By Nicole Hamilton
Enquirer staff writer
HARTWELL - Elsbet K. Gruen, who escaped Nazi Germany with her family and went on to own and operate a popular Corryville clothing store, died Thursday at Wellsprings Health Center in Hartwell of pneumonia. She was 97.
Born Karolina Elsbeth Bronne in Alzey, Germany, where her father ran a fabric and clothing store, she graduated from finishing school in Frankfurt and then married Walter Grunebaum. The family later shortened its last name.
In 1936, when the Nazi government forced her and her husband to close their dry-goods store, they moved to Cincinnati with their young son, Claude. Her parents, who fled Germany to England, joined her in Cincinnati in 1940.
Mrs. Gruen and her husband purchased a small shop on Vine Street in Corryville, and began Gruen's Apparel Store, known for its fashionable clothing for women.
She and her husband closed the store and retired in 1970, and Mrs. Gruen remained active in the business and professional branch of Hadassah, a group she helped found in the 1940s.
Mr. Gruen died in 1976.
Surviving is her son, Claude of El Cerrito, Calif.; five grandsons; and 12 great-grandchildren.
Services will be at 3 p.m. today at Weil Funeral Home, 8350 Cornell Road, Symmes Township. Burial will be in United Jewish Cemetery, Montgomery.
Memorials can be made to Wise Temple, 8329 Ridge Road, Cincinnati, 45236-1337.
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