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Erich Freund * 1892
Landwehr 63 (Wandsbek, Eilbek)
Erich Freund, born on 2 Mar. 1892 in Budapest, detained in concentration camps several times, deported on 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk
Landwehr 63 (formerly Landwehr 61)
Erich Freund was born in 1892 in Budapest, which at the time belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, and he acquired German citizenship later. His roots, however, were in the Siegerland region (Westphalia). After their wedding, on 2 Feb. 1891, the parents, Siegfried Freund and Helene, née Goslar, had moved to Budapest, where Siegfried Freund was employed as an electrical engineer with the Bernhard Béla Egger Company. This work also led him on trips to Russia, Poland, Scandinavia, Britain, and Germany. Son Erich, born in 1892, was followed by daughters Anna (born on 25 July 1893) and Hedwig (born on 4 Jan. 1895).
Siegfried Freund died of malaria in Aug. 1898. His widow Helene returned with the children to Siegen, where her parents still lived. In about 1900, she held the post of chair of the Israelite Women’s Association. The children grew up in an environment characterized on the one hand by business matters, on the other hand by the arts. Their grandfather, Israel Goslar, operated a textiles company together with a partner; he passed away in 1918. Erich’s grandmother, Emma Goslar, née Bernthal, composed and published poems, sometimes using Eva Bernthal as her pen name, and she gave piano and singing lessons. She passed away in 1922.
Whether Erich Freund fought as a soldier in the First World War is not known. He moved to Hamburg in 1922. The mother remained in Siegen. Anna and Hedwig had started up their own business, operating a fashion store.
Erich Freund set himself up as a merchant and commercial agent in Hamburg, with his business entered in the company register in 1923. Until the liquidation of his enterprise in 1941, he paid dues to the chamber of commerce and to his occupational group on a regular basis. However, his work was not very profitable, and 1927 was the last year he was assessed for taxes.
Erich Freund was listed in the Hamburg directory for the first time in 1924, with Landwehr 61 as his address. He lived there until his move to Otto-Speckter-Strasse 3 in Barmbek in 1933. He was married to a non-Jewish Protestant woman, Marie Nagel from Vaethen (today Tangerhütte) in the Altmark ("Old March”). The marriage produced no children and ended in divorce at a time not known to us.
After the November Pogrom of 1938, Erich Freund was detained, initially in the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp, then in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. On 17 Jan. 1939, he was released, probably on the condition usual then that he emigrate within a specified period. At this point, the policy of the Nazi regime aimed at expelling Jews, not yet at exterminating them. Following his release, Erich Freund found accommodation at Alter Steinweg 35. There are no clues that he made any efforts to comply with the condition to emigrate. However, in Nov. 1939, he left Hamburg, temporarily moving in with his mother and his sister Anna in Siegen. Sister Hedwig had already emigrated to Britain.
Upon returning, Erich Freund moved in as a subtenant with the laboratory assistant Bruno Behrend to Pelzerstrasse 9 in Hamburg-Altstadt. On 12 July 1940, he wrote to the "Reich Governor Karl Kaufmann, Administration Office for Commerce, Shipping, and Industry [Verwaltung für Handel, Schiffahrt und Gewerbe]:" He said that he intended to become active as an "emigration helper for Jews,” that is, "to carry out the preparation of applications, petitions, and any other legal papers for Jews and also to represent them before the authorities and such,” asking for information as to whether any special permission was required to do so. His application was turned down. The reason given was as follows: "Since a sufficient number of helpers are available, it is not possible to comply with your request dated 12 July 1940.” In case of contravention, he was threatened with consequences under criminal law. The number of authorized emigration helpers was limited; in Sept. 1940, there were eleven, and five additional ones had been turned down. Whether there were any reasons for the refusal linked to Erich Freund’s person is subject to mere speculation. Possibly, his citizenship was scrutinized, for at the time of his deportation, no information on his citizenship was provided. In 1940, he was imprisoned in the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp for a short time; the reasons for the detention are not known.
Until May 1941, the Chief Finance Administrator (Oberfinanzpräsident) had not yet demanded any disclosure of assets from Erich Freund. When he submitted it on 15 May 1941, he had a sum of 115.39 RM (reichsmark) left, as compared to a monthly need for rent and living expenses amounting to 60 RM. He lived on occasional small support payments. Given the insignificance of these assets, no "security order” ("Sicherungsanordnung") was imposed, i.e., he was free to dispose of the funds. However, since his company was not fully liquidated, the mineral oil dealer Wilhelm Haas was appointed as a liquidator.
In the fall of 1941, when the deportations got underway toward the alleged "Development in the East” ("Aufbau im Osten"), Erich Freund, along with his landlord Bruno Behrend, his wife Else and daughter Ursula (see corresponding entries) were ordered for "evacuation” to Minsk. Their transport left Hamburg on 8 Nov. 1941 and headed to the ghetto there, where the traces of Erich Freund’s life disappear.
His mother, along with his sister Anna, was deported on 30 Apr. 1942 on a transport from Dortmund to the Zamosc Ghetto near Lublin. They too perished under circumstances as yet unexplained. In 1948, his sister Hedwig married Doctor of Laws Fritz Bachwitz, a native of Halle/Saale, in London.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: April 2018
© Hildegard Thevs mit Klaus Dietermann
Quellen: 1; 2 OFP R 1941/108; 4; 5; AB; StaH 373-7 I, II A II 13 a; LA Münster, Regierung Arnsberg, Wiedergutmachungsakte 436236; https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_der_Stolpersteine_in_Siegen, Zugriff 30.4.2015; http://www.aktives-gedenkbuch.de/, Zugriff 4.5.2015.
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