Learning more about Helga's Tante Rosa

Learning more about Helga's Tante Rosa

Returning from a research hiatus, I have a good many new Ancestry hints to explore. I started in with some Paechter family updates I will return to soon and that led me to a string of new discoveries about Rosalie Wohlgemuth, the older sister of Elly Ringel's father Isaak Wohlgemuth. 

I've always had Rosa in the family tree because her 1864 birth in Preussisch Stargard is well documented. There was no marriage record and I had assumed that she lived together with her mother in Elbing and/or Danzig, or perhaps with her brothers in those cities. The other loose end was that I have always had an undated photo of a Weissensee grave and headstone for a Rose Wohlgemuth. This was from among the batch of family photos in Elly Ringel's woven photo pouch. 

So now Ancestry has produced the death certificate for our ancestor and it is quite sparsely informative. She died March 11, 1941 at age 76 at the Berlin Jewish Community Hospital. No cause of death is given. Her residence is recorded as Kantstrasse 122 in Berlin Charlottenburg—just three blocks from the Ringel home. Her name has been altered with the racial identifier Sara for a middle name. Likewise, her father's first name is given as Israel instead of his actual German-sounding name Leopold.

So this meant that there had been another close relation in Helga's orbit, probably throughout her childhood in Weissensee and Charlottenburg. And now I began to remember her referring to her Tante Rosa. Of course there is also a Rosa Ringel, Zeev's mother and sister of Hermann. But this one is Elly Ringel's aunt, the sister of Isaac Wohlgemuth. She was Helga's great aunt. 

This resonated but I had a problem. That woven pouch with selected family photos (including headstone photos for Hermann, Isaac, and this Rose) obviously left Berlin in 1938. Yet the death record for Rosalie Wohlgemuth indicates that she lived until 1941. How could that be?

It is a day or two later and I have now come to the realization that the grave photos in Elly's pouch must have been sent to her later and that she added them to her stash of photos she had carried to New York from Berlin. 

Who would have sent the photos from Berlin to Elly in New York sometime after March 1941? It must have been whatever element of the Berlin Jewish community was still operating and conducting Weissensee burials. This explanation also helps with the timeline of Hermann's burial and the family's subsequent departure from Berlin. How would he already have a headstone erected in that short interval? Well, the photo of his grave, as well as that of Isaac, which is printed on identical photo stock, must have been sent to Elly in 1941. 

Read on (click the Next button below) for more about Tante Rosa.