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Margarethe Conu (née Simon) * 1878
Agathenstraße 3 (Eimsbüttel, Eimsbüttel)
Margarethe Conu, née Simon, born 1 June 1878 in Berlin, deported 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz
Margarethe Conu’s parents were Flora (Reibach) and Carl Simon. She was married to Strulu Conu (*18 Nov. 1875), who was born in Botosani, Romania. He was considered a stateless person. Strulu Conu’s parents were Esru and Dwosia (Steinberg) Conu. Margarethe and Strulu Conu had four children: Erna (*10 Mar. 1902, married name Missir; after her marriage to a Greek man she was called Irini), Herta (*17 June 1906), Max (*14 Jan. 1909), and Berta (*7 Nov. 1914).
From 1923 to 1926, the Conus owned a toy store. It is listed in the address book under Margarethe’s name at Elbstraße 59. In 1927 Strulu Conu opened a beauty salon with his daughter Herta, who had trained as a hair dresser. From 1936 onwards the salon was located in the back room of the ground-floor apartment at Grindelallee 53. From 1910 until 1934 the family had lived at various addresses in Altona near the border to Hamburg – Circusstraße 3, Amselweg 3, and Beim Grünen Jäger 15. The 1936 address book lists the St. Conu Ladies’ Hair Salon at Martin-Lutherstraße 29. When the family moved to Grindelallee, the children were already grown. The apartment had seven rooms, of which two were used for the beauty salon and three were rented out. The eldest daughter and her husband Janko moved to an apartment on Rappstraße. The Conus gave up the apartment on Grindelallee in the late 1930s. Addresses after that are Mildestieg 26, Hegestraße 23, Heinrich-Barth-Straße, and finally Agathenstraße.
Erna (Irina) and her husband emigrated to Greece in April 1939. They fled to Jerusalem before the Wehrmacht occupied Greece, and returned to Greece in 1945.
In May 1939 Max, who had trained as an auto mechanic, and his wife Ilse emigrated to England, since he, as a Jew, could find no work in Hamburg. Herta also emigrated to England, possibly together with her brother Max.
Margarethe and Strulu Conu planned to follow their children and prepared to emigrate to England. They submitted the necessary requests and lists of the belongings they intended to take with them. Difficulties arose when the authorites checked the lists and determined that Strulu Conu had apparently given inaccurate dates of purchase for some items. In July the Conus moved to Bremen to live with their daughter Berta and son-in-law Erich Alexander at Legion-Condor-Straße 60. They stored their belongings with a moving company in Hamburg. In Bremen, Margarethe and Strulu Conus enlisted the help of a smuggler to take them over the border to Belgium. The Conus paid this smuggler 800 Reichsmarks in July 1939. He picked the couple up in Bremen, took them on the train to Duisburg, and from there in a car to Kaldenkirchen. However they and several other people from Hamburg were apprehended at the border. An investigation into possible currency smuggling was dropped in October, probably due to Strulu Conu’s poor health.
When they returned to Hamburg, the Conus lived as lodgers at Hegestraße 23 II with the Ehrenhaus family (Walter and Selma Ehrenhaus were deported to Theresienstadt on 19 July 1942). An entry in the records with the Chief Tax Authority reads: "Not emigrating.” Strulu Conu had informed the authorities on 24 August 1939: "My daughter, who lived abroad, has passed away suddenly.” Herta died on 27 July 1939. This event thwarted the couple’s emigration plans. Shortly thereafter, in February 1940, Strulu Conu died, possibly of tuberculosis. He had spent several weeks in a sanatorium in 1937, but he left of his own accord before being cured.
The Conus’ youngest daughter Berta remained in Germany. Her son Herbert was born out of wedlock on 22 March 1934. Her second illegitimate child Rolf, born on 27 January 1936, was taken in by his father. Berta married Erich Alexander from Bremen. She, her husband, and her son Herbert were deported from Bremen to Minsk on 17 November 1941. None of them returned.
Three weeks earlier, on 25 October 1941, Margarethe Conu had been deported from Hamburg to Lodz, where she was murdered.
Translator(s): Amy Lee
Translation kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg
© Susanne Lohmeyer
Quellen: 1; 2 (FVg 5788; R1939/1152; R1939/1336); 5 ;8; StaH 351-11 AfW, AZ 140109 Max Conu und AZ 010678; HAB II 1926,1936,1937; Altonaer Adressbuch II, 1915, 1920, 1928.