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Helene Elsa Bauer * 1875
Curschmannstraße 8 (Hamburg-Nord, Eppendorf)
GEDEMÜTIGT / ENTRECHTET
FLUCHT IN DEN TOD
Helene Elsa Bauer, born on 9 May 1875, humiliated/deprived of her rights, flight to death on 6 Mar. 1942
"We voluntarily depart from EXISTENCE [DASEIN] because we see only difficulties and ordeals in the future with what is coming, so we leave this protective roof. And we are no longer up to it all. We do not wish under any circumstances to be brought back into this hostile, unfriendly world!
Signed Sara Gertrud Theiner
Signed Helene Elsa Bauer”
Those who wrote these lines on 5 Mar. 1942 were the sisters Helene Elsa Bauer and Sara Gertrud Theiner, who had lived together on the third floor of Curschmannstrasse 8 in the Hoheluft-Ost quarter since 5 Feb. 1932. They chose suicide on 6 Mar. 1942.
Helene Elsa Bauer had been born in Hamburg on 9 May 1875, the fifth of seven children of the Jewish couple Philipp Louis Bauer and Clara Chaje Bauer, née Ollendorf (Philipp Louis Bauer died on 11 June 1894, Clara Chaje Bauer followed on 10 Oct. 1907. Both were buried in the Jewish Cemetery on Ilandkoppel).
We know nothing about Helene Elsa Bauer’s childhood, nor do we know when and where she attended the teacher-training college in order to pursue a teaching career in Hamburg later.
Helene Elsa Bauer began her work as a teacher on 1 Oct. 1896, at the girls’ school located at Böhmkenstrasse 5–6 in Hamburg-Neustadt, which had been founded in 1889. She taught at this school until 1898, when she transferred to the Hohe Weide Girls’ School in Eimsbüttel, founded in 1889. With the change of school, she also joined a funeral society that took care of the burials of male and female teachers. In purely formal terms, she had gained her pension entitlement as of 1 Jan. 1900.
She occupied apartments of her own: first on the ground floor at Hochallee 92 in the upscale Harvestehude quarter; from 1904 to 1905, on the fourth floor at Hagedornstrasse 29; in 1909, at Brahmsallee 37; and from 1910 to 1911, at Brahmsallee 34. Eventually, on 8 Sept. 1911, she moved to Curschmannstrasse 8 in Hoheluft-Ost. Her brother Eugen Philipp Bauer lived with her in her four-and-a-half-room apartment from 1913 to 1917.
Helene Elsa Bauer paid Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) to the Jewish Community for the first time from 1915. She did so continuously until 1942.
She continued to teach at the Hohe Weide Girls’ School until 1923, retiring early at the age of 48. In the directory, she continued to use her job title of "teacher.”
We do not know whether she rented out a room of her four-and-a-half-room apartment, which she again occupied on her own starting 1917. Then on 5 Feb. 1932, her sister Sara Gertrud Theiner moved in with her. On 23 June 1934, however, she rented out a room to subtenant Johanne "Hanni” Allen, born in Lehrte on 1 June 1899 and single, who moved to Bogenstrasse 19 in 1935 (Johanna Allen was deported to Litzmannstadt/ Lodz on 25 Oct. 1941).
We can report nothing concerning the years from 1935 to 1939.
For the first half of 1940, Helene Elsa Bauer asked the Jewish Community for a suspension of dues because she was seriously ill (but this was not granted). We do not know what illness was involved.
On 6 Mar. 1940, the Chief Finance Administration (Oberfinanzdirektion) asked Helene Elsa Bauer to disclose her financial circumstances. She stated that she received a pension of 210 RM (reichsmark) per month from her previous work as an elementary school teacher. A "security order” ("Sicherungsanordnung”) was not issued because of the low income.
On 5 Aug. 1940, she rented out a room to subtenant Ilse Lippstadt, who had been born in Elmshorn on 31 Dec. 1905. Ilse Lippstadt was deported to Minsk on 18 Nov. 1941, at the age of 35, and murdered (see www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de).
Mounting humiliations and the progressive deprivation of rights made life increasingly difficult for Helene Elsa Bauer and Sara Gertrud Theiner.
Why did they choose 6 March as the date of their deaths? They were due to move into a "Jews’ house” ("Judenhaus”) on 15 Mar. 1942. Their brother Eugen Philipp had already been forced to move to the "Jews’ house” at Sedanstrasse 23 on 30 Oct. 1941.
It was clear to both sisters that the move to a "Jews’ house” would entail further restrictions and that deportation would follow from there. The two women no longer wanted to expose themselves to this. Thus, they decided to put an end to their lives.
The sisters got their papers in order, obtained sleeping pills, and asked the physician Wolfson in advance for a house call to their apartment for 6 Mar. 1942. They also summoned their nephew Rolf Bauer from Leipzig, to whom they handed over the keys to their apartment. The sisters wrote the farewell letter mentioned above, took the barbiturates, and lay down in their beds.
Sara Gertrud Theiner died on the morning of 6 Mar. 1942. An ambulance was still called for Helene Elsa Bauer. She died on the same day at 8:15 p.m. in the Israelite Hospital on Johnsallee.
Both were buried in the Jewish Cemetery on Ilandkoppel.
Details on the fate of Helene Elsa Bauer’s siblings:
Olga Bauer (born on 26 Dec. 1864) died on 4 Apr. 1869 and was buried in the Jewish Grindelfriedhof Cemetery.
Paul Ludwig Bauer (born on 29 Nov. 1877), married to Frida Emma Caroline née Heylmann, who was not Jewish, died on 8 June 1918 and was buried in the Ilandkoppel Jewish Cemetery.
Conrad Philipp Bauer (born on 12 Feb. 1871), was married to non-Jewish Helene, née Greve, died on 28 Mar. 1927. It is not known where he was buried.
Eugen Philipp Bauer (born on 16 July 1862) was deported to Theresienstadt on 15 July 1942 and died there on 4 July 1943. A Stolperstein will be laid for Eugen Philipp Bauer at Wrangelstrasse 8 in June 2021.
Sara Gertrud Bauer (born on 30 May 1872), married to Berthold Theiner (born on 4 Jan. 1862); she took her own life together with her sister Helene Elsa Bauer on 6 Mar. 1942 (see www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de).
Rudolf Bauer (born on 11 Mar. 1880) lived in Leipzig for many years. Where and when he died could not be determined.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: August 2021
© Bärbel Klein
Quellen: StaH, 1; 2; 4; 5; 7; 8; 9; 111-2_B II b 172UA 3; 331-5_3 Akte_398 / 1942; 331-5_3 Akte_762/1942; 332-3_3401/1875; 332-5_4705/1877; 332-5_1113/1880; 332-5_109/1884; 332-5_909/1892; 332-5_933/1894; 332-5_372/1901; 332-5_477/1902; 332-5_308/1904; 332-5_455/1907; 332-5_362/1916; 332-5_163/1917; 332-5_971/1918; 332-5_525/1920; 332-5_126/1927; 332-5_120/1942; 332-5_215/1942; 332-5_602/1952; 351-11_939; 351-11_14363; 351-14_937; 614-1/71_177; 741-4_K2439; Hamburgisches Lehrerverzeichnis A 576/0001; www.geni.com; www.wikipedea.de; www.ancestry.de (Einsicht am 20.10.2020).
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