Holocaust victim – granddaughter of Johanna Ellissen

A two page summary of the descendants of David Ellissen, b. 14 Feb 1779-d. 25 Oct 1841, and Henriette Ellissen, b. 13 Jan 1779-d. 10 May 1850, can be found

Among them (at least) 13 fell victim to the holocaust, many known to people still living. A less well known victim, in all likelihood, was Julie Landau, b. 7 May 1870-d. 7 Jul 1942, the granddaughter of Johanna Ellissen (the one that married Leopold David Von Weisweiller, 1807-1871) through her daughter Helene Weisweiller, 1840-1908.

Helene Weisweiller married Ludwig Wollheim, 1830-1917, a Viennese notable (‘Commander of the Order of Franz Joseph with Stars’), and had two children: Oskar and Julie Wollheim. Dr Oskar Wollheim was a functionary in the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance in the 1920s, his name appearing in the League of Nations Treaty Series in a tax treaty with the Kingdom of Hungary. He was also evidently a friend of Wittgenstein’s in the 1930s “later brought to New York by Wittgenstein’s sister” (Wittgenstein in Cambridge: letters and documents 1911-1951, McGuiness ed., p. 181). I have yet to trace him in NY, though.

Julie Wollheim married Edwin Landau. Their story is given on a site called Mahnmal Koblenz (Koblenz Memorial). In translation from the original German, I summarise as follows.

Dr Edwin Landau, a lawyer and Jewish convert to Lutheranism, married Julie Wollheim in 1900 and they had two children, Ilse in 1902 and Edwin Maria in 1904. In his 50s, Edwin took part in WWI ranked as a commissioned cavalry officer (Rittmeister). He returned to the judiciary, retiring as the equivalent of a district or county judge (Amtsgerichtsrat) in 1927.

Edwin Maria Landau’s Wikipedia entry takes up his story. With two friends he founded a publishing house in Berlin called Die Runde (‘The Circle’) devoted to philosophical and cultural issues. Nazification forced him to cease publishing activities in 1935 and (along with several of the authors published by Die Runde) to emigrate, going to London in 1938. Travelling back from a visit to Switzerland in 1939, he became caught up in the outbreak of WWII, where he was interned in a series of French internment camps before successfully seeking political asylum in Switzerland in 1943.

He became a Swiss citizen after the war, married there, and worked as a publisher and editor. His major works were to publish the writings of the German writer Reinhold Schneider, 1903-1958, who analysed from a Catholic perspective how Christians should respond to state oppression, Nazi persecution and anti-Semitism, and to promote the study of the French poet Paul Claudel, a right-wing Catholic who, however, spoke out against Nazification and the Nuremberg Laws, and was suspected of being involved in the escape of Paul-Louis Weiller, 1893-1993 (greatgreatgrandson of David Elllissen through another line), through Morocco and Cuba to Canada. Edwin Maria Landau died in 2001.

Reinhold Schneider on a stamp.

Paul-Louis Weiller.

Ilse Landau became a physiotherapist and, despite being a practising Christian, was also forced out of work because of her Jewish background. Edwin Snr and Julie, now in their 70s, were evidently forced to ‘sell’ their house in Koblenz (i.e. to non-Jews) and move in with Ilse in Berlin, now married to Dr. Friedrich Oppler, a magistrate and, being Jewish, also forced from his job. Friedrich Oppler’s Wikipedia entry relates how he was interned in Sachsenhausen for some months in 1938 and how he and Ilse fled across the Soviet Union in 1940 to find sanctuary in Brazil for the duration of the war.

Edwin Snr died in 1941, leaving his widow Julie Landau alone in Berlin aged in her 70s. Facing the hopeless situation of impending deportation, very likely with no means, her son imprisoned in France and her daughter safe but unable to render help, she committed suicide in July 1942. She is listed in the Gedenkbuch. Opfer der Verfolgung der Juden unter der nationalsozialistischen Gewaltherrschaft in Deutschland 1933-1945, Bundesarchiv (German National Archives), Koblenz 1986 – a victim of the Holocaust.

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Gustav Ellissen & Co, 4 Drapers Gardens, City of London

I recently bought this random survivor of Gustav Ellissen’s stockbroking business on eBay for £1.50. (Full document here.)

On 30 May 1868, Gustav Ellissen (b. 13 May 1836-d. 23 Nov 1910) wrote a ‘memorial’, a hand-written résumé to submit to Gathorne Hardy, British Home Secretary at the time, as part of his application to become a British Subject. He had been in the United Kingdom earlier, but spent 1961 to May 1865 in Hong Kong, then returning and entering the employ of Phillips and Weston, stockbrokers. He wrote,

… your Memorialist prepares to carry on business in his own account in the City of London as a Stockbroker after having been duly admitted a member of the Stock Exchange for which purpose it is necessary that he should obtain the privileges of a British Subject.

The letterhead on the eBay item says G. Ellissen & Co was founded in 1865. I suppose this is possible, but it looks contrived considering that Gustav was still an alien at the time. Very likely he bumped up the age of his firm when starting out on his own, in order to appear more experienced to his clients.

The other part of the letterhead, 4 Drapers Gardens, is of great historical interest. Being waterlogged by tributaries of the River Walbrook, it was not fully developed until 1963, when a 100m high office tower, “Drapers Gardens”, was built on the site. The Twentieth Century Society says:

It is an exceptional building by Seifert, and only second to its renowned contemporary, the Grade II listed Centre Point, by the same practice. Begun in 1963, Concrete Quarterly reported in December 1968 that ‘it is one of the best towers that post-war London has seen’ and praised it for its relationship to the nineteenth century site. The tower rises up above a network of labyrinthine streets and courtyards, to which the scale of the two storey perimeter blocks and internal court cleverly relates … Its salient feature is the podium area, an enclosed garden space approached by steps from the pavement, with more steps that reach around the building to the rear paved space … Drapers Gardens is an iconic building that has become a reference point for this era and one that Seifert is on record as having described as his proudest achievement. It would, therefore, be an enormous loss to the City. With this in mind, the Society has put forward this building for urgent statutory listing.

The listing failed, thank goodness, and in 2007 Drapers Gardens became Britain’s tallest tower to be demolished. At this point the archaeologists took over, undertaking excavations said to be among the most important to have been undertaken in the City of London. Included in the finds was this splendid hoard of 4th century Roman copperware found down a well-preserved well:

This unprecedented collection seems a fair trade for a £80m London eyesore.

Some idea of what the area would have looked like in Gustav’s time is given by a surviving courtyard on the nearby Drapers’ Company premises:

The accompanying text says:

The new Drapers’ Gardens office building is the box of glass just visible behind the magnolias to the left. The Austin Friars building complex, also part of the Company’s estate, are ahead and on the right. The Drapers’ Gardens name for the office block is a reminder that the gardens in the foreground are the remains of a substantial open space. This was used for recreation and market gardening and existed up to a hundred and thirty years ago before the pressure to develop the site and build offices became too great to resist.

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How many Johanna Ellissens are there?

A series of Johanna Ellissens crops up in genealogical sources. The problem is which is which?

Basic sources for identities, births, marriages and deaths have for some time been Alexander Dietz’s Stammbaum, Jean-Louis Ellissen’s ‘La Famille Ellissen’, the International Genealogical Index (IGI), and the Steinheim Institut’s Jüdische Grabsteinepigraphik database of tombstone inscriptions. The latter is a tough slog because of its dense detail, obtuse coding system and the relentless redaction – by the epigraphists – of female children. The IGI has been online since the days of the early web but has been difficult to use: a superannuated interface and limited ways of searching. Also, it was clear that its coverage was uneven. A few months ago, however, a modern interface to the IGI was brought online and, for Germany in the 19th century at least, a flood of new sources have been added to the database. This is a great step forward; in one day I have found nearly 100 ‘new’ births, marriages and deaths for people I have been trying to properly document for five years.

Anyhow, the known and possible Johanna Ellissens are:

  • Johanna Ellissen, b. 24 Apr 1829-d. 21 Jul 1873, daughter of David Ellissen, b. 14 Feb 1779-d. 25 Oct 1841, and Henriette Ellissen, b. 13 Jan 1779-d. 10 May 1850. She married Leopold David von Weisweiller, b. 22 Feb 1807-d. 5 Oct 1871. This link is well attested.
  • Johanna Ellissen, b. ?-d. 1888. She married the pianist and composer Jakob Rosenhain, b. 2 Dec 1813-d. 21 Mar 1894, who was a friend of Mendelsohn. The couple were well known in Parisian circles after 1849, where, because of their small stature, they were nicknamed ‘the Lilliputians’.
  • Hannchen Ellissen, b. 8 Dec 1813-d. ?, the daughter of Eduard Leopold Ellissen, b. 8 Jul 1791-d. 7 Apr 1851, and Henrietta (Jette) HOLLÄNDER, b. 22 Sep 1792-d. 17 Feb 1872. She is named Hannchen in her IGI birth record, but could well have been Johanna, Hannchen being a pet form of the name.
  • Johanna Ellissen who married Salomon Stern, b. 23 Aug 1818-d. ?, in 1853. This is documented in Dietz Family 548 (below), but without giving an indication of which family this Johanna came from.
  • Johanna Ellissen, b. 24 Apr 1829-d. 21 Jul 1873, the daughter of Philipp Ellissen, b. 13 Feb 1802-d. 11 Mar 1882, and Betty (Philippina) May, b. 19 Dec 1806-d. 1880. (What I thought was ‘Johanna’ on back of Betty May’s portrait now looks like Theresa, but her IGI birth record shows she was certainly a child of Philipp and Betty.)

    In the above, it is only known for the first Johanna which family she came from and which she married into.

    It is tempting to match up the other four. Mme Jakob Rosenhain (as they lived in Paris) could easily be Hannchen Ellissen, b. 8 Dec 1813, the same year as her husband. Further evidence is required to demonstrate this.

    This leaves Johanna Ellissen, 1829-1873, and Mme Salomon Stern (the Sterns also lived in Paris). I cannot find direct evidence that these two are the same person, but as I said here, Mme Stern’s son, Edgar Stern, attended Herbert Ellissen’s wedding, as indeed he ought to have done as a first cousin.

    A further observation adding to the plausibility of the link is that Salomon Stern was one of nine sons of Jakob Stern, 1780-1833, and Theresia Wohl, ?1785-?, and three others married Ellissen daughters or granddaughters. They were:

  • Wolf who married Rosine Ellissen, 1806-1877.
  • Julius who married Louise Ellissen, 1810-?.
  • Antoine who married Fanny Speyer, 1812-1880, an Ellissen granddaughter.
  • These were all marriages among closely related Frankfurt families, but descendants of the couples have a wide geographical distribution. Louise’s son, Theodor Stern, married Rosine’s daughter and left a large bequest for medical research; the Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe University medical research centre now stands on Theodor-Stern-Kai, on the bank of the Main in Frankfurt. A grandson, Sir Albert Stern, was Secretary of the Landships Committee in WWI and helped to create the first British tank. One of Fanny’s sons married a stage belle, Sophie Croizette, a contemporary of Sarah Bernhardt. A granddaughter married into the Deutsch de La Meurthe family, famous for the Deutsch de la Meurthe prize of 100,000 francs for the first flight around the Eiffel Tower, won by Santos-Dumont in 1901 in a dirigible.

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    Descendants of Philipp Ellissen and Betty May

    Philipp Ellissen, b. 13 Feb 1802-d. 11 Mar 1882, and Betty (Philippina) May, b. 19 Dec 1806-d. 1880, have at least 61 living descendants. Their children gave rise to branches of the family in London and Paris to start with, and living descendants are now in other places.

    Mainly known as a merchant and Frankfurt city representative, Philipp David Ellissen started a business in Manchester in the mid-1800s, probably leaving it to be run by others. At any rate, his youngest son Gustav’s first job in England was in the firm of P.D. Ellissen in Manchester in 1852, when he was 16. (He was only there for a short while. He spent 1854-59 in Paris and 1861-65 in Hong Kong, before settling in London as a stockbroker.)

    Excerpt from “The Jews in Manchester”, Jewish Chronicle, 10 October 1879, mentioning the P.D. Ellissen business on Cooper Street. The “low pile of warehouses” were presumably removed in the 1860s to make way for the Manchester Town Hall which has occupied the site since 1871.

    This is my latest version of their descendants, with the aid of information found by Jean-Louis Helbronner, Cathy Bruneau and Vicky Nash.

    [Click to enlarge]

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    Guest list at the wedding of Herbert Ellissen and Florence Lucas

    The wedding of Herbert Ellissen and Florence Lucas took place in London on 31 March 1906. A news clipping of the event, shown below courtesy of Rick Lucas via Cathy Bruneau, is notable for what it adds to our knowledge of the relatives of bride and groom.

    The full document as a pdf can be seen here.

    Rather than a list of guests, the wedding notice presents a list of the weddings gifts and their givers. However, perhaps we can assume that most if not all the givers were in fact the weddding guests. They occur in this order:

  • Mr and Mrs F.H. Lucas, parents of the bride
  • Mr and Mrs R.A. Lucas. R.A. Lucas was Florence’s uncle and the great grandfather of our correspondent, Rick Lucas.
  • Gustav and Mrs (Annie) Ellissen, parents of the groom.
  • “Mr Frank Ellissen” – Frank Ellissen was the groom’s first cousin but he appears to have died in 1900. I think this is a misprint for “Mrs Frank Ellissen”, nee Elizabeth Burton (Betty) Kennedy, 1866-1961.
  • Myles and Frank Ellissen, the two sons of Frank Ellissen, aged 10 and 8 in 1906.
  • Mr Victor Ellissen, the groom’s first cousin.
  • Mr August Ellissen. The only candidate known at present was Gustav’s eldest brother, of we know nothing except that he was the eldest in the family. He would have been about 77 years old in 1906. The back of the Moritz Oppenheim portrait of Betty May, Gustav’s mother, has “August, Frankfort” shown as her first child. Since he fails to appear in any UK census he probably never left Frankfurt (and may not have left Frankfurt to attend the wedding).
  • Marie and George Burton, the groom’s sister and brother-in-law.
  • Frank and Fanny Burton, George Burton’s eldest brother and his wife.
  • Percy and Annie Burton, George Burton’s middle brother and his wife.
  • Edgar Stern, the son of Johanna, Gustav Ellissen’s sister. A first Johanna Ellissen, Gustav’s aunt born in 1804, married into the Weisweiller family in Paris. Her great-great-granddaughter, Carole Weisweiller, is the biographer of Jean Cocteau, who was a frequent guest at her mother’s villa on the Cote D’Azur, Santo Sospir. The second Johanna Ellissen is previously documented in only two places: (i) as the wife of the Frankfurt banker Salomon Stern in Alexander Dietz’s Stammbuch and (ii) on the back of the Moritz Oppenheim portrait of Betty May as one of three sisters, “Joanna, Marine, Paula”. By inference she was about two years older than Gustav Ellissen and she may have been dead by 1906. The appearance of Edgar Stern, the founder of a dynasty of French bankers, in the guest list is the first new indication that the Johanna Ellissen that married Salomon Stern was indeed the “Joanna” from the back of the portrait.

  • “Joanna, Marine, Paula” (with the eye of faith)

  • Mabel and John Foster Hall, the groom’s first cousin and her husband.
  • A sequence of over 50 names follows, for which the identity is not so easy to discern, e.g. “Mr, Mrs and Miss White”. Some stand out, though, if you know what you are looking for.

  • “Mr J. Reinack” and “Mr W. Reinack” both gave Dresden china dishes.
  • It is a bit odd that they should both give the same things – unless they sent them and didn’t actually attend the wedding, as Dresden china would have been standard gift items rather like store vouchers. Actually, there is no-one in their circle of acquaintances by the name “Reinack” – what is meant is “Reinach”. It is very likely that “Mr. W. Reinack” was in fact Wilhelm Markus Reinach, 1849-1931, a factory owner from Mainz (about 25km west of Frankfurt) and the father of the German philosopher Adolf Reinach, 1883-1917.

    The link is as follows. The sister before Johanna Ellissen was Mariane Ellissen, b. 1833 (“Marine” on the back of the picture). An entry in the International Genealogical Index shows her husband to have been Hermann Reinach, 1825-1906, a wine merchant and city elder (‘Ehrenbürger’) of Mainz. It appears that she was a second wife, her predecessor having died when her son, Wilhelm Markus Reinach, was aged 7.

    The identity of “Mr J. Reinack” is a little harder. There were a number of J. Reinachs among a second extended family of Reinachs, for example, the Frankfurt-born French financier Jacques de Reinach, b. 1840, who was implicated in a bond issue scandal relating to the Panama canal and was found dead, possibly poisoned, in a Paris hotel in 1892. However, only one was extant in 1906: the Paris-born Joseph Reinach, 1856-1921. Joseph Reinach was one of three famous brothers, cousins of Jacques de Reinach, the other two being classical archaeologists. Joseph Reinach was a well known public figure in France, and is most notable for having been the champion of Afred Dreyfus. In 1906 he was the deputy for Digne in southern France and his gift – as opposed to the non-gifts of his brothers – may have been the gesture of a public figure who had a great many social obligations to fulfil.

    The bizarre thing about Wilhelm’s son, the philosopher Adolf Reinach, was that he had a French namesake, Adolphe Reinach, ?1889-1914. Adolf was carried away by patriotic fervour in 1914, somehow linking his phenomenology to the future of Germany, and volunteered for the front, from where he continued to write papers on philosophy until he was killed in Flanders in 1917. Details are not to hand for Adolphe, but he was killed in 1914 fighting for the other side.

    We can see the connection of one branch of the Reinachs to the Ellissens; the fact that the other is also represented here by a gift giver is strongly suggestive that the two branches were directly related. We just don’t know how at the moment.

    Among the remainder, some can be identified, others not:

  • Mr and Mrs Friedlander – a common enough name.
  • Mr Gaston Foa – unusual.
  • Mr and Mrs Dechsner – could be a misprint for Oechsner.
  • Mrs H. Shuker – ?
  • Mr and Mrs Hoersheim – ?
  • Mr and Mrs Cecil Hoersheim – could be a misprint for Cecil Floersheim, 1871-1936, described as a “minor British poet”.
  • Mr and Mrs Cecil Raleigh – easy enough, Mrs CR was Isabel Ellissen, the groom’s first cousin.
  • Mr F. Spielman – ?.
  • Mr Ludwig – ?
  • Mr and Mrs Simpson – George Burton’s eldest sister Katie and Henry Simpson.
  • All in all, a very informative guest list.

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    On the connections of Rudolf Ellissen

    In response to my question who was Rudolf Ellissen, presumably of New York approx  1910-199?, Cathy Bruneau found this: “ELLISSEN – Olga Kallos of Larchmont, NY and Delray Beach, FL died at her Larchmont home on May 15, 1995. She was the widow of the late Rudolph Ellissen. After graduating from Barnard College, Mrs. Ellissen played tournament tennis and was ranked in the Eastern Section of the U.S. Mrs. Ellissen met her husband, an acclaimed tennis player in Austria and Hungary in 1947. Tennis remained an important part of their lives into their senior years. For more than 30 years, Mrs. Ellissen worked as a personnel examiner for the New York City Department of Personnel. In her retirement years she produced several portraits per year, both on commission and for family members. Mrs. Ellissen was a member of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Mamaroneck, NY. She is survived by a niece and a nephew.”

    I am left wondering whether there is a connection with David-Rudolf ELLISSEN, b. 9 Dec 1844-d. 3 Nov 1924, known as Rudolf Ellissen, a banker who moved from Paris to Vienna in 1879. His wife, Julie ELLISSEN [Julie LADENBURG], b. 9 Nov 1849-d. 18 Sep 1922, is likely to have been the Julie Ellissen that was a patient of Freud’s at the Bellevue Sanatorium, Kreuzlingen, Switzerland. Her patient file is listed as being among Freud’s papers in the Library of Congress.

    It is plausible that the tennis player, being born in Vienna, was the grandson of David-Rudolf ELLISSEN, the Paris-Viennese banker, through his son Eduard ELLISSEN, b. 17 Sep 1876-d. 30 Dec 1917. The fact that he went to the USA from Hungary is a small detail in the context of the disruptions of WWII.

    Julie Ellissen’s father Moritz LADENBURG, b. 1818-d. 1871 was one of the founders of BASF, originally a dye factory (Badische Anilin- und Soda-Fabrik). BASF merged with various industry partners to create Interessen-Gemeinschaft Farbenindustrie AG (‘Community of interest of the dye industry’) in 1925, otherwise known as IG Farben. IG Farben had a factory at Monowitz in the Auschwitz complex, where synthetic rubber and synthetic oil were produced by slave workers, Elie Wiesel among them. Bizarrely, in the context of the predominantly Jewish background of the founders of the dye factory, IG Farben held the patents for Zyklon B, the gas used to kill Jewish and other prisoners at Auschwitz. (The company was broken up after the war into to its original components BASF, Bayer, Hoechst, Agfa etc.)

    Gravestone of Rudolf and Julie Ellissen in Vienna

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    Marita Hasenclever

    Just discovered a fabulous 1927 portrait of Marita Hasenclever by Moise Kisling, a Polish painter living in Montparnasse.


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