In late 2008 I (the webmaster) was contacted by a man who had found this ShtetLinks site while researching his RECHNITZER family from Graz, Austria.  He thought there might be a connection between his family and the Moritz RECHNITZER family.  Thanks to a family history I had received about the RECHNITZER family, I was able to link the two families together!  A third connection has now been made as a result of this web site!  I am very grateful to have been the agent of this connection.  I can only hope that additional connections will continue to occur!

     Ignaz RECHNITZER was a brother to Moritz RECHNITZER, and a son of Jacob RECHNITZER (1781-1865) and Charlotte nee WOLF-SCHREIBER (1781-1864).  There were seven additional siblings: Rosa/Sali (married Vilmos KAUDERS, stayed in Körmend), Albert, Bernhard, Samuel (married Hermine ABELES, moved to Pápa), Babette (married Emanuel GRUNBAUM, stayed in Körmend), Salomon (moved to London via Szombathely and Vienna) and Herman.  Perhaps one day their descendants will also contact me and their families can also be added to this web site!

     According to the family history, Ignaz, contrary to the rest of the RECHNITZER clan, was short of stature.  He and Moritz attended the parochial gymnasium in Steinamanger (Szombathely).  Beginning with the 7th grade they were allowed to speak only Latin amongst themselves.  At that time in Hungary, the language of the government officials was Latin.  All government documents were in Latin.  Unfortunately, when their father Jacob became blind, both brothers had to leave school and return to Körmend to work in the soap factory.  Ignaz moved to Graz after 1867, and became a prosperous businessman.  He and his wife Cecilie (aka Charlotte/Lotti) UNKNOWN lived for a time in Milan, Italy, but returned to Graz, where they both died in their 70s, he from a stroke and she from pneumonia.

     Ignaz and Cecilie had three children--Julie, Edmund (1856-?) and Leontin (1853-1855).  Julie married a man with the surname of GOTTLIEB.  They moved to Milan, Italy and had a son and daughter.  The son later took on an Italian name and the daughter supposedly married into the Italian aristocracy.

     Edmund was a very talented man and a good pianist.  He was forced to study insurance law against his will and was married against his wish to Mathilde STRASSMANN, by all accounts a delightful woman.  The two fathers set the marriage in motion but overestimated each other's financial situation.  Edmund and Mathilde had three children, Irma (1884-194?, Lódz), Gertrud/Gerty (1885-1943, Auschwitz) and Wilhelm/William (1889-1966, San Francisco).  Edmund, used to "living it up", suddenly disappeared around 1890, when his youngest son was only an infant, as his father and father-in-law refused to continue to subsidize him and pay his debts.  Passenger records show his arrival in New York in 1890, but it is not known what became of him after that.

     After Edmund abandoned his family, Ignaz helped support his daughter-in-law and her three children.  Mathilde eventually remarried Dr. Paul NEURATH.

     Irma RECHNITZER married Theodor MENZEL (1876, Mistelbach - 1942, Lódz).  They had two sons and lived in Vienna.  One son died young of polio.  the other son, Franz (1912, Vienna - 1997, Melbourne), graduated with a degree in electrical engineering in 1933, and left the increasingly anti-Semitic Vienna for England where he worked his way from a trainee draughtsman to product engineer, designing electrical circuits.


Irma (nee RECHNITZER) and Theo MENZEL and their son Franz

    Irma and Theo hoped to escape Nazism, by moving from Vienna to Luxembourg, where they wanted to establish a wool export business.  They travelled periodically to see Franz, and Irma visited him for the last time in August 1939, rushing back to Luxembourg "because of the war", but they were then trapped.  She wrote to her niece <living> that "it is uncomfortable that we are here in Luxembourg as if in a mousetrap, having to wait to see whether the cat comes to eat us up."  Stranded, they apparently spent much of their time taking long walks, as Irma wrote to his sister Gertrud of a 20 km walk "every day", picking blackberries and mushrooms, which they unfortunately had no means to cook.  On October 18, 1941, they were deported to the Lódz/Litzmannstadt ghetto where they were interned along with Irma's second cousin Viktor RECHNITZER and his wife, also named Irma, who had been deported from Vienna.  See "RECHNITZER/Graz1" and "Two Irma Rechnitzers in Lódz" (links at bottom of the page) for more information on Viktor and Irma RECHNITZER.
, Theo MENZEL died in the Lódz ghetto on July 23, 1942, following a reported suicide attempt that broke his skull.  No record exists of Irma's death, though she must have been deported to Chelmno and murdered there in May 1942.
     In the meantime, Franz MENZEL had been interned in England in 1940 and was shipped to Australia on the infamous HMT Dunera.  Released, Franz returned to England in November 1941 and assisted the war effort.  Franz married Rachella (Relly) HOFFMANN in London in 1942, and they emigrated to Australia in 1947.  A devoted couple, Franz and Relly enjoyed classical music, live theatre, movies and going for drives.  After a long career designing control systems for power stations, Franz retired aged 72.  Interviewed in 1991 by the Hay Historical Society at a 50 year reunion of the Dunera Boys, Franz was quoted as saying "Australia [has been] very good to me, and we are really pleased we made the decision to come to Australia."  Franz and Relly both died in Melbourne, in 1997 and 2000 respectively.  Their ashes are buried with those of Relly's siblings whom they had joined in Australia.  See "More About Franz MENZEL" for additional information about Franz's life.  

     On 23rd June 1907, Gertrud RECHNITZER married the far older Arthur CHAT (1872-1942), whose first wife had died.  He had worked in Graz in the internationally active military uniform manufacturing company founded by his uncle by marriage Moritz Tiller.  A large amount of surviving table linen embroidered "GR" testify to a certain dowry, but whose funds paid for that is unknown.  The couple moved to Vienna at the time of the closure of the company's Graz branch (which coincided with the death of both of the couples' mothers in 1926), and began a clothing business from a workshop near the family home in Neubau, Vienna.  Unfortunately, Arthur and Gerty began by paying for fabric before they had received payment for the clothes, so when a large order was not paid for, they were bankrupted.  They resumed business under a different name, this time using fabric supplied by their customers for the shirts and pyjamas they made.  Gertrud and Arthur had three daughters. 
  1. The oldest, Martha (1908-1977) married Fritz FÜRNBERG (1906-1985), a chemical engineer.  In 1938 the couple moved to temporary accommodations in England before being allowed to move to Halesowen near Birmingham, where the job Fritz had found from Vienna with ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries) was located.  They took the family name of FURLEY and Fritz became known as Fred.  Martha taught French, like her mother had.  The couple later moved to Manningtree near Colchester, Essex.  Their one daughter, Heather FURLEY (1945-1998), married a man by the name of MARRIOTT, who also worked for ICI, but sadly she died childless after a more than 10 year battle with Multiple Sclerosis.
  2. The second daughter (b. 1914) trained in 1934-1936 in photography as the Graphische Lehr und Versuchsanstalt in Vienna while also studying mathematics, experimental physics, climatology and minerology at the faculty of philosophy at Vienna University.  She then attended a "training camp for emigration under the auspices of the Friends' Center in Vienna" and travelled to the United Kingdom with the assistance of the Quakers between the Anschluss and Kristallnacht.  After extracting herself from agricultural labor in the English countryside, she resumed her photographic calling in London as a portrait photographer and a freelance photojournalist for the famous Picture Post review, despite being refused permission by the Home Office to work as a freelance photographer.  It was during this work that she met her future husband, also a photographer.  They married and set up home in Barnet, North London.  They had a son and a daughter who in turn had two sons and a daughter and four sons, respectively.  In 1973 she obtained a diploma in film and television at the Hornsey College of Art in London, and upon her husband's retirement they moved to Wales in 1982.
  3. The youngest daughter, Edith (1917-1942), known as Didl or Ditz, stayed in Vienna to look after her parents, finding a little work to bring in some family income.  But she was taken from Vienna on the 14th of June, 1942 on the 27th transport from Vienna (the only one which went directly) to Sobibor.  About 950 of the 1000 deportees were gassed immediately after arrival.
        In April, 1941, Gertrud, Arthur and Edith were compelled to move to a smaller apartment in Vienna, and again later (with tragic irony) to the narrow street in central Vienna called Stoss im Himmel (literally, "push into heaven").  Because of this compression of living space, but also because he must have known what was about to befall them, Arthur put much of the family's belongings into storage in the names of his gentile niece and nephew Friedrich (Friedl) and Dorothea (Dorli) CHAT.  The stored trunks and their contents survived the war and were recovered by the second daughter in 1951 who still uses some of the china and glassware in her 95th year.  The table linen (see photo) from Gertrud's dowry is also available for use, although the bed linen is quite worn out!

                  Rechnitzer linen

table linen from dowry of Gertrud Rechnitzer, embroidered with "GR"

    Arthur and Gerty were seized in the presence of their niece by marriage, Emmi LÖBL (nee PERLSEE, 1905-1944, Auschwitz), on July 7th, 1942 and deported to Terezin, where Arthur died of cholera on December 29th, 1942.  Gertrud survived only until her transport to her murder in Auschwitz on January 23rd, 1943.  It is their grandson who contacted the webmaster about his possible RECHNITZER connections.

Gertrude and

                  Elisabeth and Edith

Gertrud (nee RECHNITZER) and Arthur CHAT
wedding portrait ca. 1906

the daughters of Gertrud and Arthur
Martha, living and Edith
Franz MENZEL, age 6; living, age 4; and Martha, age 11

     Wilhelm (Willy) RECHNITZER (1889-1966) became an attorney in Graz, married and had a daughter.  His wife's name may have been Rosa and their daughter was Hannah.  Though divorced from his wife sometime between 1938-1938, he nevertheless fled Austria with her and Hannah.  They went first to Colombia, then to the United States, where Willy settled first in Denver, then in San Francisco.  Hannah was known as Katherine in the U.S.

Willy and
                  Hannah and Rosa

Willy and

Willy, Hannah and Rosa (?) RECHNITZER

Willy RECHNITZER and Hannah

Anyone with information about this family please contact <>

Return to Körmend main page
More about Franz MENZEL
Two Irma Rechnitzers in Lódz

© 2009 Judy Petersen