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Selma Drews (née Schönfeld) * 1898

Bendixensweg 15 (rechts von Nr.17) (Hamburg-Nord, Barmbek-Nord)

JG. 1898

Selma Drews, née Schönfeld, born on 4 Jan. 1898, flight to death on 2 Jan. 1942

Bendixensweg 15

The daughter of Johann and Serine Schönfeld grew up with her five sisters, Katharina, Me-lanie, Frieda, Bertha, and Therese, in Winterhude. Her mother had already died in 1920 at the age of 50.
At the end of the 1920s, Selma Schönfeld met her future husband, Richard. He had previously been married to another woman, who had died shortly after the birth of their son, Claus-Heinz, in 1926. Three years later, Selma Schönfeld and Richard Drews got married on 28 Mar. 1929 and moved to Barmbek together with Claus-Heinz.

In contrast to her husband, Selma Drews was Jewish and troubled by the threat the Nazis posed. Due to the psychological strain, she began suffering from sciatica and a nervous disorder, which prompted her to seek treatment at the neurological ward of Eppendorf Hospital in Sept. 1941. Eight weeks later, she left the clinic voluntarily but by Dec., her husband already had her admitted again. This time, however, there was no space available at Eppendorf Hospital, and as a result, she was transferred to the auxiliary hospital at Kaiser-Friedrich-Ufer. After only eight days of treatment, she returned home at her own request. The summons by the Sägerplatz employment office, which arrived at the Drews’ place on 30 Dec., frightened Selma. In the letter, she was requested to report to the employment office on 5 Jan. between 8 and 9 a.m. for work assignment. In reality, this meant that Selma Drews was scheduled to perform forced labor. Her husband tried hard to calm her by assuring her that she would not be assigned to work because of her illness. However, the friendly persuasion did not help. Repeatedly, Selma declared that life was not worth living anymore.

On 2 Jan., Richard Drews left their home around 7 a.m. to go to work at Emil Fenzelmann, located at Alsterkrugchaussee 550. Claus-Heinz stayed at home with his stepmother until she sent him to a sick acquaintance of hers by the name of Meyer around 11 a.m. When Claus-Heinz came home around 4 p.m. and called out for Selma Drews, she did not answer. He searched the apartment until he finally halted in front of the closed living room door. He managed to open the door only by a small crack, but Claus-Heinz was able to discern that Selma Drews had hanged herself by a clothesline attached to the door hinge. He immediately ran to the stairwell to get help. Two neighbors assisted him in untying his mother. Shortly afterward, police and an ambulance appeared on the scene as well. Selma Drews was still alive, but she died while being rushed to Barmbek Hospital and was transported to the mortuary of the Harbor Hospital.

Of her five sisters, only two survived the Holocaust. Katharina died in Theresienstadt, Melanie in Minsk, and Bertha at an unknown place of deportation.

Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

© Carmen Smiatacz

Quellen: 1; 4; 5; StaHH 331-5, Polizeibehörde – Unnatürliche Sterbefälle, Akte 1942 79/42 Drews, geb. Schönfeld, Selma.
Zur Nummerierung häufig genutzter Quellen siehe Link "Recherche und Quellen".

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