Nathan and Thekla Naumann Family Collection
Scope and Content Note
This collection contains documents relating to the Naumann family, primarily Nathan and Thekla (née Gutmann). Personal documents include 19th-century family documents, such as birth and wedding certificates, as well as other official documents from the early 1900s and materials from Nathan's service in the German Army during World War One. The collection also contains materials concerning the emigration of Nathan, Thekla, Gertrud, and Jeanette Naumann to the United States via Cuba, as well as a few materials about the new life that the Naumanns built in New York. Photographs and photo albums, many depicting World War One and life in Unsleben, are also included.
This collection also documents the wholesale grain company Gebrueder Gaertner in Unsleben, Bavaria, which was jointly operated by Nathan Naumann and his brother Ludwig until shortly before their flight from Germany in 1938. Included are a wide range of business documents, such as basic postcard correspondence about prices and stock with suppliers, banks, and clients; bills and account books; and insurance and legal documents. It also includes extensive records of quasi-judicial litigation with customers, mainly farmers, regarding debt relief (Entschuldungsverfahren).
- Majority of material found within 1902-1939
- Dreyer, Gertrud Naumann, 1932- (Person)
Language of Materials
This collection is in German, with some English, Hebrew, Judeo-German, and Spanish.
This collection is open to researchers.
Collection is digitized. Follow the links in the Container List to access the digitized materials.
Nathan Naumann (1899-1986) was born to Isak Naumann (1864-1930) and Jeanette (née Gutmann) Naumann (1868-1959) in Unsleben, Bavaria, in the Lower Franconia region of Germany. He had four siblings: Fanni (1892-1971, married Theo Mittel), Max (1893-1938, married Rose Mittel), Otto (1901-1974), and Ludwig (1895-1973, married Hilde Mittel). Between 1937 and 1939, the Naumann siblings and Jeanette all managed to emigrate, Otto to Johannesburg, South Africa, and the rest to the United States.
From 1917 to 1918, Nathan served in the German army along with two of his brothers. Upon his return, he and Ludwig joined their father Isak in the family business, the grain wholesaler Gebrueder Gaertner. The business came to the Naumann family via the mother of Isak Naumann's wife, Babette Gutmann (née Gaertner). After Isak's death in 1930, Nathan and Ludwig took over the firm. As conditions for Jews in Germany deteriorated, business became more difficult, and in late 1937 the brothers decided to liquidate the company.
In 1931, Nathan married Thekla Gutmann (1902-1995) of Windsbach, Bavaria. Their daughter Gertrud ("Trudy") Naumann Dreyer was born in 1932. In November 1938, after Nathan was briefly detained during Kristallnacht, the family left Germany. They arrived in New York in October 1939, after a nearly a year spent in Havana, Cuba, awaiting their quota number. While in Cuba, Nathan facilitated his mother's journey to Cuba, and also attempted to help other Jews escape Germany by providing advice about Cuban visas. In the United States, Nathan worked in a variety of jobs, such as a dishwasher at the World's Fair and as a Fuller Brush man, before settling into a position at the real estate firm Singer & Bassuck.
2 Linear Feet
This collection contains documents relating to the Naumann family, primarily Nathan and Thekla (née Gutmann). Personal documents from their life in Unsleben, Bavaria, are included, as are materials about their emigration to the United States via Cuba. The collection also documents the wholesale grain company Gebrueder Gaertner, which was jointly operated by Nathan Naumann and his brother Ludwig until shortly before their flight from Germany in 1938.
This collection was arranged into two series. Correspondence folders were arranged chronologically. Other folders were left in their original order, which was often roughly chronological.
Documents were unfolded. Envelopes, original folders, and duplicate documents were removed. Photographs were rehoused into sleeves.
- Guide to the Nathan and Thekla Naumann Family Collection Undated, 1840-2006, bulk 1902-1939 AR 25459
- Processed by Kevin Schlottmann
- © 2011
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Description is in English.
- December 05, 2013 : Links to digital objects added in Container List.
Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository
15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States