Welcome, Ida!

Ida Wolff, a native of Prenzlau, married the then 36-year-old Abraham Wertheim on April 17, 1855. Born in 1830 and of the Jewish faith, Ida was therefore 25 years old and – due to her father’s profession – she contributed her expertise to her husband’s Stralsund manufacturing business. She was actively involved in the business from the very beginning, so that the ” Deutsche Biographie ” platform lists her profession as “businesswoman”. Through her sales activities in the store, she made a significant contribution to good customer relations. She evidently showed much more business acumen than her husband. Nevertheless, business was rather poor and money was tight, as a large family had to be provided for. In fourteen years, Ida gave birth to nine children, seven of whom were still alive in 1872. It was the sons Georg and Hugo, who had been apprenticed to one of Ida’s brothers, who urged their parents to open a new store on the corner of Mühlenstraße and Mönchstraße in 1875. Here, too, Ida worked in the salesroom. A year later, the brothers joined their parents’ business and Ida was able to look after the other five children, who were still minors. Georg and Hugo Wertheim introduced numerous business innovations and benefited from the business relationships with Ida’s family.

The success story of the “Wertheim” department store group took its course. For Ida, this meant moving from Stralsund to Berlin, to the posh Tiergarten district, in 1888. After Hugo’s death, the fortunes of the family business were in the hands of her son Georg, who regularly consulted her on important business and family matters. Abraham Wertheim died on July 3, 1891 and was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Berlin-Weißensee. In 1902, Ida moved within Berlin once again. Georg had rented her an apartment in a large villa in the Grunewald district, and the entire house was later purchased for the family. The family gathered around Ida at family reunions, where she was able to enjoy her many grandchildren. In addition to the growth of the family and the department store empire, Ida also had to experience family scandals, anti-Semitic hostility and the First World War. She died at home in the Grunewald villa on December 18, 1918 and was buried next to her husband Abraham.

The picture, which we would like to congratulate the Förderverein STRALSUND MUSEUM e.V. on acquiring, shows Ida Wertheim at an advanced age. She looks at us as she is described, as “a slender person, always demurely clad in dark, high-necked dresses, with a serious, determined face”. We hope that we will be able to report more about this painting in the future and perhaps present it as the centerpiece of an exhibition on Ida Wertheim.


Deutsche Biographie, Link: https://www.deutsche-biographie.de/sfz140775.html

Fischer, Erica; Ladwig-Winters, Simone: Die Wertheims – Geschichte einer Familie, Rowohlt Taschenbuch, 2. Aufl., Berlin 2008, S. 35 (Zitat), 36, 41, 48, 69, 133f., 143, 216

Förderverein STRALSUND MUSEUM e.V. , Link: https://wp.foerderverein-stralsund-museum.de/neuigkeiten/