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Carla Sommer * 1923

Goethestraße 37 ggü. ehemals Nr. 20 (Altona, Altona-Altstadt)

JG. 1923

further stumbling stones in Goethestraße 37 ggü. ehemals Nr. 20:
Hermann Sommer, Jeanette Sommer, Rita Sommer

Carla Sommer, born on 26 Mar. 1923, deported to Minsk on 8 Nov. 1941, murdered
Hermann Sommer, born on 12 Jan. 1892, imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp from 10 Nov. until 17 Dec. 1938, deported to Minsk on 8 Nov. 1941, murdered
Jeanette Sommer, née Pinkusson, born on 16 May 1894, deported to Minsk on 8 Nov. 1941, murdered
Rita Sommer, born on 17 Feb. 1922, deported to Minsk on 8 Nov. 1941, murdered

Goethestrasse 37 (across from former no. 20)

Since his birth, Hermann Sommer lived in Altona, where he had been born on 12 Jan. 1892; his parents were Salomon and Auguste Sommer, née Koppel. In the First World War, he was a soldier; decorated with the Iron Cross First Class, he returned from front-line service in 1918. Two years later, he was married in Altona to Jeanette Josefa Pinkusson, born on 16 May 1894 in Emden near Hannover. The skilled dentist without academic training (Dentistin) gave up her profession after getting married. The couple had two daughters. On 17 Feb. 1922, Rita was born, on 26 Mar. 1923 Carla. Hermann Sommer had completed commercial training and worked as a wholesale trader for cufflinks after the war. Later, he was employed as an accountant with Gotthold and Co. Neumetalle, a business processing primary metals at Hovestrasse 45 in Hamburg. Until 1935, the Sommer family lived at Reichenstrasse 14 on the third floor in the old part of Altona, integrated into the Altona Jewish Community. Miriam Gillis-Carlebach, the daughter of the Altona Chief Rabbi, was acquainted with the daughters: "I knew the Sommer family quite well because Rita Sommer was in my school class and sometimes I visited her since she was my classmate. She was very tall and very, very thin, and due to her back being hunched, she had to wear a ‘back straightener.’ She did not have an easy time at school. Carla was younger, and I remember her as a pretty girl with soft facial features. I recall the Sommers’ modest apartment, in particular, the dining room with the plush sofa. I was visiting the two girlfriends just as ‘Altona Bloody Sunday’ [‘Altonaer Blutsonntag’] broke out. The Sommers did not allow me to walk home through the tumultuous streets. Secretly, I gazed out of the windows and saw a ‘rock-throwing battle.’” The working-class neighborhood at the boundary to St. Pauli was the scene of bloody unrest on 17 July 1932, as the SA organized a police-protected propaganda march through "Red Altona,”encountering resistance from Communist protection units for houses (Häuserschutzstaffeln). Half a year later, the Nazis came to power. In 1936, the Sommer family occupied a ground-floor apartment at Goethestrasse 20 in the historic downtown of Altona. In the fall of that year, they moved again, into a ground-floor apartment at Sonninstrasse 16 (today Biernatzkistrasse). It was located in a Jewish residential home with low-rent or rent-free apartments owned by the Salomon Joseph und Marianne Hertz-Stiftung. In 1938, Hermann Sommer had a part-time job as an accountant with the Schulz Company on Steindamm in Hamburg and he did temporary work for other companies. For people with Jewish descent, it was becoming increasingly difficult to find work. Temporarily or in addition, he received unemployment benefits. In the night from 9 to 10 Nov. 1938, Jewish businesses and prayer rooms were demolished, Jewish families terrorized, and the Altona Synagogue devastated. These riots, until that date the climax of anti-Jewish use of violence, were centrally organized. In Hamburg, between 800 and 1,000 men were arrested on orders from the authorities. Hermann Sommer, too, was taken into "protective custody” ("Schutzhaft") and transported to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where he was detained from 10 Nov. until 17 Dec. 1938; upon admission, he was listed in the prisoner category of "Jew.” The prisoners were humiliated, mistreated, and they had to endure hours of standing in cold winter weather for roll call. Detention in concentration camps was aimed at forcing the Jewish population to emigrate. For this reason, most of them were released after a few weeks, often on condition that they leave Germany. After their release, many of them suffered emotionally and physically from the effects of imprisonment. For the Sommer family, the period of the breadwinner’s imprisonment also meant a financial slump. Jeanette Sommer had to apply to the Altona welfare authority for assistance granted under her husband’s name. In a letter to the Altona welfare office dated 18 Nov. 1938, the Altona Israelite Humanitarian Women’s Association (Israelitischer Humanitärer Frauenverein Altona) supported assistance payments to the family: "So far, Mrs. Jeannette Sommer has lived on her husband’s unemployment benefits. Her husband was, like many others, taken into preventive custody on the 10th of this month. The wife and her two daughters, who also lost their jobs through ‘Aryanization’ of the businesses, have no income whatsoever. Currently, no means for earning an income exist for the girls either, since currently no girls can be employed in Jewish households. We would ask you to support Mrs. Sommer and her children until the husband returns home. Circumstances are particularly sad because Mrs. Sommer is ailing herself and her daughter has been in hospital for weeks already due to an accident.” Sixteen-year-old Rita had been forced to stay in the Israelite Hospital for three weeks. She and her sister were students in a training course for children’s nurses and domestic helps at the Jewish kindergarten on Johnsallee, without earning any salary. In the admission form of the welfare services office, the entries that indicated "belonging to a foreign race: yes” and "religious affiliation: Mosaic” were underlined in red. The office noted that the family did not have any assets and that Jeanette Sommer was "allegedly in poor health.” A medical report certified that Jeanette Sommer had impaired knees and hip joints and that due to a walking impediment, work was possible only sitting down. Therefore, [the report went on] she was not suitable for being placed by the employment office. The welfare office noted, "Mrs. Sommer and her daughter Carla now occupy the apartment on their own, as the husband is in protective custody and daughter Rita is in hospital. Rent for the apartment in the residential home is 20 RM [reichsmark] a month. Three rooms and a kitchen. […] Mrs. S. and her daughter Carla are now destitute and have no income.” The welfare authority granted 36 RM for the family as of Dec. 1938. Jeanette Sommer had to comply with the order to report for compulsory labor service to the sewing school on Rosenallee for five days a week. On 17 Dec. 1938, Hermann Sommer was released. In Feb. 1939, the Hamburg-Altona welfare authority terminated assistance retroactively as of 25 Dec. because of "the ending of need for assistance,” asking Hermann Sommer to reimburse the office’s expenses. In Mar. 1939, the father of the family requested that repayment be waived because he had been in "protective custody” and was now forced to support the family of four on an income of 135 RM a month. With the official entry indicating "Reimbursement of expenses not to be reckoned with at this time,” the authorities let the matter rest. In 1939, Hermann Sommer found a part-time job with the "legal adviser” ["Rechtskonsulent,” a newly introduced Nazi term for Jewish lawyers banned from full legal practice) Hugo Möller; under this designation, the Jewish lawyer was allowed to work only for Jewish clients. Rita attended a tailoring course offered by the Jewish Religious Organization (Jüdischer Religionsverband), which covered the costs. Carla was employed in a household. In the early 1940s, when the Jewish population was increasingly ghettoized, the house at Sonninstrasse 16 was used as a "Jews’ house” ("Judenhaus”). The family received their "evacuation order” there. On 8 Nov. 1941, Hermann and Jeanette Sommer were deported along with their daughters Rita and Carla to the ghetto in Minsk, the capital of Belarus occupied by the German Wehrmacht. The transport was comprised of 968 persons of whom 952 perished. Many died of hunger, the cold, and infectious diseases. In the course of massacres on 8 May and 14 Sept. 1943 during the dissolution of the ghetto, almost all remaining occupants of the ghetto were murdered. No member of the Sommer family returned. In 1985, Hedwig Goldschmidt, née Pinkusson, Jeanette Sommer’s sister, who had managed to flee to the Netherlands with her husband Hermann Goldschmidt and their three children in 1939 and to emigrate from Rotterdam to New York in 1940, bore witness of her relatives’ fate on Pages of Testimony at the Yad Vashem memorial site in Israel.

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

Stand: April 2018
© Birgit Gewehr

Quellen: 1; 2 (R 1938/28164); 5; 8, StaH 5221 Jüdische Gemeinden, 992 e 2 Band 2 (Deportationsliste Minsk 8.11.1941); StaH 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung, 13132 (Goldschmidt, Hermann); StaH 351-14 Arbeits- und Sozialfürsorge – Sonderakten, 1842 (Sommer, Hermann); AB Altona; Auskunft von Miriam Gillis Carlebach, Oktober 2013; Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten/Gedenkstätte und Museum Sachsenhausen, D 1 A/1020, Bl. 520, Auskunft zu Hermann Sommer, 8.11.2013.
Zur Nummerierung häufig genutzter Quellen siehe Link "Recherche und Quellen".

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