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Gertrude Guckenheimer Collection

 Collection
Identifier: AR 10042

Scope and Content Note

This collection documents the family history and restitution claims of Gertrude Guckenheimer née Goldschmidt and her husband Ludwig Guckenheimer. About half of the materials relate to the family histories of both Gertrude and Ludwig Guckenheimer, including personal correspondence, family trees, vital records such as birth, marriage and death certificates, immigration documents, certificates of inheritance, and a few photographs. A particular highlight of the papers on family history is the well-documented history of the wool goods business Herz Hachenburger Sohn, which was founded by Gertrude Guckenheimer’s great-grandfather and kept in the family until her father was forced to sell it in 1938. Business correspondence from Herz Hachenburger Sohn as well as the wine transport business of Gertrude’s mother’s family, Max Baer Söhne, is included. The restitution documents that make up the other half of the collection demonstrate the efforts of several members of the Guckenheimer, Goldschmidt, and Hirsch families to obtain restitution from the German state. Most of their claims were successful.

Dates

  • 1819-1997

Language of Materials

The collection is in German, English with a few documents in French and Italian.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open to researchers.

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 Note

Gertrude Guckenheimer née Goldschmidt was born on December 12, 1916 to Clemens Goldschmidt (1877-1945) and his wife Anna née Baer (1889-1985).

Her father’s grandfather Moses Herz Hachenburger founded the family wholesale store for wool goods, Herz Hachenburger Sohn, in 1846, the same year that the Grand Duke of Hessen granted him citizenship in Darmstadt and permission to marry Sarah Hachenburger. This business stayed in the family until 1938. When Gertrude was growing up, her family lived two floors above the store at Rheinstrasse 1 in Darmstadt.

Gertrude’s father Clemens Goldschmidt was forced to give up the business in 1938. He and Anna Goldschmidt were able to flee Germany for England, but Clemens was held at the Onchan Internment Camp on the Isle of Man as an enemy alien during 1940. Clemens died in London in 1945, and Anna eventually immigrated to the United States.

Gertrude attended business school in Neuchatel, Switzerland for 15 months in the mid-1930s in an effort to gain skills to make her employable outside of Germany. With the support of family members living in Los Angeles, California, Gertrude immigrated to the United States via Hamburg in 1937. In 1939, she married the lawyer Ludwig Guckenheimer, whom she had known from her childhood in Darmstadt. They had four children, Anna, Elizabeth, John, and Sam.

Ludwig Guckenheimer was born on April 11, 1911 as the second son of Moritz Guckenheimer (1878-1934) and his wife Sofie née Hirsch (1880-1970). He studied law, but by 1933, he was no longer able to continue this career in Germany and immigrated to the United States.

Ludwig’s older brother Siegfried Guckenheimer (1909-1978) immigrated to the United States in October of 1937. He eventually settled in Cleveland, Ohio, where he became an advocate for vocational training programs.

Alongside several of their family members, Gertrude and Ludwig Guckenheimer filed restitution claims for damages to their education, careers, and the cost of emigration, among others. Most of these claims were successful. Ludwig also joined his mother, aunt, and cousin to file for restitution for his uncle Simon Hirsch who perished in the concentration camp at Theresienstadt. Their claims on his behalf were also successful.

Extent

1.75 Linear Feet

Abstract

This collection documents the family history and restitution claims of Gertrude Guckenheimer née Goldschmidt (1916-2003) and her husband Ludwig Guckenheimer (1911-1991). Half of the collection relates to the family histories and family businesses of Gertrude and Ludwig, while the other half documents the restitution claims brought by them and their family members. Included are family trees, birth, marriage, and death certificates, inheritance documents, business contracts, and personal and business correspondence, bank records, official and legal documents concerning restitution claims, and a few photographs. The history of the family businesses Herz Hachenburger Sohn and Max Baer Söhne are well documented in contracts and correspondence.

Digitization Note

This collection has been digitized in its entirety. Access to box 3 folder 5 and box 4 folders 1 and 2 is restricted due to privacy issues. Researchers may ask questions regarding suppressed materials by contacting the LBI Archivist at lbaeck@lbi.cjh.org.

Related Material

Gertrude Guckenheimer’s memoir “My Experiences in Nazi Times 1846-1989” is held at the Leo Baeck Archives and can be accessed online: ME 996.

A book compiled by Gertrude and Sam Guckenheimer about Anna Goldschmidt, “Anna Goldschmidt: Her Anecdotes and Poems with Remembrances of Her,” was placed in the Leo Baeck manuscript collection: MS 945.

Separated Material

A copy of “779-1979 Frankenwinheim,” a book celebrating the 1200th year of the city where the Hirsch family once lived, was removed.

Processing Information

Materials were flattened and duplicates were removed. Empty envelopes were removed. Materials were rehoused in acid-free folders. Several binders that held papers together were removed and the materials were kept in their original order where possible.
Title
Guide to the Gertrude Guckenheimer Collection 1819-circa 1997 AR 10042
Status
In Progress
Author
Processed by Leanora Lange
Date
© 2012
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
Description is in English.
Sponsor
Described and encoded as part of the CJH Holocaust Resource Initiative, made possible by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims against Germany.

Repository Details

Part of the Leo Baeck Institute Repository

Contact:
15 West 16th Street
New York NY 10011 United States