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Brustbild der jungen Clara Joel (undatiert)
Clara Joel (undatiert)
© Privat

Clara Joel (née Böhr) * 1873

Hallerstraße 25 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)

1942 Theresienstadt
ermordet am 13.4.1944

further stumbling stones in Hallerstraße 25:
Julius Hirschfeldt

Clara Joel, née Böhr, b. am 5.23.1873 in Hamburg, on 7.19.1942 deported to Theresienstadt, date of death there 4.13.1944

Hallerstraße 25

Clara Joel was born as Clara Böhr on 5.23.1873 in Hamburg. Her father, Felix Böhr, b. 5.17.1817 in Segnitz am Main, lived in Hamburg since 1840 and had obtained Hamburg citizenship; he was a money trader. He gave his religious affiliation as "Mosaic,” that is, Jewish. On 21 October 1869, he had married in Hamburg Ida Catharina Maria Sophia Meier, b. 12.6.1841 in Genschendorf, Holstein; she was apparently a Christian, for the marriage took place in a civil court. It was not a religious marriage because at that time one of the two would have had to undergone a required conversion. Their daughter Clara was thus classified according to the later racial laws of the National Socialists as a the offspring of a mixed marriage, a "half-Jewess.” Like her mother, she belonged to the Evangelical Church. Felix Böhr died on 11.20.1884; his widow resettled in Berlin.

Clara’s first marriage was to the physician Paul Alexander Oettinger. From that marriage came a daughter, Olga Catharina Rosa.

After Paul Oettinger’s death, Clara married, on 8 January 1921, the physician Georg Joel, b. 7.8.1861. He came from Inowrazlaw in Poland (sometimes Hohensalza). In Hamburg he belonged to the German Israelite Congregation. This marriage produced no children.

The Joel couple lived in a house at Colonnaden 5. The husband’s practice was at Ferdinandstrasse 67. Georg Joel died on 1 November 1936 in Hamburg. In the meantime, the National Socialists had issued the "Nuremberg Laws” and their associated implementation decrees. These provided that married couples, with one partner classified as "half-Jewish” and the other as "full Jewish,” would be treated as Jewish. Thus the "half-Jewess” Clara Joel was considered formally Jewish [Geltungsjudin], even though the marriage no longer existed due to the death of her husband.

The widow Clara Joel owned and managed a few houses in Hamburg, among other the building at Hallerstrasse 25.

She was able to remain in her home at Colonnaden 5 until 1942. Apparently, there were people who looked after her and took part in her life. Thus, the wife of the custodian reported: "In September 1941, at the request of Mrs. Clara Joel, I fetched the Jewish star from the Hamburg Jewish Religion Association. I saw that Mrs. Clara Joel always wore the star. As the custodian’s wife … I frequently ran errands for her. I remember exactly that Mrs. Joel was compelled to leave her house at Colonnaden 5 on 5.1.1942. Until her transport to Theresienstadt, she was quartered in Altona at Wohlersallee 58.”

For her deportation to the "Old People’s ghetto” Theresienstadt, Clara Joel supposedly signed a contract to sell her home, that is, she paid with her assets in advance for a year’s room and board. Her son-in-law, Professor Gramberg, Ph. D., later explained: "When, in July of 1942, my mother-in-law was to be transported to Theresienstadt, she desperately need cash for the sale of her home. I bought the title (for Hamburg real estate) … The proceeds, to the amount of RM 8000, I transferred via the Deutsche Bank to the Jewish Congregation for the intended sale of the house.”

Clara Joel was deported on the second great transport to Theresienstadt on 19 July 1942. She lived there until 13 April 1944. Her son-in-law informed the Theresienstadt memorial site in 1992 that she was cremated on 16 April 1944. The ashes of deceased prisoners were preserved in paper urns, until in November 1944, according to the memorial site, the command was given that the contents of approximately 22,000 urns be dumped in the river. "The victims of those times found a grave in the River Eger.”

A commemorative stone in front of the house at Hallerstrasse 25 remembers Clara Joel. The house is still in the possession of Clara Joel’s descendants, who had the commemorative stone placed there.

Translator: Richard Levy
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: September 2019
© Ursula Erler

Quellen: 1; 2; 5; StaH: 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung_14349; Hamburger Adressbuch 1920–1939; 332-5 Standesamt 2, 1921, Urkunde 11/21/2; Jürgen Sielemann, Recherchen zu Clara Joel vom 1.11.2013.
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