The Family of Lazarus Bergmann
Translation by Lesley Loy
Lazarus Bergmann, born on 03.02.1850 in Dittenheim, acquired citizenship of Gunzenhausen in 1877.
The Family Tree can be found here. His brothers Isaak and Isidor lived with their families at Nürnberger Strasse 17.
Lazarus inherited the house at Promenade 1, direct on the Altmühl, from his father Levi. He lived there with his wife Fanny, né Rosenberger, from Ederheim and continued his father's business trading in farm products, livestock and grain. The couple had eight children, three of whom died very young.
In 1898 Lazarus sold his parents' house and bought a new house at Krankenhausstrasse 10.
In 1902 their eldest daughter Emma, born in Gunzenhausen on 09.12.1878, married Samuel Schimmel, a horse trader, from Pappenheim and the young couple lived there for a few years. But they soon moved back to Gunzenhausen with their two children, to the Krankenhausstrasse. The couple both died before the start of the Third Reich and the fate of their two children, Thesi and Bertha, is not known.
In 1908 Lazarus' daughter Emilie, born in Gunzenhausen on 07.09.1885, married David Gunzenhäuser, the son of Jakob Gunzenhäuser, a banker from Feuchtwangen und head of the Jewish community there, and his wife Jette, né Gutmann.
The wealthy banking family had provided the Synagogue in Feuchtwangen with a Tora plaque that they were obviously able to save before they emigrated and which they later donated to the Jewish Museum in New York, where it can still be found.
Theodor Harburger : the inventory of Jewish artistic and cultural memorials in Bavaria, Book 2
David Gunzenhäuser was also a banker and because of an alleged offence against the credit law he was arrested, together with his wife Emile and their only son. On his release he was expelled to Nürnberg and emigrated to Great Britain in 1939.
Their son Eduard, born on 29.05.1910, was not able to emigrate with his parents and died in the Izbica camp. His tragic story can be read under www.geschichte-feuchtwangen.de/Band3/Gunzenh.htm.
The youngest daughter, Betti, born on 15.07.188 in Gunzenhausen, married a merchant from Göppingen, Louis Heimann, in 1910 and the couple lived there. From there they were both deported to concentration camps. Betty died in Auschwitz and her husband Louis in Theresienstadt in 1943. It is not known if they had any children.
Son Sigmund, born on 08.01.1883 in Gunzenhausen, purchased the house and engineering works at Nürnberger Strasse 58 from the Jewish manufacturer Emil Bing for 90.000 Reichsmark on 28.06.1916.
He disbanded the engineering works and, together with his father, used the buildings instead for grain trading. However in March 1919 he handed the business over to his brother Adolf and moved to Kleinerdlingen, where he purchased the local castle brewery and produced malt, caramalt and malt coffee.
He became engaged to Gretl Schönwalter from Markt Berolzheim in June 1919 but died on 30.07.1919 in Nördlingen, before they were able to be married.
His younger brother Adolf, born on 10.05.1884 in Gunzenhausen, married Ida Feuchtwanger on 26.10.1919. She had been born in Sulzbürg on 27.02.1892. The couple had two sons :
Ludwig, born on 18.02.1921 in Gunzenhausen
Hans, born on 19.04.1923 in Gunzenhausen
As his father had died in the meantime, Adolf managed the business in the Nürnberg Strasse alone, where he dealt in grain, feed and fertilizers. He built a house for his family nearby, in the Sichlinger Strasse.
He was obliged however to sell the business to Gunzenhausen Town Council on 06.09.1933 as they wanted to install a Reich's labor service camp there.
So in autumn 1933 Adolf moved the business back to the Krankenhausstrasse address as the family still owned house number 10. The firm's storeroom was located next door at number 8.
He had already sold the house in the Sichlingerstrasse in 1929 to Pastor Rösel from Gundelsheim. So it was in the Krankenhausstrasse property that the family experienced the pogrom of 25. March 1934, when Adolf Bergmann, together with many other Jewish men from Gunzenhausen, was arrested.
He still remained in the town for two years, whereas the younger son Hans was able to be sent to safety to a school in France (Belfort) in 1934. The family moved to Nürnberg on 28.01.1936. Hans remained in France until 1938 and was able to emigrate from there to the USA. His parents and his brother were also able to leave for the USA on 20.5.1940. The two sons are still living there with their families:
Ludwig Bergmann in Altoona, Hans Bergmann was working as a lawyer in New York around 1958.
The two properties in the Krankenhausstrasse were acquired by Georg Schömig, grain trader, in 1936 and he carried on with the business.
Source : Personal documentation of Jewish citizens of Gunzenhausen by Werner Mühlhäusser
After the war the IRSO investigated the conditions of the sales transactions. A confirmation was needed from the Bergmann family that no pressure had been exerted and that the houses had been sold for a realistic price. Through a former employee of the firm, the Schömig family was able to get the address of the Bergmann family in the USA and they wrote to them, asking them to confirm that they had received the full purchase price.
Mr Bergmann confirmed they had received the money but stated that the proper value of the property had not been paid. Consequently Mr Schömig had to pay the same amount once again. His son calculated that the total price that they had to pay for the house was around 45.000 DM.
The Schömig family remembers that this subsequent claim arrived just after the currency reform of 1948. After the currency devaluation almost no one had access to large sums of money so it was not easy for them to make this additional payment, although it was surely justified.
Unfortunately, the family's address has been lost, so we haven't been able to find it for a long time. But apparently Hans Bergmann visited Gunzenhausen with his family in 1970, because there is an entry by him in the visitors' book of the Jewish cemetery, which he signed as John Bergman.
More than 50 years later, at the beginning of 2022, his son Michael contacted us. He too had been there in Gunzenhausen at the time. Maybe we can learn something about the family history from him.