Looking for the Rothmanns of Przemysl
J. A. Lebman emailed me the truely amazing story of her father, Hermann Rothmann. She is looking for any information about her Rothmann family post Shoah. -- David
I was extremely excited to come across your site. I found it by chance having "googled' “Przemysl,” something I do fairly often.
An entire branch of my family lived in Przemysl until World War 2 and then disappeared. My grandfather, Isaak (Erich/Israel) Rothmann was born in Przemysl c. 1898 and lived there until he was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian army in WW1. He joined the cavalry, but according to the family, he was not even supposed to be drafted. The call came to his older brother but he was indispensable to the family business - at that time the family ran the local "taxi' service – troikas, horse powered of course. My grandfather took his brother's name and identity and fought on the Russian front and was captured twice by the Russians. On one occasion he pretended to be a dentist and spent some time pulling teeth. His regiment marched to the Radetsky march.
After his second escape he had had enough. He threw his uniform in the river and fled to Leipzig, Germany. He worked for a man who made leather goods, married the boss’ daughter (Betty Rappaport) and eventually moved to Berlin where he continued in the business. I suspect that my grandmother’s family (Rappaport) may have had a Przemysl connection – their original town (before Leipzig) was Stary Sambor – but I remember some reappearing names in the family tree and it is possible my grandfather went to their factory in Leipzig because he knew them – or they were distant relatives.
My father, Hermann Rothmann, was born in 1924. He remembers visiting Przemysl. Galicia was definitely less advanced and less sophisticated than Berlin. As a boy, he felt as though he was going back in time when he visited. He arrived by train and a fleet of horsed drawn taxis was waiting to take him to the family home - remember, taxis were the family business.
The Rothmann house backed onto the river at 75 Kapernikov Street (Kopernika). My father remembers a boy cousin his own age called Koby. (Yaakov). My grandparents and father were lucky enough to survive the war. My father was sent to England on the kinder-transport and my grandparents fled and ended up in Israel.
None of the Przemysl branch appears to have survived. My cousin in Israel (son of my father’s younger brother) has some more information on the family in Przemysl – but if anyone has any information about the Rothmann family - either remembers them or if they appear on a branch of anyone’s family tree, I would love to be in touch.
J. A. Leberman