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Stanton Family Collection

Identifier: AR 25893

Scope and Contents

The Stanton Family Collection contains documents, correspondence, and photographs representing several centuries of Henry Stanton’s German-Jewish ancestors from the Sobernheim, Hinrichsen, Bütow, Bendix, Reiche, Abraham, Goldschmidt, Bleichröder, and Mond families. A smaller quantity of material is available concerning the Koninski and Kempinski families, ancestors of Henry Stanton’s wife Ursula Stanton née Koninski. Correspondence amongst the family members accounts for a significant portion of Series I. This correspondence is accompanied by a wide variety of documentation, including vital records, identity documents, school records, military service records, records of professional appointments, financial records, wills, and estate documents. In addition to official documents, life events such as weddings and anniversaries are represented by ephemeral material. For some family members, an included curriculum vitae, article, or biographical work provides an overview of his or her life. Records of members of the Sobernheim and Hinrichsen families living in Germany after the Nazis came to power contain documentation of attempts to emigrate from Germany, as well as efforts to receive restitution after the war.

Photographs found in Series II show images of the lives documented in Series I. While members of earlier generations are often represented by one or two studio portraits, later generations are depicted by a larger quantity and variety of photographs, including school, wedding, military service, and professional photographs and photographs of family members on vacation and at leisure, in addition to studio portraits. Also portrayed are family residences, including Sobernheim family residences in Berlin and Church Stretton. The Hinrichsen family residence at Talstrasse 10 in Leipzig is particularly well-represented through interior and exterior views and family members shown inside the residence, along the exterior, and in the garden. Photographs taken by Walter Hinrichsen in Leipzig in 1945 include pictures of Talstrasse 10. Graves of individual family members and family plots are also documented in this series.

Series III contains family histories by Henry Stanton based upon the documentation, correspondence, and photographs in Series I and Series II, supplemented by historical background included to provide context for the lives his ancestors lived. The histories most extensively document the families Sobernheim (Stanton’s father’s family), Hinrichsen (Stanton’s mother’s family), and Bütow (family of Stanton’s paternal grandmother). The Sobernheim volumes also contain Henry Stanton’s own story. One volume in this series is written not by Henry Stanton, but by his wife Ursula Stanton née Koninski, and is comprised of her writings and family memories. Series III also contains genealogical charts, family trees, family histories, and related correspondence providing information on the ancestors of Henry Stanton and Ursula Stanton née Koninski. Of particular interest is family history information on the Sobernheim family provided by Dr. Jacob Jacobson, director of the Gesamtarchiv der deutschen Juden, and Otto Sobernheim’s correspondence with Jacobson on this topic.


  • Creation: undated, 1815-2018


Language of Materials

The collection is in German and English, with a small amount of Russian, Polish, Dutch, French, Portuguese, and Judeo-German.

Access Restrictions

Open to researchers except for the following folders restricted due to privacy concerns: Box 1, Folders 10-11, Box 7, Folder 22, and Box 8, Folders 7-8.

Access Information

Readers may access the collection by visiting the Lillian Goldman Reading Room at the Center for Jewish History. We recommend reserving the collection in advance; please visit the LBI Online Catalog and click on the "Request" button.

Biographical / Historical

Sobernheim Family
Heinrich Ernst Sobernheim (called Heinz) was born in Berlin on August 24, 1921. He was baptized at birth and attended a Lutheran church in his childhood. Heinz spent the winter months of early 1933 at a children’s home in Samaden, Switzerland. He returned to Switzerland at the age of 14, when he was sent to an English boarding school in Arveyes-sur-Bex. His roommate at the school was Kent Nowell, whose parents John and Margaret later rescued his parents and sisters from Germany. Heinz left for the United States on November 10, 1938, arriving later that same month. After two weeks in New York, he traveled to Chicago to meet his uncle Walter Hinrichsen. He ultimately decided to leave for California. Heinz registered to attend San Francisco Junior College’s Hotel & Restaurant Management Division. It was there that he met Ursula Koninski; they married in 1942. At the time of his naturalization in December 1943, Heinz Sobernheim changed his name to Henry Ernest Stanton. Stanton served in the U.S. Army’s Psychological Warfare Division during World War II. After the war, the family settled in Sacramento, and Stanton went to work as a civilian employee of the Air Force. Henry and Ursula Stanton had two sons: Thomas (Tom) (1944-) and Kenneth (Ken) (1948-). Henry Stanton died on May 6, 2019.

Henry Stanton’s paternal great-grandfather Wilhelm Sobernheim (1799-1865) received official permission to live in Berlin on October 13, 1815; he had attended school in Berlin since 1811. He became a Berlin citizen in August 1832 and subsequently established himself as an independent grain merchant. Wilhelm Sobernheim married Henriette Reiche (1810-1896) on November 3, 1835, in Berlin. Stanton’s grandfather Heinrich Sobernheim was the youngest of their eight children. Wilhelm joined with his brother Moritz, who had established a dealership in agricultural commodities, and founded the firm Gebrüder Sobernheim. The firm was later taken over by Wilhelm’s son Siegfried and Moritz’s son Siegmund. The business failed in the 1890s and was liquidated in 1905.

Heinrich Sobernheim was born on June 24, 1846, in Berlin. After studying law at Heidelberg, he began a career in the legal court system of Prussia before later establishing his own legal practice. In 1879, he was admitted to practice before the Prussian Court of Justice in Berlin. Heinrich Sobernheim married Elise Bütow on February 6, 1881, in Berlin. She was born in Berlin on June 29, 1851, to Gustav Bütow (1811-1866) and Julie Bütow née Goldschmidt (1820-1894). Heinrich Sobernheim died on October 18, 1905, in Berlin. Elise Sobernheim died on August 19, 1937, in Berlin.

Heinrich and Elise lived together at Alsenstrasse 3a, where they raised their four children: Otto Wilhelm Gustav (1882-1965), Franz Benedict (1883-1918), Ernst (1885-1918), and Annemarie (1892-1942). Both Franz and Ernst died on the front in France during World War I. Annemarie served as an assistant nurse at a hospital in Berlin during the war. After the Nazis came to power, she tried to leave Germany but was unable to obtain a sponsor. Annemarie Sobernheim was deported to Poland on March 28, 1942 and died in the Trawniki concentration camp.

Otto Wilhelm Gustav Sobernheim, father of Henry Stanton, was born on March 3, 1882, in Berlin. Otto started university in Freiburg in 1900, where he studied law and economics. He continued his studies at the University of Berlin, from which he received his law degree. Otto was baptized in 1903 while in law school. Like his brothers, Otto served in World War I; he was released from military service on February 21, 1919. He married Charlotte Hinrichsen (born in Leipzig on December 27, 1898) on September 5, 1920, in Leipzig. They initially lived with Elise Sobernheim at Schöneberger Ufer 36a, where their son Heinrich was born. They next acquired a duplex in the Berlin suburb of Lichterfelde. In 1926, Charlotte received money from her father to purchase a residence in Dahlem; the family lived there from 1926 to 1939. In 1933, Otto Sobernheim was forced to retire due to the Nazi’s Civil Service Law. Otto was arrested on November 11, 1938, after Kristallnacht, and sent to Sachsenhausen. He was released on December 22, 1938. The Sobernheims’ two daughters were sent to England on July 13, 1939, with the help of Kindertransport. On August 25, 1939, Otto and Charlotte left Berlin for London. They settled in Church Stretton, where Charlotte took over management of a hostel for immigrants known as The Haven. On June 25, 1940, Otto was interned in England; he was released on November 12, 1940. After his release, Otto taught German and French at St. Dunstan’s Training Centre for Men and Women Blinded in War Service in Church Stretton. The family received British citizenship in 1947. Otto died on August 16, 1965, in England. Charlotte died on December 5, 1980, in England.

Hinrichsen Family
Henry Stanton’s maternal great-grandfather Robert Hinrichsen (1835-1917) married Betty Abraham (1840-1919) on October 19, 1862, in Danzig. They lived at Hallerplatz 9 in Hamburg. Betty’s brother was Max Abraham (1831-1900), who became a partner in the C.F. Peters music publishing firm of Leipzig on April 1, 1863, and sole owner on April 1, 1880.

Robert and Betty’s son Henri Hinrichsen was born on February 5, 1868, in Hamburg. He moved from Hamburg to Leipzig in 1891 to work with his uncle Max Abraham. In 1894, Henri was made partner in the firm. Henri became engaged to Martha Bendix on September 4, 1897; they married on March 5, 1898, in Berlin. Martha was born in Berlin on March 2, 1879, to Waldemar Bendix and Bertha Bendix née Katz. The family moved into the upstairs family quarters at Talstrasse 10 in Leipzig in 1899; the main floor of the building housed the C.F. Peters offices. Henri Hinrichsen was the sole owner of the firm after Max’s death on December 8, 1900, until 1939. Henri and Martha had seven children: Charlotte (mother of Henry Stanton), Max, Ilse, Walter, Hans Joachim, Paul, and Robert.

On Kristallnacht, Henri Hinrichsen was jailed in Leipzig. On November 17, the family’s music publishing business was "Aryanized." Business assets were confiscated, and Henri and his son Hans, who was a partner in the firm, were directed to use their private assets for emigration; however, all the assets were in the business. Even after the initial sale of the business, the Hinrichsens could not leave Germany until the sale was completed and all fees paid. Henri Hinrichsen was arrested again on November 9, 1939, and detained for 40 days. At the end of January 1940, Henri and Martha Hinrichsen fled to Belgium and settled in Brussels. Martha died in Brussels on October 7, 1941. Henri was deported from Malines, outside of Brussels, to Auschwitz on September 15, 1942. He arrived there September 17. Witnesses reported that Henri was taken to Birkenau and killed on the same day.

Ilse Hinrichsen (1904-1987) married Ludwig Frankenthal (1885-1944) on November 8, 1928, in Leipzig. They had two sons: Günter (1929-1945) and Wolfgang (1931-1944). Ludwig was a surgeon and served as head physician of the Jewish Hospital in Leipzig from 1927 until November 10, 1938. He was arrested after Kristallnacht and sent to Buchenwald. After Ilse obtained permission for the family to immigrate to the Netherlands, Ludwig was released on November 27, 1938. The family arrived in the Netherlands on December 15. After the German invasion of the Netherlands, they relocated from The Hague to Bennekom, where they lived from September 6, 1940, until April 8, 1943. The family tried in vain to immigrate to another country. They were interned in Westerbork, where Ludwig worked as a surgeon, from April 8, 1943, to September 4, 1944. They were then sent to Theresienstadt, where they remained for six weeks. On October 12, 1944, the entire family was sent to Auschwitz; there, Ilse was separated from her husband and sons. Ilse survived Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, and Salzwedel, which was liberated on April 14, 1945, by American forces. After 14 days in a hospital in Salzwedel, she returned to the Netherlands and settled in Brunssum, where she lived for the rest of her life. After the war, she learned of the deaths of her husband and sons in Auschwitz.

Hans Joachim Hinrichsen (1909-1940) became a partner of C.F. Peters in 1937, when his older brother Max withdrew and immigrated to England. On Kristallnacht, he was arrested and sent to Sachsenhausen, where he was interned for 40 days. He was arrested again in November 1939. Hans was required to remain in Germany until the forced sale of C.F. Peters was complete. He emigrated from Germany to Brussels in March 1940. After the German invasion of Belgium, Hans fled to the unoccupied part of France. He was arrested by French police and sent to St. Cyprien, where he died of typhus.

Paul Hinrichsen (1912-1943) decided to become a farmer and trained in the business aspects of managing a farming operation. From May until November 1937, he studied agricultural conditions in parts of Central and South Brazil. He bought land in the Brazilian state of Paraná, planning to settle there. Paul tried to receive permission to stay in Brazil past November without having to return to Germany but was unsuccessful and forced to return. On January 20, 1939, Paul learned that the Brazilian quota for farmers had already been filled. By March 1940, he was the only member of the Leipzig Hinrichsen family still in Germany. Starting in December 1941, Paul was interned in the agricultural forced labor camp at Neuendorf. He died in 1943 in Auschwitz.

Koninski Family
Ursula Stanton née Koninski was born in Berlin on January 10, 1915. On December 6, 1937, she left England, where she was attending art school in London, for the United States. Worried about her mother, she returned to Berlin in 1938. Ursula left Germany again on February 23, 1939, arrived in England on the 24th, stayed there several weeks, and arrived in New York on March 27. She decided to relocate to Washington state and later moved to San Francisco in December 1939. In the fall of 1941, she started at San Francisco Junior College’s Hotel & Restaurant Management Division. There she met her husband Henry Stanton, whom she married on August 29, 1942. The family settled in Sacramento after the war. In 1952, Ursula landed the cafeteria manager job at Sacramento State College. As the college expanded, she went from cafeteria manager to Food Service Director; she worked there for 14 years. Ursula Stanton died on February 3, 2001.

Ursula’s parents Bertold Koninski (1871-1935) and Maria Koninska née Frenkel (1884-1986) were both born in Poland. Bertold went to Germany to attend the University of Hannover; he later brought Maria to Germany after marrying her in Lodz in 1908. Bertold Koninski was an architect and engineer and served as technical director of several restaurants partly owned by his cousin Hans Kempinski, including Haus Vaterland. Maria Koninska resided in England during World War II and came to the United States in 1947. She died in Sacramento on March 5, 1986.


10 Linear Feet

2 Folders (2 OS folders)


The Stanton Family Collection contains documents, correspondence, and photographs representing several centuries of Henry Stanton’s German-Jewish ancestors from the Sobernheim, Hinrichsen, Bütow, Bendix, Reiche, Abraham, Goldschmidt, Bleichröder, and Mond families. Family histories by Stanton based upon these materials are also included.


Henry Stanton arranged the materials in the collection by family member and assigned each family member a “three-to-six-digit code. The first one or two digits, followed by a period, identify a particular family. The next one or two digits identify the generation. [Henry’s] grandchildren are generation 1, [Henry is] generation 3, and so on… The final one or two digits identify the individual within a particular generation. This is an arbitrary number.” Stanton’s grouping of documents by family, then individual, is consistent both throughout the primary source documents and his family history writings. His arrangement of documents by family, then individual has been maintained throughout the collection. It should be noted that materials pertaining to women who married from one family into another are filed with their families of origin. For example, the papers of Charlotte Sobernheim née Hinrichsen are filed with Family 2 Hinrichsen, rather than Family 1 Sobernheim.

The collection is arranged in three series, with Stanton’s writings as one series and the supporting archive divided into two series by document type:
Series I: Correspondence and Documents, undated, 1815-2017
Series II: Photographs, undated, 1849-2012
Series III: Family History, undated, 1921-2018
Series IV: Books and Publications, 1812, 1831-2007

Separated Materials

A sampler embroidered by Elise Bütow, sash belonging to Martha Bendix, military medals for various family members, and printing plate for Maria Koninska’s visiting card have been removed to the LBI Art & Objects Collection. A floppy disk and USB drive containing copies of Henry Stanton’s family history files, a CD with photographs of the Sobernheim family’s former residence on Schöneberger Ufer in Berlin, and a cassette tape of an interview with Josef Koninski about his father Bertold Koninski have been removed to the LBI AV Collection. Publications have been removed to the LBI Library and clippings have been removed to the LBI Clippings Collection.

Processing Information

Documents found in the collection, particularly correspondence, were often accompanied by photocopies of the originals along with multiple copies of typed German transcriptions and English translations. Photocopies as well as duplicate copies were discarded. Paperclips were removed and materials that arrived plastic sleeves were removed from the sleeves and the sleeves discarded. All items in the collection were rehoused in archival folders and boxes.

After processing, the contents of Box 1, Folders 1-2 and Box 8, Folder 4 were returned to the donor.

Guide to the Stanton Family Collection
Sarah Glover
© 2020
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States