The Hugo & Eva Kahn FRIEDMANN Family
Hugo and Eva Friedmann came to Themar in the first decade of the twentieth century: there, they brought four children into the world between 1902 and 1908. They then quietly left Themar again, leaving behind barely a trace of their presence in the city.
But we have been able to collect some traces: to date, the City of Themar Archives has yielded but one document, the form submitted by Sitta Friedmann’s husband, Ernst Lewin, in early January 1939. The form registered the addition of “Sara” as a middle name to Sitta’s name. Online database sources, including the German Federal Archives Memorial Book, and the Yad Vashem Central Database and the Pages of Testimony of the Victims of the Shoah provided more information. The laying of Stolpersteine in Bernkastel-Kues has provided further detail.
And so slowly a modest portrait has emerged: Hugo Friedmann, the son of Salomon and Johanna Friedmann, was born in Neu-Ulm/Bayern (A on the map below) in 1876. Eva Kahn, the daughter of Nathan Kahn (mother unknown), was born in 1877 in Medernach in Luxemburg (B on the map below), about 400 km. to the northwest.
Hugo became a religious teacher/cantor, and a professional appointment brought Hugo to Themar. It is highly probable that he applied for the position shown at the right, advertised in 1900. Hugo and Eva married on January 1, 1902 and their first child, Johanna, was born at the end of 1902. Hugo, the youngest of four children, was born in Themar on October 15, 1908. The Friedmann family lived at Hildburghäuser Strasse 17 above the Synagogue. There were around 100 Jews living in Themar during the time Hugo Friedmann was Lehrer/Cantor and he would have been active providing young children with their religious education.
In 1909, the Friedmanns left Themar for Bernkastel-Kues just east of the German/Luxembourg border (D on the map below) where they lived at Burgstrasse 7. Hugo Friedmann became the Lehrer/Kantor for a community of close to 60 members as well as religious teacher for children in nearby villages such as Rachtig and Zeltingen.
During the 1920s, Hugo Friedmann published several important books: first, in 1927, Festschrift zur Feier des 75-jährigen Bestehens der Synagoge in Berncastel-Cues die jüdische Gemeinde in Berncastel-Cues: ein geschichtlicher Rückblick, and then, in 1929, an inventory of the deceased members of the Jewish Gemeinde of the Middle Mosel region from Wintrich to Enkirch (Hugo Friedmann, Verstorbenenlisten der jüdischen Gemeinden der Mittelmosel von Wintrich bis Enkirch, Bernkastel-Cues 1929.) In 1934, Hugo celebrated 50 years of service.
As the crisis facing German Jews escalated in the 1930s, the Friedmanns acted as follows: Johanna, the eldest daughter, left for South Africa, as did the youngest son, Hugo/Bruno. Friedrich/Fritz fled to Belgium where he survived in hiding. Sitta remained in Germany; in 1935, she and her husband, Ernst Lewin, had a son, Joachim. Sometime in the late 1930s or early 1940s, Hugo and Eva went to Luxemburg, probably in the hope that the country would remain more or less neutral as it had been in WWI.
That was not to be: on May 10, 1940, the German army occupied Luxemburg as it swept its way south in France. Luxemburg was attached to Germany as part of the Trier-Koblenz regions. Initially, the German administration allowed emigration to continue, and by mid-1941, the Jewish population had decreased from 3,800 to 1,800. But Hugo and Eva were unable to emigrate: on October 16, 1941, they were on the first transport of Jews from Germany to the ‘east’ — to Litzmannstadt [Lodz] Ghetto. (See “The Deportations to Litzmannstadt Ghetto” and “Day of Remembrance, 16 October 1941.) They both died in the Ghetto, Eva in May 1942 and Hugo in June 1942. Hugo was 66, Eva 65.
The details of Sitta and Ernst Lewin, and their 4-year old son, Joachim, are unclear: on the one hand, they were living in Falkenburg in early 1939 when Ernst registered their name changes with Themar City Administration. On the other hand, the article re: the laying of the Stolperstein for Sitta Lewin states that Sitta was living in Bernkastel until 1940. As well, an unfinished note in the Yad Vashem Page of Testimony for Joachim Lewin states that “shortly after the outbreak of the German/Polish war, his [Joachim's] family was forced to move to Lublin. But, after a while they were. . . ” — and there the sentence ends. Finally, the 1986 Gedenkbuch states that the Lewins were in Berlin at Grenadierstrasse 4 on October 3, 1942 when all three were transported to Theresienstadt.
Sitta Friedmann Lewin died in Theresienstadt on 22 February 1943; she was 39 years old. Ernst and Joachim were deported to Auschwitz on October 6, 1944. Ernst Lewin was 49 and Joachim Lewin nine years of age.
Hugo FRIEDMANN, geb. 01 March 1876 Neu-Ulm, gest. 13 June 1942 Ghetto Litzmannstadt
+. Eva KAHN, geb. 19 June 1877 Medernach/Luxemburg, gest. 04 May 1942 Ghetto Litzmannstadt
1. Johanna FRIEDMANN, geb. 21 Dec 1902 Themar, gest. 11 May 1970 S. Africa
+. Karl LANG, geb. Germany, gest. 1963 Köln/Cologne
2. Wilma LANG, gest. 1994
2. LANG, geb. 1927
1. Sitta FRIEDMANN, geb. 28 Dec 1903 Themar, gest. 22 Feb 1943 Theresienstadt Ghetto
+. Ernst LEWIN, geb. 05 Jul 1895 Falkenburg, gest. Auschwitz
2. Joachim LEWIN, geb. 11 Oct 1935 Falkenburg, gest. Auschwitz
1. Friedrich/Fritz FRIEDMANN, geb. 17 Oct 1905 Themar
1. Bruno FRIEDMANN, geb. 15 Oct 1908 Themar
Alemannia-judaica, Bernkastel(Stadt Bernkastel-Kues, Kreis Bernkastel-Wittlich) Jüdische Geschichte/Synagoge
City of Themar, Archives.
German Archives, Memorial Book.
Themarer Zeitung, 1904-1909.
Yad Vashem, Pages of Testimony, submitted for H. Friedmann, E. Friedmann, S. Lewin, E. Lewin, J. Lewin, 2008.
The laying of Stolpersteine and the research and press reports accompanying these events are providing historians with welcome information — and sometimes more questions than answers — in their search for traces for communities such as that of Themar. See, for example, ”Ein Stein, ein Mensch,” volksfreund.de, 29 Oct 2008, and
D.B. Broadman, “A return to Germany, a dedication for Kristallnacht,” The New Jersey Jewish Standard, 06 Nov 2009.