Much of the following is taken from remarks made by "Opapa" Eugen Pollak
and his first cousin Dr. Emmerich (Imre) RECHNITZER regarding their families.

     Family legend holds that the RECHNITZER family originated in Spain.  Sometime around the 15th century, an immigration began which took this family, as well as many others, via Italy to the Austro-Hungarian area of the Hapsburg Empire.  They eventually sojourned in the town of Rechnitz, where Count Batthyany permitted migrants to live and work on his land and pay taxes to him for this privilege.  The family's Spanish name was dropped as the ruling monarchy would only accept Hungarian or German names.  The Batthyany family had a number of castles, including one in Körmend.  It is speculated the RECHNITZER family assumed their name after departing Rechnitz, first for Sümeg, then for Körmend.

      Moritz RECHNITZER (1821-1912) of Körmend, son of Jacob RECHNITZER and Charlotte WOLF-SCHREIBER  was a soap and brick manufacturer.  His wife, Johanna AGLAR (1831-1911), was the daughter of Benedikt AGLAR and Terez (aka Kata?) KAUDERS.  Benedikt was a wealthy tanner who employed 12 artisans and several apprentices.  He also owned a banking firm and his Sephardic family had roots in Salonika, Greece.  Oil portraits painted around the 1840s show Jacob and Charlotte to be rather well-to-do for the time:  Jacob had a heavy gold chain over his vest and Charlotte wore a violet silk dress with a large gold and lapiz brooch.  Physically, in general the RECHNITZERS tended to be tall and blond, and their son Moritz was no exception.  Moritz was very accomplished as a soap and candle maker and became the master of his guild.  He also served as the gabbai for the synagogue, owned a small farm and brick kiln, had a hospital built for the town and paid for the education of poor but gifted Jewish boys.

     Moritz and Johanna had five children: Ignacz (1848-1920), Regina (1850-1881), Miksa (Max, 1851-1918), Mayer Edmund (Ödön, 1852-1905) and Herman (1854-1908). 
     Ignacz followed in his father's footsteps, became a soap manufacturer and moved to Zalaegerszeg.  He married Regina SCHWARZ.  They had two sons, Jenõ and Istvan, who both changed their surname to REVESZ.

     Regina, a very stately woman, married Ignatz POLLAK (1843-1925).  Their eldest son Salamon (1871-1923) changed his first name to Friedrich Solomon and his surname to PALLIN.  Younger son Jenõ (1872-1963) became Eugen.  Both sons were born in Szombathely and the family later moved to Graz, Austria. 
Ignatz was a very religious man and was head of the Jewish congregation in Graz.  Regina contracted either a kidney or heart ailment after the birth of her second son and died at the age of thirty-one.  Friedrich married Olga MAUTHNER and co-owned a grain trading company and an electric milling company with his father, and was the Counsel of the Chamber of Commerce in Graz.  He received the title "Kommerzialrat" as the State Railroad Counsel for the Ministry of Railroads in Vienna.  In WWI he served  as a reserve Lieutenant in the Balkans, where he contracted pernicious anemia.  He eventually succumbed to this ailment, a tragedy as it is a treatable illness today.  Olga perished in Maly Trostinec, a small ghetto just east of Minsk and the site of the Einsatzgruppe (mobile killing unit) massacre of some 4,000 Jews.  Eugen became an ear, nose and throat physician in Graz and later was the Medical Counsel Primarius at the Rothschild Hospital in Vienna from 1939-1946.  He and his wife Charlotte, nee PLACHTE, survived the entire period of Nazi occupation in Vienna.  During the last days of the battle for Vienna, when both the Russians and Germans bombarded the city, Charlotte caught a lung infection and died in 1945.  Eugen moved to the United States, where his daughter lived, in 1946.

Dr. Eugen Pollak
Charlotte Plachte Pollak
Dr. Eugen Pollak
Charlotte Plachte Pollak

     Max operated an iron and specialty shop.  He married Fanny BLAU (1856-1923), a woman poetic in nature and a good pianist.  Their children were Elvira (1878-1942), Imre (Emmerich, 1880-1966?), Olga (1882-1942), Viktor (aka Gyözö, 1886-1942) and Elsa (1896-1943).  Max had a series of business reversals and succumbed to complications from the Spanish Flu in 1918.  Of Max and Fanny's children, only Emmerich survived the Holocaust. 
          Viktor, a blonde, married the equally blonde Irma UNKNOWN (1887-?).  They lived in Vienna.  Their daughter Lizzi (1922-1946) escaped to England on a Kindertransport in February 1939 at the age of 16.  She married Horace Edwin CHANT, an engineer, in London in 1942 and they may have moved to Bournemouth.  Lizzi died in 1946, probably of meningitis, at the age of 24, a sadly short marriage and life.  According to the notes on their daughter's Kindertransport  file, Viktor and Irma hoped to emigrate to a neutral country.  However, that was not to be.  Viktor and Irma were deported from Vienna Oct. 19, 1941 to the Lódz/Lichtmannstadt Ghetto, where Viktor contracted typhus and/or tuberculosis.  Though scheduled for deportation from Lódz to Chelmno, Irma sought successfully to delay their deportation due to Viktor's illness by securing a physician's affidavit that her husband was "permanently bedridden and so weak that he cannot be transported without endangering his life" and that furthermore "for his care the presence of his wife is necessary".  But Viktor died May 7th, 1942 and so Irma  requested another delay to attend her husband's funeral, for which she received a reprieve of only a few days.  It is assumed that Irma was deported to Chelmno around May 11th, and murdered there. 
          Ironically, Viktor and Irma RECHNITZER were in Lódz at the same time as Viktor's second cousin, Irma (nee RECHNITZER) and Theo MENZEL.  See "Two Irma Rechnitzers at Lódz" for more about this sad coincidence and "RECHNITZER/Graz2" (link at the bottom of the page) for more information about Irma and Theo MENZEL.
          Max's children Elvira, Elsa, Olga and three of Emmerich's six children all perished in concentration camps.  A fourth child, a charming girl with a sunny disposition, died of tuberculosis of the brain at a young age.  Emmerich's two surviving sons were both able to leave Austria for the United States prior to the war in 1938, where they became successful in their respective professions of ophthalmology and mechanical engineering.

     Edmund, an industrialist and a particularly handsome man, the only one of the siblings with black hair, married Ida STOLZER.  Their children were Vilma, b. 1888, Irma, b. 1889 and Anna, b. 1891.  Vilma married Aron GABOR, a high school professor, in Körmend in 1914, and they moved to Timisoara, now Romania.  Irma perished in a concentration camp, and Anna married Police Captain von ROHENCZY of Szombathely.  Anna survived the war and lived out her life as a pensioner in Hungary.

     Herman married Joanna SCHLENGER.  They were childless.

n several nice instances of genealogical synchronicity, Eugen POLLAK's granddaughter and the webmaster of this site lived in the same neighborhood, used to belong to the same synagogue, and have mutual friends, though they didn't know it until they collaborated on this project!  In another twist of genealogic fate, Eugen's cousin Emmerich RECHNITZER's grandson lives in the same town as the webmaster, and they had the opportunity to meet recently.  Eugen's granddaughter and Emmerich's grandson had lost track of each other--indeed, Emmerich's grandson had no idea of the existence of his 3rd cousin, as dates on a family tree erroneously indicated her birth year as the year of her death.  When each of these descendants independently contacted the webmaster in order to participate in this project, the webmaster immediately recognized their connection and was able to re-unite this family!

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Two Irma Rechnitzers in Lódz

© Copyright 2008 Judy Petersen

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