Lenkway Family Background
At the time Hitler came into power in 1933, we lived in Cologne, Germany, on Mozart Street 19. Our father, Simon, had a furniture store under the name "Moebelhaus Boehm," on Zeppelin Street 4. It was a very nice business and father did quite well. He was not the richest man in Cologne, but he was not the poorest, and he provided the family with a very good living. The apartment on Mozart Street was a very large apartment and I think we had a pretty good life. Our mother Gertrude was running the household. She had been an opera singer and a good one and liked the music very much. And there was my brother Hans, a.k.a. John in English. He was three years older. He had entered the University of Heidelberg to study Medicine and to become a dentist. I had started an apprenticeship in a department store, the name was Kaufhaus Michel, very similar to the apprenticeship our daughter Margaret had with Jordan Marsh. I was to be trained, like Margaret, to be a manager or buyer for any of their departments. Last but not least, there was our sister Inge. She is eight years younger than 1. She had just entered a Jewish High-school. After four years of elementary school, the child had to pass an aptitude test to be admitted to a high school and there was a tuition to be paid. There were eight years of highschool or gymnasium, with a final exam, the "Abitur", which was a requirement to be admitted to a University. Naturally my brother Hans had made this Abitur. The United States considered it equal to two years of college. I had only six years of high-school, and this was equal to a highschool diploma. So much about schools. Let me explain at this time the large age difference between Inge and Hans and 1. Simon Lenkway married Margarete Braunthal in 1912. Hans was born in September 1913 and Kurt in August 1916. In October 1917 our mother died of a brain tumor. She is buried in Gelsenkirchen. Unfortunately I have no memory of my mother, I wish I had. I am glad that your mother and I have a daughter we could name Margaret. Father married Gertrude Kaufmann in 1922, I was six years old at that time. The new mother Gertrude was from Duesseldorf and the family moved to this beautiful city the same year. In April 1924 Hans and I had a little sister Ingeborg Margarete. Fourteen years later she changed her name to Yvonne. I will tell you about it a little later.
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A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust
Produced by the Florida Center for Instructional Technology,
College of Education, University of South Florida.
©1991 Kurt Lenkway.