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Siegmund Silberberg * 1874

Wohlers Allee 28 (Altona, Altona-Altstadt)

JG. 1874

further stumbling stones in Wohlers Allee 28:
Fritz Michael Allen, Julia Allen, Ruth Allen, Evelyn Allen, Fanny Silberberg

Siegmund Silberberg, born on 23 Mar. 1874, deported on 19 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, deported further on 21 Sept. 1942 to the Treblinka extermination camp
Fanny Silberberg, née Bargebuhr, born on 28 Dec. 1877, deported on 19 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, deported further on 21 Sept. 1942 to the Treblinka extermination camp

Wohlers Allee 28 (Wohlersallee)

Siegmund Silberberg (born in Altona in 1874) and Fanny Bargebuhr (born in Wilhelmshaven in 1877) were married in Altona in 1906. Even the father of the groom, Josef Silberberg (1840–1903), married to Rosa, née Neuhaus (born in 1842), had already worked as a butcher in Altona. Little is known about the siblings Louis (born in 1875), Joseph (in 1877), Carl (in 1878), Bertha (1878–1946), Lehmann, later Wolf (in 1879), and Gerson Silberberg (in 1884).

The parents of the bride, the merchant Joseph (1847–1906) and Johanna Bargebuhr, née Rosenberg (1852–1916), had moved to Hamburg from Wilhelmshaven in Jan. 1898 along with their children Bertha, Johanna (born in 1874), Fanny (in 1877), Max (in 1882), and Emilie (in 1887). In 1899, Joseph Bargebuhr, a native of Norden, was first mentioned in the Hamburg directory as the owner of a cigar store, located at Zippelhaus 9 (Hamburg-Altstadt) directly at the Zollkanal ("Customs Canal”) of the free port. In the following year, the address was "Bei der kleinen Michaeliskirche 28.” Another year later, the family relocated to Wexstrasse (Hamburg-Neustadt).

Siegmund and Fanny Silberberg had two children: Julia (born in 1907) and Herbert Silberberg (born in 1909) were born in Hamburg’s neighboring Prussian city of Altona. Siegmund Silberberg had also been born there, attending the Jewish boys’ school, completing an apprenticeship as a butcher, and working as a self-employed owner of a large-scale slaughterhouse since 1904. The Silberberg family was listed in the Altona directories as main tenants starting in 1908; they lived at Neueburg 12 on the fourth floor (1908–1909), Bachstrasse 73 on the second floor (1910–1919), and Wohlersallee 28 (1920–1938). Siegmund Silberberg had purchased the town house at Wohlersallee 28 from the widow E. Grohmann in 1919.

For some time, Siegmund Silberberg’s large-scale slaughterhouse was located at Bachstrasse 12 (including in the period from 1914 to 1920). Due to a general administrative regulation, a relocation took place to the Hamburg Central Slaughterhouse near the Sternschanze Stockyard and the Hamburg-Altonaer Cattle Market (northeastern corner of Heiligengeistfeld). After obtaining his intermediate secondary school certificate (mittlere Reife) at the Realgymnasium Königstrasse [a high school focused on science, math, and modern languages], the son, Herbert Silberberg, worked in his father’s industrial slaughterhouse. As far as he remembers, in the last years before 1933, "every week about 20 to 30 cows, 40 to 50 calves, 80 to 100 goats, and 10 to 20 pigs were slaughtered” in the operation. He estimated annual sales before 1933 at approx. 150,000 RM (reichsmark). In 1936/37, annual sales reached only some 21,000 RM and the Siegmund Silberberg’s annual income resulting from this at about 6,000 RM. At Beim Grünen Jäger 2 (in Altona), directly adjacent to the boundary between Altona and Hamburg, Siegmund Silberberg had rented barns and slaughter rooms from veterinarian Ferber for processing the meat and for packing it into to wooden barrels as well as cold stores from the Gesellschaft für Markt- und Kühlhallen (in Altona at Rainweg 117/119), a company specializing in market halls and cold stores. In the early 1930s, the main customers were the sausage factories of Michael Wein (in Altona at Gerritstrasse 23), Claus Dölling (in Elmshorn), and Karl Schrader (in Hamburg at Arndtstrasse 14/16), as well as the Paul Kuhn sausage and meat cannery (in Altona at Grosse Bergstrasse 36/40). In addition, however, Silberberg’s operation also supplied the slaughterhouses of Nico Pommerschein (in Altona at Norderreihe 14), Max Jonas (in Altona at the intersection of Parallelstrasse 32 and Friedenstrasse), Claus Sternberg (in Altona at Steinstrasse 26), Johs. Weinrich (in Hamburg at Valentinskamp 24/24 a), Gerson Stoppelman (see (in Hamburg at Rentzelstrasse 3), Walter Randerath (in Hamburg at Grindelallee 148), as well as the S. Simon slaughterhouse specializing in ship provisioning (see William Simon, The hides and furs were auctioned off by Häuteverwertung der Provinz Schleswig-Holstein GmbH (in Altona at Grüne Strasse 17), a hide processing company in which Siegmund Silberberg owned a cooperative share of 500 RM.

After her marriage and a short stay in Hamburg (in 1931), daughter Julia again lived at her parents’ place at Wohlersallee 28 from 1932 until 1937 together with her husband, the salaried employee Fritz Allen (see corresponding biography).

After the Nazis assumed power, their "racial anti-Semitism” was elevated to the rank of a state doctrine. Laws and ordinances now excluded Jews from the civil service as well as all associations, as there was no room for Jews in the desired "[German] national community” ("Volksgemeinschaft"). In addition to violent measures, the actions of the Nazi state were aimed at driving all Jews out of German economic life, which meant the destruction of their economic livelihood for all of those affected. Using a variety of strategies, the authorities forced the "Aryanization” of companies owned by Jews. In doing so, they implemented Nazi objectives with administrative creativity and severity, for example, by cancelling export quotas or withdrawing the allocation of goods, banning any travel in Germany outside the place of residence, or forcing the appointment of "trustees” as general managers. Industrial umbrella organizations aligned to Nazi principles instructed their member companies not to maintain any economic relations with Jewish owners. Denunciations or the criminalization of Jewish company owners accelerated the decline of these enterprises and, respectively, their "Aryanization.” This also affected Siegmund Silberberg. On 2 Nov. 1937, he was taken into "protective custody” ("Schutzhaft”) together with other butchers on charges of bribing civil servants and committed to pretrial detention on 25 Nov. 1937.

The collective indictment was directed against 30 persons, owners of large-scale slaughterhouses and employees of the slaughterhouse who issued or, respectively, obtained "clearance certificates” in the course of meat inspection at the slaughterhouse in return for monetary payments. Siegmund Silberberg confessed to having "given money to the clerks from the meat inspectorate for draining and for cleaning out livers. By way of explanation, he indicated that with the payments he intended to have the people check less rigorously. It was well known that the inspectorate clerks were otherwise inclined to easily hassle, e.g., by making overly large incisions in the cuts of meat queried.”

The slaughterhouse employees were sentenced to six months, eight months, or one year in prison. The owners of the industrial-scale slaughterhouses were sentenced to prison terms of three or four months. On the personal and identification form, the police noted, among other things, membership in the Nazi party as well as religious affiliation. For convicted Jews, different rules were in place as compared to non-Jews: Although sentenced to four months in prison, Siegmund Silberberg was not released until 2 Apr. 1938, i.e., after five months. It is conceivable that his release was subject to conditions regarding the sale of his house and company as well as emigration.

In May 1938, Siegmund Silberberg, by then aged 64 , sold his single family home at Wohlersallee 28 for net proceeds of 8,000 RM. A few months prior, its value had been estimated at 15,000 RM, and there were no indications in the files as to the amount of any mortgages. In the 1939 directory, the new owner listed was a certain H. Viol (in Farmsen at Eckerkoppel 6), who had also purchased the neighboring houses, no. 32 and n. 34 (the previous owner, the merchant Moritz Karo, emigrated in 1938). Usually, the "Aryan” buyer was able to take advantage of the "Jewish” seller’s predicament to achieve acquisition significantly below market value.

The Silberberg family – now tenants again – moved to Bachstrasse 73 on the third floor (renamed Pepermöhlenbek 73) in Altona. The company, whose sales had drastically dropped due to the many years of obstructions, was closed in Sept. 1938, since ultimately the enterprise had been denied even the meat and, respectively, livestock allocation cards. The cooperative shares in the Häuteverwertungs-GmbH worth 500 RM were taken over by the Hamburg industrial-scale butcher Anton Jensen for a price of 250 RM.

At this point, the foreign currency office of the Chief Finance Administrator (Oberfinanzpräsident) started the hunt for Siegmund Silberberg’s remaining assets. On 13 Jan. 1939, State Councilor (Regierungsrat) Fritz Klesper (born in 1900, member of the Nazi party since 1 May 1933) from the foreign currency office, section U 16 (in the Hindenburghaus at Grosser Burstah 31, room 82) summoned Siegmund Silberberg and demanded an "up-to-date” statement of financial assets. State Councilor Klesper noted that approx. 8,000 RM in bonds were deposited with the Altona Sparkasse von 1799, a sum generated by the sale of the house. He refrained from blocking the securities account. In addition, Customs Secretary Walter Wierdemann (born in 1904, member of the Nazi party since 1 May 1933) from the Hamburg customs investigation department dealt with the matter and for his part summoned Siegmund Silberberg to an interrogation. In a detailed "investigation report” dated 15 May 1939, he noted that the family jewelry had already been surrendered, and apart from the assets, he also reviewed expenses: "Since Silberberg was suspected of intending to transfer his remaining assets abroad, I demanded that he provide exact information about his latest expenses. (…) At my allegation that in view of his modest assets, he had been living far beyond his means over the last few months, he responded that he hoped to emigrate in the next months.”

The aim of the authorities’ proceedings was comprehensive recording, blocking, and appropriation of Jewish assets. Siegmund Silberberg fought back and commissioned the former Hamburg lawyer Albert Holländer (1877–1942), who due to the anti-Jewish legislation was allowed to work only as a "legal adviser” ("Konsulent”) for Jewish clients as of Apr. 1939, with drafting the documents for the foreign currency office.

After the economic and legal basis for life in Germany had been destroyed and external pressure was mounting, the Silberbergs decided to emigrate. Siegmund and Fanny Silberberg strove, among other things, to depart for Rotterdam (Netherlands) between Feb. and May 1939. Why their attempts at emigrating failed is not known; their Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) file card already contains a handwritten note on the date, "16 Oct. 1938 abroad,” which was then not kept. Daughter Julia Allen, née Silberberg (born on 21 Sept. 1907 in Altona), her husband Fritz Allen (born on 11 Aug. 1907 in Hamburg), and their daughter Ruth (born on 13 Nov. 1934 in Hamburg) had already emigrated to the Netherlands in Oct. 1937. One can assume that the Silberberg couple lived there in exile together with their daughter.

Their son, Herbert Silberberg (born on 23 Mar. 1909 in Altona) emigrated to Uruguay in Aug. 1938 and from there further to Paraguay and Argentina. Among others, the Hamburg butchers Walter Randerath (born in 1909), Max Jonas (born in 1902), and Gustav Stoppelman(n) (born in 1893) had also emigrated there.

With the start of World War II and the continuing financial plundering by the Nazi state of Jews willing to emigrate, emigration became impossible for persecutees like the Silberberg couple. From May 1939 onward, tenant protection was cancelled for Jews. In 1941, Siegmund Silberberg was no longer listed in the Hamburg directory as a main tenant. The housing department had assigned the Silberberg couple new accommodation: first as subtenants with the merchant Wolf Zloczower (born on 17 Oct. 1881, deported on 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz) and his family in Altona at General-Litzmann-Strasse 71 (today Stresemannstrasse) on the third floor; and later at Mathildenstrasse (renamed Schillerstrasse) 18, where according to the directory from 1935 until 1941 the brother and former silversmith Gerson Silberberg (born on 13 Dec. 1884 in Altona) also lived on the third floor. As the Jewish religious tax file card indicated, he was deported to the Minsk Ghetto on 8 Nov. 1941. In the very end, the Silberberg couple received a quarter at Sonninstrasse 12 on the ground floor, part of the Salomon Joseph and Marianne Hertz-Stiftung, which the Nazi rulers had designated a "Jews’ house” ("Judenhaus”) and which served as collective accommodation used for the deportations.

With every relocation, the Silberbergs were forced to reduce their household. Following the deportation, the apartments or, respectively, rooms of those affected were sealed by the Gestapo and the remaining household effects confiscated and auctioned off to the benefit of the Nazi state.

Siegmund Silberberg and Fanny Silberberg, née Bargebuhr, were deported on Transport VI/2 to the Theresienstadt Ghetto on 19 July 1942 and from there to the Treblinka extermination camp in occupied Poland on 21 Sept. 1942 and murdered there. The exact dates of their deaths are unknown.

The daughter Julia Allen, née Silberberg, was deported along with her husband and their two daughters from the German-occupied Netherlands to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp on 15 July 1942 and probably murdered immediately upon their arrival there on 17 July 1942; for the husband, 30 Sept. 1942 is recorded as the date of death.

Sister Emilie Gerechter, née Bargebuhr (born on 11 Sept. 1887 in Wilhelmshaven), was married to the Hamburg merchant Robert Gerechter (1868 –1937). She fled with her daughter Gertrud Gerechter (born on 2 Mar. 1909 in Hamburg) from Hamburg to Prague in Czechoslovakia. From there, both were deported to the Lodz Ghetto on 16 Oct. 1941. Stolpersteine were laid for them at Heymannstrasse 24 (in Eimsbüttel).

For the Zloczower family, five Stolpersteine were laid at Stresemannstrasse 71 (in Altona). A Stolperstein at Rutschbahn 11 (in Rotherbaum) commemorates the butcher Gerson Stoppelman (see corresponding entry) and for Willy (William) Simon, the owner of the slaughterhouse specializing in ship provisioning, a Stolperstein was laid at Bellevue 34 (in Winterhude).

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

Stand: April 2018
© Björn Eggert

Quellen: 1; 2, (R 1939/69); 4; 5; 8; StaHH 213-11 Staatsanwaltschaft Landgericht – Strafsachen, 3825/40 (Schlachthofsache, Hansen u. a.); StaHH 332-5 Standesämter, 572 u. 209/1906 (Sterberegister 1906, Joseph Bargebuhr) und 3109 u. 357/1908 (Heiratsregister 1908, Emilie Bargebuhr u. Robert Gerechter) und 748 u. 434/1916 (Sterberegister 1916, Hannchen Bargebuhr); StaHH 332-8 Meldewesen (Alte Einwohnermeldekartei Hamburg 1892–1925), (= 741-4 Fotoarchiv, K 4194, Emilie Bargebuhr, Johanna Bargebuhr, Joseph Bargebuhr, Max Bargebuhr und K 4555, Silberberg); StaHH 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung, 2527 (Siegmund Silberberg) und 3642 (Fanny Silberberg); StaHH 242-1 II Gefängnisverwaltung II, 26963 (=741-4 Fotoarchiv, A 262); StaH 221-11 Staatskommissar für die Entnazifizierung und Kategorisierung, Ad 858 (Fritz Klesper) und Z 8638 (Walter Wierdemann); Stadtarchiv Wilhelmshaven, Geburtsurkunde 421/1877 (Fanny Bargebuhr); AB Altona und Hamburg; Biographie für Emilie Gerechter in: Lohmeyer, Stolpersteine in Hamburg-Eimsbüttel und Hamburg-Hoheluft-West, S. 218.
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