What We Know:
Family name: 
Birth name: Simon
Given name: Bella
Date/place of birth: 20. March 1898, Hildburghausen, Thüringen
Date/place of death: Exact date of death unknown
Age:  44 years old at deportation

Bella Simon was born in Hildburghausen in 1898, the daughter of Heinrich and Flora (née Müller) Simon. Her father was born in the nearby village of Gleicherwiesen,  her mother in the large centre of  Eisenach. She had two siblings: an older sister, Erna, born in 1897, and a younger brother, Julius, b. 1899.

Bella married Walter Blumenkron of Naumburg in Hesse; how and when they  met is unknown. Born in 1897, Walter was the son of Julius and Bertha (née Meÿberg) Blumenkron, and brother to a younger sister, Erna, b. 1890. After their marriage, Walter initially lived in Hildburghausen, and he and Bella had a child in January 1929, whom they called Inge.


In January 1933, when the Nazi Regime began, Bella, her parents, her husband and daughter, and her brother and his family, were all in Germany. (At the moment, there are no traces of Erna Simon other than birth date and place.) Walter’s immediate family was also in Germany: his parents, Julius and Bertha Blumenkron, as well as his sister, Erna and her family, husband Herbert Diekhoff and their two children, Edith (b. 1931)  and Werner (b. 1933). In August 1933, Walter’s 78-year-old father died, and nine months later, in May 1934, Heinrich Simon, Bella’s 63-year-old father, died.

Bella and Walter divorced sometime in the 1930s and Walter returned to western Germany, living in Cologne. Bella remained in Hildburghausen with her mother and daughter, and brother Julius. In the Reichspogromnacht of 9/10 November 1938, Julius was arrested and imprisoned in Buchenwald from 10 until 30 November 1938. The record below identifies the items he surrendered — pair of shoes, socks, coat — when he entered the concentration camp.

Arolsen Archives, Buchenwald, 7115493 Julius Simon

The escalating persecution prompted Bella (whom the index cards identify as “gesch.” or divorced) to seek emigration into the United States (“Reiseziel” on the record below).

Arolsen Archives, Emigration Index Card, 129818584 Bella Blumenkron, geb. Simon

On 10 May 1942, Bella, age 44, and her daughter Inge, age 13, as well as two other Jewish women from Hildburghausen, were deported to Belzyce Ghetto.

Arolsen Archives, 128450757 Bella Blumenkron, geb.Simon
Arolsen Archives, 128450592 Bella Blumenkron, geb. Simon


Bella’s immediate family — her mother and brother — were also murdered. Bella’s mother Flora remained in Hildburghausen after the departure of her daughter and granddaughter. Four months later, she joined the other Jewish men and women of Thüringen deported to Theresienstadt Ghetto where she died on 2 December 1942. Bella’s brother, Julius, lived in Hildburghausen until 1939. He married Lisbeth Nothmann in February 1939. He and his wife then lived in Berlin until 02 March 1943 when they were deported to Auschwitz.

The family of Bella’s ex-husband, Walter Blumenkron, was also extinguished: all were dead before Bella and Inge were deported to Belzyce; whether Walter or his mother knew of the fate of Inge, daughter of Walter and granddaughter of Bertha,  is unknown. On 7 September 1941, Walter’s mother, Bertha Blumenkron (née Meyberg) was deported from Kassel to Theresienstadt Ghetto; she was there but three weeks before being transported further to Treblinka Extermination Centre where she was murdered on arrival.

Walter was deported on 22 October 1941 with his second wife, Mathilde Schwarz. They were on the first transport from Köln and among the first cluster of deportations after the decision was taken to move German Jews to ghettos in the ‘east’.  In May 1942, Walter and Mathilde were sent to the first of the killing centres, Chelmno. The date of their murder is unknown.

In December 1941, Walter’s sister, Erna Eva Diekhoff, was deported from Naumburg to Riga Ghetto. Her husband, Herbert, and their two young children, Werner, and Edith.

Rainer Nickel, ,,Levy und Meyberg – Zwei jüdische Eschweger Hand werker- und Kauf mannsfamilien im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert,” Eschweger Geschichtsblätter, 29/2018, pp. 27-55
Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv; Wiesbaden, Deutschland; Bestand: 909; Signatur: 7048