Location: Dorfstraße 104 – Wachbach
The cattle dealer family Strauß lived in the Hauptstraße (today Dorfstraße) in Wachbach. They owned a residential house with a stable there. In the 1930s, the Strauß family had one of five telephone lines in Wachbach. Rudolf Strauß, born Aug. 17, 1868 in Wachbach, married Betty Schönberger, born Jan. 6, 1875 in Ermreuth, in 1899. They had three children, Julius (5/27/1901), Rosa (8/3/1903) and Alfred (12/31/1905). Rudolf died in 1935 and was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Unterbalbach. His grave is preserved.
Betty had to sell (?) her house and land to the Wachbach community in 1941 for 4000 or 5000 Reichsmark (different information in the sources) in order to be able to make a living. The house was demolished in the 1950s. In the Jewish Museum Creglingen a small tea service is preserved, which Betty Strauß had given to a Wachbach family as a thank-you for small services, allegedly with the words “They wouldn’t be allowed to take anything with them anyway”.
Betty was deported from Stuttgart to Theresienstadt on Aug. 22, 1942, and from there to the Treblinka extermination camp on Sept. 26, 1942. The exact date of death is not known.
Difficult times certainly dawned for the Strauß family when the first restrictions were imposed on Jewish cattle dealers in 1933. After the Reichspogromnacht in 1938, the “Ordinance for the Elimination of Jews from Economic Life” sealed the end of their professional life in Germany.
Julius Strauß was a cattle trader like his father. It is said of him that he owned a motorcycle (Ardie 500) with which he sometimes took boys to Mergentheim. Julius fled to America at the end of 1938, where he married in 1943 and had two children. He died in 1985.
Daughter Rosa married Julius Schönberger in 1934 and moved with him to Erlangen. They also fled Germany with their son Erich in 1940 via England to the USA. According to reports by a granddaughter, Rosa implored her mother Betty to come with her, but to no avail. Rosa died in 1989.
Alfred went to work in Switzerland and Berlin as a young man, where he met his future wife Regina Kesten and married her in 1933. The two moved to Antwerp (Belgium) that same year, from where they moved on to France in 1940, the year Belgium was occupied by the Wehrmacht. In France their daughter Marian was born. Presumably they fled again from the German troops – France was occupied from June 22, 1940 – then to Lisbon and from there by ship to the United States. Portugal, because of its officially neutral status, was considered a safe haven where thousands waited for passage overseas. It was also a port of call and gathering place for persecuted intellectuals, writers and Jewish refugees from all over Europe. Alfred died in 1989.
Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg, Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart (https://www2.landesarchiv-bw.de): Wachbach, Jewish Family Book
Landesarchiv Baden-Württemberg, Hauptstaatsarchiv Stuttgart (https://www2.landesarchiv-bw.de): Surveys of individual Jewish fates in alphabetical order of place of residence: Wachbach.
Archiv Bad Mergentheim, Findbuch (www.stadtarchiv-bad-mergentheim.findbuch.net) , Ortsarchiv Wachbach: Wachbacher Einwohneradressbuch 1934/36, Einwohneradressbuch 1939
Alemannia Judica, working group for research into the history of Jews in southern Germany and neighboring areas. https://www.alemannia-judaica.de/wachbach_synagoge.htm
Arolsen Archive: https://collections.arolsen-archives.org/archive/5101196/?p=2&s=betty%20strauss&doc_id=5101196
Yad Vashem: Central database of the names of Holocaust victims https://yvng.yadvashem.org/index.html?language=de&s_id=&s_lastName=strauss&s_firstName=betty&s_place=wachbach&s_dateOfBirth=&cluster=true
Memorial Book, Victims of the Persecution of the Jews under National Socialist Tyranny www.bundesarchiv.de/gedenkbuch/de978622
Franconian News: Duly Found Place (Mar. 3, 2015), www.fnweb.de/orte/niederstetten_artikel,-niederstetten-creglingen-gebuehrenden-platz-gefunden-_arid,634311.html
Information from descendants of Betty Strauß’ children.
Interviews with contemporary witnesses from Wachbach
Date of laying: 09. May 2022 Sponsorship: Maria and Josef Bopp Author: BL