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Erwin Mattio * 1920

Breite Straße / Ecke Kirchenstraße (Altona, Altona-Altstadt)

JG. 1920
ERMORDET 3.5.1942

further stumbling stones in Breite Straße / Ecke Kirchenstraße:
Nanny Mattio

Erwin Mattio, born 14.6.1920, deported to Lodz on 25.10.1941, died there on 3.5.1942
Nanny Mattio, née Rosenberger, born on 29.11.1894, deported on 25.10.1941 to Lodz, died there on 12.4.1942

Breite Straße/corner of Kirchenstraße (Kleine Papagoyenstraße 1)

Selma Henschel, widowed Rosenberger, lived on the edge of subsistence in Altona's Old Town from the mid-1920s until her deportation. The welfare file opened for her at the welfare office allows a look at her living conditions, which were marked by illness and poverty, and her relationship with her children during the time of persecution.

On June 14, 1870, Selma Henschel was born in Ratibor, Silesia, the daughter of David and Rosalie Fröhlich, née Hausmann. With her first husband, named Emil Rosenberger, she lived in Katowice, a Prussian district in Upper Silesia until its cession to Poland in 1922. All four of her children from her first marriage were born in Katowice, daughter Nanny on November 29, 1894, son Herbert in July 1896, son Max on September 6, 1897, and the youngest daughter Betty on January 27, 1900.

After the death of her first husband, in 1913 Selma Rosenberger married Richard Henschel, a waiter who was 22 years younger and born in Charlottenburg. He earned a living as a "self-employed market traveler." Both were of Jewish origin.

Around 1920, the couple moved to Altona's Old Town into a three-room basement apartment at Weidenstraße 65 (now Virchowstraße), where, according to an entry in the Altona address book, Richard Henschel opened an "ironing business."

In 1924, Richard Henschel fell ill, which forced him to stay in hospital for a long time. Selma Henschel, unemployed and without income, applied for assistance from the Welfare Office in July 1924, which she received.

A year later, Richard Henschel left his wife and moved to Hamburg. Selma Henschel stayed in the apartment at Weidenstraße 65. Her daughter Betty Rosenberger, who earned her living as a worker, lived with her; the three other children, who were also adults, had moved out.

In the next years, Selma Henschel, no longer able to work due to illness, received welfare payments of six Reichsmark (RM) per week. The Israelitische Humanitäre Frauenverein (Jewish Humanitarian Women's Association), located at Grüne Straße 5, also helped her with food.

Selma Henschel had to prove that her husband and children did not support her or supported her only slightly. For example, on November 25, 1929, the welfare officer of the Welfare Office noted, "The 59 y[o] separated has repeatedly sued her husband for alimony, but allegedly receives neither answer nor money. She is said to have a heart condition and is unable to work." The welfare file noted that the unmarried daughter, Betty Rosenberger, was working in a hotel in 1929 and could provide her mother with clothing and only occasional funds.

The daughter Nanny Mattio, née Rosenberger, had married Angelo Mattio, a musician born in Wiesbaden, in 1925. Even before the marriage, she had given birth to her son Erwin on June 14, 1920, who then bore the name of his stepfather Mattio. His biological father, surname Steike, had been in the Strecknitz sanatorium in Lübeck since 1926. Nanny Mattio had been working as a prop mistress since 1918, as an employee in the prop room of the theater (Schauspielhaus Hamburg), and - it was noted in the file - had to "support her always unemployed husband"; it was further stated that "the three of them live in rooms".

The whereabouts of Herbert Rosenberger, the eldest son of Selma Henschel, were unknown to the Welfare Office. Son Max Rosenberger, a skilled baker, was employed as an agricultural worker in Silesia and Walsrode and apparently could not support his mother.

In addition to the small welfare payments, Selma Henschel tried to earn additional income by renting out two furnished rooms in her basement apartment. Perhaps she also took on ironing jobs for the neighborhood; in 1930, the Altona address book again listed an "ironing shop" in her basement apartment at Weidenstraße 65.

In 1932, the Welfare Office again reminded the daughters to pay for their mother's upkeep. Nanny Mattio pointed out that her son was placed in the Alsterdorf institutions of the time and that she was bearing the costs for him. The eleven-year-old had been admitted there on May 6, 1932.

In 1935, Selma Henschel moved to Große Bergstraße 111. She continued to receive a weekly welfare allowance of six RM, which was increased to seven RM in 1937. The daughters had found employment as domestic helpers. Betty Rosenberger, who lived with her mother, was a "day maid" for the Jewish Nachum family on Eppendorfer Landstraße. Nanny Mattio, whom the Deutsches Schauspielhaus dismissed as a Jew in 1936, was now in the position of a "single girl" with the Jewish Horowitz family in Isestraße and additionally received crisis support from the Welfare Office. In 1937 she lived in an apartment at Hammerbrookstraße 48, where she rented out a furnished room. Her marriage to Angelo Mattio, by then the operator of a fast-food restaurant on Spielbudenplatz in St. Pauli, had been divorced in 1929.

On October 31, 1938, the eighteen-year-old son Erwin Mattio was transported to the state care home Oberaltenallee (Versorgungsheim) together with 14 other Jewish residents of the Alsterdorfer Anstalten. The management of the institution wanted to get rid of the Jewish patients.

Betty Rosenberger applied for welfare assistance in 1939. In that year, both daughters lived with their mother in a joint household at Große Bergstraße 111. Neither had any income. Selma Henschel received a small amount of support from her son Max, who worked as an emergency worker in Buxtehude, and rented out a furnished room in the apartment. Eventually, the social welfare administration approved welfare payments "against performance of U-work," i.e., "support work." Erwin Mattio was meanwhile housed in the Farmsen state care home.

At the beginning of 1939, Selma Henschel again applied for additional welfare payments on top of the meager earnings of the daughter living with her. During a visit to her home, the Welfare Office meticulously checked her living conditions and household: "The domesticity does not make the best impression. Mrs. H. does not seem to attach great importance to order and cleanliness. The beds had not yet been made at noon." Recipients of assistance classified as "asocial" were threatened with cancellation of welfare benefits and placement in workhouses and asylums. Special mention was made in the welfare file that Selma Henschel's lodgers were non-Jewish. Since the "Law on Tenancies with Jews" of April 30, 1939, Jewish tenants were only allowed to take in Jewish subtenants.

In the same year, Selma Henschel, like all people of Jewish origin, was obliged to become a compulsory member of the Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland (Reich Association of Jews in Germany), whose district office the former Jewish community of Hamburg was now considered to be. Her husband had died. The municipality recorded the last residence of the 69-year-old widow on the newly created tax card (Kultussteuerkarte) of the Jewish community: Gademannstraße 10, at the corner of Grüne Straße 5, on the second floor of a residential building of the "Isaac Hartwig Legacy." Isaac Hartwig was a wealthy man from Hamburg's Jewish community who, at his death in 1842, had decreed that a large part of his fortune should go to Jewish charitable causes. Gademannstraße was located in Altona's old town, in the neighborhood between today's Kirchenstraße and today's Hoheschulstraße, with a high percentage of Jewish population and many Jewish institutions.

Selma Henschel lived there with her daughter Betty and son Max, who had been conscripted as an earthworker and supported his mother.

Erwin Mattio, who had meanwhile been released from the Farmsen nursing home and was working as a gardener, lived (according to the tax card of the Jewish community) with his mother Nanny Mattio. She had found employment as a "day help" with the Levin family at Klosterallee 13 in November 1939 and lived at Kleine Papagoyenstraße 1, near Worms; the house was owned by the Jewish Religious Association, as the official name of the Jewish community now was.

With the beginning of the large-scale deportations of Hamburg Jews to the ghettos in the East, Selma Henschel and her family members also found themselves on the transport lists.

On October 25, 1941, Max Rosenberger, Nanny Mattio and their son Erwin, who also lived for a time with his grandmother Selma Henschel at Gademannstraße 10, had to board the train bound for Lodz in German-occupied Poland. There, the ghetto inmates suffered from cold, hunger and epidemics; many died in the first months after their arrival. Max Rosenberger perished, Nanny Mattio (erroneously recorded as Naomy in the Yad Vashem memorial) died on April 12, 1942, and her son Erwin Mattio on May 3, 1942, at the age of 22.

Selma Henschel's name was also on the deportation list for the transport to Lodz on October 25, 1941, but had been crossed out again. After having to witness the deportation of two children and the grandchild, she was deported at the age of 71, together with daughter Betty Rosenberger, to the Minsk ghetto in German-occupied Belarus on November 18, 1941, where they both met their deaths.

Translation by Beate Meyer
Stand: February 2022
© Birgit Gewehr

Quellen: 1; 4; 5; 8; AB Altona; StaH 351-14 Arbeits- und Sozialfürsorge – Sonderakten, 1267 (Henschel, Selma), 1748 (Rosenberger, Betty) und 1521 (Mattio, Nanny); StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden, 992 e 2 Band 3 (Deportationsliste Minsk); Archiv der Evangelischen Stiftung Alsterdorf, V410; Wunder, Auf dieser schiefen Ebene, S.160.
Zur Nummerierung häufig genutzter Quellen siehe Link "Recherche und Quellen".

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