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Weinman, Fritz, 1903-1973 | Special Collections & Archives

Name: Weinman, Fritz, 1903-1973
Variant Name: Fred Weinman

Historical Note:

Fritz Weinman was born in 1903 in Magdeburg, Germany, into a prominent coal-mining and shipping family. When WWI broke out, he supported the German Army by contributing his allowance to the war effort. Photographs and documentation reveal a happy teenager who enjoyed being with friends at the shore and another photo album shows Fritz on a trip with his girlfriend as they traveled through Italy.

Fritz graduated school, but in 1939, because of the impending Second World War and his Jewish heritage, Fritz emigrated from Nazi Germany, moving first to Czechoslovakia, then to France, Mexico, and finally to Hollywood, California. He took a variety of jobs, from moving truck driver in France, to optometrist in California. While in Mexico, Fritz took Spanish lessons and collected documentation regarding his lost German properties and received correspondence, primarily from his mother, Adele, and his brothers. In a letter, translated from the German, Fritz credits the heroic efforts of a lawyer friend who began the process to secure Czech documentation for Fritz, so he could escape Germany in 1939.  Fritz’s sister and brother-in-law, as revealed in another letter dated 1947, were not so fortunate.  They were deported and sent to a death camp, where his sister was put to death the day she arrived and his brother-in-law lasted only one month before he perished.

Because Magdeburg became a part of the Eastern Zone, this part of Germany was occupied by the Soviet Union after World War II. Fritz sent care packages to family and friends back in Magedeburg; post-war letters reveal the difficulties of their living conditions. Fritz’s mother remained in England, where she was able to gain resident status. She learned English, and her post-war letters are all in English to Fritz. To remain in the United States in 1939, Fritz married Maria Elizabeth Goldblum in Las Vegas, which was solely a marriage of convenience.

It is noted that Fritz changed his name to the more Americanized "Fred," in September 1978, and the last name of Weinmann is alternately spelled "Weinman." He was calling himself Fred for many years prior to his legal name change. Fred originally occupied an apartment in Hollywood. He took lessons in public speaking and eventually opened an optometrist’s office where he trained people to exercise their eyes to ward off having to wear high-powered lenses. In 1946, Fritz became a United States citizen. He bought land in Pacific Palisades, an enclave of German emigrants, which is located near the Pacific Ocean. Fred Weinman passed away in 1973.

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