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Erwin Freschl * 1916
Grindelallee 176 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)
ZBASZYN / POLEN
Erwin Freschl, b. 3.8.1916 in Hamburg, expelled on 10.28.1938 to Zbaszyn, emigrated to the USA in 1939
Herbert Freschl, b. 3.11.1921 in Hamburg, expelled on 10.28.1938 to Zbaszyn, emigrated to the USA in 1939
Joel Heinrich Freschl, b. 3.29.1884 in Przemysl (Poland), deported to Auschwitz in 1942, dying there on 5.23. or 5.24.1942
Kurt Freschl, b. 6.18.1912 in Hamburg, expelled on 10.28.1938 to Zbaszyn, emigrated to the USA in 1939
Olga Freschl, née Aller, b. 5.22.1884 in Lancut (Poland), expelled on 10.28.1938 to Zbaszyn, deported again in the summer of 1939 to the Polish interior and probably murdered in Auschwitz in 1942
The text on all the commemorative stones for the Freschl family ends with: "1938 expelled to Zbaszyn ???”. What happened to the family after expulsion to that place on the then German-Polish border was not known at the time the stones were installed. Thus it came about that stones were also laid for the three surviving sons, Kurt, Erwin, and Herbert.
In 1910, after his studies in Vienna, Heinrich Freschl moved to Hamburg. A year later he married Olga Aller, who was Jewish and of Polish origin. In the same year, Heinrich established in the Veddel quarter an installment payment and mail order house with headquarters in Hamburg and later branches in Münster (Westphalia) and Aachen; the annual turnover was between RM 80,000 and 100,000. Olga took care of the home and, according to later testimony, also was the bookkeeper and in charge of invoices with representatives of the firm. In 1919, the family and Heinrich’s business moved to Grindelallee 9.
In 1912, Heinrich and Olga’s first son, Kurt, was born. He attended the Talmud Torah School at Grindelhof 13 until he was eighteen years old; thereafter he spent a year at the Grone Commercial School. He then entered his father’s business, became a partner at age 25, and directed the business until its confiscation by the National Socialists.
Erwin, born in 1916, also followed in his father’s footsteps: after his schooling, he began a commercial apprenticeship with Anton Benjamin on Alter Wall Strasse. He worked there for three years as an apprentice and two years as an employee until he was let go because Benjamin had to give the business up to an "Aryan.” From the end of 1937, Erwin was unemployed.
Herbert, the third son, was born in 1921. He wanted to become a doctor but could not finish school.
For a long time, the family business went well. However, when the world economic crisis began, Heinrich’s firm was impacted. In 1932, he had to let go his entire staff. It became even worse when, a year later, the National Socialists came into power. As the revenues of the enterprise sank, the family in 1935 had to move into a smaller apartment at Grindelallee 176. Finally, it became impossible to continue the business.
On 28 October 1938, Olga and her three sons were arrested and expelled to Poland. Heinrich avoided the expulsion because he was in the synagogue at this time. Later, he was permitted to remain in Hamburg in order to liquidate his firm. Olga and her sons came to the camp in Zbaszyn (Neu-Bentschen) on the Polish border, where, according to Kurt, they spent the first weeks without food and in horse stall. The Polish government refused to let the expellees into the country.
In June 1939, the three sons returned to Hamburg. They had received permission for a stay of six weeks, in order to help their father with the liquidation of the business. There was, however, an additional reason for the return to Hamburg: shortly before, their father informed them that he had been able to obtain exit visas for Thailand. This emigration, however, did not take place. Nevertheless, the sons succeeded in getting Danish visas. They arranged to flee to Copenhagen and then to the USA, where they arrived on 19 September 1939.
One day after the departure of his sons, Heinrich Freschl also left Hamburg. There are two versions of how he got to Poland. Kurt, in the course of reparations proceedings, reported that, shortly after the arrival of his sons, his father received the command, "to leave Germany within eight days. On the last day of the deadline, three men came into the house, demanded that we open the safe and then declared in the name of the German people that all the books, bank authorizations, and goods were confiscated.”
However, it is not clear that Heinrich actually got to Poland in this way. Other records say he emigrated illegally to Poland and settled in Rzeszow (Reichshof). There, presumably, he met his wife Olga again, who, according to acquaintances of the family, was sent from Zbaszyn to Rzeszow and remained there until 1942. There are no witnesses to the couple’s further journey. It is clear, however, that that they were among the first Jews who came to Auschwitz. Heinrich was gassed on 23 or 24 May 1942. Olga was declared dead as of 8 May 1945.
The three sons learned of the deaths of their parents only after the war. The last documents concerning the family and held in the Hamburg State Archive date from the 1980s. In that period, Kurt, with his second wife, Paula, decided to visit the grave of his grandparents in Hamburg-Langenfelde. He received an invitation from the Hamburg Senate for a visit in 1986. However, Paula had to make the trip alone: Kurt Freschl died on 29 October 1985.
Translator: Richard Levy
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Leonie Barghorn
Quellen: 1; 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung 7510, 7368, 41176, 38072 und 44531; StaH 131-1II Senatskanzlei II, Nr. 3751.
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