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Hildegard Glück (née Oppenheim) * 1912
Rutschbahn 5 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)
Siegmund Glück, born on 15 Aug. 1909 in Altona, imprisoned in 1939/40 in the Fuhlsbüttel and Sachsenhausen concentration camps, deported to Auschwitz, murdered there on 10 Dec. 1942
Hildegard Glück, née Oppenheim, born on 26 Mar. 1912 in Kassel-Rothenditmold, deported on 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz, murdered on 12 May 1942 in Chelmno
Bernhard Glück, born on 5 Aug. 1938 in Hamburg, deported on 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz, murdered on 12 May 1942 in Chelmno
The married couple Siegmund and Hildegard Glück, née Oppenheim, lived with their son Bernhard in Hamburg. They were three of about 1,000 Jews of Polish extraction living in Hamburg who were forcibly expelled to Bentschen (Polish: Zbaszyn) in connection with the "Polenaktion.” Although they returned to Hamburg afterward, this meant for Siegmund internment in a concentration camp with subsequent deportation to Auschwitz and for Hildegard and Bernhard deportation to the "Litzmannstadt” (Lodz) Ghetto and their murder in Kulmhof (Chełmno).
Amalie Hildegard Glück, née Oppenheim, was born as the daughter of the Jewish merchant Salomon Oppenheim and his wife Selma Oppenheim, née Katz, in Kassel-Rothenditmold on 26 Mar. 1912. Her father Salomon, born on 2 Nov. 1881 in Kassel, survived the Holocaust. Her mother Selma, born on 21 Oct. 1882 in Guxhagen south of Kassel, was deported from Kassel to Riga on 9 Dec. 1941 and did not return.
Hildegard came to Hamburg a few years before the First World War and probably met her future husband, Siegmund Glück, there. He was born on 15 Aug. 1909 in Altona, but his parents had had Polish citizenship. When he moved from Altona to the Hamburg metropolitan area in Jan. 1935, he joined the Hamburg Jewish Community on 16 Feb. 1935. In the period following, he lived as a subtenant at Heinrich-Barth-Strasse 6 and 8, working as a messenger. Due to his difficult financial situation, he was supported by the welfare office from 1935 onward. On 6 June 1936, he got engaged to Hildegard and married her a little over a year later, on 15 Aug. 1937, on his twenty-eighth birthday. They moved to Rutschbahn 22. Almost a year later, on 5 Aug. 1938, their son Bernhard was born.
The young family lived at Rutschbahn 22 until 28 Oct. 1938, the day of the so-called "Polenaktion” in the course of which they were forcibly expelled along with 17,000 Jews of Polish extraction living in Germany. The Glück family only made it to Bentschen (Zbaszyn) on the frontier. Poland had closed off the border, and therefore, thousands had to persevere there for weeks and in some cases, months. In a letter Hildegard wrote in May 1942 in the "Litzmannstadt” (Lodz) Ghetto, she related that she had "endured a lot” during the time in Zbaszyn together with her son, who was only a few weeks old. Those who had no money were forced to find accommodation in barns fixed up temporarily. We know about Siegmund that he remained in the internment camp until the summer of 1939 and thus until the gradual dissolution of the provisional internment camp.
Upon returning to Hamburg, the Glücks did not manage to gain a foothold anymore. They moved to Rutschbahn 5 – their last known place of residence in Hamburg – and became subtenants of Albert and Henriette Rosenstein on the third floor of the building. Henriette Rosenstein, née Oppenheim, was Hildegard’s aunt.
Immediately after returning, Siegmund began to undertake efforts toward his family’s emigration to Poland. The application for emigration was received by the relevant office on 3 Aug. 1939. The disclosure of assets showed how destitute the family had become by then. The overall income for the year 1938 amounted to 1,000 RM (reichsmark). They did not have either cash, a credit balance, securities, landed property, or any other assets, such as life, endowment, or retirement insurances. Their assets consisted merely of some gold and silver jewelry such as rings and a pocket watch. Accordingly, on 11 Aug. 1939, they received a tax clearance certificate (Unbedenklichkeitsbescheinigung) for the purpose of emigration stating that "[t]he messenger Siegmund Glück […] and his wife Hildegard […] and an underage child, address: HH, Rutschbahn 5, intend to emigrate to Poland. Currently, there are no remaining taxes, surcharges, fines, dues, and costs. The following outstanding payments exist: none."
Their property was estimated at a value of 208.90 RM (reichsmark). This included some silver cutlery, given as gifts by friends and relatives, including the aunt, Henriette Rosenstein, and her daughter Grete Kohlstädt, née Rosenstein, on the occasion of their engagement and marriage. In order to make possible the immediate departure, scheduled for 21 Aug. 1939, the family only packed hand luggage. However, they were never allowed to depart, and their passports were invalidated as of 23 Aug. 1939. They remained in the German Reich as "stateless persons.” The reason for the failed departure may have been Siegmund’s internment as a Jewish "protective custody prisoner” ("Schutzhäftling”) in the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp. Thousands of Polish-Jewish men were detained as "members of an enemy state.” On 4 Sept. 1939, Hildegard declared "in the absence of her husband” that "under the prevailing circumstances” she "relinquished further processing of their emigration matter.”
However, half a year later, on 5 Feb. 1940, she made a second attempt to leave the German Empire. She intended to emigrate with her family to the USA. What emerges from the documents Hildegard filled out in her husband’s name is that Siegmund had not been released from detention yet. Two months later, on 3 Apr. 1940, the intent to emigrate was discarded by the relevant office without any grounds provided. The reason may have been that on 30 Mar. of that year, Siegmund was transferred from Fuhlsbüttel to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, and was not allowed to return to his family as expected. He was registered there as prisoner no. 17,943. After assistance by the welfare office for Hildegard was cancelled in Feb. 1940 and she thus had no income anymore, she and her son Bernhard, just under two years old, stayed with her aunt at Rutschbahn 5. As a "full Jew” ("Volljüdin”), she was forced to wear the so-called "Jews’ star” from 19 Sept. 1941 onward.
When the deportations of Hamburg Jews began in Oct. 1941, Hildegard received the deportation order for 25 Oct. 1941. Along with her son and 1,032 other Jews from Hamburg, she was deported to the "Litzmannstadt” (Lodz) Ghetto. Among the deportees was also Augusta Szpigiel (see corresponding entry), a close friend of Hildegard from Hamburg. Upon arriving in the ghetto on 26 Oct. 1941, they were initially quartered in a school together with 500 other deported persons. Later, they moved together into the second apartment at Sulzfelder Strasse no. 17, where they were taken in by Augusta’s aunt. They lived in very cramped conditions, with the three of them sharing one bed. However, owing to Augusta’s good post in the ghetto and the connected income, Hildegard and Bernhard managed to survive for some time despite the inhumane circumstances. Although Hildegard herself was registered in the ghetto as a laborer and sales assistant, she was never able to start working because no one could look after her little son. Therefore, in May 1942, she received for herself and her son – along with other Jews from the Reich deemed unfit for work – the order for "resettlement” ("Aussiedlung”) from the ghetto, i.e. for transport to the nearby Chelmno extermination camp. In order to evade this fate, on 2 May 1942, Hildegard wrote a letter to the "expulsion commission” (Ausweisungskommission), asking for deferment of her matter: "In view of my particularly sad situation and in view of the fact that I have a small child, I ask the venerable expulsion commission kindly to refrain from expulsion in my case, especially because in this connection I have mainly the young life of my child in mind, whom I, after my grave struggle, wish to preserve at all cost in order to be able to hand him over in good health to my husband upon his hopefully speedy release.”
Augusta Szpigiel, who survived the ghetto, later indicated that they had been deceived by the Nazis. They had put their trust in the fact that Hildegard, mother of a small child, would have been protected in the ghetto. Regardless of her petition, which the so-called "expulsion commission” rejected that same day, Hildegard and her son were scheduled for "resettlement” on Transport III – one of 12 transports comprised of Jews not fit for work that left the ghetto between 4 and 15 May 1942 – as numbers III-439 and III-445. The "resettlement” ended for Hildegard and Bernhard on 12 May 1942 in the Kulmhof (Chelmno) extermination camp northwest of Lodz, where they, along with 10,000 other Jews not fit for work, were murdered immediately upon arrival.
Siegmund never learned what had happened to his wife and son. In connection with the decree in Oct./Nov. 1942 to render all prisons and concentration camps within the German Reich "free of Jews” ("judenfrei”), he was deported from Sachsenhausen to the Auschwitz extermination camp. After many years of imprisonment in concentration camps, he was murdered there on 10 Dec. 1942.
The only survivor in the family was Salomon Oppenheim, Hildegard’s father. At the end of the 1950s, he lived in the Schocketal municipal retirement home in Kassel. Himself persecuted "for racial reasons” and without employment after the war, he applied for restitution for himself and his daughter; most of all, however, he strove to find out for certain what had really happened to his relatives, first and foremost to his daughter Hildegard.
For Hildegard, Bernhard, Siegmund, and Selma, Pages of Testimony (Gedenkblätter) were submitted to Yad Vashem in 1983.
In addition to the Stolpersteine for Hildegard and Bernhard, there is also one located at Rutschbahn 5 for Albert Rosenstein, Hildegard’s uncle.
Status as of Oct. 2014
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Zsuzsa Becker
Quellen: StaHH, 522-1, Jüdische Gemeinden, 992b, Kultussteuerkartei der Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde Hamburg, Kultussteuerkarte Siegmund Glück u. Hildegard Glück; StaHH, 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung, 5247 Oppenheim, Salomon; StaHH, 314-15 Oberfinanzpräsident, FVg 5443 Glück, Siegmund; www.yadvashem.org (Zugriff 08.04.2014); Germans Town Project auf www.jewishgen.org (Zugriff 12.05.2014); Anmeldekartei, Lodz Ghetto List auf www.jewishgen.org (Zugriff 12.05.2014); www.statistik-des-holocaust.de (Zugriff 12.05.2014); www.bundesarchiv.de/gedenkbuch (Zugriff 02.06.2014); Auskunft Archiv der Gedenkstätte Sachsenhausen; Archiwum Lodzi, div. Dokumente; USHMM, Lodz, 299/911-912 u. Auskunft von Fritz Neubauer v. 26.5.2014; Brown, Gusta, Interview 3538, Visual History Archive. USC Shoah Foundation. The Institute for Visual History and Education © (1995), Internet: http://www.vha.fu-berlin.de (Abrufdatum: 16.07.2014); Meyer, Beate (Hg.): Die Verfolgung und Ermordung der Hamburger Juden 1933–1945. Geschichte. Zeugnis. Erinnerung, Hamburg 2007.