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Antwerpen, Juli 1939; v.l.: Felicitas und Thomas Gumpel, Gert Koppel, Kurt Gumpel
© Gert Koppel - Archiv Ursula Randt

Thomas Gumpel * 1931

Loehrsweg 2 (Hamburg-Nord, Eppendorf)

JG. 1931

further stumbling stones in Loehrsweg 2:
Felicitas Gumpel, Gertrud Gumpel, Kurt Gumpel

Gertrud Gumpel, née Koppel, born 8 Nov. 1898, deported 20 July 1942 to Auschwitz
Kurt Gumpel, born 10 Mar. 1924, deported 20 July 1942 to Auschwitz
Felicitas Gumpel, born 9 Apr. 1929, deported 23 Sep. 1942 to Auschwitz
Thomas Gumpel, born 15 Jan. 1931, deported 23 Sep. 1942 to Auschwitz

Gertrud Gumpel was born on 8 November 1898 in Hamburg. Her parents were Max and Amalie Koppel. She and her husband Berthold (*21 May 1896) had three children: Kurt (*10 March 1924), Felicitas (*9 April 1929) and Thomas (*15 January 1931).

Berthold Gumpel was a general manager at the Arnold Bernstein shipping company. In early 1937 he travelled to Antwerp as a company representative, because the company planned to transfer its main offices there in order to forestall its "Aryanization.” While he was there he learned that Arnold Bernstein and several other Jewish employees had been arrested on suspicion of foreign exchange offenses. Berthold Gumpel decided to stay in Belgium and to send for his wife and children. They had already given up their apartment in Hamburg and sold all of their furniture when the Nazis withdrew his wife’s and children’s passports.

Gertrud Gumpel and her two youngest children Felicitas and Thomas moved in with her brother John Koppel and his family at Klosterallee 26. The eldest son Kurt was already at a boarding school in Belgium.

In August 1937, Gertrud Gumpel was finally able to procure travel documents for herself and her children, so that they could join her husband in Antwerp. The family was only reunited for a short time, however, since Berthold Gumpel travelled to New York shortly after their arrival. His former employer, Arnold Bernstein, had emigrated to New York after his release from prison, and had founded a new company, where he had offered Gumpel a position. The US only allowed Gumpel to enter the country, so the family once again had to remain behind and wait until they could follow later.

Their hopes were rudely dashed, however, when the German Wehrmacht invaded Belgium on 10 May 1940. The first deportations of Jews from the Netherlands began a short time later, and Gertrud Gumpel decided to attempt to flee to Portugal, where she hoped to be able to travel to New York with the help of an acquaintance of her husband’s. The escape attempt failed, and ended in the camps at Drancy and Angers, France.

The last sign of life of the family is a letter from Felicitas and Thomas to their grandmother, dated 16 July 1942:
"… this morning Mommy and Kurt went away with some others to work, but they’re staying in France…”
Thomas added a few lines at the end of the letter:
"Dear Grandma, at these tidings I think I cried like never before, but now our father is gone, our mother is gone, I’m writing these few lines with tears in my eyes. Hugs and kisses, Your Tommy”

[Note: The original letters, written in German, are full of spelling mistakes. This is due to the fact that the children only attended school in Germany for a short time.]

Gertrud Gumpel and her son Kurt were deported from Angers to Auschwitz in Convoy 8 on 20 July 1942. Felicitas and Thomas followed on 23 September 1942 from Drancy in Convoy 36.

Four Stolpersteine were placed in the sidewalk in front of their former apartment at Loerhsweg 2 in their memory.

Translator: Amy Lee

Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

© Johann-Hinrich Möller

Quellen: Gert Koppel, Untergetaucht, Braunschweig 1999, S. 38 ff, 98 ff., 222 ff., 232 und 236; Staatsarchiv Hamburg, 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden, 992 b, Kultussteuerkarten Nr. 4865 und Nr. 5132; Bajohr, Frank, ‚Arisierung’ in Hamburg: die Verdrängung der jüdischen Unternehmer 1933–1945, Hamburg 1997, S. 204 ff.;
Jürgen Sielemann, Hamburger jüdische Opfer des Nationalsozialismus, Hamburg 1995

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