - he wrote – we greet  here the gracious  author of the “Stufengesaenge”.  Indeed,  how much rather would we  crown the poet with a wreath of fragrant violets  than  present him with  a crown of  thorns of criticism .”


The periodical “Liberales Judentum” (A.2, N.11) has a 7-page article by Seligmann which contains not only an appreciation of Stein’s work but also quotes from the “Schrift des Lebens” and parables and allegories from his sermons.  He writes (p 42) 

“His poems scattered in  periodicals ,  almanacs and calendars are numberless,  and some of them are  of  gripping beauty, e.g. the songs on the early death of . his favourite pupil,  Clementine von Rothschild “


In “Allgemeine  Zeitung des Judentums” (18/25.11.191, pp. 546 and 561)  Ad. Kohut writes about Stein:  „Possessing the entire  treasure of  the science of Judaism,  but also all the culture of his times,  enflamed by passionate love for  his people and his religion,  he deemed it his task to  help the liberal and free-thinking ideals to be victorious also in Judaism and to fight with all the weapons of his brilliant mind against hyper-orthodoxy, intolerance  and backwardness. ... to reconcile Jewry and Germany without ever endangering the foundations of mosaic teaching.  He was intent on removing the age-old remains of rusty tradition that are in contrast with the spirit of our time.  However,  he did not only want to dismantle but was bent on  constructing a new and monumental  unshakable edifice apt to face the future. … The rabbinical dietary laws  aim at separating the Jews from non-Jewish society.  That is why our time,  a time of drawing closer in human society and  in which Israelites are continuously  in contact with non-Israelites,  needs them to be abandoned.  That was his persuasion. His influence not only on his contemporaries but also on  the present and on future  generations was and will continue to be immense.   Professor Hirsch, Chicago in   a lecture at the Berlin Lehranstalt fuer die Wissenschaft des Judentums  said that Stein’s pupils from the small Bavarian townships where he first taught transplanted his ideas to the States and thus they have a strong  influence also in the  New World. … He was a friend and admirer of Friedrich Rueckert,  the paragon of German translation and therefore also profited from this great man’s influence.”


On November 5,  the Frankfurter Zeitung published an article in his honour and  on the following day the New York  State newspaper had an obituary with Stein’s picture.   The Cincinatti paper “The American Israelite” of  17.11.1910 had  three columns in his honour.  I mention only some of the publications to show that also in the States  his memory was fully appreciated. “Many Cincinatti families came from Burgkundstadt,  so Alexander Mack who became a close friend and ally of Stein in his Reform Measures. For by his powerful pulpit oratory and his great poetic gift, he succeeded in introducing many innovations in the liturgy by replacing Hebrew pieces  by beautiful songs of his own composition. .. Both by his preaching and his wise pedagogy in the religious school he became an educating and refining influence for the Jews of the whole district … He will occupy forever a permanent place among the exponents of Reform Judaism,  and his life-work is still a source of  inspiration and a guiding power to us to-day.”


The Hamburg Israelitische Familienblatt  had also a long article by Dr.Adolf Kohut.

Finally a few quotations  from what Dr.Adolf Bruell had published shortly before in the “Allgemeine Zeitung des Judentums”. …” We  see him in front of us,  the relentlessly searching man with his ample,  wise gaze … from whose heart came warmth and from whose mouth flowed wisdom …adaptation to the new times and transmission of the immortal innermost content of Judaism, that was his motto … late  descendants will look with admiration to this teacher who knew how to gaze so deeply into human hearts, into the book of the world, into the book of divine teaching.  They will think of him  with loving gratitude and profound veneration.  The harp from which he  knew how to draw such lovely music is now silent but the song is still  heard.  Stein’s life-work belongs to mankind,  his fame to future generations, his name to history.”


To make these words come true was the aim of my writing about 

Your great ancestor,  Rabbi Dr.Leopold Stein


Ramot Hashawim (Palestine) September 1944

                                               Rosh Hashanah 5705

                                                           Signed: Albert Dann




As I mentioned in the foregoing  Story of the Dann Family,  in the following  pages I want to record things that happened to us after the Nazis came to power,  both those  that illustrate how the Jews were deprived of every right and those that prove  how individual persons showed human understanding and responsibility.


On the occasion of my 70th birthday in January 1938 the Augsburg Jewish Community had arranged for a service of celebration.  My seat was adorned with a festoon and I was the first to be called to sefer.  In his speech, the rabbi Dr.Ernst Jacob, said:

“Moses and Aron  presented themselves to Pharao as God’s messengers,  but together with them, the Bibel mentions the Eldest,  “Sekanim”; -and he called me such an Eldest according to the definition of the Thora - a man of strength and truth,  pious and free from egoism,  the Father of the Synagogue.”

After the service,  there was a meeting of the Community administration and committee, to which also my wife and my daughters as well as the employees were invited.  After a speech by the President of the Community, Dr.Eugen Strauss who praised  my activity for the Jewish Community,  I said  more or less what follows:

“I thank God that he let me live  and experience this  festive day: If one celebrates a day of this kind which  is a milestone in life,  one looks forward and back.  The way ahead is shrouded in darkness, the gaze back  finds a long road that was often laborious.  At the start,  I see my parents’ home,  where there reigned an atmosphere of love, strict observation of duty and deep religiosity.  I see my grandfather,  Samuel Dann, a most faithful Jew,  simple and modest. At his side,  his highly educated wife.  I see my grandfather Dr.Leoplold Stein who lived in the same house as ourselves.  At the time of the emancipation when the Jews wanted to become completely German and did no longer understand Hebrew,  he found a new form of divine service and thus saved for Judaism many  who had become estranged  from orthodoxy.  In our childhood,  we learned from him fear of God and faith in God,  a most precious gift  that I treasured in happy and in sad hours and that has been a great help to me.


However depressed  our mood was at the time,   I don’t think anyone  could guess the dangers facing us.  As I told in my report on the Augsburg Jewish Community.  On November 9, 1938 at 4.30 a.m. I drove to the synagogue where I was arrested  and taken to jail.  There were 7 of us in the  cell; we had to give up everything that was in our pockets.  In the morning,  there was  one hour of “walking in the courtyard”,  always  3  paces apart, without coat or anything on our heads.  It was forbidden to speak .  On the first day,  we were allowed to buy some additional food.  This favour was annulled  the next day,  because “Herr von Rath had died during the night” .  The sanitation was appalling.

On the 2nd day,  we were shifted to a larger cell and the guard said: “If my father had been a Jew,  I would be sitting in there with you.”   He asked us to help him sort out our belongings that were  all in a heap. “My prison is full of Jews and I don’t know how to deal with all this mess.” So we could recover  the things we had had in our pockets and some stationary.  A detective who questioned me  said there was a denunciation according to which the Jews had set fire  to their synagogue.  I could of course call this a falsification.  He then asked me privately whether he could do something for me and he actually went to my wife the same day, telling her: “He says he is al right,  but he looks very pale.”

I was released on November 17.  At home,  I  heard that a former schoolfriend  of our daughter,  a midwife,  who had recently assisted  one of the prison guardian’s wife in childbirth,  had caused  me and my jail companions to get preferential treatment. The milkshop in our neighbourhood sent  whipped cream and the baker sent a cake to welcome me home.

While I was in prison,  my wife sent a telegram to our daughter in Palestine, that she should urgently request permission for her parents to  immigrate.  We were told, however, that none of the consulates in Germany were permitted to issue any further certificates for immigration into Palestine.  When my son-in-law,  Dr.Siegfried Stern, Haifa,  learned that also in Palestine there were no more certificates  to be issued,  he informed us that  it was possible to make some headway thanks to Generalkonsul Aufhaeuser in Munich.   Luckily,  this friend of our family  was ready to intervene personally with the British ambassador in Berlin.  He showed him the farewell letter from  the head of the Augsburg Community and as a result,  the ambassador  gave him the last certificate available to him,  saying: “A man who can present  a letter of this kind cannot be left  to perish in Germany.” Thus,  we had the luck to immigrate in time,  i.e. in March 1939,  legally into Palestine.

During our preparation for our emigration,  a friend of our daughters from the times of the Wandervogel, who was now the head of an important music publishing house, helped us a lot.  He came personally to Augsburg in his car and took things we could not take with us:  heavy fur coats, carpets and the like. He kept for us for many years a most valuable painting  by a Dutch painter that we would certainly not have been allowed to take with us;  he took it out of its frame,  had a special case made for it and when,  during the war,  it seemed no longer safe in his house,  he shifted it from one village to another.  His home and the premises of the publishing firm  were completely destroyed by bombs but our painting was safe.  Towards the end of the war,  our friend feared  that the painting could be confiscated  since there was no document to proof that it belonged to an emigrated Jew. Therefore he put it on a horse-drawn cart and hid it in a hut somewhere in a  wood.   After the war,  the picture was taken to England with  permission of the German authorities so that we now can enjoy its sight every day.

He also  made me the general representative of his publishing firm in Palestine after the Nazis had given permission under the condition that “he will not talk insultingly  about the German government.”


Another friend,  an employee of the town administration, had to sign an undertaking  that he would cut any ties with Jews.  He came to us on the same day, saying: “I have lost my cultural filling station and the parking place for my soul.” Nevertheless,  he came to help us with our emigration,  buying for us things that Jews were not allowed to buy.  Since I was no longer allowed to send money to my daughter who studied in Italy,  he tried to help by sending her  parcels.


Our youngest daughter, Lotte,  could not continue to study medicine in Germany and decided to study in Turin. For years,  I was permitted to send her money for this purpose.  The permission had to be obtained every three months.  Once, when my request received a dubious reply,  I went at once to Munich in order to find out what was the reason for this. I waited  outside the room of the responsible official, Geiser, when a higher official asked me why I was waiting. I explained the reason to him, upon which he offered me a chair and said he would find out for himself. After a few minutes,  he came back and told me,  Mr.Geiser had waited  to give me the permission until after a tax investigation of my firm.  Everything had been found in order, but Mr.Geiser had forgotten to let me know and send me the authorisation. I asked the official why he was so kind to me and he answered: “I have known you for a very long time.  The authorisation is ready for you in Geiser’s office; you can take it with you.”  Handing me the authorisation, Geiser said: “Damit ist IHRE Freigrenze fuer die naechsten drei Monate erschoepft.” [only people who know German can understand what follows; therefore I have to add this lengthy explanation:   IHRE can mean both your and her.   Very reasonably, Father took it to mean your, i.e. his permitted limit since it was he who had filed the application and it was his firm that had been found in order for the permission to be granted. In writing,  Ihre would have been with a capital I, but  you can’t hear that in the spoken word.]

I understood “Ihre” to mean  my permitted limit and indeed in the following three months did not send Lotte the 10 Mark that were permitted. But Herr Geiser neant “Ihre” to mean her, i.e. Lotte’s permitted limit. If he had written to me, I would have understood that one could not send Lotte the additional 10 Mark. We could see no objection to our daughter Gertrud sending 10 Mark to her sister in Italy. When subsequently I explained to Mr.Geiser how things had gone,   the accusation had already been forwarded to the Office of Foreign Currency Surveillance.  It cost me an entire morning to  identify the official in charge who promised me that  the accusation of Gertrud Dann would be annulled  against the payment of 100 Mark  to the Golddiskontbank in Berlin.  Like every other  nazi  promise, this was a lie;  in fact, this penalty was reproached to Gertrud every time before her emigration and for a long time she was denied the “nihil obstat” to her emigration.

Under a similar  pretext I was deprived of my passport  and of the licence  as a commercial traveller.  The reason given is particularly hideous and shows how under the nazis the Jews  were completely deprived of every right,  as became quite obvious to me during a conversation  I had with the official of the government of Schwaben-Neuburg:

For my 70th birthday,  the Augsburg  Jewish Community  wanted to organize a festive dinner.  This I refused,  saying that those were not the times to celebrate.  Therefore, the Community offered to make me the present of a trip to my daughter and son-in-law in Palestine.  At the consulate I was told  I could have a visitor’s visa on condition that my passport had a validity of more than 6 months.   The passport official in Augsburg told me I had only to file an application stating the purpose of my trip. ( I planned at the same time to use this trip for an attempt to gain new clients in Palestine,  so as to boost the constantly referred to export).  In addition, in my passport  was already registered the permission from the financial authority  to cash  the sizable amount in £ blocked  in Agram  that a debtor owed me there,  and to use it for the journey.

A few days after filing the  application, I was called to the police “in matters concerning passport”. A Gestapo official offered me a chair very courteously . Another official continued to write apparently without taking any notice of me.

The official asked me: So,  you  want to travel to Palestine. What is it you want to do there?

 My answer: I want first of all to collect in Agram the amount of …£ for which the permission is already registered in my passport, then I want to try and extend my export business also to Palestine. 

He: You only want to visit your daughter.

I:  That I want to do as well and this is the purpose for which my Community has given me the present.  

He: Were you at Landshut on 26 October?

I:  That is possible, I will look at my diary.

He: Do you know a tailor by the name of Weinzierl?

I: Yes, he is a client of mine.  

He: What did you talk about with him? 

I:   I cannot possibly remember after three months. 

He: I will tell you. You said:  “I cannot get any material and in Munich the railway station is full of material hanging from the ceiling to welcome Mussolini.”

 I:  This I cannot possibly have said, because first of all, I never was in the Munich station because I returned from lake Starnberg directly home in my car and only passing by I had a look at the decoration, which I admired and described,  and second,  I am an old expert and know  that my clients could never use for lining the materials  needed for decoration.  These are much to flimsy, while a tailor needs solid materials for lining. I cannot have talked such nonsense  and I refuse this accusation.

 He: That means the tailor lied?

 I:  I don’t know what he said. 

He:  Then I will read it to you: “On Tuesday, a commercial traveller came to me and said he could not get any material and in Munich the station is hanged with a lot of material. The commercial traveller was Kommerzienrat Dann from Augsburg.

I:    I  repeat that I cannot have spoken like that and I refuse the accusation.

He:  Then your passport will stay here until the matter is cleared. We cannot send abroad people of this kind. You might slander the government also abroad.

I:  And what about the export business? Every day we read in the press that export must be boosted.  And what about the sum in £ due to me at Agram which would enable me to make the journey without  asking for foreign currency?

He:  Your export business is not worth much. Your passport stays here.

I have repeatedly met this official,  who – incidentally – was very courteous, without ever making any headway  Some time later I spoke again with my client who told me what follows:   “On Tuesday,  I was  in the pub and someone mentioned the decoration in Munich station. I said: “It would be better if the travellers were supplied with more material. This morning, one of them came to me who complained it was so difficult to obtain material … and in Munich the station is hanged with a lot of material.”  The consideration after the three dots is obviously the naive opinion of the tailor.


Also the licence to travel commercially was revoked:

                                                                      Augsburg, 26 April 1938

In the Name of the German People

  1. The licence issued on 23.12.37 to the Jewish merchant Albert Dann by Augsburg   town administration … is revoked.
  2.  Albert Dann has to foot the bill for this procedure. …

The reasons: The Jewish merchant A.D.  since 35 has continuously held a licence for commercial travel.   Criminal records do not register any previous convictions.   Research into the political reliability of the above named did not reveal any facts to justify the assumption that the licence would be misused for purposes hostile to the State. According to § 44a, comma 4 of RGO in connection with  § 57,  comma 1,2a RGO in the wording of the law of 3.7.34  (RGBI  I .S. 566 and 916)  the licence can be  revoked by the authority that had issued it in case there are facts which justify the presumption that the applicant is going to  misuse his activity for purposes hostile to the State and in addition  if it is found that the condition specified under § 57,I, 2a of RGO  has occurred  only after or was unknown to the issuing authority at the time the licence was issued.

According to communication of 8.2.38  from  Gestapo Augsburg ,  in the autumn of 1937,  Albert Dann  on the occasion of his professional activity said to the tailor F.X.Weinzierl, Landshut  “he could not get any material while in Munich the station  was full of material hanging from the ceiling.”  With this remark,  the Jew Dann has criticized  the government in a disparaging manner and has thus shown that he does not possess the reliability necessary for the practice of his trade.  The licence has been revoked  on 2.3.38.

Dann’s application of 4.3.38 for  restitution of the licence has been favourably commented by the Chamber of  Industry and Commerce  but refused by the Gestapo

The incident referred to above  must be considered  the condition  justifying  the suspicion that the trade will be misused for further activity hostile to the State.  Since the above mentioned reason for denying the licence  came to the knowledge of the authority only after the licence had been granted,   revocation of the licence granted to Dann occurs under § 44a, comma 4 RGO and § 25 of ministerial disposition of 7.2.98….

My complaint to the government of Schwaben-Neuburg  had no success.  The official told me literally: “We cannot do anything against  the measures taken by the Gestapo.  I would advise you IN YOUR OWN  INTEREST  to take your applications back”.  This,  after I had explained to him for more than half an hour how things had gone and that the whole incident was the result of a misleading repetition of a conversation in a pub.


Particularly revealing of the complete  deprivation of any right was the following conversation I had with the head of the Augsburg Financial Authority,  Oberregierungsrat Hopfner:

I had an appointment at his office for the afternoon of  15 March 1939 to collect the “clearance certificate”  After having waited for a considerable time,  I heard that the person in charge could not come to the office,  but that the chief  himself would bring the document and deal with my request  In fact, the head of the department came quite soon with my file and on entering he said: “From you I will calculate some more tax for capital flight,  since in the year … your capital amounted to  …”

I.  What you demand is unlawful.

He: You may be right,  It would be interesting  to see what happens if you went to court about this - he said with an ironical grin.

I :   I have to emigrate in three days’ time so as not to miss the date of my permission to enter Palestine.

He:  In that case you pay RM 1877,50

I:  don’t want to use the expression  that your behaviour would be called in civil society

He:  You are all frauds when it comes to paying taxes.

I:   Perhaps you have not taken into consideration the fact that you have in front of you a man  who has been elected  honorary associate judge to the Munich Supreme Financial Tribunal.  As a rule, the Supreme Financial Authority does not call for similar honorary  functions  on notorious tax  dodgers.”

He:  Times have changed.

I: Times  perhaps,  persons not.  Can I use your phone?  I called my bank and ordered  the immediate payment of RM 1877,50,  asking the bank clerk  to assure Mr.Hopfner that the sum will be transferred that very afternoon.  Only at that point did I get my clearance certificate.

The personnel  present in the office gaped wide-eyed  at my answers to their head.


As a contrast to the conditions described above,  I want to relate  the sentence of the tribunal of Landau an der Isar of 7 March 1939 that shows on the one hand how nazi laws have penentrated into the mentality of the judges but on the other hand,  how judges honoured justice. What happened was as follows: An old client of my firm who used to pay his debts with IOUs which for years had been punctually redeemed,  since January 1939 let all terms go by without paying.  As a result, a piano and a book case  were pawned.

The tailor’s brother-in-law went to court at Landau an der Isar,  Niederbayern

The following was the court decision:

Law suit Stadler Alfons  vs Dann Albert, Kommerzienrat in Augsburg C.27/39

The verdict: the plaintiff’s complaint is refused

The reasons for the refusal are explained in paragraphs I, II, III in that custom does not admit similar contracts of transfer of property between relatives.

Paragrasph IV states: the above principles have to be applied also in cases in which the creditor is a Jew.   In case  a different  principle were applied,  a German citizen (Volksgenosse) forgetting his duty and  guilty of entertaining relationships with Jews,  would actually be rewarded for it and enjoy a protection he in no way deserves.   Because whereas another citizen  would suffer seizure and the seizure would keep its efficacy,  the citizen (Volksgenosse) who disregards the national-socialist principles would have the possibility  to disregard his creditor’s right and even have an advantage from this.

Signed by the judge: Dr.Hienstorfer

Herr von Rath was a German diplomat in Paris whom a Jewish youth had shot.  This was used as the “reason” for the progrom of November 9 which actually had been planned and carefully organized long before.

And saying this,  he burst into tears,  as my mother told me when we met .


I remember that he once brought four cuts of very lovely St.Gallen voile for the four Dann sisters  and meant them to serve for our wedding gowns. None of us used them and I still have mine.

Blanche was very offended about this remark  when she read these memories. I don’t know why  the correspondence broke off.  At any rate, things were mended and I went to see her when I was in New York in 1949.  She also sent me a present when Claudio was born (x $ with which I bought a push chair) and we corresponded  as long as she was alive. She wrote us a very lovely letter when our mother died

  A  member of the Reichsgericht, i.e. the body that defends the State in  law suits  brought by citizens

Another daughter, Dorothea,  came to Rome after the war and worked here for one of the international Jewish organizations.  She married Aldo Parolini;  they had a daughter Monica (born 1951) who,  as far as I know, is married in Sicily,  perhaps in Catania

Of which Elishewa has translated the most interesting passage into English

The secretaire,  so called after Empress Maria Theresa of Austria’s counsellor, count Wenzel Anton von Kaunitz-Rietberg,    which is now in our home in Rome having been in our house in Augsburg, then at Elisheva’s and our parent’s homes in Palestine, then in the cottage in England.

  I  want to add that the daughter of this Mr.Schiff,  Mrs.Freda Warburg,  gave me the affidavit I did not use.  When father wrote to her,  reminding her of the manyFriday evening he had enjoyed in her father’s home,  she consented to give to me the 16th affidavit although she had decided that the 15 previous ones were enough.

3 The  Hauspflege was an organization where one could request a home help in case the mother was ill or there was some extra work to be done.   Later and until 1933, Sophie became the organizer.

The Brockensammlung was a place where one could hand in broken or deteriorated  objects  to repaired and  either be taken back for a small fee or left there to be sold.

A two-year course for girls who had finished school where they were taught the basic elements of sociology and paedagogy and  which entitled them to become governesses, give private lessons, etc.

  The Naehsaal was a place where women whose husbands were at the front could  work for a number of hours repairing clothes or household linen;  later  they  even  worked for the troops.