Siblings: Felix (Phil), Hans Josef (Joske)
Spouse: Asahel Ben David
Children: Menachem, Onn, Chayi, Gur
Ludwigstraße 17 (today 10)
1934 emigrated to Palestine
Suse Ben David, née Ehrlich, was born in Bad Kissingen on March 11, 1915 as the oldest child of Ludwig and Margarete Ehrlich. Her father was the co-owner of a renowned fashion shop in Ludwigstrasse and thus Suse had a nice and carefree childhood together with her siblings and cousins who all lived in the spacious house at the corner of Ludwigstrasse/ Kurhausstrasse. She was an enthusiastic sportsgirl, primarily a track and field athlete, who started to take part in sports competitions when she was only five. She also seems to have been a good skier, which you can learn from her brother’s reports on joint skiing holidays of the family in St. Anton.
She entered Kissingen Realschule in April 1925 and graduated with good marks in 1931. Then she went to Schweinfurt by train every day for further education and graduated there. In April 1934, she went to Breslau (Wroclaw) and attended a home economics school. She joined the Zionist Movement and got to know Asahel Ben David who came from Palestine, was born in Rischon Lezion and was in Breslau on behalf of the Jewish Agency. She made up her mind to go to Palestine with him, where they married in September 1936. At first, her parents were not too enthusiastic about her idea to go to Palestine. By and by, Suse, who called herself Schoschanna by then, and her husband convinced the rest of the Ehrlich family that emigrating to Palestine was the right thing to do. In 1937, Schoschanna’s and Asahel’s son Menachem was born.
In 1938, Suse, her husband Asahel and baby Menachem went to Toulouse to get an education in agriculture. “In the family the story is always how Menachem saved his grandparents. In November 1938, my parents decided to go to Toulouse to visit their first grandchild Menachem, who had been born in 1937. It was a convenient opportunity for them as the journey to Palestine was too far. They set out to France in the night from November 9 to 10, 1938 – “Kristallnacht” (night of the pogrom). If the story my mother told me is true, then that was the first time for my father to prove his sense: When they were about to change trains in the station of Cologne, there was an announcement: “Herr Ehrlich – to the phone!” In those days, SS tailed Jews, especially members of the upper class, to keep them and their possessions in Germany. My father didn’t comply, didn’t go to the phone but continued their journey as planned. I don’t remember if the call came from our caretaker Hofmann or our cook at home. In any case, the message had been: Don’t return, the SS is looking for you, they have turned the house and the shop upside down … My parents didn’t return to Germany and thus the grandson saved his grandparents” (Joske Ereli, p. 66f.)
Schoschanna’s husband Asahel was also a great help for them when her parents immigrated to Palestine after the war. At the beginning, Schoschanna did the menial jobs in agriculture, before she went to Toulouse with her husband Asahel, studied at the Faculty of Agriculture and acquired the title “Agronomist” (graduate farmer). After the War of Independence, when her husband got a senior position in the Ministry of Agriculture, the family moved to Jerusalem in 1949. Here she worked as an instructor at a training farm. Since 1950 Schoschanna took care of new immigrants as a volunteer and taught them reading and writing in a transitional camp (See Rishon Le-Zion Digital Family Album!) A heavy blow dealt to Schoschanna’s family was – the Ben Davids had four children by then – was the death of their son Menachem in 1957, who had been killed on his way to Petra, Jordan.
Schoschanna Ben David died on November 11, 2008 in Rishon Lezion at the age of 93.
Joske Ereli, Von Hampie Ehrlich zu Jossl Ereli - Meine Lebensgeschichte
Rishon Le-Zion Digital Family Album
© Ben David Shoshana, Genealogy Family History Museum Rishon Le Zion