Until 1937, three generations of the Strauss family lived under one roof in the house at Neugasse 3: the couple Moritz and Karoline (Lina) Strauss and their son Wilhelm with his wife Olivia and their daughter Hannelore, born in 1929. Like his father, Moritz Strauss (born in Niederhofheim in 1864) earned his living as a cattle dealer and his son also took up this profession. Moritz and Lina had 2 children, Wilhelm was born in 1895 and daughter Johanna in 1897. From 1924 onwards, Moritz Strauss led Bad Soden’s Jewish community as the second community leader together with Dr. Max Isserlin. Lina kept a kosher house. Her daughter-in-law Olivia, who had studied child education in Frankfurt, loved to cook and bake. Ollie won the hearts of all children from the neighbourhood for her delicious cakes, biscuits and matzos.
The family was friends with the Stark and Neuhaus families. “Wilhelm was a founding member of the
Bad Soden Riding and Driving Club in 1929, together with Adolph Stark, my grandfather and many others“, reported Barbara Bermbach, née Stark, at the laying of the Stolpersteine in June 2016, but as a Jew he subsequently lost his membership. Their daughter Hannelore attended the Protestant kindergarten under the loving guidance of deaconess Martha Holtmann. Hannelore was able to show the other children the synagogue directly opposite her parents’ house. For two more years she went to the Bad Soden primary school.
The continuing process of deprivation of rights, humiliation and exclusion from daily life moved Wilhelm and Olivia to leave Germany quickly in December 1937. Along with their daughter, they took seventeen-year-old Lilo Strausser with them to the USA. Lina and Moritz experienced the preparations for their children’s flight to New York (their daughter Johanna had already left Germany with her family in 1936). They stayed behind alone and had to sell their house, but continued to live there together with its new owners. Moritz fell ill and died in the Israel Hospital in Frankfurt in March 1938 , only three months after his loved ones had fled.
Lina was left behind alone. She experienced the November pogrom in 1938 and the time afterwards with all its cruelties. During this time, she was dependent on the help of neighbours. She managed to escape to London in 1938, but her strength was exhausted. She took her own life there because of what she had experienced.
For the Stolperstein ceremony on 30 May 2016, see here.