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Theresia Elias (née Levor) * 1869

Großneumarkt 56 (Hamburg-Mitte, Neustadt)

JG. 1869
ERMORDET 16.4.1943

further stumbling stones in Großneumarkt 56:
Sella Cohen, Bertha Cohen, A(h)ron Albert Cohn, Thekla Daltrop, David Elias, Louisa(e) Elias, Helene Martha Fernich, Martha Minna Fernich, Camilla Fuchs, Siegmund Josephi, Robert Martin Levy, Hertha Liebermann, Fritz Mainzer, Elsa Nathan, Ruth Nathan, Siegfried Neumann, Fanny Neumann, Lieselotte Neumann, Mirjam Neumann, Max Leo Neumann, Therese Neumann, Bela Neumann, Josef Polack, Bertha Polack, Eva Samuel, Rosa Therese Weil, Bernhard Weil, Rosa Weinberg, Siegfried Weinberg

David Elias, born 7/4/1871 in Altona, flight to the Netherlands in 1939, deported to Sobibor on 4/13/1943, murdered there on 4/16/1943
Louise Elias, born 10/30/1913 in Hamburg, flight to the Netherlands in 1939, deported to Sobibor on 6/8/1943, murdered there on 6/11/1943
Theresia Elias, née. Levor, born 2/28/1869 in Hamburg, flight to the Netherlands in 1939, deported to Sobibor on 4/13/1943, murdered there on 4/16/1943

Grossneumarkt 56

The Hertz-Joseph-Levy-Stift at Grossneumarkt 56, a housing project, was founded by a wealthy Jewish merchant in 1854. He ruled that only persons who confessed themselves to the Jewish faith and observed orthodox rituals could be admitted. David and Theresia Elias fulfilled these conditions. The couple lived there almost forty years, up to their forced emigration to the Netherlands.

David Elias was born on July 4, 1871 in Altona, then a Prussian city, his younger brother John on October 1, 1875 (cf. Harriet Elias). Their parents, Levy/Louis Elias (born 1/18/1845, died 5/17/1912), head clerk in an attorney’s office, and Adelheid, née Liepmann, had married in 1870. In 1882, they lived at Gademannstrasse 15e, and at Grosse Bergstrasse 128 when their son David married on March 28, 1895. Their future daughter-in-law Theresia Levor lived with her parents Benedict Levor (born 4/20/1834, died 4/8/1911) and Rieke, née Bähre (born 3/30/1828, died 7/24/1903) at number 66 in the street called Bei den Hütten (now Hütten).

Her father’s shop for tailor’s materials was nearby in Brüderstrasse 31. Theresia had an elder brother, Philipp Levor (born 3/1/1866, died 4/15/1930), a typesetter, who lived with his wife Mathilde, née Bähr (born 11/21/1868 in Münden), at Gneisenaustrasse 31 in Hamburg-Eimsbüttel. (Mathilde Levor died on October 17, 1943 in the Theresienstadt ghetto)

Theresia and David Elias had nine children: daughter Alice was born in 1897 at Mathildenstrasse 9 in Altona; when her brother Berthold Elias (cf. there) was born in 1898, the family had moved to Kohlhöfen 4, where Hertha was born in 1900. When Mathilde arrived in 1902, the family had moved to Grossneumarkt 56, where their younger siblings were born: Julius in 1905, Elfriede 1906, Irma 1908, Erwin 1910 and Louise, the youngest, in 1913. When his children were born, their father Elias gave his profession as merchant; later, he worked as a masseur. In 1913, the Hamburg address book listed him as a male nurse – the same profession his grandfather Behrend David Elias (died 1874) is said to have practiced. David Elias’ service on the Russian front ended in 1917, when he was assigned to a Hamburg military hospital as a nurse. After his discharge from military service, he registered a business as auctioneer on March 8, 1919. An entry on his culture tax card at the Jewish Community of December 8, 1922, identifies him as an "official of the Burial Brotherhood of the German-Israelitic Community”.

The children attended Jewish schools: the girls the Israelitic Girls’ School in Carolinenstrasse, the boys the Talmud Tora School in Grindelhof. All of them absolved commercial apprenticeships, except Alice, who later switched to a nursing profession, and Erwin, who became a building fitter.

Daughter Mathilde worked at various department stores and operated the "comptometer” at the offices, an early mechanical computer. She was the first to leave home, moving to the Netherlands in 1929. It is not recorded if she met her future husband Richard Leopold Metzger (born 10/23/1905) there. His family (cf. Frieda Sommer) had lived at Peterstrasse 2 for many years. Richard Metzger had been working as correspondent for a Hamburg company in The Hague since 1928. Mathilde and Richard married on June 21, 1932 in Hamburg, the couple from then on lived at Trompstraat 93 in The Hague.

At the beginning of April 1933, Mathilde’s younger brother Julius decided to go to the Netherlands, because he no longer saw a professional future for himself in Germany. He had begun a banker’s apprenticeship at Bankhaus Elias Ruben in Hermannstrasse, and in 1929 switched to the Oskar Blaustein company at Lindenplatz in the St. Georg quarter of Hamburg, an egg in- and export business. Later, he had landed a job as cost statistician at EPA Einheitspreis AG, then an affiliate of Rudolph Karstadt AG in Steinstrasse. In 1932, the EPA head office moved to Berlin, and Julius followed and worked there until April 1, 1933, when he was notified that "it was undesirable for him to return to work” – it was the day the Nazi government declared the boycott of Jewish businesses.

Hertha followed her siblings to Holland in 1937. She had absolved a two-year apprenticeship at the fashion store of the Robinsohn brothers and later worked as a cashier at the clothing store of Gebr. Hirschfeld, Neuer Wall 19. Alice, the eldest sister, after finishing school had first begun an apprenticeship as corset seamstress at a shop on Jungfernstieg; later, she worked as a fur seamstress. In 1918, she had begun training at the city maternity hospital in Altona and then worked as a nurse at the Barmbek city hospital. After that, she freelanced as a visiting maternity and baby nurse at private homes. On May 29, 1929, she had married Leo Cohn in Frankfurt. At the end of 1937, she temporarily returned to her parents’ home in Grossneumarkt. Her husband left Germany in December 1937. On January 20, 1938, Alice and her seven-year-old daughter boarded a boat in Cuxhaven bound for New York to join her husband.

Elfriede, too, left home in 1938. After eight years of school and studying at a commercial school, she had worked at various companies, last in the accounting department of Rappolt & Söhne in Mönckebergstrasse. She was fired in 1938, and on September 19 of that year emigrated to the United States. In 1939, she married Benjamin Cooper, a US citizen.

After being fired, Irma Elias in 1937 found work as a clerk and salesgirl at the "clothing dispensary” of the German-Israelitic Community. On April 25, 1935, she had married Paul Israel (born 2/11/1908), and art and landscape gardener. Because of his illegal political activities as a member of the communist Rote Frontkämpferbund, and as a Jew, he was exposed to double persecution. At the beginning of February 1934, he was arrested together with his cousin Walter Vogel (cf. Rosa Vogel). After a further arrest on June 16, 1938 – presumably in the scope of the operation Arbeitsscheue Reich, ("work-shy people in the Reich”) as a Jew with a criminal record, he was discharged from Sachsenhausen concentration camp in early December on condition that he leave Germany immediately.

Since August, Irma had in vain tried to get visas for Paraguay for her husband and herself. On March 15, 1939, the couple fled to Shanghai with their daughter Helga (born 4/2/1937), where no visa was required. In 1943, the family, like all German-Jewish refugees, was interned in a ghetto. In 1947, the Israels succeeded in leaving China for the USA, where Irma Israel died on February 9, 2000 at the age of 92.

Her father David Elias, like a great many other Jewish men, had fallen into the hands of the Gestapo in the night of the pogrom of 9-10 November 1938. In order to increase the pressure on the prisoners, it was "put at their discretion” to leave Germany without delay after their release from the Fuhlsbüttel police jail.

On February 27, 1939, David and Theresia Elias, then aged 69 and 67, decided to follow their children Mathilde, Julius and Hertha, who had settled in the Hague. Louise, their youngest daughter, followed shortly after. The Netherlands, however, were no safe haven and should soon turn out to be a trap.

Louise, called Lieschen, like her sister Hertha before her, had, in March 1928, started an apprenticeship as a salesgirl at the clothing store of Gebrüder Robinsohn in Neuer Wall. After completing training, she was hired by Robinsohn, and followed advanced training courses on the side. In November 1938, the company was "aryanized”, and Louise, like all Jewish employees, lost her job and was unable to find work again. Her sister Elfriede told the story of Louise’s departure from Germany in the spring of 1939: "I remember that she was taken off the train by German officials at the Dutch border in Bentheim and searched very thoroughly; in the end, however, she was allowed to continue her journey on another train. Our parents, who had left Germany two months before, waited for her in vain at the station in The Hague, and they were very worried and anxious when Louise wasn’t on the announced train.” In The Hague, Louise, who was a bit frail physically, took jobs as a housemaid, probably for room and board. Her parents lived at Weissenbrückstraat 6.

After the Germans occupied the Netherlands in 1940, all Germans Jews living near the coast were ordered to leave the area within 48 hours so that Louise, too, was forced to leave the Hague "head over heels”, as her sister recalls. She went to ‘s Hertogenbosch on the south of the country, "where she finally found work in a household after quite a bit of trouble.” She found a dwelling together with her parents and her sister Hertha at Verwersstraat 28. From May 2, 1942, they were forced to wear a yellow "Jews’ star” on their clothing. Louise’s sister Elfriede, who lived in the USA, tried to "get her family out of Holland”, but failed – emigration was then no longer possible.

In early April 1943, David Elias and his wife Theresia were taken from their home by the police of the German occupying forces and interned at the Westerbork transit camp, from where they were deported to the Sobibor extermination camp in Poland on April 13, 1943. The Elias’ were murdered on arrival at Sobibor on April 16, 1943.

In April 1943, their daughter Louise was first taken to the nearby transit camp Kamp Vught. Two months later, on June 8, 1943, she, too, was deported to Sobibor via Westerbork. The official date of her death is given as June 11, 1943.

After his eviction from The Hague in 1940, Louise’s brother Julius Elias had settled in Utrecht. He last saw his father in the summer of 1942, "before my flight, to escape deportation to Poland.” Julius had received his deportation order in July 1942. With the aid of unidentified helpers, he managed to escape to Brussels. With false credentials in the name of Louis van den Plas, he was arrested in southern France and taken to Camp de Rivesaltes near Perpignan. In 1943, he managed to flee from the steel mill where he was doing forced labor and survived in hiding until the end of the war. He went to the USA in 1947 and changed his name to Jules Ellis.

Hertha, too, who last lived with her family in ‘s Hertogenbosch, did not follow the order for deportation in September 1942, declared as labor deployment. She fled to Amsterdam and survived in hiding until the liberation. In 1951, she married Alfred Dornblatt. She died 1994 in the United States.

The situation of her sister Mathilde and Mathilde’s husband Richard Metzger changed severely with the invasion of the German Wehrmacht in May 1940. They had to surrender their bicycles and were only allowed to go shopping at prescribed hours. When the deportation of the Jewish population began, they went underground in August 1942 with the help of a Dutch resistance organization. In spite of inhumane living conditions – they had to live on potato peels and tulip bulbs and got famine edema – the couple survived to the end of the war. Later, they, too, emigrated to the USA.

It is not documented whether Erwin Elias, the family’s youngest child, attempted to emigrate and made preparations to that end. After finishing school in 1925, he began a four-year apprenticeship as a blacksmith. His daughter Wilma Liesa was born on February 20, 1929. Her mother Lissy Elias, née Rohweder (born 2/22/1908), came from a Protestant Christian family. The marriage was divorced on an unknown date. In April, 1932, Erwin got involved in a brawl between Communist and Nazi supporters in Schlachterstrasse. Sentenced to six months in jail for "severe breach of peace”, he was released prematurely in the scope of an amnesty. Up to 1938, he worked for various companies. His sister Elfriede recalls Erwin, as a Jew, was no longer able to get a permanent job, and temporarily found work as a dispatch clerk at a Jewish company. Later, she continued, he was sent to a labor camp where he had to perform heaviest physical work. "Then, he was sent east on the first transport, and we never heard from him again.”

In fact, Erwin Elias was deported on the second train to leave Hamburg, on November 8, 1941 – destination: the ghetto of Minsk, capital of White Russia. According to his culture tax card, his last job was at the matzah factory of Leopold Katz, probably as a dispatcher. His home address was Grossneumarkt 56, front building. On October 17, shortly before his deportation, he got married a second time, to Gerda Rosenthal. Her registered address, however, was still Grindelberg 3a, where she lived with her half-sister Minna Mathias (cf. Albert Bloch). Her name was added to the deportation list for November 8. Gerda was a nurse and worked at the Israelitic Hospital in Eckernförderstraße 4 (today Simon-von-Utrecht-Straße). 1939 the hospital was moved to Johnsallee 54, where Gerda also found accommodation.

Gerda Elias, née Rosenthal, was born on November 26, 1915 in Cuxhaven; her father, the master butcher Bernhard Rosenthal (born 10/24/1865 in Barnstorf), ran a butcher shop at Grosse Hardewikstrasse 1 in Cuxhaven. His second wife Selma, née Schwabe (born 1880), Gerda’s mother, had died on May 2, 1936. Bernhard and Selma had married in 1915. Gerda’s half-sister Erna Asch-Rosenthal (born 6/4/1903), who had already emigrated to the Netherlands in 1933 and last visited her family in Cuxhaven for the funeral of her stepmother in 1936, reported after the war that her father had been the object of fierce hostilities in Cuxhaven. Since he as a Jew was no longer allowed to employ "Aryan” personnel, Gerda had to help out at the shop. In this context, she mentioned that Rosenthal’s former employee Carl von Kampen was not deterred from secretly supporting the family.

Having been forced to close their butcher shop, Gerda and her father left Cuxhaven in July 1636 to join Bernhard’s eldest daughter, Gerda’s half-sister Minna Mathias (born 10/31/1895) at Grindelberg 3a. They also had moved to Hamburg in the hope facilitate their preparation for emigration. Gerhard Rosenthal’s already initiated emigration, however, failed in August 1939, in spite of the fact that he had already obtained the required tax clearance certificate. Bernhard Rosenthal died on December 20, 1942 in the Theresienstadt ghetto (Stumbling Stone at Sedanstrasse 23, cf. Stolpersteine in Hamburg-Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum).

Half-sister Minna Mathias, brother-in-law Willy Mathias (born 7/12/1886), a bank teller, niece Vera (born 12/15/1923) were deported to Minsk on November 8, 1941 together with Gerda and Erwin Elias.

The elder niece Lisa (born 10/13/1918), her husband Manfred Menco (born 7/10/1910) and their children Rolf (born 7/20/1938) and Reha (born 1/1/1942 were deported to Theresienstadt on March 10, 1943, and on to Auschwitz on October 6, 1944 (Stumbling Stones Ilandkoppel 68, cf. Stolpersteine in Hamburg-Ohlsdorf). Frauke Dettmer tells the story of their lives in detail in her "Cuxhavener Juden 1933 bis 1945".

Since Erwin Elias had lived at Grevenweg 49 in Hamburg-Hamm for a time in 1939, Stumbling Stones for him and his wife Gerda were laid there (cf. Stolpersteine in Hamburg-Hamm).

Translated by Peter Hubschmid
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: May 2020
© Susanne Rosendahl

Quelle: 1; 4; 8; 9; StaH 351-11 AfW 25694 (Metzger, Mathilde); StaH 351-11 AfW 35267 (Elias, Erwin); StaH 351-11 AfW 39287 (Elias, Louise); StaH 351-11 AfW 1694 (Elias, David); StaH 351-11 AfW 1500 (Elias, Theresia); StaH 351-11 AfW 11305 (Elias, Berthold); StaH 351-11 AfW 26955 (Rosenthal, Bernhard); StaH 351-11 AfW 26955 (Mathias, Minna); StaH 351-11 AfW 33549 (Israel, Irma); StaH 351-11 AfW 33420 (Israel, Paul); StaH 351-11 AfW 24145 (Dornblatt, Hertha); StaH 351-11 AfW 29945 (Ellis, Jules); StaH 351-11 AfW 31674 (Copper, Elfriede); StaH 314-15 FVg, 3785; StaH 213-11 Staatsanwaltschaft Landgericht-Strafsachen AO 1656/33; StaH 242-1II, Abl. 13, Gefangenenkartei Männer; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 9136 u 441/1897; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 2459 u 2439/1898; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 2846 u 249/1895; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 13844 u 364/1932; StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinde Nr. 992 e 2 Band 2; Dettmer: Cuxhavener Juden, S. 52; Thevs: Stolpersteine, über Erwin Elias, S. 29; (Zugriff am 25.3.2012); (Zugriff am 25.3.2012).
Zur Nummerierung häufig genutzter Quellen siehe Link "Recherche und Quellen".

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