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Hermann Franck * 1869

Am Felde 2 (Altona, Ottensen)

JG. 1869
ERMORDET 10.2.1943

Hermann Franck, born 5/24/1869, deported to Theresienstadt on 7/29/1942, died there on 2/10/1943

Am Felde 2

Hermann Franck had a Jewish background; he was born May 24th, 1869 in Hamburg as the son of Salomon Jacob Franck and his wife Minette, née Engers. On July 19th, 1984, he married Anna Philipp, six years his junior, a hairdresser and Swiss citizen, whose father was Jewish. The couple had three children: Hans Hermann, born July 19th, 1893, Else, born August 15th, 1894, and Magda Käthe (later Kate), born October 5th, 1895. After WW II, her daughter Kate testified at a compensation hearing: "My father was a full Jew, my mother a half Jew. I recall that my father did not belong to the Jewish religious community […] My mother was baptized. Hermann Franck was a grain agent; he and his wife had separated in 1908 and according to a ruling of the Altona District Court of the end of 1924 had to pay alimony to his wife who suffered from severe asthma and was unfit for work, but did not or only partially fulfill his obligations, declaring the he himself had been ill and unemployed for a long time. Anna Franck was chiefly supported by her youngest daughter Käthe, who still lived with her; she also received welfare payments. During the world economic crisis, Hermann Franck’s business apparently didn’t run well; from 1929 on, Franck, now 60, was exempt from paying the culture tax. Until 1939, Franck lived at Bahrenfelder Chaussee 98, and then moved to Am Felde 2 near Ottenser Marktplatz in Altona, where he lived on the second floor with his daughter Else Thoms, divorced Sachtleben. She had married again after her divorce. Her husband ran .a slipper shop, and she made slippers as a home worker.

Hermann Franck’s son Hans had lived in Leopoldshall near Magdeburg and had two sons; in 1939, he lost his job with the state railway. When the Nazis started their resettlement operation by concentrating Jews in "Jews’ houses”, Hermann Franck in 1940 was forcibly admitted to a "Hews’ house” in Westerstrasse 27 in Hammerbrook, the "Daniel-Wormser-Haus”. As long as emigration was still possible, the house served as lodging for Jewish emigrants passing through Hamburg; Hermann Franck often helped them out by handling issues with the authorities. When emigration was forbidden, members of the Jewish Community were to the house in Westerstrasse. The house was overcrowded and like all other "Jews’ houses” subject to regular checks by the Gestapo.

From 1941, Hermann Franck lived from welfare payments. On July 19th, 1942, aged 73, he was deported to Theresienstadt and registered as number 156 of 803 Jews deported from Hamburg with the arrival date July 20th, 1942. Hermann Franck died on February 10th, 1943. The attending doctor gave intestinal catarrh as the reason of death. The frequent cases of diarrhea in the ghetto marked by hunger, cold and disastrous sanitary conditions were mostly fatal for elderly people.

Hermann Franck’s daughter Magda Käthe Nitschke, a trained clerk, lived at Alter Teichweg 103 in Hamburg-Barmbek with her non-Jewish husband Paul Nitschke and their daughter until they were bombed out in July, 1943. Her husband had lost his job as the head of dispatching of the purchasing center of German consumers’ cooperatives because he was considered unacceptable on account of being married to a Jew. He then started a wholesale and retail store for eggs which he ran until he was forced to close it in 1939. Käthe Nitschke cared for her severely ill mother Anna who had spent three years in a hospital and at the special-care home in Oberaltenallee before she moved in with the young family in 1935; she died in 1941. Pursuant to the racist Nazi ideology, Käthe Nitschke was classified as a "three quarter Jew” and thus subject to the anti-Jewish laws. From May to July, 1944, she was ordered to perform forced labor at the Dralle soap factory at their plant in Ottenser Schulstrasse (now Nernstweg) The burden of ten hours of heavy labor plus two hours for commuting on six days a week was heavy on her, plus housework and the worry about her daughter who was alone at home. Ant the air raids on Barmbek, too, became more frequent. Her husband was with the Wehrmacht in Holland. When his family was bombed out, he was given leave and "illegally brought his wife and his daughter to the small town of Waldenburg in Saxony, where they were able to hide until the end of the war – Käthe Nitschke had been anonymously denounced as a Jew, and the Gestapo had started an investigation against them. She and her daughter survived in Saxony.

Translated by Peter Hubschmid
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: April 2018
© Birgit Gewehr

Quellen: 1; 3; 4; 5; 7; 8; AB Altona, StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden, 992 m 1 Band 2 (Ankunftslisten der von Hamburg in das KZ Theresienstadt deportierten Juden, Ankunft 20.7. 1942); StaH 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung, 15974 (Nitschke, Käthe); StaH 351 14 Arbeits- und Sozialfürsorge – Sonderakten, 1153 (Franck, Anna); Sonderstandesamt Arolsen, Sterbeeintrag Hermann Franck und Fragebogen Hermann Franck.
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