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Gerda Baruch * 1896
Grindelallee 134 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)
Gerda Baruch, born 23 June 1896 in Harburg, deported 18 Nov. 1941 to Minsk, died there
Gerda Baruch's parents were Philipp Baruch and his wife Olga, nee Philipp. Both parents were Jewish. Neither parent was born in Harburg, but it became their home after they were married in the late 19th century. The couple lived with their two daughters Gerda and Alice (*18 Jan. 1898, also in Harburg, see Stolperteine in Hamburg, Grindel I. Hallerstraße und Brahmsallee) at Mozartstraße 15 (present-day Hastedtplatz). Her father's office, a real estate agency, was located at Mühlenstraße 35 (present-day Schlossmühlendamm), one of the then-Prussian industrial city of Harburg a. d. Elbe’s most important commercial streets, connecting the city center with the port of Harburg.
Both girls attended schools in Harburg and had many friends, both among their non-Jewish schoolmates and the Jewish children in the neighborhood – according to their childhood friend Max Rotter.
After 1933, the hitherto mostly latent anti-Semitism in Harburg quickly turned into open hatred of the Jews. It did not take long for Philipp Baruch to be excluded from the Reich Association of German Realtors. Like other Jewish families, the Baruchs moved, in December 1935, from Harburg to the neighboring city of Hamburg (Grindelallee 134), where they probably expected better protection due to the greater anonymity of a large city and more solidarity from a larger community of victims.
At the time of their move, Gerda was already unemployed, and in the following years took every short-term and poorly paid job she could find, including one at the Warburg Bank on the Alsterterrassen. Her younger sister Alice worked with several families as a live-in maid. Her final employers were the Carlebachs, the family of Hamburg’s chief rabbi Joseph Carlebach, who lived at Hallerstraße 76, at that time called Ostmarkstraße. It was at this address that she received her "evacuation orders" in the fall of 1941. She was assigned to the first Hamburg deportation to Lodz, scheduled for 25 Oct. 1941. Her sister Gerda was deported to Minsk three weeks later, on 18 Nov. 1941.
Philipp and Olga Baruch moved from their Grindelallee apartment to the Jewish retirement home at Sedanstraße 23.
After the first wave of deportations from Hamburg sent more than 3,000 Jews to the East in fall and winter of 1941, a second major wave began in the summer of 1942, which deported nearly 2,000, mostly elderly, Jews from Hamburg. Two of these transports went to the Bohemian garrison town of Theresienstadt, which the Nazis had turned into a ghetto and later declared it to be an "old-age ghetto" for German Jews. Jews over the age of 65, prominent, decorated or infirm Jews and spouses from dissolved "mixed marriages" were to spend their supposedly carefree retirement here. On 19 July 1942, Philipp and Olga Baruch were deported to Theresienstadt.
By the time they arrived at their new "residence," they both probably realized that they had been deceived. After the train journey, they had to walk three kilometers to the camp, carrying their heavy suitcases and rucksacks. In the following weeks and months, even more depressing than the dismal everyday life was probably the fear of being assigned to one of the transports, which left at irregular intervals for the East. People disappeared from one day to the next. All hope for a sign of life from anyone on the transports was in vain.
Less than two months after their arrival in Theresienstadt, Philipp and Olga Baruch were ordered to report to a collection point for one of these transports. Their journey ended in the Treblinka extermination camp in occupied Poland. We know as little about the last hours of their lives as we do about the end of the lives of their daughters Gerda and Alice Baruch, who were officially listed as missing.
Stolpersteine for Philipp and Olga Baruch are at Hastedtplatz 15 in Harburg (see the biography of Klaus Möller in Stolpersteine in Hamburg-Harburg. Biographische Spurensuche and www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de). A Stolperstein for Alice Baruch is at Hallerstraße 76 (see the biography of Klaus Möller in the book Stolpersteine in Hamburg. Grindel I - Hallerstraße and Brahmsallee. Biographische Spurensuche and www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de).
Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Klaus Möller, mit Ergänzungen von Petra Schmolinske
Quellen: 1; 4; 5; 7; 8; StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden 992 e 2 Bd. 4 und Bd. 5; Heyl (Hrsg.): Harburger Opfer; Heyl: Synagoge.
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