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Ernst Alsberg * 1879
Brahmsallee 39 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)
further stumbling stones in Brahmsallee 39:
Gertrud Johanna Alsberg, Dora Nathan, Dr. Nathan Max Nathan, Antonie Simon, Lane Simon
Ernst Alsberg, born on 8 June 1879 in Kassel, deported on 15 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, further deported on 28 Oct. 1944 to Auschwitz
Brahmsallee 39 (at the location of extinguished Werderstrasse 5)
Ernst Siegfried Alsberg was born in 1879 in Kassel, the former residence of the Electorate of Hessen annexed by Prussia, as the son of the merchant and general agent Siegmund Alsberg (born on 26 Oct. 1842 in Veckerhagen) and Jeanette Alsberg, née Rosenstein (born on 27 July 1846 in Adelebsen near Göttingen, died on 7 May 1926 in Kassel). Their engagement announcement was published in the Kreisblatt of the Einbeck District on 14 Oct. 1871. Siegmund Alsberg had moved to Kassel in May 1872 and lived there for six months with his brother, the merchant Julius Alsberg (born in 1844). Ernst Alsberg had two older siblings: Georg Alsberg (born in 1873) and Friederike Elise (1875–1880). The family resided in Kassel at Bahnhofstrasse 22 (1876–1877), Bahnhofstrasse 6 (1877–1880), and Bahnhofstrasse 10 (1880–1898), among other places.
At the age of seven, Ernst Alsberg became a half-orphan; his father drowned in Feb. 1887 in the Fulda River near Münden. Presumably, family members supported the 40-year-old widow and her two sons financially afterward. However, Jeanette Alsberg was also active in business herself; the Kassel directory noted "S. Agent” (in 1890) and "Gen.-Agentur Gebr. Alsberg” (in 1898) after her name. After attending high school, Ernst Alsberg probably completed a commercial apprenticeship and in Oct. 1899, he began his one-year voluntary military service with Train (Supply) Battalion 11.
Afterward, at the age of 21, he moved to Hamburg, where relatives of his lived. Ernst Alsberg resided in the Hanseatic city, among others, as a subtenant at Grindelallee 168/Rotherbaum on the third floor with accountant Max Marcus (in 1902), at Plan 9 /Altstadt on the fourth floor with widow H. Röwer (in 1904), at Dammtorstrasse 35 /Neustadt in the boarding school of Ms. Auguste Bötticher (in 1907), at Fehlandstrasse 25 on the ground floor with confectioner Friedrich Ansel (1836–1917) and his family (in 1910), and at Hochallee 117 /Harvestehude with attorney Joseph Piza or teacher Hedwig Piza (in 1914).
The economy of the Hanseatic city expanded; around 1910, the city had a population of 1 million. From 1902 onward, Ernst Alsberg regularly traveled abroad on business; every year, he had a new passport issued. The archived passport records indicate quite generally the area of validity covering "foreign countries including Russia.” In June 1904, he also spent some time in Constantinople (Istanbul); during his absence, Eduard Wolfers applied for an extension of his passport. One may assume that Ernst Alsberg was already working as an employee at Schönfeld & Wolfers at this time. With the First World War, foreign travel came to a standstill. His position as authorized signatory of the Schönfeld & Wolfers textile import and export company (see Hugo Wolfers’ biography) is documented for the period from 1911 to 1919. His aunt Natalie Wolfers, née Alsberg (born on 22 Mar. 1847 in Veckerhagen, died on 1 Dec. 1906 in Hamburg), daughter of the attorney and notary Gerson Alsberg (1811–1872) from Volksmarsen and Elise Alsberg, née Itzig (1817–1872), was the wife of the company founder Eduard Wolfers (1839–1919).
Ernst Alsberg took part in the battles of the First World War as a frontline soldier of the Train Battalion and he was awarded the Iron Cross Second Class and the Badge of Honor for Front Fighters. After his return from the lost war and a few months before the death of the 80-year-old company owner Eduard Wolfers (died on 17 May 1919), he gave up his previous position and in Feb. 1919, together with Richard Katz (1882–1943), became self-employed by starting the Alsberg & Katz oHG general partnership (located in the "Reichenhof” office building at Grosse Reichenstrasse 49/51, first floor, room 15). The company (agency and commission) went into liquidation in Sept. 1923. Shortly before that, at the beginning of the hyperinflation, Ernst Alsberg had set up his own company, "Ernst Alsberg,” in July 1923 as a chemicals broker for chemical plants, among others, and Otto Kuznitzky served as the authorized signatory for six months. The product range included chemicals, "drugs” (drugstore goods and raw products for pharmacies), and seeds.
In Jan. 1920, Ernst Alsberg married Gertrude "Gertrud” Johanna Feiss (born on 15 Jan. 1895 in Mussbach), daughter of the merchant Carl Feiss and his wife Regina Feiss, née Kulm (born on 13 Apr. 1855 in Bissersheim, died in Oct. 1918 in Kassel). The Feiss family lived in Mussbach at Bahnhofstrasse 82 (1896–1901, among others) and at Herrenhof 224 (1905–1911, among others). In about 1909, Carl Feiss died and the widow moved with her daughter Gertrud to Prinzenstrasse 27 in Kassel in July 1911. During the First World War, Gertrud Feiss was trained as a nurse and worked as an auxiliary and senior nurse in military hospitals. For this service, she received the Red Cross Medal Third Class and the Cross of Honor of the Patriotic Women’s Association (Ehrenkreuz des Vaterländischen Frauenvereins).
The married couple Ernst and Gertrud Alsberg acquired Hamburg citizenship in Dec. 1920 and lived in Hamburg in upscale residential areas at Schenkendorffstrasse 22/ Uhlenhorst (1920–1922) and Werderstrasse 5/Harvestehude (1923–1933). According to the directory, Claus Hinrichsen (animal feed wholesale business, construction company, and property management) was the owner of the latter. Since 1924, Ernst Alsberg was a member of the Hamburg German-Israelitic Community. His wife Gertrud Alsberg became involved there, and in Mar. 1930, her name was on an election announcement of the Religious Liberal List for the College of Representatives of the German Jewish Community. She also belonged to the German State Party (Deutsche Staatspartei – DStP), where she served as district leader of a women’s group and, until 1933, as a "welfare nurse” on an honorary basis for the municipal social administration. The Alsbergs maintained close contact with the Wolfers family; in the mid-1920s, for example, Ernst and Gertrud Alsberg signed the autograph book of Hildegard Gorden, later name Rosenberg (born in 1911), the granddaughter of Natalie Wolfers, née Alsberg (see biography of Elisabeth Gorden, née Wolfers).
The couple had two daughters: Regina Elfriede Franziska, known as "Fränzi” Alsberg (born on 15 Dec. 1920), later married name Rose (Rosenbaum), and Margot Emmy Alsberg (born on 5 June 1924), later married name Jones; both of them managed to emigrate to Britain in Dec. 1938 and June 1939, respectively, where reportedly one of their uncles had already emigrated.
After the eight-grade elementary school (Volksschule), Margot attended the private secondary school for girls run by Ria Wirth (at Mittelweg 90) from 1934 to 1938, which she had to leave in Mar. 1938 because of her Jewish descent. From Apr. 1938 to Dec. 1938, she had to attend of necessity the Jewish girls’ school in Hamburg. In June 1939, according to her parents’ Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) file card, she managed to emigrate to Britain on a children transport (Kindertransport).
Franziska Alsberg joined the Hamburg branch of the "Kameraden” German-Jewish hiking group, which had been in existence since the 1920s. There she met Inge Pein (born in 1920, attended Loewenberg Schule, later Gerhart-Hauptmann-Schule), Ingeborg Hecht (born in 1921, Ria Wirth private school), Rudolf Samson (born in 1920, Heinrich-Hertz-Gymnasium, later private Wahnschaff-Schule), and Heinz Schwarze, among others. On foot, by bike, or hitchhiking, they undertook outings and hikes in a group of about 12 through the Harburg Mountains and the Lüneburg Heath on Sundays and holidays. Although Jews were banned from using the Reich railroad only later, doing so would have attracted unwanted attention from non-Jewish passengers. The hiking group’s flag featured a white seagull on a blue background. Until its disbanding in 1936, the group was headed by Kurt van der Walde (1915–2003), called "Kuvo,” a commercial apprentice from a liberal Jewish family, who was five years older than the members. Having joined the "Kameraden” in the spring of 1929, he guided hiking groups there from 1931 onward, also playing the guitar. In 1933, he had to surrender his leader’s identity card, valid for the Reich railroad and youth hostels. His contacts to the SAJ, the "Socialist Young Workers” (Sozialistische Arbeiterjugend), and the German Young Communist League (Kommunistischer Jugendverband Deutschlands – KJVD) led him to join a non-partisan resistance group in 1934; he was arrested in May 1936 and sentenced to two and a half years in prison in the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp. He emigrated to Britain on 1 Dec. 1939. Rudolf Samson (born on 23 Mar. 1920 in Hamburg) presumably attended school in the Netherlands beginning in Jan. 1935. In 1942, he fled the Netherlands to Belgium and he was deported from there to Auschwitz-Monowitz; it is not known when and how he died. A Stolperstein was laid for him at Wentzelstrasse 14 (Winterhude). Heinz Schwarze emigrated to Britain, enlisted in the military, and died as a British soldier in World War II.
In Feb. 1939, shortly before the "Ordinance Concerning the Reporting of Jewish Assets” ("Verordnung über die Anmeldung des Vermögens von Juden”) came into effect, Ernst and Gertrud Alsberg sent a desk by ship to their older daughter Franziska in Britain. The customs department discovered gold valuables (three men’s watch chains, one women’s watch, two pairs of cufflinks, three rings, and two necklaces) worth 350 RM (reichsmark) in a secret compartment, whereupon two customs officials showed up at the Alsbergs’ apartment and took down a first interrogation report. At this time, the Nazi state took further legal steps to intimidate the Alsbergs: The foreign currency office of the Chief Finance Administrator (Oberfinanzpräsident) of Hamburg filed a complaint in writing with the chief public prosecutor of the Hamburg Regional Court (Landgericht), and the "Rahlstedt criminal investigation department office” prepared personal information forms of the accused. In Aug. 1939, the criminal proceedings were opened. The attorney Morris Samson (Ferdinandstrasse 75), called in as "Konsulent” ("legal adviser”) for Jewish mandates, requested "that a pardon (...) be applied and the proceedings discontinued accordingly.” This was the conclusion finally reached in a public session on 7 Sept. 1939, by the "Seventh Grand Criminal Chamber” (Grosse Strafkammer 7) of the Hamburg Regional Court; the public prosecutor’s office had also taken this position.
As late as the May 1939 national census, Ernst’s brother Georg Alsberg (born on 16 July 1873 in Kassel) was still recorded with the Kassel residential address at Kronprinzenstrasse 8 on the third floor together with his wife Margarethe, née Levie (born on 17 Mar. 1876 in Arolsen). Both emigrated to Stockholm in May 1939, and their German citizenship was subsequently revoked by the Nazi regime.
After the systematic anti-Jewish measures of the Nazi state and the intensified professional and social exclusion, the Alsberg couple moved to Werderstrasse 7/Harvestehude (1934–1939). The owner of the building was the architect Alfred Burgheim and the senior police sergeant (Polizeioberwachtmeister) Völkening lived on the fourth floor. The five-and-a-half-room apartment also housed the office of commercial agent Ernst Alsberg, who had taken over the Paul A. G. Scholz drug and chemical company (1925–1940) in Mar. 1935. His company, "Ernst Alsberg,” was taken over by the Friedrich Otto Werner Company between 1936 and 1940 and deleted from the company register in 1941 (In the 1939 and 1940 directories, the company entry was still printed without the addition of a new owner; in the 1941 directory, the company entry was already missing).
In Aug. 1939, the Alsberg couple did not possess a valid passport for their own emigration. When the war began in Sept. 1939, emigration became even more difficult for Ernst and Gertrud Alsberg because many countries tightened their entry regulations at the beginning of World War II. At this time, Gertrud Alsberg worked again as a nurse in the Israelite Hospital.
When the "Law on Tenancies with Jews” ("Gesetz über die Mietverhältnisse mit Juden”) came into force (30 Apr. 1939), parts of which were also posted on advertising pillars, the Alsberg couple had to find a "non-Aryan” landlord. On 13 July 1939, they moved to Grubesallee 21/ Rahlstedt. Since 1928, the house was owned by Hugo Leidersdorf (1867–1933) and Adele Leidersdorf, née Heymann (born on 22 Jan. 1878 in Essen). Other subtenants were Josef Seinfeld (born on 3 June 1882 in Czernowitz [today Chernivtsi in Ukraine], moved in from Blankenese, deported to Lodz on 25 Oct. 1941), Emil Hochfeld (born on 7 Feb. 1874 in Lemgo, moved in from Schäferkampsallee 49, moved on 1 Apr. 1942 to Jungfrauenthal 37), and Anna Grünthal, née Hochfeld (born on 8 Aug. 1879 in Lemgo, moved in from Schäferkampsallee 49, moved on 1 Apr. 1942 to Jungfrauenthal 37). The homeowner, Adele Leidersdorf, was deported to the Riga Ghetto on 6 Dec. 1941; Stolpersteine were laid in front of Grubesallee 21 for her and her son.
Eventually, on 19 Sept. 1941, Ernst and Gertrud Alsberg were quartered in the former infirmary (Siechenhaus) of the Jewish Community at Schäferkampsallee 29/ Eimsbüttel, which by then was used as a "Jews’ house” ("Judenhaus”). They no longer appear in the Hamburg directory; this already meant a concrete consolidation for the planned deportations. Ernst and Gertrud Alsberg were deported to the Theresienstadt Ghetto on 15 July 1942 and from there to the Auschwitz extermination camp on 28 Oct. 1944, where they were presumably murdered by gassing shortly after arrival.
Following the deportation, officials of the Nazi state searched for valuables in Mr. and Mrs. Alsberg’s room. They found two small silver forks and two silver teaspoons, which were offered six weeks later in a larger auction in the bailiff’s office (Drehbahn 36, Room 19). Court bailiff Bobsien had announced the auction date, 1 Sept. 1942, as well as some of the items in the Sunday editions of Hamburger Tageblatt and Hamburger Fremdenblatt. The Alsbergs’ forks and teaspoons were sold for a total of 12 RM to Otto Plogas (not a Nazi party member), a 53-year-old office assistant at the Altona records office, residing at Wittenkamp 6 in Barmbek-Nord.
In 2002, a Stolperstein was laid for Gertrud Alsberg at Schäferkampsallee 29 in Hamburg. Since this was not a freely chosen residential address, Ernst Alsberg’s Stolperstein was moved to Werderstrasse 5, an address he had lived at for many years. However, this address no longer exists due to the construction of the Grindel high rises at their western edge, so in 2017, the Stolperstein was laid in the nearest intersecting street, Brahmsallee 39. The Stolperstein for his wife Gertrud was also laid there in 2017.
Daughter Franziska Alsberg completed an apprenticeship as a nurse in Britain. She probably got the job through an uncle on her mother’s side, who had apparently emigrated to England as a doctor. In the 1950s, Franziska Alsberg emigrated from Great Britain to the USA, where she was naturalized in 1953/54. In the USA, she married Edgar "Eddi” Rosenbaum, who came from a family of doctors based in Schwerin and had changed his family name to Rose; from this time onward, she went by the name of Frances Rose. The married couple lived with their son near New York City; a large proportion of their circle of friends was also emigrants. Until her retirement, Frances Rose continued to work as a nurse. Due to the publication of the book by Ingeborg Hecht ("Als unsichtbare Mauern wuchsen” ["When Invisible Walls Grew”]), in 1984 renewed contact with the two hiking friends Inge and Ingeborg was established via a classmate who had emigrated to London.
Daughter Margot Alsberg attended Neyland House High School in Kent, England, from 1939 to 1942 (with Beate Siegel, later name Bea Green, and Freda Teller, among others) and from 1942 onward, she was a pediatric nurse in a home for evacuated children in Iver, west of London. For foreign nationals, the poorly paid social sector was one of the few where they could find work. From 1943 to 1946, she did military service for women, ATS (Auxiliary Territorial Service), in the British Army. She married in 1949 and lived in London in the mid 1950s. In 1966, she moved to Evanston/Illinois (USA) with her husband William "Bill” Jones (1918–2010) and their children Julian and Vivienne.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: December 2020
© Björn Eggert
Quellen: 1; 4; 5; StaH (Staatsarchiv Hamburg) 213-11 (Staatsanwaltschaft Landgericht), 09652/39 (Devisenvergehen, Ernst u. Gertrud Alsberg); StaH 214-1 (Gerichtsvollzieherwesen), 107 (Besteckteile, Ernst Alsberg); StaH 221-11 (Staatskommissar für die Entnazifizierung), Fa 2394 (Otto Emil Plogas); StaH 231-7 (Handelsregister), A 1 Band 56 (HR A 13455, Firma Friedrich Otto Werner); StaH 231-7 (Handels- u. Genossenschaftsregister), A 1 Band 148 (HR-Nr. 33242, Paul A.G. Scholz); StaH 231-7 (Handels- u. Genossenschaftsregister), A 12, Kasten 1 (Namenskartei A zum Handelsregister); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 256 u. 357/1889 (Sterberegister 1889, Bernhard Berthold Alsberg); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 7987 u. 782/1906 (Sterberegister 1906, Natalie Wolfers geb. Alsberg); StaH 332-7 (Staatsangehörigkeitsaufsicht), A III 21 Band 19 (Bürgerregister Hamburg 1916–1920 A-C, Ernst Siegfried Alsberg, Johanna Gertrude Alsberg, beide Nr. 149.563 am 14.12.1920), A III 21 Band 22 (Bürgerregister Hamburg 1916–1920 K–L, Richard Katz, Nr. 144.981 am 6.3.1919); StaH 332-8 (Alte Einwohnermeldekartei 1892–1925) Albert Alsberg, Alice Alsberg, Bernhard Berthold Alsberg, Susanne Alsberg, Friedrich Ansel, Eduard Wolfers; StaH 332-8 (Meldewesen), K 2557 (Hausmeldekartei Grubesallee 21); StaH 332-8 (Meldewesen), A 24 Band 379 (Reisepassprotokolle 1897-1929, Register Buchstabe A); StaH 332-8 (Meldewesen), A 24 Band 86 (Reisepassprotokolle 1902, Nr. 2459); StaH 332-8 (Meldewesen), A 24 Band 90 (Reisepassprotokolle 1904, Nr. 1395); StaH 332-8 (Meldewesen), A 24 Band 91 (Reisepassprotokolle 1904, Nr. 2171); StaH 332-8, A 24 Band 99 (Reisepassprotokolle 1907, Nr. 2862); StaH 332-8 (Meldewesen), A 24 Band 107 (Reisepassprotokolle 1910, Nr. 1342); StaH 332-8 (Meldewesen), A 24 Band 120 (Reisepassprotokolle 1914, Nr. 1474); StaH 351-11 (Amt für Wiedergutmachung), 46372 (Margot Emmy Jones geb. Alsberg); StaH 351-11 (AfW), 17526 (Gertrud Alsberg); StaH 522-1 (Jüdische Gemeinden), 992b (Kultussteuerkartei der Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde Hamburg), Dr. med. Albert Alsberg, Ernst Alsberg, Gertrud Alsberg, Dr. med. Julius Alsberg, Richard Katz, Eduard Wolfers; Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv Wiesbaden, Trauregister der Juden von Kassel 1847–1886 (HHStAW Abt. 365 Nr. 501), Digitalisat im Internet (Nr. 467/ August 1873 Eduard Wolfers u. Natalie Alsberg; Nr. 492/ März 1874 Julius Alsberg u. Mathilde Falkenstein); Stadtarchiv Mussbach, Geburtseintrag 1895 Nr. 6 (Johanna Gertrude Feiss), Adressbücher Mussbach 1896, 1901, 1905, 1908, 1911/12 (Karl Feiss); Stadtarchiv Kassel, Bestand A 3.32 EMK (Melderegister, Ernst Alsberg, Gerson Alsberg, Julius Alsberg, Siegmund Alsberg/Witwe Alsberg, Regina Feiss); Stadtmuseum Einbeck, Kreisblatt 14.10.1871 (Verlobungsanzeige Jeanette Rosenstein u. Siegmund Alsberg); Adressbuch Hamburg (Albert Alsberg) 1888; Adressbuch Hamburg (Ernst Alsberg) 1920–1923, 1928, 1932–1934, 1938–1940; Adressbuch Hamburg, Straßenverzeichnis (Reichenstraße, Große) 1920; Adressbuch Hamburg, Straßenverzeichnis (Dammtorstraße 35), 1907, (Fehlandstr. 25), 1910, (Werderstraße 5 u. 7) 1935; Adressbuch Hamburg 1942 (Plogas); Adressbuch Kassel (Witwe Jeanette Alsberg) 1890, 1898; Adressbuch Kassel (Frau Regine Feiss, Prinzenstr. 27), 1913; Handelskammer Hamburg, Handelsregisterinformationen (Ernst Alsberg, HR A 30538; Alsberg & Katz, HR A 17908; Paul A. G. Scholz, HR A 33242; Friedr. Otto Werner, A 13455); Hamburger Börsenfirmen, Hamburg 1926, S. 19 (Ernst Alsberg); Hamburger Börsenfirmen, Hamburg 1935, S. 15 (Ernst Alsberg), S. 766 (Paul A.G. Scholz); Ingeborg Hecht, Als unsichtbare Mauern wuchsen. Eine deutsche Familie unter den Nürnberger Rassegesetzen, Hamburg 1984, S. 41–45 (Wanderbund "Kameraden"); Susanne Lohmeyer, Stolpersteine in Hamburg-Eimsbüttel und Hamburg-Hoheluft-West. Biografische Spurensuche, Hamburg 2012, Band 1 (A-L), S. 50–53 (Gertrud Alsberg); Ina Lorenz, Die Juden in Hamburg zur Zeit der Weimarer Republik, 2 Bände, Hamburg 1987, S. 234 (Gertrud Alsberg), 1165 (Wanderbund "Kameraden"); Astrid Louven/Ursula Pietsch, Stolpersteine in Hamburg-Wandsbek mit den Walddörfern. Biografische Spurensuche, Hamburg 2008, S. 109–114 (Adele Leidersdorf); Heiko Morisse, Jüdische Rechtsanwälte in Hamburg, Ausgrenzung und Verfolgung im NS-Staat, Hamburg 2003, S. 155 (Dr. Morris Samson); Wilhelm Mosel, Wegweiser zu den ehemaligen Stätten jüdischen Lebens oder Leidens in Hamburg, Heft 1, Hamburg 1983, S. 72 (Wanderbund "Kameraden"); Carmen Smiatacz, Stolpersteine in Hamburg-Barmbek und Hamburg-Uhlenhorst. Biografische Spurensuche, Hamburg 2010, S. 208–215 (Hugo und Olga Wolfers); Arbeitskreis Stolpersteine in Darmstadt (Auskunft zu Franziska Kumpf geb. Alsberg); www.tracingthepast.org (Volkszählung Mai 1939, Ernst Alsberg, Georg Alsberg, Eddy Kumpf geb. Alsberg, eingesehen Sept. 2016); www.ancestry.de (Sterbeurkunde 1949, Georg Heinrich Kumpf; US-Sterbeindex zu Frances R. Rose); http://www.alemannia-judaica.de/volkmarsen_synagoge.htm (eingesehen, 23.9.2016); www.geni.com/people/Siegmund-Alsberg (eingesehen 6.10.2016); www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de (Rudolf Samson, eingesehen 24.4.2017); www.genesreunited.co.uk (28. Jul. 1939 Sevenoaks Chronicle and Kentish Advertiser, School Supports Hospital Cot Neyland House Fete, u.a. Margot Alsberg erwähnt, eingesehen 4.5.2017); http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/chicagotribune/obituary.aspx?pid=144860913 (Nachruf auf William Jones, eingesehen 4.5.2017); https://www.joodsmonument.nl/en/page/202806/richard-katz (eingesehen 4.5.2017); Gespräche mit Frau I.H. (Hamburg), August u. September 2009, September 2017 (Informationen zu Fränzi Alsberg).
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