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Bertha Löwe * 1898
Thadenstraße 130 (Altona, Altona-Altstadt)
Bertha Löwe, born 4 Jun 1898, deported to Auschwitz 11 Aug 1942, murdered there
Thadenstraße 130 (Große Gärtnerstraße)
Bertha Löwe was born on 4 June 1898 in Hamburg to the Jewish couple Otto and Rosa Löwe. She never married. She supported herself as a housemaid and cleaning lady. After the Great Depression, she lived on the cusp of poverty. At that time she was boarding with the Hofbauer family at Hütten 112 in Hamburg, and was working as a "scrubbing lady at the regional court building,” as she described it. She earned about 14 Reichsmark per month. In October 1929 she applied for and received an income subsidy from the Welfare Office.
For the rest of her life she was recurrently dependent on public welfare, for example in December 1930, when she was unable to work because of a leg injury incurred in a street accident. In May 1931 she was granted a one-time subsidy in the form of foodstuffs. "The woman seems to be utterly destitute” reads a December 1931 remark in her welfare file, entered when she applied for support to pay for prescription drugs. In it she states: "I am applying for a subsidy so that I can pay for medicine and milk. I earn 13.18 Marks, have to pay 6.50 Marks rent, and had to pay to have my laundry done, which cost 3.99 Marks. I am very ill.”
Bertha Löwe was being treated for a stomach disorder. On 14 December 1931 a welfare agent visited her home to inspect her living conditions. The agent reported that "men’s clothing was found in her room, Fräulein L. said they belonged to an acquaintance of the H. family [Hofbauer, the family with whom she was boarding].” The welfare agency checked whether there were relatives who could support her, but her parents and grandparents had already passed away, and her step-mother was destitute herself. Her sister, Fanny Schilling, was also receiving welfare subsidies, and her brother Rudolf was unemployed.
In September 1932, Bertha Löwe moved to a room with the Johann family at Schäferstraße 20. Her health had apparently deteriorated. In February 1933 she was hospitalized for three weeks at the Israelitic Hospital for a gall bladder disorder. In the following year she was hospitalized several times.
After four years of employment as a cleaning lady for the State Judicial Administration, she was fired on 7 October 1933 because of her "non-Aryan heritage.” In 1934 she found a temporary job cleaning in the Hamburg Economic Affairs Ministry. Her income was so meager that the Jewish Community, where she had been a member since 1934, released her from paying religious community taxes. When she was once again hospitalized at the Israelitic Hospital for two months in 1936, the welfare agency paid her rent.
In 1939 Bertha Löwe worked in the household of the doctor Michel Caro at Ifflandstraße 83. From late November 1939 until the end of the year, she once again received welfare subsidies. Beginning in 1940 the Hamburg Social Services Administration (Hovestrße 72) required her to do mandatory work. She had lived for a time at Kleine Gärtnerstraße 128 (today the eastern part of Stresmannstaße), and in 1939 she moved to Große Gärtnerstraße (today Thadenstraße).
In 1942, Bertha Löwe was forced to relocate to the ground floor of the Nanny-Jonas-Trust at Agathenstraße 3, which had been declared a "Jews’ house.” This is where she received her deportation orders, when she was 44 years old. Her name was on the list of those to be transported to Auschwitz on 11 July 1942. This transport brought 300 Jews from Hamburg to the extermination camp, where Bertha Löwe was ultimately murdered.
Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: April 2018
© Birgit Gewehr
Quellen: 1; 4; 5; 8; AB Altona; StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden, 992 e 2 Band 4 (Deportationsliste Auschwitz, 11.7.1942); StaH 351-14 Arbeits- und Sozialfürsorge – Sonderakten, 1505 (Löwe, Bertha).
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