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Eva L. Borchardt * 1905

Harvestehuder Weg 99 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)

JG. 1905
"VERLEGT" 23.9.1940
ERMORDET 23.9.1940

further stumbling stones in Harvestehuder Weg 99:
Wilhelm Benjamin

Eva Leonore Borchardt, born on 18 Feb. 1905 in Alt-Rahlstedt, murdered on 23 Sept. 1940 in the euthanasia killing center in Brandenburg/Havel

Harvestehuder Weg 99

Eva Leonore Borchardt was born as the youngest child of the merchant Ivan/Isaac Borchardt and his wife Martha, née Hildesheim, into a family with many children. The parents, both children of Jewish families, had married in Hamburg on 23 Apr. 1895. Eva’s siblings Grete (born on 15 Jan. 1896), Else (on 21 Apr. 1897), Hans (on 7 Aug. 1898), and Werner (on 4 Nov. 1900) were born in Hamburg before the family moved to what was then still the Prussian town of Alt-Rahlstedt in Sept. 1904. There, Eva Leonore was born on 18 Feb. 1905. The Borchardt family purchased a spacious villa at Grubes Allee 24.

When Ivan Borchardt was born on 9 July 1870 in Exin in the Bromberg administrative district in what was then the Prussian Province of Posen, he was named Isaac, though subsequently he changed his first name. He came from a family of teachers and left his native town, as did his siblings Johanna, Moritz, Hermann, Julius, Zerline, and Hugo. After finishing his one-year graduating class ("Einjähriges”) at high school, he did an apprenticeship in a hardware wholesale in Posen (today Poznan in Poland) and then, after completing it, went to Berlin. In order to meet the requirements of military service, he volunteered in the 137th Infantry Regiment for a year in 1877. His intention of emigrating to North America took him to Hamburg. There, he began a job at the advertisement dispatching company of Heinrich Eisler in 1888 that would determine his professional future: In 1893, at the age of 23, he started a business of his own as an ad dispatcher. His siblings Johanna, born as the oldest in Exin on 18 Feb. 1867, and Hugo, the youngest, born on 5 June 1878 in Rogasen, also settled in the Hamburg area. Johanna married the teacher Wolff/Willy Bachrach (born on 24 June 1867 in Nentershausen/Westerwald) and lived with her family in Altona. Moritz (born in Exin on 29 July 1868) left Hamburg again after working briefly as an assistant physician in 1892 and went to Berlin. After the death of her husband, the teacher Salomon Borchardt, the mother Sophie Borchardt, née Rosenthal, moved closer to her children, to Altona and Hamburg, respectively.

On 23 Apr. 1895, Ivan Borchardt and Martha Hildesheim were married. Her father, the merchant Gedalja Hildesheim, born in Hamburg in 1836, was married to Friederike Wolff from Lübtheen/Ludwigslust District, 14 years his junior. She also came from a family of merchants (from which the former First Mayor of Hamburg, Ole von Beust, descends as well). Their marriage produced the three daughters Sara (born on 21 Sept. 1872), Martha (born on 28 June 1875), and Fanny (born on 18 Mar. 1881). Ivan and his brother Hugo married two sisters, Martha and Fanny Hildesheim (see corresponding entries). In 1894, Sara Hildesheim married the livestock dealer Salomon Eichmann from Schötmar/Bad Salzuflen in Hamburg and moved to Schötmar.

Hugo, like his brother Ivan, settled in Alt-Rahlstedt for good. In contrast to Ivan, he joined the Jewish Community in Wandsbek. One year after the birth of Eva Leonore Borchardt, Fanny Borchardt gave birth to her first child, Käte, followed by the twins Anni and Mete, and finally Gertrud as the youngest. The family lived in a street running parallel to Grubes Allee. Despite the age difference, the cousins had good contact to each other.

While Eva was growing up, her parents’ affluence increased. They were interested in music and the arts, purchased a Bechstein grand piano and paintings, especially by the Dutch masters, and built up a large library. They furnished the rooms with valuable furniture and, to the delight of their children, with chandeliers on which they could swing back and forth. Apart from that, they were apparently modest in their lifestyle. Eva was less easy to guide than her siblings.

Hans and Werner Borchardt fought in World War I, from which they returned with injuries. During the first year of the war, the grandmother, Sophie Borchardt, Ivan and Hugo’s mother, passed away. After the end of the war, Ivan Borchardt reoriented himself professionally toward Lübeck, acquiring as his most important clients the ad sections of the Lübeck address and phone directories, of the Chamber of Commerce newsletter, and of the train schedules. As a self-employed entrepreneur, he made provisions for his old age by purchasing properties in Eppendorf and Hamm, and by buying securities.

With the exception of Eva Leonore, the children received academic training. Grete and Werner Borchardt studied medicine, Hans economics, and Else became a vocational school teacher. Eva attended a school for office employees and became an office worker and accountant. In 1921, Grete Borchardt passed her physician’s exam in Hamburg, went to Tübingen, and returned in 1922 to Hamburg, where she was entered into the matriculation register of Hamburg physicians on 14 Oct. 1922. She married Friedrich Jänicke from Emden, a secretary ten years her senior, in 1923.

Probably the most significant turning point in Eva Leonore’s life was the unexpected death of her mother on 24 Aug. 1925. She died in the Elim Hospital in Eimsbüttel of sepsis as a result of an operation. Soon afterward, Eva showed signs of a mental illness. Apparently, the father felt that the best treatment of his daughter in private care was warranted. He put her in the charge of the physician Friedrich Kunz in Allendorf/Lumda in Upper Hesse. In 1924, this doctor had extended his practice by five rooms on the second floor and provided the garden with an enclosure to serve as a guesthouse for his female long-term patients. Eva Leonore Borchardt moved there in 1926, and so did Marianne Hirsch, also a Jewish resident of Hamburg. The two families were on familiar terms with each other. By that time, Eva Borchardt‘s siblings had all left the family home.

For the time being, Eva Borchardt experienced the subsequent family events only from a distance. Nothing is known about reciprocal visits. Her brother Hans, by then an economist with a doctoral degree and an authorized signatory at an oil company in Winsen, married Dorothea Köhler and moved with his family to Southern France. Max Nonne, Professor of Neurology, had recommended this stay to him as a therapy against the sleeplessness that plagued him since the war. In 1929, son Hans was born. Instead of returning to Germany, the family moved to Palma de Mallorca. There, Hans Borchardt operated a grocery store until the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. Eva did not see her brother again, for he got out of the way to Italy and then went to Montevideo when it became apparent that he and his family had no future in Germany.

The marriage of her sister Grete ended in divorce in 1929. Grete Jänicke remained in the formerly joint apartment at Rehhagen 2 in Eppendorf until her death. She died there on 4 Jan. 1935 of pulmonary tuberculosis she had contracted when treating a patient. In Dec. 1930, all traces of her brother Werner disappeared. As an assistant lecturer at the Hamburg Institute of Maritime and Tropical Diseases, he had been given leave for two semesters to conduct studies on "physiology and pathology of tropical climate effect” in what was then the Dutch East Indies. He had departed in mid-August 1930, established all of the necessary official and scholarly contacts on location, climbing the Merapi, a volcano still active on Java, with two guides who knew the place on 6 Dec. 1930. Accompanied by a single guide, he went all the way to the edge of the crater when the volcano erupted. He fled in the wrong direction, also separating from his guide. The guide, completely exhausted, was rescued from a steep ravine but Werner Borchardt was not found, despite a search party made up of 400 soldiers and several thousands of locals. The guide previously discharged from service had relayed news of the mishap to the district administration, which in turn immediately informed Ivan Borchardt by telegraph.

In the meantime, Eva was in private care. The doctor, Friedrich Kunz, operated the guesthouse with his wife Anna, née Kauss, born on 17 May 1882 in Londorf, who had worked as a nurse prior to being married, and for a time with assistance by their daughter Dorothea. On 1 Mar. 1932, Anna Kunz and her two daughters Dorothea and Gertrud joined the National Socialist German Workers’ Party (NSDAP) and Friedrich Kunz followed suit on 1 November. Anna and Dorothea Kunz also became members of the Nazi Women’s League. As was usual at the time, Anna Kunz was addressed with her husband’s title, and even after his death, she was called Dr. Kunz. Despite their inclination toward National Socialism, they kept their Jewish boarding house guests in their care, where they lived inconspicuous lives, as contemporary witnesses mention. On a photograph of a summer festival in the Kunz household, they do not stand out in any discernible way from the other persons.

After the Nazi Party’s assumption of power in 1933, Ivan Borchardt lost his contracts in Lübeck and he was unable to start a new business in his trade due to the ordinances in effect. He lived on the revenues of his assets and on rental income. His niece, Lilly Julia Nakler, the daughter of sister Zerline, born on 9 Apr. 1903 in Kaiserslautern, moved in with him. Zerline Borchardt had married the cantor Matthias Nakler, who was called to Kaiserslautern in 1902. Lilly had operated her own kindergarten there. In 1936, Ivan Borchardt and Lilly Nakler were married. They gave up the villa in Rahlstedt and moved to Harvestehuder Weg 99 in Hamburg.

After Friedrich Kunz had passed away in 1936, his widow Anna continued to manage the guesthouse. The mayor put pressure on her to separate from the two Jewish boarding house guests. When her position became increasingly threatening, she made efforts in 1938 to have Jewish families in Hamburg look after the two "girls,” but to no avail. Thus, the only course open was to admit Eva Borchardt and Marianne Hirsch to the Langenhorn "sanatorium and nursing home” (Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Langenhorn). However, this did not end contact between the women. Anna Kunz wrote letters to her former housemates and sent them parcels with food. After one of these for Marianne Hirsch had attracted attention, Anna Kunz was pilloried in the public stand featuring the Stürmer magazine ("Stürmerkasten”) in Allendorf and summoned before the district party court. By order of the local group leader (Ortsgruppenleiter), she was excluded from the party with reference to Sec. 4 Par. 2b of the NSDAP statutes, which deal with the end to membership because of refusal to pay membership dues. The reason, however, was: "You have, until the very end, corresponded with the Jewess Marianne Sara H i r s c h, born on 22 June 1887 in Prague and even sent her parcels. …” The exclusion came into force on 14 Sept. 1940.

No details are known about the course of Eva Leonore Borchardt’s illness. Provided with a diagnosis of "schizophrenia with a chronic course,” she was admitted to the Langenhorn Heil- und Pflegeanstalt on 20 Dec. 1938. Until that time, she had not been declared incapacitated. This occurred at this point, based on the decision of the Hamburg District Court (Amtsgericht) dated 25 May 1939. The legal incapacitation was preceded by a conversation during which it had been impossible to establish communication with her, however. Initially, Käthe Petersen from the social services authority assumed legal guardianship as a collective caregiver, but subsequently, she handed that function over to the father. Ivan Borchardt had made financial provisions for his daughter with gifts by transferring to her the property at Harvestehuder Weg 99 and a mortgage on the Rahlstedt property on Grubes Allee. He reserved for himself and his wife the usufruct of the estate in Harvestehude.
Ivan Borchardt disclosed these assets, along with his own, to the Chief Finance Administrator (Oberfinanzpräsident) in 1939. The property was sold, the proceeds of the mortgage locked into a blocked account and invested in securities, respectively, to the benefit of Eva Borchardt, and Eva Borchardt was given an "Aryan” authorized agent for her assets, the lawyer Johannes de Voss, a member of the Nazi party.
Ivan Borchardt planned to emigrate to Chile, though he retained his legal guardianship. He moved with his wife to Hindenburgstrasse 111, where son Abel was born in May 1940.

On 23 Sept. 1940, Eva Leonore Borchardt was transferred, along with the other 135 patients classified as Jewish, from the Langenhorn State Hospital (Staatskrankenanstalt Langenhorn) to the "Brandenburg State Asylum” ("Landespflegeanstalt Brandenburg”) on the Havel River. This was part of the former prison that had been arranged to serve as a facility for gassing with carbon monoxide. The physician in charge noted in his diary the murdering of the persons on this transport on the very day of arrival.
Eva Leonore Borchardt reached the age of 35, Marianne Hirsch the age of 53.

Neither the father, Ivan Borchardt, nor his successor as legal guardian managed to find out Eva’s whereabouts. On 2 Oct. 1940, Ivan Borchardt relinquished his guardianship, emigrating one week later. His brother Moritz, living in Zürich at the time, met the costs of the train journey to Manchuria and the subsequent passages to Montevideo in Uruguay.

Eva Borchardt’s authorized asset agent, Johannes de Voss, continued to investigate her whereabouts. In response to his inquiry dated 7 Oct. 1940 with the Hamburg District Court, he was told that Eva Borchardt had been transferred to a collective institution on the orders of the Reich Minister of the Interior, but that it was not known to which facility. On 14 Nov. 1940, news arrived that it was the Chelm asylum (Heilanstalt Chelm). The letter he sent there was returned to sender with the remark "Asylum closed down,” which corresponded to the facts, for in Jan. 1940, the Gestapo had murdered the patients and vacated the institution, which was no longer used for psychiatric purposes.

Three months after the letter returned from Chelm, however, Johannes de Voss received news from the "lunatic asylum Chelm” on 7 Feb. 1941 that Eva Borchardt had passed away. The death certificate, issued on 3 February, indicated as the date of death 1 Feb. 1941 at 4.45 p.m. and as the cause of death "influenza.” The facts of the case became known only many years later: The death certificates were issued in the T4 Head Office in Berlin and transported by courier at different times to Lublin and mailed from there. At that point, Johannes de Voss had been dead for quite some time.

To be sure, Eva Leonore Borchardt’s assets were subject to a "security order” ("Sicherungsanordnung”) but they were still her property. The absentee’s representative and estate executor informed the Chief Finance Administrator of her alleged death in Chelm near Lublin, i.e., a place abroad. Posthumously, the lawyer was then supposed to submit the application for emigration for Eva Borchardt, since, the argument went, in terms of foreign currency law, she was deemed a foreigner (emigrant) and consequently, her assets were subject to the foreign currency restrictions applicable to emigrants. The Reichshauptbank (Reich Bank Main Office) advised the Hamburg Chief Finance Administrator that in this case domestic law applied. Nevertheless, the "security account” was converted into an emigrant’s blocked account, which served to pay death taxes on Eva Borchardt’s remaining assets according to the rules.

On 9 July 1946 at 12.15 p.m., the denazification tribunal of the Giessen administrative district "classified” Anna Kunz "in the group of exonerated persons.” The reason for her being incriminated in the first place was her membership in the NSDAP from 1933 until 1940, the grounds for her exoneration the "exclusion from the party in 1940. Resistance against the party rules through documented dealings with Jews until the year 1940. The person affected was branded publicly in the Stürmerkasten.” Anna Kunz passed away in Allendorf/Lumda on 3 Mar. 1976 at the age of 93. It is not known whether she ever learned about the fate her boarding house guests suffered.

Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: April 2018
© Hildegard Thevs

Quellen: 1; 2 OFP FVg 8427; R 1939/3044, R 1940/42; 5; Hamburger Adressbücher; BA (ehem. BDC) NSDAP-Gaukartei; StaH, 232-5 Amtsgericht Vormundschaftswesen, 94; 241-2 Justizverwaltung, P 1709; 332-5 Standesämter, 1027-60/1934; 9124-171/1896; 6620-118/1923; 7987-663/1906; 8084-313/1925; 8568-171/1894; 8574-181/1895; 8636-364/1904; 9124-171/1896; 9873-16/1935; 13283-2480/1900; 332-7 Staatsangehörigkeit, B III 22294; 332-8 Meldewesen, K 4272; K 6035, K 6253; 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung, 1572, 20586, 30074; 352-3 Ärztematrikel, I C 11, Bd. 6; 352-5 Todesbescheinigungen, StA 20 A, Nr. 313, 1925; StA 3a, Nr. 16, 1935; 361-1 Personalakten, I 0007; 364-13 Fakultäten der Universität, 42; Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv Wiesbaden, Abt. 520/Gi Nr. GI 238, Entnazifizierung; AK Juden Allendorf, Stadtarchiv Allendorf a. d. Lumda, insbesondere Herbert Heibertshausen; Klee, Ernst, "Euthanasie" im Dritten Reich, Frankfurt/M., Neuausgabe 2010, S. 106–108; Mitteilungen von Angehörigen 2014.
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