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Elise Heudenfeld (née Simonsohn) * 1861
Rutschbahn 25 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)
further stumbling stones in Rutschbahn 25:
Lieselotte Berghoff, Ludwig Berghoff, Irma Blumenthal, Isidor Blumenthal, James Rosenstein, Rebekka Rosenstein, Ester Schlesinger, Joseph Sealtiel, Elise Sealtiel, Judis Sealtiel
Elise Heudenfeld, née Simonsohn, born 14 June 1861 in Geestemünde, deported on 24 Feb. 1943 to Theresienstadt, where she died on 20 Mar. 1943
Elise Heudenfeld was born in Geestemünde (north of Bremen), the child of Simon and Henriette Simonsohn, née Hirsch. Nothing is known of her childhood and schooling. On 12 May1884, she married Markus Ezryel Heudenfeld (born in Cracow on 3 Jan.1854), who had immigrated to Germany from Poland. In the process, his surname was changed from "Heidenfeld” to "Heudenfeld.” Markus worked as a dealer in animal hides and as a hatter.
The couple had four children: Siegmund (born 18 Oct. 1896), Max (born 16 June 1888), Adolf (born 22 Jan. 1891), and Henry (born 24 Oct. 1894). The family was religiously observant; the sons attended the Talmud Torah Secondary School (Realschule) in Hamburg. It was important to his parents that he should have early musical training, as one can see from the violin that Max holds in his hand in the family photograph.
Although obviously still well-to-do at the end of the nineteenth century, the family fell upon hard times in the 1930s. Between 1934 und 1935, the couple could not pay the religious tax of the Jewish community. The community noted in May 1935: "unemployed and suffering greatly.” In 1937, there was some financial improvement. Markus Heudenfeld died on 10 Feb. 1939.
Elise, now a widow, lived at first in a three-room apartment at Rutschbahn 25 in Hamburg. In 1940, the Jewish community noted on her file card, "no pension,” but evidently she still had savings. On 9 Sep. 1942, she was forced to move into a one-room apartment at Beneckestraße 6, a "Jews’ house” (Judenhaus). In such buildings, the Jewish community housed persons who had lost their homes or been forced to vacate them. At Beneckestraße 6, the community gathered predominantly elderly people, a category that included Elise Heudenfeld, now 81 years of age. All the furniture from her old apartment was confiscated. In Feb. 1942, she had to conclude a "home purchase contract” (Heimeinkaufsvertrag). By means of such a contract, elderly Jewish men and women transferred their assets to the Reich Association of Jews in Germany, which in return promised to provide them with lodging, board, and care for life. The Reich Association had to pay this money to the Reich Security Main Office (Reichssicherheitshauptamt). Those concerned, like Elise Heudenfeld, did not suspect that "care” meant placement in the Theresienstadt ghetto. For this deception, she paid the sum of RM5,220. Like all other Jews, she now was forced to wear the "Jews’ star” (Judenstern). Meanwhile, a number of deportation transports had left Hamburg, headed for Lodz, Minsk, Riga, Auschwitz, and Theresienstadt.
Elise Heudenfeld received a deportation order for 24 Feb. 1943, for Theresienstadt. She arrived in the ghetto two days later, in transport VI/ 3-20. There she died only a few weeks later, on 20 Mar. 1943 (variant date: 26 Mar. 1943).
What fate did her children suffer?
Little information about Adolf Heudenfeld has survived. He died during a combat mission in the First World War between 1914 and 1918.
Siegmund Heudenfeld, who later married Margarethe Wolff (born 4 Jan. 1894 in Neubukow) and had a daughter named Ilse with her on 25 Aug. 1919, worked before the National Socialist period as managing director of a Hamburg grocery store, in which his wife also had a hand. Both were deported to the ghetto in Minsk on 8 Nov. 1941. According to the survivor Max Heudenfeld, they supposedly were shot there.
Ilse Heudenfeld managed to escape on 30 May 1940, via Great Britain, to the USA, where she married Arthur Himmelweit, a Jew who had fled from Berlin, on 22 July 1948.
Max Heudenfeld later married Emma Ernestine Heudenfeld (née Fröschl), and they had a son named Hellmuth. Max Heudenfeld owned a shop in Hamburg that sold raw materials for making various kinds of brushes, including paintbrushes. This shop was forcibly liquidated. Max Heudenfeld believed that he was safe, to some extent, from National Socialist persecution because of his "Aryan” wife. His son, Hellmuth, classified as a "half-Jew,” a "Mischling of the 1st degree,” managed to escape to Venezuela.
Max Heudenfeld tried in vain to emigrate. From 19 Sep. 1941 to 7 Aug. 1943, he and his wife had to live in a "Jews’ house.” Max Heudenfeld later told other family members that he had been deported to Minsk, had witnessed the shooting of his brother and sister-in-law there, and had then escaped. Then, he said – back in Hamburg – he had lived in hiding in the Hamburg apartment of Karl and Lina Brinkmann, the parents of his former sister-in-law Luise. Evidence of his deportation and escape, however, could not be found. Max Heudenfeld’s name is not on the deportation lists for Minsk.
However, it is included in a list for so-called Foreign Labor Deployment (Auswärtiger Arbeitseinsatz): deportation from Hamburg to Theresienstadt on 14 Feb. 1945. For the purpose of alleged labor deployment in a foreign country, the Gestapo commandeered Jews who were still living in mixed marriages and thus, until then, were protected from deportation. In Theresienstadt, Max Heudenfeld was liberated by the Red Army at the end of the war. He returned to Germany and reopened his company in the summer of 1945.
Max Heudenfeld died in Vienna on 12 Dec. 1962 as the result of a stroke. His wife, Emma, died on 25 Oct. 1975 after a serious illness while visiting her son in Caracas (Venezuela).
Henry Josua Heudenfeld (born 19 Oct. 1921) later married Luise Brinkmann (born 16 Nov. 1902 in Bad Salzuflen). They had two children: Rolf was born first, on 19 July 1922, followed by Luise on 17 Sep. 1925. In 1930, Henry and Luise Heudenfeld divorced. Henry Heudenfeld married a second time; his wife Martha Isaac was born in Velbert on 9 Aug. 1902. Until the November pogroms of 1938, Henry Heudenfeld was the managing director of an export firm, which was then "Aryanized.” His son, Rolf, was able to escape to Great Britain through the "children’s transport” (Kindertransport) program. His daughter, Luise, first hid on a farm in Baden and then had to go elsewhere. She found refuge on the estate of a countess in Lauenbrück (between Bremen and Hamburg), where she worked as a cook and survived.
Henry Heudenfeld tried as late as 1941 to immigrate with his wife to the USA, but they became "stranded” along the way, in Barcelona, because their tickets were not delivered to them. Martha Heudenfeld died in Spain. Henry Heudenfeld, impoverished, returned in August 1951 to Hamburg, where he worked as an administrative official until retirement and lived until his death on 22 July 1997.
Luise immigrated to Great Britain in 1949 and, like her brother before her, changed her last name to "Harding.”
Translator: Kathleen Luft
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg
Stand: October 2016
© Fabian Stadtlander
Quellen: StaHH 522-1, 992b, Kultussteuerkarteien; ebd., 332-5, 47034, Generalregister Heiraten , S. 233 Bundesarchiv, R 1501, Reichssippenamt, Ergänzungskarten zur Volkszählung v. 17.5.1939; Hamburger Adressbücher 1937; www2.holocaust.cz/de/victims; www.statistik-des-holocaust.de; Der Aufbau 23.7.1948; JDC, Personenindex; für die E-Mail-Auskünfte vom 17.12.2013 und 20.2.2014 danke ich Phil Harding herzlich.