The Stockstadt’s Evangelical Church’s most recent newsletter honestly recounts my mother’s early life in Germany in its obit for her. In 2014, the Church apologized to my mother and me for not protecting her during the Holocaust. Here is the translation:
Oldest Jewish woman from Stockstadt dies
Edith Schumer-Westerfeld died on Sunday, January 14, 2024. Edith Therese Westerfeld was born in Stockstadt in 1925. Her parents were respected citizens. They ran a cattle and horse trade and traded in fruit, feed, and seeds. They were active members of clubs in Stockstadt. Edith’s grandfather Isidor Westerfeld had gone to war for Germany in the 1914-18 war and returned injured.
Edith and her sister Betty, who was two years older, attended school in Stockstadt. But exclusion and persecution during the Nazi era led to the death and flight of the family. The system’s hatred of Jews spread to all classes and life became unbearable for Jewish families. Siegmund Westerfeld was beaten bloody in the town hall. Jewish playmates and schoolmates became outcasts, Jewish friends and neighbors became outlaws.
To save the children, Betty was sent by her parents in 1937 and Edith in 1938 with the Jewish Children’s Service to live with relatives in the USA. There they survived, but lived separately from each other.
Edith married and her daughter Fern Schumer-Chapman visited Stockstadt several times with her mother. Today she is an author and also devotes herself to school visits to raise awareness about the persecution of Jews by the National Socialists and to work for tolerance and peace. In her book “Motherland … after the Holocaust,” the American describes her mother’s trip to Germany in 1990.
The Westerfeld family’s house once stood at Vorderstrasse 4. Today the post office, formerly the home of Bäder, is located there. The stumbling blocks commemorating the family were laid there in 2013. The confirmation candidates cleaned them in November and laid roses in remembrance.
Edith’s parents were Siegmund Westerfeld and his wife Frieda Westerfeld, née Kahn. Edith’s grandmother, Sara Westerfeld, née Hertz, also lived in the house. She died disenfranchised and humiliated on March 24, 1939 at the age of 79 without her grandchildren being able to say goodbye to her.
Edith’s parents were victims of persecution. Siegmund Westerfeld died in 1941 in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp north of Berlin. Frieda Westerfeld had to live in a so-called Jewish house on Eschollbrücker Strasse in Darmstadt until she was deported to the Lublin ghetto in Poland. The Stockstadt parish will honor the Westerfeld family’s memory!