The Family of Benno Levi

Benno Levi was born on 03.07.1895 in Basel to Callmann Levi, merchant, and his wife Bertha. A year later his parents moved to Gunzenhausen where his father set himself up in trade.

Benno Levi married Gisela Schlossberger and ran a shop specializing in shoes and leatherware out of his parents' house at Bühringerstrasse 5.

The couple had one daughter, Bianka * 16.12.1925

Benno, Bianka and Gisela Levi © Familie Heinebach, Haifa, Israel
Benno, Bianka and Gisela Levi © Familie Heinebach, Haifa, Israel

His parents Callmann and Bertha Levi lived with them. His sister, Julie, had married the commercial representative Salomon Fallmann from Mühlheim a.d. Ruhr in 1919. She must have died during the war as she was declared dead on 31.12.1945.

Benno Levi cancelled his license for the shoe and leatherware business on 05.10.1934 and he left Gunzenhausen with his family on 22.02.1935. Shortly afterwards his mother Bertha was hospitalized in Ansbach, but in 1936 she emigrated to Palestine.

Bühringerstrasse 5 in 1938.  Source : Alt-Gunzenhausen, book 49 page 80
Bühringerstrasse 5 in 1938. Source : Alt-Gunzenhausen, book 49 page 80

Her son Benno and his family were later able to travel to Palestine, he died in Haifa on 23.09.1954.
Franz Flurschütz acquired the business in1934, advertising it as a "German Business" and adding sportsware to the inventory.

Mrs Huter was living at that time near the Levi family, in the Gartenstrasse. As a child she often played with Bianka Levi and remembers the tabernacle that was built in the courtyard every year for the Feast of Tabernacles. The SS came knocking at the door of the Levi family during the night of the first Jewish pogrom in Gunzenhausen on 24. March 1934. It must have been really terrible, as Mrs Huter explains. Bianka screamed horribly. Mr Levi had hidden himself behind a heating stove but he was found and taken away.

Shortly afterwards, Bianka was about 8 years old, the family emigrated to Haifa. Saying goodbye, she said to her friend "we won't write to each other so that you don't get into any difficulties".

Only once she'd grown up did Mrs Huter receive a letter from Haifa, and only then did she know where her friend was living. At the end of the 80's Bianka came on a visit to Gunzenhausen with her husband, Mr Heinebach, and her mother.

She didn't, though, want to talk about the past. This photo of Bianka Heinebach, born Levi, dates from this visit. The couple had two daughters, one is a teacher and worked for some time in Hamburg.

Bianka has unfortunately since passed away but her husband, Mr Heinebach, wrote us a very nice letter. Naturally he doesn't know much about the events in Gunzenhausen. He today lives in Haifa. On the telephone he told us that he came to Gunzenhausen with his family in 1972 to look for the graves of dead relatives on the Jewish cemetery. But everything had been wrecked.

Mr. Flurschütz was killed in the war and his wife had to sell the house. She asked her neighbor, the master butcher Mr Knöller, to buy the house and it remained in the hands of this family until recently. Presently it stands empty.