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Lilly Frensdorff (née Ballin) * 1894
Haynstraße 11 (Hamburg-Nord, Eppendorf)
Alfred Leven, born 18 Sep. 1902 in Düren, deported 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz, on 3 May 1942 to Chelmno
Inge Leven, née Frensdorff, born 15 Feb. 1921 in Hamburg, deported 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz, on 3 May 1942 to Chelmno
When Dr. Lorenz Peter Johannsen, a pediatrician from Düren, retired, he began to research the lives of his fellow pediatricians. In his book Kinderarzt Karl Leven, Lebensspuren – Todesspur (Pediatrician Karl Leven, Traces of Life – Traces of Death) he tells the story of the Leven family from his hometown.
Alfred Leven was Karl’s brother. Thanks to this book and the documents at the Düren History Workshop, Alfred’s biography could also be reconstructed.
Alfred’s father Hermann Leven was born in 1852 in Düren. He trained as a butcher, but later worked as an estate agent. In 1908 he is listed as a member of the board of the Düren Regional Synagogue Community. He died in 1929 in Düren, and was buried at the local Jewish cemetery. His wife Sara Auguste, née Heymann, was from Gürzenich. She was 17 years his junior, and was a real estate agent. They married in 1894 in Gürzenich. Karl was their first child, born 1895.
The daughters Johanna and Bertha were born next, in 1896 and 1899. Alfred was born three years later. Except for Johanna, the entire family were victims of the Holocaust. Sara Auguste Leven was deported to Theresienstadt in July 1942 and murdered three months later in Treblinka. Dr. Karl Leven, his wife Else and their four children were deported from the Aachen Ghetto to Sobibor in June 1942. Stolpersteine for his family and Sara Auguste were placed in Düren in front of the house at Hohenzollernstraße 13, which belonged to Sara Auguste, Karl, and Alfred.
Johanna and her husband Richard Lachs were able to flee with their children to England in June 1939. She died there in 1944, aged 48. The second sister, Bertha, was married to the businessman Max Moses. They had one daughter, Johanna, born in 1935. The family fled to Holland, but were deported from Venlo to Auschwitz in 1942. Bertha and Johanna died there on 17 September 1942. Max Moses died on 31 December 1942 at the satellite camp Blechhammer, near Cosel in Upper Silesia.
Alfred finished his schooling in the Düren public schools in 1918/1919. He then began working as a sales representative for men’s clothing. His nephew Werner remembered fondly: "I have only a few memories of him, but they are pleasant. Uncle Alfred was our bachelor uncle, and we loved him very much. Because he was a sales representative, he had a car – the only one in the family. It was such an event for us children, when he visited us in Cologne and picked us up from school in his car! During school holidays I often got to go with him on his sales route, and thus got to see places I otherwise never would have.” The family was close-knit and loving.
"Except for us, who were lucky enough to leave Germany before the war, no one in my family survived – a tragedy that we still feel,” says Werner Lachs today.
Alfred supposedly also worked as a real estate agent, possibly together with his mother. When and where he met Inge Frensdorff, who was 18 years his junior and from Hamburg, is unknown. They married on 19 September 1939. One year later, on 25 September 1940, their daughter Tana was born in Düren-Birkendorf. It was probably at about this time that Alfred was conscripted to forced labor, like all Jewish men and women who were able to work. He had to work in road construction and do heavy excavation work. A former neighbor remembers that Alfred showed him "his hands, marked and calloused from the unaccustomed work. His fingers hurt and were so stiff that he couldn’t straighten them.” Perhaps Alfred and Inge thought that it would be better in a big city like Hamburg. For whatever reasons, they moved to Hamburg on 12 April 1941 and lived with Inge’s parents Lilly and Louis Frensdorff at Haynstraße 11 on the fourth floor.
Inge Leven thus returned to live with her parents after many years. Her church tax records show that she had worked as a housemaid with various families beginning in 1936. The various residential address that are listed in the records were all rented rooms: on Dorotheenstraße "c/o Rosenfeld,” on Ackermannstraße "c/o Heinemann,” etc. She evidently lived in the houses or apartments of her employers. Since she was 15 years old in 1936, it can be assumed that she had no secondary education. Inge had apparently tried to leave Germany, since a clearance certificate, necessary for emigration, was issued for her in July 1939. Her church tax records have the entry "withdrawn” with the reason listed as "Australia.” This entry was later crossed out. We do not know when Inge moved to Düren nor how long she lived there.
Inge’s mother Lilly Ballin was born 29 May 1894 in Hamburg. Her father Louis, born 8 September 1893 in Jesberg, was listed as a business manager, businessman, and merchant. In his 1936 tax records there is an entry "no taxable income – itinerant trade.” On the deportation list he was listed as traveling salesman. Inge must have had to start working early in order to help support the family. Her brother Siegfried was born in 1924. He attended the Vossberg public school and later the Talmud Tora School.
On 25 October 1941 all members of the family were deported on the first transport from Hamburg to the "Litzmannstadt” (Lodz) Ghetto. According to the deportation list, Inge and Alfred "volunteered.” In Lodz the family lived together at the address Neustadt 31, Apartment 5 until 4 April 1942. Erich worked as an assistant cabinet maker, or was training as a cabinet maker. The entry for his father reads "Profession in Ghetto – businessman;” for his mother, "housewife.” Alfred Leven worked in a factory, and Inge worked in a nursery. Perhaps in this way she was able to remain close to Tana.
Louis Frensdorff died on 5 April 1942. Alfred and Inge Leven, with their daughter Tana, and Lilly and Erich Frensdorff were deported from "Litzmannstadt” to the Chelmno Extermination Camp on 3 May 1942. None of them survived.
The Stolpersteine for Inge and Alfred Leven make it gruesomely clear how many other murders are hidden behind these names. It was only in researching the couple that I discovered they had a daughter named Tana, and that Inge’s parents and brother were also deported to Lodz. As a result, Stolpersteine were laid in May 2010 for Lilly and Louis Frensdorff and for Erich Siegfried Frensdorff. The fates of Inge’s maternal grandparents, and her aunts and uncles and their children remain to be discovered. Her paternal grandparents, Julius and Rebecca Frensdorff, née Katz, were deported to Theresienstadt and then murdered in Treblinka.
Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Sabine Brunotte
Quellen: 1; 4; 8; StaH 522-1 Jüd. Gemeinden, 992e2 Band 3; StaH 332 – 8 Meldewesen A 51 (Alfred Leven, Inge Leven); Spuren jüdischen Lebens in Düren, www.geschichtswerkstatt-dueren.de, Zugriff 23.10.2007; Lorenz Peter Johannsen, Kinderarzt Karl Leven, Lebensspuren – Todesspur, Teetz 2005; E-Mail Werner Lachs vom 22.5.2009; wikipedia.org /wiki /KZ_ Blechhammer, Zugriff 28.5.2010; www.joodsmonument.nl, Zugriff 28.5.2010; Dokumentation zur Gedenkstunde anläßlich der Enthüllung einer Gedenktafel am 25. April 1994 in der Heinrich-Hertz-Schule, Broschüre Heinrich-Hertz-Schule 1996; Randt, Die Talmud Tora Schule, 2005; Auskunft Fritz Neubauer, Universität Bielefeld, E-Mail vom 21.6.2010.
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