Hilde Freudenthaler Bodenheimer (1926 - 2015)
Hilde (Hindel) was born in Steinsfurt on June 21, 1926 as the daughter of the merchant Ludwig Freudenthaler (1889 – 1928) from Richen and his wife Hedwig née Ottenheimer (1893 – (1945)) from Heinsheim. The couple were married in Heidelberg on January 6, 1920. They had two children, Anna (1925 – 2010) and Hilde.
Hilde's father – Ludwig (Levi) Freudenthaler – is remembered on the WWI-Memorial in the synagogue. He had fought for Germany and lost a leg. His war wounds finally led to his early death: he died during a visit in Richen in 1928 and was buried there on Hilde's second birthday.
Her mother – Hedwig (Hindel) née Ottenheimer – was born in Heinsheim on February 19, 1893. After her husband's death she and her children moved back to her father's house in Heinsheim. From there she, her father Moses Ottenheimer and her daughter Anna were deported to the Gurs internment camp in October 1940. Moses Ottenheimer died there in 1942. Hedwig was deported to the extermination camp Auschwitz in August 1942 and later killed there.
Anna was able to escape from Gurs and later lived with her husband Léandre Weil in Paris.
The so called 3rd Reich
When the Jews from Baden were deported to Gurs in 1940, Hilde was in Stuttgart. She moved to Heilbronn and later to Bonfeld, where her guardian Julius Zion and her great aunt Julchen Ottenheimer lived. Julius, his family and other relatives of Hilde were deported to the Riga Ghetto in December 1940, where they were killed.
Hilde and her great-aunt Julchen Ottenheimer came into the KZ-like so called „Jewish Old People's Home“ in Eschenau.
All inhabitants of that home were brought by train to Theresienstadt concentration camp on August 22, 1942. Hilde's great aunt died on October 4, 1942.
Hilde was deported to the KZ Auschwitz in 1943. From there she was deployed to one of subcamps. She had to cut down trees. When the subcamp was evacuated Hilde was moved first to the KZ Groß-Rosen and later to the KZ Buchenwald. She was finally liberated from the KZ Bergen-Belsen on April 15, 1945.
Since she was ill with typhus she came on a Red Cross transport to Sweden. Already in 1946 she could emigrate with the help of her uncle Edward to the USA.
Hilde hardly ever talked about her sufferings.
In the USA
In New York Hilde earned her livings as a milliner.
Hilde married the merchant Fritz (Fred) Bodenheimer on November 1, 1947. Fritz was born on April 4, 1914 in Frankfurt, but his family came from Wiesloch and was a distant cousin of Hilde. He had left Germany in 1937.
The couple lived in Baltimore and had two children, Larry (*1950) and Heidi (*1956).
Hilde brought up the children and cared for Fred's elderly parents, who had escaped as well from the Nazis. Later she worked as a salesperson in Womens' Fashion in various boutiques, lastly for Saks Fifth Avenue. She was successful and well liked by her clients. She retired in 1996.
Hilde's health rapidly declined after her husband's death in 2000. In 2011 she had to move to a nursing home.
Hilde Freudenthaler Bodenheimer died in Baltimore on August 1, 2015, aged 89 years.
Stadtarchive Sinsheim, „Steinsfurt”, \1
Eulogy by Larry Bodenheimer
Synagoge Affaltrach, Exhibition
Martin Ulmer, Martin Ritter, "Das jüdische Zwangsaltersheim Eschenau und seine Bewohner",
Riksarkivet Stockholm, files for Hilde Freudenthaler