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Max Brandenstein in der Uniform eines Militärzahnarztes aus dem Ersten Weltkrieg
Max Brandenstein als Militärzahnarztes in Antwerpen
© StaH

Max Brandenstein * 1874

Oderfelder Straße 15 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)

JG. 1874

further stumbling stones in Oderfelder Straße 15:
Adolf Max Ahronheim, Egla Emma Ahronheim, Karl Max Ahronheim, Max Ahronheim, Bettie (Betty) Brandenstein, Hugo Wallach, Gertrud Wallach, Gert Wallach, Ernst Wallach

Max Brandenstein, born on 19 Mar. 1874 in Hofgeismar, deported to Auschwitz on 11 July 1942

Wandsbeker Chaussee 1
Oderfelder Straße 15

On 3 Sep. 1908 the 34 year old dentist Max Brandenstein from Hofgeismar and the 26 year old Betty Treumann from Waren an der Müritz married in Hamburg. Both came from established Jewish merchant families. Their houses became centres of attraction for many of their relatives leaving their homes for various reasons.

Max Brandenstein was 23 years old when he was admitted to the Register (Matrikel) of the dentists of the City of Hamburg in 1897. Nothing is known about his education except that he was member of a duelling fraternity. He had been living in Hamburg permanently only since 1906. After the wedding with Betty Treumann in 1908 he established a dental surgery in Wandbeker Chaussee 1 in Eilbeck and the couple also moved into an apartment in the house. His mother Jeanette, née Israel, had already deceased, his father Abraham Brandenstein was witness to the marriage. Abraham and Jeanette Brandenstein were from an established family in Hümme near Hofgeismar. In the years between 1862 and 1879 Jeanette gave birth to ten children – five daughters and sons – who all reached adulthood. Max was the first child born in Hofgeismar after the family had moved there from Hümme because Abraham Brandenstein had opened a shop for agricultural consumer goods in Hofgeismar. Max’ two brothers Julius (born in 1877) and Sally (born in 1879), as much as nephews and a niece followed him to Hamburg. Six of the siblings moved to today’s Nordrhein-Westfalen, his sister Johanna remained – being later a married Löwy – in parental shop in Hofgeismar.

Betty Treumann was the youngest of the three daughters von the corn chandler August Treumann and his wife Julie, neé Löwenberg. When the father was not fully competent any more, his brother Moritz superseded him as "curator” (today: advisor). August Treumann died when Betty was six years old in 1888 in the sanatorium Schwerin-Sachsenberg aged 43 and bequeathed his widow and daughters comfortably circumstanced. The girls attended the secondary school for girls in Waren and the two eldest daughters Hedwig and Martha also went to the girls’ boarding school in Berlin. Betty left school in 1899 without completing any further education. The reasons for this are not known. She moved to Hamburg and lived there at her sister Hedwig’s place. Together with them also lived their third sister Martha until she married in in 1902.

The first of the three sisters to marry was Hedwig Treumann in 1902 when she married the merchant Arthur Martienssen from Hamburg in Waren. They became established at Hagedornstraße 31 in Hamburg-Harvestehude and were soon a contact point for their relatives coming from Waren. Betty’s mother Julie Treumann lived at her daughter Hedwig’s and her husband’s place until she died in 1906. She lived to see the births of her grand-daughters Ilse and Alice.

The second of the three sisters Martha Treumann – office clerk by profession – married the merchant Manfred Rothschild on 28 Dec. 1907. He died in 1918 and Martha remained with their children Margot and Kurt. Betty Treumann was the last of the three sisters to marry.

After three years of marriage Max and Betty Brandenstein’s only son Horst Heinz was born on 25 Oct. 1911. Since 17 Aug. 1914 Max Brandenstein participated in the First World War as a military surgeon of the Army. In 1916 - while he was based in Antwerp - he applied for "admittance to the Federation of the City of Hamburg”. He was accepted with taxed income of 5000 Mark in 1915. Betty Brandenstein received the certificate of acceptance on 1 Dec. 1916. Since he was a participant in the war and did not have an income, taxes were abated for Max Brandenstein for the next year. After the end of the war he returned to Hamburg and rented a spacious apartment at Oderfelderstraße 15 in vicinity to his brother in law Arthur Martienssen. The surgery remained at Wandsbeker Chaussee 1. The son Horst was sent to the boys‘ preschool Thedsen at Jungfrauental 13.

In 1921 Max Brandenstein joined the German-Israelitic Community Hamburg (DIGH, Deutsch-Israelitische Gemeinde Hamburg) and affiliated with the Liberal Temple Association (Liberaler Tempelverband). Even in times of inflation he did not remain short of his financial contributions to the community. His state health insurance accreditation ensured his income which remained small until 1933, but enabled the family to live a good middle-class life. Betty Brandenstein was supported by a young non-Jewish housemaid whom she had to dismiss in 1936.

More members of the family orientated themselves towards Hamburg. Two of Max‘ nephews also settled in Hamburg; Walter Löwenstein at Billstraße in Rothenburgsort in 1926 and Julius Löwy in 1933 at Jungfernstieg. One of Walter Löwenstein’s sisters had married Georg Kleimenhagen, a doctor from Hamburg. She died on 2 June 1937 at the Israelite Hospital (Israelitisches Krankenhaus). Her husband emigrated with his son to the USA in 1939. In 1936 also the niece Luise Brandenstein came to Hamburg in order to do her medical internship at the Israelite Hospital (Israelitisches Krankenhaus).

Max and Betty Brandenstein’s son Horst wanted to follow his father’s career and began his studies in dentistry in Hamburg. After having completed preschool he had visited the Johanneum and taken his A-Levels (Abitur) there in spring 1930. After the first semester he transferred to the University of Würzburg and later returned to his hometown in order to sit his examination in Hamburg. Already before Hitler was given power Horst Brandenstein had met with disapproval, but so far managed to defy all hostilities. All his friends advised him to pause with his studies since they presumed that the Nazi regime would not last long. He tried to emigrate to the USA without success. Instead he attended a course in economy at the Grohne School and began a commercial apprenticeship at "Brasch und Rothenstein” although he was in fact already too old for it. He completed it in Feb. 1936 and having once more applied for emigration to the USA without success he worked at a forwarding company for some months, when he finally – helped by a friend – obtained the documents for emigration to Brazil. He left Hamburg in Aug. 1936 hoping to be able to finish his studies in dentistry in Rio de Janeiro. His expectations were not answered since his prior courses were not recognised and he did not have the financial means to restart his studies. From afar, Betty and Max Brandenstein took an active interest in their son’s fate, who managed to build a new existence as a salesman in Brazil and married in 1937.

While Horst escaped the Nazi regime’s anti-Jewish measures, his father’s financial situation improved for the time being. He was secured against withdrawal of his medical licence as well as his state health insurance accreditation since his medical licence dated back to the time prior to the First World War and because he had been a soldier. The number of public health as well as private patients increased.

Betty and Max Brandenstein were – as well as Hedwig and Arthur Martienssen – in the circle of friends surrounding Hermann and Martha Glass – estate agent with residential address at Abteistraße and business address at Mönckebergstraße – whose daughter Ingeborg (married Tuteur) was active in the Jüdischer Kulturbund Hamburg.

On 30 Sep. 1938 Max Brandenstein was deprived his state health insurance accreditation, but it seems he continued treating private patients. Betty and Max Brandenstein decided to follow their son to Rio de Janeiro. They obtained the tax clearance certificate (Unbedenklichkeitsbescheinigung) for their emigration for March 1939 by the chief finance president, but the departure failed due to unknown reasons.

While Max Brandenstein had still paid appreciable community contributions in 1939, he was not even assessed for tax in 1940. The couple left their longstanding home at Oderfelder Straße. It remains unknown what happened to their assets and also why the couple moved to Papendamm 3 to the Jewish boys´ orphanage where they lived until 25 Feb. 1942 amidst children, adolescents and their caretakers. By the end of Nov. 1941 the girls still iving in the girls' orphanage in Laufgraben 37 had to move into the boys´ orphanage in order to make room for the Jewish community’s retirement and foster home.

Once again Max and Betty Brandenstein downsized their household when they were given accommodation at Beneckstraße 6 in a building of the Jewish Community that contained apartments, a library, and offices of different institutions. According to the statement Max Brandenstein’s son gave at the Restitution Office (Amt für Wiedergutmachung) his father provided dental treatment for Jewish patients there.

On 11 July 1942 Max and Betty Brandenstein were deported to Auschwitz on a comparatively small transport of 300 persons and apparently were killed there immediately after their arrival. Max Brandenstein was 68 years old and his wife Betty was 60.

Their transport was preceded by the deportation of Max Brandenstein’s brother Julius and his wife Frida neé Rosenmeyer from Cologne to Theresienstadt on 15 July 1942. Both committed suicide before being further deported to Treblinka.

Max Brandenstein’s younger brother Sally managed to emigrate. Two years earlier he had moved from Herford in Westfalen to his relatives in Hamburg as a divorced man and emigrated from there to Shanghai.

By the end of 1939 Betty Brandenstein’s sister - the widowed Martha Rothschild – was institutionalised to the mental hospital Klinik Friedrichsberg. She suffered from long-term effects of diabetes mellitus and was moved in need of care to the sanatorium Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Langenhorn on 1 Sep. 1939 where she died shortly afterwards. After the death of her mother Martha, Kurt and Margot Rothschild successfully encouraged their plans for emigration to Brazil. Betty Brandenstein’s nieces Ilse and Alice Martienssen attained Exile in Sweden.

Four days after the transport to Auschwitz the first deportation of Jews from Hamburg to the ghetto in Theresienstadt took place. Betty Brandenstein’s sister Hedwig and her husband Arthur Martienssen were among those who were called up. Arthur survived the camp life only for three months and died on 19 Oct. 1942 aged 75. Hedwig was deported to Auschwitz in May 1944 and was killed there. She was 63 years old.

Six of the ten Brandenstein siblings were killed in the Shoah, four of them together with their spouses.

latest state: Feb. 2014

Translator: Paula Antonella Oppermann
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

© Hildegard Thevs

Quellen: 1; 4; 5; Ev. Stiftung Alsterdorf, Archiv, V 113; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 8050-142/1918, 8657-269/1908, 9546-280/1912; 332-8 Meldewesen K 4282, 6567, 7086; 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung 1131; 352-3 Medizinalkollegium 1 C 12, Band 1, Nr. 95, Band 2, Nr. 33 und 191; StaH Verzeichnis der Zahnärzte und Dentisten 1936; Drinnenberg, Julia, Stätten der Erinnerung – Gedächtnis einer Stadt; Müller-Wesemann, Barbara, Tagebuch der Martha Glass; Jenner, Meldebögen, in: Wunder/Genkel/Jenner, Auf dieser schiefen Ebene; Wunder, Abtransporte, in: Wunder/Genkel/ Jenner, Auf dieser schiefen Ebene; ders., Exodus, ebd.
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