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Lonny Beese (née Lisser) * 1905
Grindelallee 73 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)
Freitod 10.9.1944 Hamburg
Lonny Beese, née Lisser, born on 18 May 1905 in Breslau, died in Hamburg on 10 Sept. 1944 by suicide
The divorced shorthand typist Lonny Beese lived together with her daughter Ursula. She had married her ex-husband, the marine engineer Walter Wilhelm Christian Beese residing at Sierichstraße 20, on 19 Mar. 1927. He was non-Jewish. Lonny Beese had converted to Christianity; in her obituary, her religious denomination was later indicated as Lutheran. Her daughter Ursula Marion was born in Bremen on 21 Feb. 1928. After her birth, the family moved to Mittelweg 25 in Hamburg. The marriage was divorced on 30 Apr. 1940. Walter Beese disowned the daughter as a "bastard” and broke off contact, while Lonny obtained sole custody. The fact that Lonny cared for her underage daughter, who was considered a "half-Jew (jüdischer Mischling) of the 1st degree,” from the "mixed marriage” with Walter saved her from deportation for the time being.
Although the father was obliged to pay alimony, the two had to give up the apartment on Mittelweg, and Lonny resumed work as a shorthand typist. They found accommodation with the father-in-law, Adolf Beese, whose apartment at Grindelallee 73 they took over after his death on 2 Apr. 1943. Lonny’s mother, Alma Lisser, née Königsfeld, born on 22 Feb. 1877 in Ratibor, was employed as a housekeeper for Adolf, living in his apartment with him and her daughter until 1941.
Lonny’s father, the general manager Erwin Lisser, had very likely already died by this time. Her brother Hans lived abroad. Lonny Beese was able to work at the office of the Jewish lawyer Dr. jur. Walter Schüler at Jungfernstieg 24 until 1943, at which time he was arrested. Despite her job, Lonny earned either a small or no income at all, for neither did she pay any dues to the Reich Association of Jews in Germany (Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland) nor did the Chief Finance Administrator (Oberfinanzpräsident) issue any "security orders” (Sicherungsanordnungen). After termination of her employment, in the course of the "Jewish labor deployment” ("Judeneinsatz,” i.e. forced labor), she was compelled by the employment office to package "Delicia-Präparate,” that is, rat and mouse poison, with the Heldmann-Chemie Company and to clear rubble for the Dralle Company. Because of the heavy labor, she suffered damage to her health, as did many forced laborers. In 1944, she submitted a petition to Karl Kaufmann, the Reich Governor (Reichsstatthalter) of Hamburg, asking to reassume office work. She was granted permission to work as a shorthand typist with the Greve und Behrens Company.
The forced labor and the deportation of her mother, Alma Lisser, on 11 July 1942, were such an emotional strain on her that she was given a sick notice extending from 2 May 1944 until 12 Sept. of that year by the Jewish physician Dr. Hans Sommerfeld.
In Sept. 1943, Lonny Beese took in her former tailor, Henriette Möller, as well as her husband and child, since they had been bombed out. However, repeatedly quarrels arose between her and the couple, culminating in a denunciation by the Möllers. They accused Lonny Beese of "racial defilement” ("Rassenschande”) and listening to enemy radio stations.
The charge of "racial defilement” is connected to Willibald Schallert, the head of the employment office "for Jewish labor deployment” (Judeneinsatz), who was considered corrupt and unpredictable and who, according to her daughter Ursula, sexually harassed her mother. Schallert cooperated closely with the Gestapo and was authorized by virtue of his office to go see and check up on Jews at their workplaces and at home. After the war, a court established that in several instances he had sexually harassed Jewish women, who were defenselessly at his mercy, as he had the power to report them to the Gestapo. Thus, Lonny Beese ended up in a situation with no way out: In order to evade being reported by Schallert, she submitted to him and was promptly denounced by the "Aryan” subtenants. Due to this emotional distress, she poisoned herself with Veronal tablets on 8 Sept. 1944.
Her daughter and a friend found her unconscious at the apartment. The neighbor called a doctor who had Lonny committed to the Eppendorf University Hospital, where she died at "Pavillon 69” three days later. In a farewell letter, she explained that the Möllers had finished her off and that, even telling the truth, as a Jew she would not have gotten justice.
Her daughter remained as a subtenant in the apartment that was confiscated by the Gestapo, and she feared until the end of the war that one day she would be arrested as a "half-Jew” ("jüdischer Mischling”), a fate she was spared, however. At the end of 1945, she received back the apartment upon filing a claim, took legal action to enforce her entitlement to the furniture sold, and submitted restitution claims for her mother and grandmother in 1955.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Jacqueline Malchow
Quellen: StaHH, 331-5 Polizeibehörde Unnatürliche Sterbefälle 3 Akte 1944/1174; Beate Meyer, Beate (Hrsg.): Die Verfolgung und Ermordung der Hamburger Juden 1933-1945. Geschichte. Zeugnis. Erinnerung. Hamburg: Landeszentrale für politische Bildung Hamburg, 2006; Amt für Wiedergutmachung 180505.