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Gertrud Johanna Alsberg * 1895
Brahmsallee 39 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)
ermordet in Auschwitz
Gertrud Johanna Alsberg, née Feiss, born 15 Jan. 1895 in Mussbach, deported 15 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, murdered 28 Oct. 1944 in Auschwitz
Ernst Siegfried Alsberg, born 8 June 1879 in Cassel (modern spelling Kassel), deported 15 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, murdered 28 Oct. 1944 in Auschwitz
Gertrud Johanna Feiss was born in the small town of Mussbach in the Palatinate, where, in 1933, there were 15 members of the Jewish community. After her marriage to Ernst Siegfried Alsberg in January 1920 in Cassel, she lived in Hamburg. During the First World War she worked as an auxiliary nurse for the Red Cross, and afterwards she attended nurses’ training and got her certification. She gave up her profession after she married, but continued to do volunteer work and was actively involved in political and social welfare issues. The German State Party (the Deutsche Staatspartei, a social liberal party) became her political home. In December 1932 the Hamburg press announced that Gertrud Alsberg was "unanimously re-elected as the District Leader of the District IV women’s group of the German State Party.” She was also active in the Jewish community, where her political views were bourgeois-liberal. In March 1930 she endorsed members of the religious-liberal movement in an election for representatives in the Jewish community of Hamburg. She was a co-founder of the "Jewish-Liberal Association” in Hamburg, and became a member of the executive committee in 1937. From 1933 to 1935 she was a member of the German-Israelite Congregation’s commission for the Wilhelminenhöhe, a property on the outskirts of Hamburg that belonged to the Jewish Community and was used as a holiday camp for Jewish children. In 1937/38 she was on the managing board of the women’s group of the Central Association of German Citizens of Jewish Faith.
In 1938 the family’s financial situation forced her to return to work. She became a social welfare agent for the Jewish community and worked as a night nurse at the Jewish Hospital and for private patients. The Alsbergs lived at Werderstraße 7 until 1939. This was probably the last apartment they chose on their own. In 1939 they moved to Rahlstedt, where they lived at Grubesallee 21, before moving again in 1941 to Schäferkampsallee. While they lived in Rahlstedt, Gertrud Alsberg became director of the Jewish old-age home.
Ernst Siegfried Alsberg’s parents were Siegmund and Jeanette Rosenstein Alsberg. He was 16 years older than his wife and had lived in Hamburg since 1902. He was a front-line soldier in World War I and was awarded the Iron Cross 2nd Class and the Honor Cross of the World War 1914/1918. In December 1920, nearly one year after their marriage, the couple was granted Hamburg citizenship (there was no unified German citizenship until 1934). At that time they lived at Schenkendorffstraße 22 II. The couple had two daughters who both survived the Shoah because they were able to immigrate to England in 1938 and 1939, respectively. Regina Elfriede Franziska Alsberg Rose (her husband’s German name before they emigrated was Rosenbaum) was born in 1920. Margot Emmy Alsberg Jones was born in 1924. The elder daughter, called Fränzi, was a member of the German-Jewish hiking club "Kameraden.” Since she was nearly an adult when she emigrated, she was able to work as a nurse-in-training at an English hospital. She later moved to the USA, but the younger daughter Margot remained in England. Margot Alsberg was still a minor when she emigrated. She had to fill out a form prior to emigrating, and she entered Holland as her destination. In May 1939, however, her father wrote that his daughter was registered for the next children’s transport to England. The list of the things Margot wanted to take with her still exists in the records of the director of the regional tax office. The list shows how caringly everything was prepared, in order to give her all that was appropriate for the daughter of a well-situated family. According to an appraisal by the jeweler Zimmermann on Grindelberg, some pieces of silver flatware weighed 146 grams. Besides clothing, the list included a bicycle and ice skates. The list was formally approved on 8 June 1939. One has to wonder if Margot Alsberg was able to ride her bicycle in England.
Ernst Alsberg was a "drug and chemical” sales agent. He worked for the company Schönfeld & Wolfers from 1911 to 1919, where he was an authorized signatory. The founder of the company, Eduard Wolfers, was married to Natalie Wolfers, whose maiden name was Alsberg. It thus seems likely that Ernst Alsberg worked at a relative’s company before he opened his own. The telephone books from 1920 to 1922 show Ernst Alsberg’s name with the addendum "at the Alsberg & Katz Company.” The name Katz also indicates a family relationship. The Mussbach register lists an Anna Katz (born 1878) whose maiden name was Feiss, as was Gertrud Alsberg’s. Anna Katz was also a victim of the Shoah. The Ernst Alsberg Company was entered into the commercial register on 28 July 1923. The company was terminated on 16 Jan. 1941, when Alsberg was forced to give it up due to the increasing abrogation of Jews’ civil, political, and legal rights. The church tax register lists the business address as Große Reichenstraße 63 and Brodschragen 19/20. Ernst Alsberg was the foreign representative for several chemical plants. He travelled to Southern and Eastern Europe, and to the Middle East and Northern Africa. His primary areas of activity were the Balkans and Southern France. He could thus provide his family with a comfortable living. His income rose until 1937, and then began to decrease. He was probably forced to sell his company in 1938. His daughter reported: "His income must have been large, considering our living conditions. We lived in a very luxurious apartment. My sister and I attended expensive private schools.”
In the summer of 1939 the couple was accused of smuggling currency. Gold and silver objects were discovered in three secret compartments in a secretary that, together with other personal effects, was to be sent to the elder daughter in England. The jewelry – a ladies’ watch, cufflinks, and silver spoons, among other things – were not of much monetary value, but had an emotional value for the family. The couple was frightened, as Ernst Alsberg was threatened with a prison sentence if he didn’t agree to pay a substantial fine of 5000 Reich marks. His circumstances were so reduced by this time that it would have been difficult for him to find the money. The case came to trial at the end of September, but the charges were dismissed under the terms of an amnesty that had been proclaimed on 9 Sept. 1939, suspending all sentences of under three months. After the case was dismissed, the family was allowed to buy back the jewelry. In the first half of the year Ernst Siegfried Alsberg had applied for a passport. The application had been denied because of the criminal proceedings. It is possible that the Alsbergs were planning to emigrate.
Gertrud Alsberg and her husband were deported to Theresienstadt on 15 July 1942, and then to Auschwitz on 28 Oct. 1942. Their names were on the list of people to be deported to Minsk on the second transport from Hamburg on 8 November 1941, but the names were crossed out, probably because of Alsberg’s commendations from the First World War.
On 1 September 1942, two small silver forks and two teaspoons belonging to the Alsbergs were auctioned. They brought a price of 12 Reichmark.
Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Susanne Lohmeyer
Quellen: 1; 2 (Str. 559 136/1938; FVg 2874; FVg 2011; R1940/492); 4; 5; 8; Hamburger Fernsprechbücher; StaH 214-1 Gerichtsvollzieherwesen, 107; StaH 231-7 Amtsgericht Hamburg, Handels- und Genossenschaftsregister, B 1982–104 Band 1 (Schönfeld & Wolfers); StaH 332-7 Staatsangehörigkeitsaufsicht B III + 149563; StaH 351-11 AfW AZ 151295 und AZ 080679; StaH 522-1, Jüdische Gemeinden, 992e2 Bd. 2; StaH 522-1, 838 Jüdisch-liberaler Gemeindeverein; Jahrbuch für die jüdischen Gemeinden in Schleswig-Holstein, Hamburg usw. 1933/34 ff.; Israelitischer Dreigemeinden-Kalender Hamburg, Wandsbek, Altona für das Jahr 1937/38, Hamburg 1937; www.alemannia-judaica.de/mussbach; Hamburger Anzeiger 45 (1932), Nr. 283 (2.12.) S. 3; Ina Lorenz, Juden, S. 235; Wegweiser …, Heft 2, Hamburg 1985; Sybille Baumbach u. a., "Wo Wurzeln waren …".