VENTNOR – Two children of Holocaust survivors, including Lennard Hammerschlag of Atlantic City, traced their family roots in July when they traveled with two Stockton University faculty members to their parents’ hometowns in Germany, bringing with them a Torah from the Lauenau synagogue, which Adolf Hammerschlag took with him into emigration almost 80 years ago.
Lennard Hammerschlag and Gail Rosenthal, director of the Sara and Sam Schoffer Holocaust Resource Center at Stockton, will speak about the trip at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 3 at Shirat Hayam Synagogue, 700 N. Swarthmore Ave. as part of the summer Salute to Stockton Lecture Series.
In 1938 and 1939, the Moritz Family of Frankfurt am Main and the Hammerschlag family of the village of Lauenau were lucky enough to escape Nazi Germany. Both families settled in Southern Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, where after the war, Lutz Hammerschlag met Wally Moritz. They fell in love, got married in 1948 and had four children.
Two of the children, Mark of Johannesburg, South Africa, and Lennard of Atlantic City and Cape Town, South Africa returned to Germany in July with Rosenthal and Michael Hayse, associate professor of Historical Studies at Stockton.
In Frankfurt, the group visited the addresses where the Hammerschlags’ maternal grandparents, Ludwig and Rosie Moritz, lived with their daughter, Wally (born 1929). They also visited the memorial to Frankfurt Jews murdered in the Holocaust, which stands on the site of the synagogue to which the family belonged. It was destroyed by arson on Kristallnacht in November 1938.
In Lauenau, they were the invited guests of the town. The Hammerschlags’ ancestors were the first Jewish family to settle in the village, probably in the late 1700s. The prayer house for the small Jewish community of the town was in a room of their home, which was also the address of Adolf Hammerschlag’s textile business.
A highlight of the visit was the temporary return of the Torah scroll from the Lauenau synagogue. It was passed down to Hammerschlag’s children. In Lauenau, Pharmacist Thomas Berger has been instrumental in remembering the Jewish community that was destroyed and scattered by the Nazis.
The talk is free and open to the public.