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Bruno Berger * 1880
Jungfrauenthal 12 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)
further stumbling stones in Jungfrauenthal 12:
Bruno Berger, born 3.5.1880 in Ratibor/Upper Silesia, deported 19.7.1942 to Theresienstadt (Terezin), murdered 15.5.1944 in Auschwitz
The merchant Bruno Berger came from Upper Silesia, more precisely from the town of Ratibor (Racibórz/now Poland), where he was born on May 3, 1880. He had spent his childhood there and, after graduating from the Gymnasium with the second last grade (Unterprima), had completed a commercial apprenticeship.
His parents Heinrich Berger (born 27.11.1851 in Kieferstädtel/Sośnicowice) and Elfriede, née Löwy (born 2.12.1853 in Nikokai/Mikołów) were business owners like most of the Jewish inhabitants in Ratibor. They ran a cigar and cigarette shop in a prime location on the Ring/corner of Domstraße in the city center with a branch at Bahnhofstraße 1 (today Adam Mickiewicz). In 1913 Heinrich Berger advertised in the Rabitorer newspaper "Reichsblatt”: "Imported brands at factory prices. The cheapest source of supply for innkeepers and retailers".
Bruno Berger married Johanna/Hanna Blau (born 7.4.1891) on December 28, 1920 in Berlin-Schöneberg. At that time, he was still living with his parents at Domstraße 2. His bride came from Stolp (Słupsk/Poland) in Pomerania. Her parents were Leo Blau (born 22.5.1854 in Stolp, died 7.11.1941) and Clara, née Jacoby (born 27.9.1862 in Belgard, died 1917). Leo Blau was a liquor manufacturer and house owner at Langestraße 52 (today Michała Mostnika). The business had existed since 1852 under the name Nathan Blau. After his marriage, Bruno Berger became a co-owner of his father-in-law's company. However, after 1929 Bruno no longer appears in the Stolper address books.
According to Bruno Berger he had been travelling since 1931 (presumably as a salesman) and did not return to Ratibor until March 1933. On August 26, 1933 he divorced Johanna Berger by the Ratibor Regional Court. Johanna Berger had been admitted to the psychiatric mental hospital in Greifswald in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania "because of mental illness". It is not known when she was admitted there.
Bruno Berger had already made the acquaintance of the Behr couple in Hamburg. Meta Behr ran a wholesale textile business for bed and table linen at Caffamacherreihe 53, which had been founded by her husband Nathan Behr (born 22.10.1868 in Lübeck). In the following years, however, he had become seriously ill with diabetes and was unable to work. Meta Behr had officially taken over the business as owner in 1922. Nathan Behr died on June 4,,1933 and was buried in the Ilandkoppel Jewish Cemetery in Hamburg-Ohlsdorf.
Meta Behr and Bruno Berger married on January 8, 1935.
Meta Berger, née Löwenthal, was born in Duderstadt on 14.2.1880 as the daughter of Meyer Löwenthal and his wife Rosalie, née Rosenberg. (see Selma Bleiweiss, www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de). Although her parents were Jewish, she had attended a convent school for two years. She finished her schooling after the Selekta (additional class for gifted pupils after regular schooling) at a secondary school and subsequently completed a commercial apprenticeship in Hanover. On November 10, 1919 she married her first husband Nathan Behr in Duderstadt and followed him from Kassel to Hamburg.
Bruno Berger joined his second wife Meta in the business after their marriage. A former employee who was still working in the company in 1938 later recalled that Bruno Berger took over the office work, which, since it was an instalment business, was very extensive. Still in the summer of 1935, the Berger couple moved the company and the private flat to a larger 5-room flat at Isestraße 57.
From October 1935 Bruno Berger paid cultural taxes as a member of the Hamburg Jewish Community.
Apparently the Berger couple had not yet suffered any major losses as a result of the calls for boycotts against Jewish business enterprises in 1933 and 1935. Meta Berger reported in her application for reparation (1957): "My second husband worked in the mail-order business, i.e. he took care of the shipping and the written work, while I cared for buying and selling. We had loyal customers who did not let us down even after 1933. I earned at least RM 1000 per month until shortly before my emigration to Uruguay."
Meta Berger emigrated to Uruguay on July 28, 1938. She had previously told her co-worker that she was going on a recreational trip. Obviously she had left Germany in a hurry. Bruno Berger was to follow after he had completed all the formalities for official emigration, including removal goods. The repurchase of an existing life insurance policy worth RM 9760 was to finance the emigration. But all this took longer than expected.
According to the declaration of assets required by the President of the upper tax authoritie (Oberfinanzpräsident), Bruno Berger was below the assessment limit for the issuance of a "security order" on June 8, 1939. Bruno Berger now still owned RM 4261 as capital assets. After paying 2850 RM for the transport of the removal goods and the 900 RM he estimated for the ship passage, he had 511 RM left to live on until his emigration. In addition, he stated that he was also still financially supporting his "old parents" (according to the census in May 1939, his parents were still living in Ratibor at Jungfernstraße 11, today Fryderyka Chopina, after which their trace is lost). On June 16, 1939, Bruno Berger applied to the foreign exchange office in Hamburg for removal goods.
On August 5, 1939, Bruno Berger received the clearance certificate required for emigration. The 12-page list with the removal goods, as well as the travel and hand luggage, had been checked by the expert of the department for foreign exchange office. Items such as a security grille, a large extending table, a radio table and two bridges had not been approved on July 6, 1939. Bruno Berger had transferred an ordered Dego levy of RM 56.50 for newly acquired items to the Deutsche Golddiskontbank. (For the Dego levy, see Glossary).
The Klingenberg company had packed the removal goods in lifts (wooden containers) and had already been in storage since December 1938 at the Transport-Krump forwarding company in Blücherstraße 205, warehouse II, for dispatch. The President of the upper tax authorities had no reservations about the foreign exchange regulations all the permits had been obtained and were valid for one month. Nevertheless, Bruno Berger's emigration failed: on September 1, 1939, the war began. Barely four weeks later, on September 27, an official recorded in a handwritten note in Bruno Berger's emigration file that there was no possibility of emigration and that new applications would be submitted at the appropriate time.
Since the dissolution of the flat in Isestraße, Bruno Berger lived with the widow Paula Meyer (see www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de) in Jungfrauenthal 12 until he finally had to move into the "Judenhaus" in Rutschbahn 25a. There he received the deportation order for July 19, 1942 to the "old age ghetto" Theresienstadt.
On May 15, 1944, Bruno Berger was deported from there to Auschwitz where he was murdered.
The Berger couple's removal goods stored in the port of Hamburg never reached Montevideo. After the war began, the lifts were no longer shipped. The removal lifts remaining in the warehouses, owned by Jewish emigrants, were confiscated by the Gestapo on the orders of the Reich Security Main Office in Berlin and auctioned off for the benefit of the German Reich. On October 8, 1942, two sums of total RM 2,299.24 were transferred to the Chief Finance Administrator (Oberfinanzkasse) in the name of Bruno Berger; the name of the auctioneer was not noted on the receipts. The warehouse of the Transport-Krump company at Blücherstraße 205 was destroyed in an air raid in July 1943.
Meta Berger remained in Uruguay, where she was unable to build a sufficient livelihood. She died in 1964 at the age of 84 in the "Asylum Israelita" of the Jewish Community in Montevideo.
Translation: Sönke Lohse
Stand: July 2021
© Susanne Rosendahl
Quellen: 1; 3; StaH 332-5-1008 u. 176/1933; www.ancestry.de Heiratsregister Bruno Berger und Johanna Blau am 28.12.1920 in Berlin (Zugriff 4.1.2021); StaH 314-15_FVg 5926; StaH 213-13_18943; StaH 351-11_4811 (Berger, Meta);StaH213-13_21739 (Berger, Meta); https://collections.arolsen-archives.org; Bruno Berger (Zugriff 21.6.2021); https://collections.arolsen-archives.org; Leo Blau (Zugriff 21.6.2021); Reichsvereinigung der Juden (Kartei) https://digitalcollections.its-arolsen.org/01020401/name/pageview /702029/517212 (Zugriff 21.6.2021); Ratiborer Kreisblatt vom 13. März 1913 digital https://sbc.org.pl/Content/206500/iii269117-1913-11-0001.pdf (Zugriff 21.6.2021); verschiedene Adressbücher der Stadt Stolp, digital http://www.srodkowopomorskie.porcelanki.net/readarticle.php?article_id=210; https://www.mappingthelives.org; https://www.online-ofb.de/famreport.php?ofb=juden_nw&ID=I36532&nachname=BLAU&modus=&lang=de; Heiratsurkunde des Standesamtes Belgard Leo Blau und Clara Jacoby digital http://genealogie.kaltwasser.net/Urkunde/Belgard/b/1888/13 (Zugriff 20.6.2021); Hinterpommerscher Haus- und Familien-Kalender auf das Gemeinjahr 1911 (Zugriff 20.6.2021); verschiedene Adressbücher Rabitor.
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