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Already layed Stumbling Stones

Hanna Meyer * 1920

Grindelhof 9 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)

1941 Lodz

further stumbling stones in Grindelhof 9:
Hilda Gutmann, Ilse Gutmann, John Löwenstein, Paula Meyer, Max Rosenblum, Jenny Rosenblum, Erich Rosenblum

Paula Meyer, née Winsen, born on 15 May 1890 in Altona, deported to Lodz on 25 Oct. 1941, declared dead as of 8 May 1945
Hanna Meyer, born on 8 Aug. 1920 in Altona, deported to Lodz on 25 Oct. 1941, declared dead as of 8 May 1945
Bernhard Meyer, born on 19 Jan. 1891 in Bickern/Gelsenkirchen, escaped to Amsterdam in 1937, interned in Westerbork, deported to Sobibor in 1943, declared dead as of 8 May 1945
Peter Ferdinand Moritz Meyer, born on 5 Dec. 1922, flight to Amsterdam in 1939, interned in Westerbork, deported to Auschwitz in 1942, murdered there on 17 Aug. 1942

Grindelhof 9

Paula Winsen was the daughter of Ferdinand and Bertha, née Stern. She had two sisters named Clara and Rosa and a brother named Walter.

On 20 Sept. 1913, Paula married Bernhard Meyer, a merchant born on 19 Jan. 1891 in Bickern in the Gelsenkirchen District, at District Office II in Altona-Ottensen. The young couple first settled in this city just outside Hamburg. Three children completed the family: Lotte, born on 24 Feb. 1914; Hanna, born on 8 Aug. 1920; and Peter Ferdinand Moritz, born on 5 Dec. 1922. Paula was a homemaker and took care of raising the children, while Bernhard ran the Apolda knitwear department store on Hamburger Strasse in Barmbek, thus providing the family with a secure income. As the owner, Bernhard was always present in the business and often served customers personally, as can be seen from a description by Paula’s sister Clara, married name Gudemann. With the business, Bernhard earned between 6,000 and 8,000 RM (reichsmark) annually, which enabled the family to keep a well-appointed three-and-a-half-bedroom apartment at Bismarckstrasse 106 in Eimsbüttel and to send the three children to a private school. The family had moved into the apartment on 27 Oct. 1931, having previously lived in Othmarschen at Braunstrasse 32 and at Bahnhofsstrasse 88 in Altona.

The solid middle-class furnishings of the apartment included authentic oriental carpets and silverware for daily and festive use, "the dining room in black oak, the bedrooms in mahogany, the living room in oak with leather armchairs, desk, carved kitchen chairs, and the bookcase.”

The transfer of power to the National Socialists in Jan. 1933 and the accompanying persecution of German and European Jews also affected the Meyer family, destroying their livelihoods and tearing them apart over the years.

The oldest daughter Lotte had completed her training as a seamstress. Between 17 July and 19 Aug. 1936, at the age of 22, she succeeded in emigrating to South Africa via Holland. A document from 1938 proves that she lived in Cape Town, where she started a family and kept correspondence with her family in the Netherlands and Germany for as long as possible.

The situation in Germany deteriorated steadily for the family. Bernhard could not keep the business on Hamburger Strasse. Between 1930 and 1936, the annual income decreased from about 21,000 RM to 7,000 RM, and on 1 Oct. 1937, the store was finally closed. On 8 July 1938, the Apolda knitwear store was deleted from the company registers by an "ex officio” decision. Bernhard Meyer had become a victim of the progressive "Aryanization” of the German economy and emigrated to the Netherlands in Nov. 1937. His address in Amsterdam was Krammerstrasse 30. Because of the work ban on foreigners, he was unable to build a new life and had to subsist on support payments.

After Bernhard’s flight from Germany, Paula, Hanna, and Peter moved together with Paula’s sister Rosa to Bogenstrasse 15 in Hamburg’s Grindel quarter. In the summer of 1938, Paula also made efforts toward Peter’s emigration. A document to that effect dates from 13 August. The boy was to move – possibly like his sister via Holland – to his uncle, Paula’s brother Walter Winsen, in Johannesburg and begin an apprenticeship there in October. A ship passage, which Peter had received as a gift from his relative Martin Gudemann from Hildesheim, along with the necessary clothing, was booked for 5 October of the year. Apart from his camera, Peter only took clothes and bedding with him. As an equivalent value for the travel goods, 374 RM in dues to the "German Gold Discount Bank,” the so-called "Dego-Abgabe,” was to be paid – an emigration tax imposed on Jews in order to squeeze money out of them before emigrating. In his application to leave the country, Peter asked for this special tax to be waived, as his family was completely destitute.

Peter initially managed to reach the Netherlands from Hamburg. He was still there in Feb. 1939 when further emigration goods were sent to him, including 83 books, 28 exercise books, as well as stationery. However, he was not to reach South Africa. The last address of his own choosing was Millestraat 32II in Amsterdam. Paula and Hanna stayed behind in Hamburg.

At the beginning of 1940, both moved from Bogenstrasse to Grindelhof 9 on the third floor as subtenants of Max Rosenblum. Due to the increasingly cramped living conditions, they had long since been forced to sell the furniture from Bismarckstrasse. A first letter sent by them from the Grindelhof apartment is dated 12 Feb. 1940. Paula, who had no income, received as support half of her war widow’s pension of her mother-in-law from the First World War. From 19 Sept. 1941 onward, the women, being classified as "full Jews” ("Volljüdinnen”), had to wear the "Jews’ star” ("Judenstern”), which made them widely recognizable as Jewish and thus made their lives even more difficult.

A few weeks later, on 25 Oct. 1941, Paula received the deportation order. Hanna’s name, on the other hand, was on a list of 200 Jews who were to join the transport only if no-shows occurred among the 1,000 scheduled victims. This case must have arisen or Hanna deliberately decided to accompany her mother. In the end, she took part in the transport, which left the Hannoversche Bahnhof railway station on 25 October at 10.10 a.m. and arrived at the Lodz Ghetto at 11 a.m. the following day. From there, on 11 Apr. 1942, a last message arrived from Hanna, who was still together with Paula. After that, all traces of the two women disappear.

They were declared dead as of 8 May 1945, the end of the war, in the course of the restitution proceedings initiated by daughter Lotte.

Some details are known about the further life of husband Bernhard and son Peter. After the war began, it was impossible for Bernhard to keep in touch with Paula and Hanna, as he expressed in one of his last letters to Lotte. Starting on 2 May 1942, Jews in the Netherlands also had to wear the "Jews’ star.” On 15 July 1942, Peter was arrested in Amsterdam and taken to the Westerbork "transit camp.” On the same day, he was deported to Auschwitz, where he was assigned prisoner number 4,747. Bernhard must have known where Peter was because he wrote to Lotte from Westerbork via the Red Cross that he had not received any news about Peter "from Birkenau” since the day of his arrest. Peter died there on 16 or 17 Aug. 1942.

Bernhard himself was, as can be gathered from the dates of two letters to Lotte, taken to Westerbork between 7 Apr. and 19 May 1943, and remained there for about a month before he was deported to Sobibor as a "Jew.” There has not been any sign of life from him since then. In this connection, some data in the files contradict each other. While there is supposed to be another letter from Bernhard from Westerbork dated 19 May 1943, he was allegedly assigned to the transport to Sobibor on 18 May.

Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

© Anne Lena Meyer

Quellen: 1; 2, 314-15 Oberfinanzpräsident Fvg 7087; 8; StaH 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung 40116; digitales Archiv ITS Bad Arolsen, Teilbestand, Dokument ID 11198251 – Transportlisten Gestapo; ebd. Teilbestand, Dokument ID 11198203 – Transportlisten Gestapo; ebd. Teilbestand, Dokument ID 11198231 – Transportlisten Gestapo; National Archives of the Netherlands, 2.04.58, inv. 130 and others; (letzter Aufruf: 22.5.2016); (letzter Aufruf: 22.5.2016).
Zur Nummerierung häufig genutzter Quellen siehe Link "Recherche und Quellen".

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