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Auguste Elisabeth Heymann (née Eichenberg) * 1891
Söbendieken 8 (Altona, Nienstedten)
Freitod 26.10.1941 Hamburg
Auguste Elisabeth Heymann (née Eichenberg), born 6 October 1891, died 26 October 1941 (suicide)
120 – Söbendieken 8
Georg Heymann, born 21 August 1876, disbarment as a lawyer imposed from 14 November 1935 onward, died 2 April 1936 (heart attack)
121 – Platz der Republik 6
Auguste Elisabeth Heymann, known as Tüt, was born on 6 October 1891. She was the fourth of six children born to Paul Eichenberg, a Jewish businessman, and his wife Henriette Gertrude (née Hesse). The family lived at Goethestraße 5, Groß Flottbek, Hamburg. Paul Eichenberg was the owner of Eichenberg & Co, located on Sandthorquai (now Sandtorkai) in Hamburg. Founded by his father, the firm focused on the import/export trade, mainly coffee, grain and animal feed. The Eichenbergs originally hailed from Adelebsen, near Göttingen. Paul Eichenberg was a Christian convert.
In 1922, Auguste Elisabeth Eichenberg married Georg Heymann, a lawyer from Hamburg who was 15 years her senior. It was her second marriage. Both descended from families who had lived in the region between Copenhagen, Denmark, and Hamburg, Germany, for more than 300 years.
Georg Heymann, born on 21 August 1876, was the son of Julius and Louise Heymann. The family lived at Palmaille 41 in the Altona district of Hamburg. On his mother’s side, Georg Heymann’s family came from an affluent Jewish family in Denmark. His mother was the daughter of Salomon and Emilie (née Levinsohn) Melchior, who left Copenhagen for Altona, which in those days still belonged to the Danish crown. His great-grandfather, Gerson Melchior, had been Chairman of the Copenhagen Jewish Community. Gerson’s second wife, Brigitte (née Israel) came from a wealthy Jewish family whose ancestors were driven out of Portugal at the end of the 15th century and ultimately settled in Denmark. Georg Heymann’s great-great-grandfather, Moses Melchior, born in Wandsbek, Hamburg, migrated to Denmark and established a textile and haberdashery trading company in 1760, which still exists in the country to this day.
Georg Heymann’s father, Julius Heymann, was Chairman of the Board of the Congregation of the Große Altonaer Synagoge (Great Altona Synagogue). His family had lived in Altona for many generations and descended from Chaim Salomon Zell, whose grandson Isaac changed his surname to Heymann in 1769.
In the same year of their marriage, Georg and Auguste Elisabeth Heymann welcomed their first child into the world: a girl, named Elisabeth but known as Lila, born on 16 September 1922. Auguste Elisabeth had a child, a son named Günther Haas (born 24 November 1918), from her first marriage to the brain surgeon Wilhelm Haas, who was not of Jewish descent. Georg Heymann had two daughters, Inge and Karin, from his first marriage to Nora Booth (1887-1914) who, likewise, was not Jewish. Georg and Auguste Elisabeth lived together with the four children in their own home at Heimburgstraße 10, Groß Flottbek, Hamburg.
Together with Rudolf Warburg, Georg Heymann ran a well-respected and successful law and notary practice in Altona from premises at the Kaiserhof Hotel, Platz der Republik 6, which was a prestigious address between Altona Hauptbahnhof (main train station) and the town hall. Their clients included the Reemtsma brothers, among others. From 1906, Georg was a lawyer at the Altona district and regional court; he became a registered notary on 16 December 1919.
With both parents Julius and Louise (née Melchior) Heymann being Jewish, Dr Georg Heymann was Jewish and therefore subjected to the terror directed toward Jewish judges, prosecutors and lawyers, which began after the Nazi party came to power. From March 1933 onward, only Dr Julius Jonas (see p. 367) and Dr Rudolf Warburg were still permitted to represent clients in court in Altona. However, from 28 March 1933 onward, a direct order from Hitler himself instructed all Nazi party members to "immediately organise action committees to carry out practical and systematic boycotts of Jewish shops, Jewish goods, Jewish doctors and Jewish lawyers”. Dr Georg Heymann and his law firm, which now had a different address of Adolph-Hitler-Platz 6 after the street was renamed, found themselves on a blacklist of Jewish businesses, surgeries and law firms to be boycotted. On 2 September 1935, the blacklist was distributed to all party members in conjunction with a newsletter on the "Jewish question” written by Piwiett, the district leader of the Altona Nazi Party, which urgently demanded that the "Führer’s orders” be followed.
In accordance with the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service (Gesetz zur Wiederherstellung des Berufsbeamtentums), dated 7 April 1933, licences for Jewish lawyers could be revoked. Gradually, the persecution of Jewish lawyers was pursued increasingly vigorously until a comprehensive professional ban was brought into effect. Georg Heymann was discharged as a notary and lawyer on 14 November 1935 following the First Decree to the Reich Citizenship Law (Erste Verordnung zum Reichsbürgergesetz).
He was only allowed to continue working in a reduced role as legal advisor to Jewish clients, although his firm did remain in the Altona directory.
As a consequence of this occupational ban, the successive removal of his rights and general humiliation, Georg Heymann soon developed a serious heart problem.In April 1936, at the age of just 59, he suffered a heart attack which led to his death. John Alexander, the grandson of Georg Heymann, gave the following description of events: "The story passed down through the family was that he suffered a heart attack on the street outside his office in the Hotel Kaiserhof in Altona after being refused entry and being informed he was no longer allowed to continue practising his profession as a lawyer, all because of his Jewish background.”
However, Günther Haas has a slightly different version to tell. In notes which have been kept safe by his daughter Ingrid, Günther details how Georg Heymann suffered the fatal heart attack in the presence of his wife almost directly opposite his doctor’s practice. "However, as the doctor was not there, Auguste Elisabeth instead drove the 3km home. When the specialist arrived it was already too late. He died at about 10 p.m. that night.” Georg’s doctor later appeared before a Restitution Tribunal, attesting that Georg Heymann had been "a completely healthy man, full of joie de vivre, up until the day that the Nazi party seized power”.
After his death, his widow Auguste Elisabeth inherited his property as well as his assets and bonds at Deutsche Bank. She and the children were able to live off her late husband’s estate. She sold the house in Heimburgstraße and had a smaller house built for the family at Söbendieken 8 in the Altona-Nienstedten area of Hamburg. According to the Altona directory, the family lived at this address from 1938 onwards.
Auguste Elisabeth’s grandson, John Alexander, the son of Lila Alexander (née Heymann), described this decision as "unusual and stubborn, as at that time many Jews were looking for protection abroad rather than establishing their home in Germany. Tüt was a proud German and refused to leave ‘her’ country”.
However, she did send her daughter to London as there no longer seemed to be a future for her in Germany. Gertrude Elisabeth, known to all as Lila, attended the Bertha-Lyzeum in Groß Flottbek following the completion of her primary education at Nienstedten primary school. In 1938, the then 15-year-old was forced to leave the school for reasons of "racial origin” and was unable to find another school willing to take her in. She therefore began attending the private Milberg-Realschule for girls, until this also had to close. Lila tried in vain to secure a place on a training course for Physiotherapy and Remedial Massage. Consequently, she made preparations to emigrate. In April 1939, the tax office informed the Gestapo that Gertrud Elisabeth had applied for a tax clearance certificate. However, Lila Heymann was eventually able to immigrate to England in the summer of 1939 at the age of 16, where she lived with a cousin of her father. Günther, Auguste Elisabeth’s son, was also able to flee to Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).
Auguste Elisabeth Heymann remained in Germany and experienced the escalation of anti-Jewish sanctions. Lila always hoped that her mother would flee to join her in London. The Reich Association of the Jews in Hamburg recorded her as a compulsory member from 1939 (all members of the Jewish community had to be registered in Germany at that time). She had to pay an extortionate Jewish property levy (Judenvermögensabgabe). Eventually, the Nazi State took control of her assets by way of a "security order” (Sicherungsanordnung), which in reality meant all access to her assets was blocked. From 19 September 1941 onward, she was obliged to wear the Jewish badge, the yellow Star of David. On 21 October 1941, the 50-year-old Auguste Elisabeth received a deportation order (for Łódź, Poland) at her home in Söbendieken 8, Hamburg, which was dated for 25 October, just four days later. The Gestapo’s transport list recorded her name beside the number 388, but this was subsequently crossed out. Instead of following the order to present herself at the lodge house in Moorweidenstraße one day before her deportation, Auguste Elisabeth Heymann decided to take her own life.
Late in the evening of 23 October 1941, the local police station in Nienstedten received a telephone call detailing an apparent suicide attempt by the widow Heymann. A policeman discovered the unconscious body of Auguste Elisabeth Heymann at her home. The doctor called to the scene concluded that she had overdosed on sleeping pills and ordered her to be transferred to the Israelite (Jewish) Hospital of Hamburg in Johnsallee. Auguste Elisabeth Heymann’s mother, who lived in Klein Flottbek, commented that the reason for the attempted suicide was her impending "evacuation”. The Gestapo were informed that the incident "involved a Jewish woman”.
Auguste Elisabeth Heymann died in hospital three days later, on 26 October 1941. Sven Lauritzen, a neighbour born in Nienstedten who was seven at the time, recalled memories of Auguste Elisabeth Heymann who lived at Söbendieken 8: "She always went out alone, was never greeted by neighbours and wore the yellow Star of David on her overcoat.” From one day to the next, the children playing in the street did not see her again. "Nobody told us about the suicide. We simply assumed that Mrs Heymann had moved away.”
Auguste Elisabeth Heymann was laid to rest at the Zentralfriedhof. Her house was auctioned off and her assets confiscated.
Auguste Elisabeth’s mother, Gertrude Eichenberg, was deported to Terezín, in what is now in Czech Republic. Here, the Nazis had established a concentration camp ghetto complex referred to by the town’s German name: Theresienstadt. Gertrude’s husband, Paul Eichenberg, had already died in 1927. Their great-granddaughter, Ingrid Haas reported: "My father sent Hitler a telegram from Rhodesia on 22 October 1942, seeking permission for his elderly grandmother to move to Sweden to live with her son. On 21 January 1943, my father received a telegram from the Red Cross in Berlin which stated that his grandmother was living in ‘an old folks’ home’ – in reality this was Theresienstadt. Furthermore, he was informed that ‘emigration to Sweden was being denied by the responsible authorities as a matter of principle’.”
Gertrud Eichenberg survived the Theresienstadt ghetto. She was among 1,200 prisoners saved following an intervention by the Chairman of the Swiss Federal Council which arranged for them to be transported by the Red Cross to Switzerland, where her son Kurt Eichenberg collected her and brought her to Sweden. Lila Heymann survived the war living in England. Karin Syamken (née Heymann) and Inge Heymann, Georg Heymann’s daughters from his first marriage, whose mother John Alexander believes was not Jewish, survived the National Socialist era in Germany.
- Birgit Gewehr
Sources: 1; 2 R 1939/2606; 4; city of Hamburg, 5221 Jewish community, 992e 1 volume 1, Transport list of deported Jewish citizens in Hamburg, transport to Litzmannstadt on 25 October 1941; city of Hamburg, 314-5 police authorities, deaths from unnatural causes, folio 1941/1605; city of Hamburg, 351-11, Restitution Office, 52890 (joint heir Heymann, Auguste Elisabeth [née Eichenberg]) and 13222 (joint heir Elisabeth Heymann); north-west Germany deportation lists, http://www.statistik-des-holocaust.de/list_ger_nwd.html, access 22 August 2014; Nagel, "lest we forget”, Morisse, exclusion, vol. 1 p. 182; Alexander, "A Measure of Time”; correspondence with John Alexander, grandson of Auguste Elizabeth Heymann, May 2009 and August 2014; correspondence with Ingrid Haas, granddaughter, August 2014, translation B.G.
Page 401: Auguste Elisabeth "Tüt” Heymann; Georg Heymann [private property of John Alexander]
Page 402: Kaiserplatz 6 (today Platz der Republik) circa 1900 [Stiftung HMH – AM]
Page 403: Auguste Elisabeth Heymann pictured in front of the house in Nienstedten with her daughter Lila before she emigrated [private property of John Alexander]
© Birgit Gewehr
Quellen: 1; 2 (R 1939/2606); 4; StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden, 992 e 1 Band 1 (Deportationsliste Litzmannstadt, 25.10.1941); StaH 314-5 Polizeibehörde – Unnatürliche Sterbefälle, 1941/1605; StaH 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung, 52890 (Erbengemeinschaft Heymann, Auguste Elisabeth, geb. Eichenberg) und 13222 (Erbengemeinschaft Heymann, Elisabeth); Deportationslisten Nordwestdeutschland, http://www.statistik-des-holocaust.de/list_ger_nwd.html, Zugriff 22.8.2014; Nagel, Gegen das Vergessen; Morisse, Ausgrenzung, Bd. 1, S. 182; Alexander, A Measure of Time; Korrespondenz mit John Alexander, Enkel von Auguste Elizabeth Heymann, Mai 2009 und August 2014; Korrespondenz mit Ingrid Haas, Enkeltochter, August 2014, Übersetzung B. G.
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