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Anna Maria Kugelmann (née Wolff) * 1905
Harvestehuder Weg 55 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)
Freitod 19.7.1942 Hamburg
Robert Kugelmann, born 30 Apr. 1895, death by suicide 19 July 1942
Anna Marie Kugelmann, née Wolff, born 14 Jan. 1905, death by suicide 19 July 1942
Erwin Kugelmann, born 9 Sep. 1885, died 22 June 1939 as a result of his detainment in the Fuhlsbüttel Concentration Camp
Maria von Platen-Hallermund, née Kugelmann, born 24 Nov. 1886, deported 18 Nov. 1941 to Minsk
Harvestehuder Weg 55 (previous address: Alsterkamp 21)
On 19 July 1942, at 8:30 p.m., Robert and Anna Marie Kugelmann were found dead in a bathroom of the large villa at Harvestehuder Weg 55. They lay on two large mattresses, with the gas tap open above their heads. The house was in a state of chaos, in preparation for a move. On the desk lay various documents: a will, the contract for a plot at the Ohlsdorf Cemetery, a request for funeral arrangements, and a letter to Pastor Dittmann of the St. Johannis Church in Harvestehude, on the envelope of which was written "Our last letter. It was not meant to be. Yours, Robert Kugelmann.” And an "evacuation order” from the Gestapo, numbered 3303/3416 and dated 15 July 1942. It ordered the couple, probably with Anna Marie’s young son, to appear for deportation at the Schanzenstraße school on 18 July 1942 at 11 a.m. They chose to end their lives rather than suffer the fate of Theresienstadt.
Robert Donald Kugelmann was the youngest of the six children of Ferdinad Kugelmann and his wife Elena Hercilia, née Hahn de Echenagucia. Renate Hauschild-Thiessen has written an excellent essay about the life of Ferdinand Kugelmann and the end of his family.
The expansive property in Harvestehude was evidence of the wealth that Ferdinand Kugelmann had amassed since 1871. When he died in 1915, he left behind an inheritance of millions for his wife and five children (one son had died in 1907, aged 19). The fortune was administered by his widow. None of his sons seemed to have inherited enough of their father’s business acumen to follow in his footsteps. They all worked at other companies, but continued to live in their parents’ home, and certainly suffered no hardships. The twin daughters had both married and divorced, and they also lived for longer periods in the villa, taken care of by several servants.
Elena Kugelmann’s mother was a Catholic Creole, who had married Carl Hahn, a Jewish businessman from Hamburg who had amassed a notable fortune in Venezuela. Elena married Ferdinand Kugelmann in Paris in 1881, and they moved to Hamburg, the home of her paternal ancestors. Their six children, born between 1883 and 1895, were christened as Protestants. They were nevertheless considered three-quarters Jewish according to the Nazi racial laws, and were classified as "full Jews,” which sealed their fates.
Only one daughter survived the Third Reich.
The two eldest sons, Ferdinand and Erwin, both died in 1939. Ferdinand, who called himself Fernand, died in December 1939 in the Eilbektal Psychiactric Hospital. The cause of death was listed as heart and circulatory system failure.
Erwin Kugelmann’s homosexuality was his doom. He was held three different times for short periods in the Fuhlsbüttel Concentration Camp between 1936 and 1938. In late 1938 he was held in the Holstenwall pre-trial detention center. After his release he was a broken man. He died in June 1939.
At the age of 82, Elena Kugelmann had to witness the death of two of her sons. In November 1940, the second year of the war, she died herself. During an air raid blackout, she fell down the stairs in her home. She died immediately.
By this time the family was no longer living under conditions of unlimited wealth. In April 1938, the Kugelmanns, like all Jews, had to file an inventory of their assets, and access to their funds was limited. Elena Kugelmann’s monthly allowance was repeatedly reduced. The original allowance of 2,400 Reichsmarks had to cover, besides her large household, the hospital bills for one son and the legal fees for another. After her sons’ deaths the allowance was reduced to 1,000 RM per month. This was the sum allowed the three remaining children after Elena’s death. Bella (married name: Kück), one of the twin sisters, had earned an independent income as maître d’ of the Ostseekurhof in Travemünde until 1939, when she was forced to give up the job because she was Jewish. She returned to live in her parents’ home. Her twin sister Maria, who was divorced from Graf Platen-Hallermund, was sickly and needed constant care.
Bella Kück emigrated to Venezuela via Berlin and Spain in October 1941, shortly before all Jews were prohibited from leaving the Reich. Maria, who had chosen to remain in Hamburg, was deported to Minsk on 18 November 1941. One of the two remaining "Aryan” house servants accompanied her to the collection point at Moorweide. Nothing was ever heard from her again.
Since the number of people living in the household had been reduced, the monthly sum allowed Robert Kugelmann, as the only remaining heir, was also reduced. A memorandum in the files reads: "His sisters have emigrated (Venezuela) or migrated (Minsk).”
Within the next six months he was forced to let the two remaining non-Jewish servants go, after 18 ½ and 9 years of service to the family. The non-Jewish tax accountant who had advised the family for many years was also forced to resign his position.
Robert Kugelmann’s requests for extra funds tell us a few things about the last year of his life.
In June 1941 he and his sister had been granted 271 RM for renovations to the house. They had been ordered by the housing authority to create two apartments on the upper floors of the house, so that they could house boarders.
At Christmas 1941 he was granted 200 RM for gifts to the household servants and 50 RM for the "postman, garbageman, dressmaker and newspaper boy.” In March 1942 he was allowed to give each of the servants 2000 RM as a reward for their loyal service when they were let go.
On 2 June 1942, Robert Kugelmann requested 500 RM for his up-coming wedding and, at the same time, asked that the allowance not be reduced, as his expenses would now include the costs for a wife and child. On 10 June 1942 he married Anna Marie Wolff, who brought her six-year-old son Helmut into the marriage.
We do not know how Robert Kugelmann and Anna Marie Wolff met. He registered his future wife with the authorities as a household servant. Her son remained with his grandparents on Isestraße after his mother had moved into the Kugelmann house in Harvestehude. He began school in 1941 at the Kielortallee school, but he was forced to leave after only six months. After the wedding he moved in with his mother and step-father.
Anna Marie Wolff was originally from Mecklenburg. Her father was a lawyer and notary in Parchim. She moved with her parents and son to Hamburg in 1938, after her father’s law offices were destroyed in the November Pogrom. The father of her child, a non-Jewish lawyer and Corvette captain in the Navy, whom she had met in the early 1930s, refused to marry a Jew when the Nazis came to power.
Anna Marie Wolff wanted to become an actress. She acted at several smaller theaters in Mecklenburg, and sometimes for charity events. She and a friend, who provided musical accompaniment, presented poetry and literature readings. The establishment of the Reich Chamber of Culture, to which Jews were not admitted, but membership in which was required to perform as an artist, effectively put an end to her career. She was forced to rely on her parents for financial support.
On 3 July 1942, three weeks after the wedding, Robert Kugelmann submitted a request for "aid in disposing of the house on Alsterkamp and for new furnishings for Grindelallee 21.” This meant that the family was moving into a "Jews’ house.” They were granted 400 RM.
The handwriting on this request was, unlike the previous ones, hardly legible. Although his sister had been deported, Robert Kugelmann had apparently assumed that he would not share this fate. He probably assumed that his status as a decorated World War I veteran would protect him. The orders to move into a "Jews’ house” were proof that this was not so. They prepared for the move, but Anna Marie Kugelmann took steps to save her son.
Her friend Ilse Alexander was in Hamburg. Ilse was married to the actor Georg Alexander, who enjoyed special protection under the Nazi regime. Ilse had attempted, but failed, to save her Jewish mother, Bertha Brach, from being deported. Anna entrusted her son to Ilse, who took the boy to Berlin with her. For him it was a holiday, as no one let him know how bad the family’s situation was, and he didn’t know why he was travelling to Berlin with his mother’s friend.
He couldn’t remain in Berlin for long without putting the lives of those who sheltered him at risk. Thus began an odyssey through numerous foster families who courageously protected him from persecution. It was a cold comfort that he and his aunt Bella Kück eventually inherited the estate in Harvestehude. It was in such bad condition, after first having been occupied by the Nazis and then by the British military authorities, that it was not worth renovating.
Anna Marie and Robert Kugelmann did not move into the "Jews’ house” on Grindelallee. They were buried in the Kugelmann family plot in the Ohlsdorf Cemetery.
Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: October 2016
© Christa Fladhammer
Quellen : StAH 331-5 1942/1405; 2 R 1939/2038, 1941/23, 1941/41; WdE/FZH 632 Original: Interviewer Jens Michelsen; Stammbäume der Familien Wolff und Kugelmann, Privatbesitz; persönliches Gespräch mit Helmut Wolff am 08.02.2008; www.filmportal.de/df/11 (Georg Alexander).
Literatur: Renate Hauschild-Thiessen, Ferdinand Kugelmann (1840-1915) Mitbegründer der Hamburgischen Wissenschaftlichen Stiftung, und das Ende seiner Familie, Hamburgische Geschichts- und Heimatblätter, Band 14, Heft 10, Oktober 2002; Benjamin Herzberg, "Lichter im Dunkeln" Hilfe für Juden in Hamburg 1933-1945, Hbg. 1997; Als Kind vor den Nazis versteckt, einestages, SPIEGELONLINE, Zugriff 28.02.2008.