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Hedwig Augenstern (née Hirsch) * 1867

Isestraße 23 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)

1942 Theresienstadt
1942 weiterdeportiert nach Minsk

further stumbling stones in Isestraße 23:
Gracia Gretchen Bachrach, Ingeborg Mirjam Bachrach, Hermann Bachrach, Georg Fränkel, Henriette Fränkel, Alice Maschke, Erich Wilhelm Maschke, Dr. Herbert Michaelis, Gertrud Seidl

Hedwig Augenstern, née Hirsch, born 23 Aug. 1867, deported 15 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, 21 Sep. 1942 from there to Treblinka

Hedwig Augenstern was born in Bromberg to Michael and Helene Hirsch. She was the second wife of Salomon Augenstern, who had a store for men’s and boy’s clothing on Alter Steinweg in Hamburg. After Salomon Augenstern’s death, probably in the 1920s, his wife Hedwig inherited the store.

The store was probably managed by Manfred Augenstern (*1901), Salomon Augenstern’s son from his first marriage. He married in 1930 and redecorated his parents’ apartment on Isestraße with modern furniture that he had bought at the Bornhold furniture store on Neuer Wall. He owned valuable paintings and etchings. His daughter Karin Helen was born in 1931. His wife died later that year.

The store was heading for bankruptcy, and in September 1933 it was removed from the commercial register. Thereafter Manfred Augenstern no longer had any personal income.

In June 1936 he was found guilty of "racial defilement” and sentenced to 18 months in prison. His prison term was reduced by 183 days (the amount of time he had spent in pre-trial detention), and he was released from the Fuhlsbüttel police prison on 15 August 1937. He was consigned to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp for about three months of his prison term. The judgement was vacated in 1947. In 1938 he was taken into "protective custody” at the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp, probably in the wave of arrests in connection with Operation Work-Shy, Reich (Aktion "Arbeitsscheue Reich”), which rounded up so-called "asocials,” including Jews with previous convictions. He was not, however, sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, possibly because he could prove that he had emigration plans.

Shortly thereafter, Manfred Augenstern was able to emigrate to the US. The inspection by the regional tax office concluded that he had no property, and that his stepmother was paying his travel expenses. On the questionnaire for emigrants he stated that he "wanted to learn an agricultural trade.” His second wife Rosa (née Arnstein), who was eleven years younger, travelled with him. They both took only normal travel luggage with them: their household possessions were to be shipped. The shipping company pressured the Foreign Exchange Office (Devisenstelle) to expedite the final approval of the shipment, since Manfred Augenstern had received notification that he had to leave the country by 15 September 1938. The intervention was of no use. The furniture remained in Germany.

The Augensterns didn’t take their seven-year-old daughter Karin with them to the US. They wanted to settle in before she joined them. Thus it was left to the 71-year-old grandmother Hedwig Augenstern to take care of the child and to organize the transport of the furniture.

A certificate of clearance was issued for the child in July 1939. Her assets were assessed at 2000 Reichmarks for her passage and a container for the furniture.

Karin was to travel on a Hamburg America Line steamship. The contents of her hand luggage, which had to be listed in detail and approved, were, for the most part, clothing which her grandmother had made for her. Two silver teaspoons and two spoons were crossed off the list. The container and the girl were to travel on the same ship.

The carousel of approvals and permits took so long, however, that in the end it was only Karin and her luggage that went on board the ship. She departed from Hamburg on 10 August 1939, three weeks before the outbreak of the war.

Hedwig Augenstern now lived alone in the apartment on Isestraße. The district court had ruled that all of the furnishings, including the works of art, belonged to Karin, as the heir of her deceased mother. Again the shipping company urged the authorities to accelerate the approval process, this time because Hedwig Augenstern had been notified that she was to vacate the apartment by 1 September. The transport was finally approved (only the linens were excepted). But then: "Due to the war the shipment cannot take place at this time.” The furniture was probably stored somewhere. Hedwig Augenstern was forced to move into the "Jews’ House” at Bornstraße 16.

In September 1941, Hedwig Augenstern was finally able to sell the furniture and works of art for 1650 Reichmarks. They had been turned over to her. The money from the sale was put into a restricted account, from which Hedwig was allowed to withdraw 150 Reichmarks per month for her living expenses.

She was forced to move once more. She received her deportation notification in the "Jews’ House” at Frickestraße 24. On 15 July 1942 she was deported to Theresienstadt. Two months later she was transferred to Treblinka, where she was murdered.

Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

© Christa Fladhammer

Quellen: 1; 2; 5; AfW 140401.
Zur Nummerierung häufig genutzter Quellen siehe Recherche und Quellen.

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