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Helene Guttmann (née Goldberg) * 1877

Veringstraße 47 (Harburg, Wilhelmsburg)

1941 Minsk

further stumbling stones in Veringstraße 47:
Jacob Guttmann

Jacob Guttmann, born 19 Feb. 1877, deported 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk, date of death unknown
Helene Guttmann, née Goldberg, born 24 Aug. 1877, deported 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk, date of death unknown

Veringstraße 47

Jacob (also called James) Guttmann was born in Stewnitz near Flatow in West Prussia (modern-day Stawnica, Poland). His parents were Johanna and Hermann Guttmann. He married Helene Goldberg, who was from Pölitz in Pomerania (modern-day Police, Poland). Jacob and Helene Guttmann had lived in Wilhelmsburg since 2 March 1908. Their only child, Edith, was born on 21 November 1909.

Edith Guttmann married Fritz Rosenschein, from Harburg, on 9 October 1931. The couple emigrated to the US on 23 February 1938.

Jacob Guttmann ran a business selling undergarments in Wilhelmsburg. His wool and undergarments shop was first at Fährstraße 34 and then, from 1 November 1927 onwards, at Veringstraße 47, in the same building in which the family lived. Aside from Jacob and Helene, the shop employed two to three sales clerks. In 1925 or 1926 Jacob Guttmann left the Jewish Community in Harburg, but he remained a member of the Hamburg Jewish Community.

In September 1927, the Harburg Chamber of Industry and Commerce applied to the Harburg District Court to have Guttmann’s business entered into the commercial register, as it "exceeded the scope of a small business.” Jacob Guttmann challenged the claim with the rationale that his annual income in 1926 was only 37,000 Reichsmarks. He was therefore of the opinion that his company did not fulfil the requirement necessary for being entered into the commercial register. The case went to trial, and Jacob Guttmann explained that he had had his business for 20 years, and that his supplier was the L. Wagner company (owned by Max Haag), a wholesaler of undergarments at Elbstraße 70/86. He took these goods in commission and sold them at his shop in Wilhelmsburg. After Guttmann was granted a deferment because of the upcoming move to Veringstraße 47, he nevertheless applied for his company to be entered into the commercial register on 7 March 1928.

During the Great Depression in 1929-30, many companies in Wilhelmsburg and the Port of Hamburg were forced to let their workers go. Many of the families in the neighborhood received welfare benefits. This situation had consequences for the area shops, whose profits declined, sometimes drastically. Jacob Guttmann finally declared bankruptcy on 23 November 1932, not only because of the declining profits, but also because Helene Guttmann, who was integral in running the store, had become ill with a heart condition. In December 1932 Jacob Guttmann declared that he "had given up his business.” He was unable to pay the fee of 15 Reichsmarks for striking the company from the commercial register. On 8 March 1933, his attorney declared that Jacob Guttmann had also been ill for an extended period of time.

"J. Guttmann, Merchant, Veringstr. 47” was still included in the list of Jewish business and retail shops for Harburg-Wilhelmsburg, which was compiled on 6 April 1933. The company was stricken from the commercial register on 12 December 1934.

Jacob Guttmann continued to sell clothing, but finally had to close his shop on Veringstraße because of the "strong anti-Semitic atmosphere in Wilhelmsburg.” Hermann Johannsen, who had a shop on Kanalstraße, bought Guttmann’s business. The "Aryanization” was thus complete.

The Guttmanns moved from Wilhelmsburg to Hamburg on 1 July 1936. They had found an apartment on the third floor of the building at Rutschbahn 3. Jacob worked as a sales representative for textiles and notions. In late September 1937 the couple moved to a ground floor apartment at Bornstraße 18. They began preparations to emigrate to the US, and in April 1941 declared their assets at only 827 Reichsmarks. The couple had used up nearly all of their savings.

Helene and Jacob Guttmann, both aged 64, were deported on 8 November 1941. The transport with Jews from Hamburg arrived in Minsk on 11 November 1941. The deportees were quartered in the ghetto under inhumane conditions. They lived in over-crowded rooms, suffered from disastrous hygienic conditions, undernourishment, and biting cold. They served as forced labor. Many did not survive the winter of 1941/42. We do not know how long the Guttmanns survived under these conditions. Both were declared dead after the end of World War II.

Besides the two Stolpersteine in Wilhelmsburg and at Bornstraße 18, the inscription on Bernhard Rosenschein’s gravestone (1862–1911) memorializes the Guttmanns and other members of the family who were murdered.

Translator: Amy Lee

Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

© Barbara Günther

Quellen: 1; 5; 2 (FVg 8854); StaH, 430-64 Amtsgericht Harburg, VII B 1001; StaH 430-5 Magistrat der Stadt Harburg Wilhelmsburg, 1810-08; ; StaH, 351-11, AfW, 35142; StaH, 430-64 Amtsgericht Harburg, VII B 101; StaH, 332-8 Meldewesen, K 4439; StaH, Wilhelmsburger Adressbücher; Meyer, Verfolgung, S. 175; Kändler/Hüttenmeister, Friedhof, S. 213f.; Apel (Hrsg.), Tod, S 115.
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