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Olga Burchard (née Jonas) * 1894
Papenhuder Straße 53 (Hamburg-Nord, Uhlenhorst)
Ernst Valentin Burchard, born 26 Jan. 1891, deported 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk
Olga Burchard, née Jonas, born 15 June 1894, deported 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk
Gabriele Olga Burchard, born 23 Mar. 1923, deported 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk
Marianne Lilly Burchard, born 3 Apr. 1928, deported 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk
Papenhuder Straße 53
Valentin Burchard was born in Hamburg to the Consul Martin Burchard and his wife Bertha, née Goldzieher. He attended school in Hamburg-Eimsbüttel and then entered into a commercial apprenticeship at various export companies in Hamburg. In 1912 he volunteered for a year of military service in the Imperial Army, and was assigned to a unit in Schwerin. From 1913 to 1915 he lived and worked in Buenos Aires. At the outbreak of the First World War he prepared to return to Germany. He procured falsified documents and returned to his homeland, with several detours, and reported for duty. He was given the rank of corporal and assigned to the Western Front.
After the war, Valentin Burchard again worked abroad. He was a merchant in the Netherlands until 1920, then returned to Hamburg to open his own business. In March 1921 he married Olga Jonas, who, like himself, was Jewish. Her parents were Otto Nathan Jonas and Emma Jonas, née Jonas. The couple moved to an apartment at Schwanenwik 34. Their first child, Martin Otto, was born on 2 February 1921. Gabriele Olga was born on 23 March 1923, followed one year later by Ernst Valentin on 5 April 1924. Their youngest, Marianne Lilly, was born on 3 April 1928.
During the 1920s, Valentin Burchard held several influential offices. He was a member of the Chamber of Commerce’s Industry Commission and of the Hamburg Parliament, and he also served as a labor court judge. In 1928 he became a member of the board Hugo Peters & Co. AG, a wine trading and distilling company. A few years later Burchard founded his own wine wholesale business in Hamburg-Uhlenhorst at Papenhuder Straße 53. When the increasing Nazi persecution and disenfranchisement of Jewish citizens forced the Burchards to leave their apartment at Schwanenwik 34 in August 1935, they moved into the building where the company was located.
With the revenues from his wine trading business sinking, Burchard founded a new company, Burchard & Co., in August 1935. It manufactured pharmaceuticals for export. Burchard was personally liable for the company and in charge of sales. The company’s business address was Vogelreth 3 in the Hamburg Free Port. The chemical-pharmaceutical manufacturer specialized in fluid extracts and tinctures and had customers all over the world. The products were shipped to South and Central America, Africa, and to countries in Europe. Although the company developed well and Burchard’s foreign contacts ensured growing profits, the withdrawal of Oscar Friedländer and John Hausmann as limited partners in April 1937 caused serious difficulties for the company. It was rescued, however, when Emmy Jonas, the sister of Burchard’s wife Olga, became a partner.
The life of the Burchard family became more and more difficult in the following years. In September 1938, Burchard applied with the Hamburg Chamber of Industry and Commerce (IHK) for an exit visa to visit one of his company’s offices abroad. An inquiry by the IHK with the tax authorities as to whether Burchard, if granted a visa, would be required to furnish a security for the purpose of payment of the Reich flight tax (Reichsfluchtsteuer) that would be due should he flee, made him the target of sanctions on the part of the authorities. Immediately after it was known that he had applied for the visa, the foreign exchange office of the tax authority initiated an investigation on the suspicion of smuggling money out of the country. The police were called in and asked to investigate, and the customs investigations office opened an investigation into a possible intention to emigrate. Although the police investigation concluded that Burchard had no intention of emigrating, the visa was not approved.
Valentin Burchard & Co. was "Aryanized” on 16 February 1939 and taken over by the Chinosolfabrik AG. The Burchard family was, for all intents and purposes, destitute. Burchard was allowed to retain a position in the company, after it had been confiscated and taken over by Chinosol, until the contract of purchase was settled. It was intended that he retain this position until the end of 1939, but because of the outbreak of the war, he was allowed to stay until 1 September 1940.
Marianne Lilly, the Burchards’ youngest daughter, had attended school at the Paulsenstift since 1934. She, like most other Jewish children, was forced to leave the school on 13 April 1939 and attend the Talmud Torah School. Because the situation was becoming increasingly worse for the family, Valentin Burchard attempted to obtain passports for his family to emigrate to the Netherlands. By July 1939 he was able to gather all of the certificates and documents required by the foreign exchange office of the Hamburg tax authority. The emigration was to be financed with the redemption of a life insurance policy in England, but, after his property had been confiscated, Burchard was not able to pay the equivalent of the insurance, 410 pounds sterling, demanded by the foreign exchange office. The family suffered a further blow that year – their son Martin Otto died under unexplained circumstances.
In July 1939, the family was able to send Ernst Valentin to England on a children’s transport. He lived with a pastor near the town of Worcester. The family remained in contact with him until they were deported.
On 8 November 1941, Valentin and Olga Burchard, along with their daughters Gabriele Olga and Marianne Lilly, were deported to the Minsk ghetto. They have been considered missing since this date.
A last sign of life from Valentin Burchard arrived in Hamburg in early 1942. Max Plaut, the head of the Jewish Religious Association, received a letter in which Burchard described the conditions in the Minsk ghetto. It is unknown how this letter found its way to Hamburg. Unfortunately, it did not survive.
Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Carmen Smiatacz
Quellen: 1; 2; 4; 5; 8; StaHH 121-3, Bürgerschaft I, A 17; StaHH 314-15, OFP, J 2/124/126/128/129; StaHH 314-15, OFP, FVg 5192; StaHH 314-15, OFP, FVg 7658; StaHH 314-15, OFP, R 1938/2404; StaHH 314-15, OFP, R 1939/1239; StaHH 314-5, OFP, R 1940/31; StaHH 741-4, Fotoarchiv, Sa 1246; Müller: Mitglieder der Bürgerschaft, S. 23ff.; Leo Baeck Institut New York, AR 7183, Max Kreuzberger, Box 7 Folder 9, MM reels 129, Schr. Plaut an Lowenthal v. Dezember 1968.
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