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Already layed Stumbling Stones

Gertrud Horwitz (née Felbel) * 1876

Isestraße 67 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)

1941 Minsk

further stumbling stones in Isestraße 67:
Henriette Ballin, Edwin Ballin, Herbert Cohn, Käthe Cohn, Helene Felsenthal, Alfred Felsenthal, Dr. Richard Hoffmann, Elisabeth Hoffmann, Hugo Horwitz, Amalie Salomon, Mathel Windmüller, Denny Windmüller

Gertrud Horwitz, née Felbel, born on 25 Aug. 1876 in Hamburg, deported on 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk
Hugo Horwitz, born on 24 Aug. 1916 in Hamburg, deported on 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk

Gertrud Horwitz had been married on 22 Jan. 1899 and she lived with her husband Martin and four children in a five-and-a-half-bedroom apartment at Isestrasse 67; they probably moved into the apartment immediately after construction of the house had been completed. Since 1922, Gertrud Horwitz was widowed.

She had attended the girls’ school run by Mr. Katzenstein, though apparently not learning any trade afterward. After her husband’s death, she initially managed to make ends meet with revenues from the company of (her father?) Julius Felbel for the time being. When the business no longer existed – the circumstances of its probable "Aryanization” are not known – she lived from renting out rooms with "board,” i.e., she also provided her subtenants with daily meals. Since 1939, Helene Felsenthal and her son Alfred lived with her as subtenants, as well as one Lilly Salomon for a few months until her death in 1939.

Two of Gertrud Horwitz’ daughters, Edith, born in 1899, and Leonie, born in 1908, managed to emigrate, surviving in the USA. We know that one son by the name of Adolf, born in 1904, departed for Great Britain on 6 June 1938.

The youngest son, Hugo, lived with his mother on Isestrasse. He still succeeded in completing a commercial apprenticeship in Hamburg with the Meyer Adolph Nathan Company, though subsequently losing his job in 1938, likely when the business ceased to exist. That same year, he ended up in "protective custody” ("Schutzhaft”) probably twice, once for a week in June in the Fuhlsbüttel "police prison,” a second time after the Pogrom of Nov. 1938. That time, he was taken to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, from which he was released on 23 Dec. 1938. He was no longer able to find any employment in his commercial vocation. Immediately upon being released, he began preparing, together with his sister Leonie, for emigration to Central America. He received the first "tax clearance certificate” ("Unbedenklichkeitsbescheinigung") as early as Mar. 1939. We know neither why the plan then came to a standstill, nor why he spent the entire month of August in Paderborn.

Although the war had started by then, the preparations for emigration continued. Hugo Horwitz compiled the list of moving goods for the Chief Finance Administration (Oberfinanzdirektion). Among other things, he listed a tropical suit and a prayer shawl. On 30 Dec. 1939, he once again received a "tax clearance certificate.” Why he did not depart this time either is not known.

His sister Leonie succeeded in crossing the Atlantic. Together with her sister Edith, she survived in southern California.

For Hugo Horwitz and his mother, life in Hamburg continued under increasing restrictions and harassment. Probably he was enlisted for forced labor as an "excavator.” And once again, Hugo Horwitz was placed in "protective custody,” this time by the Office of the Criminal Investigation Department for "racial defilement” ("Rassenschande”). From 3 until 19 June 1941, he was detained in Fuhlsbüttel again.

Barely five months after his release, he and his mother were among the 968 Jews from Hamburg, who as the first "[Jewish] citizens of the German Reich” were forced to board the train to Minsk. We do not know how Gertrud and Hugo Horwitz perished. As almost all persons deported to Minsk, they are considered missing.

Translator: Erwin Fink

Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: October 2016
© Christa Fladhammer

Quellen:1; 2; AfW 250876; Auskunft Bernhard Rosenkranz per E-Mail 5.8.2007; ITS/Arch/KL Sachsenhausen Ordner 105, S. 286; Heinz Rosenberg, Das Getto in Minsk, in: Beate Meyer (Hrsg.), Die Verfolgung und Ermordung der Hamburger Juden 1933–1945, Geschichte, Zeugnis, Erinnerung, Hamburg 2006, S. 134ff.
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