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Alex Benno Grünfeld * 1923
Holstenstraße 2 (Altona, Altona-Altstadt)
BENTSCHEN / ZBASZYN
Abraham Grünfeld, born 12.2.1896 in Pacanow/Krs. Bendzin, southeastern Poland, deported 28.20.1938 to Zbaszyn/ Bentschen, interned, deported fall 1943 to Auschwitz
Masza/Martha/Mascha Grünfeld, née Abramowicz, born 10.11.1898 in Piotrkow/ Central Poland; deported 28.10.1938 to Zbaszyn/ Bentschen, deported fall 1943 to Auschwitz
Fanny Sara Grünfeld, born 1.5.1922 in Altona; deported 28.10.1938, Zbaszyn/ Bentschen, deported to Auschwitz
Alexander Benno Grünfeld, born 13.8.1923 in Hamburg, deported 28.10.1938 to Zbaszyn/ Bentschen, deported fall 1943 to Auschwitz
Anna Gertrud Grünfeld, born 1.6.1925 in Hamburg, deported 28.10.19 to Zbanszyn/ Bentschen, starved to death
Lotte Grünfeld, born 3.7.1926 in Hamburg, deported 28.10.1938 to Bentschen/ Zbaszyn, 2.6.1942 concentration camp Oberaltstadt near Trautenau/Sudetengau, liberated on 9.5.1945
Hilde Grünfeld, born 14.2.1929 in Hamburg, deported 28.10.1938 to Zbaszyn/ Bentschen, deported autumn 1943 to Auschwitz
Holstenstraße 2/Endo-Klinik (formerly: Kleine Freiheit 18)
Abram Grinfeld or Abraham Grünfeld and Masza, Marza, Mascha or Martha, née Abramowicz or Abramowitz, had their roots in Orthodox Judaism in southern Poland, which changed between Polish, Russian and German rule, and with it the languages. In the case of surnames, only the spellings changed; in the case of women's first names, such strong variants occurred that some were not recognized as identical and they were documented as different persons. Inconsistencies in some dates resulted from the different Russian and Prussian calendars, and problems in the recognition of marriages and marital offspring resulted from the different validity of religious and civil status laws.
At their marriage on December 28, 1928, at the Altona I registry office, the groom signed Abram Grinfeld and the bride Masza Abramowicz. Abram Grinfeld had been born in 1896 in Pacanow, Bendzin County in Poland, "on January 31 old style," which corresponded to February 12 "new style." Masza Abramowicz had been born in Piotrkow, Poland, on November 10, 1898. She had not learned any profession, Abram was a tailor and musician.
Both lived at Lohestraße 21 in Altona at the time. A tailor from Altona and a watchmaker from the Grindelviertel in Hamburg served as witnesses, no relatives. While only one brother named Zwi Hirsch is known from Abraham Grünfeld's family - he lived to see the end of the war - members from five generations are documented from Macza Grünfeld's family, from her grandparents Moschek and Perla Gelbaum to the grandchildren Irene Tobias and Igal and Doron Haran.
Macza Gruenfeld was born in Piotrkow (10.11.1898), the first child of Israel Abramowicz and his wife Ruchla, née Gelbaum (born 12.12.1874) in Groß Peterwitz near Trebnitz in Lower Silesia. (There are other date and place references to Ruchla Abramowitz, as well as a number of other given names: Rachel, Bracha, Reschla). She had married in 1895 and settled with her husband near Lodz, apparently in Piotrkow, where four years after Macza, (born 18.9.1902) her sister Perla was born, and later her half-siblings Chaskiel Leib Karmasin (16.9.1910) and Kajlja Minka Karmasin (19.10.1912). After Israel Abramowicz's early death, his widow Ruchla had married Abram David Karmasin, a weaver, according to religious law.
Abram David Karmasin left the family. Ruchla, still called Abramowicz, supported them as a merchant. She moved to Altona with her four children during the First World War. Daughter Macza was the only one who had already completed her compulsory education, Perla, also called Paula, later took over her mother's trade. She lived with her and took care of her. Chaskiel Leib, called Axel, and Kajlja Minka, called Kayla or Käthe, were still of compulsory school age. Axel was temporarily placed in home education, from which he returned to Hamburg in 1925, coming from Marburg.
It is not possible to determine when the family moved to Parallelstraße 31 in Altona; in any case, this was the residential address when Masza Abramowicz gave birth to her first child, Fanny Sara (born 1.5.1922). She was married in a religious marriage to Abram Grinfeld, whose paternity was not registered until after the civil marriage in 1928. His exact date of moving to Altona could not be determined. Their first address known to us was a basement apartment at Kleine[n] Gärtnerstraße 11, today Stresemannstraße.
Abram Grinfeld joined the High German Israelite Congregation in Altona and was registered there in 1923 with the name Abraham Grünfeld as a taxpaying member. In the same year, Alexander Benno was born (13.8.1923) in the Israelite Hospital in Hamburg, as were the following siblings. The Jewish Community assessed Abraham Grünfeld as a "poor tailor" for the minimum contribution of twelve Reichsmarks per month, but then he was exempted from paying year after year. He had no part in the economic upswing at the end of the inflationary period.
Abraham Grünfeld and his family then lived with Macza's mother and siblings in the apartment at Lerchenstraße 10, Terrasse 6 on St. Pauli, listed in the Altona address book under K. Karmasin. Abram David Karmasin was declared dead by the Hamburg District Court in 1924.
Macza Abramowicz, who by then was working as a dressmaker herself, gave birth to two more children, Gertrud Anna, called Anni (1.6.1925) and Lotte (3.7.1926). Around 1928, her mother Ruchla moved with her daughters Perla Abramowicz and Katja Karmasin to Neue Steinweg 78 in Hamburg's Neustadt, while Masza Abramowicz and Abraham Grünfeld moved into an apartment at Lohestraße 21. Axel Karmasin meanwhile lived for himself as a fur worker.
On December 28, 1928, Macza Abramowicz and Abram Grinfeld were married in a civil ceremony under their birth names, and at the same time Abram Grinfeld acknowledged paternity of all children. On February 14, 1929, a daughter Hilde was born, and in 1931 a son, but nothing further is known about him.
The world economic crisis was so drastic that Abraham Grünfeld was no longer assessed for municipal tax from 1931. In 1938, when he was completely destitute, he received welfare support. By then he was already living with his family at Kleine Freiheit 18 on St. Pauli.
The family fit the stereotype of poor Eastern Jews: Orthodox, pious, with many children and musical. Fanny and Benno, the two older children, were enrolled in the elementary school of the Jewish Community in Altona, as were their younger siblings later. There their great musical talent was soon discovered. Fanny played the piano and Benno the violin. They were so gifted that their teachers gave them special encouragement with a view to a career as musicians; both also received private lessons. Benno was the more gifted and occasionally performed in public. He graduated from elementary school and continued to study violin privately. After four years of elementary school, the daughters transferred to the Realschule für Mädchen in the Carolinenstraße. Fanny graduated from there, but did not follow up with vocational training.
When Hitler came to power, of Ruchla Abramowicz's four children only Macza had married. Perla/ Paula Abramowicz, who provided for her mother, entered into marriage around 1934 at the age of 32 with Berka Kactow, Katzow or Katzdorf of 28 Elbstraße, who was 20 years older. He was a "bristle finisher" by trade (i.e., he supplied bristles for brushes and paintbrushes) like his brother-in-law Axel Karmasin. Her half-sister Kajlja Minka/ Katja Käthe Karmasin, 22 years old, was married on November 22, 1934 to Curt Tobias, a 24-year-old warehouseman. They subsequently lived with his mother Bella at Bartelsstraße 26.
Through their marriage, Katja Karmasin received German citizenship. Her mother Ruchla Abramowicz had become stateless, and the Grünfeld family remained Polish.
On June 1, 1935, Katja and Curt Tobias' daughter Irene was born. Since she remained behind in her mental development, she was placed in an institution. Her parents were sent to the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp in October 1937 for critical political statements, from where they were released in April 1938. In the same year, Curt Tobias emigrated to Paraguay, where Perla and Berka Kactow had already emigrated earlier. Katja Tobias moved to Neuer Steinweg 78, and the apartment became a place of refuge also for her mother-in-law Bella Tobias and her mother Ruchla Abramowitz.
Since Axel Karmasin had also emigrated, only his mother Ruchla Abramowicz, his sister Katja Tobias and her sick daughter Irene and the Grünfeld family remained in Hamburg. Without warning or registration, Abraham, Macza, Fanny, Benno, Anni, Lotte and Hilde Grünfeld were deported to Zbaszyn/Bentschen on the other side of the German-Polish border on October 28, 1938. The deportation took place so suddenly and under time pressure that Abraham and Macza Grünfeld could not even take their wedding rings with them. They remained interned in Zbaszyn/Bentschen.
Macza/Martha Grünberg fled back to Hamburg in December 1938 with her three daughters Anni (13 years old), Lotte (12 years old) and Hilde (9 years old), who were still in school, while Abraham stayed behind with Fanny and Benno. She registered with the police at Wohlersallee 58 in Altona and officially pursued her emigration to Poland.
On May 15, 1939, she was allowed to take her household effects with her without conditions, since they were second-hand items. Among them were the violin, the piano with accessories, a suitcase gramophone with records, and the sewing machine and school supplies for the children. As a Pole, Masza Grünfeld was not obliged to hand over the gold watches and rings and the two silver cups serving religious purposes and the spice box. The removal goods were expedited to Poland, and Macza Grünberg's passport was blocked as of May 23, 1939.
Grünbergs remained in Zbaszyn/Bentschen for nine months before moving to Sosnowitz near Katowice. In 1940 a Jewish restricted area was established there, and at the end of 1942 a Jewish ghetto. Fanny married there in 1943.
Lotte Grünfeld had already been transferred to the concentration camp Oberaltstadt near Trautenau in the Sudetengau. There was postal contact with her parents, so she learned of Anni's death by starvation in early 1943 and of the deportation of her parents, Fanny, Benno and Hilde to Auschwitz at the end of June 1943.
Ruchla Abramowicz, née Gelbaum, and her daughter Kajlja Minka/ Katja Käthe Tobias, née Karmasin, were deported to Minsk ghetto in November 1941, where their traces are lost.
Irene Tobias died at the age of six on November 23, 1941, in the Eilbek State Hospital. The cause of death was given as "idiocy, bronchopneumonia." This sounds like "euthanasia", even though there was no children's department there. There were no relatives left to care for the child.
Until her liberation on May 8, 1945, Lotte Grünfeld worked in the forced labor camp Oberaltstadt in the spinning mill of the Kluge company for 12 hours a day in the fine room, a wet, dirty, unhealthy job with insufficient nutrition. She emigrated to Palestine and started a family there.
Her relatives were declared dead on May 9, 1945.
Translation Beate Meyer
Stand: February 2023
© Hildegard Thevs
Quellen: 1, 4, 5; StaHH 213-13 Landgericht Wiedergutmachung, 576, 27911, 33022; 314-15 OFP, FVg 4668; 332-5 Personenstandsregister, Standesamt Altona I; 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung, 45025, 47299, 45792, 47852; Martin Weinmann, Hg.: Das nationalsozialistische Lagersystem, 4. Aufl., Frankfurt/M, 2001; https://sztetl.org.pl/de/stadte/s/451-sosnowiec/99-geschichte/138059-geschichte-der-gemeinde, Abruf 27.6.2022.
Zur Nummerierung der Quellen siehe www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de/Recherche und Quellen.