In honor of all who served, no matter the country, here are a few photos of them in uniform.
There have been several Braunhart men who have served in the military. And yes, some served in the German army in World War I.
In honor of all who served, no matter the country, here are a few photos of them in uniform.
This letter is from father Alexander Braunhart to daughter Martha Braunhart Sternbach, who had immigrated and was living with her husband and children in Brooklyn, New York.
Based on travel records, Alexander had visited New York twice in the early 1880s. It is unknown why he did not immigrate. But in this letter he mentions a desire to immigrate, yet he states that his wife Helene likely does not wish to do so.
He also remarks about the ongoing strife in Schubin, with the conflict between the Poles and the Germans ebbing, but not yet over.
Finally, he discusses the dilemma of the Jews still in Schubin, and the fact that no matter what they do - they are still undergoing ill treatment.
Below is the original letter, followed by the English translation:
Thanks to our wonderful translator Matthias Steinke, the English translation is below:
Schubin, 7th. September 1919
Dear children and grandchildren!
Like to inform you that the parcel arrived. Best, best thanks. The parcel which was very necessary for us, caused here a stir. The parcel contained:
2 cans of tinned fish
1 can of sardines
2 packages rice
1 package tea
3 chocolate bars
1 can oil
After the description it was probably more in. If you can't afford it so good, don't send anymore to us, because the postage costs so much and the content is also expensive. In my time over 40 years ago everything was very cheap
Our detailed letter as answer to yours you will probably already hold in your hands .In any case write very often. Anna and Jakob let nothing hear from them. I wrote to them and also to Aunt in Oakland, to which I enclosed Jakob's letter, because I don't know his address. Greet Anna, Harry and the little one and Anna shall write finally. Or did something happen? To the turn of the year we congratulate.
Otherwise everything is calm here. Whether it will be that way? May God protect us against the experiences we already made in the past.
Cylli's husband will probably be released [from POW camp] in Berlin these days. She is already there.
Karl, wife and children start this week. They made good money. I hardly think, that it will be in Germany so good. We also want to move. But where? Have to wait. We don't like to be at the children, but "independent".
With the currency is going worse from day to day. Even the insurances have an end. Everything is going to Polish hands. The Polish government is very loyal, but the population is still very agitated. I have never been
hostile against Poles.
The Prussian state has done many sins to the Poles and the Jews. The Jews are the worst off. If they go right, its not good; if they go left the same, and if they stay neutral they are gutless and untrue. Frankly speaking the Jews have also sinned a lot, namely to persons who said them the truth. But what is to do? One is in the soup after all.
Apart from that the ours are doing well. Is Leo learning good? Speak the boys also German? Harold has probably to go to school now. If the times are better and Bromberg open, you will receive our pictures. How would it be if we come overthere? Mum probably doesn't want, and it doesn't give so much money for the journey. Otherwise, if the
bank would pay.
Now farewell and be greeted hearty by your loving parents.
The earliest photos of Braunhart babies and children are from 1900 on. Just for fun, here is a selection of some of them:
Actually, this is a postcard from Alexander Braunhart to his daughter Anna in Brooklyn. There are a number of revelations in this short writing from "the old father" as Alexander is often referred. He misses his wife Helene terribly, who had died in 1925. He is living with and cared for, by his daughter Selma.
He criticizes his son Julius for his idleness. We know that Julius is a gambler and eventually deserted his wife Dorka and children Lilly and Lothar.
He also mentions his son Moritz and his illness. But he congratulates Moritz' wife Clara for taking good care of her husband.
He states that he has not heard from son Jakob, which seems not unusual, since Alexander did not hear from Jakob for many years.
And lastly, he mentions the passing of a friend in Schubin and the fact that there were only 4 Jewish families left in that town. The exodus of Jewish families began in the 1910s, including the Braunhart family. It is sad to see that this town, once full of so many Jewish families now is reduced to just a few. And considering that Alexander's father Lewin Jakob Braunhart was the leader of the school for over 50 years in the 1800s, this is a sad result of the exodus.
Below is the postcard, which is followed by the English translation:
Thanks to our good friend Matthias Steinke for this translation of the postcard to English:
Dear children and grandchildren! Please excuse dear Anna that I answer your last letter only today. Because I didn't feel comfortable a couple of days.
I am sorry that your business isn't lucrative at the moment. But unfortunately it seems, that this happens in the entire world, especially here. So don't send anything, if you have to limit yourself, this would make me very sad.
I will write to Marta next. I have no news from Jakob nor from Frieda. Frieda wrote to Selma and that's sufficient.
With Julius is nothing going on. He wastes the years with idleness and lives off my money.
Nothing heard from Cylli and also Moritz is silent. I assume, that he is always ill. His wife is a well-behaved and good person.
I feel very lonely and am still looking around for mother. Now I know, what she was for me.
Concerning the legacy still no information from the consulate. From Russia no informations for a month. The 16th. next month has aunt her birthday. Do you, Frieda and Martha congratulate?
Greet Benny, Martha and children. Otherwise, nothing new.
Glaser Arndt is deceased. Now are only 4 Jewish families left in Schubin.
Now farewell and be greeted by your loving father.
In the course of discovering one's ancestry - it certainly is a journey and many times a trek (a journey with obstacles). If we consider Lewin Jacob Braunhart and his wife Wilhelmine Zadek as the first generation of Braunharts; and Bernhard, Samuel, Sara, and Alexander as the 2nd, then the 3rd generation would be the seventeen surviving children of Bernhard, Sara, and Alexander. These I have previously written about as quite an admirable group of ancestors in The Memorable Seventeen. The 3rd generation was exemplified by immigration and escape. Half of the 17 immigrated to America, and half escaped from Schubin to Berlin, and many of those escaped Germany from the Nazis, although two were unsuccessful.
So what about the next generation - the fourth? There were a total of 35 children born to the 17 grandchildren of Lewin and Wilhelmine. Who were they and what makes them special? These 35 were exemplified by the majority being born in America as a result of their parents immigrating. However, holdovers from the 3rd generation still occurred, as a few of these 35 had to also escape Nazi Germany.
The birth years range from 1892 to 1936 - quite a span. Here is a list, followed by names and photos. Truly an impressive bunch:
And here they are:
This letter from father Alexander Braunhart and his daughter Selma was written at the beginning of 1934 from Berlin - actually February 10, 1934. It was sent to Alexander's daughter Anna, who was living with her family in Brooklyn, New York. I have written previously about The Memorable Seventeen who were the grandchildren of Alexander's parents. Let us summarize the whereabouts of all 17 in 1934 and then we shall discuss what happened to them in the 10 years between 1934 (the date of this letter) and 1943.
As of the spring of 1934:
Two of Alexander's nieces and nephews had died in California, and the other four were safely raising their families in America (two in New York City and two in California).
Alexander (who had lost his wife Helene in 1925) was in Berlin and seven of his children and their families were in or near Berlin as well. Jacob, Anna, Martha, and Frieda had immigrated to America, so four were safe. So let us see what happened to Alexander and the seven children in the decade starting in 1934:
The letters below do not discuss or portend any of the horrors that were soon to befall this family. However there is a reference to the fact that they do not go out much, which may be because of the increasing restrictions on Jews. These two pages - the first written by Alexander, and the second by Selma, discuss happier times. The English translation follows.
Again thanks to our master German translator Matthias Steinke; we are fortunate to have the English translation:
Letter written by Alexander:
Berlin, 10. 11. 34
Dear children and grandchildren!
After long waiting we got your letter, card and 10 Dollars. Best thank to you Anna. Send to the last (named) greetings and I will write to her, if I got news from her. Also from Jakob nothing heard. The main thing is that you, Tulmans and Martha are healthy.
Here is it like it was. I for myself feel the age.
Julius came back recently and lives with Philipp, who has huge financial problems.
Theo, Selma and Karl support the family over their relationships. I myself go to nobody for
weeks, because you wont hear anything pleasing. Theo and wife visit us every Saturday. They have a very beautiful flat and furnishings.
From Plauen come often news. Recently I was at Brünns and found the people in good health.
Say Anna, that she shall write again finally. Jonny? died. Selma will write concerning the umbrella.
Henry must be a big gentleman. [He is likeley referring to his grandson Henry Brunn]
Now, farewell and be greeted by your you thankful father and grandfather.
Letter writen by Selma:
Dear Frieda. So the umbrella reached you. After the description it is the correct one. How comes the umbrella under the bed and so on?
In the next days I will send again some children-booklets. Do you know, dear Frieda, that Herta Elias has a boy? His mother already written, that Missus Mannheimer and daughter emigrated to America. At N. Israel is still everything unchanged. What else happens in the world you see in the newspapers.
I am often together with Theo and Lucie.
We now go out very little.
Hopefully you are all well and happy, from us I can report the same.
Hearty greetings for you and all Beloved,
from your Selma
The remainder of the Braunhart family left Schubin in 1920 and is now totally settled in Berlin. In this letter, it appears that the family is pretty stable. All the men who served in the German Army have recovered and have settled down.
Alexander Braunhart, writing to daughter Anna Tulman in Brooklyn, discusses most of the family members and also some issues with money. Most interesting in the letter is the happiness that the family expressed over mother Helene receiving one dollar. Although the fervor related to the hyperinflation crisis in the Weimar Republic had subsided some when this letter was written in the fall of 1924, there was still stabilization happening. Further there is a bit of despair over the loss of a package containing 25 dollars that was sent by daughter Martha and her husband Benny Sternbach.
Due to the poor quality of Alexander's handwriting, there are gaps in the translation presented below. Most confusing is a passage relating to "Aunt Molly." There was a "Molly" in America, Amalie Bernstein Brock, who was Alexander's niece, so there is some confusion as to the meaning of this section of the letter. The last paragraph of the letter is a paragraph written by Alexander's wife, Helene.
Below are the four original pages, followed by the English translation:
With great thanks to Matthias Steinke for doing the transcription and translation of the above difficult to decipher letter, below is the English translation:
Berlin, 2nd September 24
Dear good children and grandchildren!
Got your letter with the 1 Dollar for mum and we are lucky, that you are quite healthy. Here is it like it was. Mother is healthy and getting corpulent now. If possible you shall get the photos.
Joh? settled in another area, and in the store works an honest young Jewish man for his own business. He intends to marry Frieda, but he isn't so good. Due to her appearance and her behavior she would rather make her luck in America. Write you…her...
The man with the 25 Dollar from Benny wasn't here yet and won´t come anymore. Maybe you can find out his
residence or where he has relatives.
Aunt Molly comes to us daily. She.....circles? like her Gustav?. She still has 6.000 Dollar over there. At the moment she is under medical treatment.
Jacob hasn't written for a long time. Aunt (Sara?) writes often and many. Markheims are on a visit in Cal. Aunt wrote that Martha makes it very well and that she became very corpulent. Also from you she wrote only good.
I hear nothing from Cylli. Lives well as we found out. As you know, Cylli has a “little bird” (is a little bit crazy).
Theo eats with us and will start a job again.
At Karl and Julius the same conditions. The children come often to us also (the children of) Dorka and Hedwig.
Philipp who was very nervous is now pretty relaxed. He comes often and brings always something if he has.
In Poland shall be crazy conditions, nevertheless I long for the graves.
Martha, Benny and children, to get a sign of life from them isn't possible. So write you to me often.
Greeting your father and grandfather
Many hearty greetings and kisses for all is sending - Your loving mother.
Many hearty thanks for the Dollar. May God reward you.
Helene and Alexander Braunhart's daughter Anna immigrated to America in 1909. She married her husband Harry Tulman on November 7, 1915. Below is a letter from Helene to her daughter congratulating her on her wedding. Unfortunately within the letter is a reference to the death of an "Aunt Baumgart" who had died a month earlier. We do not know who she is, possibly Helene's sister, or possibly Helene's aunt. Maybe some day we will know.
Also, there is a line of congratulations from Anna's youngest sister Frieda, as well as a few lines from Anna's brother Carl's wife Hedwig.
There is a reference to the Markheim family in the letter. Anna;s cousin was Cecelia Bernstein Markheim. When Anna arrived in New York City in 1909, she lived in the Markheims home and served as their maid. Anna often complained during those 6 years that she was mistreated by the Markheim family.
The letters are presented in 4 pages. First are the original German letters, dated November 27, 1915 from Schubin, Germany; followed by the translation to English.
Thanks to my German friend Matthias Steinke for this translation:
There are messages from three of the Braunhart women.
From Mother Helene Braunhart
Schubin 27 November 1915
From the last postcard, we saw that your wedding has already occurred to which we heartily congratulate you.
We wish that you will live happy and contented, which is the main thing before all earthen (material) goods, because where peace is, there is happiness.
We hope, dear son, to welcome and embrace you once as our son. That you got an economical and thrifty wife, you will convince yourself, because Anna was always a good example for her siblings. It was your own will dear Anna to go to America, hopefully you have a good husband, after your descriptions, about whom we will be proud of.
You did well, to reconcile with the Markheims; as the dear Cecelia I know, she has a good and honest character.
Write to us in detail what kind of business you started. We would be delighted if your dear Harry also would write.
Unfortunately, I have to announce that Aunt Baumgart died the 26th October in the hospital in Posen after a 16 week illness.
We are well and hope the same of you.
Farewell for today, and be dearly greeted by your loving mother Helene. Please send a warm greeting to the Markheims.
From sister Frieda
Hearty Congratulations to your wedding is sending your sister Frieda.
From sister-in-law Hedwig Braunhart - wife of Carl
My very dear,
Also I do not want to miss, to congratulate heartily, I wish, that you will become happy and we want to hear only good things. Carl would have written personally, but he is always very busy so I do it in his name. Also our little one congratulates as well. He is a cute guy.
By sending again my best wishes,
I remain your sister-in-law Hedwig
Carl and Heinz greet you many times.
Theodor Braunhart was the youngest son of Alexander and Helene Braunhart. Born in 1898 in Schubin, Germany, our earliest evidence of him in adulthood is a postcard sent from the Ukraine, where Theo as he was called, served as a member of the German Army. After his stint in the Army, it appears that he and his brother Phlipp were together in Berlin.
Below is a letter that Theo wrote to his sister Anna, who was living with her husband Harry and daughter Mildred in Brooklyn, New York.
In the letter, written in 1920, Theo states that he has been quite ill for three years, which would suggest that he became ill while serving as a soldier.
Theo, it seems was ill the majority of his life. He spent many years in the Shanghai Ghetto, and later in Palestine. He contracted tuberculosis later in life, and in his return to Germany after World War 2, was unsuccessful in reconnecting with his wife Lucie.
Below are the 4 pages of the original letter, followed by the English translation.
Translation of above letter. Again, thanks to Matthias Steinke for the excellent translation!
Berlin January 20, 1920
Dear sister Anna!
Luckily, I already received the little package, although it was heavily torn, but I have it.
The package contains:
2 cans fat
2 tins of milk
1 glass of fruit
1 package rice
1 package of coffee (torn)
1 can sardines
1 piece of chocolate
All beautiful things I haven’t seen for already 5 years. So a thousand, thousand thanks for everything. I have everything honestly shared with Philly. Now my dear sister I have to tell you that the box is already in Hamburg, already since the 5th of January, as it was reported to me, but I haven’t it yet, although I already wrote 2 times to the Hamburg-America Line. But finally, it will get it.
Unfortunately, the money which Philly and I really need didn't arrive yet.
I hope you, beloved sister, Harry and your little daughter are alright. You see, I can speak English.
Dear sister, as I wrote in my last letter I do not know how to begin. A job is not available and for 250 per month, I can starve due to the situation here. Now comes something that's hard to write for me because you will probably think, I am unashamed, but that’s not the case. It is not easy for me to write it. I thought if it would be possible, that you and Martha loan me a small asset, so that I can start here a small business, as I already had one with my saved money, but my illness in the summer took everything.
Now my dear Sister so help me God, if you help me, I will work and pay every penny back you give me and already had given. If its not possible what I asking for, the I have to go away from Germany, maybe to Russia or Brazil, because such a life like now I can't and won't continue. I would love to go home, again to the beloved parents and siblings. I haven't seen them for so long. If I go, who knows if I see our dear parents again, because they are no longer young and the time does not stand still.
Dear Anna, I'm broken from all the concerns in the past 3 years, with 22 years ill, maybe forever. My nerves are like twines. so thin from the constant fever, and concern for the daily bread. With the money from you, which I now get, I have to pay my debts at the doctor, pharmacist and others, and then I was sick again.
If you can help me, I maybe will recover. Tomorrow I go to Ben ... Bru ....
God knows I do not like begging, but what should I do?
If the 25 dollars arrive, Philly will get half, as you wanted, and then he went home, I cannot, because I have to play Soldier and I got fed with it.
When I get the box and the money I will write to you.
From Cilly I had a letter in which she wrote that she received a letter from you. Carl, Hedwig and the children are well.
So, I don’t know what else to write.
Again many thanks for everything, greetings to Harry, your child, Martha, Bernard and their children, you yourself also receive warm greetings and kisses from you brother
Don’t be angry because of the letter.
The following is a letter from Alexander Braunhart, living in Schubin, Germany to his daughter Anna, who had immigrated to America in 1909 and at the time of the letter was living in Brooklyn, New York. It was just a short time after this letter that the last Braunhart and their entire family was forced out of their ancestral home in Schubin to live in Berlin. It is obvious from this letter, that conditions in Schubin had diminished to the extent, that living there was no longer an option for the remainder of the Braunhart family. And there was still much fighting in the streets.
The handwritten German version is presented first, followed by the letter translated from German to English. The translation is limited due to the poor handwriting in Alexander's' original letter.
This is the translation to English. Thanks to Matthias Steinke for replacing the initial translation with this far superior version:
23 September, 1919
My dear children and grandchildren!
We received your letter of May 18 just today. We were very delighted, to get a "sign of life" from you finally. Thank
God that you are healthy and prosper. By the way you and Martha must have received news from us via Gä....?.
Marthas parcel arrived, we weren't longer accustomed such things. But I have reported to you about the food situation, so far no improvement. I haven't seen a measly herring for years. Since we are Polish its ok with the bread, but during the wartime it was horrible. Everything is extremely expensive. You can't get meat for weeks. Even not at new year. The butchers (Jewish) have fled and don't come back to here.
So far, 7 jewish families went to Germany and others follow. The temple is almost empty and a Jewish school isn't available for years. Namely the Jews have not to expect good despite all the promises.
For the present, everything is peaceful (quiet), but if Bromberg, Thorn and Graudenz wont surrender peacefully, then it can come to heavy battles again. Especially in Schubin was fought hardest. Cannon fire, machine guns, street fights and so on were some days in January and February very common ("on the agenda"). Plenty of dead bodies and wounded. Pardon was not given. Civilians were arrested daily, even me. But was by ..... released. Now everything is free and the deposits are paid back; but many are still in Germany and will probably never come back.
Karl with family and 2 children are now also in Berlin and so far without a flat. We feel sorry for the two lovely children. They made good money, but Karl is a passionate card-gambler. Moritz is in Leipzig, Theo and Joseph? in Berlin. Julius is well in Labischin and has a nice little daughter. Cilly is in Berlin since several weeks and waits for her husband who is a POW. A hysteric woman is she. She has 4.000 Mark and from us she also gets although we cannot spare much. Selma, who drove today to Bromberg via Hohensalza (provided with passport) saved also a little bit (3.000 - 4.000 Mark). Frieda works in an office for 60 Mark monthly.
We have lost money but do not and did not suffer. Theo did a lot for us, Theo sent us many many food from the Ukraine. After the armistice Theo came to Bromberg and couldn't come here, because all was closed. This is still so. By no means we will stay here and wait until the youngsters got a flat, because in Berlin or elsewhere in Germany is no flat available. Thousands emigrate daily. Now you can't to America any more.
Also the German money has only a few worth in foreign countries. Gold isnt available. A rarity. Polish money is available, but nobody will accept it at the moment. The Dollar costs 14-16 Mark. If we could get the money from the Life Insurance but I am not really sure. It would help us a lot. Is there nothing going on with it?
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