Papers relating to Gertrud and Max Joseph, Ida and Paul Simons and Artur and Hans Bial

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This collection contains papers relating to the Jewish family of Gaby Glassmann-Simons, in particular her grandparents, Gertrud and Max Joseph and Ida and Paul Simons. The Simons family were successful Jewish businessmen who owned the oil company, Simons & Söhne AG in Neuss, North Rhine-Westphalia (now Walter Rau, Neusser ᅱl und Fett AG). Both families tried to flee Nazi persecution by emigrating to Holland but perished in the Holocaust. Includes accounts of their lives as well as interviews with Walter Rau and Hans Sahl. Also included is other material relating to Jewish persecution such as an article by Gaby Glassman regarding Irene Bloomsfield's work on intergenerational communication within families affected by Nazi persecution (2003), and correspondence and papers relating to the Jewish community in Stralsund.

The collection also consists of the personal papers of Arthur Bial and his son Hans Bial who survived the Holocaust at Westerbork transit camp. Included are Arthur Bial's diary of his military service during the First World War, introduction to Hans Bial's diary, correspondence and press cuttings relating to the persecution of Jews in the Netherlands.

Administrative / Biographical History

Gertrud and Max Joseph: Gertrud (Trude) Blach was born into a family of six children in Stralsund in 1878. The family moved to Berlin when she was a young child and had their own leather business. Max Joseph also came from Strahlsund. He was born in 1874, the eldest of three children. Max married Gertrud and they had two children: Martin (1903-1974) and Rose Marie (1910-2003). In the 1920s there was widespread anti-Semitism in Pommerania making it difficult for the couple to run their business. The business started to decline after the boycott of Jewish shops in April 1933. It was closed down in 1936. Rose Marie and her first husband Guenther left Germany with their son Peter and settled in The Hague. They arranged for Max and Trude to flee to Holland in 1939. Trude, Max, Rose, Guenther and Peter settled in Hilversum until they were ordered to move to Amsterdam in 1942. Max and Trude were soon arrested and taken to Westerbork transit camp. They were both deported to Sobibor in July 1943 where they were gassed.

Ida and Paul Simons: Amelie Caroline (Ida) Rosenberg was born in 1881 in Verviers, Belgium, one of five surviving children. She got married to Paul Moritz Simons (born in 1876) in 1903 and moved to Neuss am Rhein where the Simons family lived. They had two sons: Ralf Rene (1904-1980), Gaby Glassman-Simons' father, and Edgar (1907-1928). The children had a French-speaking governess enabling them to become fluent in French which helped Edgar's survival in the south of France during World War II. Paul Simons joined the family business, Oelmuehle N Simons Söhne. The factory became the second largest margarine factory in Germany. The business was sold in 1929 due to the economic crisis in the 1920s. Paul and his son Edgar started a similar business after the mill was sold which flourished until the mid-1930s when it became too difficult for Jews to own businesses. In 1936 Edgar fled to Holland. His parents joined him in The Hague in 1938. They relocated to Hilversum and were soon ordered to go to Amsterdam where German Jews were concentrated. In 1942 they were arrested and taken to Westerbork transit camp where they stayed for 9 months. In June 1943 they were deported to Sobibor extermination camp where they were murdered upon arrival.

Arthur Bial was born into a Jewish family in Striegau, Silesia (now Strzegom, Poland) in 1877. He studied medicine at Halle University and got married in 1905. Arthur Bial served in the First World War and was awarded the Iron Cross (Second Class). He practised medicine until 1938 when his license was revoked under new Nazi legislation. He fled to the Netherlands in 1939 where he was interned at various refugee camps including Heyplaat and Zeeburgerdijk. In March 1940 he was given permission to work as a doctor at Westerbork transit camp where he survived the war. He died in Amsterdam in 1954. Arthur Bial's son, Hans Bial (born c 1910), also survived the Holocaust at Westerbork transit camp.

Arrangement

Chronological

Conditions Governing Access

Acquisition Information

Donated by Gaby Glassman

Note

2009/29

Alternative Form Available

Digitised material available on photo server (Doc 1790)

Related Material

Material relating to Arthur and Hans Bial can be found at the Leo Baeck Institute, New York, and the Deutsches Historisches Museum Berlin. See also audio server for interviews with Walter Rau and Hans Sahl.