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Erna Bragenheim (née Blumenthal) * 1888
Isestraße 86 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)
Erna Bragenheim, maiden name Blumenthal, born 28 Jan. 1888 in Berlin, deported to Lodz on 25 Oct. 1941
Martin Bragenheim, born 19 Feb. 1882 in Güstrow, murdered in the Brandenburg death camp on 23 Sep. 1940
Erna Bragenheim, born 25 Sep. 1876 in Güstrow, deported to Lodz on 25 Oct. 1941
At the beginning of the 20th century, Daniel Meyer Bragenheim, born on 4 March 1838, moved from Güstrow in Mecklenburg to Hamburg together with his wife, Walli, nee Sachs. The couple had four children: Itzig, called Richard, born in 1875, Erna, born in 1876, Paul, born in 1878, and Martin, born in 1882. All four were born in Güstrow.
From the documents relating to the census of the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin on 1. Dec. 1900, we can gather that Daniel Meyer Bragenheim owned a business as a "Lottery Principal Collector” which he also managed. All three sons were employed in the father`s company, Richard as authorized officer , Paul as Bookkeeper and Martin as a trainee in the lottery business. Erna Bragenheim was described in the census simply as a daughter.
The reasons why the family moved to Hamburg are not recorded. Probably Daniel Bragenheim expected more favourable conditions for his business in the big city which would turn out not to be the case.
The family had only been able to take three of their children with them to Hamburg since Paul was no longer living with the family but in the local mental asylum, Sachsenberg near Schwerin in Mecklenburg. The patient index files of the "Mental Asylum” Friedrichsberg which still exist enables us to see that Paul and Martin Bragenheim had been patients there around the turn of the century. The stays in Friedrichsberg were apparently only temporary. On 10 July 1915 Paul was admitted to Sachsenberg again.
In Hamburg, the Bragenheim family lived at Heinrich-Barth-Strasse 3 in the Rotherbaum district. Their circumstances of life must have been miserable. In May 1922, a welfare worker noted "The Bragenheims are a pitiful family. Apart from the son Richard, who supposely supports the whole family, all the family members are ill. The father, 84 years old, is blind. The mother, 68 years old, suffers from a severe nervous complaint, one son [Paul] is in the physchiatric clinic in Sachsenberg, one son [Martin] is at home but cannot work as he also has a nervous complaint. The daughter, Erna, who was previously an insurance inspector, has not worked since 1914 since she also has a nervous complaint. She suffers in particular from acute headaches. She hopes to get some relief from a diathermic treatment. She is being treated by Dr. […]”.
Shortly afterwards, on 5 June 1923, Daniel Bragenheim died at the age of 86. The family situation continued to be precarious. In March 1928, Walli Bragenheim died. Now Martin and Erna were left to their own devices and could only hope for help from their brother Richard. He contributed to the maintenance of his relatives but suffered a lot psychologically from the burden of his family. A daily home help that he financed for Erna and Martin Bragenheim ensured that the household was kept in order.
In 1932, Richard Bragenheim worked as a representative in the insurance brokerage company, Wahler & Co, located in the Bieberhaus, Hachmannplatz 2. His expenses increased from year to year as a result of the everincreasing costs of maintaining his brother and sister so that he had accumulated debts to his employer totalling RM 3000. Richard Bragenheim, who was engaged in the meanwhile, also supported his fiancé. Without Richard`s concern for his brother Martin, the latter would have been committed to a care institution a long time ago as a welfare worker noted in June 1932. Erna Bragenheim also became increasingly less independent. In addition to the nervous diseases from which she had suffered for many years, she was also tormented by back pains. The welfare worker felt that "the household gives the impression of being very neglected”.
The Jewish Community accepted Martin Bragenheim as a member in 1934 after the public welfare administration had referred the brother and sister to the Jewish Community. At this time, he lived with his sister Erna and brother Richard at Rutschbahn 18.
If the reports of the welfare workers before 1933 concerning the Bragenheim family had been underpinned with a certain empathy, the tone changed after Adolf Hitler came to power. In February 1935, N. Kruse "Head of the Social Security Office and Welfare Authority, District Rotherbaum” wrote "The declarations made by the B.`s are not credible. To support their statements, they are prepared to swear to everything. We know what the oath of a jew is worth. R.B. lives with his so called bride, Rutschbahn 23, naturally a Christian. R.B. pays the rent for his brother and sister. R. B.s business is unmanageable, all three deal in lottery tickets. I have instructed R.B. to accommodate his brother and sister in his five and a half roomed apartment. He would save himself the rent by doing this and the brother and sister could live from this money. I have also put it to R.B. that he should apply to the Jewish Community for maintenance for his brother and sister since he has to count on the maintenance from the Welfare Authority being discontinued one day.
Initially, R.B. explained to me that his business was not bringing in any money etc. the usual complaints. When I told him to take his brother and sister into his apartment, he said that he couldn`t do that because he needs the apartment for his business. So, once like this and then differently according to the circumstances. Typical of the jews.
I have known M[artin] B. for 10 years. He has often sold lottery tickets at our place in the Grindelallee. His illness is not that bad, at any rate he does not need to be committed to Friedrichsberg.
It is unacceptable that 3 single brothers and sisters maintain two households in two apartments in order to receive maintenance from the Welfare Authority when they could live in one apartment for which the means are available.
A further payment of maintenance cannot be endorsed.”
In spite of his brother`s attempts to save him from being committed to an asylum, Martin was admitted to the so-called Care and Nursing home Langenhorn in December 1935. We do not know how he fared there. His medical record no longer exists.
In June 1936, Richard Bragenheim moved together with his sister to an apartment in the former Minkel Solomon David Kalker Foundation in Rutschbahn 24a, Haus 1 l. In January 1937, Richard Bragenheim found a new source of income as a member of the Hamburg Temple Choir in the Oberstrasse.
After Richard Bragenheim had married his fiancé, Erna Blumenthal (born 28 Jan. 1888 in Berlin) in 1937, he ended the lease on the flat which he shared with his sister. The married couple Bragenheim obtained an apartment in Isestrasse 86. Richard`s sister, Erna, lived as a subtenant at Isestrasse 91. Richard Bragenheim and his wife Erna supported Erna Bragenheim as far as possible. All three lived in very modest circumstances.
In 1940 Richard Bragenheim was briefly detained by the Gestapo because of alleged illegal businesses. But the lawsuit against him were dropped because nothing illegal could be evidenced.
In Spring / Summer 1940, the "Euthanasia” Central Office in Berlin, Tiergartenstraße 4, planned a special operation against the jews living in public and private Care and Nursing homes. They had the jews living in the institutions registered and concentrated in so-called Collection Institutions. The Care and Nursing home (Heil- und Pflegeanstalt) Hamburg-Langenhorn was designated the North German Collection Institution. All institutions in Hamburg, Schleswig Holstein and Mecklenburg were instructed to transfer all the jews living in their establishments there by the 18 Sept. 1940.
Martin Bragenheim was one of the patients who had been living in Langenhorn for a lengthy period of time. On 23 Sept. 1940, he was transported to Brandenburg an der Havel along with 135 other patients from north german institutions. On the same day, the patients were killed with carbon monoxide in a part of the old prison which had been converted into a centre for execution by gassing. Only Ilse Herta Zachmann initially escaped this fate (see the entry on her).
The Birth Registry entry for Martin Bragenheim contains a remark that the Registry Office Chelm II had recorded his death under number 425/1941. However, there never was a Registry Office in Chelm, a city to the east of Lublin. The Polish nursing home which had been there before was no longer in existence after SS units had murdered nearly all the patients on 12 Jan. 1940. The invention of a German Registry Office and the use of dates of death later than the real ones served to cover up the killings and at the same time enabled the claiming of food costs for a correspondingly longer period of time.
As the Admission and Discharge records reveal, Paul Bragenheim died on 12 Jan. 1940 in Sachsenberg near Schwerin.
Richard Bragenheim died in January 1941 in Hamburg. The Registry of Deaths records his profession as Choir Singer. His widow, Erna Bragenheim, was now probably living on her own at Isestrasse 86. Richard`s sister Erna had left the Isestrasse in May 1939 and had moved into a sponsored apartment at Grossneumarkt 56.
Both women were deported to Lodz on 25 Oct. 1941. Richard Bragenheim`s widow Erna was murdered in Chelmno on 10 May 1942. Nothing more is known about the fate of Richard`s sister. For both, there are Stumbling Stones at Isestrasse 86 next to the one for Martin Bragenheim.
Translator: Peter Huggett, updated by Steve Robinson
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: September 2018
© Ingo Wille
Quellen: 1; 2; 4; 9; AB; StaH 133-1 III Staatsarchiv III, 3171-2/4 U.A. 4, Liste psychisch kranker jüdischer Patienten der psychiatrischen Anstalt Langenhorn, die aufgrund nationalsozialistischer "Euthanasie"-Maßnahmen ermordet wurden, zusammengestellt von Peter von Rönn, Hamburg (Projektgruppe zur Erforschung des Schicksals psychisch Kranker in Langenhorn); 314-15 Oberfinanzpräsident FVg 4405 (2); 332-5 Standesämter 8093 Sterberegisterauszug Nr. 133/1928 Walli Bragenheim geb. Sachs, 8174 Sterberegisterauszug Nr. 37/1941 Richard Bragenheim;
351-14 Arbeits- und Sozialfürsorge – Sonderakten 1015 Erna Bragenheim; 352-8/7 Staatskrankenanstalt Langenhorn Abl. 1 1995 Aufnahme-/Abgangsbuch Langenhorn 26.8.39 bis 27.1.1941; 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinde Nr. 992 e 2 Band 1 Deportationslisten; UKE/IGEM, Karteikarte Martin Bragenheim der Staatskrankenanstalt Friedrichsberg; Landeshauptarchiv Schwerin, 5.12_7/11 Sgn. 13976, Aufnahme- und Entlassungsbuch Sachsenberg, Auskunft des LHA vom 19.5.2016; Stadtarchiv Güstrow, Geburtsregisterauszug Nr. 49/1882 Martin Bragenheim; Stadtarchiv Berlin Geburtsregisterauszug Nr. 231/1888 Erna Blumenthal; Uwe Lohalm, An der Inneren Front, Fürsorge für die Soldatenfamilie und "rassenhygienische" Krankenpolitik, S. 456ff., in: "Hamburg im Dritten Reich", hrsg. von der Forschungsstelle für Zeitgeschichte in Hamburg, Göttingen 2005; W. Mosel, Wegweiser zu ehemaligen jüdischen Stätten im Stadtteil Rotherbaum, Hamburg, 1969, S. 73f.; Auszüge aus den Volkszählungen 1900 und 1919 des Großherzogthums Mecklenburg-Schwerin, ancestry.de, Zugriff am 14. Mai 2016.
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