The following serve as examples of documents that will be housed in this section of the website.
Example 1: Correspondence
The Letters of Dr. Ernst Ledermann to the Gestapo, 1938/39
The one attached here was written on behalf of Adolf Kahn, born in Themar in 1902. Ledermann cites the distinguished service that the Kahn family displayed in WWI (two of Adolf’s brothers were killed in the war). He also states that telegrams confirm that emigration documents for Kahn are underway, and he emphasizes that, as a master butcher, Kahn has the skills to earn a livelihood and establish a new life elsewhere.
How and why Ledermann came to write the letters for the Themar men is not yet known in detail. Ledermann was himself rounded up with the other Jewish men of Gotha on November 9/10, 1938 and imprisoned in Buchenwald. He was freed by mid-November and returned home to put his own affairs in order. In January 1939, he left for England followed later in the year by his wife and son. And yet, in that brief period of time and under enormous personal pressure, he found time to write on behalf of at least 18 other Jewish men. We know that two of the largest Jewish businesses in Themar, the Gassenheimer Agricultural Machinery Co. and the S.J. Baer Department Store, were clients of Ledermann. But he had a very large clientele throughout Thüringen so how he came to write letters for this particular group is still to be determined. It is possible that he wrote on behalf of those imprisoned from Gotha and Arnstadt, his birth place, as well.
As we learn more about this story, we will post it to the site.
Example 2: Passports
This is the passport of Heinrich Levinstein, born 1920 in Themar, age 15. It was issued before the passage of the Nürnberg Laws in September 1935.
Heinrich was the son of Moritz Levinstein, the Jewish Lehrer, and Nanett Mayer Levinstein. Moritz Levinstein was one of the first Themar Jews to feel the impact of Nazi legislation as he was dismissed from his position as a teacher in the public school in 1933.
Heinrich left Germany in May 1935 for the United States. Members of his mother’s family, the Mayers, already lived in the States, and Heinrich initially lived with them. His father, Moritz, did not survive the 1938 Reichspogromnacht of November 9/10. His mother, Nanett, was among the last Themaren Jews to escape Germany in 1941.
Example 3: The Pages of Testimony of the Yad Vashem Central Database of Shoah Victims.
This is the Page of Testimony of Franziska Müller Neumann, submitted by her husband Erich Neumann. Franziska was born in Themar in 1909, the daughter of Leopold Müller and his wife, Pauline Steindler Müller. She was the sister of Julius and Manfred Müller. They were part of the large Müller family, other members of which were Max Müller I, Karoline Müller Häusler, and Karl Müller. The family owned and operated one of the large ‘department stores’ in the Bahnhofstrasse just on the Market Square.
In 1933, Franziska married Erich Neumann of Kassel and left Themar to live in Eschwege. She and Erich had two sons, Ludwig (Lutz) and Wolfgang. Erich Neumann was able to escape Germany and get to England, but his wife and two sons were unable to follow him. They were deported to Auschwitz in June 1943 and murdered.
Example 4: Who were the Themaren Jews? The Official Records
The files of the Themar City Archives (Stadtarchiv Themar) include lists or ‘censuses’ of the Jews of Themar compiled from October 1935 through 1939. The following lists are available in original and/or transcribed format.
- Jüdisch-politische Einstellung: neutral-assimilatorisch-zionistisch-orthodox, 1 Oktober 1935/Jewish-political Orientation: neutral-assimilationist-zionist-orthodox, 1 October 1935. pdf
This is the first ‘census’ of the Jewish population taken after the passage of the Reich Citizenship Law of September 15 1935, defining who was or was not a German citizen.
- Mitglieder der Kultusgemeinde Themar/Members of the Jewish Community of Themar, 7 March 1938.
In this list, one sees the column “Staatsangehörige.” This indicates that, according to the Reich Citizenship Law, Jews are “state subjects,” not “Reichsbürger” or “citizens of the Reich.” It was also a means of identifying those Jews not born in Germany, as persecution of the “Ostjuden,” those Jews not born in Germany, was steadily increasing in 1938.
- Namen der Noch in Themar wohnenden Juden. 6 Oktober 1939/Names of Jews living in Themar, 6 October 1939
Example 5: Who were the Themaren Jews? The Research Results
The list, Die Themarerjuden, 1865-1943/Name, Birthdate & Place, was originally prepared by Dr. Sharon Meen in September 2009 from the public sources listed below. It has been updated in January 2011.
- Human, Rudolf Armin. Geschichte der Juden im Herzogtum Sachsen-Meiningen-Hildburghausen. Hildburghausen: Kesselring, 1898/ reprinted Weimar: F. Fink, 1939.
Roß, Karl-Heinz & Hans Nothnagel, „Die jüdische Gemeinde Themar — ein fragmentarischer Rückblick,” in H. Nothnagel, ed., Juden in Südthüringen geschützt und gejagt (Verlag Buchhaus Suhl, 1995), Bd. 2.
Salier, Hans Jurgen. Themar: Geschichte in Daten, 2008.
Wolf, Siegfried. Juden in Thüringen 1933-1945: Biographische Daten, Band 1 & 2, 2002.
Ancestry.com. and Ancestry.de [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006.
Das Deutsche Bundesarchiv, Gedenkbuch: Opfer der Verfolgung der Juden unter der nationalsozialistischen Gewaltherrschaft in Deutschland 1933 -1945.
Private Family Archival Collections/Privatbesitz Familien
Stadtarchiv Themar/City of Themar Archives, Files 68a-d.
Yad Vashem, The Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names.