Frida Hahn

Rankin, Robert L rankin at
Tue Apr 29 14:43:18 UTC 2008

Sorry for the confusion.  The problem is that we don't KNOW exactly where "our" Frida Hahn was from.  She may have been someone directly from Germany.  Or she may have been a Volga German whose family had come to Lincoln, NE from Russia just before she was born.  In either case she would speak German and would have had relatives in Germany somewhere.  There are a lot of Jewish "Frida" spellings; the standard German spelling is Frieda, but various spellings are possible.  The Yad Vashem holocaust list is as comprehensive as they can make it, but it's for people who died or disappeared in the Camps.  The German government may have lists on-line of all their citizens who were killed in the war.  I simply don't know.  Tom Leonard has better information than I do.
When I noticed a Frida Hahn (1st generation American) from a German-speaking family in Lincoln who was the right age and who was from the same state as the Poncas were, I felt it was too great a coincidence not to point out.  I still think it might be worthwhile checking.  


From: owner-siouan at on behalf of Rory M Larson
Sent: Tue 4/29/2008 9:03 AM
To: siouan at
Subject: RE: Frida Hahn

I'm confused.  What "holocaust" are we talking about here?  Were the Hahns Jewish or non-Jewish Germans?  If they were Germans from Russia who had come to America before Frida was even born, what authority would Third Reich Germany have had to call Frida "back" to Germany?  Why only her, and not the rest of her family?  If she was Jewish, why would they want to at a time they were trying to expel the Jews?  If she was non-Jewish, she might have moved there voluntarily, and perhaps died there in the following decade.  There were probably about three million or so German civilians that died during or after the war from Allied bombing or in the massive population expulsion of Germans from the eastern parts of their country by the Russians, Poles and Czechs.  Would on-line "holocaust" lists include these people? 


"Rankin, Robert L" <rankin at> 
Sent by: owner-siouan at 

04/28/2008 11:25 PM 
Please respond to
siouan at

<siouan at> 
RE: Frida Hahn	


Thanks for adding that information.  We were afraid something like that had happened.  The Hahns of Lincoln were Germans from Russia (like many of the Germans of western KS and other midwestern states), so she would have known the language since both parents and an older sister had been born abroad and her father was not yet a citizen.  I guess it might pay to check in Lincoln in any event.

The holocaust lists that are on-line give at least three Frida Hahns and a number of others with spelling variants.  The late '30s would have been a particularly bad time to go back to Germany.  

Thanks again for the info.



From: owner-siouan at on behalf of Tom Leonard
Sent: Mon 4/28/2008 5:15 PM
To: siouan at
Subject: Re: Frida Hahn

Thought I'd add a bit regarding Freida Hahn.

My Ponca mother, Josetta Rush was friends with Freida. She had many stories about her. To my best understanding, as mom told it, Freida was German. She actually told a story about how they (Poncas) were all amazed that Freida could "i'e with those German ukhi'te at Miller's 101 Ranch" (German WWI POWs that never went back).

Some time in the late 30s Freida was called back to Germany and she went. Mom said that all the Ponca boys that went to Europe in WWII tried to find her, but to no avail. Mom and her sisters tried to locate her through the Red Cross, but they never found her. The fear has always been that she had been killed in the holocaust.


Rankin, Robert L wrote: 

                I did a little more checking on Frida Hahn, the student of Franz Boas who wrote the Ponca grammar found in the Gordon Marsh Collection of the APS.  There was a Frida Hahn listed in the 1920 US Census from Lincoln, Nebraska, daughter of one William Hahn who had emigrated from Russia.  At the time our Frida was exchanging correspondence with Franz Boas she would have been 23-27 years old -- just about right for a graduate student.  And she might have been naturally attracted to study Ponca since she was from Nebraska.  According to the Census figures, below, she apparently had a brother and possibly three sisters.  
                Those of you living in the Lincoln area might want to make some phone calls to the Hahns in the Lincoln phone directory and see if any of the names below rings a bell.  There may be some children or grandchildren still around, and we could clear up the question "What ever happened to Frida Hahn?" once and for all.  They might appreciate the information we have about her too.
                Her father and mother were both born in Russia
                NAME                     STATUS   AGE     FATHER       BIRTHPLACE
                Hahn, Emma               Married  43  F   William (H9)   Russia 
                Hahn, Emma                Single  11  F   William (H9)  Nebraska
                Hahn, Frida               Single  13  F   William (H9)  Nebraska
                Hahn, George              Single  22  M   William (H9)  Nebraska
                Hahn, Hazel               Single  9m  F   William (H9)  Nebraska
                I also checked the listings of names of persons who died in the holocaust.  There were at least three Frida Hahns from various places in Silesia and Hungary, but they were all born in the 1880s.  Let us hope she was not one of them.

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