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Elfriede Appel (née Voss) * 1882

Grindelallee 38 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)

1941 Lodz

Elfriede Appel, née Voss (or Vohs), born 16 Jan. 1882 in Styrum, a borough of Mühlheim/Ruhr, deported 25 Oct. 1941 to Litzmannstadt [Lodz]

Elfriede was the second wife of the butcher Simon Appel (*10 May 1860 in Nauenburg). Her parents were Simon and Fanny (née Kleve) Vohs. Her husband owned the property and the building at Grindelallee 38, in which both his butcher shop and apartment were located. The couple lived there with their two sons: John, born on 12 February 1903, and Alfred, born on 30 January 1906. The family attended the Bornplatz Synagogue, where both of the boys’ bar mitzvah ceremonies were held. Simon was a member of the Henry Jones B’nai Brith Lodge. The younger son Alfred went to the Talmud Torah School and was a member of the Jewish sports club Bar Kochba, for which he won several competitions in Hamburg, Hanover and Berlin. The older son John died in 1927 of complications after an operation.

In 1933, a law was passed stipulating that warm-blooded animals be stunned before being exsanguinated. This law was an implicit ban on kosher slaughter, and Simon was forced to give up his business. He leased the butcher shop, together with the apartment, to the non-Jewish butcher Willy Brammann, and the family moved to Schröderstiftstraße. Simon Appel died on 18 August 1936. His widow Elfriede and Alfred moved to Gefionstraße in Altona. Alfred worked in the Altona department store EWO on Große Bergstraße and married Charlotte Kriwer. The Appels’ situation deteriorated increasingly: rent payments for the butcher shop were irregular, and they suffered increasingly from Nazi persecution. Many friends and colleagues were victims of the "Polenaktion,” the expulsion of 17,000 Jews of Polish heritage from the Reich on 28 October 1938, and Alfred was arrested during the pogroms on 9-10 November 1938 (Kristallnacht). He was first sent to the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp, then transferred to the Oranienburg-Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

In Sachsenhausen all of his valuables were stolen, and he was physically abused. While he was there, his wife Charlotte had been able to procure visas for Brazil via Paraguay. When Alfred was released in December 1938, he emigrated immediately. Before he left, he transferred the title of the property he had inherited to his mother. Alfred and Charlotte were able to flee to Brazil with 100 Reichmarks.

What they were not able to do was to save Elfriede Appel. She did not have the opportunity to leave the country. She was once again forced to move, this time to Papendamm 23, where she probably lived with her brother Joseph Voss (*8 October 1883 in Oberhausen), a butcher, his wife Henny (née Hess, *1 October 1891 in Osnabrück) and their teenage daughter Gisela. Their older daughter Ilse had moved out, but returned to live with her parents in 1940. The family had moved to Hamburg in December 1937 from Rüstringen-Wilhelmshaven, where they had sold their property, almost certainly under duress. Elfriede was also forced to sell her property at Grindelallee 38. She signed the contract with Willy Brammann on 12 January 1939. The purchase price was 24,900 Reichmarks – she only ever received 18,600. She also took out two mortgages, at a total of 6,583 Reichmarks, on her brother’s property at Ulmenstraße 3 in Wilhelmshaven, but she was never able to pay them back. The proceeds from the sale of her property on Grindelallee and from that of her brother’s property were deposited in a restricted account, to which her access had been officially restricted on 16 March 1939. She was permitted 300 Reichmarks a month for living expenses. That sum was reduced in November 1939 to 200 Reichmarks, as that was considered sufficient. For any sum over the 25 Reich marks allotted for "other expenses,” she, like all other Jews with restricted access to their accounts, had to submit a detailed request. Included in this category were the doctor’s expenses and medication that the elderly woman needed on a regular basis.

In early 1940 she was once again forced to move, this time to Beneckestraße 22, where she lived in cramped quarters with other Jews. She rented a room from the Nachums. Despite her strained circumstances, she tried to help her relatives emigrate. Her request to transfer 200 Reichmarks to her relative Olga Magnus, who lived at Grindelhof 71, for her emigration to Shanghai was approved on 8 March 1940. Her request to give 1710 Reichmarks to her destitute brother Joseph and his wife Henny and daughter Gisela was also approved, on 30 October 1940. The family, probably with their elder daughter Ilse, emigrated to the US via Russia and Japan with the Hamburg America Line.

Elfriede was deported to the Lodz (Litzmannstadt) ghetto on 25 October 1941, where she was subsequently murdered. Her cousin Senta Felixbrod (née Kriwer, *14 August 1900 in Hamburg) was deported with her. She was murdered on 25. April 1942. The two women wrote a last letter together to Elfriede’s son Alfred and his family in Brazil, from which it was obvious that they knew what awaited them.

After she was deported, the regional tax office confiscated her property – the usual procedure in the case of deported Jews.

Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

© Jacqueline Malchow

Quellen: StaHH, 522-1, Jüdische Gemeinden, Kultussteuerkartei der Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde Hamburgs;; Meyer, Beate (Hrsg.): Die Verfolgung und Ermordung der Hamburger Juden 1933–1945. Geschichte. Zeugnis. Erinnerung. Hamburg: Landeszentrale für politische Bildung Hamburg, 2006. S. 25; Wamser, Ursula; Weinke, Wilfried (Hrsg.): Eine verschwundene Welt. Jüdisches Leben am Grindel. Springe: Zu Klampen Verlag, 2006, S. 327ff.; StaHH, 314-15, Oberfinanzpräsident R 1939/2234.; ebd., FVg 8439; ebd. R 1939/700; Löw, Andreas: Juden im Getto Litzmannstadt. Lebensbedingungen, Selbstwahrnehmung, Verhalten (Schriftenreihe zur Lodzer Gettochronik). Hg. v. der Arbeitsstelle Holocaustliteratur der Universität Gießen und dem Staatsarchiv Lodz. Wallsteinverlag, 2006. S. 233–252.

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