Exterior view of grand berlin department store, h joseph and company, in the 1930s.

A New Look at “Diary of a Department Store”

This is new information about what actually happened when the Nazis “Aryanized” the Berlin Department Store founded in 1900 by my grand uncle, “Sally” Rehfisch, and his partner, Hermann Joseph. More details about the people involved, before, during and after the war, in this update of my 2019 post, “Diary of a Department Store”.

Margot rehfisch ca 1929

Diary of a Department Store: The Nachmann-Joseph-David Connection

Author’s Note: Also see my follow-up to this post, A New Look at “Diary of a Department Store”. For those of you who are new to my Blog, most of my stories are based on the research I originally did for my film, “For the Life of Me”, or new information that resulted from it. But now much of it come from the posts on my Blog. Most recently they’ve been about my Mother’s side of the family. Her maiden … Read More

Rendezvous in Hannover

This is dedicated to my dear friend, the late Ralph Hirsch1, who was so instrumental in helping me research my family. Ralph and I met on the Internet through the JewishGen web site. He quickly became my “go to guy” in my newfound interest in genealogy; primarily to learn about my family – the family I never knew. But that’s another story.2 But Our First Rendezvous is in Berlin It was 2005 when my wife and I were in Berlin at … Read More

Willie and Kurt Weinlaub

Anatomy of a Family Feud – Act 2

To recap where we left off at the end of Act 1, Lily’s recent return from her six week sabbatical back home to Hannover was not a happy one. First she was greeted with the news that Kurt had lost what remained of their savings because of some bad investments he’d made. Then she learned that her trip back to Hannover did not sit well with her mother-in-law, Gertrude, who accused her of turning her back on her favorite son, just when he needed her support the most. … Read More

Gertrude alone

A Suicide in My Family – Madness Monday

What is suicide if not a form of madness? Why else would a person choose to take their own life? That is a question that has plagued me ever since I learned that my grandmother killed herself many years ago. In retrospect, it became a double tragedy, because years later it led to my mother’s madness – an emotional breakdown that caused her to be institutionalized and from which she never fully recovered. But to understand how this all came about, we have to … Read More

The German Jew Who Bombed Berlin

by Mark Stevens Like Ilonka Alexander’s story, Marc Stevens’ bears some similarities to mine in that none of us knew about our Jewish heritage until later in life, plus both of our fathers came from Hannover. But you will find in Marc’s account some extraordinary differences. This is his very unique and dramatic story: Escape, Evasion and Revenge Growing up, I had been told that, even though my father spoke with a very cultured British accent and had been a … Read More

Eva Baruch, Actress, Activist or Spy – Part 3

Melbourne and Back to Berlin In Chapter 2, after producing two anti-Nazi radio plays, a now pregnant Eva has to escape from Shanghai with her cohorts, and spend the rest of the war in Australia. In 1946, a year after the Japanese surrendered and the war was over, Eva was able to reunite with her actress mother, Kaete Horsten and bring her to Australia. During the war, Kaete occasionally found roles in the Shanghai theater. She’d been living alone for … Read More