Wohlgemuths of Prussia

Wohlgemuth-Katz family names and towns

Here's a summary of the new Wohlgemuth-Katz information. 

Elly Ringel's father was Isaak Wohlgemuth, born 1865 in Stargard near Danzig. His parents were Leopold Wohlgemuth (dates unknown) and Friederike Paechter (1938-1910, died in Danzig). Isaak had a sister Rosa (or Roza). 

Elly's mother was Betty Katz, born 1875 in Kolberg, West Prussia, about 150 miles west of Danzig on the Baltic coast. Betty's parents were Kolberg merchant Louis Levin Katz (b. 1839) and Henriette Müllerheim (b. 1849). Betty had a sister Klara born a year later and then Henriette died the year after that at age 28. Louis remarried and the children were raised by the second wife Paula Perl Lewy. Paula also died when Betty was 18 and Louis took a third wife, Bertha. 

Betty and Isaak were married in Kolberg in April 1898. By now, he was living in Elbing near to Danzig, and that is where they began married life together. Their first child was Elly Wohlgemuth, born July 3, 1901 in Elbing. A second daughter Hilda Wohlgemuth was born Jan. 20, 1906 in Danzig. 

Betty's sister Klara married Siegfried Jacobson in 1904, but there is no record of children. 

We had heard information that Isaak was in business in Königsberg, 100 miles to the east, and that the family lived there. That is possible, but pending some evidence about Königsberg I'm inclined to believe the family stayed in either Elbing or Danzig until they later moved to Berlin when Elly was of marriageable age. 

Isaak died in 1929 and is buried at Wiessensee. I am pretty sure his sister Rosa is buried near to him. 

Yad Vashem has a centralized database of Shoah victims that includes all or most of those deported on more than 60 transports from Berlin to the east between October 1941 and early 1945. I can't find our Betty Katz Wohlgemuth in the database. 

Found! Wohlgemuth-Katz marriage certificate

Following up on Joanne's question about Bette Wohlgemuth, I just found the March 28 1898 marriage certificate for Isaak Wohlgemuth and Betty Katz. Wow! It has names of both of their parents. The marriage took place in Kolberg in West Pomerania, Prussia, today Kolobrzeg in Poland. There is also a new town, Stargard, for the Wohlgemuth family.

The image is attached in a large size so you can make out the names and places. None of this was available when I have looked previously. Some new collection must have recently been added (hat tip to Ancestry). 

Here is the vital info. Look at those new ancestor names! I'll put this in context in an upcoming post.

Isaak Wohlgemuth
Gender: männlich (Male)
Marriage Age: 32
Event Type: Heirat (Marriage)
Birth Date: 29 Okt 1865 (29 Oct 1865)
Marriage Date: 28 Mrz 1898 (28 Mar 1898)
Marriage Place: Kolberg, Preußen (Germany) [Polen (Poland)] 
Civil Registration Office: Kolberg, Krs Kolberg-Körlin
Father: Leopold Wohlgemuth
Mother: Friederike Paechter
Spouse: Bettÿ Katz
Certificate Number:    23

Name: Bettÿ Katz
Gender: weiblich (Female)
Marriage Age: 23
Event Type: Heirat (Marriage)
Birth Date: 1 Jan 1875
Marriage Date: 28 Mrz 1898 (28 Mar 1898)
Marriage Place: Kolberg, Preußen (Germany) [Polen (Poland)] 
Civil Registration Office: Kolberg, Krs Kolberg-Körlin
Father: Louis Katz
Mother: Henriette Müllerheim
Spouse: Isaak Wohlgemuth
Certificate Number:    23

Why did the Wohlgemuths leave Danzig?

In all our writings so far, it has been said that the Wohlgemuth family relocated to Berlin from Danzig during or more likely after the First World War in order to find better prospects for their marriageable daughters Elly and Hilde. That's a nice story and no doubt partly true, but there were very likely other factors motivating the family's move. 

[By the way, I am spelling Hilde with an 'e' instead of the 'a' she used later because that is how I find her listed in some original records.]

Danzig was a cosmopolitan German city in Isaak Wohlgemuth's day. The city's considerable Jewish community tended toward assimilation with the German state. The leading synagogues and community leaders were liberal. Zionism took hold slowly and was rejected by most Danzig Jews in the early years. Also, eastern Jews from Russia were discouraged both by German law and the attitudes of German Jews from settling in Danzig. 

Families like the Wohlgemuths were prospering in business. They retained their Jewish identity but sought to fit in with the dominant Christian society. Danzig Jews volunteered patriotically for the Great War. [There are a number of Wohlgemuths on German WWI casualty lists, but I have not yet connected them to our family.]

The photo is not of the Wohlgemuths but of prominent Danzig businessman Franz Boss and his family, out for a Sunday stroll in pre-WWI Danzig. 

In 1920, under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles, Danzig became a semi-autonomous city-state called the Free City of Danzig, created as a buffer between the reduced German republic and a new Polish nation. The city became a free trading zone and a point of embarkation for transit to the west. Tens of thousands of Polish and Russian Jews passed through the city on the way to England and America, and Danzig's own Jewish community swelled with the addition of eastern, orthodox, Zionist Jews who could now freely settle in the city. 

It must have come as a unwelcome change for long-time Jewish residents of Danzig. Our grandmother Elly grew up as a Jewish Danziger, perhaps until age 19 or 20. Possibly we can see here the formation of some of the attitudes she later projected: her disdain for östjuden and her disinterest in Zionism. 

Perhaps we also see here the real reason that Isaak Wohleguth pulled up stakes from the rapidly changing Danzig to a place, Berlin, where a more civilized and cosmopolitan Jewish lifestyle was practiced. If so, that explains why the Wohlgemuths chose to permanently leave their native city at the very time Danzig's Jewish population was dramatically on the rise.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Wohlgemuths of Prussia