The Nathan Rosenfelder Family

Nathan Rosenfelder was born November 23, 1881 in Aufhausen, the son of merchant Moses Rosenfelder and his wife Therese, born Obermeier. He was trained as a merchant and banker.
On January 28, 1909, in the neighboring town Oberdorf, he married Selma Heimann, the sister of the merchant David Heimann. The parents of the two were Urias and Clothilde Heimann from Bopfingen.

David Heimann was married to Bertha Rosenfelder, Nathan Rosenfelder's sister. Thanks to a tip from Andrea Kugler from the Nördlingen city archive, we discovered the picture of the double wedding of the two couples. It was posted by the Leo Baeck Institute and is part of the 'Collection Karl L. Heiman AR 10032'.


The picture was taken by the photographer Eugen Höhn from Gunzenhausen and shows
the double wedding of Heimann and Rosenfelder.
Rosenfelder family picture (from the right):
Sitting Little Girl is Rosa Rosenthal; the lady behind her is Hedwig Rosenthal; the man behind her is Joseph Rosenthal; the tall man in the back is Adolf Rosenfelder; next to him stands Ludwig Rosenfelder; the lady in front of him is Fanny Rosenfelder; left bridal couple: Bertha Rosenfelder & David Heimann; right bridal couple: Selma Heimann & Nathan Rosenfelder; behind is Selma Adler; beside her is Moses Adler; Therese Rosenfelder sits in front; the man next to her is Moses Rosenfelder; behind is Lina Rosenfelder; next to her is Moritz Steiner; in front of Moritz on the right is Betty Steiner; Max Rosenfelder is standing in the back right; the little boy on the right is Max Steiner.

The Rosenfelder family in 1922 © Helene Vered, Holon/Israel
Rosenfelders in 1922 © Helene Vered, Israel

Although Nathan Rosenfelder had already moved from Nördlingen to Gunzenhausen in 1907, he only received citizenship there on January 10, 1919.

Nathan and Selma Rosenfelder had three children:
Hertha born June 13, 1910
Manfred born May 11, 1913
Ulrich born July 14, 1919

The family lived at Marktplatz 16. Selma Rosenfelder’s father Urias Heimann, had already opened a fabric store there in 1899. The business was passed on to his son David in 1901. In 1902 the house was also passed on to David. After his sister Selma married the banker Nathan Rosenfelder, they decided in 1909 to open a bank in the same building.

The house was transferred to Selma that year. Shortly thereafter, her husband Nathan was registered as co-owner.

Interestingly, it was officially referred to as 'Bankhaus D. Heimann', although there was no banker in this family. But contemporary witnesses always spoke of the 'Rosenfelder Bank' or 'at the Rosenfelder'.

David Heimann's fabric shop on Marktplatz 16. We received this picture from Menachem Katten, Hertha's son and David Heimann's great-nephew.

The breastplate of the Rosenfelder Family
The breastplate of the Rosenfelder Family

Nathan Rosenfelder also seems to have come from a well-to-do family, because in 1927 Theodor Harburger photographed a Tora Shield in the synagogue of Gunzenhausen which had come from a Rosenfelder family. In Volume 1 of the “Inventory of Jewish Art and Cultural Relics in Bavaria” (1998) the following is noted:

"The two photos by Harburger of breastplates from Gunzenhausen, which had been donated anonymously to the Jewish Museum of Frankonia some years ago, are good examples to back up the thesis about a Tora as personal adornment (jewelry) within a family. For example, the banker Nathan Rosenfelder and his wife Selma of Aufhausen in Wuerttemberg  donated a breastplate to the Synagogue in Gunzenhausen. It had been created around 1680, and when the Rosenfelders moved from Noerdlingen to Gunzenhausen in 1907 they brought it along. They had an appropriate dedication engraved on the back of it before they gave it to the Gunzenhausen Synagogue.”

Photo of “Bankhaus Heiman” about 1920
Photo of “Bankhaus Heiman” about 1920 © Helene Vered, Holon/Israel

In 1920 Nathan’s Sister Lina Rosenfelderof Noerdlingen married the banker Karl Weinmann of Altenmuhr. David Heimann bought them the house at Luitpoldstrasse 1, and the brother-in-law is added to the bank, which became the 'Heimann-Rosenfelder-Weinmann' Bank.

Picture of an inflation banknote for 10,000,000 Marks.
Picture of an inflation banknote for 10,000,000 Marks.

Temporary Emergency Bank note
Nr. 1588 MK.10,000,000.--
The D.Heimann Bank, Gunzenhausen
will honor this check in lieu of cash money
until the shortage of cash is over, and should be
honored by all .
Ten Million Marks
Gunzenhausen, September 18th, 1923
Stamped by D.Heimann, signed by S. Rosenfelder

The Arold family lived in the attic apartment of the same house with their three children, who grew up with the Rosenfelder children.
The daughter of the Arold family, who is now Mrs. Kleinschmidt, told us about that time:
 'The Rosenfelder family was very well-to-do. When Mrs Selma Rosenfelder went shopping and noticed a needy person, she always added something for these people to her purchases.

Manfred 1933 as university student in Wuerzburg with his brother Ulrich.
Manfred 1933 as university student in Wuerzburg with his brother Ulrich © Helene Vered, Holon/Israel

She too had received little treats from Mrs Rosenfelder as a child. Her family could not afford them.

When the Nazis came to power, we could not speak openly to the Jewish people. My father Mr. Arold  had to meet with Mr. Rosenfelder in the stairway or in the courtyard to communicate. He urged Nathan to leave the country.

The family had a hard time deciding what to do. At first they sent the children away, but in 1934 the family registered their departure for Stuttgart, hoping that they could live unmolested in such a big city.

But soon after that they emigrated to the USA.'

Both brothers and their families were registered in the “1939 German Book of wanted felons” by the Stuttgart prosecutor’s office as “wanted for tax evasion.

A warrant for tax evasion from the Department of Revenue Augsburg against Max and Nathan Rosenfelder
A warrant for tax evasion from the Department of Revenue Augsburg against Max and Nathan Rosenfelder ( © Kerstin and Frank Wolf December 2002.)

b) Max Rosenfelder, born June 7, 1889 in Aufhausen, District-A. Regensburg, last known address Charlottenstrasse 12, Stuttgart, currently in America.
(Reichsfluchtsteuer) Tax debt owed 10,8 73.50 Reichsmark, overdue since May 17, 1939, plus penalty. A warrant for tax evasion from the department of revenue in Augsburg of September 26, 1939 was published in the “German Reich’s Gazette” Nr.242 of October 16, 1939.

c) Nathan Rosenfelder, born November 23, 1881 in Aufhausen, District-A. Regensburg, last known Address Vogelsangstrasse 11, Stuttgart-West, currently in America.
(Reichsfluchtsteuer) Tax debt owed 11,304.25 Reichsmark, overdue since May 17, 1939 plus penalty. A warrant for tax evasion  from the department of Revenue in August of September 26, 1939 was published in the “German Reich’s Gazette” Nr. 242 of October 16, 1939.

The citizenship of one brother, Max Rosenfelder and his family was revoked April 1, 1940 (RAZ NR. 84, dated 10. April 10, 1940). According to this source he was married to Martha, born Guckenheimer * July 23, 1901 in Dinkelsbuehl.

Their children were
Manfred, born November 19, 1925 in Nuremberg
Ernst, born May 27,1927 in Nuremberg

Nathan Rosenfelder and his family lost their citizenship on November 10, 1939 (RAZ Nr. 267, dated November 14, 1939).

It has been very difficult to find the descendants, because both sons had changed their names drastically. The daughter Herta married in the USA and became Herta Katten. However she, as well as her brothers, have  passed away in the meantime.

Manfred changed his last name to “Rost” in the USA, and the family resided in Princeton, New Jersey.

Ulrich lived in Holon, Israel and changed his name to Uri Vered.

Frau Kleinschmid who maintains a friendly relationship with the families gave us the new names and addresses.

The widows and children of the brothers are still alive. We are delighted to have contact with Mrs. Helene Vered in Holon, Israel. We thank her for her willingness to share the history of her family so freely with us. Without Mrs Vered’s kind assistance and the following letters we would never have known the various paths this family took.

She wrote:
I am glad to be able to help you sort out the events of that terrible time.

On March 24 1934 the Nazis entered the home of the Nathan Rosenfelder family with the intention of killing him. But he just happened to be away from home, thank God. Nathan Rosenfelder realized that the situation was becoming very serious. He sold the house and he and his family immediately resettled in Stuttgart. There he went to the American Consulate and told them about the situation and what had taken place in Gunzenhausen. He wanted to share his knowledge with countries outside Germany, and he wanted it to mobilize help from SOMEONE in fighting the injustices. The consul asked if he could be of help. Nathan Rosenfelder responded with a plea to have him sponsor his daughter’s emigration to America, since at that point he had no relatives there, and the consul agreed to it.

So Herta Rosenfelder went to New York and took a job in a nursing home. After a while she sponsored her brother Manfred’s immigration, and after another year the two were able to have their parents and their brother Ulrich/Uri  join them too.

Nathan Rosenfelder made it possible for many more relatives to come to America, thereby saving their lives.
In New York the brothers Nathan and Max opened a textile business and the whole family had to help and worked there.

Friday August 20, 1948 – Death notice for Nathan Rosenfelder
Friday August 20, 1948 – Death notice for Nathan Rosenfelder, died 1948 in New York.

On August 17, suddenly and unexpectedly my dear husband, our devoted father, grandfather, father-in-law, brother, brother-in-law, and uncle passed away
(formerly of Gunzenhausen)
In the name of all the bereaved Selma Rosenfelder, born Heimann
2034 Honeywell Ave. New York 60, NY
Please refrain from personal visits.

Max Weinmann of Argentina, the son of Karl and Lina Weinmann, and cousin of the three Rosenfelder children wrote to us:
'I know that Ulrich left the USA for Palestine in 1939 to volunteer in the war. His father was not aware of it at the time. In 1948 he also participated in the fight for freedom in Israel, while he raised a family there.'

That explains why, after the war, part of the family lived in the USA, and one son in Israel.

Mrs. Vered, widow of Uri (Ulrich) adds this:
'Uri, the youngest son had already wanted to leave Stuttgart and emigrate to Palestine, but because he was still a minor, he could not do it without his parents’ permission. So he spent six months in Stuttgart as an electrician’s apprentice, until he joined his parents when they went to New York. There he additionally learned to be a radio technician, and took courses in graphics and shorthand. When in 1939 there was talk of a war, he took all his savings from odd jobs, and bought a ticket for passage to England on the “Queen Mary”. From England he went to Marseille, and from there to Haifa, Palestine. He had only a tourist visa, because that was the only thing available at the time. That was in 1939, at the very last moment before the war (WWII) began. Fortunately he had an aunt there, the sister of his mother, and also some cousins, who welcomed him. The police in England were looking for him, because his visa had expired, They wanted to extradite him. He had no choice but to change his name and became Uri Vered (Vered means “rose” in Hebrew). After living with his aunt for a month, he moved to a Kibbuz, and after a year, in 1940, he joined the British army, and was discharged in 1946. Uri Vered passed away in 1985'

In February 2003 Mrs. Vered added the following:
'After the death of my father-in-law Nathan Rosenfelder in 1948, his brother Max and his wife Martha and my mother-in-law Selma Rosenfelder continued to run the business in New York. When Max Rosenfelder also died, his wife (widow) Martha , together with Selma Rosenfelder ran the business a while longer, until it become too much for them. So they gave up the business.

Manfred Rost - Rosenfelder had studied law in Wuerzburg, but in the early 1930s he had to give it up. So he learned to be a precision tool maker instead, which would be more useful in America. He found employment in the laboratory at Princeton University and stayed there until his retirement. His wife Annie (Annelisa) still lives in Princeton. They have four children.

Since the family of Uri and Helene Vered always stayed in good contact with the Kleinschmidt family, they came to Gunzenhausen in 1963 to see their old home again.

My husband Uri Vered had been an electrician’s apprentice in an electric company in Stuttgart, and later in the USA he continued his training/education. In 1946, after his discharge from the military, he got a job with the Israeli electric company. Unfortunately he could not continue his studies at the technical institute, because he had to earn money to support his family. We had married and soon had a son and then two daughters. Then my husband My husband Uri started taking correspondence courses to get an engineering degree at the “British Institute”. All citizens of the British Commonwealth had the opportunity to do this, for example, people from India or Australia etc,  Palastine was under British Jurisdiction at the time too. It took him several years to get his engineering degree. He worked at the electric company for 30 years.

The daughter Herta Rosenfelder married Julius Katten in New York, who came from Halsdorf in Hessia. They had one son, Elmer Menachem, who came to Israel in 1978 and lives in a settlement. He arrived with his wife Hanna and two children, and they had four more children. Two daughters are married already. His mother Herta stayed alone in New York after her husband had died. When she became ill and could no longer live alone,  she too went to Israel. She lived a few more years in Jerusalem , where she later died and is buried. Elmer called me last week to tell me that he saw everything (the website about the Jews in Gunzenhausen)  in the internet. He was very happy about that and thanks you all very much.

'Hertha Katten located Fred Dottenheimer after the war and told him about the suitcase at Frieda Wiedmann’s.

It was interesting to find out more about David Heimann, although we still don’t know when and why he left Gunzenhausen to return to Oberdorf. His family had a textile business there. It seems that he sold products from the Heimann company in Oberdorf through the business in Gunzenhausen, as did his father Urias before him. After the textile business (in Gunzenhausen) was closed and a bank was opened in the house, he appears to have resettled in Oberdorf in 1910, even though he was still co-owner of the bank building.

Today the Thora roll of the David Heimann family is one of the most valuable pieces on exhibit in the renovated Synagogue in Oberdorf.

Thora roll
Thora roll © Photo and comments by Felix Sutschek

Chiam Loeb Heimann had this Thora made In Vienna in 1872. It accompanied David, Berta and Karl Heimann from Oberdorf to the USA in August 1939.

During WWII the Heimanns decided to let the Synagogue at Fort Dix use the Thora roll for the Jewish soldiers there.

In 1993 on the occasion of the dedication of the  memorial and meeting place of the Thora bearers in Oberdorf, Karl Heimann presented the Thora roll to them on permanent loan.

Mrs. Vered wrote the following about the history of her  family:
After he had been freed from Dachau, David Heimann and his wife Berta emigrated to America. Together with his youngest brother Hermann he built a chicken farm in Lakewood New Jersey. David Heimann (and his wife) had three sons. Heiner, the oldest, went to Palestine in the early 1930s.First he lived in a Kibbuz, and after he got married he lived in a village, where he raised chickens. He died a few years ago. Two of David Heimann’s sons lived in New York: Udo-Martin and Karl Heimann. Udo-Martin has also passed away, but Karl still lives in New York. David Heimann lived well into his 90s.

The Commerce and Agriculture Bank of Ansbach acquired the house at Marktplatz 16 in 1934 for 34,000 RM. They opened a bank branch there.

Photo of Marktplatz 16 in 1934
Photo of Marktplatz 16 in 1934 © Helene Vered, Holon/Israel

In 1982 the house became the property of the Stingl Company, who opened a Jewelry business there. Today Ralf Troester is the owner and also runs a Jewelry and Optical business.