upheimand its Annihilation
Book Pages 127 - 131
Translated by: Markus Ganser
KARL NEIDLINGER / DR . UDO BAYER
Leopold Bernheim, born September 27, 1897 in Laupheim, merchant, died in 1971 in the USA, OO Julie Bernheim, née Nördlinger, born July 12, 1898 in Laupheim, died in 1977 in the USA, wedding on June 26, 1927 – domicile: Kapellen Street 49.
– Fritz, (Fred Ludwig) born August 5, 1929 in Laupheim, died January 8, 2013
– Luise, born December 20, 1932 in Laupheim.
Grandfather: Joseph „Jossele“ Bernheim, Bronner Street 21, born September 22, 1861 in Laupheim, cattle trader, died August 31, 1942 in Theresienstadt concentration camp.
Unmarried cousin of Leopold: Theodor Bernheim, born March 23, 1884 in Laupheim, Kaufmann, domicile Rad Street 2; moved to Stuttgart on June 14, 1940; declared dead in 1951.
Family emigrated to Chicago, Illinois, USA, on October 25, 1939.
Announcement in the „Laupheimer Verkündiger“
Selma Bernheim (in the middle, photo showing her school class),
among the first girls who were allowed to attend the Laupheim
Latin and Junior High School.
Photo dated 1909 (source: Braun, Alt-Laupheimer Bilderbogen, page 191)
Fritz Bernheim and Paul Obernauer, 1937.
(source: Photograph collection of the museum)
"It is impossible to describe the feeling I had when I witnessed my father being driven out of his house, forced to walk to the synagogue and watch it being burned down to the ground. Nor can I express with words what I felt when my father, my uncle Benno Nördlinger and two other fellows had to walk to the train station, where they were loaded onto cattle trucks that took them to the concentration camp in Dachau… I can also remember the lack of support from the non-Jewish townspeople. Can you imagine looking out from a house window and watching how another human being is being slapped in the face, thrown to the floor, hit in the rips, and spat upon, and how you simply close the window shutters and later say: I have never seen this!
I have no desire to remember. The only task for you is to influence and educate those people, their children and grandchildren with this horror and to make sure that such things never happen again. Laupheim has no significance to me in the sense of being my home. I still have some friends there, I have emotional links to the house where I was born, which is still there, and of course to the cemetery. . . . Everthing that was good in my life happened in Chicago, everything bad happened in Laupheim . . .”
Joseph and Theodor Bernheim, however, did not manage to emigrate. Theodor,
who lived on Rad Street 3, most likely worked for the livestock trader
Bernhard Ullmann. Theodor moved to Stuttgart in 1940, probably not
voluntarily, after which his whereabouts were unknown. He was declared dead
by the district court in Hechingen on September 11, 1951. The determined
date of death was December 31, 1945. The 80 year old Joseph Bernheim was
deported to Theresienstadt on August 19, 1942 and died there soon after his
Fred Bernheim’s professional work in the United States as an architect also
brought about a symbolic and emblematic monument that allegorizes the
history of the Jewish community in Laupheim. Analogous to the fact that most
of the members of the community who survived the Shoah found a new home in
the United States, the Laupheim synagogue that was destroyed lives on today
in a modern form. The two towers had been a specific characteristic of the
Jewish house of worship in Laupheim, stemming from the close relationship
with the Christian environment with its baroque churches. The synagogue of
Northbrook near Chicago, designed by Fred Bernheim, also has two
modern-shaped towers, a clear reminiscence of the synagogue from his
childhood days. On the occasion of his visit in Laupheim on October 2000,
the Laupheim edition of the Südwestpresse printed an article about this. The
following passage shows a copy of the original article, including the
picture of the synagogue.
HISTORY/Architectural model for new building in US state of Illinnois
LAUPHEIM SYNAGOGUE LIVES ONArchitect Fred Bernheim witnessed the “Night of Broken Glass” as a child in Laupheim
The synagogue in Laupheim was destroyed during the “Night of Broken Glass” on November 9, 1938. But it lives on despite this: in memory, and as an architectural model for a new synagogue in the US state of Illinois, planned by Fred Bernheim.
Laupheim – At the end of October, architect Fred Bernheim from Chicago visited Laupheim. He is the nephew of Sophie Nördlinger who was the last Jewish owner of the "Rothen Ochsen" restaurant. She passed away in 1993. Bernheim brought the Jewish-Christian museum valuable documents from her heritage (we reported about this). Among these documents is a portrait drawing of Ferdinand Reitze, an autograph book from Sophie Nördlinger’s mother in which twenty-year-old Carl Lämmle left a note written in Chicago, and also a letter from Carl Lämmle that was written two weeks before his death and which marks his last written testimony. By the way, Sophie Nördlinger’s nephew can also be seen as a little boy, together with the family in front of the “Rothen Ochsen” on a photograph that is exhibited in the last room of the museum.
Fred Bernheim, 72 years old and still active as a joint partner in a renowned architectural office in Northbrook near Chicago, mentioned during his last visit in Laupheim that he had built a synagogue for a community in Northbrook in the past year. This building contains design elements from the Laupheim synagogue in varying forms, in memory of the sacred building which had been destroyed in 1938 and of his own childhood.
On the occasion of the hand-over of the synagogue during the High Holidays in September 1999, Bernheim stated: “It is a rare occasion indeed, that an adult is given the opportunity to physically shape a childhood memory.”
The rabbi of the community, Mr. Weissberg, alluded to the motivation of Bernheim’s conception during the inauguration, stating that the entire community of Northbrook was very happy about the concept and even more so, because in this way, the Laupheim “Shul” can continue to serve the Northbrook community even today.
(Picture: This synagogue in the US state of Illinois contains design elements from the Laupheim synagogue)
Taken from Ernst Schäll‘s photo album: Fred Bernheim visiting Laupheim in October 2000.
Fred and Nelida Bernheim in Ernst Schäll‘s restoration laboratory.