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Martha Hauptmann als Schulkind auf einem Klassenfoto (Ausschnitt)
Martha Hauptmann als Schulkind
© Privat

Martha Hauptmann * 1922

Regerstraße 21 Schule (Altona, Bahrenfeld)

JG. 1922

Martha Hauptmann, born 13 July 1922, deported 11 July 1942 to Auschwitz, killed

Regerstraße 23/25 in front of the Bahrenfeld District School (Schumannstraße School)

A Stumbling Stone in memory of Martha Hauptmann was laid in front of the Bahrenfeld High School (today District School) in 2007 upon the initiative of students at the school. While studying National Socialism in their social studies class, tenth graders came across the Jewish student who had once attended their school. Their school was originally the old Bahrenfeld village school; in 1880 a new school was built on Schumannstraße (changed to Regerstraße in the 1950s). After an extension was added in 1992, it was renamed "Regerstraße High School”, then "Bahrenfeld High School” in 1996, and "Bahrenfeld District School” in 2010. During a Bahrenfeld anniversary celebration, some of Inge Roegener’s former students reported that Martha Hauptmann had attended the old school. She was deported to Auschwitz as a young woman and killed. The school contacted her brother Hermann Hauptmann who had immigrated to the USA after the end of the war. Since then a plaque at the main entrance relates her story.

Martha Hauptmann was born in Hamburg on 13 July 1922. Her brother Hermann had been born three years earlier on 16 Nov. 1919. Their parents were Edith Hauptmann, née Lachotzki, born in Berlin in 1899, and the baker Siegmund Hauptmann, born in Hamburg in 1893 as the son of Fabian and Martha Hauptmann, née Salomon. The couple had wed in Berlin in 1918. Siegmund Hauptmann ran a bakery in St. Pauli. Edith Hauptmann moved in with her husband at Peterstraße 26 in Hamburg-Neustadt. The district surrounding Grossneumarkt with its timbered houses and narrow streets had a high proportion of Jewish residents. In 1926, when Martha was four years old, Siegmund Hauptmann left the family and moved away from Germany. Perhaps back then he already immigrated to the USA where he lived after the war. According to Martha’s brother, their mother did not want to accompany him. Edith Hauptmann and her children moved to Theodorstraße 46/48 in Altona-Bahrenfeld. The couple was divorced in 1935.

Martha likely started school at Bahrenfeld Elementary School on Schumannstraße. In 1938, Jewish students were banned from attending non-Jewish schools. For many of them, daily school life had already long been marked by anti-Semitic attacks, hate and exclusion. Martha changed to the Jewish Girls’ School on Karolinenstraße. After finishing eight years of school, she began an apprenticeship as a milliner with the company Hammerschlag on Neuen Wall in Hamburg to become a hat maker. She registered as a member of the Jewish Community on Easter in 1937, however was not required to pay any tax. In July 1938, the company was "Aryanized” in the course of the expropriation and liquidation of Jewish businesses, and Martha Hauptmann was dismissed before she could finish her apprenticeship. The company’s long-time director Anni Behrens confirmed in 1966 in a letter to the Reparations Office that "an apprentice Martha” had been employed by the company Hammerschlag at that time and added "that she had to leave overnight”.

Martha’s mother worked as a cleaning lady then. In 1938 she moved to Hamburg with her children and in 1939 married her second husband Max Rosenbaum, a sales representative from Bremen born in 1882. Edith and Max Rosenbaum moved with Martha and Hermann into the ground floor of House C in the rear courtyard at Bartelsstraße 76 in today’s Altona Schanzenviertel, a working-class neighborhood at the time. The couple had a child on 14 Feb. 1940, Martha’s half-sister Mathel. Just one year later, Edith and Max Rosenbaum divorced.

Without having completed her occupational training, Martha Hauptmann, now 18 years old, found employment as a domestic worker, earning 10 Reichsmarks a week.

Eventually she was forced to work at a canning factory within the framework of a Jewish forced labor unit. The Jewish forced laborers were paid low wages with no allowances, and 15 percent was deducted as a "Jewish tax”. Anyone who refused to work ran the risk of being sent to a concentration camp for being "work shy” or as a "saboteur”.

Her brother Hermann had trained as an electrical engineer, however he was not allowed to take the final examination in 1938 due to his Jewish background. From 1938 to 1941 he was able to work evenings doing stage lighting for events and performances of the Jewish Cultural Association at the community center on Hartungstraße (renamed the Hamburg Intimate Theater in 1945).

When Hamburg’s Jews started to be deported to the ghettos in the east, Martha Hauptmann was forced to watch her family’s deportation. Her step-father Max Rosenbaum was deported to Lodz on the first mass transport on 25 Oct. 1941, her brother Hermann to Minsk on 8 Nov. 1941. Her mother Edith Rosenbaum, last housed in the "Jewish house” at Rutschbahn 15, was on the deportation train to Riga on 6 Dec. 1941 along with her half-sister Mathel who was only one year old.

Martha Hauptmann was forcibly assigned to one of the so-called Jewish houses at Grindelallee 21 as Hamburg’s Jews were gradually driven into ghetto. On 11 July 1942, two days before her twentieth birthday, she was deported to Auschwitz. 300 people from Hamburg were deported to the extermination camp on that transport. By Nov. 1944, 1 to 1.5 million Jews were killed in the four gas chambers of Auschwitz, among them Martha Hauptmann.

Martha Hauptmann’s brother Hermann survived. He remained in the Minsk Ghetto until Sept. 1943. This was followed by periods in Majdanek concentration camp in Poland, Leitmeritz concentration camp in the Czechoslovakia and Dachau concentration camp, until he was liberated from Flossenburg concentration camp in 1945. In 1949 he immigrated to the USA.

At Bartelsstraße 30, additional Stumbling Stones have been placed for further family members: Fabian Hauptmann, Martha’s grandfather who died in 1938 at the Langenhorn Psychiatric Hospital and Nursing Home; his second wife Rieckchen (Jenny) Hauptmann, née Bloch (Blach) was also at Langenhorn and was deported from there in 1940 to the Brandenburg killing center where she was killed.

Apart from Martha’s father Siegmund who emigrated before the National Socialists seized power, only her Uncle Kurt Hauptmann survived in her father’s family. He was protected by his "mixed marriage” and returned from the Theresienstadt Ghetto. Her Uncle Siegfried died in Buchenwald concentration camp, her step-Uncle Benno Hauptmann was killed in Chelmno, near Lodz, and her step-Aunt Ruth perished in Lodz.

Translator: Suzanne von Engelhardt
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: April 2018
© Birgit Gewehr

Quellen: 1; 4; 5; 8; StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden, 992 e 2 Band 4 (Deportationsliste Auschwitz, 11.7. 1942; StaH 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung, 22458 (Rosenbaum Edith, gesch. Hauptmann), 43303 (Hauptmann, Hermann) und 18300 (Hauptmann, Kurt); AB Altona und Hamburg; Informationen von Inge Roegener und Christel Zeihe-Otto, Stadtteilschule Bahrenfeld, November/Dezember 2013; Biographien für Benno Rickchen und Ruth Hauptmann, in Jungblut, Stolpersteine, S. 108 und 109.
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