Authors: Annika Steiner, Luca Förtsch
[No Stolperstein in Lichtenfels]
Sheltered childhood and youth
Sofie Grünhut was born on August 26, 1908, the second of three children of the Jewish couple Salomon and Anna Grünhut. She grew up in Lichtenfels and lived with her parents and her two siblings at the estate Coburger Strasse 106.
The parents encouraged their children in their education to the best of their ability. Sofie had artistic talent, attended a dance class at the age of 16, and obtained her driver's license at the age of 22 - at that time, this was unusual for a young woman.
Wife and mother in Wiesbaden
On September 11, 1933, she married Heinrich Schneider, a merchant from Uffenheim who was nine years her senior. The ceremony followed a week later in the synagogue in Wiesbaden, her new home. On December 4, 1934, Sofia's only child, Michael Schneider, was born in Wiesbaden.
Growing threat of anti-Semitism
Nazi racism and the discrimination that accompanied it did not stop at Sofie and her family. For example, they were forbidden to continue employing their domestic help (Nuremberg Laws). When Heinrich was identified as a Jew on a business trip, Nazi thugs mistreated him. This was the decisive point for the young family to see no future in Germany anymore and to flee to the USA.
Emigration to the USA in 1937
They crossed the Atlantic by ship and arrived at their destination, New York City, on April 16, 1937. Shortly thereafter, they were able to apply for U.S. citizenship. An uncle, Sofie's mother's brother, was already living in New York and vouched for the family.
Sofie and her family naturalized in the U.S. and continued to maintain their Jewish traditions.
On September 16, 1988, Sofie died at the age of 80. Her husband Heinrich had already passed away in 1974. Until her death, Sofie always kept in touch with her son, siblings and grandchildren.