The Family of Isidor Bergmann

As there were many Bergmann families living in Gunzenhausen, we’ve prepared a family tree, which can be downloaded as a PDF document (115 KB) – please click here.

Isidor Bergmann, a merchant, was born in Dittenheim on 27.04.1856, son of Levi Bergmann and Eva Braumann.

In 1882 he married Sophie Feuchtwanger from Sulzbürg.  The couple had three children.

Ludwig * 22.08.1883 in Gunzenhausen
Siegfried * 15.10.1884 in Gunzenhausen
Erna * 15.02.1893 in Gunzenhausen

Isidor Bergmann was also the owner of a house in Auweg 25.

He had registered various commercial activities in Gunzenhausen, for instance he was a cattle dealer as well as a hop and grain merchant.

Isidor Bergmann died on 11.01.1897 in Gunzenhausen

His widow had the following announcement published in the local newspaper, the Altmühl-Boten number 155, on 06.07.1914:

“I am honoured to advise all our business friends and acquaintances that as of 1st July 1914 my company’s headquarters are moving to Sandstraße 14 in Nürnberg, however the business in Gunzenhausen will still continue, unchanged.  Mr August Weigel, previously warehouse manager of the Franconian Hohenlohnen’schen Cooperative for Grain Sales, Niederstetten, has joined our company and I have granted him the same commercial authority.”

In the same month the widow Sophie Bergmann and her family moved to Nürnberg.

Source : Documentation on the Jewish residents of Gunzenhausen, compiled by Werner Müllhäußer, town archivist in Gunzenhausen.

The descendants of Erna Bergmann

In January 2012 a descendent of Isidor Bergmann sent us a message, after he had found this site on the internet. It’s Anthony Berendt from Stafford in Great Britain.

He wrote us interesting information about the history of his family.

I have been very interested to read your project.
I am a descendant of Levi Bergmann through my paternal grandmother, Erna, daughter of Isidor Bergmann and Sofie nee Feuchtwanger.

Erna married Siegfried Berendt and had a son Franz Ernst b. 1926 (now known as Frank Ernest), my father. They lived in Munich until emigrating to London, England around 1930. Siegfried died around 1947 and Erna around 1972.

Franz Ernst married Lady Frances nee Ryder, daughter of the 6th Earl of Harrowby, and are both still alive and live in London. They have children Anthony Peregrine Dudley b. 1957 (me) and Susan Venetia verh. Williams b 1952 and 10 grandchildern and 3 great-grandchildren. These are all well documented on English genealogical websites under descendants of the 6th Earl of Harrowby.

My father remembers well his gradmother Sofie Bergmann nee Feuchtwanger, who stayed with them in London while waiting for her entry visa to the USA  before 1939. She was a terrifying matriarch to my father!

Erna's brothers, Ludwig and Siegfried emigrated to the USA also before 1939 and lived in New York.

Ludwig maried Elsa and had a son, Klaus, who had two daughters. I visited Klaus and family in New York in 1980.

Siegfried married Lisa and had two children, Troute and John.

I believe that Sofie had a sister Bertha who married [possibly Siegfried] Simon, who may have been a director of the Tietz Department Store in Bamberg. They later emigrated to Manchester, England where they had a clothing business. They had three sons, one of whom may have been called Siegfried. My father believes the sons were interned as "enemy aliens" on  the Isle of Man and deported to Australia during the war, returning to the UK after the war.

I would be very pleased if you can put me in touch with any other descendants of Levi Bergmann or members of the Simon /Feuchtwanger ...

My father Franz Ernst Berendt (now known as Frank Ernest in the UK), born 1924, remembers his early years in München where he lived until aged 7 with his father Siegfried Berendt and his mother Erna (Bergmann) in Franz-Josef Straße until around 1931. Siegfried was an antique dealer, who had a show room in the Hotel Bayerischer Hof, and a warehouse and office elsewhere in München. He got to know and became an admirer of Cardinal Pacelli, the Papal Nuncio, later Pope Pius XII, who was a resident at the hotel during his time in München. In 1931 Siegfried, Erna and Franz Ernst emigrated to London, England, which Siegfried had come to know and like from his business visits. My father recalls that Siegfried had become disenchanted with Germany and felt that things would get worse. They were naturalised as British citizens on 1 April 1939. Siegfried died around 1947 (I need to verify this date). Erna Berendt (Bergmann), my grandmother, lived in an apartment in my parents' house after their marriage in 1949, at 8 Stormont Road, Highgate, London N6 4NL, until her death around 1970 (I need to verify this date). I was born in 1957 and remember her very well. She always was "exotically" German to me; she was also very Jewish culturally, even though she rarely attended synagogue and did not observe Jewish rituals or festivals to my knowledge. 

Sofie Bergmann ran the family grain business in Nürnberg, based at Sandstraße 14, with her sons Ludwig and Siegfried. I believe that Sophie emigrated to the USA by ship from Southampton, UK in 1938. While waiting for her US visa, she lived in London with Siegfried and Erna. My father recalls that she was "tyrannical" - which probably means that she was a typical Jewish matriarch, who had been forced to make her way and keep a family of three in a male business world after her husband Isidor died in 1897 when she was 36 years old.

Ludwig Bergmann married Elsa (maiden name unknown), and had a son Klaus. They moved to New York, USA late in the 1930s.  Klaus had two daughters. I met Klaus and the daughters in New York in 1980. 

Siegfried Bergmann married Lisa (maiden name unknown), and had a daughter Traute / Trude, who committed suicide unmarried, and a son John, who married. They moved as a family to New York in the late 1930s. Before emigrating Siegfried was interned in Dachau, but somehow managed to secure his release.

Sofie Bergmann had a sister, Bertha, who married Siegfried Simon, who became a Director of Tietz Department Store in Bamberg in 1919. He emigrated to Manchester, UK, where he established a textiles business. He had 3 sons. My father recalls that some or all of their sons were interned on the Isle of Man, UK, as enemy aliens and "evacuated" or deported to Australia, returning to the UK after WW2. I have a record of a Siegfried Simon, clothing manufacturer in Manchester, who is naturalised as a British citizen in 1949. This could be the husband or son of Bertha. 

My grandfather Siegfried Berendt returned to Germany in 1938 to bring his father, Simon Berendt, to London after the death of his wife Helene nee Wachenheimer. Simon Berendt was a school teacher and lived in Veitshöchheim, Bad Sobernheim and Bad Ems.

My father and mother, nee Lady Frances Ryder, met at Oxford University, and married in 1949. My mother came from an Anglican (protestant) family, part of the aristocratic, political and business establishment in the UK, and converted to Roman Catholicism. My sister Susan and I were brought up as Roman Catholics. My father remains Jewish, but religiously agnostic.

My father and mother visited Franz-Josef Straße in the 1950s, but there was nothing left after the bombing of WW2. I would love to come and visit, meet your children and do some research. It looks a very beautiful place …

A year later he wrote

I have been in Bavaria, Legau, working with the organic food company Rapunzel. This is the reason for reviving my interest in tracing my family roots. 

I think that your project is so admirable, not just as a piece of history, but as part of facing up to very difficult issues which affect people who are still alive in a relatively small community. British people of my generation, and my children’s, do not have to deal with these difficult issues, but the lessons apply to everyone regardless of time, place and tribe … 

My father died very peacefully at home on 7 December 2012, after a relatively short period of illness. As he was 88, it was emotional but not sad. My mother lives on, although she was much more frail.

I am pleased I talked through the family history in detail with  him last year, as it would all be lost to me.

A visit to Gunzenhausen is on my wish list!

Frank Ernest (Franz Ernst) Berendt Family 2003

Frank Ernest (Franz Ernst) Berendt Family 2003  (descendants of Siegfried Berendt and Erna Bergmann in UK)
Frank Ernest (Franz Ernst) Berendt Family 2003 (descendants of Siegfried Berendt and Erna Bergmann in UK)

Left to right: Katherine O’Connor (Sykes m Thomas O’Connor), Thomas O’Connor (foster son of Frank and Frances Berendt), Ben Williams (nephew of Paul Williams), Frank Berendt (1), Joanna Eley (3) (Williams m John Eley not in photograph), Gavin Williams (3), Gerard Williams (3), Susan Williams (2) (Berendt m Paul Williams), Peter Armstrong, Emma Armstrong (3) (Williams m Peter Armstrong), Olivia Weedon (4), Hermione Berendt (3), Paul Williams, Hew Williams (3), Ottilie Berendt (3), Anthony Berendt (2), Helena Weedon (3) (Williams m Anthony Weedon not in photograph), Christopher Williams (3), Lady Frances Berendt (Ryder m Frank Berendt), Julia Berendt (Bigham m Anthony Berendt). Unborn as at 2011: Joseph Armstrong (4), Jack Weedon (4).
Photograph: Wedding of Peter Armstrong and Emma Williams 21 June 2003.
Note: Lineal descendants of Erna Bergmann in bold (#) = generation.
© Anthony Berendt

In summer 2015 we heard from Ludwig Bergman's descendents

Looking for Ludwig Bergmann

Something incredible has happened, at long last we have found our Grandfather who had emigrated to America, as well as his family who still live there.

My father Heinz Hahn was Ludwig Bergmann’s first son, born out of wedlock in 1916 in Nürnberg. Ludwig Bergmann recognized his paternity and paid maintenance up until his emigration.  My Catholic grandmother Anna Hahn and Ludwig Bergmann didn’t get married. My father wasn’t allowed to meet his own father and my grandmother didn’t want him to later look for him. She always claimed that he had emigrated to Australia when my father was 2 years old. In reality he only left for New York in 1937 with his later wife Elsa and my father’s stepbrother Klaus, who was born in 1931. Ludwig Bergmann had lived for practically 20 years in Nürnberg without my father knowing it.

It was only shortly before his senior school certificate (Abitur) in 1934 that my father learned that his father was Jewish. This was because he had to provide proof that he was Aryan, as demanded by the race law. Then he wasn’t allowed to study nor to marry, but nevertheless he was called up into the army as a so called “half Jew” or  “1st grade half-breed”. He was close to experiencing the invasion of Poland. But in 1940 he was discharged because of his Jewish background and then discriminated against, from employment in the arms industry and then being sent to a labour camp.  He succeeded in escaping from there just before the end of the war, was hidden by farmers outside Nürnberg and was thus able to survive the Holocaust.

Six years ago, thanks to this website and the documents regarding the family of Isidor Bergmann, we discovered the emigration papers dated 1937, the ship’s passenger list and a copy of the passport with a photo(!) of our grandfather Ludwig. This enabled us to look via the internet for possible family members in the USA.  Unfortunately we had no success at the beginning.  It was only recently, when I was trying again, that I discovered the correspondence from Anthony Berendt from Stafford/England on the “Reactions” page. He must be a cousin twice removed, the grandson of Erna Bergmann, Ludwig Bergmann’s sister and he knew Klaus Bergmann’s descendants in New York. After a little research on the internet I was able to contact the two “new” cousins there, a tremendous stroke of luck. 

And last week our cousins from New York, who had been unknown to us for so long, came to visit us in Berlin, it was a wonderful and exciting meeting.

My father would have been 100 years old next year, what a gift.  Thank you so very much for this tremendous project.

Franca Schuller from Berlin 


Franca Schuller with the two cousins from New York and her mother Giulia Hahn-Massari. provided by Franca Schuller