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Already layed Stumbling Stones
Joel Abrahamssohn * 1869
Peterstraße 33 (Hamburg-Mitte, Neustadt)
1942 Treblinka ermordet
further stumbling stones in Peterstraße 33:
Pauline Abrahamssohn, Norbert Abrahamssohn, Jenny Becker, Ludwig Becker, Uri Becker, Jeanette Freundlich, Else Grossmeyer, Erwin Grossmeyer, Hugo Grossmeyer, Louise Simon
Joel Abrahamssohn, b. 4.1.1869 in Esens, deported on 7.15.1942 to Theresienstadt, deported again on 9.21.1942 to Treblinka
Pauline Emilie Abrahamssohn, née Meyer, b. 10.17.1872 in Bentheim, deported on 7.15.1942 to Theresienstadt, deported again on 9.21.1942 to Treblinka
Norbert Abrahamssohn, b. 9.21.1916 in Hamburg, fled to the Netherlands in 1936, arrested in June 1941, murdered in the Mauthausen concentration camp on 9.30.1941
Jenny Becker, née Abrahamssohn, b. 6.25.1904 in Hamburg, deported to Auschwitz on 7.11.1942
Ludwig Becker, b. 9.24.1907 in Naugard, deported to Minsk on 11.8.1941
Uri Becker, b. 10.22.1941 in Hamburg, deported to Auschwitz on 7.11.1942
Else Grossmeyer, née Abrahamssohn, b. 7.6.1906 in Hamburg, interned at Westerbork in the Netherlands, deported on 3.23.1943 to Sobibor, murdered on 3.26.1943
Erwin Grossmeyer, b. 6.11.1942 in Amsterdam, interned at Westerbork in the Netherlands, deported on 3.23.1943 to Sobibor, murdered 3.26.1943
Hugo Grossmeyer, b. 3.20.1903 in Nuremberg, interned at Westerbork in the Netherlands, deported on 3.23.1943 to Sobibor, murdered 3.26.1943
Joel Abrahamssohn was the son of Jewish parents from Esens, in the County of Wittmund, East Frisia; he grew up at Jücherstrasse 72. His family traced itself back to his great grandfather David Abrahams, probably born in 1762. The Prussian authorities of that time had allowed the merchant and butcher, one of the few Jews "under special protection” (Schutzjuden), to acquire a house at Marktquartier 38. He was married to Hanna, née Cohen (b. 1782, d. 1857) and had eight children with her (his daughter Regine, b. 1809, d. 1889, was the mother of the later famed Frankfurt opera singer, Sara Oppenheimer, b. 1844, d. 1906).
David Abrahams, in addition to his butcher shop, dealt in manufactured goods and enjoyed "favorable conditions of wealth.” In 1827, as a representative of the Jewish congregation he petitioned for a permit to build a new synagogue and, as a result, seems to have been included among the city’s notables. The name Abrahamssohn originated in March 1828, when all Jews in East Frisia had to adopt family names. David Abrahams took his father Abraham’s name as the family name, by appending "son,” and later "sohn” to it.
Joel’s father, Jacob Abraham Abrahamssohn (b. 4.2.1840), like his grandfather Abraham David Abrahamssohn, was a tanner and expanded his business to include leather dealing. In 1862, he acquired town citizenship and as of 1869, the foundational year of the Esens Cooperative Bank (today the National Bank), was a member of its administrative board.
On 18 May 1862, Jacob Abraham Abrahamssohn married the 19-year old Esther Weinberg (b. 1843). Their first child, Malchen (b. 6.15.1863), was only a year old. Shortly after the birth of their second child, Emil (b. 5.8.1865, d. 2.8.1940 in Enschede), Esther Abrahamssohn died of tuberculosis on 18 June 1865, at the age of 22. A year after her death, on 6 November 1866, Jacob Abraham Abrahamssohn married the 26-year old Schönette/Schöntje/Jeanette Mindus (b. 11.26.1840); she was the daughter of Joel Israel Mindus and his wife Frauke, née Falk, in Jemgum, East Frisia. From this second marriage, between 1867 and 1888, there issued ten children, of which two died, Minna (b. 1.14.1871) when she was nine years old, of tuberculosis, and Joseph (b. 3.11.1876), shortly after birth. Joel, who bore the first name of his maternal grandfather, was her second oldest.
The Abrahamssohn family left their home in 1886, possibly because they hoped to have greater anonymity in the large Jewish Congregation of Hamburg, for open antisemitism had also spread to East Frisia. By 1890, the once stately Jewish Congregation of Esens consisted of only 89 members.
Joel’s father registered with the Jewish Congregation in Hamburg as a shoemaker at 2 Marienstrasse 12 (from 1940 Jan-Valkenburg-Strasse). The address book recorded him for the first time in 1893, as well as the "Brothers Abrahamssohn Perfume Wares” at Grossneumarkt 22.
In 1894, Joel Abrahamssohn opened a so-called party favors store (a business dealing with cheap mass market and specialty items) at 2 Elbstrasse 5 (today, Neanderstrasse). After the consolidation of 1, 2, and 3 Elbstrasse in 1900, the business and family home received the house number 64. Around 1902, he married Pauline, the daughter of Meier Meyer and his wife Elisabeth Emilie, probably in their home town of Bentheim. On 25 June 1904, a daughter was born, Jeanette, called Jenny. Else followed in 1906, Martha in 1908, who died after eight months, Grete in 1912, and Norbert in 1916. Initially, the family lived at Elbstrasse 21-23 and moved in 1915 to Peterstrasse 33b. Joel and Pauline Abrahamssohn lived in comfortable bourgeois circumstances. They regularly took vacation trips and saw to it that their children received good educations and vocational training. Pauline, and later, the two older daughters, Jenny and Else, worked in the business, along with two other employees.
Joel’s father, Jacob Abraham Abrahamssohn died at 66 years of age on 13 July 1906. His widow Jeanette, together with her children Martha (b. 12.12.1878), Rebecka (b. 12.5.1888), and Moritz (b. 1.23.1883) moved from Grossen Michaelisstrasse 44 (the street no longer exists) into the Grindelviertel, at Grindelberg 3. On 13 August 1912, Martha married the confidential clerk Jacob Elias Horowitz (b. 5.28.1880 in Tarnopol). In 1939, the couple lived in Erfurt; this is all that is known about them.
Their mother Jeanette Abrahamssohn died on 12 July 1915, at 74 years of age. On 8 September 1916, her single daughter Rebecka also died. Her oldest brother Abraham Jacob, called Alfred (b. 8.13.1864), died on 22 October 1922. He had operated a pawnshop at Kielerstrasse 26. His brother Moritz Abrahamssohn was co-owner of the chemical factory "Dr. Bachner & Co., L.L.D.” He died on 6 September 1927. Their widowed sister Frieda Meyer, née Abrahamssohn (b. 3.20.1873), was, even before her marriage, independent, the owner of a cleaning business at Wexstrasse 32a; she was living at Schlachterstrasse 28, when she was found dead in the Elbe River on 4 September 1931, near the Steinhöftponton. The graves of the family members are in the Ilandkoppel Jewish Cemetery in Ohlsdorf.
After the so-called Nazi Seizure of Power in 1933, Joel Abrahamssohn’s business earnings declined steadily as a result of the boycott. The final expulsion from economic life came on 17 December 1938, after 40 years in business. A trustee took over the inventory of goods and the business was liquidated. The Abrahamssohn couple were without an income and, after their three children emigrated, they lived on welfare.
Things went much the same for Joel’s married sister Henriette (b. 5.16.1874, d. 2.24.1951 in Brussels) and her husband Gustav Emmel (b. 4.8.1877 in Bad Ems, d. 12.11.1953 in Essen-Werden). They had apparently taken over the pawnshop of the deceased Alfred Abrahamssohn at Kielerstrasse 26. Forced to give up their business, they emigrated in February 1939 to live with their son Jacob (b. 7.22.1906) in Belgium, where they survived.
Joel and Pauline received a relocation order on 19 February 1940 and had to, by direction of the Gestapo, move into a "Jew house” at Kielortallee 22. The comfortable bourgeois home furnishings were left behind on Peterstrasse. In a postcard to her daughter Grete in Australia, Pauline said she and her husband were awaiting imminent deportation. On 15 July 1942, Joel and Pauline Abrahamssohn were deported to Theresienstadt and soon thereafter, on 21 September 1942, to the Treblinka extermination camp, where they were murdered immediately upon arrival.
Their daughter Else had, following her schooling, completed a course as a stenographer-typist and, since 1933, lived in the Netherlands, where she married the businessman Hugo Grossmeyer. Hugo was born on 20 March 1903 in Georgensmünd in Schwabach, the son of Emanuel and Fannie Grossmeyer; he had lived formerly in Nuremberg. Their son, Erwin, was born in Amsterdam on 11 June 1942. Their last address was Valkenierstraat 5 III. The Grossmeyer family was sent to Westerbork, a transit camp from which Jews in the Netherlands were deported; they were deported to Sobibor on 23 March 1943 and murdered there on 26 March 1943.
Joel and Pauline’s only son, Norbert, having finished his schooling, took a business apprenticeship with Goldschmidt & Mindus, at Hohe Bleichen 31-32. On 21 August 1936, he also emigrated to the Netherlands where he worked in agriculture. Without success he attempted to emigrate to Australia. In 1939, the Jewish Committee in Amsterdam helped him with ship’s passage; he was supposed to sale on 5 September 1939 from Genoa on the Lloyd Triestino Line. On 7 August 1939, he wrote in a letter to his family: "I am waiting for the ticket to come from Paris. I hope that I can still sail, but I am very pessimistic and believe that we will be involved in a long war. The atmosphere here is gloomy, full of anxiety, everyone expecting the worst. The harvest must be brought in with utmost speed, since yesterday mobilization was declared. No one believes that Holland can remain neutral, because it will be attacked by one side or the other. We have to wait for developments. In case I cannot sail by the time war breaks out, and that seems likely, I will write immediately.”
Norbert did not succeed in reaching the ship, so he remained in the Netherlands.
He wrote on 29 September: "Here in Holland, everyone is against Germany and fearing a possible invasion. People here go about their normal lives; food and other things are still available as before. Everything here proceeds normally. So, often, when I’m working in the fields, I ask myself, if it’s really true that we are living in a time of war. It is unbelievable! But the horses draw the plow over the field, and everything seems harmonious.”
On 6 October 1939, he learned that Australia would not accept any more Jewish refugees. Two months later the "Admission Authorities” sent him a final rejection. He announced in a letter of 2 January 1940 - he was at this time in a "work center,” a preparatory camp for émigrés - that he was doing what he could to still get to Australia. On 9 April 1940, he wrote his last letter: he hoped to be able to emigrate to Canada. This hope also failed to materialize. Norbert Abrahamssohn was deported from the Netherlands to the Mauthausen concentration camp and received prisoner number 1240. On 30 September 1941, he died of nephritis, according to the official entry in the camp record of deaths. His sister Grete, however, reported that he had been shot in the camp. Norbert Abrahamssohn was 25 years old.
The Abrahamssohn daughter, Jenny, married the Hamburg master painter Oscar Simon (b. 4.3.1899) on 2 December 1927. His studio was at Elbstrasse 58, the couple’s home was at Poolstrasse 13. Following the "usual and well-known Gestapo irritations” Oscar Simon fled to escape his imminent arrest, about which he learned "on the quiet,” traveling over England, Holland, and France to Bogotá, Columbia. According to a few statements, because of the "head over heels” pursuit of his emigration, Jenny could not accompany him. In September 1938, the couple divorced. In April 1939, Jenny Simon entered a second marriage to Ludwig Becker, a cattle dealer and farmer, from Stettin. Ludwig Becker was born on 24 September 1907 in Naugard, Pomerania. His father Adolf was a horse trader, his mother was Olga, née Levy. In Hamburg Ludwig initially worked as a painter; afterwards he traveled as a representative of a workshop for the blind. His efforts to emigrate to Australia foundered, just like those of his brother-in-law, Norbert. The Beckers lived in separate places, Jenny moving in with her parents at Kielortallee 22. On 22 October, their son Uri was born. Ludwig Becker received his deportation order for 8 November 1941 to the Minsk ghetto, while he was living in the "Jew house” at Bornstrasse 8. Jenny’s name was also on the deportation list but was, for reasons unknown, crossed out. Together with Uri, she was deported to Auschwitz on 11 July 1942 and murdered.
Her sister Grete had attended the liberal-minded private modern high school of Dr. Jacob Löwenberg at Johnsallee 33 up to the eighth year. After finishing studies at the Grone Commercial School, she worked as a commercial clerk. Finally, she was employed as the private secretary at the Willy Rendsburg Paperworks at Krayenkamp 9, until the firm was "Aryanized” on 13 September 1937 and she lost her position.
On 3 October 1937, Grete married the businessman and native of Hamburg (b. 13 August 1910), Gustav Paul Wolfers. His parents, Hugo Wolfers (b. 10.22.1875) and Olga, née Oppenheimer (b. 10.14.1885), were deported to the Riga ghetto on 6 December 1941. A memorial stone for them is at Hofweg 31 in Hamburg-Uhlenhorst (see "Stolpersteine in Hamburg-Barmbek und Uhlenhorst”).
Grete and Gustav Wolfers emigrated to Australia shortly after their marriage. They had three children who still live in Australia. As the sole survivor, Grete Wolfers testified after the war to the fate of her family at the Yad Vashem Site of Remembrance in Israel. The memorial stone in front of the house on Peterstrasse is the result of outdated research. The former house bearing the number 33b is to be found on the opposite side of the street, at the corner of Peterstrasse and Hütten.
Translator: Richard Levy
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: April 2020
© Susanne Rosendahl
Quellen: 1; 4; 5; 8; 9; StaH 351-11 AfW 37596 (Wolfers, Grete); StaH 351-11 AfW 21628 (Simon, Oscar); StaH 351-11 AfW 31350 (Emmel, Jacob Rudolf); StaH 314-15 OFP, R 1939/281 (Abrahamssohn, Thekla); USHMM, RG 15.083, 301/106-107, Fritz Neubauer, Universität Bielefeld; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 3554 u 811/1927; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 570 u 676/1906; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 620 u 478/1909; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 8683 u 282/1912; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 8033 u 534/1916; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 3041 u 339/1905; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 2985 u 902/1902; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 8026 u 512/1912; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 978 u 435/1931; StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinde Nr. 992 e 2 Band 2 Liste 1; StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinde Nr. 992 e 2 Band 4 Liste 1; StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinde 374; Lodz Hospital, Der Hamburger Gesellschaft für Genealogie zur Verfügung gestellt von Peter W. Landé, 2009, USHMM, Washington, bearbeitet von Margot Löhr; Auskunft von Howard Wolfers (Australien), E-Mail vom 25.8.2008; Rokahr: Juden, S. 92f., S. 100, S. 105, S. 114, S. 145f., S. 228, S. 231; Auskunft von Gerd Rokahr vom 4.6.2008; Archiv der KZ-Gedenkstätte Mauthausen, E-Mail vom 3.3.2009; Digital Monument to the Jewish Community in the Netherlands, über Norbert Abrahamssohn, (Zugriff 24.6.2008); Yad Vashem, Zentrale Datenbank der Namen der Holocaustopfer Joel Abrahamssohn (Gedenkblatt); Yad Vashem, Zentrale Datenbank der Namen der Holocaustopfer Pauline Abrahamssohn (Gedenkblatt); Yad Vashem, Zentrale Datenbank der Namen der Holocaustopfer Norbert Abrahamssohn (Gedenkblatt); Yad Vashem, Zentrale Datenbank der Namen der Holocaustopfer Else Grossmeyer (Gedenkblatt); Yad Vashem, Zentrale Datenbank der Namen der Holocaustopfer Jeanette Becker (Gedenkblatt); Yad Vashem, Zentrale Datenbank der Namen der Holocaustopfer Ludwig Becker (Gedenkblatt); Yad Vashem, Zentrale Datenbank der Namen der Holocaustopfer Uri Becker (Gedenkblatt); diverse Hamburger Adressbücher.
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