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Alphons Friedberg * 1885

Vereinsstraße 61 (Eimsbüttel, Eimsbüttel)

JG. 1885
ERMORDET 1.6.1943

Alphons Friedberg, born 25.11.1885 Altona, deported to Theresienstadt on 19.7.1942, died there on 1.6.1943

Vereinsstraße 61 (Eimsbüttel)

Alphons Friedberg was the eldest child of the Jewish couple Adele Friedberg, née Goldschmidt (1862 in Wandsbek) (biography see and Samuel Friedberg (1853 in Hamburg). His father worked as an office clerk and agent, later as a commercial clerk. Nothing is known about his mother's occupation.

Alphons had four more siblings: sister Ella (1887), who was two years younger, brothers Hugo (1889) and Herbert (1891) and the latecomer Bernhardine/Dina (1902).

Family life was characterized by numerous changes of residence, which, in addition to the growing number of children, also indicates precarious income circumstances: While they initially lived in Altona, at Adolphstraße 42 and 154 respectively, they moved to Hamburg's Schanzenviertel in 1896, and in 1910 their address was Schlachterstraße 47 (today near Neanderstraße to the west of Großneumarkt). Five years later, they lived in today's Weidenstieg district at Lindenallee 18 and then at Margarethenstraße 35.

From 1900 onwards, the family was dependent on financial support. Jewish foundations helped them survive in great poverty with one-off payments. In 1914, they were even in danger of being evicted from their home due to rent debts.

Alphons' father died on March 21, 1922, shortly after he had been granted his old-age pension. Alphons' mother, now widowed, continued to live at Margarethenstraße 35 in a 4-room apartment. Her married daughter Ella Rühmke and her son-in-law occupied two of the rooms and paid her rent. Adele Friedberg earned her living from a disability pension and was also supported by the Jewish community.

Alphons Friedberg, about whose childhood and youth nothing else is known, had been married to the non-Jewish Wilhelmine Elsa, née Schwetscher (1886), since 1907. They had two children: Irma (1907) and Helmuth (1921). According to an excerpt from the central trade register, Alphons Friedberg was registered as a merchant, commercial agent and goods broker (cigars, cigarettes, tobacco and postcards) in Hamburg, Telemannstraße 7, from July 4, 1917.

His wife died of cancer in 1933. In the meantime, the family lived at Vereinsstraße 61 (where the Stolperstein also commemorates Alphons Friedberg). More information about his siblings can be found in the biography of Adele Friedberg, see

The address book shows that Alphons Friedberg sold articles for smokers, i.e. remained connected to the tobacco industry. However - according to the restitution office later - it was not a large business, the annual income before 1930 was not particularly high, which was not the case until 1933 during the Great Depression and also later on. Alphons Friedberg had last paid tax on his income in 1933/34. After that, he no longer had to pay contributions to the Jewish community because he no longer earned any significant income.

In 1937 and 1938, Alphons Friedberg lived at Kirchenallee 48 near the main railway station.

He was arrested during the November pogrom and imprisoned in Oranienburg (Sachsenhausen) concentration camp from November 9 to December 1938.

In 1939, he ran a tobacco agency at Grindelallee 168. Apparently unaware that Jews were no longer allowed to own or run trading or commercial businesses, he applied for a permit to set up a wholesale business. The application was rejected by the Reich Governor in Hamburg on March 1, 1939. He also no longer received an itinerant trade license, which meant that he could no longer work as a sales representative. As he was without assets according to the Jewish community, the Chief Finance President did not issue any "security measures" against him.

Grindelallee was not Alphons Friedberg's last address. According to the register of the Jewish community of Hamburg, he changed apartments five more times in the districts of Eimsbüttel, Grindel, Eppendorf and Rotherbaum, where he always moved in as a subtenant. His last address is noted in the files and in the deportation list as Beneckestraße 22. He lived there from 1940 to 1941. The tax card of the Jewish community then notes two more addresses, including (without date and not crossed out) Lenhartzstraße 17 at Josephi.

From Sept 19, 1941 Alphons Friedberg, like all Jews, was forced to wear the so-called Jewish star. Just under a year later, on July 19, 1942, he had to present himself at the collection point for deportation from Hamburg. As his non-Jewish wife had died in 1933, he no longer had the protection of intermarriage.

He was not alone there, his mother Adele Friedberg, his sister Bernhardine Levy and his brother-in-law John Levy had also received the order. Adele Friedberg was number 175 on the deportation list, Alphons was number 759 and Bernhardine was number 397. They reached the Theresienstadt ghetto on July 20, 1942 on transport VI/2. At the beginning of 1943, Helmuth Friedberg received the last and only postal message from his father from the Theresienstadt ghetto.

In a letter sent to Alphons' sister Ella Rühmke in 1955 by the head of the Theresienstadt Tracing Service - which was under the control of the Czechoslovakian military mission based in Berlin-Dahlem - it was stated that Adele Friedberg had died in Theresienstadt on April 10, 1943. (A Stolperstein at Rappstraße 15 commemorates her).

Alphons Friedberg also died in Theresienstadt on June 1., 1943. "Mr. Friedberg was cremated on 3.6.1943. The death certificate was not preserved."

We learn about Bernhardine Levy from the Tracing Service's letter: "Deported to the East on October 28, 1944 on transport Ev 286, where she probably perished, as most of these people did not survive."

Bernhardine and John Levy were murdered in Auschwitz, as the Memorial Book of the Federal Archives confirms today. (Two Stolpersteine in Bundesstraße 40 commemorate them).

In 1949 and 1950, Alphons Friedberg's children, Irma Hermann, née Friedberg, and Helmuth Friedberg, applied as surviving dependants for compensation for their father's imprisonment in a concentration camp. The tax authorities approved the applications for a period of imprisonment of 11 months, i.e. the time in Theresienstadt until Alphons Friedberg's death. Earlier restrictions on personal freedom, such as the wearing of a star, were not recognized by the authorities at this time. The death certificate for Alphons Friedberg was issued by the special registry office in Arolsen on December 9, 1953.

Helmuth Friedberg, almost 24 years old at the end of the war, had lost his mother at the age of 12 and, at the age of 17, had seen his father imprisoned in Sachsenhausen concentration camp for six weeks as a result of the November pogrom of 1938, after which he was destitute. At the end of March 1939, Helmuth completed his apprenticeship at the L. Wagner department store in Hamburg, which had been "Aryanized". He applied for a trade license on April 1, 1939 and set up his own business as a commercial agent, including joining his father's company and earning a living for both of them. They lived together at Grindelallee 168 and then at Beneckestraße 22.

For a short time, Helmuth Friedberg was able to sell pipes for a company near Koblenz (presumably for tobacco). According to his own statements, he earned an average of 450 RM per month there. However, the Arbeitsamt banned him from working as a salesman. At the beginning of 1940, he worked in Hamburg as a messenger for the companies Fritz Dissmann and Gebr. In August 1941, the employment office sent him to the Hell & Sthamer chemical factory in Hamburg-Billbrook as a laborer - because of his "racial affiliation", as Helmuth later stated - originally for one year, then extended until Oct. 26, 1944, where he received an hourly wage of RM 0.75, or about RM 36 per week.

At the instigation of the Gestapo, he was - like the majority of the adult "Mischlinge" and husbands of Jewish women - removed from his previous employment and conscripted to forced labor at the Hamburg (Aufräumungsamt) building administration, clearance office, until the end of the war. There he had to carry out heavy physical forced labor in the rubble of bomb-damaged houses for the civil engineering company Heinrich Pape, including track construction, filling in bomb craters and recovering corpses. A certificate of employment had already been issued on July 18, 1945.

The wage for the forced labor corresponded to the wage for unskilled laborers and was so low that Helmuth was forced to sell his gold watch and some recordings. He had already had to hand in his radio when he was still living with his Jewish father at Beneckestrasse 22. He needed the money to live on and to buy clothes and shoes. According to Helmuth Friedberg in his application for restitution, he had contracted arsenic poisoning and a stomach illness several times at work. In addition, his social isolation must have been oppressive because, according to his own statements, he was only able to maintain contact with his sister and her husband.

The forced laborer columns were supposed to be "barracked" at the Horner Rennbahn and Dessauer Ufer, but as neither accommodation was available, this did not happen. However, they were guarded at work and often threatened by the overseers: "You Jewish pigs will soon be killed."

After Germany's capitulation in May 1945, Helmuth Friedberg worked "for the English" as an inspector at the Hamburg-Wandsbek rations office. He remained there until his recruitment to the Hamburg police, which took place in 1945 after completing a trainee course. He fought for many years to compensate for the effects of Nazi persecution on his years of service and pension entitlements, but was only partially successful.

Translated by Beate Meyer

Stand: December 2023
© Astrid Louven

Quellen: StaHH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden 992b, Kultussteuerkartei der Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde Hamburg; StaHH 213-13 25257 Landgericht Hamburg Rückerstattung; StaHH 351-11_756 Amt für Wiedergutmachung; StaHH 351-11_8536 Amt für Wiedergutmachung; StaHH 351-11_44744 Amt für Wiedergutmachung; StaHH 314-15_R1939/2042 Oberfinanzpräsident; StaHH 131-11_1282 Personalamt Wiedergutmachung; Adressbuch Wandsbek 1862, 1865; Adressbuch Altona 1886 und 1891 u. 1895, 1905 Adressbuch Hamburg 1885, 1895, 1896, 1900, 1905, 1910, 1915, 1920, 1925, 1930-1933, 1935-1940;
Beate Meyer, "Jüdische Mischlinge". Rassenpolitik und Verfolgungserfahrung (1933-1945), Hamburg 1999.

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