The Elias Gutmann Family

Elias Gutmann is born on April 13th, 1841 in Heidenheim at the Hahnenkamm (Cock’s Comb). Apparently the name Gutmann was quite common there because at least three different families with this name moved to Gunzenhausen in the 19th century.
Elias Gutmann, a businessman, marries Bertha Traub who was born on September 27th, 1845 in Sommerhausen. We don’t know the exact date of the wedding, but the first child was born in 1870.  The family rents an apartment in the house at Burgstallstrasse 5. In the following 17 years five children are born there:

Mina * 24.03.1870 Gunzenhausen On Oct. 14th, 1890 she marries Aron Schlema, also known as Sali Rosen, * Nov. 13th, 1859 director of a factory in Steinschoenau
Jenny/Jeanette * 20.04.1872 Gunzenhausen On October 18th,1898, she marries Hermann Blumenthal, a businessman from Berlin. Around 1939, the couple still reside in Berlin.
Regina * 27.02.1876 Gunzenhausen On August 15th,1899, she marries Dr. Simon Guggenheimer, the doctor from Gerberstrasse 13. For many years he practices medicine in Neustadt/Saale. In 1941, the couple emigrates to the United States. Regina dies on February 17th, 1956 in New York.
Emil * 27.10.1883 Gunzenhausen + 29.01.1963
Ida * 20.09.1887 Gunzenhausen ?

Mother Bertha from Sommerhausen had taken in her aunt Philippine Baumann, nee Traub. She, too, resided at Burgstallstrasse 5 and possibly helped with childcare tasks. It’s very likely that this was indeed the case because during school vacations, Jakob, the son of Bertha’s late sister, regularly comes to visit from Fuerth.

This Jakob Wassermann was born 1873 in Fuerth. In his autobiography entitled My Path as a German and a Jew, he describes these carefree weeks in Gunzenhausen as the sole happy moments in an otherwise very sad adolescence:

Jakob Wassermann
Jakob Wassermann

„Just a few hours by train to the South:  hilly Franconia, the Altmuehl River Valley, where in Gunzenhausen close to Ansbach I was allowed to spend all my school vacations with the sister of my mother, the weeks of summer of each and every year, but often also weeks of fall and winter.  The landscape of tender lines, with forests that don’t shame a well-tended inner image as those others;  flower gardens, orchards, ponds, abandoned castles, mysterious hidden ruins, village festivals, ordinary people. ...  

In a way, I lived in two separate continents, with the gift to forget in the lighter one what the darker one had let me experience. ....“


As a writer who became well known later in his life he described, for instance, the life of the foundling Kaspar Hauser in the book „Caspar Hauser or The Laziness of the Heart“. Apart from his biography of Columbus, the novel „The Case of Maurizius“, too, became widely known. Jakob Wassermann died in 1934 in Altausee in Austria.

In 1909, the Gutmann family leaves Gunzenhausen. Unfortunately we don’t know the place the family moves to and whether or not they survive the Third Reich. We only know that daughter Regina and her husband managed to emigrate in time.

In 1912 a pharmacy opens in the house but the owners are no longer Jewish. But in 1920, a Jewish family once more acquires this house: Hugo Walz, a neighbor, sets up his cattle trading business here