The Farntrog, Rote-Hahnen-Gasse 7 (Text 7)
Jakob Farntrog and his wife Rosa Thekla lived on the second floor of the building at 7 Rote-Hahnen-Gasse. They were respected and devout members of the Orthodox wing of the Jewish community.
Jakob Farntrog was born on December 11, 1884, in Fürth. His parents, Isaak and Emma Farntrog, lived at 90 Königsstraße, across the street from City Hall. Isaak was a cloth trader who raised his eight children in an orthodox home.
City Hall, Fürth; left: Farntrog's childhood home on Königsstraße (Municipal Archive of Fürth)
Jakob was thirty years old when World War I broke out. He served voluntarily in the 6th Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment.
After the war, he married Rosa Thekla Jochsberger, born on January 18, 1895, in Ansbach. The Farntrog couple was blessed with three children: Hilde (1919), Siegfried (1920), and Gerda, who was born in 1923 after the family moved to Regensburg.
Jakob followed in his father’s footsteps and owned Jakob Farntrog & Co., a woven fabric wholesaler at 8 Goldene-Bären-Straße. During the worldwide economic crisis, he suffered massive losses and was forced to give up his business. Starting on May 1st, 1934, he opened a woven fabric distribution company in his wife’s name and supplied customers in southern Germany using his own car.
As a result of the nationwide excesses prompted by the so-called Reichspogromnacht, Jakob Farntrog was arrested and ultimately incarcerated on November 11, 1938, in the Dachau concentration camp. Subject to consistent and profuse harassment there, he was eventually released four weeks later after promising to abandon the German Reich. He sold his car and sought exit visas for his family, to no avail.
For years, his family life had already been subject to the repression of the dictatorship. After his children had been banned from school attendance, they had already been preparing for emigration. Hilde, who had transferred in 1934 from the municipal high school for girls (Mädchenlyzeum) to the Haustöchterschule (usually reserved for girls who lived and worked in a household of which they were not family members, akin to modern au-pairs) of the Sisters of the Congregation of Jesus (Englische Fräulein), had already left her home in 1936 and ultimately emigrated to Palestine on March 15, 1938, after learning the basics of agricultural work in Gehringshof bei Fulda. She corresponded regularly with her parents and siblings, and insistently pursued to obtain the required documents for emigration. She later married the son of Rabbi Dr. Salomon of Regensburg.
Jakob’s only son, Siegfried, who had attended the secondary school for mathematics and science (Oberrealschule), managed to complete a carpentry apprenticeship in Lübeck, owing to a letter of recommendation from the board of his community. Between October 1st, 1936, and April 12, 1938, the Beth Halutz at 10 Sophienstraße offered him board and education. He later attended the yeshiva in Mannheim. On July 14, 1938, he and Gerda, his younger sister, joined Hilde, who lived in a kibbutz in Palestine.
Gerda, still fourteen, and her brother were able to travel to Palestine with the assistance of the Berlin Youth Aliyah. She worked in a kibbutz east of Haifa. She later moved to Jerusalem and started a family and a large chocolate factory with Erich Oppenheimer (born in 1915).
Despite their children’s tireless efforts, the parents were never able to leave for Palestine. In her letters, Rosa repeatedly lamented the geographic distance from her children. Since Rosa and Jakob were renting the property at 7 Rote-Hahnen-Gasse, they dreaded the day they would receive an administrative order to move to a so-called Judenhaus. It is a miracle they were spared. Still, they were sharing their second-floor apartment with several subtenants ever since the Farntrog children had left Regensburg.
On April 13, 1942, the city council instructed Rosa Farntrog to move with her husband to a room in the retirement home at 31 Weißenburgstraße, due to her health condition. Frau Grünhut, the trained nurse who headed the retirement home, looked after Rosa with dedicated ministrations. The same day, Sofie Jochsberger (b. 1863), Rosa’s mother, was instructed to move into the retirement home. Frau Jochsberger had been living at Am Römling 11 with her daughter Bertha Schild in Regensburg since 1938. After Bertha and her daughter Edith were deported on April 2, 1942, Sofie Jochsberger lost her right of abode in that house. She died two months later of natural causes in June, 1942, and was buried in the Jewish cemetery.
But in July 1942, Jakob and Rosa Farntrog were forced to leave Regensburg, along with another five sick persons. According to Wittmer, they were deported on a special transport (Sondertransport) of the Reichsbahn to the extermination camp in Auschwitz, where they were probably murdered upon arrival.
Jakob Farntrog (1884-1942)
Municipal Archive of Regensburg; State Archives of Amberg; Wittmer, Siegfried, (1996): Regensburger Juden. Jüdisches Leben von 1519 bis 1990. (The Jews of Regensburg: Jewish Life between 1519 and 1990).
copyright © 2011 Sylvia Seifert / Zitat oder Abdruck nur mit Genehmigung des Verfassers