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The Jewish Community of Laupheim and its Annihilation

Book Pages 537 - 551 



Mail order company for undergarments, 42 Kapellenstrasse




Translated by: Minou Moschtaghi, Katharina Beier, Anna Krogmann, Hannah Kehl, Katharina Kühner
Supervisor: Dr. Robynne Flynn-Diez,

Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg,
Institut für Übersetzen und Dolmetschen Englischabteilung


Kalman, known as Karl, Wallach, born June 20, 1883 in Bledowa/Galicia, died July 13, 1942 in Auschwitz, OO Rosa Wallach, née Schneeweiß, born April 15, 1886 in Rzeszow, died May 24, 1942 in Laupheim.

- Charlotte Wallach, born August 27, 1908 in Munich, survived the Shoa in Hungary

- Leopold/Luitpold Wallach, born February 6, 1910 in Munich, 1939 immigration to the USA

- Saly Wallach, born November 16, 1912 in Munich, January 27, 1938 immigration to the USA

- Betty Wallach, born May 4, 1915 in Laupheim, died 1944 in KZ Stutthof.
Relative of Rosa Wallach: Louis Snow, born March 15, 1871, January 15, 1939 immigration to Philadelphia, USA.


First of all, it has to be mentioned that the history of the Wallach family and their fate during the Shoa are one of the most complex of the Jewish community in Laupheim. Two of the children and a relative managed to save their lives by emigrating, while one daughter could survive by hiding from the Nazis in Hungary. The youngest daughter and the father were deported and murdered. The mother escaped this fate due to a severe illness which eventually led to her death in Laupheim. More detailed information concerning the family will be provided in the course of this chapter.

Because of their origin, the Wallach couple had an extraordinary position amongst the Jewish families who had been rooted in Laupheim over many generations. They were both from Galicia, a Polish-speaking region which belonged to the multinational Austro-Hungarian Empire at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century. Kalman Wallach, usually called Karl, was born on June 20, 1883 in Bledowa and had been living in the German Empire since 1901. His wife Rosa Schneeweiß was born on April 15, 1886 in Rzeszow where the young couple also got married on October 9, 1907. Then they moved to Munich where their first daughter, Charlotte, was born on August 27, 1908. Kalman Wallach is listed in the city directory from 1910 with the address 11 Fraunhoferstrasse and in the city directory from 1913 with the address 23 Sommerstrasse.

On February 6, 1910, their only son Leopold was born in Munich. The Wallach family moved to Laupheim in 1913 after their daughter Saly, their third child, was born on November 16, 1912. It was impossible to find out how they had earned their living in Munich and why they moved to Laupheim. In fact, they had no relatives in Swabia. Betty, born on May 4, 1915, was the only one of the four siblings to be born in Laupheim. According to the Adress- und Geschäftshandbuch (the city’s address and business directory) from 1925 the family probably lived in rented accommodation at 54 Ulmer Strasse.1

Karl Wallach, father of four and only breadwinner of the family, marched into World War I on August 14, 1915, even though he did not have German citizenship at that time. This demonstrates how anxious he was to integrate into the German society and how patriotic he had already become. He served as an officer’s chef in the field artillery regiment 56 on the Front of Tyrol. After the defeat of World War I he was a prisoner of war in Italy and it is from here that he returned to Laupheim in December 1919.2

When applying for the family’s citizenship in Wurttemberg in the late 1920s, he declared that the family of his wife Rosa Wallach, née Schneeweiß, had originally lived in Austria before immigrating to Galicia. Owing to the territorial changes stipulated in the Treaty of Versailles, Galicia belonged to Poland. Therefore, the Wallach family had Polish citizenship. In the course of the naturalization process they were released from their former citizenship and obtained Wurttemberg citizenship in 1930.3


In Laupheim the family earned their living with a so-called mail order company for undergarments and hosiery which Rosa and Karl Wallach had first opened at 54 Ulmer Strasse. In 1925 they relocated their shop to Kapellenstrasse and continued running their business in the erster Stock (second floor) of the tavern Zum Kreuz. As the illustrated bill shows, they later ran their shop in their own house at 42 Kapellenstrasse. Their product range included fabrics but also finished goods such as shirts, trousers, socks, and stockings. Rosa Wallach worked in the shop as well. According to contemporary witnesses in Laupheim she spoke only broken German.4


In the 1920s the Wallach family owned one of the few cars in Laupheim, an Opel “Limousine” (sedan) of the 4-tax-horsepower selection, which was produced between 1924 and 1927. The car, as well as the purchase of their house at 42 Kapellenstrasse, were their business investments of the so-called Golden Twenties. In retrospect this demonstrates that their commercial as well as their financial situation must have been quite positive. Since October 1927 Karl Wallach also employed Alois Ruf from Schönebürg as his personal chauffeur. The car was used for business trips to Bavaria where they visited hotels and guest houses to obtain orders for equipping them with bed linens, table linens and towels.


(„Laupheimer Verkündiger“, January 17, 1925)


(Lauph. Verkündiger, January 17, 1925)   (city address and business directory 1925)



Karl Wallach (left) next to his Opel Laubfrosch (Archive Ernst Schäll)


Apart from that they had been supplying the people from surrounding villages with white goods. A former customer from Wain still praised their quality in the 1960s. For many inhabitants of Laupheim’s rural area this kind of shopping was typical and easy since a lot of them did not have a car and therefore were clearly limited in their mobility.


Nevertheless, the economic problems caused by the world economic crisis of 1929 also affected the region of Laupheim. Therefore, in December 1930 Karl Wallach had no other choice but to dismiss his chauffeur Alois Ruf who had already told his children about the antisemitism that Karl Wallach had had to face during their trips. 5


As already mentioned, Rosa and Karl Wallach each bought one half of the house at 42 Kapellenstrasse (since 1968 number 41) in June 1928 from Leo Mörsch, a foreman from Laupheim. At that time the property comprised the house and a courtyard of 212 square meters (2,282 ft²) as well as a vegetable garden of 40 square meters (430 ft²). However, the house itself is much older and was probably built around 1861. The purchase price amounted to 14,000 German gold mark which they paid by raising different mortgages as is still common today. The Gewerbebank Laupheim, today’s Volksbank Laupheim, and the Israelite parish in Laupheim granted them a mortgage of 6,000 German gold mark.6


42/43 Kapellenstrasse back then … 43 Kapellenstrasse today


The four children of the Wallach family, Charlotte, Leopold, Saly, and Betty, had a carefree childhood in the Jewish community of Laupheim and all attended the Jewish Volksschule (basic primary school and secondary school) on Radstrasse and later changed to the local Real- und Lateinschule (secondary modern school and Latin school) where they also had Christian classmates. Obviously, education played a crucial role for the Wallachs. In contrast to Leopold and Betty, not much is known about Charlotte’s and Saly’s further lives.



The only thing we were able to find out about the oldest daughter Charlotte was that she worked as a clerk at the company Steiger in Burgrieden at the end of the 1920s. The picture, which was probably taken during that time, shows her as an elegant young woman standing in front of the old Jewish houses on the Judenberg hill in Laupheim. Characteristic for these houses were the annexes which were added to provide more living space for the growing families.


According to his classmate Josef Braun (1909-2004), Leopold Wallach was a “highly talented pupil” who completed the Mittlere Reife (intermediate school certificate) in 1926 as “the best of the class” at the Latein- und Realschule in Laupheim. Afterwards he attended the Oberrealschule in Ulm where he passed the Reifeprüfung (high school leaving examination) as stated in the newspaper Laupheimer Verkündiger from March 2, 1929. Leopold Wallach was known for wearing round glasses all his life which always made it easy to recognize him, especially in photos. It should also be mentioned that he obtained the academic title Dr. phil (PhD) on November 12, 1932 with his studies Studien zur Chronik Bertholds von Zwiefalten at the Faculty of History at the University of Tübingen. He completed his studies at the Institute for Jewish Studies in Berlin with his thesis Leopold Zunz und die Grundlegung der Wissenschaft des Judentums: Über den Begriff einer jüdischen Wissenschaft, which he finished in 1936 and published in 1938. In the 1950s he continued working on both theses, as he specialized in Jewish studies throughout his entire career.

“Thereupon I (Leopold Wallach - author’s note) enrolled in two fields of study: a) I studied History and Philosophy at the universities of Berlin and Tübingen and b) at the same time I studied Jewish Philosophy at the Institute for Jewish Studies in Berlin, Artilleriestrasse. In November 1932, I obtained the title Dr. phil (PhD) in History at the University of Tübingen and a few years later the Rabbinic Diploma at the mentioned university.” 7

1931: Leopold Wallach, right

(Hyneck, Mrs. Zorn)



Saly successfully finished the final exam at the Latein- und Realschule in Laupheim in March 1929 and after that she apparently started working in a commercial profession. According to the Oberamt of Wurttemberg she worked as a clerk in a company based in Ulm. The city’s directory of Jewish inhabitants from the year 1933 states that Saly was unmarried at that time and lived at 9 Marktplatz in Ulm.

Saly Kenig, née Wallach, is registered in the directory of emigrated Jewish citizens of Ulm. In accordance with her brother’s statement, she managed to immigrate to the USA in 1938 and to have an affidavit issued for her brother Luitpold so that he could leave the country as well, whereas their parents and their younger sister Betty were less fortunate. 8 



Betty is the family’s youngest child and the only one born in Laupheim. She probably went to the Jewish Volksschule on Radstrasse from 1922 to 1926. During her schooldays, i.e. from 1924 onwards, the school was continued as a private institution by the teacher Wilhelm Kahn and under the direction of Wurttemberg’s Israelite senior assistant professor. The number of pupils had become too few for the school to be a publicly financed denominational school, which also explains how it was possible to combine four different grades into a single one.

After having attended the Volksschule she changed to the Realschule (junior high school) where Latin classes were offered. A Schulbericht über den Stand des Religionsunterrichts im Schuljahr 1926/27 (school report on the status of religious education in 1926/27) by the previously mentioned teacher Kahn (filed away in the state archives of Sigmaringen) points out that the Israelite religious education was taught in combined classes from grade 1 to 3 and 4 to 6. In total six pupils, three boys and three girls, from the first to the third grade of the mentioned school participated in the Israelite religious education. Aside from Betty Wallach, a girl named Gretel Bergmann, who was one year older and in the third grade, was also part of this group. Not only were they taught religious and biblical history but also Hebrew, i.e. reading and writing as well as translating prayers. The final grade of this class was part of the report card.



Betty Wallach (second/front left) and her class mates of the Realschule in front of the school building on Rabenstrasse, fall 1927.

(Photo: Bilderkammer, museum)


This picture from 1928 shows the harmonica orchestra of the Realschule. Betty, smiling mischievously, is standing next to Mr. Braun, the Studienassessor (antiquated term for an official teacher who has not completed the second state exam). The photograph proves how normal collaboration between Christian and Israelite children was at that time.  

During the academic year 1928/29, Betty was the only Israelite child in the third grade, which consisted of 16 pupils altogether. She was very talented in languages and got her best grades in German and French. Mrs. Braun remembered Betty as “an especially kind girl” who helped her classmates learning French. According to the regular education scheme of 5 to 6 years, Betty must have finished the Realschule in 1930/31 or 1931/32. At that time, it was no longer possible for her to complete further professional training. 9


The photograph shows the entire Wallach family in the 1920s. Rosa and Karl are sitting and Betty is standing next to them. In the background from left to right: Saly, Charlotte, Louis, and Leopold Wallach. Rosa Wallach’s relative, Louis Snow, probably lived together with them for some time until he immigrated to Philadelphia/USA in January 1935.

The time after 1933

According to a decree issued by the Ministry of the Interior on August 21, 1933 the proceedings for withdrawing unwelcomed naturalizations that occurred between November 9, 1918 and January 30, 1933 had already begun in November 1933. In Laupheim this proceeding was conducted against both Karl Wallach and his family and against the Czech, Artur Grab, and his family. The administrative result is no longer on file, though the fate of both affected families is well known.

In 1936, after obtaining the Rabbinic Diploma, Leopold Wallach was appointed the last district rabbi of Göppingen by the Israelite Oberrat in Stuttgart. He held this position from 1937 to 1939. On November 9/10, 1938, during the so-called Reichskristallnacht, he was detained and deported to the concentration camp in Dachau. The same happened to his father Karl Wallach in Laupheim. Like 16 other Jewish men, he was arrested by the SA in Laupheim and brought to the burning synagogue where they were harassed and afterwards held in prison overnight before they were eventually deported to the Dachau concentration camp. It is very likely that Karl Wallach met his son Rabbi Leopold Wallach there. On December 17, 1938 Karl Wallach, as well as Max Obernauer and Siegfried Kurz, were finally released from Dachau on the condition that they emigrate as soon as possible.

Leopold’s sister, Saly, helped him to immigrate to the USA in August 1939. Initially he worked as a transport worker who helped to unload ships and then from 1940 to 1948 he was employed as a rabbi in different American parishes.10

Karl Wallach demonstrably endeavored to collect all the documents needed for immigration, e.g. a tax clearance certificate from the tax authority in Laupheim. However, that became more difficult after the Reichsprogromnacht in November 1938. As stated in the following instructions, the Wallach’s business was one of the last to be dissolved on December 22, 1938 due to the Aryanization of the German economy:

From the Chamber of Industry and Commerce Ulm to the Landrat (head of the district authority) in Biberach on December 8, 1938:

“I. In reference to the order concerning the exclusion of Jews from the German economy of November 23, 1938 and in reference to the express letter no. III Jd 9416/38 of November 26, 1938 issued by the Reichsminister of Economics.
In compliance with the above-mentioned, the dissolution and liquidation of Jewish retail businesses, mail order companies, and order offices shall be carried out as soon as possible. …
II.  In the district of Biberach the following businesses are affected:
 2. Kalman Wallach, textiles business in Laupheim, 42 Kapellenstrasse. The business is to be dissolved. It is not considered necessary for securing the population’s supply in this area.
The position of expert is planned to be taken on by Max Wetzel, owner of the company Richard Wetzel in Laupheim.” 11


The sale of their house on July 25, 1939 to the master butcher Hatzelmann and his wife for 14,000 Reichsmark can surely be seen in connection with this decree. The purchase price was offset against their mortgage debt, which, strictly speaking, makes the sale a foreclosure. The anti-Semitic campaigns since 1933, starting with the boycott of Jewish businesses and ending with the complete exclusion of Jews from the German economy, had taken away the Wallach’s financial livelihood. The purchase agreement for their home granted them the right to keep using the two rear rooms and the kitchen on the second floor during the following three months for a monthly rent of 20 Reichsmark. In case they had not left the country by then or had not found another suitable accommodation, the contracting partners would have discussed prolonging the tenancy after that period. Despite their efforts, Betty, Rosa, and Karl Wallach did not manage to emigrate. In October 1941, the city of Laupheim forced the Wallach couple to leave their home and resettled them to the shacks at 3 Wendelinsgrube.

The years from 1932 until 1941 reflect Betty Wallach’s unsteady and eventful path of life, which led her back to Upper Swabia time and time again from abroad and other German places. The repressive Nazi regime documented her migration precisely. Accordingly, Betty Wallach stayed in Laupheim in 1934. In December 1934 she left for Italy and returned in November 1935.

From April to October 1937 Betty lived in Stuttgart before she returned to her parents in Laupheim.

On July 20, 1939 the tax office in Laupheim reported to the Gestapo in Stuttgart that she had applied for a tax clearance certificate to arrange for departure to New York, USA, in which Betty and her parents weren’t going to be successful. In April 1940, Betty moved to Herrlingen in order to work there as a domestic servant. Already in June 1940 she returned to Laupheim.

In the same year in September, the Gestapo gave her the permission to move to 54 Beyerstrasse in Ulm. According to Betty’s request from July 23, 1940 she should become the domestic servant and nurse of an 85 year old Jewish woman named Fanny “Sara” Schlesinger from Ulm, who was born on July 31, 1855. She had been diagnosed with gastric and colon cancer and therefore needed somebody to take care of her. The mayor of Ulm informed the Kreisleitung of the NSDAP (regional authority of the Nazi Party) that “If we refuse the request, there is a risk that either an older person of German blood will have to take care of the old Schlesinger or that she will have to be hospitalized.” Finally, the request was approved. On the basis of current knowledge, it seems as if Ulm was Betty’s last place of work and residence before her deportation. On August 22, 1942, the 87-year-old Fanny Schlesinger was also deported from Ulm to Theresienstadt on the third transport.12

Resi Weglein, a Jewish woman from Ulm who survived the Holocaust, remembered that the 26 year old Betty Wallach was among the Jewish people who were called together at the Schwörhaus in Ulm on November 28, 1941. A bus transported them and their luggage first to the Killesberg in Stuttgart where Jews from all over Wurttemberg were held in a camp. In addition to the 20 Jews from Ulm, there were two more from the nursing home Heggbach and 19 Jews from Laupheim, among which her parents, Rosa and Karl Wallach, were originally supposed to be. The Gestapo herded them together in the hall “Ehrenhalle des Reichsnährstandes“, where they had to sleep on mattresses arranged in 8 rows with 125 people each. During the night of November 30, trucks brought them to the main station where they were crammed in unheated waggons. In the early morning, the train left the northern railway station in Stuttgart with 1,013 Jews from Wurttemberg. The Gestapo guarded the train during the ride eastwards which lasted three days and nights. On December 4, 1941, it arrived at the railway station Skirotawa in Riga. SS members brought the Jewish deportees to the Jungfernhof camp, which was located 2 to 3 kilometres (about 1.5 miles) away from the railway station. A smaller number of people were brought to the Riga Ghetto. Being a young and healthy woman, Betty Wallach withstood the inhumane living conditions for years. She also escaped the countless firing squads. On August 6, 1943 Betty and other female prisoners of the Reichsjudenghetto Riga were probably handed over to the KZ Stutthof, which is located 35 kilometres away from Gdańsk. The camps of the Baltic States were evacuated by the advancing Red Army. “In spring 1944, a gas chamber was built (in the KZ Stutthof, author’s note), which was used to delouse clothes and from that summer on also to gas people. However, the gas chamber in Stutthof was small and did not have sufficient capacity. Therefore, the Jewish people were gassed in hermetically sealed waggons of the local railway leading to the camp.”

Already in a letter dated December 23, 1946 Lotte Borek-Wallach from Vienna informed Katharina Harder in Laupheim about the for her inconceivable news that “my little sister Betty was deported to Riga and then gassed in Stutthof”. Her brother Luitpold Wallach confirmed this in an essay from 1982.13 

After their forced relocation in October 1941 to the shack at 3 Wendelinsgrube, Karl and Rosa Wallach were already listed for the first deportation of Jews from Biberach to Riga with the transport numbers 803 and 804. Due to Rosa’s severe illness, the Nazis allowed her and her husband to stay in the shack at 3 Wendelinsgrube. It was the place where Rosa Wallach passed away half a year later on May 24, 1942 without having received any medical attention. She was buried in the Jewish graveyard in Laupheim (grave S30/1).

For Karl Wallach the postponement meant being able to care for his ill wife and to say goodbye to her. However, there was no escape, neither for him nor for the other remaining Jews in Laupheim. Karl Wallach, together with Arthur and Luise Grab from Laupheim, and 10 other inhabitants of the nursing home Heggbach were brought to the train station Westbahnhof in Stuttgart on July 10, 1942 from where they were deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp on July 13, 1942. According to a statement of Wurttemberg’s Israelite religious community from February 18, 1948, the train has come to be regarded as lost after its departure from Chemnitz. 14


After 1945

Leopold Wallach, who now called himself Luitpold, had to write a new thesis since his German PhD was not accepted. Afterwards, he started his career as a Professor of the Classics in the Department of Classics at Illinois State University in Urbana. Now being a Medieval Latin philologist and historian, he published studies on the Carolingian history and literature among other things. In 1957 Luitpold Wallach published a new and improved version of “Die Chronik des Berthold von Zwiefalten” about whom he wrote his thesis in 1932. Two years later he defended the subject of his thesis in the publication “Liberty and letters – The thoughts of Leopold Zuns” at the Institute for Jewish Studies in Berlin.



Karl Wallach.                                  Rosa Wallach.


On his sixty fifth birthday in 1975, international colleagues published the “Monographie zur Geschichte des Mittelalters” in Stuttgart and dedicated it to Leopold Wallach to show their respect for the scholar.

After the war, Luitpold Wallach kept on travelling around Europe and also Germany for research purposes. Some of his journeys repeatedly led him to Laupheim where he visited familiar and trustworthy people such as the Halder family and Josef Braun with whom he stayed in contact. Luitpold Wallach married late and did not have any children.

Both of his sisters lived in the USA. It remains unknown whether they have ever returned to Germany. According to Charlotte herself and her only brother, she had survived the time of the Nazi regime in Hungary without having been discovered but she had also suffered tremendously. Charlotte spent the first year after the war in Vienna. One of her letters from Vienna to the Halder family was signed with Lotte Borek-Wallach. In 1947 she immigrated to the USA, just like her brother Luitpold and her sister Saly, who had survived as well. However, according to her brother, she never fully recovered. Unfortunately, no further information about Saly’s life in the States could be gathered.


Notes about Wallach:

1) City Clerk’s Office Laupheim, family register V, p. 298; letter from the city archive Munich of January 9, 2003; Adress- u. Geschäftshandbuch Laupheim, 1925, p. 16.

2) Weil, Jonas: Verzeichnis von Kriegsteilnehmern der israelitischen Gemeinde Laupheim (register of combatants of the Israelite community in Laupheim), Laupheim 1919, p. 78.

3) City archive Laupheim FL 1041.

4) “Laupheimer Verkündiger”, December 21, 1923 and January 17, 1925. Museum for the history of Christians and Jews, Castle Grosslaupheim.

5) Conversation with Alois Ruf’s son, Walter Ruf, Schönebürg on August 9, 2003.

6) Grundbuchamt (land registration office) of the city of Laupheim no. 359 a.

7) Lebenszeichen. Juden aus Württemberg nach 1933 (Signs of Life. Jews from Wuerttemberg). Published by Walter Strauss. Gerlingen 1982, p. 329.

8) Keil, Heinz: Documentary about the persecution of Jewish citizens from Ulm/Danube, 1961.

9) City archive Sigmaringen, Wü 42; Emmerich, Rolf: BETH HASETER, “das Haus des Buches“ – Die jüdische Schule in Laupheim. From: Schwäbische Heimat 2000/1, p. 76; conversation with Josef Braun and his wife in August 2004.

10) Cf. note 7, municipal archive Biberach 034/Az 7613/6.

11) Municipal archive Biberach 034/Az 7613/6.

12) ibidem; city archive Ludwigsburg PL 32.

13) Weglein, Resi: Als Krankenschwester im KZ Theresienstadt, Stuttgart 1990, p. 15 et seqq. Schmidt, Hartmut: Zwischen Riga und Locarno. Berlin, 2001, p. 130 et seqq.

14) Municipal archive Biberach: 034/Az 6104 3-7.

15) Bast Karl (Ed.): Monographien zur Geschichte des Mittelalters. Beiträge Luitpold Wallach gewidmet. Stuttgart 1975.



Photo credits:

Museum for the history of Christians and Jews, Castle Grosslaupheim. Archive Ernst Schäll, Laupheim.

Archive Michael Schick, Laupheim. Municipal Archive Biberach 036/F7613/4.

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