Simon Tobias, the youngest son of Michael Tobias and Esther Kronenthal, born on June 18, 1857 in Altenkirchen, married the widow Rebecka “Rosa” Rothschild, née Dannebaum on May 5, 1886, at Hofgeismar. She already had six children with Samuel Rotschild and got one more son with Simon named Siegfried “Fritz”, born on August 16, 1887 at Hofgeismar. Simon was a merchant and later worked in Hamburg. He was the manager or owner of „Feddersen & Fraenkel“, a cloth goods and handkerchiefs manufacturing company. Simon’s nephew Max Tobias did his apprenticeship at this company between 1908 and 1911. Simon died on January 2, 1921 and is buried at the Jewish cemetery Ilandkoppel, Hamburg-Ohlsdorf. Rosa died in 1934 in Schlüchtern, where her daughter Josephine Stern lived at the time.
Fritz Tobias went to school in Hofgeismar and later attended the Friedrichs-Gymnasium in Kassel. He studied medicine in Freiburg, Kiel, Munich, Berlin and Heidelberg. When in Kiel he spent his compulsary service at the 85th infantry regiment. He wrote his dissertation at the university of Heidelberg in 1910 („Über Riesensarkome der Sehnenscheiden mit einem kasuistischen Beitrag“) and was registered as a physician on July 21, 1911.
In Heidelberg he met his future wife Paula Sussmann, one of the first female physicians in Germany. She was born in Hamburg on January 15, 1886. Paula and Fritz both were keen on sports and liked to spend their time hiking in the nearby Black Forest. She was registered as a physician in June 1912 and they married on August 4, 1912.
Paula and Fritz actually had plans to emigrate to Namibia and work at a hospital in Windhuk, but Fritz‘ mother Rosa begged them to stay because three of her sons already left for the United States. So they decided to open a doctor’s office at the countryside and moved to Kreiensen, Harz.
Soon after establishing their own office, the Great War broke out and Fritz had to serve the military. He was only granted home leave for two weeks per year. Paula ran the office all alone and also was in charge of a sick bay at the train station of Kreiensen. In 1917 she decided to leave for Delligsen, Holzminden, where she took over a vacant doctor’s office. Here she had to cope with a severe influenza epidemic.
When Fritz came back home after the war, Paula took a rest from working so hard and they founded a family. Their first son Johannes was born on December 13, 1920 and the second son Gerd was born on February 15, 1923. Paula enjoyed being a mother and being able to take time for gardening. However she still assisted her husband and furthermore started a mothers consulting at Delligsen. The Tobias owned a big house and Fritz bought a stylish car, a Hanomag, that was talk of the town. Fritz also was able to purchase an X-ray unit for the doctor’s office which was very progressive at the time.
Despite of all medical progress their son Johannes died on October 27, 1927, due to a blood poisoning caused by a small injury from playing outside at a creek. Paula was deeply shocked by this loss and a few months later they decided to leave Delligsen. In summer 1928, they took over another country doctor’s office at Bevern from Fritz’ brother-in-law Max Stahl who had decided to retire. In 1932, when Gerd was nine years old. he was baptised in Bevern. Obviously Paula appreciated the pastor’s work in town, but maybe it was already a reaction on rising antisemitism.
When the Nazis took over, Paula pretty soon realized that all of their achievements would be treated with contempt and that there was no way stay full members of the German society. The discrimination was unmistakable, although she tried to fight it. When Gerd was forced to quit the Gymnasium in Holzminden they prepared for leaving their fatherland. In November 1935 the Tobias emigrated to San Francisco where meanwhile all of Fritz’s halfsiblings lived.
Fritz was allowed to practice again, but Paula’s exams were not accepted and so she had to work as a nurse for the rest of her life. In 1945 Fritz and Paula were divorced. Fritz suffered a stroke in the 1950s and died at Honolulu on June 29, 1962. Paula died at Pacific Grove, California on November 13, 1970. Their son Gerd James “Jim” Tobias became a physician as well. He died at Saratoga, California on July 25, 2013.
Source: Wiebke Lohfeld, „Im Dazwischen – Porträt der jüdischen und deutschen Ärztin Paula Tobias“ (Wiesbaden 2003)
- Siegfried „Fritz“ Tobias (1887-1967) ∞ Paula Sussmann (1886-1970) Delligsen
- Simon Tobias (1857-1921) ∞ Rebecka „Rosa“ Dannebaum (1846-1934) Hofgeismar
- Michael Tobias (1802-1858) ∞ Esther Kronenthal (1824-1899) Niederwambach/Puderbach
- Salomon Dannebaum (1790-?) ∞ Edel Beilchen Rosenbaum (1802-1851) Großeneder, Höxter