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Hedwig Buchthal * 1874
Hallerstraße 52 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)
Hedwig Buchthal, born on 21 July 1874 in Hamburg, murdered in the Brandenburg/Havel euthanasia killing center on 23 Sept. 1940
Stolperstein in Hamburg-Rotherbaum, Hallerstrasse 52
Hedwig Buchthal was born on 21 July 1874 in Hamburg-St. Pauli, at Herrenweide 31. Her Jewish parents, Salomon Buchthal, born in 1845 in the small town of Wehdem (today Minden-Lübbecke administrative district, North Rhine-Westphalia), and his wife Bertha, née Meyer, born on 18 Oct. 1849 in Hamburg, had married in Hamburg on 19 July 1872. A little later, on 9 May 1873, Salomon Buchthal was granted Hamburg civic rights.
Hedwig had three brothers who all died only a few days after birth and two other brothers and sisters who were stillborn.
Nothing has been passed down about Hedwig Buchthal’s childhood and youth. Only following the takeover of her father’s commercial business after his death in 1910, some information about her life becomes available. She was 36 years old by then.
The Buchthal family lived off the lottery business that Salomon Buchthal had operated in various locations in the St. Pauli quarter, initially from 1872 onward at 2nd Erichstrasse. In 1873, the Buchthal couple moved their place of residence and business to "Herrenweide, Pl. 25.” Starting in 1874, Hedwig’s year of birth, the family’s residential and business address was Herrenweide 31d.
In 1876, Salomon Buchthal expanded his business field. Henceforth he called himself a lottery and insurance agent. In 1884, after three more moves, he opened an agency and commission business, including a warehouse for cigarette labels, on Grosser Burstah in Hamburg-Altstadt, the historic downtown. From 1888, when Salomon Buchthal had been entered in the company register, he worked as a general merchant. In 1896, he relocated his business to Grosse Johannisstrasse 2, also in the historic downtown. The family resided there for eleven years until they moved to nearby Stadthausbrücke 37 in Hamburg-Neustadt. At that location, too, the Buchthal family lived and worked for several years. Hedwig Buchthal had probably already worked in her father’s business for some time when she was given power of attorney for her father’s company on 18 Nov. 1910. Three days later, on 21 Nov. 1910, her father passed away. Her mother had already died in 1906. Hedwig, an unmarried accountant, took over the business following the death of her father and continued it under the previous name. She considerably expanded the purpose of the company and its field of activity, as can be seen from the 1913 directory.
In the Hamburg directory, "Frl. [Miss] Hedwig Buchthal” was listed as the owner of the S. Buchthal commercial agency until 1924, since 1904 with the addition of "HR," which referred to an entry of the business in the company register.
Hedwig Buchthal kept the residence at Stadthausbrücke 37 until 1915 and then moved to Klosterallee 124 in Hoheluft-Ost. Until 1921, numerous other residential and company addresses were listed in the Hamburg directory. The many changes of residence suggest that Hedwig Buchthal’s business activity was on the downturn. The decline of the company becomes a certainty with the address at Rappstrasse 9, rear building no. 1, which was recorded in the Hamburg directory from 1922 to 1924.
At the same time, the "Kochfrau [literally, cooking lady]” (according to the Hamburg directory) Bertha Nürenberg lived at Rappstrasse 9 (see corresponding entry). Hedwig Buchthal and Bertha Nürenberg suffered the same fate in 1940. We do not know whether they had known each other since 1922.
Hedwig Buchthal’s life immediately thereafter remains largely obscure. The only detail known is that in 1936, she lived at Hallerstrasse 52 (Rotherbaum quarter) as a subtenant. This would likely have been her last freely chosen address. Her state of health had probably deteriorated gradually over the years, leading to her being admitted to psychiatric institutions and finally to the Farmsen care home (Versorgungsheim Farmsen).
According to a report dated 25 May 1940 by the Hamburg care home about the Jews living in the Holstenhof and Farmsen homes to the Hamburg city administration, Hedwig Buchthal was a patient in the Farmsen care home, suffering from "psychopathy with paranoid features.”
Hedwig Buchthal was transferred from the Farmsen care home to the Langenhorn "sanatorium and nursing home” (Langenhorn Heil- und Pflegeanstalt) in Hamburg on 18 Sept. 1940. This relocation was part of the preparations for the murder of mentally ill people of Jewish origin by the "euthanasia” headquarters in Berlin, located at Tiergartenstrasse 4 (T4), which had been ongoing since that spring/summer. The "euthanasia” headquarters had the Jewish people living in the institutions recorded and moved together in so-called collection centers. The Hamburg-Langenhorn "sanatorium 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 move the Jews living in their institutions to Langenhorn by 18 Sept. 1940. After all Jewish patients from the North German institutions had arrived in Langenhorn, they were taken to Brandenburg/Havel on 23 Sept. 1940, together with the Jewish patients who had lived there for some time, on a transport comprised of 136 persons overall. On the same day, they were killed with carbon monoxide in the part of the former penitentiary converted into a gas-killing facility. Only one patient, Ilse Herta Zachmann, escaped this fate at first (see corresponding entry).
On the birth register entry of Hedwig Buchthal it was noted that according to the Chelm II records office, she died on "30 Apr. 1941,” and that her death was registered under number 487/1941. Those murdered in Brandenburg, however, were never in Chelm (Polish) or Cholm (German), a town northeast of Lublin. The former Polish sanatorium there no longer existed after SS units had murdered almost all patients on 12 Jan. 1940. As well, no German records office existed in Chelm. Its fabrication and the use of postdated dates of death served to disguise the killing operation and at the same time enabled the authorities to claim higher care expenses for periods extended accordingly.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Ingo Wille
Quellen: 1; 4; 5; 9; AB; StaH 231-7 Staatsangehörigkeitsangelegenheiten A_1_Bd. 22 u. 5701; 331-7_ A I e 40 Bd. 5 (Bürgerbrief); 332-3 Zivilstandsaufsicht A 253 Geburtsregisterauszug Nr. 1261/1874 Hedwig Buchthal; A 48 Geburtsregisterauszug Nr. 2238/1868 Anna Buchthal, B 47 Heiratsregisterauszug Nr. 1725/1872 Salomon und Bertha Buchthal, A 245 Geburtsregisterauszug Nr. 787/1873 Buchthal ohne Vornamen; 332-5 Standesämter 14 Sterberegisterauszug Nr. 1206/1876 Aron Buchthal, 32 Geburtsregisterauszug Nr. 941/1877 James Buchthal, 125 Sterberegisterauszug Nr. 1465/1882 Arnold Edmund Buchthal, 125 Sterberegisterauszug 1465/1906 Arnold Edmund Buchthal, 567 Sterberegisterauszug Nr. 1562/1906 Bertha Buchthal, 1881 Geburtsregisterauszug Nr. 1971/1876 Aron Buchthal, 1906 Geburtsregisterauszug Nr. 1504/1877James Buchthal, 2028 Geburtsregisterauszug Nr. 2022/1882 Arnold Edmund Buchthal; 352-8/7 Staatskrankenanstalt Langenhorn Abl. 1/1995 Aufnahme-/Abgangsbuch Langenhorn 26.8.1939 bis 27.1.1941; Staatsarchiv Hamburg 731-1, Handschriftensammlung, Markgraf, Kurt, Aus der Geschichte Farmsen des Pflegeheims Farmsen: Vom Werk- und Armenhaus zum Pflegeheim.
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