Rozalia Saulson – Author of the First Guidebook to the Sudetes in Polish

Did you know that the first guidebook to the Sudetes in Polish was written in 1850? Even more remarkable, it was authored by a woman—a Polish Jew and an ardent patriot.
Dom Marysieńka w Cieplicach

“Marysieńka” at Plac Piastowski 33  in Cieplice Śląskie-Zdrój, where Rozalia Saulson wrote the guidebook / Photo by Marta Maćkowiak

Rozalia Saulson née Feliks

Rozalia Saulson, the subject of today’s exploration, was born in 1807 in Łask as the daughter of the physician Abraham Juda Feliks and Fajga Filipina née Enoch, the daughter of a physician from Wieruszów. Rozalia had a sister named Hanna, and the family lived on the market square in Łask at house number 60.

Rozalia married twice. On November 1, 1826, in Łask, she married Jakub Juliusz Pauli, a doctor from Kępno, with whom she divorced after two years. Her second husband was Mikołaj Saulson, a merchant from Warsaw. There, Rozalia resided, charitably educated Jewish children, and flourished in the field of writing, especially in Polish, which she considered her native language.

Sojourn in Cieplice (Warmbrunn)

In 1849, likely for health reasons, Rozalia came to Warmbrunn, today’s Cieplice Śląskie-Zdrój, where she spent three months at the Verein guesthouse – today’s “Marysieńka” at Piastowski Square 33. During this stay, she wrote the aforementioned guidebook „Warmbrunn i okolice jego w 38 obrazach zebranych w 12 wycieczkach przez Pielgrzymkę w Sudetach” (Warmbrunn and its surroundings in 38 pictures gathered in 12 excursions during a Pilgrimage in the Sudetes).

The first page of Rozalia Saulson’s guidebook “Warmbrunn and its surroundings in 38 pictures gathered in 12 excursions during a Pilgrimage in the Sudetes” / Source: Polona.pl

Rozalia’s husband, Mikołaj (Mordechaj) Saulson, son of Jehuda Lejba, died in Warsaw on June 10, 1858, and was buried in the Jewish cemetery on Okopowa Street in Warsaw.

A year later, there is a mention in Kurjer Warszawski about Mikołaj’s death, with information that the family lived on Leszno Street. However, according to the 1839 tariff, Mikołaj Saulsohn lived at ul. Franciszkańska 12 (mortgage number 1811).

Nagrobek Mikołaja Saulsona w Warszawie

Tombstone of Mikołaj Saulson at the Jewish cemetery in Warsaw / source: Fundacja Dokumentacji Cmentarzy Żydowskich w Polsce (Foundation for Documentation of Jewish Cemeteries in Poland)

Kurjer Warszawski 11.06.1859 

Supposedly due to her pro-Polish activities, Rozalia had to leave Warsaw and moved to Krakow, where she lived with her sister Anna Kirszbaum at Plac Szczepański 2.
 
Saulson passed away on December 4, 1896, at the age of 89, and was likely buried in the Jewish cemetery on Miodowa Street. Unfortunately, her tombstone did not survive.
 
On the building of “Marysieńka,” there is now a plaque commemorating the creation of the guidebook, but there is not a single word about the author of the work. Perhaps it could be changed? I believe Rozalia deserves recognition.
Tablica upamiętniająca powstanie przewodnika

Plaque commemorating the creation of the guidebook on the “Marysieńka” building in Cieplice Śląskie-Zdrój / Photo by Marta Maćkowiak

Sources:

  • Rybińska Agata, Rozalia Saulsonowa – pomiędzy kulturą żydowską, niemiecką i polską (Rozalia Saulson – Between Jewish, German, and Polish Culture)
  • Słownik Biograficzny Ziemi Jeleniogórskiej (Biographical Dictionary of the Jelenia Góra Region)

The Story of Mathilde Buttermilch from Jelenia Góra

Today’s protagonist is Mathilde Buttermilch – another of the seven individuals whose tombstones have been preserved in the Jewish cemetery in Jelenia Góra (Hirschberg), and whose life stories I want to bring closer. And this tale will be not only about Mathilde but also about her grandson, who gained fame at the age of 100. So, if you ever think you’re too old for something, remind yourself of Hans’s story. But first, let’s return to his grandmother.

Nagrobek Mathilde Buttermilch w Jeleniej Górze

Tombstone of Mathilde Buttermilch in the Jewish cemetery in Jelenia Góra / Photo by Marta Maćkowiak

Mathilde Buttermilch née Salisch

Mathilde died on February 1, 1920, in Jelenia Góra (then Hirschberg) in her apartment on Langstrasse, which is now Długa Street, at the age of 74. She was born in Kamienna Góra (Landeshut) as the daughter of the merchant Simon Salisch and Minna née Buttermilsch.
 
Akt zgonu Mathilde Buttermilch

Death certificate of Mathilde Buttermilch / Source: Landesarchiv Berlin

On September 12, 1876, she married Alexander Buttermilch, a trader from Lissa (Leszno), the son of the late Jakob Buttermilch from Landeshut (Kamienne Góry) and Colina née Gottstein, who lived in Leszno before her death. Considering that Mathilde’s mother’s maiden name was Buttermilch and she came from Lissa, there is a high probability that the spouses were related within a certain generation.

Alexander and Mathilde settled in an apartment in the tenement house at Plac Ratuszowy 34 (Markt 34), which would remain their home until their deaths. Alexander passed away first, on March 3, 1907.

Plac Ratuszowy 34 in Jelenia Góra / Source: Polska-org.pl

In the meantime though, let’s go back 29 years, to May 5, 1878, when Elsa, the daughter of Mathilde and Alexander, was born. She would live with her parents until the age of 26, when she decided to marry Max Keilson, the son of Nathan Keilson and Emilie née Mosessohn, a merchant residing in Bad Freienwalde.
 
They’ll make their home there, managing a lingerie shop, and soon enough, they’ll welcome two children – a daughter and a son, whom we’ll discuss shortly.
Akt ślubu Maxa Keilsona i Elsy Buttermilch

Marriage certificate of Max Keilson and Elsa Buttermilch / Source: Landesarchiv Berlin

Hans Keilson – An Extraordinary Centenarian

Hans Keilson, the son of Elsa and Max, was born in 1909. He was a doctor with a passion for writing, and in 1933, he published his first book. Unfortunately, just a few months later, it ended up on the list of books banned by the Third Reich.
 
Shortly thereafter, due to his background, he was deprived of the ability to practice as a doctor and sustained himself as a sports and music teacher. In 1936, Hans, along with his wife Gertrude, fled to the Netherlands, where he went into hiding while she, a Catholic, gave birth to their daughter, claiming that a “German soldier” was the father.
 
All three survived. Hans’ sister, who emigrated to Palestine, survived as well. Unfortunately, their parents, Elsa and Max, did not make it. The fact that Max considered himself a German patriot and was awarded the Iron Cross for his service in World War I did not save him and his wife from death in Auschwitz.
 
Hans never reconciled with this painful loss and dedicated his entire life to working with orphaned Jewish children suffering from post-war traumas. Meanwhile, he continued to write poetry and novels, and his efforts did not go in vain. Hans was rediscovered at the age of 100 when Francine Prose from The New York Times called him a genius, reviewing his two novels written 50 years earlier.
 
Hans passed away a year later in 2011 at the age of 101. He was buried in Hilversum, the Netherlands. I recommend reading interviews with Hans, the links to which can be found at the end of the article – a wonderful and sensitive individual.
 
And so, the tombstone of Mathilde Buttermilch, one of the handful preserved in the Jelenia Góra cemetery, allowed us to discover the extraordinary story of an extraordinary person.
Zdjęcie Hansa Keilsona

Photo of Hans Keilson / Photo by Herman Wouters for The New York Times

Hans Keilson w młodości

young Hans Keilson

Sources:

  • Landesarchiv Berlin
  • Polska-org.pl
  • https://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/04/books/04keilson.html
  • https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/weekly-standard/hans-keilson-love-in-hiding
  • https://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/nov/21/hans-keilson-novelist-holocaust

The Story of Rosel Aptekmann from Jelenia Góra

Today is the anniversary of Rosel Aptekmann’s death, so her story will be the first in a series dedicated to people buried in the Jewish cemetery in Jelenia Góra (Hirschberg). Only a few tombstones with readable inscriptions have survived, just seven in total. Let’s learn about Rosel Aptekmann.

Nagrobek Rosel Aptekmann

The gravestone of Rosel Aptekmann at the Jewish cemetery in Jelenia Góra / Photo: Marta Maćkowiak

Rosel Aptekmann née Hirschstein

On November 23, 1938, Leo Aptekmann came to the Civil Registry Office to report the death of his wife. Rosalie passed away on the same day at the age of 46 in the Martin Luther Evangelical Hospital in Jelenia Góra (formerly Hirschberg-Cunnersdorf). Presently, the building houses a Caritas care and medical facility (located at ul. Żeromskiego 2).

Two weeks after Kristallnacht. Perhaps this event had an impact on her health.

Rosalie Aptekmann’s death certificate / Source: Landesarchiv Berlin

Dawny szpital Martina Luthera w Jeleniej Górze

Former Martin Luther Evangelical Hospital in Jelenia Góra, now Caritas care and medical facility at ul. Żeromskiego 2 / Source: Polska-org.pl

Leo and Rosalie lived at Hermann Göringstrasse 43 (formerly, before 1933, Warmbrunnerstrasse, now ul. Wolności), 600 meters from the hospital. According to available sources, it seems that the numbering of buildings has not changed.

The building on ul. Wolności (formerly Warmbrunnerstrasse/Hermann Göringstrasse) in Jelenia Góra / Source: Polska-org.pl

Kamienica przy Wolności 43 dzisiaj

The building at ul. 43 Wolności 43 in Jelenia Góra today / Photo by Marta Maćkowiak.

The Aptekmanns were married for just under two decades, having tied the knot in Jelenia Góra on August 12, 1919.

Leo Aptekmann arrived in Jelenia Góra from Ukraine, specifically from the city of Smila, where he was born on February 25, 1892, as the son of Israel Aptekmann, a merchant, and Sophie née Brodski, residents of Kiev.

Rosalie, née Hirschstein, came into the world in Jelenia Góra on December 19, 1891, as the daughter of Julius Adolph Hirschstein, a merchant, and Rosalie née Moritz, who lived in Jelenia Góra in a house at plac Ratuszowy 4.

Leo and Rosalie initially resided at today’s ul. Wolności 32, in a house adorned with David’s stars on the veranda. Today, in addition to apartments, there is a shop and a Pentecostal church at that location.

Akt ślubu Leo Aptekmann i Rosalie Hirschstein
Dom przy Wolności 32 w Jeleniej Górze
Gwiazda Dawida na budynku przy Wolności 32 w Jeleniej Górze
Wejście do budynku przy Wolności 32 w Jeleniej Górze

Building at ul. Wolności 32 in Jelenia Góra / Photo: Marta Maćkowiak

Kamienica przy placu Ratuszowym 4 w Jeleniej Górze

Tenement at plac Ratuszowy 4 in Jelenia Góra, fragment from the exhibition at the Karkonosze Museum / Source: polska-org.pl

From Mainz to Hirschberg

Rosalie’s father, Julius Hirschstein, was a native of Jelenia Góra, while her mother, Rosalie Moritz, came from Mainz, nearly 700 km away. Their wedding took place on July 8, 1878, in Mainz. Rosalie was the daughter of Hermann Moritz, originally from Kórnik in Greater Poland, and Regine Metzger, while Julius Hirschstein was the son of leather merchant Kaspar Hirschstein and Johanna née Brann. After their marriage, they settled in Jelenia Góra, where they raised seven children.

Marriage certificate of Julius Hirschstein and Rosalie Moritz in Mainz / Source: Mainz City Archive

It is unknown whether Leo and Rosalie Aptekmann had any descendants. So far, I haven’t come across any trace of them, and it is also unclear whether Leo remarried.

However, it is certain that after Rosalie’s death, her husband lived for some time at Jägerstrasse 6 (today ul. Wyczółkowskiego) until he was deported and killed at Majdanek concentration camp.

Building at ul.Wyczółkowskiego 6 in Jelenia Góra / Photo: Marta Maćkowiak

Sources:

  • Archiwum Państwowe we Wrocławiu oddział w Jeleniej Górze (State Archive in Wrocław, Jelenia Góra Branch)
  • Landesarchiv Berlin (Berlin City Archive)
  • Polska-org.pl
  • Mainz City Archive

Jewish Cemetery in Jelenia Góra (Hirschberg)

The Jewish community in Jelenia Góra (formerly Hirschberg) was quite modest, with a peak population of only 450 people. Nevertheless, the city had two Jewish cemeteries.

Cmentarz żydowski w Jeleniej Górze

New Jewish Cemetery in Jelenia Góra on Sudecka Street / Photo by Marta Maćkowiak

Old Jewish Cemetery 

The first, so-called “old” cemetery, was established between 1818 and 1820 in the vicinity of Nowowiejska, Na Skałkach, and Studencka streets. Today, there is no trace of this cemetery. No tombstones or cemetery architecture have been preserved, and a public square now stands in its place. After the resolution to close the cemetery was adopted by the City Council Presidium in Jelenia Góra in 1957, the liquidation process began in 1961.

Map of Jelenia Góra featuring the marked location of the old Jewish cemetery / Source: Fotopolska.eu

Fotografia prawdopodobnie starego cmentarza żydowskiego w Jeleniej Górze

Photograph, likely depicting remnants of the old Jewish cemetery according to Fotopolska users, year 1928 / Source: Fotopolska.eu

New Jewish Cemetery

In 1879, a kilometer away, the second Jewish cemetery was established on today’s Sudecka Street. It is said to have survived the war in fairly good condition – both the tombstones and the mortuary building did not suffer significant damage.

The mortuary building

Facing the street stood a beautiful mortuary building, which was set on fire during Kristallnacht in 1938. Surprisingly, the structure survived the war, and until 1972, it was inhabited by Leon and Maria Grzybek, the caretakers of the area. The Grzybek couple, quite fittingly named (Grzyb means ‘mushroom’ in Polish), tragically died due to mushroom poisoning. The cemetery was ultimately closed almost 100 years after its establishment, in 1974. The last burial in this building took place in 1959, and at that time, the Jewish community in Jelenia Góra consisted of 20 families.

Dom przedpogrzebowy w Jeleniej Górze

Mortuary building at the Jewish cemetery in Jelenia Góra / Source: Okruchy z historii Żydów na Śląsku (Fragments from the history of Jews in Silesia), Warsaw 2014 via cmentarze-zydowskie.pl

Mortuary building at the Jewish cemetery on Sudecka Street in Jelenia Góra / Source: Polska-org.pl

Mortuary building at the Jewish cemetery in Jelenia Góra – building in the bottom right corner / Source: Polska-org.pl

Chevra Kadisha

In Jelenia Góra (Hirschberg), there was also Chevra Kadisha, a charitable burial association that dealt with organizing funerals and supporting mourners. In the early 1930s, Chevra Kadisha of the Jewish community in Jelenia Góra had its headquarters at Warmbrunnerstrasse 17 – today’s ul. Wolności.

The People

Today, one part of the cemetery serves as a parking lot. Along the sidewalk, likely on the site of the mortuary, there is a boulder with a commemorative plaque, and further back, you can find several well-preserved tombstones.

Seven of them have been deciphered, and each will be the subject of a dedicated article: Rosel Aptekmann, Mathilde Buttermilch, Wilhelmine Danziger, Betty Ucko, Herman Cohn, Fritz Singer, and Leon Goldgraber, a representative of the post-war Polish community.

Cmentarz żydowski w Jeleniej Górze
Cmentarz żydowski w Jeleniej Górze
Cmentarz żydowski w Jeleniej Górze

“The bitter death will not separate love” – inscription on one of the tombstones at the Jewish cemetery on Sudecka Street in Jelenia Góra.

Sources:

  • www.cmentarze-zydowskie.pl
  • Landesarchiv Berlin
  • Polska-org.pl
  • Fotopolska.eu
  • https://jeleniagora.naszemiasto.pl/w-jeleniej-gorze-po-niektorych-nekropoliach-nie-ma-sladu-co/ar/c1-9047541

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.