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Martha Frankenstein (née Worms) * 1874

Loogestieg 3 (Hamburg-Nord, Eppendorf)

1941 Lodz

further stumbling stones in Loogestieg 3:
Martin Frankenstein, Gertrud Katz, Hermann Katz, Hildegard Katz

Martha Frankenstein, née Worms, born 29 Aug. 1874 in Hamburg, deported 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz, died there 27 Nov. 1941
Hermann Katz, born 16 Oct. 1881 in Wasserleben, deported 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz, transferred 10 May 1942 to Chelmno
Gertrud Katz, née Worms, born 12 July 1884 in Hamburg, deported 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz, transferred 19 May 1942 to Chelmno
Hildegard Katz, born 26 July 1917 in Hamburg, deported 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz, transferred 10 May 1942 to Chelmno

Loogestieg 3

Martha Frankenstein and Gertrud Katz were sisters. Their parents were Moritz Worms and his wife Rosalie, née Gottschalk. Gertrud was married to Hermann Katz, a businessman. They had two children, Werner (*1911 in Hamburg) and Hildegard.

Martha was a businesswoman by profession. She was married three times
and had two children. Her first marriage to Wilhelm Polak (born 1872)
ended in divorce. From this marriage she had a son, Curt Polak (born
1901). Curt was deported from Trieste in Italy to Auschwitz on 7
December 1943 together with his wife Annie Polak, née Heinemann.
Martha`s second husband, Paul Jacoby (born 1872), with whom she had a
daughter Henriette (born 1909), died in 1930.

Martha’s third marriage was overshadowed by a constant threat of danger. Her husband, Martin Frankenstein (*4 July 1872), a Jew from Magdeburg, was a successful and respected grain and foodstuffs wholesaler before the Nazis came to power. His home had been a center point of society and culture in Magdeburg. On her mother’s side, his first wife Anna, née Mortier, was from the then-famous acting families of Ludwig Devrient and Bogumil Dawison, and she had a large circle of friends from the art and theater world. Martin and Anna Frankenstein had two children, Charlotte (*23 Feb. 1987) and Heinz (*10 May 1903). Anna died unexpectedly on 30 September 1935 in the Sudenburg Hospital in Magdeburg, where she was in treatment in the psychiatric ward. Her family was convinced that she had been murdered with a lethal injection, and was thus one of the early victims of the Nazi euthanasia program.

The growing anti-Semitism in Germany brought Frankenstein’s business dealings increasingly to a standstill. He eventually left Magdeburg and attempted to build up a new business in Hamburg. There he met Martha Jacoby, and they married on 24 September 1936. His plans to start a new business in Hamburg came to nothing, however, because, as a Jew, he could not get a permit to found a company.

After the events of the November Pogrom on 9-10 November 1938, and in panic about his possible financial ruin, Frankenstein attempted to flee to Belgium in the spring of 1939. His son Heinz had fled there via Austria in 1938. Two attempts within a few weeks failed. He was caught at the border and sent back. In the meantime his wife Martha had moved in with her sister Gertrud and her husband Hermann Katz at Loogestieg 3. The five-and-a-half room apartment was home, not only to Martha, Gertrud, and Hermann, but also to Hildegard Katz, Gertrud and Hermann’s daughter, and three other boarders – a total of seven people. When Martin Frankenstein returned from his failed attempts to flee, he was told there was no more room in the apartment. He found refuge with his brother-in-law Albert Elsberg at Beim Andreasbrunnen 7, 3rd floor. It was here that he took an overdose of sleeping pills on 18 July 1939. Although he was taken immediately to the Israelitic Hospital on Eckernförder Straße, he could not be saved. He died the next day around 5 a.m.

In addition to the adversity Jews faced under the Nazi regime, the Katz family had a personal misfortune. Their daughter Hildegard was mentally ill. She went through elementary school with no problems, but her secondary school, the Dr. J. Loewenberg private girls’ school at Johnsallee 33, which she attended from 1924 onwards, could not give her a certificate when the school closed in the wake of the Great Depression in March 1931, "because the condition of her health in the past weeks made active participation impossible,” as the school’s assessment stated. She then attended the German-Israelitic Community secondary school, but left in March 1933, aged 15. After that she lived with her parents, officially as their "housekeeper.”

Martha Frankenstein and the Katz family were deported to the Lodz Ghetto on 25 October 1941. They were housed at Cranachstraße 15, Apartment 43, with eight other people from the Hamburg transport, crowded into one room. There was at least a kitchen. In the misery of the ghetto, Martha survived for only four weeks. She died on 27 November 1941.

The Katz family was "re-located” to the Chelmno Extermination Camp on 10 May 1942. Between 4 and 15 May, 10,914 people were killed in mobile gas chambers. There was no chance of survival at Chelmno.

Werner Katz, Gertrud and Hermann’s son, who had fled Germany to Argentina, survived. Martha Frankenstein’s daughter Henriette survived in England.

Heinz Frankenstein, who had fled to Belgium, was arrested when the Wehrmacht invaded and was sent to an internment camp in Southern France in 1940. He was sent to Auschwitz on 31 August 1942 on Transport 26 and murdered there.

His sister Charlotte survived in Magdeburg thanks to her "mixed marriage” to the Chief Judge at the Magdeburg District Court, Hans Walter.

Translator: Amy Lee

Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

© Johannes Grossmann

Quellen: 1; 4; 5; 8; StaH 351-11 AfW, 040772 Frankenstein, Martin; StaH 351-11 AfW, 260717 Katz, Hildegard; StaH 522-1 Jüd. Gemeinden, 992e2 Band 1; StaH 332-8 Meldewesen A 51 (Fritz Katz, Gertrud Katz, Martha Frankenstein);
StaH 331-5, Polizeibehörde - Unnatürliche Sterbefälle, 1939/1185 (Martin Frankenstein); Archivum Panstwowe, Lodz (Getto-Archiv), Einwohnerliste PL-39-278-278-1022-142.tif (Hermann Katz), PL-39-278-997-492.tif (Hildegard Katz), PL-39-278-997-482.tif (Martha Frankenstein); ebd., Melderegister, PL-39-278-1011-9656.tif (Gertrud Katz).
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