- RABINOWITZ, Harry Saul
- RABINOWITZ, Renée Fanny
- RABINOWITZ, Ruth née STAKGOLD
- STAKGOLD, Ivar T
- STAKGOLD, Rose née WISCHENGRAAL
About the Family
The RABINOWITZ/STAKGOLD family received Portuguese transit visas signed by Vice-Consul Emile Gissot in Toulouse, acting under the authority of Aristides de Sousa Mendes, on June 24 and July 19, 1940.
The family entered Spain on the pretense of traveling to Portugal, but with the intent of boarding a ship in Bilbao, Spain. Henri STAKGOLD, husband of Rose, was already in the United States.
They sailed from Bilbao to New York on the vessel Magellanes in July 1940, and then on to the Dominican Republic, finally immigrating to the United States in 1941.
The RABINOWITZ family name was changed to WENNERHOLM upon immigration.
Testimonial of Ivar STAKGOLD
As told to David Wolfe on March 18, 2013
“In every Generation, every Jew should regard himself as though he, personally, had come out of Egypt…” (from the Haggadah for Passover)
Henri Stakgold – born August 20, 1891, in Skersh (near Lodz), Poland. Married Rose Wishengrad in 1916 in Denmark. Father of Ruth and Ivar. Died July 4, 1966, in NYC. Buried in New Montefiore Cemetery, Farmingdale, Long Island, NY.
Rose Stakgold (nee Wishengrad) – born January 15, 1894, in Bialystok, Russia. Mother of Ruth and Ivar. Died September 21, 1976, in Queens, NY. Buried in New Montefiore Cemetery, Farmingdale, Long Island, NY.
Ruth Stakgold – born February 28, 1917, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Married Harry (Rabinowitz) Wennerholm on May 19, 1938, in Brussels, in Le Grande Synagogue de Bruxelles on 32 Rue de la Regence. Ruth and Harry had two children: Renee and Irene. Ruth and Harry were divorced in the USA in 1945. Ruth remarried to Farrel Wolfe from NY. Ruth and Farrel had one child: David. Ruth and Farrel were divorced on September 7, 1983, in NYC. Ruth immigrated to Israel in 1990. Died in Kfar Saba, Israel, on May 29, 2006. Buried in Kfar Nachman Cemetery, Raanana, Israel.
Ivar Stakgold - born December 13, 1925, in Lysaker (near Oslo), Norway. Ivar became a world renowned mathematician and a champion bridge player. Married Alice. Ivar and Alice had one child: Alissa. Ivar currently lives in San Diego, CA.
Harry (Rabinowitz) Wennerholm – born on April 7, 1914 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Married Ruth on May 19, 1938, in Brussels. After reaching the USA in early 1941, returned to Europe to serve with the US Armed Forces based in London, England. His assignment involved psychological warfare and multi-language broadcasting (Danish, German and English). Died in October, 1970, in Colchester, UK. Father of: Renee and Irene.
- 1929 – The Stakgold family (Henri, Rose, Ruth and Ivar) move from Norway to Belgium. The reason was business. Henri’s business (Corneliussen & Stakgold), dedicated to the import of American automobile parts, had grown significantly. The company needed better port/shipping services, and it was decided to open offices in the port city of Antwerp (Anvers). The office was located on Rue Lamoriniere, Antwerp.
- 1929-1931 – The family lived in Brussels at an address that Ivar could not remember.
- 1931 - The family moved to a house on 423 Avenue Louise, in a very fashionable part of Brussels.
- May 19, 1938 – Ruth was married to Harry (Rabinowitz) Wennerholm from Copenhagen, Denmark. The marriage took place in Brussels at Le Grande Synagogue de Bruxelles on 32 Rue de la Regence. Ruth and Harry set up their home in Denmark.
- 1938 – After Ruth’s marriage, the family moved from the house on Avenue Louise to an apartment on Avenue Jeanne, where they lived until April 21, 1940.
- September 1, 1939 – WW2 begins with the German invasion of Poland.
- February/March, 1940 - Ruth and Harry leave Denmark for Belgium on the advice of Henri (was this a “hunch” or “well sourced intelligence”?). Ruth was approximately 6 months pregnant when they arrived in Brussels and moved in with the family.
- April 9, 1940 – Denmark surrenders to the Germans. Fortunately, Ruth and Harry escaped a few months earlier.
- April, 1940 – Henri is the US on business and instructs the family to leave Belgium immediately for France since a German invasion of Belgium seems imminent.
- April 21, 1940 – Rose (46), Harry (25), Ruth (23 and now 8 months pregnant) and Ivar (14) get into the family Buick and drive to Nice in the southeast of France. In Nice, the family lives in “Villa la Souleiado” on Chemin de la Serena. Distance from Brussels to Nice: 1200 km/750 miles.
- May 7, 1940 – Ruth gives birth to a baby girl in Clinique Ste. Marie, Nice. The baby is named Renée.
- May 10, 1940 – Germany invades Belgium, France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.
- June 11, 1940 – Italy enters WW2, joining the Axis powers. The family is concerned that Italy may invade the southeast region of France (Nice) and therefore they quickly leave Nice and drive to the town of Arcachon (in 1940 pop. 15,000) on the southwestern coast of France, near Bordeaux. Distance from Nice to Arcachon: 860 km/535 miles. The place they finally settle down in is called Cap Ferret, opposite Arcachon, on the Bay of Arcachon. Here they believe they will be safe while making arrangements to sail to the Dominican Republic (DR).
- June 24, 1940 – The family (now numbering 5 members) receives a visa for travel to DR by the Dominican Consulate in Bordeaux.
- June 24, 1940 – The very same day, the family receives a visa to travel to Portugal (via Spain) from the Portuguese Consulate in Toulouse, under the authority of the Portuguese Consul Aristides de Sousa Mendes. It is due to the incredible bravery and morality of this Righteous Gentile, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, that our family was saved and that we are here today to recount the story. The members of our family that escaped Europe thanks to Aristides de Sousa Mendes, are:
- Rose Stakgold – born January 15, 1894 in Bialystok, Russia. Mother of Ruth and Ivar. Died September 21, 1976, in Queens, NY. Buried in New Montefiore Cemetery, Farmingdale, Long Island, NY.
- Ivar Stakgold - born December 13, 1925, in Lysaker (near Oslo), Norway. Ivar became a world-renowned mathematician and a champion bridge player. Married Alice. Ivar and Alice had one child: Alissa. Ivar currently lives in San Diego, CA.
- Ruth Rabinowitz (later changed to Wennerholm when immigrating to the USA), née Stakgold, born February 28, 1917, in Copenhagen, Denmark. Married Harry (Rabinowitz) Wennerholm on May 19, 1938, in Brussels, in Le Grande Synagogue de Bruxelles on 32 Rue de la Regence. Ruth and Harry had two children: Renée and Irene. Ruth and Harry were divorced in the USA in 1945. Ruth remarried to Farrel Wolfe from NY. Ruth and Farrel had one child: David. Ruth and Farrel were divorced on September 7, 1983, in NYC. Ruth immigrated to Israel in 1990. Died in Kfar Saba, Israel, on May 29, 2006. Buried in Kfar Nachman Cemetery, Raanana, Israel.
- Harry Rabinowitz (later changed to Wennerholm when immigrating to the USA) born on April 7, 1914 in Copenhagen, Denmark. Married Ruth on May 19, 1938, in Brussels. After reaching the USA in early 1941, returned to Europe to serve with the US Armed Forces based in London, England. His assignment involved psychological warfare and multi-language broadcasting (Danish, German and English). Died in October, 1970, in Colchester, UK. Father of: Renee and Irene.
- Renée Rabinowitz (later changed to Wennerholm when immigrating to the USA), daughter of Ruth and Harry, born May 7, 1940 in Clinique Ste. Marie, Nice. She is married to Dr. Arnold Packer.
- July 2, 1940 – The family’s safety in Cap Ferret (Bay of Arcachon) is compromised. Harry has been monitoring the BBC radio broadcasts and is informed that as part of the “truce” between Germany and the Vichy Government of France, the Germans have also been granted a “corridor” on the southwestern coast of France, including Arcachon. The Bay of Arcachon eventually became an integral part of Hitler’s “Atlantic Wall,” an extensive system of coastal fortifications built by Nazi Germany between 1942 and 1945 along the western coast of Europe as a defense against an anticipated Allied invasion of the mainland continent from Great Britain.
- July 2, 1940 – The family leaves Cap Ferret and drives back inland to safety in Auch (Distance: 258 km/160 miles). Auch is a small town (in 1940 pop. 14,000) located in the region of Midi-Pyrénées (southwest France). Ivar recalls seeing a German motorcycle convoy driving in the opposite direction as they were fleeing from Cap Ferret to Auch. Roadblocks had not yet been set up; we assume it was a matter of days or perhaps only hours before that escape route was closed by the Germans. This was the “closest call” Ivar recalls during their flight to freedom.
- July 19, 1940 – The visa for travel to Portugal (via Spain) was extended for an additional month by the Portuguese Consulate in Toulouse. Distance from Auch to Toulouse: 85 km/53 miles.
- July 22, 1940 – Receive a visa to exit France at Perpignan. Distance from Toulouse to Perpignan: 240km/150miles.
- July 23, 1940 – As a matter of policy, Spain was not issuing visas to fleeing refugees. However, based on the Portuguese visa, the family was issued a visa by the Spanish Consulate in Perpignan to transit thru Spain en route to Portugal. In fact, the family had no intention to travel to Portugal since their ship was scheduled to sail from the port of Bilbao in Spain. Distance from Perpignan to Le Perthus border crossing: 35 km/22 miles.
- July 23, 1940 - The family enters Spain from France at the Le Perthus/Els Limits border crossing. Le Perthus and Els Limits (a small parish in the commune of La Jonquera, Catalonia, Spain) are contiguous twin towns. The frontier passes through part of the main street. In earlier times it was a convenient center of contraband. Distance from Le Perthus to Bilbao: 730 km/453 miles.
- July 27, 1940 – Issued visa for travel to DR and back to Belgium within a period of 12 months. The family apparently wanted to leave themselves the option to return to Belgium in the event that everything “blew over” and the Germans were defeated within the next year. The visa was issued by the Belgian Consulate in Bilbao, Spain.
- July 29, 1940 – Issued a visa for transit thru the USA en route to DR. Visa issued by the American Consulate in Bilbao.
- July 29/30, 1940 – The family sails from Bilbao on the “Magallanes,” one of the last ships to sail from Europe to the Americas before darkness descended on the Continent. The ship sailed from Bilbao to Lisbon, to Cuba and, finally, to the USA.
- August 31, 1940 – The family is admitted, for transit only, in the USA. Port of entry NYC (Ellis Island). Ivar recalls staying a couple of nights in Ellis Island and then being allowed to transfer to a hotel in NYC where they waited until the sailing of the ship (name?) to DR.
- September 20, 1940 – The family is issued an Identity Card (Carta de Identidad) in DR.
- January 6, 1941 – The family is issued an Immigration Visa to the USA by the American Consulate in Cuidad Trujillo, DR. The visa is issued under the “quota category” for refugees from the Soviet Union (!).
- January, 1941 – Harry and Ivar qualify for earlier admission to the USA. Harry and Ivar travel together to NYC. Ivar enrolls in the Horace Mann School, NYC. Harry returns to DR to accompany Rose, Ruth and Renée.
- April 7, 1941 – Rose, Ruth, Harry and Renée arrive in New York Harbor by boat from DR.
- First residence in the USA: Hotel Alden, 226 Central Park West, NYC.
- Second residence in the USA: 969 Park Avenue, NYC.
- August 16, 1943 - Irene Wennerholm born in Kew Gardens General Hospital, Kew Gardens, NY.
- June 15, 1948 – Ruth is granted US Naturalization/Citizenship (Certificate #6721349). Renée (8 yrs old at the time) is included in the same certificate.