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Erika Bein * 1922
Eppendorfer Landstraße 64 (Hamburg-Nord, Eppendorf)
Dr. Ernst Salomon Bein, born on 23 Mar. 1887 in Würzburg, deported on 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk
Erika Bein, born on 5 July 1922 in Aschaffenburg, deported on 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk
Ursula Bein, born on 26 May 1925 in Nuremberg, in 1939 flight to the Netherlands, deported from there to Auschwitz and murdered on 24 Sept. 1943
Eppendorfer Landstraße 64
At the end of the nineteenth century, the Jewish community in Würzburg, the native town of Ernst Bein, was one of the most important ones in Bavaria, reaching its highest level at a membership of about 2,500 members. At that time, Würzburg had a population of about 75,000. The Bein family played an important role in the city.
Ernst was the second oldest of five siblings. His mother Ida, née Dettelbacher, was born in Fürth on 4 July 1861 and died on 8 June 1933. The father, Alexander Bein, born on 13 Dec. 1850, came from a teachers’ family in Westheim near Hassfurt/Lower Franconia. Since 1874, he had been a teacher at the Jewish eight-year elementary school (Volksschule) in Würzburg, which he headed as a principal from 1896/97 onward. In the year 1900, he was granted civic rights and the right of residence; in 1914, he retired. He died on 11 Dec. 1930.
Karl, the first son of Ida and Alexander Bein, was born in 1884. We know nothing about his professional career. He died in London in 1956. One year after Ernst – in 1888 – his brother Oskar was born, who became a sales assistant ("Kommis”) and merchant; then, in 1891, the only sister, Elsa. Brother Max followed in 1885. He became a bank clerk and merchant. Oskar and Max fought in the First World War. Both later emigrated to the USA, where Max died in 1936 and Oskar in 1959. In 1914, Elsa married the native of Ludwigsburg and merchant Siegfried Hirsch, who had been living in Zürich since 1902. She had met him there when visiting a girlfriend. When she died in Zürich in 1968, in his eulogy Rabbi Dr. Jakob Teichman described very vividly and touchingly the atmosphere in her family of origin. Thanks to this funeral speech, it was possible to draw some conclusions concerning Ernst’s youth. Passages of it read, "She [Elsa] hailed from a cultivated, traditionalist, and yet open-minded parental home, which was regarded as an intellectual and sociable center of the university town of Würzburg. The members of the local Salia students’ society continued until the very end to be … in cordial contact with the friend from their youth. The father was … simply by virtue of his profession and as a personality a mainstay of Jewish cultural life in his congregation, the mother a faithful guardian of traditional Jewish values…. After completing her schooldays [Elsa Bein] devoted her time to the study of music, in the course of which her musical talent in playing the piano, which she had to a great degree like her brothers, found its full expression.”
We do not know in what shape and form Elsa’s brother Ernst expressed his musical talent but we do know that he was also a member of the Jewish "Salia” students’ society. At the end of the nineteenth century, Jewish fraternities and sororities had emerged in response to the hostility of existing student leagues against Jews.
After attending the Neues Gymnasium in Würzburg, a high school with Latin, Ernst studied law. From the winter semester 1905 up to and including the summer semester 1909, he was enrolled at the University of Würzburg; he must have switched university towns after that. In the winter of 1911/1912, Ernst returned to his hometown and obtained his doctorate with a thesis on Die Untersuchungskommissionen: Nach dem friedensrechtlichen Abkommen der zweiten Haager Friedenskonferenz ("The Commissions of Inquiry: According to Agreements related to the Law of Peace of the Second Peace Conference at The Hague”). In 1912, he completed the "state examination” with the German National Railway (Reichsbahn), which was an entry exam to the senior civil service. In the following years, he advanced to become a "top civil servant” within the German National Railway. In the "1932 Directory of the Higher Civil Servants of the German Reich Railway” ("Verzeichnis der oberen Reichsbahnbeamten 1932”), he was listed as a Reichsbahnrat [approx. "Councilor of the Reich Railway”] in 1914 and as a Reichsbahnoberrat [approx. "Senior Councilor of the Reich Railway] in 1929.
Unfortunately, no personal file of Ernst Bein was available either at the German Railway Corporation or in the Federal Archives. As a result, it was possible to determine only in parts when and where he worked and lived. A fact known is his move from Stuttgart to Würzburg in Nov. 1914, then probably to Kaiserslautern (without any date), and to Ludwigshafen in Mar. 1919. On 14 Dec. 1921, he moved from Ludwigshafen to Aschaffenburg. A personal file possibly would have contained data about the marriage to Margarete Sarason. Unfortunately, we do not know when and where he met his future wife.
Margarete Sarason, called Grete, was born in Siegen on 24 Sept. 1894, the daughter of merchant Abraham Sarason, called Adolph, and his wife Stefanie, née Levy. She was at least their second child, as in Mar. 1891, one daughter of the couple, the three months old Helene Franziska, was buried in the Jewish Cemetery on Lindenberg. In 1895, the family moved to Hamburg, where Margarete’s oldest brother Heinrich was born in 1896. He subsequently studied medicine. Two years later, Erich followed. He died in combat in Nov. 1917. The youngest of the brothers, Paul, was born in 1905. He completed technical training and managed to emigrate to the USA in 1935. Heinrich, who now went by the name of Henry, had already been living in the USA since 1923 and worked as a dermatologist. In this way, he was able to take in and support Paul financially.
In the memoirs written by cousin Johanna Manheimer about the childhood of Margarete and her siblings, one passage reads, "Uncle Adolph and Aunt Stefanie were the regular play aunt and uncle. At their place, the kids were allowed to turn everything upside down, as was the case at our home. Uncle Adolph was very fond of singing. He loved to sing so much and was so enthusiastic about his own voice that he made no difference at all between himself and Caruso, and he was very offended when we the audience expressed even the slightest doubts about this assumption. He knew well how to inspire the children’s imagination very much, for example, by offering a prize for the most well-written children’s play. This turned out to be a magnificent writing competition, and I was surprised that the play of my [daughter] Olli was written in a very pious style because we did not raise our children very piously. When I asked her … she answered, ‘you know, Mom, Uncle Adolph is rather pious after all, and he is the one giving out the prizes.’ Nevertheless, however, she did not get the prize but Grete Sarason.”
According to information by his son Paul, Adolph Sarason was subdirector of the Victoria Insurance Corporation in Berlin and owned the Mahler and Co. company. He died in Hamburg in 1928. One of his brothers, Mendel (Nathan) Sarason, had been working as a general practitioner in Hamburg since 1886. In their last will, he and his wife, Ida, née Ascher, had designated their niece Margarete as their heir. The two little sons of the couple had died of cholera within a few days in 1892. Mendel and Ida Sarason were deported to Theresienstadt in 1942 and killed there. Margarete’s mother Stefanie Sarason had already died in 1932.
Ernst and Margarete were married in Hamburg on 27 June 1921, but Margarete moved to Aschaffenburg together with her husband only in Dec. 1921. Probably, for practical reasons both of them were not able to cohabitate already in Ludwigshafen, where Ernst lived at the time. On 5 July 1922, daughter Erika was born. In Dec. 1924, the family moved to Nuremberg and lived there until relocating to Regensburg ten years later at the address of Zeltnerschloss 1. On 26 May 1925, the second daughter, Ursula, was born in Nuremberg.
Until Nov. 1933, Ernst Bein was department head for passenger transport at the German Reich Railway Administration in Nuremberg. Information provided by the German Federal Railway dated 1960 states, "On 1 Nov. 1933, he was pulled back from this function, and the Reich Railway Administration in Regensburg continued to employ him as an unskilled laborer. On 1 Jan. 1936, he was …retired … as a Jew and received pension benefits.”
In this period of great upheaval, Margarete Bein fell ill. Since 14 Dec. 1936, she was a patient at the Friedrichsberg Psychiatric Clinic in Hamburg, where the family had moved by that time.
The move must have taken place sometime between 26 June (Erika leaving the Regensburg Städtische Mädchen-Lyzeum [the Municipal Girls’ High School]) and 15 Oct. (admission of Erika to the Jewish Girls’ school on Carolinenstraße). Just how that affected Erika (and certainly Ursula as well) is subject to conjecture. Miriam Gillis-Carlebach, the daughter of the last Hamburg Chief Rabbi, wrote about the children changing to the Jewish school at that time: "They came abruptly, in the middle of the school year, often intimidated, eyes red from crying, and frightened. In particular, the tender Erika [Bein] had endured much, being the only Jew at the previous school.” This did not even touch on the relocation to alien surroundings and the illness of her mother.
Erika attended the school on Carolinenstraße until Apr. 1938. Afterward, she apparently lived in Hannover and, according to the "house registration” card file (Hauskartei) for Eppendorfer Landstraße 64, came back to Hamburg on 23 December 1939. Sometime after her return, she began an horticultural apprenticeship – preparing for the hoped-for emigration to Palestine?
In Dec. 1938, Margarete Bein had been transferred to the "medical section” of the Langenhorn State Sanatorium. After becoming increasingly frail, she died of pneumonia on 31 July 1940. She was buried in the Jewish Cemetery on Ihlandkoppel. The gravestone still exists.
One can only speculate about the family’s economic situation at that time. Ernst’s occupational activity is listed in the 1938 Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) card file as "predominantly self-employed.” It remains open what kind of work he did in an attempt to earn money, but he was in a position to pay 135.87 RM (reichsmark) in dues to the Community. In 1939, this amount dropped to 72.96 RM, in 1940 it was 75.84 RM. The Chief Finance Administrator (Oberfinanzpräsident) did not put his income under "security order” ("Sicherungsanordnung”), so it was too low. The file reads tersely, "No real estate property, no insurances, dead securities.” On 1 Nov. 1939, Ernst Bein sent a letter to the foreign currency office requesting that the worthless foreign securities, which the Dresdner Bank kept on his behalf, be given to him to keep privately in order to avoid costs. The request was granted.
Ernst Bein was caught in a desperate situation with his seriously ill wife, two underage daughters, and financially precarious circumstances. Was the 16-year-old Erika sent to Hannover to relieve her father? Did she live with relatives, doing an apprenticeship there? Unfortunately, the Hannover City Archive was unable to find out whether she was possibly a student of the Ahlem horticultural school, which served as a hachshara center. The corresponding lists of participants are no longer available.
In early Sept. 1939, daughter Ursula, only 14 years old, departed for the Netherlands. She will not have seen her family again. In Eerde/municipality of Ommen, Ursula attended a Quaker-organized school that offered agricultural training in preparation for emigration to Palestine. Her father covered the costs for this schooling. In an account of the Westerbork memorial site (Netherlands), the student planning to go to the USA in 1941 upon completing her training is portrayed as follows:
"Ursula is a rather cheerful and bright girl. She likes to draw and is fond of writing short, humorous stories…For her girlfriend Mia Künkel, she produced many little booklets containing love stories and funny drawings. She likes attending Quaker school with her girlfriends.” However, the hoped-for safety proved to be deceptive. After the occupation of the country by the German Wehrmacht in May 1940, the Jewish male and female students were separated from the others. Did Ursula learn of her mother’s death, or was her contact with home completely severed? On 10 Apr. 1943, the youths were brought from Eerde to the Vught concentration camp, three months later to Westerbork. Ursula still worked there as a maid in the children’s home. On 21 Sept. 1943, she was deported to Auschwitz, where she died on 24 Sept. 1943. Her name is inscribed on a memorial stone of the City of Ommen.
According to the "house registration” card file (Hauskartei), one year before Urusla’s departure, in Sept. 1938, Alice Reinmann, née Baer, had moved in with the Beins. In the document, the married woman born in Walldorf in 1890 is listed as a "domestic help.” The Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) card file states that she lived "in the household without cash compensation, only free room and board, no assets.” At that time, her husband, Julius Reinmann, was interned in a concentration camp. He died at Dachau in Oct. 1940. Possibly, Ernst Bein’s contact to Alice Reinmann came about via the children – Alice’s daughter, Ruth Reinmann, was the same age as Erika Bein and attended the Girls’ High School on Carolinenstraße as well. She managed to emigrate to Palestine in 1938. On 25 Oct. 1941, Alice Reinmann was deported on the first Hamburg transport to "Litzmannstadt”/Lodz. She did not survive.
Ernst Bein and his daughter Erika were deported to Minsk only a few weeks later. A handwritten addition to Erika’s entry on the deportation list reads, "reported to the evacuation voluntarily.”
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Sabine Brunotte
Quellen: 1; 4; StaH 352-8/7 Staatskrankenanstalt Langenhorn, Abl. 2/1995, 25257; StaH 314-15 OFP, R 1939/2956; StaH 332-8 Meldewesen A 51/1; StaH 351-11, AfW Abl. 2008/1 3171905 Sarason, Paul; StaH 351-11 AfW 743; StaH 351-11 AfW 20664; StaH 332-5 993; AB 1941; Wikipedia 6.10.2009 zu "Juden in Deutschland, Würzburg”; schriftliche Auskunft Helmut Foersch, Würzburg, per E-Mail vom 23.7.2008; Grabrede vom 26.8.1968, Nachlass Rabbiner Dr. Jakob Teichman sel., Zürich, zur Verfügung gestellt von Daniel Teichman; telefonische Auskunft Herr Hörner, landeskundliche Abteilung Universitätsbibliothek Würzburg vom 18.8.2009; schriftliche Auskunft Dr. Bernd Pflaum, Geschichtswerkstatt Siegen, E-Mails vom 19.1.2009 und 18.2.2009; Die jüdischen Gefallenen, Reichsbund Jüdischer Frontsoldaten, 1932; schriftl. Auskunft Dokumentationsstelle DB Museum Nürnberg vom 19.8.2008, dazu Anmerkungen von Björn Eggert; Anwohnerinitiative Jarrestadt, Hamburg; Gillis-Carlebach, Jedes Kind, 1992; schriftliche Auskunft Von-Müller-Gymnasium Regensburg vom 8.9.2009; schriftliche Auskunft Bundesarchiv Berlin vom 9.9.2009 R1-09/K-77; Eintrag auf www.joodsmonument.nl zu Ursula Bein, Zugriff vom 18.7.2009; Auskunft Dr. Rotraud Ries, jüdisches Dokumentationszentrum, E-Mail vom 8.10.2009, Az 34211715-27/09; schriftliche Auskunft Stadt- und Stiftsarchiv Aschaffenburg vom 12.10.2009; Auskunft Stadtarchiv Nürnberg, E-Mail vom 20.10.2009; Auskunft Stadtarchiv Hannover, E-mails vom 28.10.2009 und 30.10.2009; Auskunft Margaret Sarason Egger, E-Mail vom 15.6.2010; schriftliche Auskunft Gedenkstätte Dachau, E-Mail vom 14.7.2010; mündliche Auskunft Janine Bollag, Telefonat vom 22.8.2010; www.westerborkportretten.nl, Zugriff vom 12.9.2010, schriftliche Auskunft Uri Shani, E-Mails vom 31.7. und 1.9.2013.
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