Frankfurt (Apr. 1)
One-hundred and six Jews are living in six “Jewish houses” in this half-ruined city, all that ramain of the approximately 40,000 who lived here before the advent of Hitler, the correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency found today upon his arrivel with units of the 5th Infantry Division of the United States Third Army.
Karl Oppenheim, a former bank executive, who for the past two years has been administrator of regional Jewish affairs vis-a-vis the Nazis, told this correspondent that about 12,000 Jews remained here after the pre-war exodus and suicides. The Germans deported all of them except about 400 who were married to non-Jews.
These 400 were allowed to remain until last February 14 When all of them -including such of their children as had been declared “Jewish” – were credered to report to the railroad station for deportation. The Nazis threatened that they would arrest the non-Jewish wives of men who attempted to hide.
This round-up netted 300 persons, including about a dozen chilren. They were deported to an unknown destination in a box car. Komaining in Frankfurt were a dozen men who hid to evade deportation, some who were not taken because they were cither very ill or over 70 and one doctor and one lawyer.
The physician is Dr. Alfred Goldsehmid, of Weisbaden, who was ordered to Frankfurt in 1942. His brother Max lives at 28 Addington Road in Boston. The lawyer is Max Kahn. The doctor and lawyer, together with sickly Karl Rothschild and Oppenheimer took care of the legal affairs of the few remaining Jews. Partial records of the last deportation were kept by Oppenheimer, but the Nazis destroyed all previous records.
NAZI INSTITUTE FOR STUDY OF THE JEWISH QUESTION DESTROYED BY ALLIED BOMBS
Rothschild accompanied this correspondent on a tour of the ruined city. He pointed out air raid shelters standing on the site of the destroyed synagogue and said that Jews were not permitted to use shelters, On the famous Beckenheimer Landstrasse he pointed to the few standing arches and walls of the Rothschild mansion which had been used an a museum by the Nazis before it was destroyed by bombs.
On the same street was the infamous Institute for Study of the Jewish Question, which also was destroyed by bombs. We passed Gestapo headquarters which still smelled from the oil which was sprinkled upon it preparatory to burning. This was prevented by the rapid entry of the American troops, However, most of the records had already been destroyed.
Despite the intense persecution to which they were subjected, the surviving Jews in Frankfurt succeeded in saving two Sefer Torahs, which they showed to this correspondent and to the many German refugee soldiers in the U. S. forces who were wandering through the Jewish quarter perhaps in the hope that they might secure some information concorning members of their families they left behind when they fled to the United States. Among these were Pvt. Theodore Rosenberg of New York; S/Sgt. Herbert Kahn of Vireland, N. J., and Pfc. Richard Essex of Yonkers, N. Y.
Of the surviving Jews, the youngest is Hugo Spitz, 38, and he was not deported because he is chronically ill as a result of an auto accident. One of the oldest is 70-year-old Solly Strauss, a former prominent fish merchant, who was assigned to cemetery labor. Some of the survivors have relatives in the United States. They include:
Leopold Gutman, who was sent to a concentration camp in 1938 with his son Walter. Upon his release Walter went to America and lived in Chicago until he entered the Army. Fritz Goldschmidt who has a sister in Los Angeles; and Fritz Stein, who has a sister in New York. Stein returned to the city today from the woods where he had been hiding out for several weeks.
One-hundred of the non-Jewish wives of the men deported in February still remain in the Jewish quarter, hoping that their husbands may still be alive. They were pointed out to me by Rothschild on our tour of the city. He said that they had loyally stuck to their husbands despite years of pressure and provided most of the rations for the latter since after a time food rations for Jews were cancelled.
One of these women, who was beating a mat in a dim corridor of an old apartment house, told me that she had found an old matzoh carton in the streets, and “since there have been no matzohs here for ten years, I knew that Jews were among the American soldiers.” Her husband was formerly a teacher, she said.