Flora Sachs – the Chairwoman of the Masonic Lodge in Jelenia Góra (Hirschberg)

During my August visit to the State Archives in Szczecin, I came across an interesting collection – a file of Masonic lodge members compiled by the Main Security Office of the Reich from 1939 to 1945. In this collection, I found the record of a woman a Jewish woman from Jelenia Góra (Hirschberg), Flora Sachs, who served as the chairwoman of the Sisters Association of the Victoria Lodge.

Karta Flory Sachs z kartoteki członków loży masońskiej
Karta Flory Sachs z kartoteki członków loży masońskiej

Card of Flora Sachs from the file of Masonic lodge members / Photo: Marta Maćkowiak, State Archives in Szczecin

Flora Sachs from Jasna

The main headquarters of Victoria Loge was located in Goerlitz (specifically at Bismarckstrasse 13), and contrary to common belief, its activities did not revolve around esoteric knowledge. Instead, it primarily focused on educating about Judaism and promoting values such as tolerance, goodness, and humanity.

According to the aforementioned card, Flora lived precisely at Lichte Burgstrasse 21 in Hirschberg, which is now Jasna Street in Jelenia Góra.

She was born on October 11, 1878, in an apartment at Drahtzieher Gasse (ul. Druciana 1). She was the second of eight children of Adolf Nathan, a merchant originally from Cieplice (Warmbrunn), and Lina née Cohn. At the age of 20, she married Simon Sachs, a merchant from Kępno, who was four years older, the son of Michael Sachs and Marie née Markus, residing at Plac Ratuszowy 38. A year later, on May 16, 1899, their first son, Max, was born in the apartment at ul. Jasna 18, and on January 17, 1904, their second son, Lotar, was born in the apartment at ul. Jasna 3.

Parents of Flora Sachs née Nathan – Adolf Nathan and Lina née Cohn / Photos courtesy of Mr. Stephen Anthony Giesswein

Akt urodzenia Flory Sachs

Birth certificate of Flora Sachs / Source: Bundesarchiv in Berlin

In 1911, Flora became the owner of a tenement house at Jasna 21. According to the building documentation in the Yearbook of Jelenia Góra:
“The tenement had a facade width of 8.5 m, with a wide gate on the ground floor’s left side (Eastern), leading to a passage. In the middle, there were doors leading to the shop, and a display window. The depth of the tenement from the street to the backyard was 17.5 m, and its height was approximately 15 m. It consisted of four floors (ground floor and three upper floors) and a functional attic. The staircase was located in the central part of the building. The renovation project in 1911 was carried out by the well-known architectural company in Jelenia Góra, ‘Gebruder Albert Architecten’ – Albert Brothers Architects. Flora reinforced the building’s structure, renovated sanitary facilities (bathrooms, toilets), and the display window on the ground floor shop.”
In 1916, Flora’s husband, Simon Sachs, became the owner of the tenement. In 1923, he reconstructed the stairs in the utility building at the back, erected a chimney 9 meters above the ground, and in 1927, took care of a new facade.
Budynki przy Lichte Burgstrasse (dzisiejszej Jasnej) w Jeleniej Górze

The no longer existing tenements on Lichte Burgstrasse (today’s Jasna Street) in Jelenia Góra / Source: Polska-org.pl

The Sachs family also ran a business here, specializing in tanning leather and trading leather goods, while Simon served as a member of the Jewish community board in Jelenia Góra.

Reklama Simona Sachsa w Arbeite Zeitung, rok 1931

Advertisement of Simon Sachs in the Arbeiter Zeitung, 1931

Hitler in Power

Unfortunately, with Hitler coming to power, the situation for the Jewish community in Jelenia Góra became increasingly difficult. From around 360 members of the community in 1932, the number of Jewish residents dropped to about 144 in 1938. After Kristallnacht on November 9-10, 1938, during which Nazi militia destroyed the synagogue, cemetery, and Jewish shops, this number dropped even further to 67 people in 1939.
Flora and Simon perished in the Theresienstadt camp. Simon on April 5, 1943, and Flora a year later, on March 13, 1944.

Cards of Flora and Simon from the Theresienstadt camp.

Oświadczenie o śmierci Flory zamieszczone przez jej siostrę

Statement of Flora’s death posted by her sister / Source: Yad VaShem

Together forever, married 45 years

Two sisters of Flora survived and emigrated to Israel. Lothar, the younger son of Flora and Simon, managed to emigrate to the United States with his wife in 1938. Having lived to the age of 69, he was buried in Florida, and 22 years later, his beloved wife was laid to rest beside him, with the inscription: Together forever, married 45 years 🖤
Nagrobek Lothara i Hildegarde

One page of the passenger list featuring Lothar and Hildegarde Sachs. They departed from Hamburg on June 29, 1938.

Statement of intent by Lothar Sachs, son of Flora and Simon, regarding becoming a U.S. citizen.


  • Landesarchiv w Berlinie
  • Rocznik Jeleniogórski, tom XXXIX 200 APJG, AmJG, sygn. 5442. IVO ŁABOREWICZ 28 AP JG, AmJG, sygn. 5442 („Bau akten betr. Lichte Burgstarsse nr 21, Grundbuch nr 192“, za latach 1875-1926)
  • Żydzi niemieccy w Jeleniej Górze tuż po zakończeniu II wojny światowej, Marek Szajda
  • Polska-org.pl
  • Archiwum Państwowe w Szczecinie
  • Yad VaShem

The Question of Anna Drescher’s Aryan Origin, a story from Villa Birkenhain in Karpacz

When visiting the state archives in search of specific documents, I like to order ‘random’ folders to see if similar records might come in handy in the future. It’s like a lottery – sometimes I browse through hundreds of boring listings and calculations, and at other times, I discover incredible stories. One of those incredible stories is undoubtedly the story of Anna Drescher.

Villa Birkenhain w Karpaczu

Villa Birkenhain in Krummhübel (presently Brzozowy Sad in Karpacz), ulica Sadowa 2 / źródło: Polska-org.pl

Judenvermögensabgabe – “penance tax”

This time, I took on a folder concerning Judenvermögensabgabe, which can be translated as the Jewish Property Tax. Judenvermögensabgabe was a tax introduced on November 12, 1938, and it applied to every German Jew whose property was valued at a minimum of 5,000 marks. This tax was also referred to as the ‘penance tax’ because, after the assassination of the German Embassy Secretary Ernst Eduard vom Rath on November 7, 1938, by Herschel Grynszpan, a Polish-German Jew, Hermann Göring demanded the payment of one billion German marks as ‘penance’ for the damage caused to the German nation by Jews.

While reviewing case after case, my attention was drawn to Anna Drescher, who, in 1938, was residing in Villa Birkenhein in Krummhübel – today’s Brzozowy Gaj guesthouse located in Karpacz at ul. Sadowa 2.

The first page of the folder: “The question of Mrs. Drescher’s Aryan origin has not yet been resolved” – so let’s see what this is about.

Teczka Anny Drescher

Page regarding Judenvermögensabgabe and Anna Drescher / Source: State Archive in Wrocław

The wife of a mining counselor 

According to German documentation, Anna Drescher was the wife of Franz Drescher, a mining counselor, director-general, engineer, and doctor, from whom she inherited the estate. Franz was born on March 2, 1871, in Zabrze (Hindenburg), into a Catholic family, as the son of another Franz, who was a mine director in Gliwice (Gleiwitz), and Anna (née Materne).
Franz quickly followed in his father’s footsteps and began to climb the ranks of the mining career. In 1907, he became the director of the Queen Luiza mine in Zabrze. In 1911, he was appointed to the mining council, and in 1921, he became the director-general. At that time, Franz Drescher was regarded as the top expert in the Silesian heavy industry.
Kopalnia Królowej Luizy w Zabrzu

Queen Luiza Mine in Zabrze, 1920s-1930s / Source: Polska-org.pl

Evangelical or Jewish?

In 1903, Franz married Anna Toeplitz, a native of Wrocław and an Evangelical, the daughter of Dr. Theodor Max and Franziska. A year after their wedding, their first daughter, Käthe, was born, and they moved to Małe Zabrze, residing at Kronprinzenstrasse 14 (today’s ul. Wolności). With a Catholic father and an Evangelical mother, where does the whole issue of the Jewish Property Tax come into play?
Fragment urodzenia Kathe, córki Franza i Anny Drescher

Fragment of the birth certificate of Franz Drescher and Anna Toeplitz’s daughter, along with information about their religion / Source: Landesarchiv Berlin

So, Anna Toeplitz was born in Wrocław (Breslau) on April 14, 1879, and was the second of nine children of Dr. Theodor Max and Franziska Toeplitz.

It turns out that 5 years earlier, on June 27, 1874, Theodor and Franziska got married, not in Wrocław but in Kaliningrad (then Königsberg). Interestingly, the wedding was registered in the Evangelical parish, but in the section related to the Jewish residents of the city. And that’s not the end of it.
Theodor Max was 23 years old, and Franziska was 22. Both were born in Gdańsk (Danzig), both had the same last name, and as it turned out, they were quite closely related. Specifically, their fathers, Heinrich and Benedikt, were brothers. To make it even more interesting, both Heinrich and Benedikt were born in Warsaw, and their parents were Theodor Toeplitz, a merchant from Lissa (today’s Leszno in Greater Poland), and Franciszka Osterreicher, a Warsaw native.

Photographs of Franziska and Theodor Max Toeplitz / Source: Ancestry, Stefan Toeplitz

Marriage certificate of Theodor Max and Francizka Toeplitz, Kaliningrad (Königsberg) / Source: Records of the Evangelical Church in Königsberg

Franziska Toeplitz’s parents settled in Gdańsk. Theodor’s mother, Chana (née Rafaelowicz), passed away a few months after his birth and was buried in Warsaw. His father, Heinrich, moved to Wrocław with his son and daughter-in-law. He resided at Tauentzienstrasse 31a (today’s Kościuszko Street), where he served as a railway director and lived to be nearly 69 years. To this day, you can visit his grave at the Old Jewish Cemetery in Wrocław. Theodor, who reported his father’s death on February 24, 1891, was residing at Teichstrasse 2 (nowadays Stawowa Street).

Excerpt from Heinrich Toeplitz’s death certificate / Source: State Archives in Wrocław

Nagrobek Heinricha Toeplitza na Starym Cmentarzu Żydowskim we Wrocławiu

Tombstone of Heinrich Toeplitz at the Old Jewish Cemetery in Wrocław / Photo by Marta Maćkowiak

Returning to our heroine – Anna’s husband, Franz Drescher, passed away in Wrocław on January 20, 1934. Two years later, on October 12, 1936, Anna reported her mother’s death. She was living at Nova Strasse 4 (today’s Ksawery Liske Street) at that time.

At least since December 1938, Anna was residing in Karpacz. In the following years, Nazi officials must have uncovered her Jewish roots because on January 8, 1944, she was sent to the Theresienstadt camp. Fortunately, the story has a happy ending because in 1946, Anna registered with Sharit haPlatah – the Central Committee of Liberated Jews in Bavaria.

Transport document for Anna Drescher to the Theresienstadt camp (Terezin) / Source: International Tracing Service, Bad Arolsen


  • Archiwum Państwowe we Wrocławiu (State Archive in Wrocław)
  • Landesarchiv Berlin
  • Polska-org.pl

The names Sara and Israel in Nazi Germany

Do you know that in Nazi Germany, the names Sara and Israel were added to documents for quicker and easier identification of Jews? This was the case, among others, with Laura, on whose marriage certificate I found such an annotation.

Zdjęcie Laury Ring Cohen

Laura Ring née Cohn / Source: Yad Vashem

From Ostrów Wielkopolski and Halemba to Wrocław

Laura Ring née Cohn was born on July 6, 1865, into an assimilated Jewish family in Ostrów Wielkopolski. She was the daughter of the merchant Robert Cohn and Taubschen Mamelok.

In 1890, Laura must have been already living in Wrocław, as on January 13 of the same year, she married Josef Ring in the capital of Lower Silesia. Josef, a 24-year-old merchant, was born in Halemba as the son of Julius Ring and Rachel Kosterlitz. He permanently resided in Antonienhütte, now known as Wirek, a district of Ruda Śląska.

After tying the knot, the couple quickly returned to Antonienhütte, where their first child was born. Shortly thereafter, the family made a permanent move to Wrocław, and in 1894, they welcomed a daughter.

Akt ślubu z adnotacją o przyjęciu imienia Sara

Fragment of Laura Cohn and Josef Ring’s marriage certificate with a note about adopting a second name – Sara / Source: State Archive in Wrocław

Lwowska 33

On August 27th, 1929, Josef Ring passed away at 6:00 PM at the Allerheiligen Hospital (later Wojewódzki Szpital im. Józefa Babińskiego) at the age of 63. He was buried in the Jewish cemetery on Lotnicza Street (Friedhof Cosel). According to the death certificate, the Ring family resided at Viktoriastrasse 33, today’s Lwowska Street.

Zdjęcie ze Allerheiligen Hospital w Breslau
Akt zgonu Josef Ringa

Death certificate of Josef Ring / Source: State Archive in Wrocław

Death in Theresienstadt

On August 17th, 1938, laws were enacted that mandated the addition of the name Sara for Jewish women and Israel for Jewish men in official documents for German Jews. This was aimed at facilitating the identification of Jewish citizens in the Third Reich.

Such information was also added to the marriage certificate of Laura and Josef on January 30th, 1939.

After Josef’s death, Laura continued to reside at ul. Lwowska 33 until August 31st, 1942, when she was deported to the Theresienstadt camp, where she lost her life.

Księga adresowa gminy żydowskiej we Wrocławiu

Address book of the Jewish community in Wrocław from the year 1930 / Source: Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw

Oświadczenie o śmierci Laury RIng Cohn

Declaration of the death of Laura Ring née Cohn / Source: Yad Vashem Institute


  • Archiwum Państwowe we Wrocławiu (State Archive in Wrocław)
  • Instytut Yad VaShem w Jerozolimie (Yad Vashem Institute)
  • Żydowski Instytut Historyczny w Warszawie (Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw)
  • Bryan Mark Rigg: Żydowscy żołnierze Hitlera. Przekład Jerzy Adamko. Warszawa-Kraków: Dom Wydawniczy Bellona, Wydawnictwo Arkadiusz Wingert, 2005. (Bryan Mark Rigg: Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers. University Press of Kansas, 2002)

Końcowy raport składa się z kopi odnalezionych dokumentów, tłumaczeń, zdjęć oraz podsumowania. Wyjaśniam pokrewieństwo odnalezionych osób, opisuję sprawdzone źródła i kontekst historyczny. Najczęściej poszukiwania dzielone są na parę etapów i opisuję możliwości kontynuacji.

Czasem konkretny dokument może zostać nie odnaleziony z różnych przyczyn – migracji do innych wiosek/miast w dalszych pokoleniach, ochrzczenia w innej parafii, lukach w księgach, zniszczeń dokumentów w pożarach lub w czasie wojen.  Cena końcowa w takiej sytuacji nie ulega zmienia, ponieważ wysiłek włożony w poszukiwania jest taki sam bez względu na rezultat.

Raporty mogą się od siebie mniej lub bardziej różnić w zależności od miejsca, z którego rodzina pochodziła (np. dokumenty z zaboru pruskiego, austriackiego i rosyjskiego różnią się od siebie formą i treścią).


Na podstawie zebranych informacji (Twoich i moich) przygotuję plan i wycenę – jeśli ją zaakceptujesz, po otrzymaniu zaliczki rozpoczynam pracę i informuję o przewidywanym czasie ukończenia usługi. Standardowe poszukiwania trwają około 1 miesiąca, a o wszelkich zmianach będę informować Cię na bieżąco.

Na Twoje zapytanie odpiszę w ciągu 3 dni roboczych i jest to etap bezpłatny. Być może zadam parę dodatkowych pytań, dopytam o cele albo od razu przedstawię propozycję kolejnych kroków.

Warto pamiętać, że im więcej szczegółów podasz, tym więcej rzeczy mogę odkryć.

Podziel się ze mną:

  • Imionami i nazwiskami przodków (wszystkich, o których wiesz)
  • Miejscami urodzenia i zamieszkania (jeśli jest inne np. wojnie)
  • Datami urodzenia, ślubów i zgonu (mogą być orientacyjne)
  • Informacjami o rodzeństwie, kuzynach, emigracjach.
  • Legendami i historiami rodzinnymi

I najważniejsze – jeśli masz niewiele informacji, zupełnie się tym nie martw, w takich sytuacjach także znajdę rozwiązanie.