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Already layed Stumbling Stones
Alice Baruch * 1898
Hallerstraße 76 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)
further stumbling stones in Hallerstraße 76:
Sara Carlebach, Charlotte Carlebach, Dr. Joseph Zwi Carlebach, Noemi Carlebach, Ruth Carlebach, Margarethe Dammann, Gertrud Dammann, Charlotte Dammann, Dina Dessau, Felix Halberstadt, Josabeth Halberstadt, Elsa Meyer, Margarethe Meyer, Alice Rosenbaum, Julius Rothschild, Jente Schlüter
Alice Baruch, born on 18 Jan. 1898 in Harburg, deported to Lodz on 25 Oct. 1941, murdered on 10 Oct. 1942
When Alice Baruch was born shortly before the turn of the nineteenth to the twentieth century as the second daughter of the Jewish mortgage broker and real estate agent for houses Philipp Baruch and his wife Olga, countless factory smokestacks shaped the scenery of her birthplace. In the second half of the nineteenth century, more and more immigrants from near and far – including Philipp and Olga Baruch from Lüneburg – found a job and a new home in the up-and-coming industrial city of Harburg/Elbe. One of these high chimneys stood on the nearby site of the chemical factory founded in 1856 by the Lohmühlenteich pond on Göhlbachtal. Among the many renowned directors who headed the plant throughout its history were the Harburger Commercial Councilor (Kommerzienrat) and Senator Friedrich Thörl (1820–1886), the founder of the Vereinigte Harburger Ölfabriken, an oil processing company. The "Chemische” at Lohmühlenteich, which mainly produced synthetic potassium nitrate, was in operation until 1930. The site was then transformed into a park bordering Mozartstrasse (now Hastedtplatz), where the Baruch family lived at the time. The Harburg Synagogue was only a few minutes’ walk away. Philipp Baruch had a little further to go to reach his business premises at Mühlenstrasse 28 (today Schlossmühlendamm) in the center of the city.
At the end of 1935, the Baruch family moved – probably not entirely voluntarily – to Grindelallee 134 in Hamburg-Eimsbüttel. They registered as members of the German-Israelitic Community in Hamburg shortly before the installation of the new Chief Rabbi, Joseph Carlebach. The parents and their adult children were not the only members of the Harburg Synagogue Community who took this step because they believed that the anonymity of the city would offer them better protection against anti-Semitic attacks. In the Grindel quarter, they actually experienced a stronger solidarity, which became noticeable both with the many small aids in everyday life happening and with the difficult housing search. As Philipp Baruch’s clientele became smaller and smaller, the family had to live largely on the savings from then on.
The two daughters Gerda (born on 23 July 1896) and Alice could change this situation only little, since their attempts to find jobs were fruitless for a long time. It was not until June 1938 that Gerda Baruch was pleased that the Jewish M.M. Warburg bank was prepared to hire her as an office clerk.
Her younger sister Alice tried to get a position as a domestic servant or maid in return for room and board, which was even more difficult because the "Nuremberg laws” [on race] forbade her to work in "Aryan” households and Jewish families usually lacked the financial means. Many of these jobs were short-lived, which was also true for Alice Baruch when she finally found work after many months of unemployment. She had already worked in several other families when Lotte Carlebach, the wife of Hamburg Chief Rabbi Joseph Carlebach, hired her as a Haustochter [a live-in maid and nanny] at the beginning of 1941. The Carlebach family lived at Hallerstrasse 76 at the time, and for Alice Baruch’s hiring – in addition to being acquainted through the Community – a recommendation from Felix and Josabeth Halberstadt, who lived in the same house and had temporarily employed Alice Baruch the year before, may have been decisive.
The well-known rabbi family, too, suffered increasingly from the restrictions imposed by the Nazi state on the Jews, and the work that Joseph and Lotte Carlebach carried out for the Community became increasingly extensive. "We are healthy and work from morning until night,” Lotte Carlebach wrote in Sept. 1941 to her mother, who had since emigrated to Palestine. In Apr. 1941, the situation became even more difficult because the "Jewish Religious Organization” ("Jüdischer Religionsverband”) no longer paid its Chief Rabbi a salary.
Alice Baruch’s stay with the rabbi family was also short-lived for another reason: She was one of the more than 1,000 Hamburg Jews who in Oct. 1941 received the "evacuation order,” as the deportation order was called. In it, she was asked to report to the "Lower Saxony Provincial Masonic Lodge” on Moorweidenstrasse one day before her transport, which was scheduled for 25 Oct. 1941. Like all recipients, she was only allowed to carry 50 kilograms (approx. 110 lbs) of luggage (linen, clothing, and blankets). At the same time, she was informed that she had to fill in and bring along a list of assets and that all her assets were confiscated effective immediately. Perhaps Alice Baruch participated in the fast that Joseph Carlebach had proclaimed on the eve of his departure as a sign of grief.
The train journey of the deportees from Hannoversche Bahnhof train station in Hamburg harbor to Radegast station in the Polish city of Lodz, which the German occupying forces had meanwhile renamed "Litzmannstadt,” lasted more than one day. For the subsequent distance covering several miles from the stop to the overcrowded ghetto of the city, most of the newcomers had to walk on mud-covered roads, past dilapidated houses. They were first quartered in schools and then, after a reorganization of living space occupancy with further restrictions, distributed to wooden houses without main water supply and to plants in order to increase production capacity. Alice Baruch initially stayed at Zgierska (Hohensteinerstrasse) 51 and later at Flisaka (Hausiererstrasse) 2. She was assigned a job in the cemetery nursery.
Everyday life was marked by hunger, physical exhaustion, unacceptable living conditions, anxious questions about the fate of relatives and the fear of deportation with an unknown destination. The "resettlements” ("Aussiedlungen”) – initially mainly of Polish Jews who were no longer able to work – began in Dec. 1941 and then dragged on for the next three years with some interruptions. They led to the nearby Chelmno (Kulmhof) killing facility and to the Auschwitz/Birkenau extermination camp. When, in May 1942, the first Jews from the German Reich were also included in these "resettlements,” Alice Baruch was among those affected. In her distress, she submitted a written request for deferral to the "resettlement commission” ("Aussiedlungskommission”) on Fischgasse (Rybna). She was supported by her employer, the Ghetto’s Road and Horticultural Department. She was lucky: the resettlement order was withdrawn, as she could not easily be replaced at her workplace.
Similar good luck was denied her during the next wave of deportations from 3 to 12 Sept. 1942. This time, the SS organized the removal largely without the help of the Jewish self-government. To this end, the German authorities imposed a curfew of several days and drove the residents, one after the other, out of their apartments onto the streets, where they then had to line up for the selections. In the documents of the ghetto administration, 10 Oct. 1942 is mentioned as the day of Alice Baruch’s "outmigration” ("Abwanderung”). It can be assumed that she was deported and murdered during the September deportations to Chelmno. Probably the day of her death was entered somewhat later due to the heavy workload of the ghetto bureaucracy caused by the events.
On 21 Aug. 1979, Charlotte Koopmann, née Hirschfeld, a friend from Harburg and Hamburg days, submitted a Page of Testimony (Gedenkblatt) for Alice Baruch at the Yad Vashem memorial site. The daughter of the Jewish couple Isidor and Käthchen Hirschfeld, who were also murdered and who once ran a bedding store in Harburg and later also in St. Georg, had survived the Holocaust because she was able to emigrate to the USA with her husband Meinhard Koopmann in Sept. 1938.
Among the victims of the Shoah were also Alice Baruch’s parents, who were deported to Theresienstadt on 19 July 1942 and from there to the Treblinka extermination camp, as well as her sister Gerda, who had to join the transport to Minsk on 18 Nov. 1941 and died there.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: September 2019
© Klaus Möller
Quellen: 4; 5; 8; Harburger Opfer; Archivum Pánstwowe w Lodzi; Auskunft Fritz Neubauer, Bielefeld (USHMM, Bestand Lodz, Aussiedlungskommission); Brämer, Carlebach; Gillis-Carlebach, Jedes Kind; Löw, Juden im Getto Litzmannstadt; Eichengreen, Von Asche zu Leben; Gottwald/Schulle, "Judendeportationen"; Meyer (Hrsg.), Verfolgung; Truels, Harburgensien.
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