Paul Blumenfeld

Paul Blumenfeld

12 April 1901 - 25 April 2001

 

Birth

Paul Blumenfeld was born on 12 April 1901 in 8 Spenerstrasse, Berlin. His father Julius wrote that Paul was named after his mother Ida's grandfather Pinkus Goldstein

Musical Career in Germany (written by his son Dennis)

"As a child he learned to play the violin, and later, as a teenager in the school orchestra, he loved the sound of the cello so much that he decided to learn the cello. He studied music in Berlin, and began his career in 1929 as the cellist in the Bruinier Quartet. He performed in concerts in Germany and other parts of Europe with the Bruinier Quartet from 1929 to 1933. He also played in the Tobis Film orchestra and the Funkstunde orchestra. From 1933 to 1938 he played in the concerts of the Jewish Kulturebund in Nazi Germany, and was the cellist in the Mendelssohn Trio. He married Lotte Samter in October 1937. They managed to emigrate from Germany in June 1939, and settled in London.

"Paul succeeded in continuing his career as a professional cellist in London. In 1943 and 1944 he played in the London Polish String Quartet. From 1945 to 1954 he was a member of the orchestra of the Sadler's Wells Opera. Later, he became a member of the Ballet Rambert Orchestra. Over the years he also gave cello lessons, and played in numerous concerts in London at the Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) Club, the B'nai B'rith Leo Baeck Lodge, and the Belsize Square Synagogue. He also gave concerts for the residents at the Leo Baeck House and Osmond House.

"In Germany, he played with several groups:

1929-1932: Bruinier Quartet

1933-1935 Goldmann-Wittenberg-Blumenfeld Trio

1936-1939: Mendelssohn Trio"

The clipping below from Leipzig that he sent to his cousin in New York (my father) depicts three of the four members of the Bruinier Quartet.

 

Marriage

He married Charlotte Samter on 31 October 1937 in Berlin.

Children

Paul had a son Dennis Blumenfeld who now lives in Michigan. Dennis visited his cousin Walter in Australia while on his honeymoon around 1977, saw him several times in London, and celebrated his father's 100th birthday with the family. Dennis wrote, "As a devoted father and grandfather, Paul has always enjoyed family life. He and Lotte celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1987."

Emigration to England

Paul arrived in Britain on 9 June 1939, according to the records of the Jewish Refugees Committee of World Jewish Relief . He was guaranteed by an 'M. Goldstone of 38 Tottenham Court Road, London, W.1'. Paul first lived at 1, Cornbury Road, Edgware. (This information sent to me in an e-mail by Lillian Levy of the Jewish Refugee Committee on 16 March 2004.)

Letters to his Aunt

I have two letters apparently saved by my father that Julius and Paul wrote to his aunt Ella Cohen (nee Recha Blumenfeld) in care of another nephew Dr, Martin Klein, with whom she was living. I do not know how the letters came into my father's possession. Although Paul wrote in latin German script, the annotations on the letter by his father Julius Blumenfeld were in the old German script. (The old German script was transcribed by a group in Hamburg which has a Website www.suetterlinstube.de.

Letter one from Julius in German

London-Edgware, 30. Juni 1939
220 Whitchurch Lane

Meine liebe Recha!
Mit Freuden empfingen wir Dein letztes Schreiben vom 24....; Ich hoffe, daß Deine Unpäßlichkeit nun wieder gänzlich behoben ist; ich freue mich, daß Martin Klein Dir geholfen
hat & soll man in solchen Fällen sich immer den Ärzten anvertrauen, selbst bei leichten Anlässen verstehen sie immer weit mehr als der Laie! - Unser Paul ist jetzt mit seiner Frau Gese -- auch hier & sind wir nun wieder alle beisammen. Du kannst Dir denken, daß wir mit unseren Kindern täglich zusammen sind, mal bei ihnen zum Tee - sie wohnen 5 Minuten ent-fernt - und mal in unserer Wohnung und fühlen wir uns alle sehr glücklich; wie schön wäre es, wenn Du, liebe Recha auch bei unseren Zusammenkünften auch dabei sein würdest! - Den To-desfall Simon Bergmann haben wir mit gr. Betrübnis vernommen, wir haben an Frau Anna Bergmann ein Condolenzschreiben gesandt; n. 122 E.42 Str.(das ist wohl die Geschäftsadres-se, eine andere Adresse haben wir nicht.) Daß er ein großes Vermögen hinterlassen hat, will ich glauben. Wie ist es denn nun mit dem Affidavit (Bescheinigung an Eides Statt), welches der Verstorbene für unseren Paul ausgestellt hat? Zwar würde die Nummer für Paul noch lange nicht an die Reihe kommen, aber ich möchte doch wissen, ob das Affidavit durch den Todesfall ungültig geworden ist, oder ob die Erben das Affidavit übernehmen. Vielleicht kannst Du Dich gelegentlich darnach erkundigen. - Von Natorp ist es seit vielen Jahren eine fixe Idee, daß Du solche große Summe besitzest, ich weiß es besser; nur eine (0) Null fort & Du & ich würden sehr froh darüber. Daß Du aber 10 Pfund abgenommen hast, habe ich mit großer Betrübnis gelesen & hat Martin K. Recht, wenn er Dir ratet viel Milch und Rahm zu trinken. Ich möchte gerne Dein jetziges Gewicht wissen und bitte Dich, mir dies in Deiner Antwort mitzutei-len, aber vergiß es nicht, Recha, - ferner hast Du mir nicht meine Frage nicht beantwortet, ob Natorps Sohn mit ausgewandert ist, oder ob er noch in Zürich geblieben ist. Hast Du Nat. nach seinem Sohn näheres gefragt, oder hat er Dir einiges von seinem Sohn erzählt?

My translation to English

London-Edgware, 30. June 1939
220 Whitchurch Lane

My dear Recha:

With much joy, we received your last letter of the 24.

I hope that your ailment is completely alleviated now; I am happy that Martin Klein helped you & in such cases one should always trust the physicians, even for simple ailments, far always far more than the layman!

- Our Paul also is here now with his wife Gese [Lotte] & now we are all together again. You can imagine that we get with together our children daily, sometimes for tea with them - they live 5 minutes away - and sometimes in our house, and we all feel very happy for ourselves; how wonderful it would be if you, dear Recha could also join our gatherings.

When we heard with great sadness about the death of Simon Bergmann, we sent condolence letter to Mrs. Anna Bergmann at. 122 E. 42 Street (which is the business address; we don't have any other address.) I want to believe that he has left a large fortune.

What is the situation with the affidavit (his certification under oath) which the deceased [Simon Bergmann] issued for our Paul? Certainly the number for Paul would not come up for a long time, but I still would like to know whether the affidavit becomes invalid through [Simon Bergmann's] death, or whether the affidavit can be inherited.

Many years ago, Natorn fixed on the idea that you possessed [a] large sum [of money]. I know better; add only a (0) zero & you & I would become very happy about that.

I read with a lot of sadness that you lost 10 pounds, & Martin K. is right, if he advises you to drink a lot of milk and cream.

I would like to know your present weight. Please put this in your answer; don't forget it, Recha.

Furthermore you have not answered my question whether Natorn's son emigrated or still remains in Zurich. Did you ask Natorn about his son, or has he told you anything about him?

[Julius]

II. A letter on one side from Paul with a postscript from Julius in German and on the other side a letter from Julius.

Edgware 7.8.39

Liebe Tante Recha,

Es ist rührend lieb von Dir, daß Du keine Mühe und Wege scheust, um meiner Frau und mir zu einem Affidavit zu verhelfen. Hoffentlich gelingt es Deinem Zureden wieder und Du hast bei
dem jungen Herrn Bergman Erfolg. Sei bitte so gut und übergib ihm meinen beigefügten Brief. Unsere Nummer auf der deutschen Warteliste ist über 59000; es kann noch mehrere Jahre dauern, bis unsere Nummer an der Reihe ist. Und doch ist es für uns ein Lichtblick, denn hier dürfen wir überhaupt kein Geld verdienen. Hab nochmals recht herzlichen Dank für Deine Güte. Ich wünsche Dir Gesundheit und alles Gute. Mit herzlichen Grüßen auch von meiner Frau Dein dankbarer Neffe Paul Bl.

(PS) müßte u. zwar möge Mr. Robert dasselbe möglichst schnell ausstellen lassen, damit das Papier bis zum 3. September hier eintreffen kann, denn zum 4. September ist Paul beim hiesig. Amerik. Consul bestellt und soll er dann das neue Affidavit gleich dort vorlegen, es ist möglich, daß er vom engl. Consulat eine frühere Nr. erhält. - Mache auch diesmal, liebe Recha, Deine Sache gut, damit unser Paul beruhigt wird. Gese (?) ist nicht hier, der Brief soll gleich fort, und läßt Dich & die Kinder grüßen. Empfange Du recht herzliche Grüße & Kuß
von Deinem Julius.

Edgware, 7.8.39.

Meine liebe Recha!

Für Deine Postkarte vom 25.7. danke Ich Dir sehr & wirst Du inzwischen mein letztes Schreiben
v. 21.7. erhalten haben. Mit dem Affidavit ist es nun so, daß dasselbe durch das Ableben des seligen Simon Bergmann erloschen & damit ungültig geworden ist. Wie Du aus der beifolgen-den Photokopie des Affidavits ersehen kannst, hat der liebe Robert Bergmann - (den ich vor Jahren in Berlin persönlich kennenlernte) - die Unterschrift seines sel. Vaters durch seine
eigene Unterschrift als Zeuge angezeigt; es muß daher ein neues Affidavit ausgestellt werden.
Dies wurde mir von einem hiesigen Rechtsanwalt, dem ich das Original-Affidavit gab, aus-drücklich bestätigt, außerdem wurde unserem Paul dies gesagt, daß Herr Robert Bergmann ein neues Affidavit ausstellen müßte, Paul war vorgestern bei dem hiesigen amerikanischen Generalconsulat , es wurde ihm auch vom Consul bestätigt, daß das von Simon Bergmann ausgestellte Affidavit mit dem Todesfall erloschen ist & dessen Sohn, Herr Robert Bergmann ein neues Affidavit ausstellen......

(Anmerkung)
Die Kinder aus Australien haben Dir kürzlich einen ausführlichen Brief geschrieben, sie würden sich dort einarbeiten, sind gesund...

 

My translation

*** to be completed ***

Club 1943, London

The Club founded, of course, in 1943 in London as a cultural organization presided over by such German speaking emigrants as Hans J. Rehfisch, Hermann Friedmann, Karl Wollf, and Hans Jaeger. It still is in existence today as an Anglo-German cultural forum supported by the German Embassy and holds regular weekly meetings under its indefatigable Chairman, Hans Seelig who is a retired schoolmaster and musicologist .

Lilian Levy writes, "On a personal note I should like to add that I remember Paul Blumenfeld very well, though I did not know him personally; he died only a few years ago when he was well into his 90s. For many years he was a member of the orchestra at the Sadler's Wells Opera House, which at that time was the home of the prestigious English National Opera."

Exhibit at Die Deutsche Bibliothek Deutsches Exilarchiv 1933-1945 (The German Library; German Exiles Archive 1933-1984/5)
Sylvia Asmus
Zeppelinallee 4-8
D-60325 Frankfurt/Main


Exhibition Subjects include:

Dramatic theatre. Cabaret/Kabaret.
Media:
Books. Playtexts. Photos. Promptbooks. Manuscripts. Correspondence. Programmes. Clippings. Posters.
Special Collections:

Paul Blumenfeld, cellist, born 1901, lived in Great Britain

Cellist
Individual letters, including Bruno Walter; Photo; Concert programs of performances in which he participated, also from the Jewish culture federation

Signature: EB 96/249

Naturalization as an English citizen

Lilian Levy also states that Paul became a naturalised British citizen on 29th April, 1948. This statement appears to be collaborated by the following record found by a search on Blumenfeld b. 12 Apr 1901 at http://catalogue.pro.gov.uk/.

Records created or inherited by the Home Office, Ministry of Home Security, and related bodies
HO 405/4833 BLUMENFELD, P Date of Birth: 12.04.1901

PRO Reference Title/Scope and Content
Public Record Office: Kew B 27153
Covering Dates 01/01/1944 - 31/12/1948

Access conditions Closed For 100 years
Record opening date 01 Jan 2049
Closure status Closed Document, Open Description

Musical Career in London

Dennis provides the following summary of Paul's career in London::

1943-1944: London Polish String Quartet

1945-1954: Sadler's Wells Opera Orchestra

1955-1960: Ballet Rambert Orchestra

1950-1970 (Approximate dates): Gave private cello lessons to a few pupils

1950-1985 (Approximate dates): Gave numerous concerts in London at
Association of Jewish Refugees (AJR) Club
B'nai B'rith Leo Baeck Lodge
Belsize Square Synagogue

Still played the cello in 1991 (at age 90)

100th Birthday

"On 12th April 2001, Paul celebrated his 100th birthday with his family at Balint House, London," writes Dennis.

Death

Paul died in London a short time later, on 25th April 2001. In a fitting epitaph, Paul writes, "Through his love of family and music, Paul found peace and contentment. His gentle and gracious spirit and sense of humour continued to be with him in his advanced age."

 

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Blumenfeld Family - Courland, Germany, United States, Australia, Israel, England, France, and Belgium

© 2002, 2003, 2004 Sonia Nayle, Woodland Hills, USA, all rights reserved, last updated 22 April 2004