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Ruth Fiebelmann (née Adler) * 1913
Hasselbrookstraße 154 (Wandsbek, Eilbek)
Siegmund Fiebelmann, born 4 Jan. 1902 in Meppen, imprisoned in the Neusustrum V prison camp and Fuhlsbüttel prison 1941-42, deported 10 Dec. 1942 to Auschwitz, murdered 11 Jan. 1943
Ruth Fiebelmann, née Adler, born 1 Oct. 1913 in Hamburg, deported 18 Nov. 1941 to Minsk
Dan Fiebelmann, born 3 Mar. 1939 in Hamburg, deported 18 Nov. 1941 to Minsk
Siegmund Fiebelmm was the eldest of at least three children born to the butcher and cattle trader Max Fiebelmann and his wife Bertha, née Goldschmidt. Both parents were Jewish. They lived in Meppen. Siegmund’s brother Isidor was born on 16 March 1906 and his sister Elsa on 19 February 1911, both in Meppen.
Siegmund Fiebelmann attended primary school from the age of six until he was 14. During his school years he injured his left leg playing soccer, and this injury would plague him the rest of his life. After he finished his schooling he had several jobs – he worked for about a year in the ironworks at Meppen, then for 18 months at the Krupp artillery range in Meppen, which is still one of the largest military proving grounds in Germany. He worked on farms, then for a few years in his father’s shop. Thereafter he had various jobs as a manual laborer.
Sigmund was arrested during the Pogrom on 9 November 1938 and taken into "protective custody” at the Buchenwald Concentration Camp for five months. He was released on 12 April 1939. He must have come to Hamburg shortly thereafter. In the spring of 1940 he was living in rented rooms in the home of the pianist Richard Wittkowsky and his wife Emmy at Rentzelstraße 12. After his release from Buchenwald, Siegmund Fiebelmann earned his living as a construction worker, probably as forced labor.
He may have come to Hamburg because his sister Elsa and brother Isidor lived there. Elsa Fiebelmann, who worked as a nanny, had lived in the Grindelviertel since 1935. Isidor Fiebelmann was a butcher like his father. He was married to Elfriede Hawranck (*3 March 1905 in Segeberg), and they lived at Neuer Steinweg 27-28. They had a daughter, Waltraud (*1930 in Hamburg) and a son Leonhard (*1936 in Hamburg).
Siegmund Fiebelmann and his non-Jewish landlady Emmy Witkowsky began an affair in the spring of 1940. Although they ended it a short time later, the relationship was not without consequences, as became clear a few months later.
Siegmund Fiebelmann married Ruth Adler (*1 October 1913 in Hamburg, Jewish) on 25 October 1940. Ruth’s son Dan Adler, who would later take Siegmund’s name, was 18 months old at the time of their wedding. We do not know if Siegmund was his biological father. The family lived in rented rooms at Hasselbrookstraße 154 with the Schenk family (see Biographies: Clara Schenk, Siegmund Schenk).
It is unclear how the affair between Siegmund and Emmy Wittkowsky came to the attention of the police, but Siegmund was arrested on 8 May 1941 on charges of "racial defilement” and held in "protective custody” at the Hütten jail, then, four days later on 12 May 1941, transferred to the Hamburg City prison.
On 8 July 1941, the Hamburg Regional Court sentenced Siegmund Fiebelmann to two years in prison and two years of the loss of his civil rights for "racial defilement.” He was sent to the Lingen/Ems prison on 18 July 1941, then transferred to the Neusustrum V Emsland camp on 24 July 1941. There were a total of 15 prison camps in Emsland and the County of Bentheim. They were first organized as camps for political prisoners, but were later expanded to include prisoners who had been convicted on criminal charges. The Neusustrum Concentration Camp was established in 1933-34 for "protective custody” prisoners, then afterwards served as a prison camp for the Reich Justice Administration. According to the records at Neusustrum, Siegmund Fiebelmann’s prison term was not to end after serving his two-year sentence, but rather at the end of the war. He was then to be transferred into police custody, according to a regulation that Jews who served a prison term during the war would not have this time counted toward their sentence, but would have to serve additional time after the war.
It seems that Ruth Fiebelmann’s family in Hamburg were in dire circumstances. In September 1941 she wrote to the administration at Neusustrum, asking "if the coat belonging to my husband Siegmund Israel Fiebelmann, Camp 5, Barracks 2 could be returned to me. It is my father’s winter coat, Markus Israel Adler, Neuer Steinweg 78. He needs it desperately for the winter.” Siegmund Fiebelmann agreed, and the coat was sent to Ruth Fiebelmann on 22 September 1941 – at her expense.
A petition filed by the lawyer Walter Schüler on 4 November 1941 in the name of Ruth Fiebelmann requesting that "in the event of the evacuation of Jews from Hamburg, Fiebelmann be granted a postponement” was denied with no explanation. The petition was filed nine days after the first deportation in 1941, which shows that the Jewish population was informed about what lay ahead of them.
Siegmund Fiebelmann never saw his wife again. Ruth and her son Dan, along with their landlords Clara and Siegmund Schenk, were deported to Minsk on 18 November 1941 and murdered there.
Sigmund Fiebelmann’s prison term in Neusustrum ended on 18 May 1941. He returned to Hamburg to the Fuhlsbüttel prison. The examination upon his admission showed that the 174 cm tall man (5’8”) weighed only 51 kg (112 lbs). As he was neither able to work on the moors, nor able to work outside, nor able to work on a chain gang, he was assigned to glue bags together.
Isidor Fiebelmann was allowed to visit his brother, probably for the last time, on 3 June 1942. He requested permission to visit again on 24 November 1942, but the request was never processed.
On 10 December 1942, before the end of his two-year prison sentence, Siegmund Fiebelmann was deported to Auschwitz. An edict had ordered that all jails, prisons and concentration camps in the Altreich be made "Jew-free” and that Jewish inmates be transferred to Auschwitz. Siegmund Fiebelmann died there one month later, on 11 January 1943.
Isidor Fiebelmann did not survive the Holocaust either. He was also taken to Auschwitz and then to Buchenwald. He died on 9 March 1945 in the Ohrdruf Camp, a satellite camp of the Buchenwald Concentration Camp. It was about 13 km south of Gotha, and in the winter of 1944-45 functioned as an independent concentration camp. Prisoners there were forced to construct extensive tunnel and bunker systems.
Elsa Fiebelman, the youngest of the Fiebelmann siblings, had come to Hamburg in the 1930s because she had been repeatedly harassed by Nazis in her hometown of Meppen. Her last address in Hamburg was Johnsallee 21. She left Hamburg in April 1939 for the teaching farm Ellguth near Steinau in Upper Silesia, in order to prepare for emigration to Palestine. She fled Germany in August 1939, and later lived in New York.
Stand Februar 2014
Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Ingo Wille
Quellen: 1; 4; 5; 8; 9; AB; StaH 213-11 Staatsanwaltschaft Landgericht – Strafsachen 4986/41; 242-1 II Gefängnisverwaltung II 3842; 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung 36393 (Elsa Fiebelmann), http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/KZ_Neusustrum (Zugriff am 26.2.2014); http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zwangsarbeitslager_Ohrdruf (Zugriff am 26.2.2014).
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