Having more or less finished the work on the University of Breslau faculty from 1930 to 1936 – the years during which Werner was a university student in the city of Wrocław (as it is now) – today I have turned to work on the page for my great-grandmother Hermine Bloch.
In many ways, this project began with Hermine and her husband Joseph Bloch. At the time, they were as far back as I could go with my family tree, and the only set of great-grandparents I could name on my father’s side of the family.
I remember my father showing me this photograph of his grandmother Hermine – and today I look with great fondness at her kind face that looks so much like my father’s during his later years.
Because she was a woman at a time when few records were kept about women, there is a limited amount of information to be gleaned from the kinds of sources I have been able to draw upon for the family’s men. However, we do have family letters from and about Hermine, so I have instead drawn on these, where possible, and hope to expand on this information, to some extent, with some more general observations on women’s lives during the period this site is mainly focussed on.
And, of course, throughout most of the years I am looking at here, Hermine lived with Werner and his family, so the general downturns in the family businesses and the resultant house moves, and the larger scale events that affected the other family members and their friends, would also have affected the life of my great-grandmother. The lives of the people she most loved – her children and grandchildren – were being torn apart, after all, so she would have known little peace of mind in her later years as her health declined sharply into the later 1930s.
In the end, almost completely blind, and having suffered two strokes, Hermine was placed on the deportation lists with her daughter Else, to be taken from what was left of their home in Gliwice, probably to Auschwitz, in 1942.
Although I have relatively little material to work with in this instance, I will do my best to provide as complete a picture as I can of my great-grandmother and her life. This page will not be finished for some time, however, because I need another research visit to Poland, and am unable to make the journey at the moment.
Great-grandmother Hermine, zichrona livrocho
If anyone reading this lives in or near Świbie (or Schwieben, as it was at the time), Hermine and Joseph Bloch might have run an inn there in their younger days.
It looks to be a fairly small town, and I’d love to know which inn this might have been – we’re looking at around the turn of the last century. I would be very happy to hear from anyone with information about this.
It is also possible that the family inn was at Tost, the town we think Joseph was living in when he died – and again, if anyone has any information on this, we’d be delighted to hear from you.