The Family of Leo Hubert

© Mikrokosmos Cronheim von Ralf Rossmeissl
© Mikrokosmos Cronheim von Ralf Rossmeissl

Leo Hubert, merchant, was born on 14.11.1891 in Cronheim to Ruben Hubert and Emma, née Ebert.

Leo Hubert fought in the First World War and was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd class, the Bavarian Military Cross 3rd class and the insignia of the wounded. On 16.05.1922 he married Hedwig Schülein, born on 25.02.1901 in Thalmässing.

The couple had two children:
Emma * 22.05.1923 in Cronheim
Selmar * 23.01.1926 in Cronheim

Leo Hubert was imprisoned for four weeks sometime after 08.11.1938, so probably during or shortly after the Reichskristallnacht (Night of Broken Glass).
On 15.12.1938, immediately after he was freed, the couple applied for passports in order to emigrate.

They left Cronheim already in December 1938 and moved to Kriegshaber, nowadays a district of Augsburg.
In spring 1939 the family was able to send their daughter Emmy to England on one of the trains organized to transport Jewish children to England (Kindertransport).

In June of that year Emmy found an English family that was willing to take in her 13 year old brother Selmar.
So now both children were in safety, but the parents had to wait for their exit permit. Their quota, in other words their number on the USA immigration list, was too far down the list, meaning they would have to wait some time before leaving. In the meantime relatives of their neighbors in Cronheim looked after them in Kriegshaber.

Anton Frank of Kriegshaber, the grandson of Mrs. Rank, remembers:
“One day in autumn 1941, both Hubert children had already left the country, the Gestapo came knocking at our door as my parents had been informed against for their contact to Jews. My mother replied to the persistent harsh questioning with the excuse that she hadn’t known that Mr. Hubert was Jewish, he was just a good neighbor of her mother-in-law in Cronheim who had recently moved to the district. She received a strong warning with the words “You’d better be careful or we’ll come for you”.

Hedwig and Leo Hubert with Mrs. Rank
Hedwig and Leo Hubert with Mrs. Rank from Cronheim. The last photo of the couple before they were deported. They took off the yellow star for the photo. © Mikrokosmos Cronheim von Ralf Rossmeissl

My father realized that it couldn’t go on like that, so he dug a tiny hole under the shed on his allotment and put in a hidden trap door. The two Huberts lived down there in this narrow space for almost three quarters of a year, without any light during the daytime. I would put on my Hitlerjugend uniform as a disguise and cycle to the allotment to bring them food. But slowly this was noticed. One night Leo Hubert came to my father in our flat and said:  “We can’t go on like this or they’ll take you away too. I can’t take the responsibility for that”.

And then the Huberts went back to live with other Jews.
Shortly afterwards our grandmother from Cronheim visited us and in the early evening I took a picture of our grandma with our two friends. That was the last one.


Emmi u. Selmar Hubert © Mikrokosmos Cronheim von Ralf Rossmeissl
Emmi u. Selmar Hubert © Mikrokosmos Cronheim von Ralf Rossmeissl

In 1942 Hedwig and Leo Hubert were deported from Kriegshaber to the extermination camp in Piaski. They never returned.

Their son Selmar Hubert emigrated from England to America (New York) in February 1945 and lived at first with a brother of his father’s who had already moved to the USA with his wife, via Cuba, at the end of 1938. His sister Emmy followed.
After the war both children searched for their parents but couldn’t trace them. Emmy married David Mogilensky and lives in Baltimore. Selmar also lives with his wife in the States.


© Werner Falk, "Altmühl-Bote", Gunzenhausen
© Werner Falk, "Altmühl-Bote", Gunzenhausen

When the Museum “Mikrokosmos Cronheim – one village and three religions” was inaugurated in the year 2000, Selmar Hubert and his wife Hilde came from New York and were guests of honor of the town of Gunzenhausen.

Selmar Hubert and Emmy Mogilensky have written about their experiences during their expulsion and their emigration.
An article in the New York Times on 10th February 2008 reported how Selmar Hubert, talking to German schoolchildren in the USA who were ashamed of the past, used the example of his own terrible Cronheim childhood memories to show how we can help one another to overcome guilt.

Article can be downloaded as PDF file. Please click here for the
English original version oder the German translation.