The Jewish Blank family in Horn

Historic remarks for a speech by Eberhard Block, mayor of Horn-Bad Meinberg, 17.11.2013

David Blank (1817-1886) moved from Gestorf near Hanover first to Remmighausen and in 1858 to Horn. He bought an historic half-timber house built in 1680 addressed at corner Mittelstraße/Im Orte and started a career as a landowner, farmer and corn dealer.

David Blank was married two times (since 1852 with Anna Hochheimer from Steinheim, Westphalia, since her death from 1867 with Rahel Abrahamson from Gestorf). From both marriages there were totally 9 children of which two died in the age of babyhood. With the exception of the eldest daughter all children were born in Horn.

David Blank probably was a successful businessman. At the time of the great fire in Horn in 1864 (every 3rd house in the historic town was destroyed) he was the owner of Kotzenbergscher Hof (then known as “Blankscher Hof”, “Blank’s court”), today Marktplatz 1. He offered this house for 12.000 Taler to the city government as an alternative to the burnt down town hall. Stadtsyndicus (the municipal lawyer, a kind of city clerk) Franz Hausmann supported the offer massively, but the alderman refused and built today’s town hall for an amount of 20.000 Taler.

In 1878 David Blank sold the property to the hatter Heinrich Vialon, whose family ran it as a hotel for more than one century.

After the death of David Blank apparently Julius Blank, the only son from the first marriage, ran the family business. He died in 1906 at the age of 43 years.

Then the 1873 born Salli Blank takes over the corn trade and grocery. His first name Salli often is misinterpreted as an abbreviation for Salomon, but in fact in all documents he is named as “Salli” and his last will he also signed with that name.

1907 Salli Blank marries Grete Eichenberg from Adelebsen. They become parents of 3 children, Albert (born 1909), Fritz (born 1914) and Hildegard (born 1923).

Between the years 1910-1912 Salli pulls down the half-timber house which was bought by his father (other sources date the pull down to 1907). He builds a new and representative residence and business house in the style of historicism what is typically for this period.
Preserved construction drawings from 1928 show a rich decorated veneer and voluted gables inspired from the Renaissance. Business premises at the ground floor are located behind big arched windows and an octagonal turret at the outer edge of the building.
Therefore it was the reason that this modern and remarkable building was known as “Blanks Ecke” (“Blank’s corner”) until the younger days.

Already in 1933 the family becomes a victim of the arising antisemitism. The high-school graduate Fritz Blank is to be pressured to wear a discriminating and insulting sign. He was tortured in the fire station. Therefore he emigrates at the age of just 19.
First he goes to France, later to Switzerland. He takes two doctoral degrees at the Technical University Zürich, one in botany and one in chemistry. Later he lives and works in Canada, at last in Philadelphia / USA, where he dies in 1977.
His brother Albert lives in Horn until 1938, then he emigrates to Buenos Aires / Argentina, where he dies also in 1977.

In Horn the antisemitism is rising during the Nazi dictatorship.
In 1935 the windows of the Blanks building are bashed in.
In the Pogrom Night (09.11.1938) the whole building is devastated and the family is tortured heavily.
After 80 years in Horn, consequently the Blank family moves to their house in Bielefeld. From there the family is deported in August 1942 to CC Theresienstadt.
Salli Blank dies in the same year in October, in April 1944 Grete Blank also dies.
The 21 year old common daughter Hildegard and Salli Blanks sister Ida are murdered in CC Auschwitz in 1944.

Documents about the Blank building from this period are unknown.
In the 1950 years the building is owned by the municipal bank of Horn. It is modernized in plain post-war architecture. They build another story and the appearance is totally modified.
The today’s owner family purchases the house in 1971.

by Martin Heim, in November 2013


Gladys and David Blank’s Genealogy,,
including there cited sources
Vennefrohne, Der große Brand in Horn 1864 und seine Folgen, Horn-Bad Meinberg 1994
Isermann, Nachrichten und Notizen über die Stadt Horn …, bearbeitet von Vennefrohne, Horn-Bad Meinberg 1977
Construction files, Stadt Horn-Bad Meinberg
translated by Doris Heim