Our Vogel and Weinmann Immigrants from  Plauen, Germany to the United States

Part 3 - Max Weinmann Arrives in Springfield (1924) and Later Moves to Detroit, Michigan


 Richard Vogel took his wife and daughter back to Germany to visit in 1922.  During this trip they undoubtedly invited some of their relatives to join them in America.  After returning to the United States they probably continued to offer such encouragement by mail.  One family that listened closely was that of Richard’s sister Ida and her husband Andreas Weinmann from Bitterfeld, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany. 

The Andreas Weinmann family
Standing: Max, Johanna, Anna, and Andreas Paul Weinmann
Seated: Ida and Andreas Weinmann

Andreas had been born and raised in Bohemia in the Austro-Hungarian empire (now part of the Czech Republic), but Ida was a native of Plauen so they lived there early in their marriage and that was where some of their children were born.  In 1906, he and his family emigrated to Brazil.  His reasons for doing so are unclear.  His granddaughter passed on the story that he held an Austrian government diplomatic post in Brazil, but ship passenger lists show him as an agricultural laborer.  Perhaps he held a minor post reporting back to the Austrian government about the agricultural colonies in Sao Paulo district populated largely by people of Germanic heritage.  Many of these German agricultual colonies were coffee plantations, but it is not known if this was the case for the colony in which the Weinmanns lived.

His children spent most of their childhood in Brazil, with occasional visits back home, and learned to speak Portuguese.  We also know that the family acquired a parrot named Lora who lived in the the Weinmann home for decades after they permanently returned to Europe.  One of their visits to Europe occurred in 1913 and that they stayed that time at Prommenhof, a town just over the border from Germany in the German-speaking part of Bohemia (then part of Austria-Hungary, but becoming part of Czechoslovakia after World War I). Prommenhof was eventually given the Czech name Broumov and appears today on maps under that name.  Andreas had been born in the village of Neuhaimhausen, just outside of Prommenhof, in 1880 and presumably still had family living there.

On October 25, 1913, the Weinmanns sailed back from the port of Bremen in Germany to Rio de Janeiro on the ship Sierra Cordoba.  The SS Sierra Cordoba was a brand new Norddeutscher Lloyd passenger and cargo ship completed earlier in the year with accommodations for 116 first class, 74 second class and 1,270 "between decks" passengers. A significant population of German immigrants in southern Brazil and continuing additions to that group undoubtedly provided many of the passengers for these sailings between Germany and Brazil.

When the Weinmanns arrived in Rio de Janeiro on November 18, their two-and-a-half year old daughter Elsa was found to have the measles.  Perhaps other family members did also, and they all had certainly been exposed.  Health officials refused to allow the family to proceed to their Brazilian home and held them at Ilha das Flores (an immigration center roughly equivalent to New York City's Ellis Island).  Elsa's case continued to worsen so the doctors moved her to Hospital de São Sebastião where she died on December 15.  The family buried her in São Francisco Xavier Cemetery in Rio de Janiero.

Less than a year after the Weinmann family arrived back in Brazil events occurred which forced a permanent return to Europe.  The assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand on 28 June 1914 set off a chain of events that led to the start of the first World War in early August 1914.  Even before the outbreak of fighting, the Austrian government recalled Andreas Weinmann to serve in their army.  The family moved back to Europe and settled in the German town of Bitterfeld, a town closer to Leipzig and quite a bit further north than Plauen.  Presuambly some of Ida's family lived in this area.  At some point during the time Andreas was serving in the Austian army, his oldest son Andreas Paul enlisted in the German Army.

Wartime is often a time of hardship for both soldiers and civilians.  In the case of Germany and Austria, the war's end did not provided much relief.  They were economically devastated after a draining defeat in the war.  As the German government printed additional money to deal with other aspects of the economic crisis the country was soon in the grips of super inflation.  In contrast, the early to mid-1920s were a time when the U.S. economy was booming, benefiting most of her citizens.  Both of the Weinmann sons were intrigued by the opportunities described by their Uncle Richard.

Just a little over a year and half after Richard Vogel and family returned from their 1922 visit to Germany, his 19 year-old nephew Max Weinmann boarded the S.S. Bremen of the North German Lloyd shipping line at Bremen, Germany and sailed for New York.  According to the manifest his passage had been paid by his uncle, he had a ticket from New York to his final destination, and he had $25 in his possession.  Max spent the entire holiday season on board ship, leaving Germany on December 19, 1923 and arriving in New York on January 1, 1924.  The manifest listed him as an electrician and described him as 5’6” tall, of fair complexion, with blue eyes and brown hair.  After being approved for admission to the U.S. at Ellis Island, Max proceeded to his uncle’s house at 773 Amory Street in Springfield. Massachusetts.

S.S. Bremen

S.S. Bremen

Three months later, on April 1, Max went to the Hampden County Superior Court in Springfield and declared his intention to become a citizen of the United States.  He remained in Springfield for about a year and a half and met his first wife Anna Kraniades.  Anna had been born in Constantinople, Turkey, of Greek heritage and arrived in the United States on October 7, 1920 on the ship Gul Djewal.  She came to Springfield where her uncle and aunt John and Theona Bodos had settled  earlier that year. Anna is described as 5'5" with brown hair and eyes. 

Max and Anna married on July 26, 1925, at Thompsonville, Hartford County, Connecticut (less than ten miles south of Springfield).  Strangely enough, another record gives their date of arrival in Detroit, Michigan as July 26, 1925.  One record is apparently wrong, but Max and Anna probably moved soon after they married.  Perhaps Max's uncles Richard Vogel and Paul Menge knew people in Detroit through their work in the automotive parts industry.  Max and Anna lived on the east side of Detroit and Max worked initially as an automobile worker.  Possibly he worked at the old Chrysler Jefferson Avenue plant, which was not too far from his residence at 1261 Glover Avenue.

Max's marriage to Anna did not last.  He filed for divorce on July 30, 1927, but she contested the case so the decree was not granted until August 7, 1928.  He agreed to pay alimony to support Anna and their 21-month-old daughter Dorothy. 

During the time when this divorce case was pending, Max enlisted in the U. S. Army (although not yet a U. S. citizen).  He served from November 16, 1927 to July 13, 1929 at Selfridge Field (just north of Detroit in Mount Clemens, Michigan) and was mustered out as a Private First Class.  In April 1929, he filed a petition for naturalization (citizenship), with signed declarations of suuport from his Army Sergeeant Walter Buff and his fiancee Frances Schmidt.  The petition was granted on July 29 and on August 7, he and Frances married.



Richard Vogel’s passport application, July 23, 1921, Record Group 59 – Records of the Department of State, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC.

Weinmann family listing on ship passenger list for Bremen to Rio de Janeiro trip, October 25, 1913, on ancestry.com

Elsa Weinmann death record, December 15, 1913, on familysearch.org

Max Weinmann listing, S.S. Bremen Passenger List, January 1, 1924 (Page 1) (Page2), Ship Passenger Lists for the Port of New York.

Anna Kraniedou listing,  Gul Djewal Passenger List, October 7, 1920.  Ship Passenger Lists for the Port of New York.

Petition for Naturalization No. 42049, Records of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, Record Group 21, National Archives and Records Administration Regional Archives, Chicago, IL.   

Michigan Divorce Records on Ancestry.com 

R.L. Polk & Company.  Detroit City Directory, 1925/1926 and 1926/1927. 


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