NOTE:  This Blog post discusses what I consider one of the most interesting items found among my father’s surviving personal papers, a postcard dated June 21, 1929 from Prague, then-Czechoslovakia.  It relates to my family only insofar as it is connected to the “Tennis Club E.V.B. Schwarz-Weiß,” of which my father was a member during the late 1920’s when he lived in Berlin while attending dental school there.  The postcard is a unique piece of tennis memorabilia because it is signed by three members of Germany’s 1929 Davis Cup tennis team, as well as six other members of the team’s entourage.  Notwithstanding Otto von Bismarck’s insistence that signatures on formal letters and official documents should be readable without the slightest effort, deciphering some of the signatures on the postcard required the aid of two German tennis history specialists to whom I’m enormously indebted for their persistent and gracious assistance.

Figure 1a-Front of postcard signed by Germany’s 1929 Davis Cup team and its entourage, mailed from the Grand-Hotel Steiner, Prague
Figure 1b-Back of postcard signed by Germany’s 1929 Davis Cup team and its entourage, mailed from the Grand-Hotel Steiner, Prague







Among my father’s surviving personal papers is a card postmarked June 21, 1929, mailed from the Grand-Hotel Steiner in Prague (Figures 1a & 1b) to the “Tennis Club E.V.B. Schwarz-Weiß” in Berlin-Schöneberg. (Figure 2)  I gleaned it was related to Germany’s Davis Cup 1929 team based on what I could partially read and later learned was written: “Der Davis Cup lüft grüßen.  Ich auch.  Micheler,” translated “The Davis Cup sends greetings.  Me too.  Micheler.” (Figure 3)

Figure 2-Members of Berlin’s “Tennis Club E.V.B. Schwarz-Weiß” on 24 August 1930, from l. to r., Rudi Rüster, Otto Bruck, Walter Roedelius, Paul Rüster, Karl Pützer, Otto __, Günther Weyhe
Figure 3-Writing on postcard, “Der Davis Cup lüft grüßen. Ich auch. Micheler,” translated “The Davis Cup sends greetings. Me too. Micheler.”







The story told here is not chronological in terms of how I gathered information, but is better suited for explicating things.

On a website that no longer exists, based in England, I found historical data of all Davis Cup matches played since 1900, when the first Davis Cup competition took place between the USA and Great Britain.  The website confirmed that in 1929, Germany’s Davis Cup team traveled to Prague to play then-Czechoslovakia in the European Zone semi-finals, and defeated them by a score of 4 to 1.  The historical website included the names of Germany’s three Davis Cup players that year, Daniel Prenn, Hans Moldenauer, and Heinz Landmann. 

My untrained eye could only decipher David Prenn and Heinz Landmann’s names on the postcard, although the English website administrator also found Hans Moldenauer’s signature.  The administrator suggested I follow-up with two other organizations, the International Tennis Hall of Fame (ITHOF) in Newport, Rhode Island, and the “Deutscher Tennis Bund (DTB)” in Hamburg, Germany, to inquire about the other signatories.  I sent emails with a scan of the postcard to both, but only ITHOF responded.  Ms. Meredith Miller from ITHOF was unable to interpret any additional names, but asked my permission to forward the scan to Dr. Heiner Gillmeister, a world authority on the history of ball games, and author of “Tennis: A Cultural History.”  Anxious to learn about more names on the postcard, I eagerly consented.

Very shortly thereafter, in April 2012, Dr. Gillmeister responded to Ms. Meredith’s request for assistance on my behalf.  He was able to make out three more names, specifically, that of “Hage Lindenstaedt,” and those of “B v. (=Burghard von) Reznicek” and his wife “Paula R. (=Reznicek).”  Dr. Gillmeister told me a little about these individuals, and at the bottom of this post I briefly summarize what I have learned about them.

I would not again be in contact with Dr. Gillmeister until October 2013.  By then, my German first cousin had been able to read another name, that of the “Micheler,” who wrote the greeting on behalf of the German Davis Cup team, quoted above.  In the intervening period, I had also contacted the German “Tennis MAGAZIN,” hoping to entice them into writing a short human-interest article on the postcard given its uniqueness.  While the editor initially expressed some curiosity, ultimately this did not pan out.  Still, this was not for naught.  When I reestablished contact in late 2013 hoping to decipher the last three signatures, Dr. Gillmeister enlisted the aid of a friend and another tennis historian, Mr. Friedrich “Plick” Plickert; this turned out to be the key to ferreting out the remaining names.

Figure 4-My father, Otto Bruck, and his doubles partner, Walter Roedelius, at the Tennis Club E.V.B. Schwarz-Weiß with some of the club’s buildings in the background

Tennis Club E.V.B.,” where the postcard was mailed, refers to the tennis club associated with the Berlin Skating Club, in German “Eislauf -Verein Berlin (EVB).”  The headquarters of the Berlin “Sclittschuh-Klub,” as the Skating Club was known, opened on May 25, 1921, and consisted of some stately mansions seen in the background of my father’s photos. (Figure 4)  The club was originally located in Berlin-Schöneberg, but in 1938, the city asked the club to move so that large government buildings could be constructed on the site.  Thus, “Schwarz-Weiß” relocated to a different Berlin district, Berlin-Schmargendorf, and opened in early 1939.  In the few months before the start of WWII, the club had no opportunity to establish a new tradition, and with the outbreak of hostilities, organized tennis everywhere in the country came to a halt.  After the war, the Allied Military Government closed, as one of its first measures, all clubs in Berlin, which spelled the demise of “Schwarz-Weiß.”  In 1951, a former director of the club had it re-registered in an attempt to revive it, but to no avail.  By 1956, the “Vereinsregister bei dem Amtsgericht,” or the club register at the District Court, permanently closed the file.  Today, nothing remains of “Schwarz-Weiß,” either at Berlin-Schöneberg or at Berlin-Schmargendorf. 

As far as this Blog post is concerned, the important thing is that a file entitled “Tennis Club Schwarz-Weiß” survives at the local court, the “Vereinsregister, Amtsgericht Berlin-Charlottenburg,” as it is called.  Mr. Plickert discovered this and ordered it to conclusively determine the last few names on the postcard dated 1929.  He confirmed the name “MICHELER” was correct, although the club documents do not mention his first name.  Still, the Berlin phone directory for 1930 lists two individuals with this surname in Berlin, and Mr. Plickert is reasonably certain that a “M. FRANZ MICHELER,” a “Sportschriftsteller,” or sports writer, living in Berlin-Schöneberg, was the gentleman in question.  From the club file, it is certain that Micheler was a prominent club member of the “Ehrenrat,” the esteemed group that advised the club executives.

Mr. Plickert also figured out another signatory, a name he had initially misread as “WOLF.”  It turned out to have been a man named “DR. ADOLF LÜPKE,” who for several years belonged to the tennis club’s “Vorstand,” or Board of Directors; Dr. Lüpke’s signature, certified by a Notary Public, survives in the club file.

Earlier, Mr. Plickert had suggested to Dr. Gillmeister that the signature at the very top of the postcard might be that of “DR. W. SCHOMBURGK,” the former President or “Bundesleiter” of the “Deutscher Tennis Bund (DTB),” the German Tennis Federation.  Dr. Gillmeister consulted the following report on Germany’s 1929 match against Czechoslovakia:

C. Weiß, “Deutschland – Tschoslowakei in Prag im Gange,” in Tennis und Golf, Vol. 6, No. 17, 21 June 1929, p. 439 f.

And, sure enough, language on page 439 of this report provides proof that Dr. W. Schomburgk attended the Davis Cup match, but that he did not captain the German team.  That role was taken over by a “C. Weiß,” believed to be Conrad Weiss.  Regrettably, Conrad did not sign the postcard mailed from Prague.

Finally, after a two-year long enterprise and the unflagging efforts of two German tennis history specialists, all nine individuals who signed their names to the postcard my father saved were identified.  Below, I provide brief bios of the people and show pictures of them, where I’ve been able to find them.  In one instance, I provide a hyperlink to an image for sale of the individual discussed.


Figure 5-Daniel Prenn’s signature, signed “D. Prenn”




Figure 6-Daniel Prenn in 1929 (photo courtesy of Dr. Heiner Gillmeister)

Daniel Prenn  (b. 7 September 1904 in Vilna, Russian Empire-d. 3 September 1991 in Dorking, Great Britain). (Figures 5, 6, 7 & 8) Daniel Prenn was a Jewish-born tennis player who played for Poland, German, and Great Britain.  He was at the top of his game when he played for Germany and was a member of the “LTCC (Lawn Tennis Tournament Club) Rot-Weiß Tennis Club of Berlin; Prenn was Germany’s number one ranked player from 1928 to 1932.  When the Nazis came to power in 1933, he was barred from competition.  Despite his success on the court, the Deutscher Tennis Bund passed a series of resolutions in April 1933 barring Jews from the national team and official club positions, and included a specific resolution targeted towards Prenn, stating: “The player Dr. Prenn (a Jew) will not be selected for the Davis Cup team in 1933.”  Shortly thereafter, he moved to England and became a British subject.  He continued to play competitively but never again garnered the same level of success as he had in Germany.

Figure 7-Daniel Prenn, again in 1929 (photo courtesy of Dr. Heiner Gillmeister)



Figure 8-Tennis card showing Daniel Prenn in action







Figure 9-Hans Moldenauer’s signature




Hans Moldenauer  (b. 10 April 1901-d. 29 December 1929 in Berlin, Germany). (Figures 9, 10 & 11)  Like Prenn, Moldenauer was a member of the Rot-Weiß Tennis Club of Berlin.  He was Germany’s first major international tennis player, and competed in Wimbledon, Davis Cup, and the French Open.  He died at a young age when his motor car was struck by a tram in Berlin.

Figure 11-Hans Moldenauer, again in 1929 (photo courtesy of Dr. Heiner Gillmeister)
Figure 10-Hans Moldenauer in 1929 (photo courtesy of Dr. Heiner Gillmeister)










Figure 12-Heinz Landmann’s signature




Figure 13-Heinz Landmann in action (photo courtesy of Dr. Heiner Gillmeister)

Heinz Landmann (Figures 12 & 13)  Heinz Landmann was the third member of Germany’s 1929 Davis Cup Team.  He won the German Open Tennis Championship in 1923.








Figure 14-Paula Reznicek’s signature, signed “Paula R.”




Figure 15-Paula von Reznicek in 1929 (photo courtesy of Dr. Heiner Gillmeister)

Freifrau (Baroness) Paula von Reznicek, née Heimann  (b. 17 October 1898 in Breslau, Germany-d. 12 October 1976 in Munich, Germany). (Figures 14, 15, 16 & 17)  Paula von Reznicek was an internationally-ranked tennis player, journalist, and writer.  In 1928, Ms. Reznicek published “Auferstehung der Dame” [Resurrection of a Lady], an illustrated book that was a summary of sorts of contemporary views on feminine identity.  In 1929, she won the German Open Tennis Championship in Berlin, the year she was ranked number 8 in the world.  Paula married Burghard von Reznicek around 1925, although by 1932, she was married to Hans Stuck, the famous German race-car driver, a marriage that lasted until 1948.  Because her grandfather had been Jewish, Paula’s marriage to Hans Stuck probably saved her life since Hans had established a personal relationship with Hitler, whom he had met by chance on a hunting trip in 1925.


Figure 17-Tennis card showing Paula von Reznicek in action
Figure 16-Paula von Reznicek in 1932 (photo courtesy of Dr. Heiner Gillmeister)









Figure 18-Burghard von Reznicek’s signature, signed “B v. Reznicek”




Burghard Freiherr (Baron) von Reznicek  (b. 1896 in Mannheim, Germany-d. 1971). (Figure 18)  Burghard von Reznicek was a journalist and author of “Tennis: Das Spiel der Völker (Marburg, 1932),” a book dedicated to his wife, Paula von Reznicek.

Figure 19-Hans-Georg Lindenstaedt’s signature, signed “Hage Lindenstaedt”




Figure 20-Hage Lindenstaedt in action in 1929  (photo courtesy of Dr. Heiner Gillmeister)

Hans-George “Hage” Lindenstaedt  (b. 20 August 1904 in Berlin, Germany-d. 24 December 1975). (Figures 19 & 20) Hage Lindenstaedt was an excellent tennis and table tennis player.  He played with Daniel Prenn on Germany’s Table Tennis team at the first World Cup in 1926.  He was also a sports journalist.  During the 1930’s, he emigrated to Switzerland for political reasons, but returned to Berlin after WWII and ran a printing company.


Figure 21-M. Franz Micheler’s signature, signed “Micheler”




Figure 22-Page from Berlin’s 1930 phone directory identifying M. Franz Micheler as a “Sportschriftsteller,” or sports writer, living in Berlin-Schöneberg

M. Franz Micheler (Figures 21 & 22) Little is known about Mr. Micheler, although Mr. Friedrick Plickert is certain that he is the Micheler listed in Berlin’s 1930 phone directory, identified as a “Sportschriftsteller,” or sports writer, living in Berlin-Schöneberg.







Figure 23-Dr. Wilhelm Schomburgk’s signature, signed “Dr. W. Schomburgk”





Figure 24-Dr. Wilhelm Schomburgk, President of the Deutscher Tennis Bund, in 1927 (photo courtesy of Dr. Heiner Gillmeister)

Dr. Wilhelm Schomburgk  (b. 1 March 1882 in Leipzig, Germany-d. 15 December 1959 in Leipzig, Germany). (Figures 23, 24 & 25) As a young man, Dr. Schomburgk was an avid athlete, playing football, tennis, field and ice hockey.  In 1902, he co-founded the “Deutscher Tennis Bund (DTB),” the German Tennis Federation, an organization he was President of between 1934 and 1937.  His belief as to the proper role of sports, as voluntary and not as a duty, diverged from that of the National Socialists and caused him to resign from the DTB in October 1937.  During the war, Dr. Schomburgk belonged to the conservative resistance to the Third Reich, some of whose members were famously associated with the failed 20 July 1944 plot to assassinate Hitler.

Figure 25-The Deutscher Tennis Bund in 1927 with Dr. Wilhelm Schomburgk shown circled (photo courtesy of Dr. Heiner Gillmeister)


Figure 26-Dr. Adolf Lüpke’s signature




Dr. Adolf Lüpke (Figure 26)  According to what Mr. Friedrich Plickert discovered from reviewing the file entitled “Tennis Club Schwarz-Weiß” at the local court, the “Vereinsregister, Amtsgericht Berlin-Charlottenburg,” for several years, belonged to the tennis club’s “Vorstand,” or Board of Directors. 

Figure 27-The Grand Hotel Bohemia, formerly the Grand-Hotel Steiner, as it looks today

The Grand-Hotel Steiner, where Germany’s 1929 Davis Cup stayed along with their entourage, still exists today and is known as the Grand Hotel Bohemia. (Figure 27)  It opened on February 25, 1927, and was owned and operated by an experienced hotelier, Mr. Josef Steiner.  The hotel offered the highest level of luxury, and the hotel lobby was decorated in English Art Deco style.  After the Communist takeover in 1948, all private properties were nationalized and private ownership of businesses became illegal.  Believing Communist rule would be short-lived and hoping to watch over his property. Mr. Steiner offered the Communist Party his hotel for representation purposes, asking only that he be allowed to remain as an employee.  Unfortunately, Communist rule lasted 40 years, and the hotel was returned to the Steiner family only after the Velvet Revolution in 1989, at which point the family sold it.


My father, Otto Bruck, arrived in America aboard the Queen Elizabeth in 1948, and eventually came to be known as Gary Otto Brook after he became a naturalized U.S. citizen.  The first job my father had was working at Childs Restaurants near Times Square in Manhattan, which was one of the first national dining chains in the United States and Canada; it was a contemporary of the better-known Horn & Hardart and preceded McDonalds.

Figure 1-Franz Kayser with his nephew Walter Leyser (middle) and son John Kayser atop Rockefeller Center in 1945 (photo courtesy Larry Leyser)

After a summer stint as a tennis pro at Grossinger’s Catskill Resort Hotel in 1949, my father went to work for one of his cousins, a gentleman by the name of Franz Mantheim Kayser (Figure 1), who then operated a small import firm.  Franz and his then-wife, Catherine “Ulrike” Kayser nee Birkholz (Figure 2), had had one son born in 1938 in London, John Kayser. (Figure 3)  After John Kayser’s mother passed away in 2005 in New Jersey, by then long married to another man, who had predeceased her, and known as Catherine Sterner, John asked whether I knew how we are related.  At the time, I had absolutely no idea.  John and I would return to the question in 2010.  While the intervening years had given neither of us further insight, John thought our ancestral connection went back to Ratibor; he also told me his grandmother’s maiden name was “Elly Schueck,” which he thought might help unravel the mystery.  So, armed with these seemingly opaque clues, I set myself to work.

Figure 2-John Kayser’s mother in 1992, then known as Catherine Sterner
Figure 3-John Kayser in 2014 in Berlin at the entrance to 22 Kaiserdam Strasse, the apartment building his parents last lived before fleeing Germany in 1938









Figure 4-John Kayser’s great-grandfather, Adolph Schueck (photo courtesy Larry Leyser)

Until just this year, most microfilm records available from the Church of Latter Day Saints (LDS), could only be ordered and viewed for a limited time at a local Mormon-operated Family History Center, or physically examined at the main LDS Library in Salt Lake City.  Over the years, I had ordered the Jewish records from Ratibor on several occasions, and eventually created a partial database of births, marriages and deaths of people of possible interest to me.  After John Kayser told me his grandmother’s maiden name and our possible connection to Ratibor, I reviewed the database I’d created and, lo and behold, I found Elly Schueck’s name; she had been born in Ratibor on September 7, 1874, and her parents’ names were Adolf Schueck and Alma Schueck, nee Braun. (Figures 4, 5, 6)  For me, this cracked the code because my own great-grandmother on my grandmother’s side was born Olga Braun, so I concluded John and I have an ancestral link related to the Braun family.  The database I had created from the Jewish microfilm records also included the birth information for John Kayser’s great-grandmother, Alma Braun, born on June 12, 1851 to Markus Braun and Caroline Braun, nee Spiegel.  Wanting to confirm all of this, I re-ordered the Jewish microfilm for Ratibor.

Figure 5-John Kayser’s great-grandmother, Alma Schueck nee Braun (photo courtesy Larry Leyser)
Figure 6-Adolph & Alma Schueck with fellow travelers in front of the Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt (photo courtesy Larry Leyser)








After receiving the relevant microfilm, I focused on Markus Braun (1817-1870) and Caroline Braun, nee Spiegel.  Ultimately, I identified twelve children they had together, born between 1847 and 1860, and established that John Kayser and I are third cousins (i.e., our respective great-grandmothers were sisters).  As an aside, Caroline Braun likely died before Markus Braun because he re-married a woman named Johanna Braun nee Goldstein, with whom he had two more children, including a son named Markus, who appears to have been born in 1870 shortly after the father Markus Braun died.

Figure 7-Postcard of M. Braun Brewery (front)






Figure 8-Postcard dated July 28, 1912 written by my great-grandmother Olga Berliner nee Braun, sister of Alma Schueck nee Braun, to my great-aunt Franziska Bruck (back)







Figure 9-My great-grandfather, Hermann Berliner, Ratibor brewery owner

My father’s surviving personal papers include a postcard dated July 28, 1912 (Figures 7, 8) written by my great-grandmother, the aforementioned Olga Berliner, nee Braun, to her niece Franziska Bruck in Berlin, the famed florist mentioned in earlier Blog posts.  The postcard illustrates the brewery first owned by M. Braun in Ratibor.  There exists a virtually complete listing of historic German breweries entitled “Das historische Brauereiverzeichnis der ehem. Ostgebiete und Polen,” which translates as “The historical breweries of the former Eastern Territories and Poland,” at the following URL: refers to the areas of Silesia, Pomerania, Brandenburg, and East and West Prussia.  For Ratibor, there once existed 32 breweries, including one owned by “M. Braun,” and two connected to my great-grandfather, Hermann Berliner (Figure 9), his wife Olga Berliner, nee Braun, and their son, Alfred Berliner. 

Ratibor now Raciborz 1a Brauerei M. Braun 1622
Ratibor now Raciborz 1b Herm. Berliner, vorm. M. Braun`sche Braunbierbrauerei 1910
Ratibor now Raciborz 1c Brauerei Herm. Berliner, Inh. Alfred & Olga Berliner 1920

According to this database, the brewery owned by the original “M. Braun” dated to 1622 and appears to have been the second oldest in Ratibor after the “Ratiborer Schloßbrauerei Freund & Co.,” dated to 1567. (Figures 10, 11)  Hermann Berliner, who died in 1910, owned the brewery originally held by “M. Braun.”  His wife passed away in 1920, followed shortly thereafter by the death of their son, Alfred, in 1921.  It’s unclear whether the brewery continued to be owned by either Braun or Berliner descendants following the deaths of Hermann, Olga and Alfred Berliner within a relatively short 11-year period.

Figure 11-The “Ratiborer Schloßbrauerei Freund & Co.” established 1567, known today as the Browar Raciborz
Figure 10-1927-1928 plan map of Ratibor with town ‘s oldest brewery (dated 1567), the “Schloßbrauerei” circled









Figure 12-M. Braun Brauerei with name of brewery and H. Berliner circled

There are a few things to observe from a close look at the front side of the postcard. (Figure 12) The business sign above the carriages reads “vorm. (=original owner) M. Braun.”  By the time the photo was taken, prior to 1912 (the year the postcard was written), the brewery was already owned by Hermann Berliner as the “Berliner Brauerei, Ratibor” caption on the postcard tells us.  Also, the carriage on the left has the name “H. Berliner” on its side, more evidence the brewery was already operated by Hermann Berliner and his descendants at the time the photo was taken.

Coupling the information from the postcard with data gleaned from both the microfilm of Jewish records and, one finds a gentleman named “Moises or Moses Braun,” coincidentally married to a Fanny Bruck.  A definite link to Markus Braun has not yet been established although the years his children were born between 1843 and 1855 strongly suggests he may have been Markus Braun’s older brother.  Moses Braun’s occupation at the time his first two children were born, respectively in 1843 and 1844, is “brauereipachter” or “tenant brewer”; this means that Moses Braun rented the house or factory where he had a license to produce beer.  Interestingly, by 1849, his occupation was “partikulier,” or someone who lived without working, perhaps as a result of rental income.  By 1853, his occupation is shown as “makler,” or estate agent, possibly a real estate agent or middleman of sorts.  By contrast, Markus Braun is always identified as a “kaufmann” or businessman at the time of his children were born; perhaps, this included tenant brewer.  In fact, on his son Markus Braun’s marriage certificate from 1900, long after the father had died, the father’s occupation was definitively specified as “brewery owner.”  I surmise that the brothers together or sequentially operated the brewery, and, eventually, Markus Braun’s daughter Olga and her husband Hermann, and, ultimately, their son Alfred, inherited the operation. 

The exercise I went through to pinpoint the family connection between John Kayser and myself revealed something unexpected.  Again, utilizing the Jewish microfilm records from Ratibor, I identified another branch of the family who are descendants of Elly Schueck’s (John Kayser’s grandmother) sister, Auguste “Guste” Schueck. (Figure 13)  The significance of this is that various surnames I heard my father mention while growing up in New York also had links extending back to Ratibor.  I was eventually able to track this branch to Cleveland, Ohio, and many of the photos included in this Blog post come from the collection of Larry Leyser, a third cousin, once-removed. (Figure 14)

Figure 13-John Kayser’s great-aunt, Auguste “Guste” Schueck, with her granddaughter, Doerte Zweig (photo courtesy of Larry Leyser)
Figure 14-Larry Leyser, my third cousin once-removed, and the great-grandson of Auguste “Guste” Schueck








Pressed on the matter, my father would never have been able to explain to me how all the various families that wound up in America after WWII were related to us nor would he have had any interest in doing so.  Nonetheless, as an exercise in doing forensic genealogy, this has been endlessly entertaining finding the family connections to people living in America today whose roots go back to Ratibor, where the original brewer M. Braun first established his business in 1622.  Going forward, I will touch on some of these people and their connections to my family, both in America as well as harkening back to Europe.

POSTSCRIPT:  A Polish gentleman, Mr. Grzegorz Miczek, contacted me after seeing this Blog post on the Braun & Berliner brewery.  He asked whether I had any additional documents related to the brewery as  reference for a book he’s writing on the “Raciborskie Brewery.”  He mentioned he possessed a few bottles from the brewery, and graciously sent me images of them which he’s allowing me to share with the readers.  These elegant old beer bottles speak for themselves.  (Figures 15-18)

Figure 15.
Figure 16.






Figure 17.
Figure 18.