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Robert Fischer * 1887

Buxtehuder Straße 56 (Harburg, Harburg)

JG. 1887
ERMORDET 7.6.1944

Robert Fischer, born 30 July 1887 in Harburg, deported 21 Aug. 1942 from Vienna to Theresienstadt, died there 6 June 1944

Buxtehuder Straße 56, Harburg Altstadt

Robert Fischer was the only son of the Jewish factory owner Hermann Fischer and his wife Emma, née Pokorny (8 July 1959 -24 March 1935). His parents had moved to Harburg at the end of the 19th century from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Hermann Fischer’s founding of the rubber plant at Buxtehuder Straße 37-41 contributed to the rapid industrial development of the city in the years after 1871. The rubber industry was at the forefront of this development, with five rubber plants in Harburg employing more workers than any other industry far into the 20th century. Hermann Fischer was granted Prussian citizenship on 12 September 1901.

There was an apartment house next to the plant on the factory premises, although the family did not live there. They resided at Heimhuder Straße 1 in Rotherbaum in Hamburg.

After Robert Fischer finished his schooling and professional apprenticeship, he entered his father’s firm and worked his way up to purchasing manager. On 15 February 1921 he married Dora Schlesinger (*29 Apr. 1900), who was from a Jewish family in Vienna. Their first son Heinz was born on 19 December 1921, followed by Walter on 31 January 1923.

In 1930 the family moved from Heimhuder Straße to a townhouse at Buxtehuder Straße 56 in Harburg, just a short walk for father and son to their workplace. At the same time they became members of the Harburg Jewish Community.

The Great Depression and the Nazi regime were both sources of drastic change in the lives of both men and their families. The revenue from the rubber plant plummeted, which forced Hermann Fischer to take out a mortgage on the house on Heimhuder Straße, and then a few years later to sell it for a price far below market value. The sale of the house improved his situation, but only temporarily. His financial difficulties increased, and the banks finally intervened, confiscated the Harburg rubber plant and sold it to new owners.

Robert Fischer suffered not only from these material losses, but was also struck with two fateful blows in his private life. His mother died on 24 March 1935, followed only a few months later by the death of his fourteen-year-old son Heinz on 2 November 1935. Both were buried at the Schwarzenbergstraße Jewish Cemetery in Harburg.

After the tragic death of her eldest son, Dora Fischer and her younger son Walter moved to Vienna, in an attempt to avoid the increasing Nazi persecution. Her husband was to follow after settling his finances.

Robert Fischer had to give up this plan, however, as the situation was becoming ever more dangerous. In the summer of 1936, he and his 85-year-old father fled abruptly to his father’s hometown in Yugoslavia. Both men left everything in Harburg, barely escaping with their lives. In December 1938, after his father’s death, Robert Fischer was deported from Yugoslavia via Hungary to Austria, as his residence permit in Yugoslavia was not extended. Shortly before his arrival, his wife and son had fled to Switzerland. From there they were later able to escape to Australia. The marriage between Dora Fischer and her husband was dissolved on 29 April 1939.

Robert Fischer was not able save himself by emigrating. He nevertheless never gave up hope of seeing his son again, although the situation worsened steadily. Soon he could no longer afford his own apartment, and was relieved to find accommodations with the Goldberg family at Seilerstraße 12. At the outbreak of the Second World War, he was conscripted to do roadwork. He must have found it a great humiliation in September 1941 to be forced to wear the "yellow star” in public.

On 20 August 1942 he was deported from Vienna to Theresienstadt. Like all other residents of the Ghetto, he was a defenseless victim of the living conditions – the constant hunger, the catastrophic overcrowding, the primitive sanitary conditions, the inadequate medical care, and the constant fear of deportation to the East. No one knows how badly he suffered or how his life finally ended here.

According to information from the Czech Red Cross, his body was cremated on 7 June 1944 in the crematorium at Theresienstadt.

Translator: Amy Lee

Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

© Klaus Möller

Quellen: 1; 8; StaH, 351-11, AfW, Abl. 2008/1, 300787; Heyl (Hrsg.), Harburger Opfer; Heyl, Synagoge; Kändler/Hüttenmeister, Friedhof.
Zur Nummerierung häufig genutzter Quellen siehe Recherche und Quellen.

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