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Selig Leiba Goldstein * 1885

Grüner Deich 165 (Hamburg-Mitte, Hammerbrook)

JG. 1885
"VERLEGT" 23.9.1940
ERMORDET 23.9.1940

Selig Leiba Goldstein, born on 16 Aug.1885 in Vilkaviskis, Lithuania, murdered on 23 Sept. 1940 in the Brandenburg/Havel "euthanasia” killing center

Grüner Deich 165 (formerly Hessenstrasse 38)

Selig Leiba Goldstein, born on 16 Aug. 1885 in Vilkaviskis in what is now Lithuania, was the son of Jewish parents. Nothing is known about them except their names, Isac (Isaac) and Ilsar Goldstein. Selig Leiba Goldstein must have immigrated to Hamburg in 1919 at the latest, because he appeared in the Hamburg directory since 1920. He first lived at Hessenstrasse 38 in Hammerbrook, which no longer exists today, then as a subtenant with Schulz at Süderstrasse 334 in Hamm, and finally at Wohldorfer Strasse 14 in Barmbek-Süd.

The following information about Selig (in the following quotation spelled "Seelig”) Leiba Goldstein is taken from the letter of his then non-Jewish fiancée Marta Rother to the "Beratungsstelle für Entschädigungsansprüche” (Advisory Center for Restitution Claims) in Hamburg dating from 1945. She wrote, "Since the year 1924, I had been engaged to Mr. Seelig Goldstein, born on 16 Aug. 1885 in Lithuania, residing in Hamburg 15, at Hessenstrasse 38, and I lived with him in a common household.

My fiancé owned a dental practice along with a hairdresser’s shop in the same house. I myself was employed as a cashier in the "Produktion” department store. Over the years, we established a common household, the store furnishings were renewed, and the dental practice was fitted with modern equipment. All of these new acquisitions were only possible for us by working together.

After we had finished the redesign and improvements, I was dismissed from "Produktion” in 1931 because of double income and I was then unemployed for four and a half years.

During the Jewish boycott in 1933, my fiancé suffered a nervous breakdown and I had to take him to hospital. A continuation [translator’s note: of business] by me was not possible due to the anti-Jewish boycott of all Jewish enterprises; furthermore, also due to the fact that I continued to consider myself the fiancée of Mr. Goldstein, despite the prohibition by the Nazi government. I therefore had to sell the business. The proceeds of 800 RM [reichsmark] were paid to the welfare office to cover hospital costs. I would like to point out that I had to sell all belongings at underpriced rates under the pressure at the time.

At my own request, I took over the guardianship of my fiancé. My fiancé was in the St. Georg hospital and, after the proceeds from the business sale were used up, he was taken to the Friedrichsberg mental hospital without consulting me. After his condition improved, my fiancé was released. I rented him a room, furnished it – it was located in Hamburg, at Wohldorferstrasse 14 with Paul – and supplied him with food, as he did not receive any assistance.

Mr. Goldstein often visited the new owner of his shop (his former assistant) and probably had a dispute with the new owner because of the illegal sale of his business. The new owner then reported my fiancé to the authorities, and Mr. Goldstein was taken from the room I had rented to the mental hospital in Friedrichsberg without my knowledge.

From there, my fiancé was transferred to the Langenhorn mental hospital.

Until 1940, I visited my fiancé there constantly, twice or three times a week.

He never received enough food there, so that I naturally provided him with sufficient food.

My last day of visit was on 22 Sept. 1940, because when I visited my fiancé again, one week after that date, I was informed that the patient Seelig Goldstein had been taken away. I received no answer to my constant questioning as to why and where, even though the institution always knew my address.

Eventually, in Dec. 1940, I received a postcard from the mental hospital in Langenhorn informing me that my fiancé had been transferred to Chelm near Lublin, P.O. Box 822, by ‘order of the Reich Minister.’ Due to the war, it was not possible to correspond with my fiancé.

After the British troops occupied Hamburg, I immediately went to Langenhorn to investigate his whereabouts. There I received the reply that the director in charge had shot himself and that I could not be given satisfactory information due to a lack of evidence.

I have therefore submitted a search request for Mr. Seelig Goldstein through the Jewish Community.

Due to the anti-Jewish boycott we lost
1) the flourishing hairdresser’s shop and the dental practice,
2) I lost my position as cashier,
3) I lost the apartment,
4) I lost my livelihood and
5) my whole future was destroyed.

Signed: Marta Rother”

Marta Rother’s description of the fate of Selig Leiba Goldstein can be supplemented by some information that confirms or clarifies her account.

The business directory of the 1921 Hamburg directory identifies Selig Leiba Goldstein as an independent hairdresser at the residential address of Hessenstrasse 38. Thus, he was already running his own hairdressing business in 1920. A few years later, in 1924, he no longer operated as a hairdresser, but as a dental practitioner. He was not a dentist but an apparently non-licensed dental practitioner, a profession that was very popular in the North German Confederation (1869) and the German Empire (1872) after the decontrolling of therapeutics. When he was admitted to the Friedrichsberg State Hospital, Selig Leiba Goldstein indicated "hairdresser and dentist” as a profession.

Selig Leiba Goldstein had been paying regular Jewish religious taxes (Kultussteuer) to the Jewish Community in Hamburg since 1925. It was only after 1932/33 that he was no longer assessed for tax. The Hamburg-St. Georg Tax Office informed the Jewish Community that Selig Leiba Goldstein was deleted as a taxpayer on 1 Jan. 1934. The boycott of Jewish businesses had destroyed Selig Leiba Goldstein’s livelihood as well.

Marta Rother’s dismissal at "Produktion” for "double earning” in 1931 refers to a measure that affected many in the economic crisis of the time. The male income earner in the family was to be sufficient to provide for their needs. Apparently, it did not matter whether the members of a household were obliged to support each other. The term "double earner” developed into a form of social discrimination against women, mostly working women, which continued to have an impact on the population’s awareness well into the time of the Federal Republic of Germany.

From Selig Leiba Goldstein’s still existing patient file card of the Friedrichsberg State Hospital, it is clear that he was in the hospital twice, the first time in 1933, as Marta Rother wrote. After being discharged from the hospital and losing his business, Selig Leiba Goldschmidt lived first at Süderstrasse 334 with Schulz in Hamburg-Hamm and then at Wohldorferstrasse 14, as mentioned by Marta Rother, with M. Paul in Barmbek-Süd. The renewed admission to hospital after the clash between Selig Leiba Goldschmidt and his former hairdresser’s assistant and by then business owner Hermann Kunert, described by Marta Rother, took place on 9 Apr. 1935, as can be gathered from the Friedrichsberg file card.

At that time, the Friedrichsberg State Hospital was the central admission facility for mentally ill persons in Hamburg. Depending on the diagnosis, decisions were made there about their further treatment. Selig Leiba Goldstein was transferred from Friedrichsberg to the Langenhorn State Hospital on 1 July 1935 and remained there for the next few years.

While Marta Rother visited her fiancé in the State Hospital and helped to improve his meager diet, the "euthanasia” headquarters in Berlin, at Tiergartenstrasse 4, planned a special operation aimed against Jews in public and private sanatoriums and nursing homes in the summer of 1940. It had the Jewish persons living in the institutions registered and moved together in what were officially so-called collection institutions. The Hamburg-Langenhorn "sanatorium and nursing home” ("Heil- und Pflegeanstalt” Hamburg-Langenhorn) was designated the North German collection institution. All institutions in Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein, and Mecklenburg were ordered to move the Jews living in their facilities there by 18 Sept. 1940. After all Jewish patients from the North German institutions had arrived in Langenhorn, they were taken to Brandenburg/Havel on 23 Sept. 1940, together with the Jewish patients who had lived there for some time. On the same day, they were killed with carbon monoxide in the part of the former penitentiary converted into a gas-killing facility. Only one patient, Ilse Herta Zachmann, escaped this fate at first (see corresponding entry).

The information on the postcard dating from Dec. 1940 mentioned by Marta Rother regarding the whereabouts of her fiancé in Chelm does not correspond to the facts. Relatives often received messages claiming that the person concerned had died in Chelm (Polish) or Cholm (German). However, those murdered in Brandenburg were never in Chelm/Cholm, a town east of Lublin. The former Polish sanatorium there no longer existed after SS units had murdered almost all patients on 12 Jan. 1940. Also, there was no German records office in Chelm. Its fabrication and the use of postdated dates of death served to disguise the killing operation and at the same time enabled the authorities to claim higher care expenses for periods extended accordingly.

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

Stand: September 2020
© Ingo Wille

Quellen: 1; 4; 5; 8; 9; AB; StaH 133-1 III Staatsarchiv III, 3171-2/4 U.A. 4, Liste psychisch kranker jüdischer Patientinnen und Patienten der psychiatrischen Anstalt Langenhorn, die aufgrund nationalsozialistischer "Euthanasie"-Maßnahmen ermordet wurden, zusammengestellt von Peter von Rönn, Hamburg (Projektgruppe zur Erforschung des Schicksals psychisch Kranker in Langenhorn); 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung 25287 Marta Rother; 352-8/7 Staatskrankenanstalt Langenhorn Abl. 1/1995 Aufnahme-/Abgangsbuch Langenhorn 26. 8. 1939 bis 27. 1. 1941; UKE/IGEM, Archiv, Patienten-Karteikarte Selig Leiba Goldstein der Staatskrankenanstalt Friedrichsberg. Groß, Dominik, Beiträge zur Geschichte und Ethik der Zahnheilkunde, Würzburg 2006, S. 104.
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