Seeking information about Fritz Bielschowsky

May 19, 2019 by J-Wire News Service
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The Jewish Community Council of Western Australia’s Director of Public Affairs Steve Lieblich is seeking information about a Holocaust survivor, Fritz Bielschowsky (Fred Biel), who formerly owned a shoe factory in Erfurt Germany in partnership with Heinrich Cerf and Felix Simon, came to Sydney in 1938-9 with his wife Ilse, and died in 1985.

Steve Lieblich

Felix Simon also emigrated to Australia and may have been in contact with Fred. If you have any information about these people, please contact Thomas Walther (<>)

My interest in this matter is to assist Thomas Walther, a prominent German former judge and lawyer who has devoted a large part of his career bringing former Nazis and their accomplices to justice. I assisted him to identify prospective Australian witnesses for his trials and approached some survivors in Melbourne personally to try to persuade them to participate. He is also very well known to Efraim Zuroff in Jerusalem.

Thomas was instrumental in changing the German legal system to enable family members of victims to testify. See He is about to receive (in July) an Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for his work (see the attached pdf).

Thomas is now seeking to obtain recognition for his father’s efforts to assist Jews escape the Nazis during the war. My current understanding of the story is as follows:

*   Fritz Bielschowsky was born 29 May 1892 in Erfurt, Germany to parents Emil Bielschowsky & Emilie, nee Jaraczewski.
*   In 1885 Frizt’s father Emil Bielschowsky (1853-1933) and a partner, Max Cerf (1856-1913) founded a factory for orthopaedic shoes in Erfurt.
*   In 1922 the sons of the two founders Fritz Bielschowsky and Heinrich (Heinz) Cerf (born 29.12.1889) took over the shoe-factory in Magdeburger Street 56/57. Felix Simon became a third partner after the 1929 depression.
*   During Kristallnacht, 9-10 November 1938 Heinrich Cerf and Felix Simon were arrested by the Gestapo and sent to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp.
*   Soon after Kristallnacht, Thomas’s father, Rudolph Walther assisted Fritz & Ilse Bielschowsky and another couple with the family name: Holland, by hiding them in his property in Erfurt, Germany, while they planned to emigrate. Fritz was hidden in a small garden-house in Ludendorffstrasse 41 in Erfurt. Later, the name of the street became Melchendorfer Strasse 2.
*   Fritz & Ilse emigrated to Sydney where he was known as Fred Biel. He had no children.
*   The Hollands emigrated to Paraguay.
*   Heinrich Cerf was released from Buchenwald and emigrated to Montevideo/Uruguay.
*   Felix Simon was also released from Buchenwald and emigrated to Australia – just like Fritz & Ilse.
*   Fritz had a married sister Erna Wachtel, in Cincinnati/Ohio and another one in Montevideo/Uruguay. Two grandchildren of his sister in the US donated in 2009 to the USHMM.
*   Thomas was in contact with Fred Biel in Sydney in the early 1980s, but in 1985 he received the message that Fred and his wife had died.
*   Thomas inherited a Parker fountain pen from his father, Rudolph, which was a gift from the Hollands, in 1949. (He used this pen to sign verdicts he made as a judge in Germany.)
*   Thomas’s father taught him that whenever you encounter an injustice, you must act to correct it. He said that “one must act, not just talk” … Thomas’s many years of dedicated attempts to bring perpetrators of the Shoah to justice were inspired by his father’s deeds. Thomas is married to a daughter of a survivor from Auschwitz.


Fritz Bielschowsky

Fritz Bielschowsky is born 29.05.1892 in Erfurt and died 1985 in Sydney/Australia 

  1. Marriage Elly Bielschowsky, nee Lamm (born 23.11.1895 Erfurt) divorced
  2. Marriage Ilse (Ilsa) Bielschowsky, nee Wolff (born 11.1. (or 1.11.)1903 in Hochheim,

she was not Jewish; marriage was on March 12, 1935.

Addresses before emigration:

Erfurt, Reichartstr. 10 until 26.1.1920,

Erfurt, Gotthardtstr. 30 until 10.9.1927,

Erfurt, Augustapark 8 until 7.10.1938.

In the „population register” is noted for October 10, 1938 that Fritz Bielschowsky moved to Berlin-Wilmersdorf. But we know that he was in hiding at my father’s place because of the protection during November 9./10. 1938 to follow the plans for emigration.

Parentsof Fritz Bielschowsky:

Emil Bielschowsky u. Emilie, nee Jaraczewski;

Fritz Bielschowsky was the owner of the Shoe-Factory in 1938.

1938 “official” registered in the “population register” for moving from Erfurt to Berlin-Wilmersdorf [but he was in hiding at my father’s place in Erfurt]

1938 Emigration to Sydney/Australia;

Remark in the „population register” of 1938 for Fritz Bielschowsky:

„Dissident“ ,„jede Veränderung der Gestapo melden

[“Dissident”, all changing has to be reported to the Gestapo]

History of the „Shoe-Factory”:

1885 Emil Bielschowsky (1853-1933) und Max Cerf (1856-1913) founded in Erfurt a factory for orthopaedic shoes. The produced the brand “Dr. Diehl Gesundheitsschuhe“.

The company Cerf & Bielschowsky was very successful on the shoe market for more than 50 years.

1922 the sons of the two founder FRITZ BIELSCHOWSKY and HEINRICH (Heinz) CERF (born 29.12.1889) undertook the shoe-factory in the Magdeburger Street 56/57. During the “Depression” in the 1920ththe shoe-factory with about 250 employees got economic problems because of financial liquidity. By assistance of the Bank-House-Stuercke the problems with the creditors were solved successfully and FELIX SIMON became a third partner for the shoe-factory.

Since end of the year 1937 the three owners decided to sell the factory and to emigrate. Before WWI there existed in Erfurt more than 20 shoe factories with about 4000 employees. 1937 existed 6 factories with about 2000 employees.

On July 1st, 1938 the contract for Arianization was signed for a little money. The three Jewish families now worked on their emigration.

During the Pogromnight from November 9./10, 1938 HEINRICH CERF and FELIX SIMON were arrested by the Gestapo and sent to the Concentration Camp Buchenwald.

FRITZ BIELSCHOWSKY asked my father for a hiding place, before the Gestapo arrived.

He was hidden in a little garden-house on the area of the Construction-firm in Ludendorffstrasse 41 in Erfurt. Later on the name of the street was Melchendorfer Strasse 2.

Heinrich Cerf– after released from Buchenwald – emigrated to Montevideo/Uruguay

Felix Simon– after released from Buchenwald – emigrated to Australia – just like Fritz Bielschowsky.


Max Bielschowsky (geb. 20.4.1888 Erfurt)

Sister (1):

Erna Wachtel nee Bielschowsky, (born 4.5.1890 Erfurt)

Emigration May 1938 to Cincinnati/USA;

December 25, 1910 she marriedMax Wachtel(born 17.06.1884 in Erfurt)

Max Wachtel owned a factory in Erfurt, which manufactured heels for shoes.

1937, Max’s factory was confiscated.

He was able to arrange for U.S. immigration visas with sponsorship from family relatives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

May 14, 1938Max, Erna, Ursula, and Hans Wachtel sailed from Hamburg, Germany to New York on the “President Roosevelt” arriving on May 21, 1938.

The Wachtel-family settled in Cincinnati/USA.

Their children:

Daughter Ilse-Lotta (born 14.11.1911 Erfurt), Emigration to Norway (before 1938)

Daughter Ursula (born 1.1.1915 Erfurt)Emigration May 1938 to Cincinnati/USA

Son Hans Josef (born 27.11.1922 Erfurt) Emigration May 1938 to Cincinnati/USA

On September 3, 1943there is noted in the German “population register” for the Wachtel-Family: “Deprivation of citizenship”.

Ursula Wachtel married Herbert Wolf after (engagement was in December 1940).

Herbert Wolf is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Max Wolf, of Cheltenham, England.

USHMM Washington: Oral History| Accession Number: 1990.339.86 | RG Number: RG-50.161.0086 – Interview with Ursula Wolf, nee Wachtel, 1981 February 06

 Andrea K. Wolf

Thomas M. Wolf

are the children of Ursula and Herbert Wolf and made a donation in 2009 to the USHMM:

At the USHMMthere is the donation of Andrea K. Wolf and Thomas M. Wolf with documents about the life of their grandparents in Germany before emigration. 

Sister (2):

Margarethe Cerf, nee Bielschowsky(born 27.7.1899 Erfurt) She was married to ERNST CERF from the city of Halle. She moved from Erfurt to Halle on 03.02.1921.

Probably ERNST CERF was related to the Cerf-family from Erfurt who was in the shoe-factory business.

We know that the Erfurt Cerf-Family– together with the Bielschowsky-Family owner of the shoe-factory – emigrated to Montevideo/Uruguay. It is noted for November 21, 1938.

Later on, they moved to Santiago/Chile.

The facts are described on background of different research in German Archives by some historians who wrote about Jewish life in Erfurt and Thuringia.

Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany awarded to Thomas Walther Ceremony on Saturday, July 13, 2019, in Wangen im Allgäu

Dear Sir and Madam,

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the President of the Federal Republic of Germany, has decided to award

Thomas Walther

the Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.

From 1975 onward, Thomas Walther (born 1943) was a federal prosecutor and judge in the Bavarian judicial system before he was seconded in 2006 to the Central Office for the Investigation of National Socialist Crimes in Ludwigsburg.

He is known for his work in setting legal precedent in seeking punishment for former SS guards who worked at the extermination and concentration camps in Germany. In 2008, for example, he paved the way for John Demjanjuk to be prosecuted at the District Court in Munich. Since then, an array of accomplices – including Gröning in Lüneburg and Hanning in Detmold, for example – have been charged and convicted as accessories to the murders of tens of thousands of victims.

Now retired, Thomas Walther continues to seek late justice for the victims of National Socialism and their relatives as an attorney and civil action representative. After decades of silence in the judicial system, he is providing them with a voice in court. He has also restored a great deal of dignity to Germany through his work.


Thomas Walther

March 26, 2018

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