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Knatz Family in Africa- with connecting roots in Zueschen, Germany

Circa 1900 Postcard of Zueschen showing Heinrich Knatz Brewery, Bottom Left

This section of the webpage is about the Knatz family in Zueschen, a village not far from Niedenstein and in particular, Carl Heinrich Knatz who was trained in his father’s brewery and then traveled to Africa to open a brewery there. While in Africa he started a family there but after being deported returned to Germany, he had a family there. The documents here tell his story of trying to return to Africa. The Brewery in “Zueschen jetzt Fritzlar” was founded in 1865 and closed in 1920.
In 2003, I received an email from Veronica Knatz who was living in Swakopmund, Namibia, Africa. Veronica wanted to find out about her grandfather who was in South West Africa in late 1904. Her grandfather built the Otavi Hotel and brewed his own beer there. But he was forced to leave Africa. Veronica thought he might have died in a train accident in England. Although I tried to find out some information for her, and even looked at lists of passengers killed in train accidents when I was in London, I never had much luck. In 2009 Veronica contacted me again. She learned her grandfather Carl Heinrich Knatz, was born in Zuschen Germany on April 19, 1876. Carl’s father’s name was Heinrich Knatz. Carl arrived in Namibia as a soldier in 1905. He owned the Hotel and Brewery in Otavi, called Hotel Otavi. While in Africa, Carl Knatz was living with a black woman named Sophia Goaxus and they had a son Hans born in 1910 in Otavi. At that time, whites were not allowed to marry blacks, so Veronica’s grandfather and grandmother were never married. Carl was forced to leave Africa in 1919 because he was living with a black woman. So he left behind in Africa his son Hans and Hans’ mother. Back in Germany Carl married and had a family. He is buried in Oppenheim. Carl’s son, Hans also married a black woman named Marline Owoses born 30 November 1918, and they had two children, one of which is Veronica. Veronica has made contact with the Knatz family in Zuschen and this is what she found out:

“I will start with my great-great grandfather. His name Arkersmann Balthaser Knatz he was married with Anna Marie Klim. My great-grandfather was Heinrich Knatz Bierbrauer he was born 1833 he married his 1st wife in 4 Sept. 1859. Her name was Christiane Sonnenschein.They have 6 children. She passed away in 1869.
Children of the 1st wife :
6.CARL KNATZ:BORN:6-JUNI-1869 Died 22 June 1869
He married his second wife she was the sister of the first wife. Her name was Martha Elisabeth Sonnenschein. They had 5 children.
His children with the second wife.
1.Casper August knatz:Born:22- January-1871
2.Anna knatz:Born:08-May-1873
3.Carl Heinrich Knatz:Born:19-April-1876 ( My grandfather)
4.Anna Elisabeth Knatz: Born:25-July-1878
5.Anna Marie Knatz:Born:15-October-1881
Carl Heinrich Knatz is born at Zuschen 19-April-1876,attended the public school,then to Radwildungen as apprentice in the knatz brewery for 3 years. And as asistant at Lenney,Mainz. On the 14 October he joined the infantry regiment 118 the 2 years being finished he was a brewer at Hamburg ,went to Argentina in 1901 where he was brewer 2 years, went to South Africa to Johannesburg.
In August 1905 he left for SouthWest Africa where he was employed for 2 years. He became indepentent. My father Hans is the son of Carl Heinrich Knatz. My father was born 1910 in Otavifontein Namibia.He was the only son of my grandfather with my grandmother.He was the owner of a farm, and a hotelin Otavifontein in 1906.
My grandmother was a black lady and it was not allowed to have a affair with a black women.
The German Regime deported my grandfather in 1919. My grandfather then married a Russian women named Martha Frieda Lichtenfeld and they had 2 girls LISSI and ANNEMIE.
The Administrator aproved my grandfather’s permit for 6 months to return to Africia. On 22 March 1925 Carl Knatz arrived in Walvisbay from where he immediately procceeded to Otavi to arrange his affairs. If he arrived in Otavi he was disappointed with the state of his affairs of Otavi and he had no other choice than to enter the services of the Consolidated Diamond Mines.”
This is the area of Africa known as the “Skeleton Coast” a name associated with the beached whale and seal bones, along with the skeletal remains of ships that floundered on it’s rocks.Swakopmund was the main harbor of German Southwest Africa. German rule of this area began in 1883. I knew nothing of this part of the world until I was fortunate to connect with Veronica. It is thought by some historians that what happened in this part of Africa was the inspiration for many of the things that occurred during the Nazi regime in Germany. (See the book: “The Kaiser’s Holocaust” by David Olusoga and Casper Erichsen). After German South-West Africa was taken over by the Union of South Africa in 1915, many of the government offices closed, businesses closed and people left. At the start of World War I, all German’s were deported.
The documents below were provided by Veronica Knatz for inclusion on this website. From there documents you can see that her grandfather was desirous to return to Africa and then when he was able to return in 1925, he wanted to stay forever.
Veronica Knatz has found information on how her grandfather Carl Heinrich Knatz had attempted to reenter Africa after he was deported. She also has traced back Carl Heinrich Knatz back to Germany. This branch of the Knatz family is from Zueschen, Germany which is not very far from Niedenstein. So additional research may find a link between Knatz family in Niedenstein and the Knatz family in Zueschen. I have included the documents in chronological order. The documents include:
1. Documentation regarding Carl Heinrich’s Knatz’s attempts to re-enter Africa and deal with his property.
2. The genealogy of Carl Knatz and his family in Germany.
3. The Birth certificate of Veronica’s father Hans Knatz and photos of Hans Knatz. Included are photographs of his Han’s Knatz’s half sisters Lissi and Annemie (from the family that Carl Knatz had when he was back in Germany and Carl Knatz’s sisters Anna Marie and Anna Elizabeth. A photo of the house and brewery owned by Carl’s father Heinrich Knatz is also included.
This first document is an affidavit prepared by Carl Heinrich Knatz in 1920 after he was deported from Africa indicating his assets in Africa and his debts.
Notice in the margin of the document below a handwritten note about Carl being convicted of selling liquor to natives on March 12, 1909. It’s hard to make out all the writing but it appears to also say…. no reason is advanced as to why he should be allowed to stay here.

Because the above document is in German, I have included a rough translation of the following document done via Google Translate
“On the occasion of the great deportation after the war, or about 1919 or 1920 was deported to the above mentioned brewer C. Knatz from Otavi. Supposedly, he tried a few years later, probably in 1924, again get some entry permit, but it is the director of this circular have been refused. Was not upheld, I kindly ask you to tell me deported for any reason the above mentioned Knatz was and for what and for what reason his re-entry application.The reason for my request, you will perhaps strangely touching, are the following. My father, a former co-owner of Erhard and Schultz, Swakopmund, was waging against the now located in Germany Knatz a process which must be proven that Knatz at the outbreak of war in 1914 and even after completion of the same property was located in absolute decline. I is therefore crucial if you would tell only whether the financial circumstances of both Knatz the cause of the deportation as the denial of re-entry were. Should we make this demand for any costs, so I ask the same request with me. I thank you in advance for their efforts and draw on the Lord Secretary for South West Africa, Windhoek. Yours Faithfully”
The Following charts show the genealogy of this branch of the Knatz family in Zueschen. I hope someone will take on the challenge of tracing the family back further to determine if there is a connection with the Knatz family of Niedenstein. Note that Carl Heinrich Knatz’s father Heinrich was married twice and there are children from both marriages. Carl Heinrich Knatz who went to Africa is descended from Heinrich’s marriage to Martha Elisabeth Sonnenschein. After Martha died, Heinrich married his sister-in-law, Martha’s sister Christiane who was six years younger than Martha.
Family Record of Heinrich’s Knatz’s marriage to Christiane Sonnenschein. Carl Heinrich Knatz who went to Africa is descended from this marriage
Note Johann George Knatz was from Fritzlar which is close to Niedenstein.
Finally, a record of the birth of Hans Knatz in Namibia showing his German father and his African mother and a picture of Hans.
Below is a photograph of Han’s two half sisters, Lisse and Annemie in Germany that he never met.
Carl Heinrich’s sisters Anna Marie and Anna Elizabeth.
This is a picture of the Heinrich Knatz home and brewery.
This last document is the death certificate of Carl Heinrich Knatz, Veronica Knatz’s grandfather