Saturday, 31 March 2018

Mahler and the Schiff Family: a new link

I have already written about Mahler's friendship with the three Schiff sisters in Hamburg. []

Yesterday I received a fascinating email from my cousin Mary-Lu providing another aspect to the Mahler-Schiff friendship. She wrote:
Did I tell you the story about Mahler which I had from my mother? Apparently her mother, Lucile Newell Schiff, Samuele's (Carlo) third child, and second daughter, always said that when she wrote her autobiography she would tell that aged 4 she was carried up to bed on Gustav Mahler's shoulders. Maybe this was on one of the occasions when Gustav was spending Christmas with Henriette/Emma who would have been aunt to my granny: he could have gone to supper with Carlo or maybe they were staying with the ladies. I am so glad to have this other confirmation of the connection with Mahler. 
And I quickly replied:
Almost certainly Lucile met Mahler in 1892 when he came to London as a guest conductor from 26th May to 23rd July. The dates are perfect. Lucile was born 27th February 1887 so she would have been five. I am sure the three Schiff sisters in Hamburg would have given the introduction. Mahler was in Hamburg from 26th March 1891 till 1897, and his friendship with the Schiff sisters was strongest at the beginning of his sojourn.
There is another link. revealed in the autograph book of Rosie Schiff, daughter of Alfred Schiff. She must obviously have been on another visit to her three aunts in Hamburg, for her autograph book, which was sold at Sotheby's for £6,875 in 2012, has Mahler's signature with the inscription: 'Auf Wiedersehen in London!', Hamburg, 24th March 1892. He left Hamburg on 26th May 1892, in order to travel by ship to London. Perhaps it was Rosie, as much as her aunts, who, having met Mahler at their house in Hamburg, arranged to meet him in London at the home of her uncle Charles at 22, Lowndes Square. Rose Georgette Schiff was born in 1874, and was staying with her aunts in Hamburg in August 1891, as she signed the visitors book at Toni Petersen's on July 31st 1891. When Mahler signed her autograph book she would have been almost eighteen years old.

There are other sources of information about this visit, such as this interesting lecture on YouTube:

This is an interesting site about Gustav Mahler:

Lucile Schiff at the time of her meeting with Gustav Mahler. Painted by Julian Russell Storey in 1892.

Thursday, 15 March 2018

La Famille de Salomon Schiff

Le premier ancêtre dont nous connaissons le nom avec certitude est Samuel Schwalbach, de Hanau. Né à Hanau après la mort de son père, lui aussi Samuel, d'où son prénom, suivant la coutume ashkénaze, il a été marié à l'orpheline Augusta Fuld de Mannheim, qui sans doute lui a apporté une dot considérable. Après ce mariage il a changé son nom de famille de Schwalbach à Schiff, mais ce nom de famille n'a pas été complètement oublié ou par la famille ou par les autorités.
Ce couple a donné la vie à une fille et à quatre fils : l'aîné s'appellait Léopold, le deuxième Adolph, le troisième Salomon, et le cadet Samson, mon propre ancêtre. Léopold est devenu commerçant, Adolph était professeur de langues, Samson suivait la profession d'orfèvre, et Salomon, apparement le plus intelligent, est devenu médecin en 1832. Né à Mannheim en 1805, il s'est marié le 4 mai 1837 avec Caroline Zimmern, d'une bonne famille juive aussi de Mannheim. Leur fils Rudolph est né le 2 avril 1838. Quand il avait l'âge d'un an son père Salomon est mort, laissant ce fils plus une femme enceinte. Son petit frère Friedrich Salomon (prenant ainsi le prénom de son père décédé) est né le 16 juillet 1839, mais à ce moment nous en perdons toute trace.
Quant à Rudolph, il nous réapparaît à son mariage à la chrétienne Maria Anna Josepha Kunkel le 24 juillet 1866 à Feudenheim, une banlieue de Mannheim. Leurs quatres enfants étaient Mathilde, née à Francfort en 1867, Otto, né en 1869 lui aussi à Francfort, Élise, née à Bruchsal en 1871, et Franz Salomon, né à Mannheim en 1876.
On ne sait pas quand cette famille est arrivé à Paris, mais Rudolph a été reconnu par l'état comme 'officier de l'instruction publique' avant sa mort en 1918. De ses enfants, jusqu'à maintenant de Mathilde nous ne savons rien à part de son mariage à Baptiste Faugeras, d'Otto j'ai découvert sa vie parisienne de musicien et compositeur, d'Elise je viens de découvrir récemment quelques détails de sa vie, surtout concernant son mariage à l'avocat juif polonais Roman Flatau. Franz Salomon s'est marié à l'âge de 19 ans avec Julie Oppenheim, qui paraît d'être la fille d'une couple juive. Franz et Julie avaient trois filles: Octavine, Lucienne et Yvonne. Tous les trois mariées, Octavine a beaucoup de descendants en France, Lucienne a laissé de la famille en Chile et aux États Unies, et Yvonne elle aussi a laissé des descendants aux États Unies.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Elise Rosa Barbara Caroline Schiff

Elise was the daughter of Rudolph Schiff and his wife Maria Anna Josepha Kunkel. I believe she was born at Bruchsal in August 1871, the third of four children, her siblings being Mathilde, Otto the composer, and Franz Salomon, who has left many descendants. The records state she was born on August 16th, but her Polish residence permit gaves the date as August 19th.
She married Roman Flatau in Paris in the autumn of 1901. Roman was born in Plock, north west of Warsaw, and close to Poznan (then Posen in Prussia) on April 18th 1867. They presumably went to live in Poland after their marriage, but to what had been a German-speaking part of the country. 
Marriage Banns for Roman and Elise. Roman's mother was in fact Anna (Yiddish Hinde) Heyman. Keimann seems to be a misreading.

I have so far been unable to trace if they had any children, though I know that Roman was trained as a lawyer, and thus was given the title Doctor, and was buried in 1933 at Taverny in the north-west suburbs of Paris. He came from an illustrious family, his father being a wealthy banker and philanthropist. His brother Edward was a very famous neurologist, and his brother Julian was a renowned chemist and pharmacist, and professor at Poznan university. There was also a sister Helena. Edward remained Jewish throughout his life, Julian became a Protestant, and Roman and his wife are recorded as being Roman Catholic. Their father Ludwik remained Jewish though strongly supporting assimilation.

Residence record from Poznan for 1923 for Roman Jan Flatau, son of Ludwick and Anna, and Elzbieta Rosa née Schiff 

Bruchsal, her birthplace not far from Mannheim, was where Elise's great aunt Hange Maier lived, and where her great grandmother Augusta Schiff had gone to live on the death of her husband Samuel in 1827, until her own death in 1845.

I have not been able so far to trace any other information about Elise, such as details of her death.

"The documents are complemented by photo plates and glass plates from 1935-1958 and other materials, among which one deserves particular attention: anonymous denunciations for Aleksandra Flatau, and a 30-year contract for extending the validity of the tomb of her uncle Roman Flatau, issued to her by the mayor of Taverny in France in 1959."
This is an important and valuable essay in Polish about the Flatau family.

These documents appear to refer to Roman Flatau but need some analysis and explanation. Poznan was part of Germany until the end of the First World War, when it returned to Poland after over a hundred years. It is possible that this is a different Roman Flatau but it seems unlikely. Roman's birthplace was Plock, which was indeed part of Russia until it was returned to the new state of Poland after the First World War.


1894. Christina Freer had no connection with Roman: her occupation was 'wife'. She would have been travelling to join her husband in America.

USA naturalisation 1889, after ten years

Julian Flatau

Edward Flatau

As for Henryk Flatau, I can find little about him, but this may be a memorial to him:


and Janina Helena Flatau

daughter of Jakub Neumark

and Bronisława from d. Szyffer

Issued [?] by peasants
shot by the Nazis
from whom they hid
in Rabka on February 8, 1943.

In the mortgage book of Osada Anitra there are two men named Flatau - Julian and Henryk. We decided to follow them, finding the entire scientific dynasty among the representatives of whom both Julian and Henryk appear. Are these the same Flatau, who were immortalized in the mortgage registers of Letniska Milanówek, unfortunately it remains a puzzle for now, although circumstantial evidence indicates that it may be about them.
Professor of chemistry Julian Flatau was born in 1870 in Płock or Warsaw. He gained a very careful education, he studied, among others in Berlin, Vienna and Zurich. After graduation he worked in Bern and the Sorbonne in Paris, and then in Warsaw, where he collaborated with the paint factory. In 1914 he left Warsaw, going to Moscow. After World War I, he moves to Bydgoszcz, and then to Poznań, where he is the head of the Department of Medical Technology at the University of Poznań. He has not returned to Warsaw. Can it be Julian, whom we are looking for? Possibly. During his stay in Warsaw, he was able to purchase a property in nearby Letnicka Milanówek.  
However, we decided to look for Mr. Flatau more connected with Warsaw. Here, after a short search, it was possible to record success. A resident of Warsaw was a famous physician, one of the founders of the foundations of modern neurology Edward Flatau. He was born in 1868 in Płock, where his family was one of the most significant for the city (the palace remained after them, currently serving as a wedding palace). Edward Flatou was educated in Berlin and Moscow. At just 26 years old, he published a brain atlas that gained international recognition. Sigmund Freud himself was to say that the photos contained in the atlas are a great educational material. In 1899 Edward Flatau rejected the proposal to take the neurology department in Buenos Aires and lived in Warsaw, dealing with, among others, spinal cord research and discovery of the Flatau law.
Considering that there were many scientists in the then Letniska Milanówek, it can not be ruled out that Edward Flatau also visited here, visiting another representative of the Flatau family, Henryk, who owned a villa here. Only who was Henry? Here the search turned out to be much more difficult than in the case of Edward. The mystery was only explained by the article by Stanisława Mysłakowska "Borowin during the occupation", placed in the Podkowia Cultural Warehouse. It is written there that during the Second World War a widow of dr. Hid in Podkowa Leśna. Edward Flatau, whose daughter left the hideout in Podkowa to join Uncle Henryk, who lives in Rabka. So Henry Flatau was the brother of Edward Flatau. For a deeper search it turned out that he was also a doctor, although much less known than his famous brother.
Were the flatau men in question really connected to the pre-war Milanówek? In the picture placed on Wikipedia in the biography of Joanna Flatau, daughter of Edward Flatau, there is a picture of her childhood signed "presumably in Konstancin". Maybe this is not Konstancin at all? Or maybe it is in the pre-war Milanówek that one should look for completely different men of Flatau.    

This may refer to Henryk and Helena, who apparently qualified as a doctor:
Warsaw telephone Directory 1939/40

'Kurjer', 1908, Lublin
"The national parcel bank for the Kingdom of Poland. We have before us the act of the national parcel bank established in Warsaw for the Kingdom of Poland, headed by two thoroughly acquainted with this activity, the citizens of Płock land, pp. Henryk Flatau and Antoni? Kowalewski. The bank is assumed to be a parent company with broad financial support. It aims, among other things, to defend against buying land in the Kingdom of Poland by the Germans and to facilitate the transfer of landed estates into small hands."

Among medical science: Karl Goldstein, Ludwik Hirszfeld, Samuel Goldflam, Mieczysław Minkowski, Henryk Flatau, Juliusz Strassburger, Leopold Landau ...

"A photograph of the Flatau family inside the orangery located on the property in the 1880s. Obtained thanks to Ms. Krystyna Grochowska (from the family descendants of the Flatau family from Paris)"

From 'Concordia: Le Corréspondant Internationale', 1900. Courtesy of Vincent Sanfuentes

Sundry notes translated from the Polish

Ludwik Flatau - a merchant, later he became a member of the landed gentry, founder of the Flatau Jewish Old People’s Home; the chief representative of the Płock circle of assimilationists. Edward Flatau (1866-1932) – Ludwik’s son, a doctor, scientist, one of the most prominent Polish psychiatrists, a co-creator of the Polish School of Neurology.

His wife was Anna Flatau née Heyman (died on July 4, 1898 in Płock [9]), with whom he had five children: Roman, Edward, Julian, Henryk, and daughter Helena. He lived with his family on Kolegialna street at number 11 [10] [11]. Ludwik and Anna were the owners of the city of Bieżuń [12] in the years 1875-1876. He belonged to the Enlightenment movement, which assumed the spreading of knowledge and education among Jews, including Płock [13].

The plot of May 28, 1820, he bought Bartłomiej Turski from Teodor Dohman for 12 thousand. 150 Polish zlotys. From Turski, the plot was taken over by Kazimierz Turski in 1832 for 12,000. Polish zlotys and it was his hands that became the property of the Flatau family. Turski gained 13.5 thousand on the transaction Polish zlotys. It is known that in 1835 Joachim Flaau's estate consisted of an empty square intended for residential development, and before there was a small fruit garden and a large vegetable garden. When his first wife died, her husbandthe man remarried and bought "property at ul. Collegial under number 321 ". - Joachim as a Jew, so that he could buy real property located outside the Jewish quarter, he had to turn to the Provincial Commission for a purchase permit.

In 1865, Berta Flatau, using her husband's illness, sold the right of perpetual rent to the garden to Stanisław Kirkor, an economic cashier who re-sold them the following year to Abraham Herman from Kalisz. This coincides with the death of Joachim Flatau, who left nine children, which led to the stratification of sentences regarding the future use of the inheritance. The sisters preferred to sell it and divide the income, while Ludwik, born in 1835, a merchant and banker, supported his mother, who stood for public auction. Ultimately, the property is managed by a son who also becomes its owner.

The article presents the life and activity of individual members of the intellectual family of Flatau, Jewish origin, from 1921 related to Poznań. They include: Julian Flatau (1870-1935) - professor of chemistry at the Poznań University and the Poznań School of Economics, his wife Fanny nee Landau (1880-1973) - lawyer, translator and private foreign language teacher by education, their son Kazimierz (1910-2000) - a chemist by education, lecturer in physics at the University of Poznań and creator of the harpsichord class at the State Higher School of Music in Poznań, daughter of Aleksander (Kowalska, Shuster 1914-1978) - lawyer and her son Krzysztof Flatau-Kowalski (born in 1938) ) - electronics engineer, parents Fanny: Anna née Lévy (1858-1942) and Michał (1848-1919) Landauowie and Zenaida Myszcyn-Flatau (1909-2000) - wife of Kazimierz Flatau. The purpose of the article is to describe primarily the contents of the family's legacy kept in the collection of the Raczyński Library in Poznań: personal documents, property, photographs, correspondence and other materials related to their interests and professional activities. They can be a valuable source material for researchers of Jewish history in Poland and their role in Poznań's science and culture. At the end of the text, a separate attention was paid to the papers of the Russian aristocratic Korostow family, who were associated with them, but the contents of the article were signaled only because of the limited volume of the article. They can be a valuable material to the history of so-called white Russian emigration after 1917.The legacy of the Flatau family in the collection of the Raczyński Library (PDF Download Available). Available from: [accessed Mar 10 2018].

Bulletin de la Société de législation comparée