31 Rue de la Saussaye


From the Blog

August 24, 2020 - 14:04

Another document that miraculously appeared on Ancestry is the April 12, 1928, marriage certificate of Hilda Wohlgemuth and Herbert Friedrich Peiser. Peiser is described as a merchant from Breslau. 

February 21, 2013 - 09:45

Yesterday, as a result of our contact with Olivia Mattis at the Aristides de Sousa Mendes Foundation, we learned the identity of the Portuguese consular official in Toulouse who issued a Portugal transit visa to Elly and Helga Ruby on July 11, 1940. Here is that visa. Notice the signature in two places of one Emile Gissot. Gissot was known to the people at the Mendes Foundation as one of several vice-consuls in cities near to Bordeaux who cooperated with the actions of Sousa Mendes during his campaign of mercy. The foundation has several records in its files of families with Gissot visas from Toulouse. They had been working from the assumption that the vice-consuls in Bayonne and Toulouse had acted under instructions from Sousa Mendes, the senior consular official in the region. But in at least one of their... more

August 25, 2012 - 14:21
Biney requests permission to track Liebman assets in the free zone

Here we see mounting frustration from Clerc provisional administrator Biney as in July 1941 he seeks permission to travel to the free French zone to... more
August 25, 2012 - 09:22
Biney reports sale of Neuilly mansion

On May 12, 1943, Clerc provisional administrator Armand Biney reports to the Directorate of Aryanization at the CGQJ (headed by Boué) that a sale has been concluded for the property in Neuilly-sur-Seine... more

July 13, 2012 - 16:06

Why would Colonel Engelke move from his position as chief of SS adminstration in Paris in June 1944 to an SS prison cell in Dachau in April 1945, if in fact he's the same person? That is the implied question that forum poster Ian Sayer asks on the Axis History Forum mentioned previously.

The answer is speculative, but it leads to a theory about what might have been discussed at those parties with Madame Kleinknecht, the one-time cabaret dancer who is now a premier hostess in Nazi-occupied Paris.

Der Spiegel mentions "German generals" being present at Neuilly, though not by name. Likely one of those would have been Carl-Heinrich von Stülpnagel, a general of infantry from the Eastern Front (where he was responsible for atrocious war crimes) who in March 1942 was made the military commander of... more

July 13, 2012 - 14:20

The Der Spiegel article mentions SD chief Colonel Engelke as a regular at the Madame Kleinknect's salon. He doesn't rate a Wikipedia entry, but there is a fascinating discussion thread about him on Axis History Forum, described as an apolitical forum for discussions on the Axis nations, as well as the First and Second World Wars. From information on the thread from three researchers, we can piece together a biography.

Friedrich Engelke, known as Fritz, was born in Hannover in 1900. He prospered as a merchant and textile trader. During the 1930s he joins the administrative division of the SS, or Schutzstaffel, the paramilitary organization run by Heinrich Himmler. In November 1940, Engelke is identified as an SS-Ustof, or second... more

July 13, 2012 - 12:40

The Der Spiegel article lists several names among the guests of Walter and Laure Kleinknecht at the Neuilly villa. The two French names, Pierre Laval and Marcel Déat, were leading politicians in the Vichy government. From Wikipedia:

Pierre Laval

Pierre Laval (French pronunciation: [pjɛʁ laval]; 28 June 1883 – 15 October 1945) was a French politician. He was four times President of the council of ministers of the Third Republic, twice consecutively.

Following France's surrender and Armistice with Germany in 1940, he served twice in the Vichy Regime as head of government. He signed orders permitting the deportation of foreign Jews from French soil to the Nazi death camps.

After Liberation (1945), Laval was arrested by the... more

June 25, 2012 - 15:23

There is much to add and not much time. I will compress quite a bit here.

About a week ago, Joanne asked me for the address for our great-aunt Hilda's former villa in a Paris suburb. If you read the previous item, you know that I found the address on a blog item written about a year ago by French jewelry blogger and historian Jean-Jacques Richard. His article included rich details on the early history of the Clerc jewelry store and brand, including how our uncle... more

June 19, 2012 - 10:52

Joanne is in Paris visiting her friend Carrie, who is ill. She emailed Walter and I overnight asking did we have Hilda's old address in Neuilly. She said she would be in Neuilly today visiting her high-school exchange student pal Sylviane.

Walter replied that he and Joanne had looked for the house once before, in 2007 when their paths crossed in Paris, but that they had not found it. As for me, my only memories of that grand maison go back to early childhood.

So I googled "Joseph Liebman Clerc Neuilly". That is the name of Aunt Hilda's husband, the French jewelry business he owned for a time, and the Parisian suburb where they resided. Up pops a juicy page from a French jewelry history blog chock full of information, including the address of a house in Neuilly that was listed as a Clerc business... more

April 6, 2012 - 16:25

Since I have some momentum today and I just mentioned Aunt Hilda's citizenship annulment, here it is:

Here's what it means: Index of Jews Whose German Nationality was Annulled by Nazi Regime, 1935-1944

This is a... more

September 17, 2010 - 12:15

Here are a couple of fascinating new documents also discovered via Ancestry's hinting feature. First is the passenger manifest of U.S. aliens arriving on the SS Guine in New York April 15, 1941, showing Elly and Helga Ringel and Herbert and Hilda Peiser among the passengers. The second is a record of those aliens held for special inquiry, showing those same four names.

Both documents include lots of annotations and data that I have not yet taken the time to fully interepret, but presumably tells the story of the group's initial stop in New York, where they were denied admission to the U.S., but where they gained the documentation that allowed them to enter later through Miami from Cuba. More analysis to come.

... more

July 29, 2006 - 17:06

From Walter's link in the previous post. Is he a grandson of Joe Liebman?

July 29, 2006 - 16:40

On a whole different front, Walter is getting ready to meet up with our Israeli family next week, as he travels there despite the war before meeting up with Tanya in the Ukraine. Meanwhile, Joanne has canceled her visit to Israel, but will instead travel with Lani to Venice, Paris and London. In London, she has hopes to contact Helga's cousing Edit who is reported by one of the young Israeli relatives to be alive and well.

To give a flavor, here is a series of emails, with Walter's latest update on contingency plans for meeting the family if Afeq remains unsafe.


I had a long talk with Dalit and Tal on Thursday and Tal offered to have me picked up at airport upon arrival in his company car and brought to their house in Zichron. That is on the morning of the 7th. Dalit said that if the... more