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Selma Berend (née Lichtenstein) * 1884

Kösterbergstraße 42 (Altona, Blankenese)

1941 Minsk

Selma Berend, née Lichtenstein, born on 7 Mar. 1884, deported on 18 Nov. 1941 to Minsk, murdered in Minsk

Selma Berend was the middle one of five daughters born to the Danzig resident Hermann Lichtenstein and his wife Frieda, née Auerbach. Her two older sisters, Elsa and Klara, were born in 1879 and 1880, the younger ones, Regina and Auguste, followed in 1885 and 1890.

Selma married the merchant Alfred Berend in 1904. When their son Manfred was born one year afterwards, she was 21 years old. Two years later, their daughter Norma was born. The family moved frequently; in 1906, they lived at Armbruststraße 6 and then for several years at Collaustraße 17 in Eimsbüttel, around 1911 at Grindelallee 83, and from 1915 onward at Beim Schlump 12.

The marriage was dissolved in 1917. Apparently, Selma Berend lived alone for the time being. From 1922 until 1928, she was registered as living at Mansteinstraße 37, from 1929 at Düppelstraße 6 in a one-bedroom apartment, with her unmarried sister Regina subsequently moving in with her. Their mother died in 1928.

Employed as a sales assistant and warehouse worker, Selma Berend could have earned only little in all these years, as the Jewish Community waived her membership dues from 1927 to 1941. From 1918 to the end of July 1932, she was pursuing gainful employment, but she was unemployed from July 1932 onward, receiving only minimal assistance by the welfare authority, merely 8.50 RM (reichsmark) a week. From Oct. to Dec. 1932, she worked on a temporary basis at the Wagner Company located in Elbstraße. From 1933, the authorities once again had her recorded as "jobless.” Selma Berend ran into economic difficulties. She declared that her now married children lived in very modest circumstances, having no means to support her. As a traveling salesman on a commission basis with irregular income, her son had to support two children himself. Likewise, her daughter, who had one child and worked as a sales assistant, and her son-in-law, a sales representative, were unable to pay for her upkeep. Selma Berend’s father lived in a retirement home, the Stift Sedanstraße. As a result, she had to file claims for crisis support, also receiving a heating allowance.

In 1936, she worked as a live-in domestic for the Dessau family at Moltkestraße 45a. In 1937, her father died. That same year, Selma Berend moved to the house located at Kösterbergstraße 42, built for the gardeners of the Max Warburg family. Surely, this move was coupled with new hopes. According to the "house registration” file card (Hausmeldekarteikarte), the Warburgs hired her as a "housekeeping manager,” paying her 21.60 RM a week.

At the end of Aug. 1938, Max Warburg traveled to New York with his wife and daughter. However, due to the political developments in Germany, the Warburgs did not return as planned. Their property, the houses at Kösterbergstraße 42 and 56, were confiscated by the Hanseatic City of Hamburg. Selma Berend had to move once again.

Until her deportation in Nov. 1941, she lived as a subtenant in various houses in the "Jewish” Grindelviertel neighborhood: In 1939, she moved to Dillstraße 3, and later she was quartered in the "Jews’ house” ("Judenhaus”) at Bornstraße 22, at Heinrich-Barthstraße 1, and finally "at Noltemeyer’s,” Grindelberg 9a. This is where she received the deportation order.

On 18 Nov. 1941, Selma Berend was deported to Minsk. She perished in the Minsk Ghetto.

Her sister Regina was deported on 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz and died there.

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

© Hans Kastrup und Birgit Gewehr

Quellen: 1; 4; Auskunft des Staatsarchivs Hamburg aus der Hausmeldekartei; StaH 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung, 7013 (Selma Berend) und 29883 (Berend, Manfred, darin Fürsorgeakte); AB Altona und Hamburg; Chernow, Die Warburgs.
Zur Nummerierung häufig genutzter Quellen siehe Link "Recherche und Quellen".

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