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.


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