Further On the trail of Mrs Flegenheim

Further research on Antoinette Flegenheim(er) first class passenger on the Titanic.


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Antoinette Flegenheim(er), née Berta Antonia Maria Wendt, divorced Antoinette White-Hurst – first class passenger on board of Titanic – new discoveries. 

At the end of 2015, I received a special kind of gift. Frau von Lojewski, a descendant of the family of Antoinette Flegenheim had found my article in the internet. She had known little about Berta Antonia Maria Wendt, but could now close a gap in her family research. She provided me with the dates of siblings and relatives. Working together, we were able to clarify some details of the family tree. Here I would like first to report about these and the joy we felt that Fr. v. Lojewski finally also found out the date of death of Antoinette White-Hurst – which I deal with later. The father of Berta Antonia Maria Wendt (from here A F) was been the Prussian royal forester Wilhelm Carl Ferdinand Wendt. The son of the royal forester Carl Ferdinand Wendt, he was born in October 1831 at Nothwendig estate, in the district of Czarnikau in the former Prussian governmental district Bromberg (now Bydgoszcz in Poland). He died on 9 March 1903 in Dalldorf near Berlin. There is a reference to his death below.

The mother of A F was Pauline Dorothea Wagner, born 1834 in Potsdam – she died on 3 March 1916 in Berlin-Adlershof. She had a brother, Friedrich Albert Wagner, born on 31 March 1832 in Potsdam who died on 23 September 1884 in Berlin-Kreuzberg. His profession was musical director. Their parents were the bookseller Johann Friedrich Wagner, born 1809 in Potsdam (died in Dalldorf about 1855) and Anna Dorothea Zimmermann, who was born at the forester’s house Rittel, in the district of Conitz in Pommerania – today Chojnice in Poland.

Wilhelm Carl Ferdinand Wendt and Pauline Dorothea Wagner married in 1855 and had seven children.

  1. Georg Leo Friedrich Wilhelm Wendt, born out of wedlock in 1853 in Potsdam. The documents say he was a publican and later forester at the “Alte Försterei” in Berlin-Adlershof. This forester’s house still exists and gave its name to the stadium of the football team “1. FC Union Berlin”. He married twice and died in 1918 in Berlin-Adlershof.
  2. Margarethe Martha Hedwig Wendt, born 1858 at the forester’s house in Dreilinden near Berlin, died 1898 in Berlin. She married the manufacturer, and for some time, local politician, Carl Eduard Liebe. They had two children – Susanne Pauline Auguste Else Liebe and Carl Eduard Curt Liebe, born 25 October 1887, died 6 November 1940 in Hartheim. (see below for the circumstances of his death).
  3. Auguste Ottilie Therese Wendt, born 1861 in Gandenitz, district of Templin, died 1864 through accidental drowning.
  4. Berta Antonia Maria Wendt (A F), born 11 May 1863 in Himmelpfort, district of Templin.
    She married on 1 November 1890 in Manhattan, New York, Alfed Flegenheimer (born 28 December 1869 in Frankfurt on Main). He died relatively young on 23 November 1907 in New York and his body was transferred to Frankfurt to be buried there. The family name of Flegenheimer is to be found quite often amongst Jewish families in Hesse and the Palatinate. His parents came from Frankfurt. On 31 December 2015 a  Herr Szanckower from the Jewish cemeteries administration in Frankfurt phoned, and told me that he was buried on 2 February 1908 in the cemetery at Rat-Beil-Straße 10 (row 46 D, 528). A F had married again to a British officer White-Hurst but was divorced.
    Collection Abilio Dias Ferreira
  5. Juliane Johanna (Henny) Wendt, born 1866 in Himmelpfort. She was married to the actor and         stage manager Johann Friedrich August Hermann Dieckhoff. He had been adopted and was given the name of the well-known actor’s family. In former East Germany, there was an actor bearing this name. She was the one who has been mixed up with her sister Antonia, by a reporter of the Berliner Lokalanzeiger when he carried out his research on who was the Berlin-Charlottenburg female passenger on board of Titanic. In the same newspaper I had found a photo of A F. The actor was been born on 3 February 1844 in Berlin and died there on 27 December 1910. The couple had an apartment very close to the A F’s Charlottenburg address in Windscheidstraße.

  6. Collection Gerhard Schmidt-Grillmeier
    A F  had lived during her stays in Berlin at the apartment on the left side.
  7. Alexander Otto Wendt, born 1867 in Himmelpfort, died 1888 in the hospital of Berlin-Friedrichshain.
  8. Anna Elisabeth Hermine Wendt, born 1871 in Berlin, married to Richard Rudolf Max Wüst, born 1867, date of death unknown. Her second husband was a Mr Schürger and she died on 30 November 1943 in Frankfurt. Her daughter from the first marriage was Margarethe Toni Johanna Wüst, born 1890 in Berlin – she had married in 1938 in Frankfurt. One can assume that A F later went to Frankfurt to live with her only surviving sister.

Their father’s occupation of forester meant that the family moved as he was assigned to work in different Prussian regions. Unfortunately I learnt during my recent research that an American firm for genealogic research used my discoveries about A F and her parents, siblings and husbands (sometimes even using the same identical explanations of my previous article about A F) but using a different name than mine. I wrote asking them why they were not using my name as the source - no answer!

Paul Elliot Whitehurst’s relative Jane Lowe had sent me photos of him (Americans used the form of White-Hurst which was also used by A F.

Collection Jane Lowe

Now about the tragic events of the family.

It is striking that A F’s grandfather from her mother’s line Johann Friedrich Wagner, died in Dalldort as did her father Wilhelm Carl Ferdinand Wendt. Dalldorf was later re-named Wittenau (after Witte a former mayor of this village). It was known as the location of a “lunatic asylum” – the later Karl-Bonhoeffer-Nervenklinik in Berlin-Reinickendorf (district Wittenau). The patients’ documents do not exist any more – so one can only guess what kind of illness they were suffering from. A conclusion could be that in the case of A F’s nephew, Carl Eduard Curt Liebe, who had suffered from hereditary epilepsy. At that time treatment for epilepsy was quite poor.

From Frau von Lojewski I learnt, A F had, on her frequent visits to Europe, visited her family members. She also invited her nephew C E C Liebe to New York and they travelled in 1897 on the Fürst Bismarck .This misled some American researchers and they thought her maiden name was “Liche” – they had read the passengers documents as Liche instead of Liebe. It took some effort, to explain and convince, for example Encyclopedia Titanica, about the correct maiden name of A F. Unfortunately “Antoinette Flegenheim, née Liche” is still wandering around in the internet.

Carl Eduard Curt Liebe must have died under terrible circumstances. Because of the euthanasia programme of the criminal National Socialist regime, he was murdered on 6 November 1940 in the National Socialist killing institution Hartheim. He had lived in Munich. A F who had lived in Munich too – in 1923 at Nibelungenstraße 30 (today Arnulfstraße 300), in 1928 at Menzinger Straße 17 (today 71) in 1938 at Nibelungenstraße 90 and until 1939 at Kaulbachstraße 22. She left Munich in 1939.

address book Munich 1938 –

Collection G. Schmidt-Grillmeier

It is possible she went to live near her sister Anna Elisabeth Hermine Schürger and her niece Margarethe Toni Johanna Wüst in Frankfurt on Main. From the Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt I got the information that Antoinette White-Hurst lived from 1941 until her death in 1943 at Guiolettstraße 34.

Guiolettstraße 34, Frankfurt/Main - Collection D. v. Lojewski

As can seen below, Frau von Lojewski found out when Berta Antonia Maria White-Hurst (Antoinette Flegenheim - White-Hurst) had died. This can be seen as drawing the final line under research on the former so-called “society queen” and wife of a “diamond king”.

With the help of Herr Schlüter and Herr Hausmann from the City of Frankfurt/Main administration it was possible to find the burial places of Antoinette White-Hurst as well of her nephew Kurt (Curt) Liebe. She probably got the funeral urne with his ashes (but usually it is not sure whose ash was in it) from the “killing institution” Hartheim. Anyway both urnes were at the mausoleum IV N 9 at the Frankfurt Central Cemetery. Juliane Johanna Dickhoff (Henny) took care of it. After the end of the burial time in 1976 her urn was taken from the mausoleum to a burial place VI 23 c at the same cemetery – but this does not exist any more.

With permission of  Harald Fester.

Collection Friedhofsverwaltung Stadt Frankfurt/Main

Gerhard Schmidt-Grillmeier

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Antoinette Flegenheim

Comment and discuss

  1. Jeffrey M. Kern said:

    Has anybody figured out Mrs Flegenheim's maiden name? Much thanks to those that know.

  2. Gavin Bell said:

    Does anyone know Antoinette's age in 1912 or what became of her? Thanks Cameron

  3. Jeffrey M. Kern said:

    I saw listed in some book that her age was 47. I was told by Phillip Gowan that it is believed she died in Europe as a Mrs White Hurst or Whitehurst. Hopefully somebody has learned more now.

  4. Jaques said:

    Wasn't she the friend of Leo and Blanche Greenfield?

  5. Jeffrey M. Kern said:

    That is a good question. She was probably friends with Mrs Ryerson, a fellow Philadelphia passenger. Mrs Flegenheim was from Philadelphia, although she did not give out her address and refused to be interviewed.

  6. Michael Findlay said:

    Dear Jeffrey and others, Charles Haas, John Eaton and myself learned in 1985 that Mrs. Flegenheim was Mrs. P. E. White-Hurst in 1913. By the time she filed her claim against the White Star Line, she had evidently remarried and was living back in Europe. Mrs. Flegenheim was a friend of Mrs. Greenfield, but I know of no connection between she and Mrs. Ryerson. Mrs. Flegenheim lived in Philadelphia for a time but lived mainly in New York City and Europe. I'm sorry to say that I don't know what became of Antoinette Flegenheim after the disaster. Descendants of the Greenfield family... Read full post

  7. Jeffrey M. Kern said:

    Thank you for the information. I wish you guys the best in tracking her down even further!

  8. Brian Ahern said:

    Has anyone ever been able to dig up more info on the elusive Mrs. F? All I know is what's on this site - that she was a wealthy widow in her late forties who had immigrated from Germany with her husband while in her twenties, that she divided her time between Europe and the USA, was friends with the Greenfields, and married an Englishman named White-Hurst in late 1912. Threads have been started on this topic a few times over the years. At one point, valiant researchers even went so far as to scour the names of World War II concentration camp prisoners on the supposition that she was Jewish... Read full post

  9. Randy Bryan Bigham said:

    Daniel Klistorner has info on this lady as, of course, does Phil Gowan and Brian Meister. Daniel shared her White Star Line claim with me, so I can tell you she had some fine clothes and jewelry with her on Titanic!

  10. Brian Ahern said:

    Thanks, Randy. That's something at least. And it's not surprising that she treated herself to the finer things. I have the impression (albeit based on very little) that she was someone who got out and about and enjoyed life. I suppose the others are saving what they know for the book, which is fair enough. Thanks again, Brian

  11. Sally Sorour said:

    Brian , when will this book come out and where can I get a copy?

  12. Brian Ahern said:

    Sorry to get your hopes up Sally. I meant that there are those on this site who have much as-yet-unrecorded info on various passengers - including, perhaps, Antoinette Flegenheim - who have a book in the works that won't be coming out for a long while. The rest of us just have to sit tight, which ain't easy! All the best, Brian

  13. avatar

    Phillip Gowan said:

    Brian and Sally, Estimating a date of publication isn't really a cut and dry deal. We actually have plenty of never before made public information, photos, etc. and could go ahead and publish very quickly. But the dilemma is that we keep finding new (and sometimes important) information and documentation on a regular basis and that sort of keeps us continuing on in the research mode. Having retired slightly over a year ago, I spent this year traveling extensively on several continents and meeting unusual Titanic families in remote places (sometimes even traveling through mountain snowstorms... Read full post

  14. Gerhard Schmidt said:

    Flegenheim(er) Antoinette, née Liche, later remarried Whitehurst, was the only passenger from Berlin, Germany. There she was born in May 1871. In the Berlin address books of this time I found several Liches but no indication which would have been her father. In 1891 and also in Berlin she married Alfred Flegenheimer (probably from Frankfurt/Main) and they went to New York City in 1892. They had no children. The mother of Mr Flegenheimer lived in Berlin, Regentenstrasse 2. He had a brother Hermann Flegenheimer (born 1878 in Frankfurt/Main) who was in film business (according to an exhibition... Read full post

  15. Thorsten Totzke said:

    Wow Gerhard

  16. Martin Williams said:

    Brian, I have a little nugget of information relating to the elusive Antoinette Flegenheim which might possibly provide you with a new lead in your research. A few years ago, I read Friederich Reck-Malleczewan's devastasting and savage wartime diaries. In effect one of the most brilliantly written and utterly damning indictments of the Nazi regime in existence, it is not perhaps the first source one would turn to for information on the 'Titanic'. Nevertheless, in one of his entries for 1942 or '43, Reck-Malleczewan records meeting in Berlin a 'Titanic' survivor, a lady, who told him that,... Read full post

  17. Brian Ahern said:

    That is fascinating, Martin. It's difficult to imagine who the lady could have been. If it was Mrs. Flegenheim, perhaps she wasn't Jewish after all? And perhaps she was only the widow or ex-wife of an Englishman by that point? Otherwise, the only first class passenger I can think of who might have been able to travel round Germany with impunity (i.e. belonging to a neutral country) is Mrs. Lindstroem. And there is nothing in that lady's history (or what we know of it) to indicate that she had German relatives or any other reason for being there at such a time.

  18. Martin Williams said:

    Of course, it might not be a first class passenger at all. I'm basing that assumption purely on the fact that Reck-Malleczewan himself was of aristocratic birth and so presumably tended to associate more with people of his own class. From reading the diaries of Marie 'Missie' Vasiltchikov, I know that the status of Jews (of mixed parentage, at any rate) and alien nationals in wartime Berlin - or at least in what passed for 'Society' under the Nazi regime - was not as cut-and-dried as we might assume. Nevertheless, I still think it likely that this woman was Antoinette Flegenheim in old... Read full post

  19. Daniel Klistorner said:

    Martin There was an interview published in May 1912 where Mrs Flegenheim gave a fairly detailed (and in my opinion very interesting) account of the sinking. She did not mention any stewards circulating and giving out sandwiches. Then again, and perhaps this is only a minor note, in her claim she mentions going to the Purser's Office twice to request her valuables, but in the account only mentions it once. Given the reasonable detail in her account, I found it surprising that she only mentioned going there once. Perhaps she really only went once and exaggerated this in her claim by... Read full post

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Encyclopedia Titanica (2016) Further On the trail of Mrs Flegenheim (Titanica!, ref: #20164, published 15 April 2016, generated 24th July 2021 04:49:28 PM); URL : https://www.encyclopedia-titanica.org/further-on-the-trail-of-mrs-flegenheim.html