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Biographical/Historical Information

Gertrud Luise Rosenfeld (nee Rose) was born in 1897 in Hanover. In the early 1920s she married Erich Rosenfeld, who owned a wood moldings factory. The couple then moved to Berlin and had two children, Arno and Ulli. The family planned to emigrate to flee Nazi rule. On September 26, 1938, Gertrud Rosenfeld commited suicide by overdosing on Veronal while staying in a hotel. After Kristallnacht, the two children, then aged 15 (Arno) and 14 (Ulli) were sent by their father with a children's transport to Holland. The boys lived in a refugee camp until the German invasion dispersed the group. Arno Rosenfeld survived the war by going into hiding, spending two years alone in an attic. Ulli Rosenfeld was caught in 1942 and deported to Auschwitz. Gertrud Rosenfeld's husband Erich Rosenfeld was able to emigrate to the US in 1942. He settled in Forest Hills, Queens, NY. Arno (1923-2015?) was reunited with his father in 1948, they were there the only survivors of the family.

Joseph or Josef Oppenheimer was a portrait painter, born in Würzburg, Germany. He studied at the Munich Academy of Art and traveled to Italy, London, and New York. He was friends with James Whistler, who persuaded him to join the Berlin Secession. He married his second cousin, Fanny, in 1908 and moved to Berlin. The couple emigrated to London once Hitler gained power in 1933, and Fanny made multiple trips back to Germany to get most of their possessions and his artwork. After his daughter married and moved to Canada, he split his time between Montreal and New York.

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Oppenheimer, Joseph: Portrait of Gertrud Luise Rosenfeld, Leo Baeck Institute, 2016.03.