The Eisen family had many branches and was one of the oldest families in the city, as told in the “Altmühl-Bote” of October 18, 1928.
The family of Jacob Eisen is among the oldest families here (8th oldest). In 1658 the first ancestor of the Eisens settled here. He was “Marx der Judt”. He immigrated from Öttelfingen near Mergenthal. For the last 270 years the family has shared their joys and sorrows with the Christian community. We now wish Mr. Jacob Eisen, our dear fellow citizen, good luck and all the best.”
The popular merchant Jacob Eisen was born on July 2nd, 1879 in Gunzenhausen as the son of the merchant Heymann Eisen and his wife Jette, née Schoen.
At the age of 20 he became secretary of the newly founded Gunzenhausen Smoking Club. In 1913, the Jewish religious community confirmed him as second director. This shows that he was involved in the social life of the city.
In 1906 he married Rosa Neumarck in Ansbach, born 1876 in Georgensgmünd. She was the daughter of Emmanuel Neumark and his wife Klara, née Gutmann.
As early as 1907 they bought the house at Burgstallstraße 4 and ran a raw materials business there.
The many ads in the "Altmühl-Bote” in the 1920's are proof that the business was doing well.
Burgstallstr. 4 / telephone 170
Leather and Camelhair, known for quality.
Known for lowest prices.
Drive belt wax, consistent engine grease,
polishing cotton, floor oil, cylinder oil,
motor oil, engine oil, auto oil,
leather- and axel grease, creosote factory prices
H. L. Eisen
Josef Gross GUNZENHAUSEN Judengasse Nr. 1
Textiles and yard goods
Only A-1 quality wares lowest prices.
Jacob and Rosa Eisen's daughter Betty was born August 1, 1908.
In 1929 Betty Eisen married the merchant Max Rosenbaum and followed him to Munich.
Today (2001) she talks about her youth in Gunzenhausen:
“I went to after-school dance classes. Everything was still peaceful and friendly, until Hitler put an end to that. From one day to the next our friends started avoiding us, my father was abused once, and he and all other Jewish men were taken to jail and kept overnight.”
When the outrageous acts against the Jewish citizens in Gunzenhausen increased, Jacob Eisen handed over his coal dealership to Ludwig Wucherer in December 1934, and on December 18, 1935 he sold the property on Burgstallstrasse 4 to a Mr. Friedrich Lutz.
In the files at the "Chamber of Commerce" of the city of Gunzenhausen however the following entry was found:
“December 31, 1937 – Jacob Eisen, Munich. The registration for the warehouse, General-Ludendorff-Strasse 4 (formerly Burgstallstrasse 4) until now a dealership for skins and furs has been cancelled as of December 31, 1937. signed “Joseph Gross for J. Eisen.”
(Joseph Gross was the husband of Bertha born Eisen, the sister of Jacob Eisen. He continued to run the insurance agency for "Victoria-Feuerversicherung in the Judengasse till January 1938.) See Auergasse 1.
J. Eisen appears to have been activ in his business till 1937.
On March 16, 1936 Betty Eisen’s parents at her urging, joined their daughter in Munich already, hoping they would be safe there.
Jacob and Rosa Eisen stayed in Munich, from where they were deported to KZ Piasky, where they both perished.
Betty’s husband Max Rosenbaum was taken to KZ Dachau in 1938, but he was released 4 weeks later. As a result the couple fled to Amsterdam and from there took a ship to the USA .
Betty and her husband settled in New York, where she worked for the city government for 13 years.
In 1971 they both moved to Florida, where Max Rosenbaum died in 1981.
Karin Albert of Gunzenhausen and her Jewish family went to visit Betty Rosenbaum in a retirement home in Florida. The family of Mrs. Albert’s grandfather, the attorney Michael Amrhein (Burgstallstrasse 7) had lived near the Eisen family (Burgstallstrasse 4) for a long time, namely at Burgstallstrasse 2.
Mrs. Rosenbaum remembers that time very well.
Betty Rosenbaum 92 1/2 years old in 2001 and she wrote some letters to us. She told us that she had been in touch with quite a few friends from Gunzenhausen, who also emigrated to the USA when she did, but now she has outlived almost all of them.
She said: ”Just recently Theodor Theilheimer passed away. He was in the same class as I, a Genius, who worked for the Navy department in America.”
We also received the following Photo from her, showing the 1925 secondary school graduation (Absolvia) class. It was the first year that girls had been allowed to attend that school for boys.
The graduating students pictured here are from top left:
Unknown, Miss Reichel (Marktplatz 5), Hans Bueller, Josef Frei, Otto Hertlein, unknown, Bertl Honig (died in KZ), unknown, Emma Rottenberger (fiance of Kurt Baer).
Frontrow from left: Else Lichtenstern, Heidi Sperl, Betty Eisen, Paul Hellmann, Feodor Theilheimer, Else Danner, Karl Minderlein, unknown.
Although Betty Rosenbaum accepted an invitation from the city of Munich in 1982, she did not visit Gunzenhausen. Despite this, she always kept in touch with the town of Gunzenhausen and reported on her life. She also wrote interesting letters to us students. Unfortunately she has now passed away.
The current owner of Burgstallstrasse 4, Mr. Bernhard Ebert, has opened a travel agency there, which ties in with his tour bus business.
He reported that his father bought the houses Burgstallstrasse number 4, and number 6 next door, from the city in WWII, but after the war he had to pay for them again.
Since there are no documents available about the former owners Friedrich Lutz and the Eisen family, he knows nothing about them.