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Already layed Stumbling Stones

Clara Beschütz, Mutter Bertha und Marie Beschütz
© Privatbesitz

Clara Beschütz * 1877

Husumer Straße 37 (Hamburg-Nord, Eppendorf)

1941 Riga

further stumbling stones in Husumer Straße 37:
Marie Beschütz, Olga Beschütz, Bertha Beschütz

Clara Ernestine Beschütz, born on 7 Aug. 1877 in Hamburg, deported on 6 Dec. 1941 to Riga

Husumer Straße 37

As compared to her sisters, little is known about Clara Beschütz. In the files of the Restitution Office (Amt für Wiedergutmachung), her occupation is listed as "social welfare caregiver.” In a family tree, she is described as a "public welfare nurse,” and in his memoirs, Gert Beschütz reports that she had been active in the child welfare association. Apart from that, he provides barely any details about this aunt. Only once, in connection with a youthful escapade, he characterized her as "harmless.”

Just as he had done with his two other daughters, on 10 Feb. 1905 Dr. Siegmund Beschütz had also bought Clara into the St. Johannis Convent, Heilwigstraße 162, for the sum of 2,000 RM (reichsmark). To be precise, at the time the sisters were initially expectants – candidates for admission – the Protestant ladies’ foundation (Damenstift) was still at Klosterwall (formerly Schützenwall). Since 1834, the residence of the St. Johannis nuns had already been located at Klostertor. On 1 Apr. 1922, the daughters moved up to become conventuals, i.e. they were now members of the foundation. At the time, the convent had already been located in Heilwigstraße for eight years. Being conventuals, the sisters had a "strictly personal entitlement” to a free room, provided one was available at the convent, and to annual assistance.

In addition to their professional training, this type of security for his daughters was obviously important to Siegmund Beschütz. Besides, it established a balance between the siblings, as his son Max Carl Joseph, born on 18 Aug. 1879, the third in the order of siblings, had completed law studies [funded by his parents] with a doctorate.

Neither Clara nor her sisters ever made use of the entitlement. They always lived together with their mother. As of 1 Apr. 1922, the assistance amounted to 400 RM each per annum, as of 1 July 1929 700 RM, and as of 1 July 1940 800 RM p. a. These payments were not pensions but a form of assistance depending on the economic surplus of the foundation at the time. During the years of inflation in 1922/23, no assistance was paid out. According to the statutes, the privileges of the conventuals – free room and assistance – ended upon marriage or death.

When Clara Beschütz and her sisters received the deportation order to Riga in early December and had to set out on the journey to death on 6 Dec. 1941, Clara was 64, Olga 65, and Marie 59 years of age. "The poor aunts, half starved and careworn anyway and awkward as they were, had to pack,” Gert Beschütz wrote in his memoirs. In his compilation for the street designation, he also reported, however, that a friend, Elisabeth Flügge, helped packing and stayed with them right to the end.

On the evening of 5 Dec., Gert Beschütz recalls, he went and saw his aunts at their apartment, bidding them a tearful farewell. They had not wanted him to accompany them the next morning. Reportedly, they set out in the early hours around 7 o’clock accompanied by Uncle Edgar and Aunt Käthe "in darkness so that the people in the street would not see the humiliation and shame.” Clara, who had broken her arm shortly before, was apparently not able to get on the trolley at Curschmannstraße, being too weak. Uncle Edgar and Aunt Käthe lifted her into the streetcar. Since accompanying the deportees was prohibited, they were not allowed to ride along with them.

In a letter dated 20 Apr. 1973 to Arie Goral-Sternheim, Dr. Max Plaut, the legal advisor of the former Jewish Community and appointed by the Gestapo on 2 Dec. 1938 to act as the Community’s executive secretary responsible only to it [the Gestapo], described the conduct of the persons designated for deportation at the Hannoversche Bahnhof as "exemplary.” Written testimony about the transport to Riga was made by Salomo (Peter) Carlebach. He reported that the train journey took from 6 to 9 Dec. 1941. The train station was apparently located 20 km outside of Riga, 1 to 1.5 km away from the Jungfernhof camp. At the time of the transport, conditions were relatively bearable, changing, however, immediately upon arrival. The persons on the transport were allowed to take their hand luggage only; the bigger pieces of luggage were plundered. To be sure, there was sufficient food in the early days, "since ample provisions were brought along.” However, they constituted "the main supply in the kitchen during the first days.” He described the accommodations in barns and stables as appalling.

How long Clara Beschütz and her sisters lived under these dreadful circumstances is not known. Possibly, they were murdered in the course of the mass shootings on 26 Mar. 1942.

Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

© Christiane Pritzlaff

Quellen: StaH, 351-11 AfW, Abl. 2008/1, M3/185 b, Bertha Beschütz; Dr. Max Carl Joseph Beschütz erhielt am 18.3.1908 die Zulassung als Rechtsanwalt. Er heiratete die aus einer christlichen Familie stammende Käthe Alwine Engel. Am 28.5.1920 wurde der gemeinsame Sohn Gert geboren. Dr. Max Beschütz wurde am 10.11.1938 ins KZ Sachsenhausen verschleppt. Er emigrierte im Juni 1939 mit seiner Frau nach England und erlangte am 30.4.1948 die britische Staatsangehörigkeit. Während eines Hamburg-Besuches starb er am 12.10.1951; Das Kloster St. Johannis, Schwenkow, 1914; Gillis-Carlebach, Jedes Kind, 1992, S. 372f.
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