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Malchen Berlin * 1918
Grindelallee 134 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)
Minna Meyer, nee. Berlin * 30.1.1883, deported 6.12.1941 to Riga
Malchen Berlin, * 24.6.1918, deported 6.12.1941 to Riga
Minna Berlin was born on 30th January 1883 in Hamburg. Until 1939 members of the family had a gravestone business in Fuhlsbüttel near the Jewish cemetery. She married Richard Meyer (1882-1941) who was the proprietor of a woolen’s business at first in the Große Bergstraße in Altona and later at 134 Grindelallee. The marriage remained childless. After the death of her brother Siegfried Berlin (died 12.9.1922) who had a Goldsmith’s shop in the neighboring house at 132 Grindelallee, Minna and Richard Meyer fostered his then four-year-old daughter, Malchen.
Malchen Berlin, the daughter of Siegfried and Dora Berlin, born Sacharewitz, was born in Hamburg on 24th June 1918 and was given the first name of her grandmother on her father’s side. We know from family correspondence that in October 1939 Malchen accepted a position in the Jewish Community building in Hartungstraße (today the Hamburg studio theater [Kammerspiele] is situated in the building) where she worked in the cafe. During these years Malchen was friendly with a man who had already emigrated so that she hoped that she would be able to leave Germany with his help. Her cousin, Ernst Berlin, who had emigrated to Shanghai in July 1939, also tried to obtain an entry permit from the relevant officials for Malchen Berlin and Minna Meyer. But all efforts were fruitless.
On 6th December 1941 Malchen Berlin and Minna Meyer were deported to Riga. With them their close relatives, Fanny Berlin, born Meyer, Olga Wolf, born Berlin, as well as her 2-year-old son, Dan, made the journey to their deaths.
Minna and Malchen, however, unlike most other deportees from Hamburg, did not fall prey to the mass execution that took place in a wood near Riga on 26th March 1942. On 2nd anuary 1944 they were deported again to Stutthof near Danzig, where Minna died on 2nd January 1945 in the face of the inhuman living conditions. Malchen Berlin succumbed probably only a few months later as a result of one of the typhus epidemics that were rampant in the camp.
From the time when Malchen Berlin was interned in the Jungfernhof Concentration Camp near Riga a story was handed down, which Ursula Hosse, a cousin of Malchen Berlin, reported:
In order to get back to his unit on time, Bernhard Fink, a German soldier, mistakenly jumped onto a train in which those deported from Hamburg were transported. Malchen immediately stood up to offer a seat to the soldier in uniform. However, he declined because he did not
want to take a seat from such a pretty young lady. After this the two became friends and Bernhard Fink took a letter from Malchen to her aunt in Hasslinghausen when he went home on leave, which certainly would have meant his taking a big risk if it had been discovered. In the letter Malchen described the situation in the Jungfernhof Concentration Camp near Riga.
Since the aunt was afraid that she herself might experience problems if she had the letter in
her possession, she finally burned it. According to the report this first meeting took place in a third class carriage, which at that time had one external door per compartment. It can, therefore, be assumed that this incident even happened on the journey from Hamburg to Riga since it is certain that this transport was carried out in a passenger train, while for later
deportations cattle trucks were used.
Bernhard Fink, who had grown up in an orphanage, spent his home leave regularly in the following years at the home of the Hosse family in Hasslinghausen / Westf. At the age of 26 he died in October 1945 in a Russian prisoner-of-war camp.
Translator: David Blank, Jerusalem
© Johann-Hinrich Möller
Telefongespräch vom 10. Februar 2006 mit Frau Ursula Hosse (Cousine von Malchen Berlin)
Brief Ursula Hosse vom 9. August 2006
Briefwechsel Familie Berlin (1939-1941), Bestand Margarethe und Susan Berlin, San Rafael CA, USA
Rabbiner Eduard Duckesz, Familiengeschichte des Rabbi Lase Berlin in Hamburg, Altona 1929
Eigene Recherchen zu den Familien Wolf / Berlin / Meyer im Staatsarchiv Hamburg (522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden, 992 b, Kultussteuerkartei)