Dear Mr. Fechenbach,
First, I must introduce myself. I am the youngest of the twelve Fröhlich children from Bad Mergentheim. You will not be able to remember me as I was born when we have to "thank the German fatherland for the certainty of war,"-
During a visit with my brother Jacob the request came as a war party to the First World War on your work, a to write book about the last Mergentheimer Jews, and your request, if possible, to contribute material to this topic After reading about Italy until 1940 (the last legal time before declaring war between Italy and England). Many student with certificate emigrated from Mergentheim, there are few things I still remember from that time on.
We sold all our belongings in 1939 and after living in Germany could no longer live as Jew (the Nuremberg Laws), my dear mother and I, we are looking for accommodation we found a room at Miss Westheimer (Ochsengasse or Wettgrass next to City Hall). I admire today, as then, my almost 70 year old mother in a barely heated room (no one dared for us to repair the old stove, and it was a bitterly cold winter) and to get used to the primitive sanitary facilities. (She had probably used later on far worse.) Our "march" on the Holzapfelgrasse we taken with Jacob Fisch, who had tried shortly before to commit suicide by taking a large dose of sleeping pills but was rescued by hospital treatment. Cynical, mocking laughter accompanied our kids wagon march with all the things-most. Miss Miltenberg woman who had sold the Fechenbach Inn to a greengrocer, had shortly before accounted that she had just found Miss Sara Rothschild shot on Holzapfelgrasse.
We held our last small simple service of worship of Jom Kippur and Rosch Haschonoh – in a very depressed mood after the evil which had either destroyed or closed the synagogues in Germany.
When the food cards where tossed around I was never been accosted and even got an extra ration of eggs instead of meat ration even for my suffering mother. A farmer's daughter Rüdenauer (former neighbors) at night had secretly brought my mother some necessary food, even then a dangerous proposition.
When I emigrated in 1940 (with only hand luggage), I had brought my mother to Nüremberg with the best hope that soon my good mother would get, as her parents had applied for, a certificate to English for my mother and my siblings. The possibility of inhumane deportations would then, in 1940, no one would have believed. Maybe you can from Mrs. Carlé (drugstore at the Town Hall), which until recently had a friendly relationship with his wife Annette Rothschild, learn about the last Mergentheim Jews. Perhaps the butcher Adam Lochner (Hozapfelgrasse) may have seen a large part the last events of the Jewish community in Mergentheimer.
Perhaps some of this above material is suitable for your work. Sincerely yours
Getta Kellermann born Fröhlich
It was financially and emotionally very difficult for years in our immigration in August 1938, all my powers have exhausted prematurely and undermine my earlier indestructible translucent health. Where Hugo is concerned, unfortunately this kind brother has been snatched from us suddenly over 9 years ago in the middle of full activity after a heart attack. Hugo's daughter from his first marriage to Maja, Gisela-Miriam, who had inherited the great grace and loveliness of her mother, has achieved a certain notoriety as Israel's first beauty queen. Our beloved mother Bertha born Neuhaus is in Theresienstadt concentration camp at the age of 29 died. My sister Sophie was killed with her husband and four children in the Litzmannstadt ghetto, my sister Flora Weil, were rescued along with her two daughters while her husband and other children in Izbica ghetto perished, as did Rosel Eldod, with her husband and four very young children who were shot in Riga.
David Fröhlich, Brooklyn, N.Y.
My childhood memories, especially the last terrible years in Bad Mergentheim, I will never forget. Before Kristallnacht, November 8th-9.1938, everything was bearable, although the Hitler Youth used every opportunity to harass us Jewish children. My father was very ill with a high fever, so that he could not meet their planned work. The Jewish doctor Dr. Hirnheimer was already in the Dachau concentration camp, and all the other doctors in Mergentheim were too timid and cowardly, to help the sick Jewish fellow citizens. My parents and we three children were completely without knowledge of what atrocities where to happened in the Kristallnacht, because we slept undisturbed exceptional that night. When I look back now, it was like a miracle that we were spared. The next day was a lot of shouting in the street, so we stayed at home scary, because we already felt that something terrible had happened, which was then also confirmed the radio.
The neighbor of our grandmother, Mrs. Stern-Herzog, who lived in the Holzapfelgasse, came to us and told us that they had destroyed all in the synagogue and school. Many of the Jewish men, especially those who were on the blacklist, had beaten half to death, including our honorable Rabbi Dr. Moses Kahn. Those who could still walk were arrested that morning and taken to prison, and transported to the concentration camp of Dachau. My father asked my mother that she should go into the Holzapfelgasse to check on the Fröhlich’s grandmother, and how had she survived everything, since they all lived near the synagogue. We moved into a terrible anxiety and fear, so that I fell helplessly and I hid in the kitchen on the ground and prayed. Suddenly there was silence again, and I heard that the policeman had left the house without my father, because he saw that the Nazi doctor Dr. Weiß (White) treated him as he was seriously ill in reality. So my father had the good fortune to be spared from all the raids. Nevertheless, we did not dare to go out on the streets, until we heard the next morning, that the action was over. In contrast, an order came from the mayor's office that the Jewish community had to put everything back in order, which the Nazis had broken and bruised. And we children were taken to the cleanup service, I could not understand that you can be so thoughtless and wildly smashed everything. All chandeliers and lamps, prayer books and Torah scrolls, benches and galleries, as well as all the windows were shattered one after the other in the synagogue. Even the holy ark was not spared, in which we found pork skin. At school the harmonium (musical instruments), and all benches were smashed, torn books and notebooks and all smeared with ink. It was a cruel and horrible sight. When the war broke out in August 1939, we were allowed to have only one hour a day for any purchases outside, but this provision was changed again. We were able leave Bad Mergentheim on 28 0f August 1939, but not until we felt free and safe, and on the 1st of October 1939 crossed the Dutch border. A rewarding feeling came over us that we have come out of this hell even with their lives.
Thank you for your dear letter, about which I was absolutely excited. I'm always happy for family members, getting to know even if only through letters. Unfortunately I have lost my parents very early and never consciously knew how. So I was particularly pleased to hear from you that you my family. When growing up you knew my Mother well. I would be very happy if you could come with your wife here, so I would have another opportunity to hear how my family was when they were young. Things that kids love to hear from the mouth of their parents, but I could never find anything.
I was ten months old when I had my good friend. Mother took to France. That was in the fall of 1939. My parents should have meet family, but before they got the immigration permit to France, the war broke out. They were living in Landau in the Palatinate. From there they went to Frankfurt and were deported from there. A little brother, who was born after me, came along with them. I myself found a second mother here, until I grew up to the age of 21. Then I got married and have a very good husband and three children. The two elders aged 9 and 7 years are girls, the youngest a two-year-old boy. My husband has a installation business for Sanitary equipment that goes well.
I have today written to Bad Mergentheim to the registry office to find out the exact date of birth of my mother, because I do not know exactly. As soon as I get an answer, I'll tell you.
I hope that you will take up my invitation to come here, and reply soon. I have enough space to accommodate you both. I assume that you have been now and then to Germany. But then you could well make a trip to here. We do not live far from Metz in Lorraine. If you come by plane, you could fly to Luxembourg, where we would pick you up, because that is very close to us. I hope to hear soon from you and remain with kind regards from me and my family.
Your cousin Hilda
* Hilde Burg was the daughter of deaf Irma Gersmann at 26th June was born in 1899, daughter of Abraham Fechenbach in Bad Mergentheim.