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Berl Löwi * 1898

Bremer Straße 3 (Harburg, Harburg)

JG. 1898

further stumbling stones in Bremer Straße 3:
Szaja Neuwirth

Berl Löwi, born on 30 Nov. 1898 in Kolomea (today Kolomyia, Western Ukraine), deported on 4 Mar. 1943 from Drancy to the Lublin Majdanek camp, murdered

Harburg-Altstadt quarter, Bremer Strasse 3

Berl Löwi is one of the many people whose lives were annihilated by the Nazis. Only some stages of his life are known, while others remain in the dark, which is unlikely to change in the future.

When Berl Löwi was born, his birthplace was on the eastern border of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the crown land of Galicia. Poles, Ukrainians, Jews, Romanians, Slovaks, Hungarians, and Germans lived in the city on the Prut River, with the Jewish inhabitants making up almost half of the city’s population. Tensions between these ethnic groups were latently present and flared up, especially in times of crisis. The representatives of the Habsburg Monarchy did little to change this situation and occasionally even used it to their advantage when it came to asserting their claim to power.

In addition, at the end of the nineteenth century, time in Eastern Galicia seemed to have more or less stood still, as a travel report from those years shows: "Kolomea was a dirty city. Narrow-chested houses, entire streets without sewers and lighting, the roadways badly graveled and full of deep holes ... Every year on Aug. 15th a great parish fair was celebrated ... It was also a feast day for pickpockets ... and for beggars, of whom there were more in the city on the Prut than in any other place in eastern Galicia.” Galicia was Austria’s poorhouse, from which at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century, huge waves of emigration rolled to Western Europe and further into the New World, America. After the First World War, Kolomea became a Polish city and after the Second World War, a Ukrainian city, which did not remain without consequences for the population groups who felt alien within the respective borders of these states.

Exactly when Berl Löwi left his home cannot be determined. In 1937, according to the Harburg directory, he lived as a tenant in a house owned by Fanny Neuwirth at Bremer Strasse 3. There he also spent his free evenings and Sundays during the following two years, and there, he must have experienced the horrors of the Harburg Pogrom Night on 10 Nov. 1938.

The fact that he, too, no longer had any hopes for a better future in these years is suggested by his quick relocation of residence to Belgium. On 10 May 1940, as a Jewish refugee from Hitler’s Germany, he experienced the German Wehrmacht’s attack on this neutral country and the lightning internment of all "enemy aliens” by the Belgian government. The internees were then transported to the French border in the south of the country and deported to neighboring France. From there, after several days of traveling, they often arrived at one of the numerous detention camps in the south of the country where the French government placed "enemy aliens.”

After the Spanish Civil War in 1939, these camps had been set up in a hurry for persons who had fled to neighboring France over the Pyrenees after General Franco’s victory. The living conditions in these emergency shelters were more than miserable, and they worsened even more dramatically when more refugees – mainly from the German Reich, Austria, Poland, and Belgium, and including above all Jews – joined them. In the wooden barracks, it was too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter. The rations did not suffice. Even after France’s surrender on 22 June 1940, these camps remained under the control of the French police, who cooperated closely with the German occupation authorities after the conclusion of the Franco-German armistice negotiations.

Following an assassination attempt on two German officers in Feb. 1943, the French "cooperating partners” were ordered by Kurt Lischka, commander of the German security police in Paris, to arrest 2,000 Jews of foreign origin "fit for deportation” in southern France. The arrested persons were then taken to the French Drancy transit camp for Jews near Paris and deported from there on 4 Mar. 1943 to the Sobibor extermination camp and the Lublin Majdanek concentration camp in occupied Poland.

This transport list also included the name of Berl Löwi.

This time there was no escape for Berl Löwi. This transport took him to the place where his life was violently ended.

Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: June 2020
© Klaus Möller

Quellen: Gedenkbuch. Opfer der Verfolgung der Juden unter der nationalsozialistischen Gewaltherrschaft in Deutschland 1933–1945, Bundesarchiv (Hrsg.), Koblenz 2006; Yad Vashem. The Central Database of Shoa Victims´ Names:; Hamburger und Harburger Adressbücher; Serge Klarsfeld, Vichy – Auschwitz. Die `Endlösung der Judenfrage´ in Frankreich, Darmstadt 2007; Martin Pollack, Galizien. Eine Reise durch die verschwundene Welt Ostgaliziens und der Bukowina, 9. Auflage Leipzig 2001,, eingesehen am 1.12.2017; der Vichy-Regierung beim Holocaust, eingesehen am 2.12.2017.

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