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Leopold Freundlich * 1886
Alter Steinweg 13 (Hamburg-Mitte, Neustadt)
Leopold Freundlich, born 7/23/1886 in Hamburg, deported to Lodz on 10/25/1941, died there on 1/13/1942
Alter Steinweg 13 (Alter Steinweg 48)
Leopold Freundlich was born on July 23, 1886 as the son of the Jewish couple Bernhard Freundlich (born 11/29/1842, died 3/29/1919 and his wife Dina, née Braunschild (born 10/14/1851, died 9/11/1916) at her parents’ home at no. 86 of the street called Bei den Hütten (now Hütten). He had seven elder siblings and one younger brother. Their father Bernhard Freundlich was a master furrier and came from Marienfelde in Eastern Prussia (now Glaznoty, Poland) Their mother Dina was a native of Hamburg.
Compared to his siblings, little is known of Leopold Freundlich. In 1922, he was single and lived as a subtenant c/o Kühn at Rödingsmarkt in the old town of Hamburg and worked as an office messenger at the weekly Hamburger Hausfrau, a magazine for housekeeping, fashion, handicrafts and entertainment with offices at Mönckebergstrasse 19, until he was fired, accused of alleged embezzlement 60 reichsmarks. He received welfare payments when he was unemployed and later was assigned to "work duty”. In 1929, he moved from Rödingsmarkt to Alter Steinweg 48, house D, c/o Dengler. A welfare worker who visited him at his furnished room described him as very orderly. In her report, she wrote: "He seems to be very well kept here, Frau D. downright mothers him.”
Leopold Freundlich lived with the Denglers up to his "evacuation” to the "Litzmannstadt” ghetto in Lodz, Poland on October 25, 1941. It is unusual that he was not forced to move to one of the "Jews’ houses” that commonly served as transitory quarters for those to be deported.
Leopold Freundlich did not stand the inhumane conditions in the ghetto for long. He died of malnutrition at the "ghetto hospital” on January 13, 1942 at the age of 56.
It was his elder brother Siegfried Freundlich who reported Leopold’s death to the ghetto registrar’s office. Siegfried, too, had been among the first 1032 Hamburg Jews who were forced to leave their home town on October 25, 1941, as were his nephew Erich and Erich’s wife Klara Freundlich (cf. Jeanette Freundlich).
Leopold’ brother Siegfried Freundlich (born 1/18/1882) had married Henny Magdalena Marie Mertens (born 12/5/1892), who was not Jewish, on November 3, 1920 in Hamburg. She was a hat maker and had her own shop at Wilhelminenstrasse 71 (now Hein-Hoyer-Strasse) in St. Pauli. Their marriage was divorced in February 1932.
Siegfried Freundlich was a double bass player and, as a Jew, was not allowed to become a member of the Reich Music Chamber, which amounted to being banned from the profession. Occasionally, her played at the Jewish Cultural Association of Hamburg, founded in 1934 to give Jewish artists and opportunity to perform. Its first events were staged Conventgarten in Kaiser-Wilhelm-Strasse. During the period of his unemployment, Siegfried Freundlich received welfare support. From 1935, he was forced to do heavy physical labor as "work duty” and feared to lose his dexterity. He lived at Heinrich-Barth-Strasse 14 when he was served his deportation order.
Siegfried Freundlich is listed among the victims in the registry meticulously kept by the chronicle of the Lodz ghetto, a "newspaper” in Polish and German created at the archive of the "Jewish Elders of the Litzmannstadt ghetto.” In the records, there is an entry in November 1941 titled "Concerts”: "Already in the second half of November, the Culture House started staging concerts with the participation of the newly arrived personnel. From the beginning, these musical events were a great attraction for music lovers. It is worth mentioning that the ghetto benefited from the arrival of a number of talented instrumentalists, pianists and singers among the new settlers.” It may be assumed that musician Siegfried Freundlich took part in the ghetto concerts.
He survived his brother only by a few weeks and died on February 3, 1942, also of malnutrition. A Stumbling Stone at Heinrich-Barth-Strasse 14 commemorates him.
The second brother Martin Freundlich (born 5/22/1885) was deported to the Minsk ghetto. He had lived as an office worker in Berlin-Schöneberg when he married on March 22, 1910 Charlotte Behrendt (born 6/28/1880), a native of Berlin. She was a dressmaker and brought her children Louis and Rahel into the marriage.
The family moved to Hamburg, where Martin worked as a travelling salesman. From 1915, they lived at Blücherstrasse 5 (now Kottwitzstrasse) in Eppendorf. Their last residence was at Eppendorfer Weg 54, c/o Peiser. Martin and Charlotte made efforts to emigrate to Alexandretta (now Iskenderun) in southern Turkey, that had belonged to Syria from 1920 to 1938, but at that time was a French mandated territory. In a letter of February 17, 1939, the currency office issued the necessary tax clearance certificate confirming that all taxes and levies had been paid, but added: "Emigration currently not possible, since no entry visas have been issued.” The emigration failed because the Freundlichs’ destination now belonged to Turkey, and that country no longer accepted Jewish refugees.
On November 8, 1941, Martin and Charlotte Freundlich were deported to Minsk and murdered there. The Stumbling Stones commemorating the couple lie at Eppendorfer Weg 54 (cf. Stolpersteine in Hamburg-Eimsbüttel und Hamburg-Hoheluft-West).
On October 16, 1917 in Hamburg, Martin’s brother Hermann (born 4/30/1872) had married the hat maker Dorothea Behrendt (born 3/22/1878), the elder sister of his sister-in-law Charlotte. The couple lived at Grindelhof 35 when Hermann died at the Eppendorf hospital on March 31, 1923 of the long-term consequences of an injury suffered in the war.
After his death, Dorothea Freundlich made her living by renting out rooms until she was forced to give this up on account of her poor health in 1932 and lived as a subtenant at various addresses herself. On December 6, 1941, she was deported from Sonninstrasse 12 in Altona to Riga-Jungfernhof. She, too, did not survive.
The married sister Martha Graetz, née Freundlich (born 6/1/1878) managed to flee in 1939 to Manila, capital of the Philippines, where she and her husband Waldemar Graetz (born 5/28/1880) were murdered by Japanese marines in February 1945.
The youngest brother Wilhelm Freundlich (born 10/28/1893) learned the book printer’s craft, which he later had to give up because of lead poisoning and then worked as a clerk. He was drafted into military service in September 1914. On October 21, 1920, he married Louise Reese (born 4/12/1897, who was not Jewish. They had two children, daughter Irmgard, later married Pluskat, and son Heinz.
According to Wilhelm Freundlich’s own account, his persecution already began in 1933, with house searches at night and interrogations, also for political reasons. He lost his job and later was assigned to heavy forced labor at the hemp spinning mill of Steen & Co. in Hamburg-Lokstedt. Possibly in the hope of protecting himself from anti-Semitic persecution, he joined the Christian Jerusalem Community in Schäferkampsallee, founded by the "Jewish Mission of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland." On November 17, 1935, he was baptized by Pastor Ernst Moser (born 1881, died 1969).
On November 9, 1937, his marriage was "divorced by order of the Gestapo.” Now no longer protected by marriage to a non-Jew, he was served his "evacuation order” no. 4004 at his home in Kremperstrasse 5 in Hamburg-Eppendorf. On July 19, 1942, Wilhelm Freundlich was deported to Theresienstadt, where he was assigned to working as "disinfector”, disinfecting the clothes and effects of the newly arrived deportees. He suffered a double inguinal hernia and also fell ill from the Zyklon gas used for disinfecting. Liberated by the Red Army on May 8, 1945, he returned to Hamburg on June 30, 1945.
In the course of his post-war compensation proceedings, Wilhelm Freundlich testified: "I returned from the concentration camp alone, physically and mentally broken. It is a miracle that I am alive, all my brothers and sisters were murdered, and I will never forget the bitter and severe years of persecution.” Wilhelm Freundlich died in Hamburg on March 21, 1967, at the age of 74.
Translated by Peter Hubschmid
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: May 2020
© Susanne Rosendahl
Quellen: 1; 4; 9; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 8721 u 283/1910; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 9801 u 746/1923; StaH 351-14 Arbeits- und Sozialfürsorge 1182 (Freundlich, Leopold); StaH 351-14 Arbeits- und Sozialfürsorge 1184 (Freundlich, Dorothea); StaH 314-15 OFP, F603 Freundlich, Martin; StaH 351-11 AfW 15814 (Freundlich, Wilhelm); StaH 351-14 Arbeits- und Sozialfürsorge 1180 (Freundlich, Siegfried); StaH 314-15 OFP, R 1939/190; StaH 314-15 OFP, F 791; StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinde Nr. 992 e 2 Band 3; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 3377 u 990/1920; Lodz Hospital, Der Hamburger Gesellschaft für Genealogie zur Verfügung gestellt von Peter W. Landé, 2009, USHMM, Washington, bearbeitet von Margot Löhr; USHMM, RG-05.008M und RG-15.083M von Allison Zhang, E-Mail vom 6.8.2016; Ephraim: Escape, S. 147f.; Feuchert (Hrsg.): Chronik, Band I, S. 434; Jenner: 150 Jahre, S. 136.
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