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The Jewish Community of Laupheim and its Annihilation

Book pages  289 - 299 



Shoe store, 15 Marktplatz


Translated by:
Beyza Arslan, Beatrice Leuschner, Franziska Mohr,
Sandra Wetzel, Luisa Van der Vorst
and Lena Haupt
Supervisor: Dr. Robynne, Flynn-Diez,
Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg,
Institut für Übersetzen und Dolmetschen Englischabteilung


Samuel Heumann, born June 25, 1847 in Laupheim, died April 28, 1928 in Laupheim ∞ Sofie, née Regensteiner, born September 9, 1853 in Aufhausen, died January 25, 1937 in Laupheim

-    [Flora Heumann, born June 4, 1876 in Laupheim]

-    [Rosa Heumann, born May 21, 1877 in Laupheim, died 1901, in Mulhouse, Alsace]

-    [Hermann Heumann, born September 20, 1878 in Laupheim, died October 14, 1878 in Laupheim]

-    Otto Heumann, born May 1, 1881

-    Hugo Heumann, born April 30, 1885 in Laupheim, died September 7, 1963 in New York, ∞ Jeanette, née Wertheimer, born February 9, 1897 in Kippenheim, died January 14, 1979 in New York

-    Ernst Emanuel Heumann, born July 17, 1923 in Laupheim

-    Sofie Heumann, born August 8, 1925 in Laupheim

Otto Heumann’s immigration as well as that of Hugo Heumann and family, December 1938


Sofie, née Regensteiner, and Samuel Heumann with their sons Hugo and Otto.


This photo from 1887 shows the family of Sofie and Samuel Heumann; however, incomplete, as their elder daughters Flora and Rosa are not shown. The people depicted are already representatives of the third and fourth generation of the Heumann family in Laupheim. A fifth generation is yet to be born in Laupheim in the 20th century, just to later be forced to leave their home.

First however, one should take a look a bit further back in time. Samuel’s parents, who were also cousins, were Emanuel (*1818, †1896) and Wilhelmine, née Nathan (*1822, †1896), Heumann. Emanuel Heumann started out as a tailor and later on founded a clothing factory in Laupheim, including a gentlemen’s outfitter on Mittelstraße. Store and factory were inherited by his second born son Heinrich Heumann, Samuel’s younger brother.


Samuel Heumann himself founded the shoe store Schuhhaus Heumann. For this purpose, he had a house built at 15 Marktplatz in Laupheim, which provided both living and business spaces. Until the Aryanization of the shoe store in 1938, the family ran a successful business offering the shoe brand Mercedes there, and at the same time the entire family lived together under one roof.

As of June 17, 1875, Samuel Heumann was married to Sofie Regensteiner from Aufhausen. Of the couple’s five children, the third died while still an infant. Their sons Otto and Hugo would play a significant role in business and the public life of Laupheim, but more on that later. Only little is known about their daughters Flora and Rosa. Flora got married in Würzburg in 1896, took on the surname Thannenwald, and had a daughter named Rosa. She was probably named after her mother’s late sister Rosa, who lived in Mulhouse in Alsace and died in 1901 at the young age of 24.



Rosa Heumann. Flora Thannenwald, née Heumann


The couple Samuel and Sofie Heumann celebrated their golden anniversary on June 17, 1925, with substantial public and private interest. The photo shows how happy they and their eldest daughter Flora Thannenwald, née Heumann, were during the festivities.



Article from the local newspaper Laupheimer Verkündiger, June 18, 1925:


Laupheimer Verkündiger“ vom 18. Juni 1925:

“Laupheim, June 17. Today, the couple Samuel Heumann and Sofie, née Regensteiner, was able to celebrate their golden anniversary in exceptional mental and physical health. Even though the couple had planned to celebrate their special day in a humble and familial setting, public authorities could not deny themselves the pleasure to express their heartfelt congratulations on this rare occasion as well. For this reason, a delegation arrived at the festively decorated house this morning. On behalf of the absent local administrator, the council scribe, Mr. Volz, passed on the president’s heartfelt congratulations. The couple is going to receive a commemorative certificate from the government upon completion. Volz also found affectionate words to express the best of wishes from the town’s community and its committee. The Headteacher, Mr. Kahn, then passed on the official congratulations of the Israelite religious community of Baden, along with the usual suitable present. Finally the provost S.L. Steiner officially conveyed the best wishes of the Israelite community and its administration to the former long-time church warden. Thanking Heumann, Steiner presented him with a thoughtful gift. The banker Otto Heumann expressed his parents’ and family’s gratitude for the dignified recognition, which was received by the celebrating couple with deep affection and heartfelt joy. Samuel Heumann is 78 and his wife 72 years of age. May they be blessed with many more peaceful and joyful golden years.”

The couple was granted three more years together, until Samuel Heumann died on April 28, 1928, at the age of 81 and was laid to rest in the Jewish cemetery, S 26/5. Sofie Heumann, née Regensteiner, formally succeeded him as owner of Schuhhaus Heumann.

Otto and Hugo Heumann

The couple’s two sons, Otto and Hugo Heumann, grew up in Laupheim and attended the Israelite Volksschule (elementary and lower secondary schools). The younger brother, Hugo Heumann, was one of the first students of the 1896 newly instated Realschulklasse (a six year secondary school class). At the same time, his older brother Otto probably attended the Lateinschule (secondary school leading to university entrance qualification), and presumably completed a banker’s apprenticeship, seeing as he later founded a bank in Laupheim under his name and went by the title of “banker”. Apart from his business there were also the Gewerbebank Laupheim eGmbH of Jewish owner Emil Einstein, a bank mainly for business clients, which was run by Richard Heumann, a cousin of Otto Heumann, as well as the Oberamtssparkasse Laupheim, a bank for the wider district of Laupheim. Thus, already in the 20s, the people of Laupheim were able to choose from a large variety of financial institutions and their services. The following announcements published by the Laupheimer Verkündiger between 1915 and 1933 provide some insight.

(„Laupheimer Verkündiger“ April 11, 1915)



(Laupheimer Verkündiger, January 5, 1923)        (Laupheimer Verkündiger, November 8, 1924)


Just like many other Jewish men, the two brothers fought patriotically on the German Empire’s side as infantry soldiers during World War I. Otto was stationed in Ulm as a member of the reserve division 247 between February 1, 1917 and December 15, 1918, whereas Hugo was already drafted on August 3, 1914. As an infantryman, he fought in the battles of St. Mihiel, the Somme and Verdun, where he survived being buried alive and afterwards was discharged from his military service on November 14, 1917. Seeing as Otto Heumann remained unmarried and therefore without any direct descendants, the traces of his life are far less well preserved as those of his younger brother Hugo. It is only known that he was a member of Chevra Kadisha, the Israelite association for medical care and burial services, as well as an active participant in Laupheim’s sports club Turnverein Laupheim.

A private photo, provided by his distant relative Gottfried Neuhaus, shows Otto Heumann at the age of 51 in 1932 while fishing in Hörenhausen. Curiously he was wearing a woolen three-piece suit with starched shirt collar and tie. He seems to have had a good sense of humor, proven by his entries in Jonas Weil’s book of Laupheim’s soldiers. There Otto put down “unmarried” as his marital status and, when asked about the number of his children, “None that I’m aware of!”.

Hugo Heumann, the younger brother, married Jeanette Wertheimer on September 6, 1922 in Kippenheim. They publicly announced the birth of their first child with an advertisement in the Laupheimer Verkündiger on July 18, 1923. The boy, born a day earlier, was named Ernst Emanuel Heumann, the middle name was chosen after his great grandfather. Sofie Heumann, born on August 8, 1925 in Laupheim, was named after her grandmother. Both children are of the fifth generation of the Heumann family in Laupheim and, along with their parents, were among those who had to flee the Nazi persecution. Hugo Heumann was a member of the Reich Federation of Jewish Front Soldiers, the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish faith, and Chevra Kadisha, where he took up the position of scribe from 1918 onwards. His wife Jenny was a long-time active member of the Turnverein. Hugo and Jenny Heumann, both worked in the family shoe store and presumably, given the age of Samuel and Sofie Heumann, ran it independently. The collage of several advertisements taken from the Laupheimer Verkündiger between 1923 and 1933 provides an insight into the broad selection of shoes for children, women and men that were offered at Schuhhaus Heumann. The store owned the exclusive distribution rights in the regional district of Laupheim for the shoe brand Mercedes. Founded in 1909, it is now, interestingly enough, undergoing a renaissance for which the renowned advertising agency Scholz&Friends, Hamburg, developed a concept starring soccer players of the Bundesliga team Werder Bremen. The sports club’s sponsor, the shoe company Hamm and RENO, is the new owner of the shoe brand Mercedes.


Four months after the death of the shoe store’s founder, its sales and store rooms were modernized according to the proposed plans of architect Rechemnacher at the beginning of September 1928. The Laupheimer Verkündiger reported on September 3, 1928:


“… These were lowered by one meter, which is why the staircase could be replaced by two convenient steps. The mineral plaster adds a pleasingly calm exterior on which the nameplate stands in clearly visible contrast. The window display, designed by local council member Philipp Rechtsteiner, is a true masterpiece of its kind. Table, racks and structures of nut wood are highly polished and represent modern, simple architecture. The veneer is proof of expert workmanship and the grain fillings of Caucasian Walnut enhance the overall effect. The warm wood tones match the store’s atmosphere very well. The small glass cases next to the main entrance have been integrated fittingly; their interior design of tinted brown oak wood forms a harmonious entity with the window display. The attention to detail paid in this renovation speaks for itself and could not have been done any better, even by companies from Great Britain. The lighting installation, fashioned by Mr. Mußotter, was put into operation for the first time on Saturday evening and was received with overwhelming enthusiasm. To make a long story short: The entire store is a treat for the eyes and, together with the renovated granary, a newly built terrace and the arcaded sidewalk, it will contribute to liven up the surroundings of the marketplace. All thanks to the building owner. The city of Laupheim will always be what their citizens make of it.

(Laupheimer Verkündiger, March 15,, 1928)


 (Laupheimer Verkündiger, November 29, 1924 and December 19, 1925)


Indeed, the Jewish population, especially business owners and founders, were part of Laupheim’s creative energy: Be it with their offered goods, as employers (Schuhhaus Heumann employed two female assistants), as co-initiators in founding schools, such as the Realschule, as members of the local council or the city beautification association or many more. Only a few years after the publication of this praising article, times changed in Germany: The National Socialists, more commonly known as Nazis, began to seize power and oppress the Jewish population of Germany, also in Laupheim.


The contrast between these two pictures of 1933 could not be any more obvious. On the one hand, the joyfully smiling couple Hugo and Jenny Heumann, on the other hand, the two SA-Members, who arrived to prevent the citizens of Laupheim from shopping at Schuhhaus Heumann on April 1, 1933, in accordance with the Nazi Boycott of Jewish Businesses.

The consequences of this and other repressive measures were quickly felt. Business was considerably slower, which is apparent from the decreased commercial tax that the shoe store had to pay in 1934: they suffered a drop of 340 Reichsmark (former currency of Germany), meaning 7% less than the year before.


An incident on September 8, 1935, demonstrates the hard conditions under which the Heumanns had to keep conducting their business in Laupheim. Witness reports can tell what happened – the then Nazi-major Ludwig Marxer stated the following:

“A large crowd had gathered in front of the Jewish Schuhhaus Heumann. It was an open Sunday, which meant that all the shops were open for business (which is not usual in Germany). Hörburger stopped the car, took out a camera and joined the crowd while I stayed inside. Within the next ten minutes four or five fellow Germans stepped out of the Jewish business and were, under jeering laughter, photographed by Hörburger. The odd shout of “Jewish Lackey” was heard. One of the last fellow Germans who had fallen victim to the camera tried to justify his un-german behavior by saying “I can visit any store I want, that’s nobody’s business.” Upon noticing that he was being photographed, he raised his hands defensively in front of his face and openly started swearing. This only contributed to increasing the crowd’s agitation, which then continued to make unflattering remarks such as “Jewish Lackey” and “Traitor” with even more frequency. If I remember correctly, someone tried to pull down the hands of the aforementioned fellow German so that his face could be photographed better. Afterwards Hörburger returned to the car and we drove off.”


This incident is noteworthy in more than one way: It proves that many locals, presumably loyal customers of Schuhhaus Heumann, continued buying there, without paying any attention to the long running anti-Jewish propaganda. On the other hand, the pressure put upon these courageous people by the Nazi regime becomes clear; in this case caused by the temporary leader of Ulm’s NSDAP group Hörburger taking photos and the denigrations shouted by the crowd. Withstanding this was surely not easy. According to the Nuremberg Laws of 1935, Jews were forbidden from hiring female housekeepers younger than 45 years. A request by Hugo Heumann on the continued employment of his help Katharine Pfisterer could only be approved by abovementioned major Marxer…


“…in consideration of Pfisterer’s social circumstances. A threat to the Aryan blood could not be ruled out completely, seeing as Heumann was only 50 years old and, before his wedding in 1922, infamous for immoral behavior; although no other unfavorable things have become known about him since then. Pfisterer, born January 27, 1902, has been working in Heumann’s household since February 15, 1928. It is true that Pfisterer has to support her mother and also that she has not yet succeeded in finding employment in a German household.”

Kathi, as she was called, was forced to leave the household, but could continue working in the shoe store and helped the Heumanns pack before their emigration. The growing repressions against the Jews that were also noticeable in Laupheim, apparently made Hugo Heumann and family, as well as his brother Otto, realize that it was time to leave the country. There were nearly two years between the death of their mother Sofie Heumann (83) on January 25, 1937, and their emigration to New York on December 6, 1938. In the emigration process they had to overcome countless difficulties, such as acquiring a certificate of citizenship, a renewal of their passports, a certificate of circumstantial urgency by the internal revenue office of Laupheim and affidavits for immigration to the USA. For this purpose, Hugo Heumann had to pay a Reich Flight Tax of 14,230 Reichsmark to the internal revenue office as a so called “security deposit”.



Sofie, Ernst, Jenny, and Hugo Heumann.


Hugo Heumann was finally forced to give up the shoe store Schuhhaus Heumann. The Aryanization was made public on November 10/11, 1938 by means of an article or rather an announcement in the Nationale Rundschau Laupheimer Kurier (a different local newspaper). Formally, the house was sold to the couple Benedikt and Josefine Graf in June 1939. They met the criteria set by the Nazi Regime, as they were able to verify their Aryan descent and moreover he was a member of the NSDAP. Since the Heumanns had already emigrated at that time, the contract negotiations were conducted by the Jewish lawyer Ernst Moos from Ulm, who had been hired by the brothers. According to a record which listed the items moved from Laupheim to New York, Hugo Heumann was allowed to take some furniture for the hallway, livingroom and bedroom, plus household and kitchen appliances, clothes, and books to the new world.






Standesamt Laupheim Familienregister Band V.

Gottfried Neuhaus: The Heumans of Laupheim. New York 2004. Stadtarchiv Laupheim.

Kreisarchiv Biberach.



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