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Renate Eva Freimuth * 1925
Isestraße 43 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)
Bella Freimuth, née Schur, born 10 June 1887 in Berlin, deported 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz, murdered 2 Sep. 1942 in Chelmno
Emil Freimuth, born 31 Mar. 1880 in Sedlitz, deported 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz, murdered 2 Sep. 1942 in Chelmno
Edgar Freimuth, born 27 Apr. 1922 in Hamburg, deported 10 Aug. 1942 from Prague to Theresienstadt, from there to Auschwitz, murdered 1 Feb. 1943
Renate Freimuth, born 7 Aug. 1925 in Hamburg, deported 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz, murdered 2 Sep. 1942 in Chelmno
Bella Freimuth was originally from Berlin. Her husband Emil Freimuth was born in Sedlec in Bohemia, and thus a citizen of the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. Until 1939 he was a partner and manager at an import-export company in Hamburg.
The couple had three children, but the eldest died in the fall of 1924 at the age of three. Edgar, their second son, moved to Prague, where the family probably had relatives, in 1936 at the age of 14. Their daughter Renate attended the Israelitic Girls’ School on Carolinenstraße in Hamburg and then the Talmud Tora School, when the two schools were merged in 1939. In the poetry album of her classmate Steffi, who was able to leave the country, she wrote: "God helps those who help themselves.”
The son of the Freimuth family’s former housemaid Elsa reported in 2009 that his mother was especially close to Renate, and had offered to hide her with relatives in Schleswig-Holstein. But the parents didn’t want the family to be even more torn apart, after their son had already moved to Prague. Elsa continued to visit the family even after she no longer worked for them.
In the spring of 1939, after Emil Freimuth lost his company, the parents began to make plans for themselves and the children to emigrate. As a result all of their assets, which consisted of the revenue from Emil’s share of the liquidated company, were placed under a "security order,” i.e. their accounts were frozen. The family was allowed to withdraw 425 Reichsmarks per month for living expenses.
In December 1939 Emil Freimuth was taken into "protective custody” for five days and interned in the Fuhlsbüttel prison. The reasons for his arrest are unknown.
When their plan to emigrate failed, the family moved, probably not of their own accord, from Haynstraße to Isestraße. It was at this address that they received their notice of deportation to Lodz on 25 October 1941. In the Lodz Ghetto, they were housed on Steinmetzgasse.
The Freimuth family was among the many ghetto residents who were scheduled to be sent to Chelmno in May 1943. Bella Freimuth requested a postponement for herself and her family, on the grounds that her daughter and husband were both severely ill. Emil Freimuth was bedridden, and the ghetto physician certified that both he and Renate were not able to be transported. The request was denied, and a car was ordered to bring Emil Freimuth to the train – illness was no reason for a postponement. But the decision was rescinded at the last moment.
The Freimuths were able to remain in the ghetto, but only for a little more than three months. On 2 September they were sent to Chelmno and murdered. This time it was the Gestapo itself and not the Jewish relocation commission that chose the ghetto residents to be sent to their deaths.
Edgar Freimuth was deported from Prague to Theresienstadt on 10 August 1942. From there he was sent to Auschwitz, where he was murdered on 1 February 1943.
Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Christa Fladhammer
Quellen: 1; 2; 5; ITS/ARCH/ZNK 126.96.36.199; USHMM, RG 15.083, M 299/464-465, 301/609-610; Auskunft von Fritz Neubauer, Universität Bielefeld am 24.11.2009; mündliche Auskunft Steffi Wittenberg; mündliche Auskunft Rolf Kummerfeld am 2.6.2009.
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