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Selma Beyer (née Gottschalk) * 1874
Grindelallee 168 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)
Selma Beyer, née Gottschalk, born 13 July 1874 in Nienburg, Saxony Anhalt, deported 15 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, died there 11 Nov. 1942
Selma Beyer had her two children Erich and Ilse relatively late in life. Erich was born on 31 Dec. 1906, Ilse on 24 June 1909 when Selma was already in her thirties. Selma's husband Hugo Beyer was born on 23 Jan. 1874 in Röbel an der Müritz, where his parents Hermann and Karoline, née Bendix, lived until their deaths. Hugo and Selma Beyer had married on 6 June 1903 in Nienburg on the Saale, the bride’s hometown, as was usual at that time. Selma's parents, Hermann and Anna (Salinger) Gottschalk remained in Nienburg their entire lives. Although Selma, like her husband, came from a Jewish family, she had been baptized.
At the time they married, Hugo Beyer had been living in Hamburg for several years. He had founded a merchandise brokerage business in 1907 in Hamburg, acting as a middleman between buyers and sellers. The company began as a partnership, but from 1909 onwards he ran it alone. For a long time, the business went well. Hugo Beyer had rented business premises at Bartelsstraße 65 and employed a clerk and an office worker. After the First World War, however, the situation deteriorated significantly. He moved his company to Altonaer Strasse 61 and dismissed his employees. His own income also declined rapidly. At about the same time, he and Selma separated, although they never legally divorced.
Selma and Hugo Beyer's son Erich attended the middle school on Weidenstieg from 1912 to 1921 - although with a break of several years. During the First World War, from 1915 to 1918, he lived in Nienburg, probably with his grandparents. He attended school there, first the middle school, and from 1917 the secondary school in Calbe on the Saale. After finishing his schooling, he completed a commercial apprenticeship at the Hamburg company A. Lievendag & Co., a footwear wholesale and export business. He remained there from 1922 to 1928 as a salesman and representative for northern and central Germany. His sister Ilse trained to be a stenographer and office clerk.
Hugo Beyer's business continued to deteriorate, and in 1928 he declared bankruptcy. In the end his income was reduced to only an average of 100 Reichsmarks (RM) a month, and from 1929 onwards he received support from the welfare agency. Occasionally his sister helped out. As an independent merchant he was required to be a member of the Chamber of Commerce. By 1931 he could no longer pay the membership fee. An attempt was made to garnish it from his income, but there was nothing to take. He was near destitution. In 1932 he tried again to get his business going by looking for a partner, but it was in vain. He once again had to apply for welfare support. He continued to live in the apartment at Grindelallee 168. Again and again he tried to get back on his feet professionally and financially, but the anti-Semitic boycotts put an end to any hopes.
During this time Erich Beyer had changed jobs twice. From the end of 1928 until the beginning of 1930 he worked for the Rudolph Karstadt department store in Hamburg-Barmbek as a salesman, responsible for the assortment, purchasing, storage, and presentation of the goods in his department. He then worked for the Schuh-Behr shoe company in Hamburg as managing director at various sister companies in Hamburg, Harburg, Flensburg and Bremen. Schuh-Behr was a "shoe dynasty" with headquarters in Hamburg, owned by Friedrich and Louis Behr (see Stolpersteine in Hamburg-Eimsbüttel und Hamburg-Hoheluft-West and www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de ).
In the meantime, however, the Nazis had come to power in Germany. They called for a boycott of Jewish businesses, and enforced it using the SA, at times violently. The boycott resulted in dramatic losses for the Schuh-Behr company, which was suddenly considered "Jewish” because of its owners and partners. It had to close several subsidiaries and stores, including those in Bremen, where Erich Beyer worked. From 1 Jan. 1934 onwards, he was unemployed, and he never found work again. In 1935 he was conscripted to compulsory labor in a factory. By that time he had already made plans to leave Germany, since he was categorized as having Jewish heritage according to the Nazi racial ideology, and was thus of victim of the increasing persecution, deprivation of rights and exclusion. His last residence in Hamburg was on Pastorenstraße near St. Michaelis Chruch. In April 1936 he emigrated to the US and changed his name to Eric Boyer.
Selma Beyer’s situation, both physically and emotionally, became worse and worse after 1928. The failure of her marriage weighed heavily on her. Since she was not working and her husband could no longer support her, her financial situation became ever more dire and she eventually had to rely on welfare subsidies. She also received a small subsidy of 7 Reichsmarks a month from the Jewish Community. She suffered from various health problems, and the welfare agents who made regular house calls repeatedly wrote in their reports that she was "physically in bad shape." At a height of only 5 feet, Selma was a small person. She also did not weigh much, and the welfare agents had the impression that she was undernourished, so she was given an extra allowance for food. Her children tried to help support her, but neither of them had much to spare. In the summer of 1932, she moved out of the apartment at Grindelallee 168, but she could not afford her own flat. She rented furnished rooms, first on Eppendorfer Weg at the Mathiae residence, then on Bogenallee at the Iversen residence, and from September 1935 onwards at the Wolfsberg residence at Oberstrasse 3. She had her furniture from the former apartment put in storage, apparently in the hope that she would at some point be better off. But her situation at the time seemed hopeless. She received 32 RM a month from the welfare office, as well as the 7 RM from the Jewish Community, with which she had to cover her rent of 20 RM, and 8 RM for the furniture storage, leaving only 4 RM a month for living expenses, the equivalent of about 20-25€. Added to this was the ever-increasing danger of being a Jew in Nazi Germany. The fact that Selma Beyer had been baptized did not change the fact that the Nazis considered her to be a "Jew by race.”
Ilse Beyer's situation was also increasingly dire under the Nazi regime. When she was able to find work, she never knew if she would be able to keep the job. She was never able to afford her own apartment, and had always lived in rented rooms.
In 1937 Selma's twin brother Oscar Gottschalk moved from Nienburg on the Saale to Hamburg. He was a successful merchant of manufactured goods, but partial paralysis had forced him to give up his job. In Hamburg, he rented a 2-room apartment at Grindelberg 76 and Selma moved in with him. But on 5 Jan. 1940 Oscar Gottschalk died in the Jewish Hospital on Johnsallee as a result of a colon tumor.
Two months later, in March 1940. Ilse Beyer left Germany and emigrated to the US. It can be assumed that her brother had provided an affidavit and agreed to sponsor her.
Another two years later, Hugo Beyer died. He suffered a stroke on the street. Now Selma Beyer was completely alone. After her brother’s death she had been able to remain in the apartment on Grindelberg, but in 1942 she was forced to move to the "Jews’ house" at Bundesstrasse 43. It was there that she received the deportation order. On 15 July 1942 she was deported to Theresienstadt. Less than four months later she died of heart failure at the age of 68. Four weeks after her deportation, the repossession agent Bobsien, by order of the Foreign Exchange Office of the Hamburg Tax Administration, auctioned off eight silver cutlery items from Selma Beyer's household goods. The net proceeds, 21.95 RM went to the City of Hamburg.
Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Frauke Steinhäuser
Quellen: 1; 3; 4; 5; 7; 8; 9; StaH 214-1 Gerichtsvollzieherwesen 153; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 8180 u. 274/1942, 8168 u. 14/1940; StaH 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung 30555, 2512, 2474 (darin die Fürsorgeakte Selma Beyer); 352-5 Todesbescheinigungen 1942 Standesamt 2a, Nr. 274 u. 1940 Standesamt 2a Nr. 14; StaH 552-1 Jüdische Gemeinden 992 e 2 Bd. 4 Transport nach Theresienstadt am 15. Juli 1942, Liste 1; www.holocaust.cz/de/opferdatenbank/opfer/6114-selma-beyer.
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