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Alice Elkeles * 1894
Kirchenallee 43 / Mitte links (Hamburg-Mitte, St. Georg)
Alice Jeanette Elkeles, born on 8 Dec. 1894 in Hamburg, murdered on 23 Sept. 1940 in the Brandenburg euthanasia killing center
Stolperstein in Hamburg-St. Georg, Kirchenallee 43
Alice Jeanette Elkeles was born on 8 Dec. 1894 at Kirchenallee 43 in Hamburg’s St. Georg quarter as the daughter of the merchant Wilhelm Elkeles and his wife Johanna Paula, née Mendel. Alice’s brother Kurt August was born on 12 Dec. 1896. The parents were of the Jewish faith.
Wilhelm Elkeles operated an import and export company in the neighboring building, at Kirchenallee 45. In 1900, he moved the residence to Pulverteich 25, also in the Hamburg St. Georg quarter. For the first time in the 1905 Hamburg, he no longer stated "merchant” as his profession, but instead "hay pressing” as the purpose of the company. He died, not even 49 years old, on 7 Jan. 1913.
We know nothing about the childhood and adolescence or the education of the siblings Alice and Kurt August. The Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) card file of the Hamburg Jewish Community shows that Alice’s brother Kurt August later worked as a salaried employee at Sedanstrasse 21. Registered at this location were craftsmen, a bread shop, and a grocer. It is not known which of them was his employer. Kurt August Elkeles had an apartment at Osterbekstrasse 8 in Barmbek, where he took in his mother Johanna Paula soon after the father’s death. Kurt August Elkeles left Germany in the summer of 1934 and emigrated to Sao Paulo in Brazil. In 1939, Johanna Paula followed her son to Brazil.
At the time of her father’s death, Alice Elkeles was 19 years old. No record of her life until then has been passed down. From the patient card file of the "Friedrichsberg lunatic asylum” ("Irrenanstalt Friedrichsberg”) we know that Alice Elkeles was a patient there from about 1916. Her patient file can no longer be found, so that no details are available about the reason and duration of her stay. After many years in the institution, which had since been renamed Friedrichsberg State Hospital (Staatskrankenanstalt Friedrichsberg), Alice Elkeles was transferred to the Langenhorn State Hospital (Staatskrankenanstalt Langenhorn) in 1935.
On 27 Oct. 1939, Alice Elkeles was transferred from Langenhorn to the Düssin Estate in Western Mecklenburg. The City of Hamburg had bought the later subcamp of the Neuengamme concentration camp at the end of 1938. The Düssin Estate accommodated 220 persons from Langenhorn with mental disabilities or mental illness who had to perform farm work there. Among them were another six women and men of Jewish descent.
In the spring/summer of 1940, the "euthanasia” headquarters in Berlin, located at Tiergartenstrasse 4, planned a special operation aimed against Jews in public and private sanatoriums and nursing homes. It had the Jewish persons living in the institutions registered and moved together in what were officially so-called collection institutions. 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 ordered to move the Jews living in their facilities there by 18 Sept. 1940.
Alice Elkeles arrived in Langenhorn from Düssin on 13 Sept. 1940. On 23 September, she was transported to Brandenburg/Havel with a further 135 patients from North German institutions. The transport reached the city in the Mark (March) on the same day. In the part of the former penitentiary converted into a gas-killing facility, the patients were immediately driven into the gas chamber and killed using carbon monoxide. Only Ilse Herta Zachmann escaped this fate at first (see corresponding entry).
Betty Elkeles (see corresponding entry), a distant relative of Alice Elkeles, was also on this death transport. We do not know whether the two women knew each other and had contact with each other during the last days in Langenhorn or during the transport.
It is not known whether, and if so, when Alice Elkeles’ relatives became aware of her death. In all documented death notices, it was claimed that the person concerned had died in Chelm (Polish) or Cholm (German). In addition, all dates of death provided were postdated. Those murdered in Brandenburg, however, were never in Chelm/Cholm, a town east of Lublin. The former Polish sanatorium there no longer existed after SS units had murdered almost all patients on 12 Jan. 1940. Also, there was no German records office 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.
To commemorate Alice Jeanette Elkeles, a Stolperstein is located in Hamburg-St. Georg, at Kirchenallee 43.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Ingo Wille
Quellen: 1; 2; 4; 5; 8; 9; AB; StaH 133-1 III Staatsarchiv III, 3171-2/4 U.A. 4, Liste psychisch kranker jüdischer Patientinnen und 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); 332-5 Standesämter 682 Sterberegister Nr. 40/1913 Wilhelm Elkeles, 2338 Geburtsregister Nr. 2949/1894 Alice Jeanette Elkeles, 2397 Geburtsregister Nr. 2916/1896 Kurt August Elkeles, 314-15 Oberfinanzpräsident FVg 3095 Paula Johanna Elkeles; 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden 696 f Heiratsregister Nr. 114/1864 Wilhelm Elkeles/Johanna Paula Mendel; 352-8/7 Staatskrankenanstalt Langenhorn Abl. 1/1995 Aufnahme-/Abgangsbuch Langenhorn 1935; 352-8/7 Staatskrankenanstalt Langenhorn Abl. 1/1995 Aufnahme-/Abgangsbuch Langenhorn 26.8.1939 bis 27.1.1941; UKE/IGEM, Archiv, Patienten-Karteikarte Alice Elkeles der Staatskrankenanstalt Friedrichsberg; Stadtverwaltung Elsdorf, Geburtsregister Nr. 158/1868 Johanna Paula Mendel.
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