BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

Margot Lobree, née Hirschmann
*September, 25th 1925 in Frankfurt
travel counselor
Margot Lobree lives today in Winston-Salem, USA

Visitors’ Program: 1996

rescued with a Kindertransport to England/UK in April 1939
emigration to the USA in April 1944
marriage with David Lobree on October, 17th 1948

Spouse:
David Lobree
*November, 27th 1919 in San Francisco/California
passed away on May 9th 2004
graduate mechanical engineer, salesman

Two sons:
Lindsey D. Lobree (*1953) and Bruce A. Lobree (*1958)

Parents:
Lazarus Hirschmann
*October, 5th, 1889 in Ober-Roden (today Rödermark/Kreis Offenbach)
passed away on January 5th 1938 in Frankfurt
businessman

Hedwig Hirschmann, née Scheuer
*July ,30th 1894 in Hochweisel/Friedberg
accountant
deportation from Frankfurt to Izbica on May, 24th 1942
murdered by the Nazis, further dates unknown

Brother:
Helmut Martin Hirschmann
*March, 11th 1922 in Frankfurt
aliyah to Palestine/Israel in 1939: renamed Uri Hirschmann
passed away in September 2013 in Israel

Addresses of the Hirschmann family in Frankfurt

  • 1932 to 1936: Rohmer Platz 27 (head of the family: Lazarus Hirschmann)
  • 1937: Moltke-Allee 96 (Lazarus Hirschmann)
  • 1938: no entry (neither Lazarus nor Hedwig Hirschmann or Scheuer – parents of Hedwig in – Moltke-Allee);
  • Lazarus H. died in January 1938 in a hospital in Frankfurt
  • 1939 bis 1942: Moltke-Allee 104 (Hedwig Hirschmann, widow), today: Hamburger Allee (Bockenheim), last freely chosen address in Frankfurt
  • Last address of Hedwig Hirschmann according to her daughter Margot: Am Tiergarten 28 (Ostend/East End)


Sources:

  • Address books for Frankfurt/Main, 1932-1942
  • Memorial book of the Federal Archive ( Bundesarchiv-Gedenkbuch) in Germany for the victims of the persecution during the Nazi regime 1933-1945, here: Hedwig Hirschmann
  • Administration of the Jewish cemeteries in Frankfurt/ Jewish Community Frankfurt
  • Hessian Main State Archive Wiesbaden (HHStAW), 518_8314; 518_8315; 518_8317
  • Lobree, Margot, Margot’s History (script)
  • Lobree, Margot, correspondence with Till lieberz-Groß, 2017-2018

Fotos:

  • Administration of the Jewish cemeteries in Frankfurt/Jewish Community Frankfurt
  • Lieberz-Groß, Till
  • Lobree, Margot

Text and research:
Till Lieberz-Groß

Margot Lobree, née Hirschmann

“I was one of the Kinder who never saw her mother again”

By Till Lieberz-Groß

Margot Hirschmann was rescued with a Kindertransport to England/UK in April 1939. After the death of their father, Lazarus Hirschmann, in 1938 the responsibility for the two children is entirely with their mother. Hedwig Hirschmann makes every effort to save at least the about 14-year-old Margot and her three years older brother Helmut Martin.

Hedwig herself will not get the chance to emigrate. In 1942 Hedwig Hirschmann will be deported to Izbica – from her last accommodation in Frankfurt, Am Tiergarten 28.

A hard farewell and a lost childhood

Margot Hirschmann was born in Frankfurt/Main on September, 25th 1925. Very early she loses her father, Lazarus Hirschmann. Her mother, Hedwig Hirschmann, is now solely responsible for her two children.

Hedwig Hirschmann sends Margot’s brother Helmut (*1922) to Palestine only six weeks before Margot’s departure to England. Helmut Martin becomes Uri; he will live all his life in Israel. The siblings will meet again only after 25 years. Their mother, Hedwig Hirschmann, they will never see again.

I was deprived of a good education and growing up under normal circumstances. I was deprived of learning who I am and how to be an adult in a safe environment. I had to figure out what was right and what was wrong. If I did wrong, there was no one to help me. In other words, I was deprived of a childhood. (Margot Lobree, Margot’s History, script – biographical notes of Margot Lobree, née Hirschmann)

The Hirschmann family – a family from Frankfurt

Margot moves quite a lot with her parents, but always stays in Frankfurt-Bockenheim. As a small child she lives in Juliusstraße with her parents; before she starts school the family moves to Falkstraße, closer to her primary school, Sophienschule, which she will not attend up to the end of her time of elementary schooling. She will be forced to change to Samson Raphael Hirsch Schule/Israelitische Volksschule close to the Frankfurt zoo around the end of 1933/beginning of 1934. Jewish children are no longer wanted in public schools. In 1932 the family moves to Rohmer Platz 27.

In 1935 Margot’s father is forced to dissolve his business, M. & L. Hirschmann, Papier- und Schreibwarenhandlung engross, a wholesale trade for stationary, which Lazarus Hirschmann has run with his brother Markus Hirschmann since 1919. The family cannot afford any longer to live in a four-rooms-apartment and moves into a one-room-apartment in Moltkeallee 96 (today Hamburger Allee). It will be Lazarus Hirschmann’s last address in Frankfurt.

Only after Hedwig’s parents had been forced to leave their home in Hochweisel and had to move to Frankfurt, the family is able to move into a slightly bigger apartment in Moltkeallee 104.

Margot’s parents

Margot’s mother, Hedwig Hirschmann, née Scheuer, was born in Hochweisel (today part of Butzbach/Wetteraukreis). She attends a girls’ high school, followed by a commercial school (Handelsschule) in Friedberg. For some time she works as a shop assistant in her father’s butchery. In 1921 she marries Lazarus Hirschmann.

Lazarus Hirschmann was born in Ober-Roden (today part of Rödermark/Kreis Offenbach) in 1889. He attends an elementary school (Volksschule), and after having attended a commercial school he starts working in the textile business of his father in Ober-Roden. He moves to Frankfurt where he lives until the beginning of World War II.

Lazarus Hirschmann becomes a soldier at the west front from 1914-1917; a gas poisoning makes him seriously ill for a long time. In 1919 Lazarus Hirschmann establishes a company together with his brother Markus: M.&L. Hirschmann, Papier- und Schreibwarenhandlung engros, a wholesale trade for stationary at Große Friedberger Straße in Frankfurt.

After having married Lazarus Hirschmann Hedwig joins the company as its accountant. Beside five other employees also Selma Hirschmann, wife of Markus Hirschmann, works with the company. The Hirschmanns are successful with their business; they can afford a delivery van and a private car with a chauffeur.

In 1933 everything changes: The business suffers enormously because of the harassment of the Nazis so that they have to give up in 1935. Lazarus Hirschmann tries to earn a living for his family doing odd jobs; his wife Hedwig tries to support the family income by repairing textiles. Lazarus Hirschmann dies in January 1938; Margot is twelve years old.

Saving the children

The situation of the Jewish population gets continuously worse because of the Nazi laws. The sole responsibility for her two children, Helmut and Margot, is an increasing pressure for Hedwig after the early death of her husband. After the November pogrom 1938 she decides to rescue at least her children. Helmut Martin (*1922) is sent to Palestine and only some weeks later Margot leaves for England/UK with a Kindertransport in April 1939. Helmut is seventeen and Margot is not yet fourteen years old.

Only as an adult Margot can fully understand, what an enormous effort, a superhuman act of strength, it must have been for her mother to endure the separation from her children: …. I could understand the heartbreak my mother must have gone through … She missed seeing her children as responsible adults and being a grandmother. The love she must have had for me and my brother to send both of us away within 6 weeks of each other to make sure that we would be save, that our lives would be spared is indescribable. Her strength was tremendous knowing that she might never see either one of us again. (Margot Lobree, Margot’s History, script – biographical notes of Margot Lobree, née Hirschmann)

Experiences in England

Margot’s “guarantees“ for the passage were Mr and Ms Kaplan from London; Margot lived with them until the end of 1939. Margot learns English – as she came to England without any knowledge of English – until she is able to attend a school.

The beginning of World War II and the Blitz (the German bombing of British cities) cause the Kaplan family to leave London, but without the maid and Margot, who stay behind in London. This illustrates the attitude of the family concerning Margot who is permanently reminded that she has to be thankful having been taken into the family as a refugee: beside that she is exploited as a cheap help.

The long awaited visa for emigrating to relatives in the USA becomes invalid under the circumstances of the wartime. The salvation committee Bloomsbury House evacuates Margot to a boarding school in Epsom/ Surrey. However Margot can stay there only from December 1939 to January 1940, because the Kaplan family stops paying her school fees.

Margot finds an accommodation in a refugee home in Rusthall, close to Tunbridge Wells, where she is given access to schooling. After her 15th birthday Margot has to start working in a tailor shop in Tunbridge Wells beside her schooling. In April 1942 – Margot is now sixteen-and-a half years old – she moves back to London with a lady friend where she finds a job in a textile factory. There she works until her emigration to the USA.

Margot and her friend start living in London in a very poor, almost unbearable hostel but then the committee allows them to move to a little furnished flat in London NW2. They work for little money, everything is rationed, but they enjoy their lives in spite of their very limited possibilities.

Only later Margot realizes that she had to build up her new life completely on her own – without her family, without her mother and her brother. The reunion with her brother will take 25 years; with him she will take part in the visiting program of the City of Frankfurt in 1996, their home town. She will never see her mother again: Hedwig Hirschmann is deported from Frankfurt to Izbica on May 24th 1942 where she most probably was murdered. Up to now exact dates are missing.

Memorial plaque for Hedwig Hirschmann at the memorial wall of the old cemetery in Battonnstraße/Börneplatz, Frankfurt.

Emigration to the USA

In April 1944 Margot can finally leave England towards the USA with her second visa. At last the emigration in stormy weather could take place due to her Aunt Sophie Meyer, née Hirschmann.
Margot is taken care of by her relatives and lives with them in New York until her marriage in 1948. Margot attends courses in shorthand and typewriting beside working.

“Don’t underestimate the power of the pen”

The almost unbelievable romance starts in England as a correspondence with a pen friend over the period of eight years – in a time before facebook or at least telephone calls! However: David was the best thing that ever happened to me, writes Margot after many satisfying years of marriage. (Margot Lobree, correspondence with Till Lieberz-Groß, April 2018; likewise headline of paragraph)

David Lobree lived in San Francisco, Margot lived in London in the beginning of their correspondence as penfriends. David and Margot meet for the first time in August 1948. The brothers of Hedwig Hirschmann pay for Margot’s passage from New York to San Francisco; after twelve years it is essential for them to see their niece again. I don’t know if I fell in love with the beautiful San Francisco skyline or the guy driving the car, but two days later he proposed, I said yes, and never looked back. (Margot Lobree, correspondence with Till Lieberz-Groß, April 2018)

After three weeks Margot returns to New York to cancel her job and to say good-bye to her relatives in New York. On October, 16th 1948 she is back in San Francisco and without further ado Margot and David drive to Reno to get married. In the morning of October 17th 1948 they receive their marriage license and get married by a Rabbi in the afternoon. $35 for a quick wedding.

After being married Margot lives with David in San Francisco. In 1955 the Lobree family moves to Redwood City in California with their first son Lindsey D. (*1953). In 1958 the family will be completed by their second son, Bruce A. Lobree.

Now Margot has got the family she had always missed and for the following 55 years she has enjoyed living in a very happy marriage, loved by her sons Lindsey with his wife Regina and Bruce with his wife Rosy and two outstanding grandsons.

Painting: Margot’s History. Photo: Margot Lobree