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Henny Freschel (née Ulrich) * 1889
Hamburger Straße 164 (Hamburg-Nord, Barmbek-Süd)
1938 Zbaszyn / Polen
Maier David Freschel, born 28 May 1888, exiled to Bentschen (Zbaszyn), Poland 28 Oct. 1938, missing
Henny Freschel, née Urich, born 20 March 1889, deported 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz
Heinz Leon Freschel, born 13 Jan. 1918, exiled to Bentschen (Zbaszyn), Poland 28 Oct. 1938, missing
Hamburger Straße 164
The furrier Maier David Freschel, called Max, grew up in the small village of Przemysl in south-eastern Poland, on the border of Ukraine. His parents Leon (Leib) and Schajndel Freschel (also written as Freschl or Fröschel) had four other children, Adolf, Eva, Heinrich, and Michael. Except for the youngest brother Adolf and the mother Schajndel, the entire family immigrated to Hamburg.
Max Freschel married Henny Urich, from Hamburg, who was the daughter of David and Anita, née Italiener. Henny had two brothers, Hermann (*1887) and Jacob (*1892).
Max Freschel established his own company in Hamburg, the Max Freschel textile firm. As a trained furrier, he tailored fur coats and accessories for the ladies of Hamburg. Max’s brother Michael was also a furrier, and had a fur goods shop at Schulterblatt 41.
Max and Henny had their first and only child in 1918. Their son was born on 13 January, and was given the name Heinz Leon, after his grandfather Leon Freschel. The family lived in an apartment at Hamburger Straße 164, where Max’s company was also located.
Heinz Leon began school in October 1924 at the Talmud Tora School, and remained there for his entire schooling. In the 1930s, the family was forced to move to Heinrich-Barth-Straße 11. This was the last address at which they all lived together, before Max and Heinz Leon were exiled to Poland on 28 October 1938. They were among the 17,000 Jews who were exiled from Germany in "Operation Poland.”
On 31 March 1938, the Polish government issued a law revoking the citizenship of all Poles who had lived outside the country for more than five years. In anticipation of the mass expulsion of Polish Jews from the German Reich, the government advised its citizens living abroad to have their passports stamped at the nearest Polish consulate. Otherwise their passports would become invalid on 30 October 1938, and they would be stateless. The Freschels did not heed this advisory, since Henny was born in the German Reich, and Max considered himself a German.
Shortly after Berlin learned of the Polish law via the German embassy in Warsaw, thousands of Polish Jews in the German Reich were ordered to leave the country. Between 27 and 29 October, they were sent on foot or on a collective transport over the border to Poland. This fate befell the Freschel family on 28 October. Max’s eldest brother Heinrich and his sons Kurt, Erwin, and Herbert as well as his sister Eva’s husband Leon Kitz were all exiled from the German Reich.
Together with about 4800 other Polish Jews, the family was sent to the border-town of Bentschen (Zbaszyn). The conditions there were chaotic, the people were in a kind of no-man’s-land. They were crowded into the railway yard, and sheltered in the train station or on one of the nearby squares in Bentschen. The Polish border officials were overwhelmed and didn’t know what to do with so many people. Those who had relatives in Poland were allowed to travel to them. This was the case with the Freschel family, as Max’s parents still lived in his hometown of Przemysl.
It cannot be determined if the Freschel family actually did travel to Przemysl and remained together there. Max and Heinz Leon Freschel were definitely in Poland until the German invasion on 1 September 1939. Henny Freschel, on the other hand, was exiled from Poland in June 1939 and deported back to the German Reich.
Henny Freschel returned to Hamburg with an entry permit for six weeks. She was officially considered stateless. She lived with her mother Anita Urich at Bundesstraße 35. In the weeks that she was in Hamburg, she tried to get permission to re-emigrate to Poland. She hoped to be able to take the family’s belongings, which they had been forced to leave behind in Hamburg, with her.
Before the family was exiled, they had been able to store their belongings with the Brasch & Rothenstein moving company. They also had a safety deposit box at the Deutsche Bank in Hamburg, where their jewelry was kept. Henny wanted to take all of this back to Poland. But she was unable to prevail against the bureaucracy, and she was running out of time. Her German visa had to be extended, and the Second World War broke out on 1 September 1939, eliminating all possibility of returning to her husband and son.
In October 1939, the Deutsche Bank sold the contents of the safety deposit box. The revenue, 1,080 Reichsmarks, was transferred to a secured account, to which Henny Freschel had no access. The Foreign Exchange Office only allowed her to withdraw 80 RM per month. She had to move to a small apartment at Bornstraße 8. She was deported to the Lodz Ghetto on 25 October 1941. There is no trace of her after this date.
Max and Heinz Leon Freschel are assumed to have died at an unknown location to which they were deported. If they lived in Przemysl at the outbreak of the Second World War, they almost certainly were killed in the 16 September 1939 massacre of the Jewish population by German troops.
Max’s brothers Heinrich and Michel were deported to Auschwitz and died there. Heinrich was murdered on 23 May 1942, and Michel died on 16 January 1943. Henny’s mother Anita was deported to Theresienstadt on 15 July 1942 and died there on 18 December of the same year.
Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Carmen Smiatacz
Quellen: 1; 2; 4; 5; 8; StaHH 314-15, OFP, F 592; StaHH 314-15, OFP, R 1939/2932; StaHH 621/86, Firmenarchiv, 21; StaHH 741-4, Fotoarchiv, Sa 1244; Jungbluth/ Ohl-Hinz: Stolpersteine in Hamburg-St. Pauli, S. 92ff.
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