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Minka Behrend (née Hartog) * 1886
Brahmsallee 6 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)
Julius Behrend, born on 9 Feb. 1885 in Hamburg, imprisoned in the Fuhlsbüttel prison and Sachsenhausen concentration camp from 11 Nov. 1938 to 2 Dec. 1938, deported to Riga on 6 Dec. 1941
Minka Behrend, née Hartog, born on 16 Oct. 1886 in Hinschenfelde (Wandsbek), deported on 6 Dec. 1941 to Riga
Julius Behrend was born on 9 Feb. 1885 in Hamburg, the oldest of three brothers, followed by Martin in Jan. 1886 and Alfred in Apr. 1887. The family lived at Neustädter Neustrasse 1 (today Neustädter Strasse). His father Samuel (born in 1857 in Hamburg, died in 1937 in Hamburg) dealt in wallpaper articles and upholstery fabrics, his mother Malwine, née Hesslein (born in 1865 Hamburg, died in 1934 in Hamburg), took care of the family.
The male Jewish students who were to receive a school education oriented toward religion were taught at the Talmud Tora School. Founded in 1805 as the "Israelitische Armenschule Talmud-Tora,” a school for poor Jewish children at Elbstrasse 122, the school developed successfully over the years. At the time Julius and his brothers started school, it was officially recognized as the "Talmud Tora Realschule,” [a practice-oriented secondary school up to grade 10], and since 1857, it was located at Kohlhöfen 20, very close to their parents’ apartment.
Samuel Behrend ran his company warehouse in Hamburg-Neustadt for several more years, but moved his private residence to Heinrich-Barth-Strasse 6 in 1908, which was to remain the home for Samuel and Malwine Behrend until 1934. Many Jews who had previously lived in Hamburg-Neustadt and had earned their fortune moved their homes to the sought-after new development areas of the districts of Harvestehude and Rotherbaum.
Julius’ prospects for a secure future seemed good. The German-Israelitic Community was looking for an official for the Community office, and Julius Behrend recommended himself as someone who was familiar with this work through previous employment in a similar position and as an office clerk. He got the job, took his oath of office, and assumed his post as an official in the German-Israelitic Community on 1 Jan. 1913. The income was not abundant and not connected to a pension entitlement, but reliable and the responsible work in the Community brought recognition.
Minka Hartog was born on 16 Oct. 1886 in Hinschenfelde/Wandsbek. She was the youngest child of her parents Pheis Calmer, called Philip, Hartog (born in 1849 in Aurich, died in 1924 in Hamburg) and Gütle, called Auguste, née Bargerbuhr (born in 1848 in Aurich, died in 1932 in Hamburg). His older brother Albert Philipp was born in Aug. 1881; his sister Regina followed in Feb. 1883. Both were born in Hamburg.
The father earned his living as a lottery collector, i.e., as a merchant who sold lottery tickets with state permission. The income provided a good livelihood. The family acquired the house at Marienstrasse 9 (in Hamburg-Neustadt) in the late 1890s. At the beginning of 1902, they moved to the new development area on Brahmsallee. They acquired the house at Brahmsallee 31, which remained in the possession of the Hartog family until 1924.
We know nothing about Minka’s vocational training. The residents’ registration documents contain an entry about a sojourn in Paris from Sept. 1911 to Feb. 1912, but without reference to a reason for the stay.
How and where may Minka and Julius have met? We do not know, but maybe via friends of the parents, or maybe from contact in the neighborhood. They did live close to each other at Heinrich-Barth-Strasse 6 and Brahmsallee 31.
On 8 June 1913, Minka Hartog and Julius Behrend married at the Eimsbüttel registry office. Following their honeymoon in Bad Brückenau in Lower Franconia, they moved into their first apartment together at Brahmsallee 31 on the second floor.
The beginning of the First World War separated the married couple for years. Julius was drafted as a soldier on 17 Sept. 1914 and served for the entire duration of the war, interrupted only by home leaves. Minka Behrend remained behind, highly pregnant. The first child, Hildegard, was born on 16 Nov. 1914 in Hamburg. She was the first of seven children, followed by Thea, born on 4 Apr. 1917; Karola, born on 30 July 1918; Kurt, born on 13 Oct. 1919; Norbert Nathan, born on 11 Apr. 1921; Renate, born on 14 Feb. 1923; and Rahel, born on 15 May 1926.
In Aug. 1918, the war ended for Julius with an injury, which he cured in a military hospital in Bevensen near Uelzen. Julius was decorated with three medals for his war effort.
After the end of the war, he continued his work at the German-Israelitic Community. In the meantime, the family’s expenses for daily life had become greater than their income. Even a modest lifestyle could not prevent this. Julius feared for the health of his wife, who was pregnant with her fourth child (Kurt) and asked the Community for financial support, which was indeed granted to him. In 1925, he changed professions, gave up his post, and registered a business as an insurance broker on 6 Feb. 1925.
A move to Brahmsallee 6 on the second floor followed at the end of 1928. The Behrends lived there until about 1934, before changing the side of the street and moving to Brahmsallee 15 on the fourth floor.
Julius Behrend remained loyal to the German-Israelitic Community; he became a leading member of the "Fraternal Burial Society of the German-Israelitic Community” ("Beerdigung-Brüderschaft der Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde”). The members of the Fraternal Society defined their honorary work as follows: "The administration of good turns to deceased fellow believers, irrespective of their wealth or poverty.” The Fraternal Society kept an eye on the observance of the ritual rules of burial and mourning customs, which are of great importance in the Jewish religion.
Whereas the livelihood of Julius Behrend’s family seemed reasonably secure after the change of professions, it declined significantly in the period after the Nazis came to power in 1933. Since that time, only low, at times no, Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) was charged, suggesting a very low income. Only from the beginning of 1939 to the end of 1941 did the financial situation improve somewhat – Julius Behrend worked for the "Jewish Religious Organization” reg. soc. ("Jüdischer Religionsverband” e.V.), as the Community had to call itself after the merger of the four Jewish communities from Hamburg, Altona, Harburg-Wilhelmsburg, and Wandsbek on 1 Jan. 1938.
Julius, like his brother Martin, was arrested after the Pogrom on 9 Nov. 1938 and deported to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Both were released after a few weeks. The aim of these arrests was to expel the detainees and their families from Germany.
Julius and Minka Behrend managed to find a way out for all seven children through clever planning. The youngest, Rachel, went to Palestine at the end of Dec. 1939.
Julius’ brothers and their families also went abroad.
The Behrend couple stayed behind in Hamburg. Minka’s siblings did not reside in Hamburg.
Why Julius and Minka did not leave is unknown. Perhaps the financial means were exhausted or they could not imagine that a soldier of great merit from the First World War would be exposed to further reprisals. At the beginning of Apr. 1938, the Behrends had moved from the fourth floor to the ground floor at Brahmsallee 15. Subtenants lived with them in the six-and-a-half-room apartment, among others, Jakob Bargerbuhr, born in 1855. He had come from Aurich to Hamburg in 1934 and he was probably a close relative of Minka’s mother.
In Nov. 1941, the apartment had to be vacated, and the Behrends moved to Grindelallee 23. After only three weeks, they received their deportation order to the Riga Ghetto on 6 Dec. 1941. Nothing is known about their subsequent fate except that they – like all Hamburg deportees of this transport – were sent to the Jungfernhof camp and killed there.
Jakob Bargerbuhr was deported from Beneckestrasse 6 to the Theresienstadt Ghetto on 23 June 1943 and died there on 23 Dec. 1943.
In the following, the fate of the seven Behrend siblings will be briefly examined – as far as possible:
Hildegard Behrend: Probably, as early as the beginning of 1936, she emigrated to Palestine, where she married Aron Wolf. Her husband commemorated her parents with a "Page of Testimony” (Gedenkblatt), a memorial sheet submitted to the Yad Vashem memorial site in Israel.
Thea Behrend: From Apr. 1923 to 1931, she attended the Israelite Girls’ Secondary School and in 1933 attained the "Lyceumsreife” (girls’ high school diploma) at the Gemeinde- und Realschule [a practice-oriented secondary school up to grade 10 operated by the Community) on Carolinenstrasse. Thea seemed to have a talent for mathematics and helped the father calculate premiums and claims, which Thea later recalled was a little difficult for him. She wanted to become an "actuary,” which her father also supported, but which required a high school diploma for studying mathematics at university. This desire was thwarted by the anti-Semitic atmosphere prevailing by then and as a result, the family decided that Thea should learn a practical trade. Through the intercession of her uncle Alfred Behrend, her father’s youngest brother, she became an apprentice tailor with Mrs. Baste at Wohldsenweg 4 in Hamburg, who mainly worked for Jewish customers. After only one year, Thea quit her apprenticeship there, because there was not enough work to give her proper training. She lost another apprenticeship because the husband of her apprentice’s mistress was an SS man and insisted that she drop out of the apprenticeship. At this point, Thea went to a training camp in Darmstadt in Nov. 1935, where she received the Palestine certificate (i.e., the right to enter the country legally) in Aug. 1936 and set off for this destination a month later.
Karola Behrend: She started working in Apr. 1937 and paid her own Jewish religious taxes (Kultussteuern). In May 1939, at the time of the German national census, she was still living at Brahmsallee 15, but was preparing her emigration. On 14 Aug. 1939, she emigrated to Great Britain, where she married in Mar. 1942. Her new last name was Rottenberger and she lived in the Surrey County in the south of England.
Kurt Behrend: He attended the Talmud Tora School until 1935. In Jan. 1936, at the age of 16, he travelled to Belgium, where he completed a three-year apprenticeship as a fitter, metal lathe operator, and technical draftsman in Antwerp. After graduation, he did not receive a work permit and performed occasional work for a living. In May 1940, neutral Belgium was occupied by the German Wehrmacht within a few days. All Germans who were in the country were regarded by the Belgians as a potential security risk, arrested, and deported to France. Kurt was also affected. At his point, his camp odyssey began: The first camp in which he was imprisoned was the Saint-Cyprien concentration camp (southern France). This primitive camp was flooded at the end of Oct. 1942 and thus rendered uninhabitable. The prisoners were taken to the Gurs camp on 29 Oct. 1940, where Kurt was imprisoned until 26 June 1941. He then came to Viviers as a "foreign worker (groupement des travailleurs étrangers).” From there, he had to work in Voglaus and Ruffieux (both Savoy). In Aug. 1942, he managed to escape from Ruffieux. Equipped with a forged passport, he lived as "Jean Bonnet” for a year in Rive de Gier in the Departément Loire. However, during a raid in Sept. 1943, he fell into the hands of German troops and henceforth had to perform forced labor for the Wehrmacht until the liberation by Allied troops. Kurt stayed in France, worked as a technical draftsman, got married, and lived in Paris from Oct. 1946 onward.
Norbert Nathan Behrend: Like his brothers, he attended the Talmud Tora School up to finishing his one-year graduating class ("Einjähriges”) and obtaining the intermediate secondary school certificate (mittlere Reife) in Mar. 1938. The events during the night of November Pogrom on 9/10 Nov. 1938 with the imprisonment of his father prompted him to leave Germany for Great Britain immediately after his release from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp on 2 Dec. 1938. There the 17-year-old spent the first months in a refugee camp, was able to start work as a farm worker in the course of 1940, and survived the war. In July 1946, he received an entry visa to Palestine. In the Tirat-Zvi cooperative settlement, founded in 1937 and located in the plain of Bet Scheàn, about 25 kilometers (approx. 15.5 miles) south of the Sea of Galilee, he found accommodation and work in agriculture.
Renate Behrend: She attended the girls’ school on Bieberstrasse, then the Israelite Girls’ Secondary School on Carolinenstrasse, which she finished in grade 8. She strove toward training as an accountant, which was no longer feasible for a Jewish youth after the Nazi takeover. An alternative offered itself in home economics training, which Renate wanted to attain starting in spring 1938 in the "Home Economics Women’s School in the Countryside” ("Wirtschaftliche Frauenschule auf dem Lande”) in Wolfratshausen (south of Munich), which had been created by the Munich Jewish Women’s League. Since 1934, the education was recognized as "hachshara,” i.e., an emigration to Palestine became possible. In Nov. 1938, the school was closed by order of the state. Since she could no longer continue this education, Renate went to Palestine with the "Youth Aliyah” ("Jugend-Alija”) in Mar. 1939. In Jerusalem, she found accommodation and a training place in a home economics school, which she attended from Mar. 1939 to Mar. 1941. She then joined the British Army and served in it until 1946. Afterward, Renate worked for civilian employers, e.g., in a bookstore. A marriage entered in the meantime was divorced in 1955. In 1958, Renate Popper, as she was called after her second marriage in 1957, emigrated to the USA and settled in New York.
Rahel Behrend: She emigrated to Palestine at the age of 13. The foreign currency office of the Hamburg Chief Finance Administrator (Oberfinanzpräsident) approved her departure on 22 Dec. 1939. In addition to a practical set of warm clothing and bedding, she carried 30 books in her luggage. Little is known about her life in Palestine.
As already mentioned, the siblings of Julius and Minka already lived abroad or no longer in Hamburg.
Martin Behrend, born on 5 Jan. 1886, Julius’ younger brother, was a participant in the First World War. After the end of the war, he established himself as a commercial agent and married Flora Rosenstock, born on 30 Sept. 1898 in Hamburg, in 1924. The couple had three children. Due to the anti-Jewish measures after the National Socialists came to power, Martin Behrend’s income declined. He also experienced arrest after the November Pogrom on 9 Nov. 1938 and deportation to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, from which he was released after about four weeks. He lost his commercial representations and thus his income. He tried to feed his family with occasional work at the Jewish Cemetery on Ilandkoppel in Ohlsdorf, at a matzoh factory, and at the Jewish Hospital. In mid-1941, a relative living there financed the emigration of Martin, Flora, and the children Miriam, Alice, and Julius Behrend to the USA. Martin Behrend died on 17 Apr. 1957.
Alfred Behrend, born in 1887, was a merchant. Like his brothers, he was a soldier in World War I. In 1920, he married Irma Sacki, born in Mellrichstadt/Bavaria. The couple had two children, Elisabeth (born on 14 Feb. 1922) and Walter (born on 25 Sept. 1928).
Alfred Behrend worked in the Flörsheim & Co and Max Bundheim& Co banking houses and, from the late 1920s onward, as a self-employed entrepreneur in his own office at Neuer Wall 54. The family lived at Oberstrasse 9. Alfred Behrend was closely associated with the rest of the family, especially with Julius, Minka, and their seven children. The good middle-class life ended in the spring of 1934 with an alleged audit in Alfred Behrend’s office. It was, as he suspected, a move initiated by competitors to defame him. Irma Behrend later made an affidavit stating that the suspected irregularity prompted a series of measures, that Alfred Behrend had to face the Court of Honor of the Chamber of Commerce, that he was summoned to the Reich Ministry of Economics in Berlin, and that he was put under pressure. The strain on his nerves did not subside even after the allegations were invalidated. Alfred Behrend collapsed during a business trip to the Netherlands and decided not to return to Germany. He travelled from the Netherlands to Palestine, initially as a visitor. His wife and children went to Prague in Sept. 1935, where Irma Behrend’s brother stayed and cared for them, before they could travel to Palestine in Mar. 1936. The parents had concealed these problems from their children; they knew – as Walter wrote – about the trip to Palestine and that the repression against the father had ultimately saved their lives because the family had left Germany early on.
Alfred and Irma Behrend remained in Palestine even after the collapse of the "Third Reich.” However, they often travelled to Germany to meet old friends. Hamburg was a preferred destination. The city was Alfred’s home all his life. With the Senate Chancellery in Hamburg, he maintained a moving correspondence for over 17 years until shortly before his death in 1982.
His wife had died in 1972.
Minka’s brother Albert Philipp (born in 1881) lived in Berlin with his non-Jewish wife Hedwig Margarete Gertrud, née Rahtz (born in 1877). Albert Philipp was deported to Auschwitz on 3 Feb. 1943. A Stolperstein in front of his residential building at Sophie-Charlotte-Strasse 104 in Berlin Charlottenburg commemorates him.
Minka’s sister Regina, married to Manfred Linz in Dessau, had four children. The couple owned a textile shop that was "Aryanized.” The family escaped to safety in 1941 with three children (Margot, Kurt, and Albrecht) to Brazil. The eldest son Manfred could not escape. He had been imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp since July 1940, where he died in Mar. 1942.
Two Stolpersteine in front of Brahmsallee 6 commemorate Julius and Minka Behrend.
The Museum für Hamburgische Geschichte features a special memento. There is a glass fruit bowl in the Jewish section, which Minka gave to a friend’s neighbor as a farewell present when moving out of Brahmsallee 15. The daughter of the recipient handed it over to the museum after her mother’s death.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: September 2019
© Christina Igla
Quellen: 1; 5; 8; 9; StaH:131 – II_ Senatskanzlei 3316; 213-13 Landgericht_1053;311-2 IV Finanzdeputation, 314-15 Oberfinanzpräsident_ Vg3781, _Vg4170, -Vg5320, -Vg7736; 332-5 Meldewesen_1994 3190/1881, _2040 574/1883, _2099 690/1885_884 92/1924, _8112 76/1932, _8124 307/1934, _8144 113/1937; 8689 153/1913, 332-8 Meldewesen K6209; 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung_9054, _42408, _44536, _45219, _45463; 522-1_316 Personalakte Julius Behrend, 522-1 _ 390 Wählerverzeichnis 1930,741-2 Gewerbegenehmigung_K3828; Haefs, Aufriss; Hoffmann, Schule, S. 36–39; "Festschrift zur Feier des 125-jährigen Bestehens der Beerdigungs-Brüderschaft der Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde in Hamburg" vom 16.8.1937; Statuten der Beerdigungs-Brüderschaft der Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde zu Hamburg, Hamburg 1899, S. 1–2; www.ancestry.de (Zugriff am 9.8.2013 (Bayrisches Staatsarchiv, Abt. IV, Kriegsarchiv), 8.6.2015 und 10.3.2016; www.beliebte-vornamen.de (Zugriff am 4.6.2015), www.gedenkkultur-dessau-rosslau.de (Zugriff am 4.6.2015), www.hamburg.de/contentblob/1189032/data/juedischer-stadtplan.pdf (Zugriff am 24.5.2015), www.stolpersteine-Aurich.de (zu Jakob Bargerbuhr) (Zugriff am 4.6.2015), www.stolpersteine-berlin.de (Zugriff am 4.6.2015), Hamburger Adressbuch – onlineversion; E-Mails Dr. O. Pelc, Hamburgmuseum v. 23.5.2015, Daniel Behrend v. 31.7.2013, Walter Behrend v. 8.7.2015, Thomas Uhrmann, Ehrenamtlicher Leiter der Dr.-Erich-Bloch-und-Lebenheim-Bibliothek (Judaica) der Israelitischen Kultusgemeinde Konstanz, www.bsz-bw.de/eu/blochbib/ v. 8.5.2014, 19.1.2015, 20.1.2015, Darmstädter Geschichtswerkstatt v. 23.7.2013; Naomi Bar-Joseph v. 24.6.2015, v. Dr. Thomas Lange, Archivpädagoge i.R. v. 6.8.2013.
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