The family of Salomon Walz
Translated by Lesley Loy
Salomon Walz, a merchant, was born on 24.12.1887. In 1919, as the eldest son, he took over the family house at Burgstallstrasse 6 from his father Simon Walz, who had been born in Gunzenhausen on 31.07.1854. His mother Flora Walz, née Nathan, was born on 02.06.1861 in Laupheim.
Salomon had three siblings :
Sara *25.04.1884 in Gunzenhausen In 1904 she married Salomon Ottenheimer from Göppingen, a producer of bandaging
Josef *01.01.1890 in Gunzenhausen He married Friedl Nathan from Laupheim and in 1939 he was living in Göppingen, as a business man
Hugo *11.08.1897 in Gunzenhausen He married Recha Gutmann from Heidenheim and lived in the house over the road at Burgstallstrasse 5.
On 18.05.1919 Salomon married Babette Neumetzger, born on 26.03.1896 in Oberdorf. The couple had two children .
Irene *05.04.1920 in Gunzenhausen
Bernhard *16.04.1922 in Gunzenhausen.
In the time that the men were imprisioned in Dachau, the wives moved away to Munich with their children, as both houses were confiscated by the town of Gunzenhausen on 9. November 1938. However in 1939 the children Irene and Bernhard were both registered in Oberdorf/Bopfingen, their mother’s place of birth. Salomon Walz was one of the men deported to Dachau after Reichskristallnacht. He and his brother Hugo were detained in the concentration camp for several weeks. Hugo reported the terrible experiences there in a letter he wrote to his friend Karl in Oberasbach. This Karl Wöllmer was the great grandfather of one of the schoolgirls in our work group. Her parents have still kept the letter. It is printed in the story of the house at Burgstallstrasse 5.
Both families were able to leave Germany in time. Irene and Bernhard Walz now live with their families in the USA. Bernhard’s son Steven Walz was kind enough to contact us and we hope to learn more from him about the fate of his family. In 2003 some guests from Gunzenhausen were invited to Kara Brooks’ Bat Mizwah in New York. They took advantage of this to visit Bernhard Walz and his sister Irene, who were both still living there.
Their teacher in Gunzenhausen was Max Levite, as they were no longer allowed to attend the secondary school. Nevertheless the family stayed in Gunzenhausen until the end of November 1938 and experienced the horrendous Reichskristallnacht (Night of Shattered Shards), when they were locked up together with other Jewish citizens. The men were sent to the Dachau concentration camp at the end of November 1938 and the women tried to hide with their children. However the fathers were released after some weeks and they were able to leave Germany.
In the meantime Irene and her mother had fled to the town of her birth, Oberdorf near Bopfingen, to their grandparents Neumetzger. Their brother Bernhard was in hiding, as he was already 16 years old and would have been sent to Dachau with the adult men. Their father Salomon was the eldest of the four siblings and was kept in Dachau some weeks longer than the others. This meant that his family was only able to leave Germany in 1940, whereas the other three were already in the USA. By this time immigration into the USA had become very difficult, and Salomon Waltz with his wife Babette and the children Irene and Bernhard had to travel around the world for three months. They were in Korea, Japan, Hawaii and other countries before they were eventually able to enter the USA. In this way, happily, all four Walz siblings and their families were able to emigrate to the USA. Salomon and his wife found work in a factory, Irene got a job in a household and Bernhard was immediately called up into the army in 1941. So he soon returned to Europe, this time as a soldier. He had done an apprenticeship in Munich as a carpenter and was later able to work in this trade in the USA. With his American wife he had three sons, one of whom, Steven Walz, contacted us from Israel. Irene married Jakob Stern, who had emigrated from North Germany. The family was in contact with many emigrés from Gunzenhausen in New York, they regularly met up to exchange news.
She also wrote to her friend Suse Levite, the daughter of the teacher Max Levite, up until her death in 2002. She even visited her in England. But she didn’t want to come back to Gunzenhausen. The memories of the terrible experiences in Germany are too much for her. But she is happy and grateful to have survived and her parents’ grave is in New York, so that she can visit it whenever she wants.