Gertrude Kahn

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Gertrude Kahn (Guggenheimer)

Also Known As: "Gerti", "Gertrud"
Birthplace: Nuremberg, Middle Franconia, Bavaria, Germany
Death: October 26, 2017 (98)
Colorado, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Robert Guggenheimer and Louise (Luise) Heim
Wife of Walter Kahn
Mother of Private; Private and Private

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:
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Immediate Family

About Gertrude Kahn


Gertrude Kahn, 98, Nazi Survivor Became Active In Greenburgh Politics

Gertrude G. Kahn, a former longtime resident of Hartsdale who fled Germany during the Nazi era, died Oct. 26 at the age of 98.

"Gertie," as she was known to friends and family, moved to Boulder, Colo., from Hartsdale in 2012. She was born May 29, 1919, in Nuremberg, Germany, to Robert and Louise Guggenheimer.

She grew up and attended school in Nuremberg until the Nazi era when Jews were restricted from public life.

She was fascinated by tennis and spent many hours watching matches. She caught the eye of Walter Kahn, a junior tennis champion, at one of these matches. As the war consumed Europe, Walter proposed to his “Long-Stemmed Beauty.” They made plans to marry in America.

Gertie’s father died in her arms as a result of the Nazi oppression. Her mother was transported by train to Riga death camp, where she died in 1941 -- a fact Gertie discovered years later.

Gertie fled to Orlando, Fla., via France and Britain. Her Uncle Max signed an affidavit of support for her immigration to the United States. Upon Max’s death, she moved to New York and married Walter on her 21st birthday. This personal history contributed to her enduring belief in democracy, compassion for the underserved, and her eventual involvement in politics.

Gertie and Walter Kahn raised their three boys in Hartsdale, where she indulged in her three passions: animals, sunbathing and politics.

Mrs. Kahn became very active in the Democratic Party in Westchester County where she ran numerous campaigns and served on many boards, including serving as the Town of Greenburgh Democratic chairperson from 1985 through 1991.

"She was an amazing woman, said Greenburgh Supervisor Paul Feiner. "She helped create the modern Greenburgh Democratic committee."

Feiner said that Kahn was active in most of his campaigns.

"I am not sure that I would have won some of my initial races (as a Westchester County legislator) without her help and guidance. She also was passionate about helping people and cared a lot about the town," said Feiner, who served on the county Board of Legislators for eight years and town supervisor the past 26 years.

Mrs. Kahn was a charter member of the Maplewood Swim and Tennis Club, where she "held court" in a lounge chair by the pool.

A lifelong tennis player, Mrs. Kahn outsmarted opponents by hitting incredible shots that could not be read by them or her. She lived in the same house in Hartsdale from 1953 until 2012 when she moved to Boulder to be closer to her family. She always regarded New York as her home and considered herself to be a “New Yorker”.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Walter, and is survived by her three sons, Jeffrey of Boulder, Colo., Stuart of Seattle, Wash., and Josh, also of Boulder; their wives, Linda, Maria and Lori; seven grandchildren, Jarrod, Alexandra, Blair, Dain, Clifford, Carly and Danny; and her companion, Mr. Cat.

Gertrud arrived in New York on September 24, 1938. Her visa was issued on 5/24/1938 at Nuremberg. Gertrud's destination was her uncle Max E. (Ellinger) Bernhardt in Orlando, FL. Gertrud filed a Declaration of Intent to become a US citizen at New York. She was enumerated in the 1940 Census for Manhattan as Gertie Guggenheimer, employed as secretary to a doctor.

Max Ellinger Bernhardt was born March 4, 1879 in New York and died on May 4, 1939 in Orlando, FL. His wife Esther was born ca. 1880; they were married ca. 1901. Their daughter Hannah J, was born 8 January 1902 in New York.

His parents were Adolph Bernhardt, born ca. 1851 in Russia/Latvia and Ricka/Rivka Wild, born ca. 1852 in Bavaria. ____________________________________________

from a website devoted to Vintage Cigarette Lighters: <MEB> M. E. Bernhardt Lighters

MEB is Max E Bernhardt of New York and is one of the most important inventors, manufacturers and distributors of lighters and men’s accessories. Bernhardt realized the potential for sales and profits in the emerging U.S. market.

The flint striker lighter was first invented in Austria in 1903 and was introduced into the USA in 1906. The technology quickly evolved via the round cut mini flint to develop wheel wick mechanisms and then the automatic press button mechanisms circa 1909-1910.

MEB started importing lighters from Austria and Bavaria (Germany) circa 1910. The Hahway automatic models he sold were invented by Hoffmann and Wild of Germany in 1909 ("Hahway" is the German pronounciation of "H W"). He also developed his own models and manufactured in New York City. By the late 1920’s MEB was a success with a complete line of pocket, table, and novelty lighters.

MEB also sold many flat tube lighter inserts to other manufacturers such as Weidlich Brothers (WB Mfg) of Bridgeport, CT to use in their own line of art deco table lighters. MEB also had the rights to patent US1022140, which was used by Dunhill New York for all their lift arm models.

SOURCE: Larry Tolkin ------------------------------------------------ Max Ellinger Bernhardt is included in the private Benjamin Reinhardt family tree on

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Gertrude Kahn's Timeline

May 29, 1919
Nuremberg, Middle Franconia, Bavaria, Germany
October 26, 2017
Age 98
Colorado, United States