Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research

Login

Register

Help

Skip to main content

Ink sketch of a single tree on a coastline created by a German Jewish female designer

Object | Accession Number: 2005.546.101

Search this record's additional resources, such as finding aids, documents, or transcripts.

No results match this search term.
Check spelling and try again.

results are loading

0 results found for “keyward

    Overview

    Brief Narrative
    Ink drawing of a tree on a shoreline with a house in the distance created by Nelly Rossmann in Frankfurt, Germany, in 1934. Nelly was a graphic designer for the Frankfurter Zeitung, a progressive newspaper in Frankfurt, when Hitler was appointed Chancellor on January 30, 1933. Antisemitic legislation soon took away the rights of Jews. Nelly was a Quaker, but she had been born Jewish, and in 1935, she was fired due to a decree that Jews could not work in publishing. Nelly taught children crafts to support her 5 year old son, Michael. After the Kristallnacht pogrom in November 1938, her parents left for England, but Nelly still had strong pro-German feelings and was not ready to leave her country. In 1939, she and Michael went to England to visit her family; while they were there, Germany invaded Poland and war broke out. They remained in England and, after the war ended in May 1945, she became a British citizen.
    Artwork Title
    Lone Tree on the Shore
    Date
    creation:  1934
    Geography
    creation: Frankfurt am Main (Germany)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Michael G. Rossmann
    Signature
    front, right corner, black ink : Rossmann / 34
    Contributor
    Artist: Nelly S. Rossmann
    Subject: Nelly S. Rossmann
    Michael G. Rossmann
    Biography
    Nelly (Cornelia) Bertha Schwabacher was born on February 14, 1899, in Frankfurt, Germany to Anna Cahn and Heinrich Schwabacher. Her father, a merchant and dealer in rare coins, was from a large, wealthy, prominent Jewish family which had lived in Frankfurt for generations. She had an older brother, William (Willy) Heinrich, born in 1897. The family was assimilated and liberal, and considered themselves Germans. Her maternal grandfather, Adoph E. Cahn, was a prominent coin dealer and the family had been established in the area for generations. On January 30, 1930, Nelly married Alexandre Sasha Rossmann, a member of a wealthy, non-Jewish family from Wiesbaden. Their son, Michael, was born on July 30. Alexandre’s father was a professor and principal of the local Gymnasium. His mother was extremely antisemitic and refused to speak to Nelly. His brother, Bruno, was a dedicated Nazi Party member. Despite the family's anti-Semitism, Nelly and Alexandre's son, Michael, often had enjoyable family visits with his father's family. Nelly and Alexandre divorced in 1933 and Nelly and her son lived with her parents. Her mother looked after the child when Nelly started to work full time as a graphic artist for the Frankfurter Zeitung, a highly respected democratic and intellectual newspaper published since 1866. Around this time, Nelly, a pacifist, became a member of the Society of Quakers.
    On January 30, 1933, Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany. By summer, the Nazi dictatorship was firmly established: the civil rights of all Germans were eliminated and anti-Jewish laws had been enacted. Jews were no longer allowed to work in government positions and there were restrictions placed upon their participation in other areas of economic and cultural life in Germany. In 1935, Nelly was fired from Der Zeitung due to a government decree that Jews could not work in the publishing industry. To support her family, she opened a crafts studio where she gave lessons to Jewish children. Michael began school in 1935, attending a Jewish school his first year and then transferring to a public school. As a Mischling [mixed race] boy with a Jewish mother, Michael was frequently mistreated in school. Shortly after the Kristallnacht pogrom on November 9-10, 1938, Nelly sent Michael to the Netherlands to attend a Quaker school. He returned to Frankfurt in the summer of 1939 after the school term was finished. He learned that his mother’s parents had left for England to escape the increasing anti-Jewish persecutions. They stayed with Nelly's maternal aunt, who had emigrated there in the early 1930s. Nelly still had strong pro-German feelings and was not ready to leave.
    In July 1939, Nelly and Michael buried the family silverware in the garden and went to England to visit Nelly’s mother. Shortly before Michael was to go back to school in Holland, Germany invaded Poland and World War II began. Michael and Nelly remained in England, living with her aunt’s family. Nelly was able to get work as a graphic desiger for Dei Zeitung, a London based German newspaper headed by a former board member of the Frankfurter Zeitung, but life was very difficult during the war. Nelly, Anna, and Michael were able to move into their own flat in North Finchley, but as the Blitz, with its frequent German bombing raids of London, continued, they had to evacuate to Hartfordshire for several months. Nelly also did social work in settlement houses in London’s East End. After the war ended in May 1945, Nellie and Michael stayed in London and became British citizens. Michael received his Ph.D in Chemical Crystallography from the University of Glasgow in 1956 and pursed a career in academia. He married Audrey Pearson, and they immigrated to the United States in by the early 1960s, settling in Lafayette, Indiana. Nelly died in 1957 at the age of 58.
    Michael G. Rossmann was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, on July 30, 1930, to Alexander Rossmann and Nelly Schwabacher. His mother came from a wealthy family that had lived in Frankfurt for several generations where they were part of a sizable Jewish community. They were reform minded and assimilated and considered themselves Germans. His maternal grandfather, Heinrich Schwabacher, was a merchant and a dealer in rare coins. His father’s family was also wealthy, but he was not Jewish and was from Wiesbaden. His paternal grandfather was a professor and principal of the local Gymnasium. His paternal grandmother was extremely antisemitic and refused to speak with Michael’s mother. His father’s brother, Bruno, was a dedicated Nazi Party member. But Michael regularly had pleasant visits with his father’s family, even after his parents divorced in 1933. He lived with his mother and her parents and was cared for by his maternal grandmother, Anna Cahn Schwabacher, when his mother went to her job at Der Frankfurter Zeitung. She was a graphic artist for the newspaper, which was a well established publication with a reputation for being democratic and intellectually progressive. Around this time, Nelly, a pacifist, became a member of the Society of Quakers.

    On January 30, 1933, Hitler was elected Chancellor of Germany. By summer, the Nazi dictatorship was established and the civil rights of all Germans were eliminated and anti-Jewish laws were enacted. In 1935, Nelly was fired from the Frankfurter Zeitung due to a government decree that Jews could not work in the publishing industry. To support her family, she opened a crafts studio where she gave lessons to Jewish children. Michael began school in 1935, attending a Jewish school his first year and then transferring to a public school. As a Mischling [mixed race] boy, Michael was horribly mistreated in school. He had a teacher who hit him with rulers and denigrated him in front of the class. He was often chased and teased with antisemitic taunts and received daily beatings.

    In December 1938, not long after the violent anti-Jewish pogrom on Kristallnacht on September 9-10, Michael was sent to a Quaker school in the Netherlands. The Palestine Trusteeship Corporation helped to transfer the tuition money from his mother in Germany. He returned to his mother in the summer of 1939 to learn that her parents had left for England. Nelly had stayed behind because she still had very strong pro-German feelings and di not want to abandon her country. But that July, Michael helped his mother bury the family silverware in a friend’s backyard and they left for England where they joined Nelly’s mother and her aunt, who had emigrated there in 1935. Michael was going to return to the Quaker school in Holland but in September 1939, Germany invaded Poland and World War II began. The first months in England were very difficult. They had to evacuate London because of the Blitz with its frequent, intensive bombing raids by the Germans. Michael had to begin school without knowing any English. However, his mother was able to get him a scholarship to a Quaker boarding school where he would thrive for the next six years. His family remained in England after the war ended in May 1945. That year, Michael and his mother became British citizens.
    Michael received a doctorate in Chemical Crystallography in 1956 and pursued an academic career in the United States and Great Britain before settling in the US and becoming an American citizen. Michael and his wife, Audrey, have three children. His mother died in London in 1957. His father passed away in the 1990s.

    Physical Details

    Classification
    Art
    Category
    Drawings
    Physical Description
    Drawing in ink over pencil on paper. In the center is a single gnarled tree with sparse straight dashes of foliage on the top limbs. It stands on a shoreline represented by a single horizontal line matched by a line in the distant horizon. On the left is a cliff with a house on top and outlines of hills on the right. The artist's signature and date are in the lower right corner.
    Dimensions
    overall: Height: 8.125 inches (20.638 cm) | Width: 10.625 inches (26.988 cm)
    Materials
    overall : paper, ink, graphite

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    Provenance
    The drawing was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2005 by Michael G. Rossmann, the son of Nelly Rossmann.
    Record last modified:
    2023-07-10 10:37:14
    This page:
    https:​/​/collections.ushmm.org​/search​/catalog​/irn518033

    Download & Licensing

    In-Person Research

    Contact Us