This is a picture of my mother taken when she started grammar school, "Alte Volkschule", when she was 6 years old.
Family Tree of Adolph and Therese Pfifferling, provided by Sabine Schwab of Bern, Switzwerland. There is a marriage relationship with the Pfifferling and Schwab families. Julius Schwab was also, like the Pfifferlings, in the cattle buisiness.
I will try to recall and remember the history and happenings about my family, the Pfifferlings and Gutmanns. All were born and raised in Germany. My greatgreatgrandfather, Sander Pfifferling was born Jan. 4, 1773 in Datterode, a small village near the town of Fulda in the southern part of Germany. He died May 27, 1838 at the age of 65, also in Datterode. His wife was Beschen Pfifferling (geb Loebenstein) and she died at the age of 69 on Nov. 2, 1842. My greatgrandfather, Joseph Pfifferling was also born in Datterode in 1812. He died Aug. 29 1871 at the age of 58. His wife was Jettchen Pfifferling (geb Hesse) and I have no other dates for her. My grandfather Sender Pfifferling was also born in Datterode on Nov. 10, 1846 and he died In Halle a/Saale on Sep. 11, 1900 at the age of 54. My grandmother Emilie Pfifferling (geb Katzenstein) was born in Eschwege, also near Fulda on Dec.8, 1848 and she died on Nov. 20, 1925, also in Halle a/Saale at the age of 77. The reason I have all these dates of birth is, when I went to “Tor Schule”, a middle school in Halle a/Saale, in 1936 pupils had to pay monthly dues to the school. I had to prove that my forefathers were all German born Jews otherwise my parents would have to pay double school money for me. My father, Karl Pfifferling, wrote to the town of Reichensachsen, that is near Datterode, where all the records were kept for all the information, and got all the dates of birth for me. My grandparents, Sender and Emilie Pfifferling lived in Halle a/Saale, the Saale is a river near the city. Halle is as large as Detroit is here. My grandparents were in the livestock business, and so were all my forefathers, also on my mother’s side of the family. My grandfather came from a family of 13 brothers and sisters. People used to say, “the house with the 13 children”. I do remember my grandmother as a little girl. She lived on the first floor in our house and my parents and I occupied the second floor. Our business was also at the same address, Franke Strasse 17. My father was 12 years old when his father passed away. He was the second youngest of 7 children.
Here are the names of his brothers and sisters: Adolph Pfifferling, Julius Pfifferling, Fritz Pfifferling, Meta Joseph, Selma Adler-Gortatowski, (her first husband, Herman Adler, died in World War I. and Paula Rosenberg.
Meta Joseph was the oldest from them all. She and her husband, Samuel, lived in Berlin and had 4 children, Alice, Dora, Else, and Arthur. The children all live in Santiago, Chile. My aunt Meta died in 1936 at the age of 60. My uncle, Adolph Pfifferling, died in 1927 in Halle a/Saale at the age of 50. His wife, Therese followed him 2 years later. They had 3 children, Albert, Hans, and Anna Kaete. Albert was shot accidentally by communists when he was 13 years old, in 1923. The communists were shooting from the rooftops in the city. He was crossing the street and was killed instantly. My parents told me that that was a big tragedy and very sad, Albert was an exceptionally nice boy. Hans left Germany in 1934 and lived in Warren Pennsylvania. I never met him here in America and he passed away several years ago. Little Anna-Kaete died at the age of 6 from polio in 1927. She had just started going to school and her mother took her on a trip to England, to a seaside resort, and she came home with this illness. She died the same year as her father Adolph. Also, I was sent away for several weeks to my mother’s sister, Meta Berg, in Rockenhausen near the Rhine River, because polio is very contagious, my parents thought it best not to have me at home for a while. I was 5 years old at the time.
The second sister, Paula Rosenberg and her husband Julius did not get out of Germany anymore in time to be saved and go to another country. They were victims of the Nazis and were sent to the Treblinka Concentration Camp in Poland. They were killed there in the gas chambers in October,1942. My aunt was 64 years old. The Rosenberg’s had 3 children. Rudy lives also in Santiago, Chile as my other cousins. Alice and her husband Fritz Hahn live in Baltimore. The Rosenberg’s youngest daughter Lotte, her husband Bertold Steinberg, and their little girl Marion, perished in the gas chambers in Auschwitz in 1942.Tthe youngest sister Selma Adler-Gortatowski, her first husband Herman Adler died in World War I, and she later married Arthur Gortatowski. She died in 1938 at the age of 57. She had 2 sons, Alfred Adler who lives with his wife, Margot in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Lothar Adler and his wife Rose live in New York City. The second oldest brother, Julius Pfifferling, was shot to death in 1938 in the Buchenwald Concentration Camp. He was 55 years old. He went over the electric fence and was killed, he wanted to end his life. I remember very clearly when the policeman came over and brought the little urn with his ashes to my aunt Dora. We lived across the hall at the time. It was very sad, he and his wife had no children. My uncle was always very fond of me and often brought me candy, toys and other things as a young girl. He was a very kind and gentle person. My uncle, I remember, loved to play cards with some of his friends in a nearby tavern. Often, when customers came to our business and asked for “Jule”, I went to the tavern and brought him home. His wife, my aunt Dora, emigrated to London, England in 1939, she died there years later. My youngest uncle, Fritz Pfifferling was deported to Shanghai, China in 1939. To China one could go without a visa. Many people went there if they had no where else to go. He died there in 1942 at the age of 53. Uncle Fritz was never married. All of the brothers, Adolph, Julius, Karl, and Fritz were together in the livestock business. The firm was called S. Pfifferling.
My father was born on Sept. 6, 1888 in Halle a/Saale, as I had mentioned before, he lost his father when he was 12 years old. Besides going to school, he helped his brothers in the livestock business. In 1910 to 1912 he was in the military service. All young men had to put some time in the army. In 1914 World War I broke out and he became a soldier in the German Army. He served in France and Belgium, and in 1916 was taken Prisoner of War, and was sent to Manchester, England for the duration of the war. My father was awarded the Iron Cross and the Honor Cross. The latterone saved his life, as you will read later on. Also, during the war, he was slightly wounded and received a medal for that. My parents met in 1921 through some mutual cousins. They were married that year on Oct, 16. They knew each other only 6 weeks before the wedding. An uncle of my mother visited her family every year from the United States. So uncle Sam Gutmann and his wife Hatty wanted to be at the wedding before going back to Cincinnati. My parents were married for over 41 years. I was born on Sept. 4, 1922 in Halle a/Saale in the same house where my father was born. My sister Lore was born on March 23, 1931. I was then 8 ½ years old. My mother Julchen Pfifferling, her maiden name was Gutmann, was born on March 4, 1894. Her parents were Maier and Malchen Gutmann, and lived in Niederwerrn, a small village in southern Germany. I used to visit my grandparents with my mother as a little girl often, and have very fond memories from these times. My grandfather passed away in1931 and my grandmother in 1933, both were over 70 years old. My grandfather was also a livestock dealer in that small village. My mother had 1 sister and 2 brothers. My mother was the youngest of the three. My aunt Meta Berg emigrated with her husband Alfons to the United States in 1937 and settled in Milwaukee. They had two daughters there, Margot and Liesel. My uncle Heinrich Gutmann and his wife Selma lived in Philadelphia and came to this country in 1936. Their only son, Joseph, lives with his family in Michigan. All my aunts and uncles have passed on. The third brother my mother had was killed accidentally in an elevator shaft. He fell down and lost his life at the age of 17. He was in this country only a very short time. My mother was a very young girl when that happened.
Now about myself., I started going to grammar school when I was 6 years old. The school was called “Alte Volkschule”. When I was 10 years old I entered the middle school which was called “Tor Schule”, and graduated when I was 14 years old. After that I took a typing and sewing course for a while. It was not easy to find a job. I was allowed only to work for Jewish people, and there surely was not much of a choice. Many people had to give up their businesses on account of being Jewish. I worked for a while for an older lady, she owned a millenary store. I sold hats and helped restyle them. There was another woman employed that showed me how to make different styles. One day the Nazi storm troopers came and closed her shop, also destroying her merchandise. She was never married and was sort of odd and also limped a little. The Nazi’s made fun of her and put her on a horse and rode her through part of the city. It was an awful sight. The poor woman was all alone and after that terrible ordeal she became ill and I went to her place and took care of her for a while. It was not very long after that that she died. After that episode I became an apprentice in a family shoe store, the only Jewish one in the city, called “Die Schuquelle”. Apprenticeship is 4 years, but I only completed 2 years of it. Mr. and Mrs. Smoliaski, the owners of the store emigrated to Australia in early 1939. I could not stay there anymore because of being a Jew. All the girls in the store were nice to me and felt sorry I could not remain. The rest of the time in Germany, which was only several months away before coming to America, I worked in a Jewish household. The Cohn’s had a baby girl Hannah and I took care of her. I knew this family for many years. They had a variety wholesale business next to where we lived on Franke Strasse. Mr. Cohn left for England in June of 1939. His wife and little Hannah were to follow but it was too late and they perished like so many other people.
There was another important time which I had not mentioned before. On November 9/10 1938, it was called the “Crystal Night”. The Nazi’s demolished all Jewish owned establishments, business places and all of the synagogues, and rounded up all Jewish males. My father was taken away to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp. He was released after 3 weeks. the reason that he got out so soon was, he carried a copy of a letter from former President Hindenburg in his coat pocket, that he was awarded the Honor Cross when he was in the1st World War. That document saved his life. On July 6, 1939 we were called to the American Consulate in Berlin. Our quota number was being called and our papers were ready to come to the United States. So, 4 weeks before the war broke out we sailed with the last German boat, the “ SS New York” to this country. On July 20th 1939 we departed from Cuxhaven and arrived in New York on the 28th of July. We stayed there 10 days at an aunt of my mother in Manhattan. We were there at the time the World’s Fair was. One day a cousin of my father took me there and showed me all around. I remember I had a good time. From New York we traveled by bus to Milwaukee. My aunt and uncle the Bergs rented for us a furnished apartment on Prospect Ave. It was one of those converted mansions. Everyone that lived there had 2 rooms and a little kitchen. We shared a bathroom with 5 other tenants, and in the hallway was a sink and people took turns to wash the dishes. It worked out pretty good and everyone treated us nice and understood that we could not speak too good the language. I was not old enough to hold a job, one must be 18years of age to work. So I did some housework for different people until I was of working age. At that time my father did some maintenance work in a glove factory and he got me a job there starting at 25 cents an hour. The place was called “Wisconsin Manufacturing Co.” on N. Water St. I stayed there for 7 years until I married your father on November 30, 1947. Also, I became together with my parents and my sister an American Citizen on April 20, 1945.
I did the best I could recalling some of the events in my life, and I hope you understand all that I have written.
All my love to you,
My mother passed away on December 27, 2004 GS