Thursday, March 5, 2020

The Bodenheimers of Graaf Florisstraat 104-A

The Saga of the Dutch Postcards, Part 2

I've explained how I received a trove of lost photographs and postcards from The Good Neighbor in Rotterdam.  So, the next step is the big reveal. The Photos!

At first glance at the treasure I had obtained, I was slightly disappointed. The two albums contain very very few family photos. Like a single page, double-sided of photos. All the rest of the albums are postcards from relatives to the Bodenheimers from various places.  On the positive side, the photographs are each absolutely priceless, and because there wasn't a huge amount, I was able to really look at each one for a great deal of time and do deep analysis.   Here are both pages, with a grand total of five photos of people.
Bodenheimer Family

Lugano, San Fruttuoso, Pallanza, and Rosa at Locarno

There only one thing written on the first page, and that's this at the top.
Waibstadt Mai 1928
What's interesting about that is Berthold was born in Waibstadt on 16 May 1885, so this very well could have been taken on his 43rd birthday.

Photo 1: The Bodenheimer Family in Waibstadt, May 1928
So, here's the first photo I really really looked at.  I have scanned it at super high-resolution, cropped it a bit to focus on the people, and colorized it using the new MyHeritage Photo Colorizer tool.

Berthold Bodenheimer with family in Waibstadt, 1928
Well, now what.  Since this is the first photo I've ever seen of the family, how do I figure out who is in the photo and who is who?

I'll just lead with my conclusions and then explain myself later.

Front row: Ruth Ellen FRANK, daughter of Bertha and Hermann (1921-1936), Jeannine BODENHEIMER, daughter of Rosa and Berthold (1922-1942), and Madeleine Marianne BODENHEIMER, daughter of Rosa and Berthold (1924-1943).

Back row: Julia BODENHEIMER, daughter of Berthold and his first wife Maria (1912-1942), Bertha FRANK geb BODENHEIMER, sister of Berthold, wife of Hermann (1883-1970), Berthold BODENHEIMER, brother of Bertha, Husband of Rosa (1885-1943), Rosa Paula BODENHEIMER geb BAER, wife of Berthold (1888-1943), and Hermann FRANK, husband of Bertha (1887-1937).

How to Identify People in Photos

Step 1: Write down all your facts and assumptions.  First, this was taken in Waibstadt in May 1928.  It must have Berthold Bodenheimer in it, and his family.   There looks to be two families here, likely a brother or sister of Berthold or his wife and their kid or kids?

Step 2: Have a full and complete family tree. This is critical, as in May 1928 Berthold was married to his second wife, Rosa Paula Baer and had three girls: Julia Bodenheimer, born to his first wife Maria KORBULY in 1912,  Jeannine, born in 1922, and Madeleine "Mady" born in 1924.  His fourth daughter wasn't born until December 1928, and his first born son, Walter died as an infant in 1910.  This means that most likely Julia is the young lady hiding at the back left, at age 14. That fits. Two of the other three younger girls must be Jeannine and Mady. The third little girl must be a cousin.

To figure out who the other family might be, I looked at the tree on both Berthold and Rosa's side looking for a family with a daughter born about 1923 -- about the same age as Jeannine and Mady. This lead me to only one family that would match, Berthold's sister Bertha BODENHEIMER had married Hermann FRANK and they had a daughter, Ruth Ellen FRANK who was born in 1921.

Step 3: Compare Ages.  In trying to see which woman is Rosa and which one is Bertha, take a look and see if you can tell which person is older.  Then look at the tree and if there is a clear age difference, that will be another clue.  I already did this with the children, and Rosa was born in 1888, and aged 40 -- she was also two months pregnant, but that wouldn't show yet. Bertha was born in 1883, so she was five years older at 45.  Of the two men, Hermann FRANK was about two years younger than Berthold. Hermann hadn't had his 41st birthday yet, and Berthold had just turned 43.

Step 4: Compare Places. The photo was  taken in Waibstadt, Germany, the ancestral home of my entire branch of the Bodenheimer family.  The Frank family lived in Mannheim at the time. In looking at a map, I can see that Mannheim is only about 50 km away from Waibstadt. That would absolutely work without a doubt.  This confirms that it is indeed likely that the other family in the photo is the Frank family.
Map: Mannheim in relation to Waibstadt

Step 5: Look at the composition for family groupings
. In this case, I sort of took a guess that Berthold and Rosa were paired up in the middle, with Berthold's sister Bertha next to him on the left.  It sort of looks like the three children hanging onto and around the lady on the left could be their mother, but I suppose a favorite aunt would work too.  Not very conclusive. I also looked at the clothing, thinking that the two younger Bodenheimer girls might be the ones dressed the same and .standing next to each other.

Step 6: Look for other photos of the same people or any other known reference photos for anyone in the photo.  Luckily, this wasn't the only photo I had.  I have the other photos to look at, and see if there is a way to connect the dots.

I found a reference to Madeleine Marianne Bodenheimer in the book, "Cold Feet" by Bill Minco, and wrote to Jeroen van der Beek who maintains an incredible resource on the Jews of Graaf Florisstraat.  He sent me this photo that I was able to use as reference photo for Mady.

Madeleine Marianne Bodenheimer (1924-1943)
Mady, aged 4 eating a banana in Waibstadt
Let's compare her to her much younger possible self, the youngest girl in photo 1.  It might be. In neither picture is she smiling. Same stern stare. Can't rule it out. Even eating a banana she's so serious.

Photo 2: The Bodenheimer Girls with the Children of Waibstadt
The next photo presents way more of a challenge.  It's a bunch of children, and I have not figured out who they all are.  This photo also could have been taken on the same day as photo 3, which I note below can be linked to photo 1.
1928 School Chums
The girl in the left foreground is one of the Bodenheimer girls, a smiling Mady. And Julia is clearly the one holding the little lamb.  This one still needs work! Lots of unknown faces. Could that be Jeannine in the middle back with the dotted flower dress? It could.  My branch of the Bodenheimers left Waibstadt years before 1928, and I've searched my tree for any branches who could be still in Waibstadt in the 1920s and came up empty.  By that time, all seemed to have moved to Mannheim, Heidelberg, Frankfurt, Berlin, or elsewhere.

Photo 3: Rosa in a Flower Field with her Daughters
The next photo could be a clue. This appears to be a mother with her three children.
Mother and three children in flowers, 1928
This grouping leads me to believe that this is Rosa with her step-daughter Julia Bodenheimer, and her two daughters. The youngest, Mady (Madeleine Marianne Bodenheimer), in front of her, and Jeannine on the right, in front of Julia. This help solidify the working theories on the first photo, giving backup data to four of the people in that one. Rosa appears to be wearing the same thing as photo 1, and the girls are taken off their sweaters? That's possible, as the average high temperature in the Waibstadt on 16 May is 66 F at 4:30pm, ranging from 60-72 F, with the record high being almost 80 F.

Photo 4: Cousins Jeannine Bodenheimer and Ruth Ellen Frank
This picture is clearly taken on the same day as photo #1.  The two girls are wearing the same clothes they wore in that first photo. So, taken in Waibstadt in May of 1928, likely on Berthold's birthday of May 16.   And thus, all four photos on the page labeled Waibstadt May 1928 are indeed all taken on the same day.
Cousins Jeannine Bodenheimer and Ruth Ellen Frank in Waibstadt, May 1928
These look like two girls the same age, and as such they should be cousins Jeannine BODENHEIMER, born 13 Jan 1922 and Ruth Ellen FRANK, born 21 Apr 1921 -- about 9 months apart.  Which is which? Well, the girl on the left is shorter and is wearing something similar to the youngest girl in the first photo, so perhaps she is Jeannine? Also, the hair in photo 3 better matches the middle girl in that photo.  And, in photo 3 the two youngest children and standing next to each other and wearing similar clothes to each other.  I conclude that it's Jeannine on the left and Ruth Ellen on the right.

Sadly, both of these girls died way too young. Jeannine died in Rotterdam at age 20 on 26 Aug 1942., and her family posted a newspaper report of her death. It reads, "After a short, severe illness, died our dearly beloved, deeply regretted daughter and sister Jeannine, at the youthful age of 20 years. Berthold Bodenheimer, Paula Bodenheimer-Baer, Julia, Madeleine, and Eliane."
1942 death of Jeannine Bodenheimer

Ruth died at the age of 15 in Frankfurt, Germany on 28 Oct 1936. Ruth is buried in Mannheim with her brother and mother.
Grave of Ruth Ellen Frank in Mannheim

Photo 5: Rosa Paula Bodenheimer geb Baer, in Locarno 1927
This photo is the only photo on the back of the single page that has a person in it.  It was labeled "Locarno 1927", and thus really must be Berthold's wife at the time. This helps with the other photos, as it builds a reference photo for two of the other photos with the same woman in them.
Rosa Paula Bodenheimer geb Baer, Loaerino 1927
Locarno is a town in Switzerland.  What you can't see in this photo is the lake and the mountains behind. It's all washed out.  The church steeple is from the Madonna del Sasso Church above Locarno city, with the Locarno lake in the background.
Madonna del Sasso Church above Locarno lake in Switzerland
The Italian Trip of 1927 
All four of the photos on the second page are from a trip that I mapped out from the city names.  I'll show the same photo again for reference.
Lugano, San Fruttuoso, Pallanza, and Rosa at Locarno
The towns are Lugano (top left), San Fruttuoso (top right), Pallanza (bottom left), and Locarno (bottom right). Here's a map connecting all those places in Italy and Switzerland:
Map of 1927 trip
 I could spend hours looking at photos for those places and connecting and comparing them with the 1927 photos. For example, the little harbor at Pallanza doesn't look quite the same anymore. It's been expanded, and the semi-circle greeting area appears to have been removed.   The water color at the small bay at San Fruttuoso is utterly amazing. I could go on and on. In any case, it looks like a great trip!

But wait, there's more!

In February 2020, three more photos showed up. In the process of cleaning up and organizing his house, P.J. in the Netherlands found a few amazing treasures, bringing the grand total of family photos up to eight.

Photo 6: Julia Bodenheimer between Grandmother and Mother, May 1916
This is the first and only photo I've seen of either Maria Hermina BODENHEIMER geb KORBULY (1891-1917). She was Berthold's first wife, and died just a year after this photo.  Also, likewise this is the only known photo of her mother, Eugenia KORBULY geb WINKELHOFER (1848-1918) who died two years after this photo.  This postcard was sent 25 May 1916, so the photo was taken at least a few weeks before that.   Julia celebrated her fourth birthday on 26 May 1916.
Eugenia Winkelhofer Korbuly, Julia Bodenhiemer, and Maria Korbuly Bodenheimer, 1916
The back of the card has some great details that translate as:
Mr. Gojardus Dersjant, 25 May 1916 [postmark] 
Nijmegen, Jorisstraat 68
Dear Go!
For your postcard, for Julia’s birthday, mine and hers best thanks, what was she glad with it. We had yet a lot of fun on this day, a pity you were not there too! Your sweet mother, Gijs and Guus [Go's brothers] have been here, and have sweet little Julia a mechanical duck (of them) given! Your Pluto [Go's pet dog] was also born 26 May glad because he became 2 years old too! Many greetings from us all your dearest
Mrs M.B. Bodenheimer, Korbuly
PS: Driver B.B.[Berthold Bodenheimer] _ Et. Tel.[ephone] Dir. No 12 in east [?] via Emmerich  

Photo 7: Julia Bodenheimer with Father and Step-Mother on the Beach at Scheveningen
This newly discovered postcard is equally important, as it solidifies the reference photo for Berthold Bodenheimer and his second wife, Rosa.  This one is dated 25 March 1921, so it's of a newly formed family.  Berthold and Rosa got married in Rotterdam on 17 Feb 1921, so just a month earlier.   Before their marriage, Julia, who is aged 8 in this photo was not able to live with her father. After the marriage, the family was reunited again under one roof.
Rosa Baer Bodenheimer, Julia Bodenheimer, and Berthold Bodenheimer, 1921
The back has a short note, "Memory from a trip to Scheveningen on Good Friday 25 March 1921."  
They are on the beach, probably somewhere near the original pier built in 1901.

Photo 8: Cousins at Wedding of Berthold and Rosa, 17 Feb 1921 in Rotterdam
Well, this one. Wow, what an amazing photo!  By the time this photo arrived on my desk, I'd done a lot more work on Rosa's side of the tree.  To be honest, before I started looking at the actual to/from information that I'll cover in part 3, I had her parents and an unmarried sister sitting on the tree.  Well, her sister was indeed married, and had two little girls and an infant in 1921.   Julia is clearly Julia, confirmed by the last two photos.   It's likely the tallest girl with the bow in her hair is Margot SCHWARTZ (1912-1996), with her younger sister Suzi SCHWARTZ (1915-2005) standing right in the middle. But, who are the two boys?
Werner Frank, Margot Schwartz, Suzi Schwartz, Julia Bodenheimer, and Ludwig Frank, 1921

This gets back to finding reference photos for people. I mentioned earlier that I had started with only a single photo for this entire branch of the family, and that was of Julia's cousin, Ludwig FRANK (1914-1945), well in 1921 he'd be 7. Perhaps the boy on the left?  Let's compare that with the known photo of Ludwig from later in life.
Comparing known photo of Ludwig FRANK to possible younger self
What do you think? It's certainly a possibility.  The deciding factor would be to prove that the other boy, on the left was Ludwig's younger brother, Werner FRANK (1915-1998).  When I last looked for photos of Werner and any possible family I can up empty.  Well, it's now 2020 and the official Israel State Archives have put of 32 million scans online for free. Searching there, the first result is his entire immigration record with him and his wife, including photos!  Better yet, using Facebook it's possible that he has three living children that I never knew about (yes, letters are on their way already).
Comparing known photo of Werner FRANK to possible younger self
Yes it could be right. But when on earth would cousins from two different sides of the family get together in Rotterdam in 1921?  The FRANKs are from Mannheim and the SCHWARTZ family is from Strasbourg. Oh yeah, the wedding!  Of course. This photo must have been taken at the wedding of Rosa and Berthold on 17 Feb 1921.

The Updated Family Tree

Berthold Bodenheimer family tree, updated 2020

The Saga of the Dutch Postcards
Part 1: The Good Neighbor in Rotterdam
Part 2: Meet the Bodenheimers of Graaf Florisstraat 104
Part 3: The Postcards
Part 4: Family Updates, Family Found!

1 comment :

  1. What a true treasure trove. And you have done an incredible job of identifying the people in these photographs. I was going to ask about the postcards, but I see that's coming in Part 3, so I will wait. :)