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Elli Drutowski (née Meyer) * 1877
Schäferstraße 31 (Eimsbüttel, Eimsbüttel)
Elli Drutowski, née Meyer, born on 13 Dec. 1877 (or 23 Dec. 1877) in Vellahn/Mecklenburg, expelled on 28 Oct. 1938 to Zbaszyn, deported on 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz, murdered on 10 May 1942 in Chelmno
Leopold Drutowski, born on 19 Oct. 1878 in Konin, deported on 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz, died there on 29 Jan. 1942
In comparison to the 1930s, Schäferstrasse in Eimsbüttel looks almost unchanged today, as war damages kept within limits. In 2012, Stolpersteine were laid there for three Jewish families. The Eimsbüttel History Workshop (Geschichtswerkstatt Eimsbüttel) was the scene of a chance encounter of three contemporary witnesses, who as children had lived there for a while and still remembered life in this street during the early 1940s. They also had rudimentary memories of persecuted persons like Jewish neighbors, for instance, the Drutowskis. In 1939, Schäferstrasse had been officially renamed Wallmodenstrasse but factually this was of little significance. Owing to the war, the material for new street signs was required elsewhere, and so the street kept its old name. Only in the directories, it is called "Wallmodenstrasse” instead of "Schäferstrasse.”
Elli Drutowski was born as Elli Meyer in Vellahn (Mecklenburg). Her parents were Sara Meyer, née Wolfes, and Albert Meyer. Elli was the oldest of probably six children. In addition to her, there were the siblings Martha (born on 18 Aug. 1879), Paul (born on 30 June 1883), Grete (born on 2 May 1886), Johanna (born on 9 Oct. 1887), and Gertrud (born on 26 Mar. 1891), all of them born in Vellahn as well. Elli’s future husband, Leopold Drutowski, was, in contrast to his wife, of Polish extraction. His parents were Isaak and Rahel, née Schonder.
We do not know when Leopold Drutowski came to Hamburg. He belonged to the German-Israelitic Community since 1913. He was a tailor by occupation. As late as the mid-1930s, he was still listed in the directory under the address at Eppendorfer Weg 40, and in the 1920s, "L. Drutowski Zuschneider [cutter]” lived on the second floor of the house at Jungfrauenthal 17. At the same address, E. and G. Meyer are listed with the addition of "Schneid.” ["tailor”]. These may have been the sisters Elli and Grethe or Gertrud Meyer. The move to Schäferstrasse probably did not take place until the end of the 1930s.
When the expulsion of ethnic Polish Jews was ordered across the Reich, the measure affected Elli Drutowski, who was expelled to Zbaszyn in the course of the "Polenaktion.” She had to spend more than half a year in the no-man’s-land at the German-Polish border, before returning to Hamburg in the summer of 1939, completely at the end of her physical and mental strength. Actually, Leopold Drutowski’s name was also on the list of those to be picked up, but he was in hospital at the time.
In 1939, Leopold was detained in the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp for some time, then released again.
On Schäferstrasse, the Drutowskis lived on the same floor as the Herzberg family (see corresponding entry), until they received their relocation order to the "Jews’ house” ("Judenhaus”) on Agathenstrasse and had to move. On 25 Oct. 1941, both of them were deported to Lodz. Leopold Drutowski bore the strain only for a short time, dying at the end of Jan. 1942.
On 25 Oct. 1941, Elli’s sisters Martha, Johanna, and Gertrud were also forced to board the deportation train to Lodz, where Gertrud died in the ghetto on 28 Nov. 1941. In the ghetto, Elli Drutowski was accommodated together with her surviving sisters at Steinmetzgasse 20, apartment 2. The attempt to evade the "resettlement” by filing the relevant application failed, and the three sisters were murdered in the Chelmno extermination camp on 10 May 1942. Brother Paul died shortly after the end of the war. Sister Grete was deported to Theresienstadt on 19 Jan. 1944.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Susanne Lohmeyer, Jonas Stier
Quellen: 1; 5; StaH 351-11 AfW, 3636; HAB II 1930 und 1935; HAB IV 1927; Stadtteilrundgänge in Hamburg-Eimsbüttel, S. 20f.;HAB IV 1940; Ingrid Behrens, unveröffentlicher Erinnerungsbericht in der Galerie Morgenland; Interview mit Heinz Kosubke in der Galerie Morgenland; StaH 522-1 992e 2; USHMM 300/267 (Last letters from Lodsch).
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