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Rebecca Hermannsen * 1927

Martin-Luther-King-Platz 3 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)

JG. 1927

further stumbling stones in Martin-Luther-King-Platz 3:
Margarethe Altmann, Bela Anschlawski, Esther Ascher, Hannelore Ascher, Ellen Ingrid Berger, Hanni Bernstein, Karl Heinz Bloch, Hildegard Cohen, Nathan Dan Croner, Heinz Dessau, Zita Feldmann, Jacob Fertig, Hans Frost, Alice Gramm, Else Grunert, Julius Hamburger, Oskar Helle, Julius Hermannsen, Elchanan Jarecki, Bertha Kleve, Peter Kopf, Erwin Kopf, Manfred Krauthamer, John Löw, Gerda Polak, Inge Polak, Erich Rosenberg, Mirjam Rothschild, Regine Rothschild, Rafael von der Walde

Julius Hermannsen, born on 28 Nov. 1930 in Hamburg, deported to Lodz on 25 Oct. 1941
Rebecca Hermannsen, born on 28 Jan. 1927 in Ignalina, deported to Lodz on 25 Oct. 1941

Martin-Luther-King-Platz 3 (formerly Papendamm 3)

David, Hermannsen, born on 1 Jan. 1920 in Ignalina, deported to Lodz on 25 Oct. 1941
Jacob Hermannsen, born on 10 Jan. 1922 in Wilna (Vilnius), deported to Lodz on 25 Oct. 1941

Grossneumarkt 56 (planned)

Julius and Rebecca Hermannsen were the youngest of four children who, according to the language of the Nazis, came from a "non-privileged mixed marriage” ("nicht-privilegierte Mischehe”).

Their father, August Walter Hermannsen, had been born on 13 July 1891 in Kiel to a non-Jewish family. However, as his parents died early, he had been raised in an orphanage in Flensburg since he was nine years old. After attending the eight-grade elementary school (Volksschule), he came to Hamburg in 1907 to complete an apprenticeship as a baker and confectioner.

Walter Hermannsen completed his military service in 1912 and he was drafted into the army during the First World War. He first took part in a campaign in France and he was captured by the Russians at the end of the war. In Russia, he met the Jewish woman Pessa Kryczer. She was born on 23 July 1897 in the small town of Ignalina (today Lithuania). We know nothing about her family. At the wedding in 1919, Walter Hermannsen converted to Judaism.

Three of their four children were born in the mother’s home country: the oldest son David (born on 1 Jan. 1920) and the only daughter Rebecca (born on 28 Jan. 1927), also in Ignalina. Between the two, the second oldest Jacob (born on 10 Jan. 1922) was born in the nearby city of Wilna (Vilnius, today the capital of Lithuania).

In 1928, Walter Hermannsen returned to Hamburg with his family. Two years later, (on 28 Nov. 1930), his youngest son Julius was born there.

Apparently, the family could not afford their own apartment at first. Walter Hermannsen arranged for an entry in the Hamburg directory only by 1932 with the job designation of baker at Glashüttenstrasse 18, although he had been employed as an assistant gardener at Ohlsdorf Cemetery since 1930. In Sept. 1934, he was dismissed by the Hamburg Garden and Cemetery Office. The reason given was his membership in the Jewish religious community and that there were thus doubts about his national and moral reliability.

In the following year, the Hermannsen family moved to the Jewish Hertz-Joseph-Levy-Stift, a residential home, at Grossneumarkt 56, because they had to pay a lower rent there, possibly they could occupy accommodation rent-free. After the enactment of the Nuremberg Laws [on race] in 1935, state pressure on the non-Jewish or converted partners in "mixed marriages” to file for divorce increased, and according to him, Walter Hermannsen was also arrested by the Gestapo in 1937 and taken to the "Dachau retraining camp” (= Dachau concentration camp) for six months when he refused to get a divorce.

Although the Nazis divided the "mixed marriages” between a "German-blooded” and a Jewish spouse into "privileged” and "non-privileged,” since Walter Hermannsen had converted to Judaism, the marriage was treated as a Jewish one. Thus, like all Jews, he was subject to the obligation of identification. He also had to apply for the special identity card, which was stamped with a "J,” and according to the name change ordinance, he had to assume the compulsory Jewish first name of Israel in addition. Although his children were "half-Jewish,” they had two Jewish parents and they were therefore classified as "Jews by definition” ("Geltungsjuden”) and were treated like Jews as well.

The situation of the family became even more difficult when Pessa Hermannsen fell ill with double-sided pneumonia. She died on 12 Aug. 1939 at the age of only 42 years in the Jewish Hospital. Since Walter Hermannsen had to do "public relief work” since Oct. 1938, the neighbor Fanny Neumann (see corresponding entry) took care of his children during his absence after the death of his wife.

In Sept. 1939, Fanny Neumann and her family were transferred to the "Jews’ house” ("Judenhaus”) at Rappstrasse 6, where they were housed in a basement apartment. Walter Hermannsen followed them in the spring of 1940.

On 10 Mar. 1941, Walter Hermannsen received a summons to the Gestapo at the Stadthaus and he was not released to return home. The "Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor” ("Gesetz zum Schutz des deutschen Blutes und der deutschen Ehre”) prohibited extramarital relations between Jewish and non-Jewish persons. Walter Hermannsen, who had to wear the Star of David ("Judenstern”), was now accused, as an "Aryan,” of living together with a Jewish woman. The Hamburg Regional Court (Landgericht) sentenced him to one year in prison for "racial defilement” ("Rassenschande”), which he served until 10 Mar. 1942 in the Fuhlsbüttel prison, taking into account his pre-trial detention. The court file no longer exists, and it was probably destroyed. Walter Hermannsen later stated that he was convinced that his arrest was based on a denunciation by "the dear neighbors.”

While he was still in custody, the names of Fanny Neumann, her youngest daughter Miriam (born on 27 Nov. 1923), and granddaughter Bela (born on 23 Feb. 1939) were put on the so-called substitute list for possible "no-shows” in the course of the "evacuation” (= deportation) on 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz. The names of the Hermannsen children are on a list of 56 persons who had "voluntarily” signed up for this transport. They probably did not want to be separated from the Neumann family (Fanny Neumann’s son Alfred Neumann with his wife and their two children also volunteered for this first transport leaving Hamburg).

The oldest son, David Hermannsen, was put on the deportation list with the job title of "metalworker.” He had probably received an apprenticeship in the training workshop for metalworkers run by the Jewish Community at Weidenallee 10b, where Jewish youths had been prepared for emigration to Palestine. Perhaps David Hermannsen had hoped to leave Germany in time.

At this time, his brother Jacob was registered as residing at Bornstrasse 8 with Markus Blumenthal (born on 31 Jan. 1879, murdered on 10 May 1942 in Chelmno) and was referred to as a factory worker; the assignment there may have been as a forced laborer. The two youngest children, Julius and Rebecca Hermannsen, were still schoolchildren and last lived in the Jewish orphanage at Papendamm 3, where Stolpersteine commemorate them today at Martin-Luther-King-Platz 3.

Whether Walter Hermannsen had not been informed of the impending deportation of his children is not clear from his application for restitution. He only reported that after his release from prison he found the apartment on Rappstrasse vacated, the children had disappeared from Hamburg. After the war, David, Rebecca, Jakob and Julius Hermannsen, as well as Fanny Neumann and her family were declared dead as of 8 May 1945.

After his release, Walter Hermannsen remained under the supervision of the Gestapo; he was "conscripted for service” and finally drafted into the "Volkssturm.”

He experienced the end of the war and he was reinstated in July 1945 by the Garden and Cemetery Office in Hamburg. In the same year, he entered into a second marital union. Walter Hermannsen died in Hamburg on 1 Apr. 1977.

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

Stand: September 2020
© Susanne Rosendahl

Quellen: 1; 9; StaH 351-11 AfW 13267; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 1104 u 502/1939; StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinde Nr. 992 e 2 Band 1; StaH Generalregister Sterbefälle Hei - Hey 1972-1977 (Best. 332-5 Nr. 49185); www.jü (Zugriff 24.1.2020).
Zur Nummerierung häufig genutzter Quellen siehe Link "Recherche und Quellen".

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