The Family of Max Strauß

Max Strauß was born on 20.08.1877 in Amberg. His parents were Hermann Strauß and Peppi Neuburger. In 1910 he moved from Kitzingen to Gunzenhausen, and on 08.05.1910 he married Frieda Dottenheimer, widowed Weißmann, born on 10.07.1886 in Gunzenhausen. She was the daughter of Heinrich Dottenheimer, a wine wholesale merchant, of Burgstallstraße 1.

At the beginning the couple lived there too and son-in-law Max worked in the wine business.

The house in Seckendorffstraße 3 as it is today

Frieda’s first marriage, from 1904 to 1907, had been to Siegfried Weißmann of Bamberg, who died in August 1907. They had a son, Martin, born on 04.07.1905.

With her second husband, Max Strauß, Frieda had a daughter Ida, born on 21.02.1911. In 1920 Martin Weißmann changed his name to Martin Strauß.

During this time Max Strauß purchased a house at Seckendorffstraße 3. Up until 1920 the Jewish doctor’s practice was also located there, as well as other tenants. The textile wholesale business Wertheimer was then based there. This large house was acquired by the State in 1926 and one year later the gendarmerie moved their police station there from Osianderstraße 11/13. It’s not known whether the Strauß family ever lived in the house.

However in 1927 the family moved into their newly built house at Bismarckstraße 27, where Max Strauß ran his own wine wholesale business.

After various discriminatory experiences with Nazis in Gunzenhausen, they sold their new house on 18.04.1934 to Hans Schmidt, chief engineer by profession, and in the same year the family left Germany and emigrated to America.

Source: Gunzenhausen town archive.

The house in Bismarckstraße 7 as it is today
A neighbour, Mrs Krauß, daughter of the town treasurer at that time, still remembers the Strauß family, particularly the beautiful daughter Ida. As a little girl she had admired this young lady, but as of 1933 she could only visit her after dusk, going to the backdoor of the house. She can still remember the day in 1934 when the Strauß family came to say goodbye. Sadly she has heard nothing of her since.

Through letters from Frieda’s brother Sigmund Dottenheimer we know that Max and Frieda Strauß lived in the USA with their two children. He mentioned an address in Sacramento California. Frieda died there during the war, probably in spring 1940. Her son from her first marriage, Martin, went to a lot of trouble to bring the Dottenheimer family to the USA. It is probable that it was he who gave the necessary guarantees for Fred Dottenheimer which allowed him to enter the USA in 1937.

The Bismarckstraße house is now owned by the Koch family and by their daughter, who runs the Isaacs construction company there together with her husband.