8th August 1888 to c. 1942
To begin with, the only information I could locate in family letters and documents about Jakob was as follows:
- Jacob was born in Beuthen, Oberschlesien; he was a resident of Beuthen, O. S.
The following birth certificate was very kindly sent to me by a local historian whom we have met at Gliwice archives on a couple of occasions. By chance / luck, he happened to have a copy of Jacob’s birth certificate among his files.
Beuthen, 8th August 1888
The midwife Johanna Bruck, resident in Beuthen, was present at the birth of Jakob to Paulina Gruschka, geb. Wollmann, wife of the tailor Milplan Gruschka, both resident in Beuthen, both Jewish, on the 5th August 1888
Signed by Officer at the Registrars
Top right addendum: According to the law, in Beuthen, O/s in January 1939 the name Israel, given to all Jewish males, was added to Jakob
(Translation by Helga Brown BA Dip. Ed. née Steinhardt)
Later, I found the Bundesarchiv details (no. 881278), shown below, but again I couldn’t get any further than this.
- Gruschka, Jakob
- Born on 6th August 1888 in Beuthen O. S. / – / Schlesien
Resident of Beuthen O. S
- Deportation destination: 1942, Auschwitz, extermination camp
I then looked more closely at what I had found here, and realised that when I had taken down the information from my father, I had spelled Jakob in its English form as ‘Jacob’; on realising my error, I soon uncovered the files held on the ITS database.
Following this, I now have the transport list on which Jakob’s name and address appear, as well as the Yad Vashem transport details.
Scans of records and documents found in the ITS have been uploaded here.
I don’t know whether I will obtain very much information beyond this about Jakob’s life, which is a shame. I didn’t hear anything about him from my father, so I have few clues. Perhaps some of his daughter Margot’s family in Israel will read this, somehow, and get in touch with more information – that would be wonderful. But I believe that English is not the family’s first language, so it also seems unlikely, sadly.
However, the records we found tell us one or two things – the fact that he was a kaufmann, or merchant, for example, and that his last known address before deportation was Ring 6, Beuthen (now Bytom), O/s.
We have a copy of Jakob’s handwriting, as his signature is on his daughter’s birth certificate, shown below.
I have the honour to respectfully to announce my engagement with Fraulein Rosa Bloch
This cutting confirms that Jakob had a store of some kind (warenhaus) and that he was a merchant (kaufmann).
The records also confirm that Rosa had died by the time Jakob was deported – he is listed as a widower.
There are quite a number of letters from Margot (Jakob’s daughter) to my father after the war – it is just possible that there will be some other information about Jakob in there, although I don’t hold out a lot of hope for that. I will update if anything else comes to light.
In the meantime, one of them confirms that Margot knew her father had died in a concentration camp – as she writes to Werner, her cousin, as follows
Letter, Margot to Werner, postwar, nd I am working on the affairs regarding daddy. He too perished in the concentration camp. I should receive 1,000 marks. The more I receive the better; I don’t want them to benefit.
This letter explains that as well as not wanting Germany to have the benefit of any extra money, the reparations she has received have enabled Margot to send her young daughter a ticket for a journey by ship to visit her in New York, from Israel, where Reha is living – we think with her father Heinz.