Restoring the Simon Legacy

Although the Simon family made many contributions to Werden over the years, after the Nazi rise to power many of the commendations and honors they had earned and accomplished were stripped away.  Through the hard and dilligent work of many people including Peter and Thomas Simon and Atsuko Kawahara Simon, these wrongs are slowly being corrected.  Below you will find German articles and references detailing the rightful restoration of many of the Simon Family accomplishments.


The Pearl of the Ruhr - by Thomas Simon

In 2017, Kurt’s nephew, Thomas Simon, wrote an article for the Jerusalem Report praising Marc Muelling, one of the main proponents of the restoration of the Simon family legacy.

Pearl of the Ruhr


40 Years of Döllken

In 1927 a book was published celebrating the esteemed 40 year history of the Döllken Factory founded by Kurt’s grandfather, Leopold Simon.  This book showed how innovative and transformative the Simon family had been, and the impact they had made on their howe town of Werden.  We have gotten a hold of a copy of this book (now 90 years old), and wanted to showcase it here for you to learn about this brilliant man and the lasting impact of his family’s legacy.

Here are the first few passages in the book.  If you click on the image of the book cover below you can continue to read it.

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The firm of W. Dollken & Co, was established 40 years ago.  Some might believe that this would not justify the publication of this book, but the 25th anniversary of the firm was not commemorated especially.  Furthermore, Mr. Otto Simon, one of the partners and managing directors, started with the firm in 1902, and consequently has now completed 25 years with Messrs. W. Dollken & Co.  Hence his 25 years’ jubilee is in the same year as the 40th birthday of the firm.  And last, but not least, there must still be mentioned another point of view which is of a general commercial importance.  The war, the German revolution, and the time of the occupation of the Ruhr-district (with its isolation and crippling of the Ruhr industry) are behind us, the inflation and the very heavy time after, where one industrial and commercial crisis followed upon another have been passed.  And at last, after all this, we may believe that the situation now will be definitely stable again, and that we may look forward to a period when the development will go on steadily and systematically.  We believe these reasons justify the use of this opportunity of looking behind us, and to show, by this publication, all friends of the firm its history and its present standing.

On April 1st 1887, Mr. William Dollken and Mr. Leopold Simon, the father of the two present Directors (Messrs. Ernst and Otto Simon), founded the firm of W. Dollken & Co.  The intention was to manufacture Wooden Ornaments for furniture and building purposes.  This manufacture had not been carried on in the western part of Germany before that time, and such goods as sashes, overdoors, cabinet tops, and console…. (TO READ MORE CLICK HERE or on the book cover below)

40 Years of Döllken

*****************************************************************************************************************************************************In November of 2015, two reference books were published which showed the impact of Ernst Simon, Else Simon and Leopold Simon on the town of Essen.  Shown below, you will find the covers of the two books (one referencing notable people and the other referencing notable streets.)  Ernst is featured in the book about notable people, which is important because for many years his legacy and history was stripped after the Nazi’s came into power.  This article shows how important this man truly was to his home town.

In the book on notable streets you will learn about Simonaue a street named after Else Simon for her social and charitable creation of a health center for pregnant women and young mothers as well as many other notable contributions to the town.

You will also learn about Leopold-Simon-Street, named after Kurt’s Grandfather.  This was a major accomplishment in the restoration of the Simon legacy since Leopold Simon’s effects on the small town of Essen-Werden cannot be overlooked.

Finally, we have included an english translation of the German text so you can read all about these important people and how their lives changed this town.

book covers
Ernst Article
Streets & People

Streets & People2

Streets & People3

*****************************************************************************************************************************************************On April 13, 2012 this article appeared in the WERDENER NACHRICHTEN confirming the Simon Family's charitable contribution to their hometown 100 years earlier.  In the name of the Leopold Simon Foundation (a reference to Kurt's Grandfather) a major donation was given that allowed the city of Werden to be supported for over two decades in their efforts to provide better health care for infants.  Else Simon was extremely dedicated to this cause, and none of it would have hapened or been possible without her and her high level of commitment.

100 year werden


On January 9 and 16, 2009 the Werdener Nachrichten ran a short summary of the Simon family history in Werden in two articles written by Peter and Thomas Simon.  The first article was titled “Stiftung für Säuglinge; Leopold Simon machte Döllken groß” (Foundation for Infants; Leopold Simon makes Döllken Big).  And the second article was titled “Holzspielzeung für die Kinder; Familien- und Firmengeschichte Simon - Teil 2  (Woodtoys for Kids; Simon Family and Company History - part 2). 

The first article (seen below) describes Leopold Simon, and his work establishing Döllken, as well as work that he did with the city of Werden.  It also talks about the establishment of the Leopold Simon Foundation for Infant Welfare in 1918, a cause that was dear to Else Simon, and which she would support heavily.  

At the bottom the article shows a Simon family photo from 1895 picturing Leopold Simon (1841-1906) and his seven children, as well as his second wife Fanny Moses.  Leopold’s first wife Lina, nee Bellerstein died several years earlier in 1883.  In the back row on the left side we can see Kurt’s father, Dr. h. c. Ernst Simon (1872-1945), one of the most important German woodworking industrialists of his time, and one of the most successful Jewish entrepreneurs at the Ruhr. In 1929 Ernst was awarded an honorary doctorate in engineering from the Technical University of Braunschweig.  He also held the esteemed position of a  judge to Handelsgerichstrat (a commercial court) up until the Nazis came to power in 1933.

Foundation for Infant


The second article focuses on Ernst Simon (1872-1945), Leopold’s son and Kurt’s father, and his accomplishments that resulted in him being awarded an honorary doctorate from the Technical University of Braunschweig.  Kurt and Robert Simon are also mentioned in the article as young students, who had to give up their studies due to the Nazis, and also worked for some time in the family company.  It also includes detailed information about Else’s work and engagement for infant welfare in Werden, as well as  revealing that after Ernst emigrated to California he had no choice but to take jobs as a common worker.

At the top the article shows a photo of Albrecht Simon in 1916 in his military uniform.

Kurt scan 1


The legacy of the Simon family and their heritage and accomplishments stretches beyond the family name.  In 1823, Henriette Simon (the sister of Kurt’s great-grandfather Herz) married Leopold Rindskopf in Steele (Essen).  66 years later in 1889, her grandchildren (Moritz and Otto Rindskopf) bought a textile store in Werden (named J. Simon) from Döllken founder Leopold Simon.  They would go on to expand that textile shop into an apron factory with over 200 employees.  

Here we have a short clipping from the last will of Johanne Vogelsang nee Simon, from 1881.  Johanne was the sister of Henriette, and this document proves the relationship between the two families.

It can be proved that the Rindskopf family has lived in Germany since 1498.

Rindscopf and Simon Family
© The Macwhisperer 2015