The Family of Jacob Walz

Jacob Walz, merchant and livestock trader, was born on 26.07.1859 in Gunzenhausen, one of the four children of Joseph Walz and Jette, née Neuhaus.

His brother Simon Walz was born on 31.07.1854 in Gunzenhausen.  He too was a merchant and livestock trader.  Simon Walz married Flora, née Nathan, born on 02.06.1861 in Laupheim.  The couple had four children, all born in Gunzenhausen:

Sarah * 25.04.1884  
Salomon * 24.12.1887  
Josef * 01.01.1890  
Hugo * 11.08.1897  

Simon Walz and his family lived at Burgstallstrasse 6.

On 24.05.1887 Jacob Walz married Johanna Hess, born on 11.08.1864 in Aufhausen near Oettingen.  They had three children, all born in Gunzenhausen:

Rosalie * 10.06.1888  
Emil * 17.07.1890  
Irma * 20.06.1901  

In 1889 Jacob acquired his parents’ property at Kirchenstrasse 17 for 1.800 M. 17 years later, in 1906, he acquired the property at Burgstallstrasse 14.  He lived there with his family until his death in 1929.  A few years later the terrors of the Third Reich began for his wife and the three children, which only Rosalie survived.

Source: Personal documentation of the Jewish Citizens of Gunzenhausen, compiled by Werner Muehlhaeusser, city archivist of Gunzenhausen.

Emil, the family’s handicapped son, was sent to the hospital and sanatorium in Ansbach in 1932, then to a sanatorium in Gremsdorf.  He was transferred from there to the Erlangen hospital on 30.06.1941.In October 1939 Adolf Hitler had ordered the “euthanasia dictate” which required the killing of all so called “people unworthy to live”. That was the beginning of the first systematic extermination of a group of people in the Third Reich. The action was veiled in the term Hitler used of “mercy death”.  According to his definition, “unworthy to live” included children with physical deformities as well as adults suffering from mental and hereditary diseases or syphilis, particularly when they belonged to what the Nazis considered as an “inferior race”. Hitler’s view was that these people, who were of no use to the state or the economy, merely represented a burden.  They were therefore “unworthy to live” and destined for organized systematic extermination.

Emil disappeared in the Auschwitz concentration camp and we can only suppose that he was a victim of the euthanasia programme.

According to information received from Mr Christof Eberstadt, responsible in the Jewish Religious Community Erlangen for the former Jewish congregation, Emil Walz was deported to the psychiatric ward of the Jewish Hospital Berlin, Iranische Strasse 2 on 21st January 1943.

He was "released" from the clinic on 2nd February 1943 and was forcibly taken to the last stop on his way to extermination : the transit camp at Grosse Hamburger Strasse 26 in Berlin. From there, on 3rd February 1943, he was deported to Auschwitz via the Grunewald Railway Station.

28. Transport to the East
Departure date : 03.02.43 Deported : 952 Destination : Auschwitz
Document 36
Transport list for the 3rd February 1943 from Berlin to Auschwitz
Document 37 Transport number 708, Walz Emil Israel, born 17.7.90, unmarried, age 52, fit for work
Address (=deported from) N.65, Iranische Str 2
Identity card../Identity number 29536, Comments (E789)

© Christof Eberhardt, Erlangen

It is very probable that immediately on arrival at the platform in Auschwitz on 4th February 1943, Emil Walz was picked out and sent to be killed.

He is registered as missing without trace at the Auschwitz concentration camp. We can only suppose that he was a victim of the euthanasia programme.

Cobblestones laid in 2007 in front of the former administration building of the Erlangen hospital, Maximiliansplatz 2.

© Christof Eberstadt, Erlangen

We received further information about the family from Elke Däubler in Schwäbisch Hall.

Rosalie (Sali) Walz married Jakob Würzburger, a textile merchant from Schwäbish Hall, in 1910. The couple had three children : Heinrich, Ilse and Hertha. Up until 1936 the family had a textile business in Schwäbisch Hall. In summer 1939 Rosalie’s mother, Johanna Walz, moved there to live with her daughter. When they had to close their business, they all moved to Gausstrasse 122 in Stuttgart.  Their sister Irma from Gunzenhausen joined them.  The Würzburger family was able to emigrate to the USA via Colombia in 1940, but without the mother and sister. 

Johanna Walz went to a Jewish old people’s home in Regensburg, was deported from there to Theresienstadt, where she died on 28.01.1943.  Irma Walz disappeared in the Piaski concentration camp.  Rosalie and Jacob Würzburger’s family are still living in the USA.

Mrs Daubler has written short biographies of some of the family members.