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Yad Vashem The Story of the Jewish Community in Würzburg

Commemorating the Jewish Community of Würzburg

Pages of Testimony

Yad Vashem – the Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names

The Database of Shoah Victims’ Names is a unique commemoration project initiated by Yad Vashem, which seeks to perpetuate the names of the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

From the 1950s Yad Vashem has been collecting Pages of Testimony, thereby uncovering and preserving the biographical details of many victims, and allowing us to study the Jewish story before and during the Holocaust.

The following Pages of Testimony reveal the fate of the Sachs family from Würzburg.


The Sachs Family

Simon-Michael Sachs was born in Würzburg in 1887; his parents were Samuel-Nathaniel Sachs and Hana-Hindle née Rosenbaum. Aside from Simon, Hana and Samauel had seven other children. Samuel owned a textile factory which manufactured suits and employed some 40 tailors. Three of Samuel’s sons, Simon, Gustav-Gershon and Beno-Pinchas worked in the factory. During the First World War the factory produced uniforms for the German Army. In 1916, Adolf Sachs, one of Samuel’s sons, was killed in action, while serving as a German soldier in France. His place of burial is unknown.

  • Strümpfelbrunn, Baden, the early 1930s. The Marks sisters, Klara and Karolina Sachs, and their cousin Adela  Bundy, visiting the village where they were born.
  • The Marks family’s house in Strümpfelbrunn, Baden.
  • Karolina Sachs (née Marks), 1930s
  • Beno-Pinchas Sachs, Würzburg
  • Hana Sachs, Würzburg, 1912-1913
  • Karolina  Marks and Simon Sachs on the day of their engagement, Würzburg, 1909
  • Adolf Sachs, Würzburg. Adolf was killed in action in 1916, while serving in the German Imperial Army on the Western Front. His resting place is unknown.
  • Karolina Sachs (née Marks) and Simon Sachs, Würzburg, 1927–1928
  • The Sachs family on vacation in Nordenei during the 1920s

In May 1909 Simon wed Karolina Marks. The couple resided in Würzburg, and had two children: Hana (born 1910) and Joseph-Sefel (born 1912). Hana wanted to become a doctor, and her brother Joseph wanted to become an engineer. Gustav, Simon’s brother, married Karolina’s sister, Klara. The couple had one son, Manfred-Menachem. The Sachs family maintained a religious orthodox life style. Hana and Joseph studied at the Jewish elementary school, and Hana went on to study at a private gymnasium (high school) for girls in Würzburg and became a member of the Ezra youth movement.

When Hana was about 16 years old, and her brother Joseph was 14, their father Simon fell ill. Both children dropped out of school in order to work in the family business. In 1929 Simon passed away, and his brother, Gustav, died a year later. Gustav’s son, Manfred, who worked as a lawyer and lived in München, also died the same year. As a result of these events, Simon’s brother Beno, a bachelor, together with Hana and Joseph, assumed the responsibility for running the textile factory.

In 1935 Hana Sachs made Aliyah, sailing to Eretz Israel aboard the Tel-Aviv. She obtained the necessary permission to immigrate to Eretz Israel through the help of Dr. Wallach, who worked at the Shaare Zedek hospital in Jerusalem, and had studied for a time in Würzburg. During his time in Würzburg, he had spent some Sabbaths as a guest of Hana’s grandfather, Samuel Sachs. The rest of the Sachs family remained in Würzburg. Hana managed to bring a few of the family’s valuables with her from Germany. 

In 1938, before Kristallnacht, Joseph was summoned to the Gestapo offices. One of the employees there, who knew Joseph’s grandfather, approached him and suggested he flee Germany as quickly as possible. The father of this clerk at the Gestapo office had worked for Samuel Sachs during the financial crisis of the 1920s; despite the hard times, Sachs had kept him in his employ. Joseph left Germany and ultimately arrived in the United States, where he enlisted in the American army.

Beno, Hana and Joseph’s uncle, was imprisoned during Kristallnacht and deported to the Dachau concentration camp. In Dachau he was told to leave Germany within six weeks. Beno crossed the border into Belgium, from where he sailed, in May 1940, on the last ship to England.

In 1939, Hana Sachs married Moshe-Yehoshua Erlanger, a widower from Switzerland who had made Aliyah in 1932. The couple lived in Tel-Aviv and had two children, Ruth and Michael. Hana also raised Moshe’s son from his previous marriage, David. In the United States, Joseph Sachs married his cousin, Shoshana Roselmarx, and the couple had two girls.

The two sisters, Karolina and Klara, remained in Würzburg. Karolina had obtained a certificate authorizing her to immigrate to Palestine, but she did not want to leave Klara behind. In April 1942 Karolina and Klara Sachs were deported from Würzburg to the East.

This year (2012) Hana will celebrate her 102nd birthday.