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Amalie und Siegbert Leser
© Privatbesitz

Amalie Leser (née Janower) * 1896

Eppendorfer Landstraße 14 (Hamburg-Nord, Eppendorf)

JG. 1896
1941 RIGA


    further stumbling stones in Eppendorfer Landstraße 14:
    Robert Salomon Borchardt, Claus-Jürgen Borchardt, Charlotte Borchardt, Herbert Heckscher, Hans Leser, Siegbert Leser, Ernst J. Schönhof, Rudolf W. Stamm, Else Stamm, Eric Walter Stamm, Dr. Carl Stamm, Minna Margarethe Stamm

    Amalie Leser, née Janover, born 3 July 1896 in Bremen, deported 6 Dec. 1941 to Riga
    Siegbert Leser, born 5 June 1888 in Hamburg, deported 6 Dec. 1941 to Riga
    Hans Siegwart Leser, born 12 July 1924 in Hamburg, deported 6 Dec. 1941 to Riga

    Amalie and Siegbert Leser, and their sons Hans Siegwart and Siegmund Manfred (*1927), had lived at Danziger Straße 6 since about 1933/34. The building in which they lived belonged to Siegbert’s father, Siegmund Leser (*1859), until it was "Aryanized” in 1938. Siegmund Leser was a well-known businessman in St. Georg, who owned not only a large block of buildings on Lindenstraße, Brennerstraße, and Danziger Straße and one on Steindamm, but also a large fabric shop on Steindamm, which he had opened in 1889. Siegbert’s mother was Julie Leser, née Hertz (1853–1924). He had one sister, Lily, who later lived in Hanover with her husband Paul Sternberg, and emigrated to Argentina.

    Siegbert Leser fought in the First World War, and was decorated with the Iron Cross, 2nd Class. His first registered profession, in February 1918, was as a sales agent for household goods. In 1920 he had a photo shop at Dammtorstraße 4, which also sold optical instruments. Siegbert and Amalie Leser married in the early 1920s. The family later lived at Isestraße 121 in a large apartment.

    In 1931 Amalie Leser took over the management of the shop, which was now located at Eppendorfer Landstraße 14, where the family also lived.

    In about 1933, the family moved their residence and the photo shop to Danziger Straße. Beginning in 1936, Siegbert Leser also worked as an independent representative for x-ray film, which he supplied to hospitals and doctors. He was also a partner in his father’s company, which had been transformed into a limited partnership in 1924, although he had no part in the management. The partnership had to be dissolved in 1938, however, as a result of the Nazi regime’s anti-Jewish measures. It was "Aryanized,” in that the company’s former general manager, Julius Schneider, took over. A real estate agent named Ladiges bought the family’s real estate.

    After the family moved to Danziger Straße, both boys attended the Borgesch School in St. Georg. As Jews, however, they were soon forced to leave, and changed to the Claire Lehmann School, a Jewish private school. When the Nazi authorities closed it down, they went to the Talmud Tora School. Although Siegbert Leser was from a wealthy family, he had apparently been in a difficult financial situation since the end of the 1930s, since his business was boycotted and he had to pay the so-called Jewish Property Levy in 1939. Siegbert was arrested on the day of the November Pogrom, 9 November 1938, and held in the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp for two months. While her husband was imprisoned, Amalie procured passage for the four-member family on a ship to Shanghai. But Siegbert refused to emigrate, as he was convinced the Nazi regime would end soon.

    On 6 December 1941, the Leser family was among the 753 Hamburg Jews who were deported to Riga. When they arrived, Amalie and the younger son Manfred were sent to the provisional camp at Jungfernhof, near Riga, which was run by the SS. Siegbert and the elder son Hans Siegwart were sent from Jungfernhof to the notorious labor camp Salaspils, known as "the white hell,” not far from Riga. There Siegbert fell severely ill due to the abysmal living conditions, and was assigned to a "hospital transport.” His son volunteered for the transport as well, since he didn’t want to leave his father. As all of those assigned to these transports were destined to be exterminated, it can be assumed that both father and son met with this fate.

    Amalie Leser and her son Manfred were eventually sent to the Riga Ghetto, and then transferred to the Kaiserwald Concentration Camp in Latvia on 1 October 1943. From there they were taken by ship to the Stutthof Concentration camp near Danzig on 5 September 1944, where the two were separated. Nothing more is known about Amalie Leser after that. Manfred volunteered for a work detail which built submarines in Burggraben near Danzig. With the advance of the Soviet Army, Manfred Leser and the other prisoners were sent to various camps in Pomerania. His last station was the Rieben SS camp near Lauenburg, from which he was liberated by Russian troops in early March 1945. In 2004 Stolpersteine for the three members of the Laser family who did not survive were placed at the address of their last residence on Danziger Straße.

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

    Stand: March 2017
    © Benedikt Behrens

    Quellen: 1; 4; 5; AfW, Entschädigungsakten; StaH, 522-1, Jüdische Gemeinden, 992 e 2 (Deportationslisten); Interview mit Manfred Leser, April 2008; Meyer, Beate, Die Deportation der Hamburger Juden 1941– 1945, in: dies. (Hg.), Die Verfolgung und Ermordung der Hamburger Juden 1933–1945. Geschichte. Zeugnis. Erinnerung, Hamburg 2006, S. 42–78; Bajohr, Frank, "Arisierung" in Hamburg. Die Verdrängung der jüdischen Unternehmer 1933–1945, Hamburg 1997, S. 363.
    Zur Nummerierung häufig genutzter Quellen siehe Link "Recherche und Quellen".

    Amalie Leser, née Janover, born 3.7.1896 in Bremen, deported to Riga on 6.12.1941, deported to Stutthof concentration camp on 1.10.1944
    Siegbert Leser, born 5.6.1888 in Hamburg, deported to Riga on 6.12.1941
    Hans Siegwart Leser, born 12.7.1924 in Hamburg, deported to Riga on 6.12.1941

    Eppendorfer Landstraße 14

    There are also stumbling stones for the Leser family in Danziger Straße. Their detailed history can be read in Benedikt Behrens, "Stolpersteine in Hamburg-St. Georg".

    The father, Siegbert Leser, was a merchant by profession and run a company for X-ray supplies. He supplied X-ray films to hospitals and private physicians. Among other things, he represented the Kodak and Agfa brands. In the 1933 address book, his wife Amalie Leser is listed as the owner of the company.

    At that time, the family lived in Eppendorfer Landstraße. Since more and more customers stayed away after the National Socialists came to power, the Lesers, in order to save money, moved into the house at Danziger Strasse 6, which belonged to Siegbert's father.

    Siegbert and Amalie Leser had two sons, Hans Siegwart, born in 1924, and Siegmund Manfred, three years younger. Both attended the preschool of Cläre (Clara) Lehmann (see and then transferred to the Talmud Torah School. The younger recalled that they walked from Danziger Straße to the school in Carolinenstraße in order to spend the saved fare - a groschen - at the grocer.

    Both boys were members of the Jewish sports club "Schild". Hans trained in athletics, Manfred played table tennis, among others with Esther, the daughter of Alberto and Marie Anna Jonas (see They played soccer with the neighbor boys in St. Georg. According to the son, there were never any anti-Jewish remarks among the children: "They only wondered why we didn't go to the Jungvolk meetings like they did. ... Then came the Jewish star and ... they were all quite embarrassed, pretended not to see it at all."

    On high holidays the Leser family went to the synagogue, father Siegbert was a member of the Jewish community, but otherwise religion did not play a big role. However, the sons' bar mitzvah (acceptance into the Jewish community after reaching the age of 13) was celebrated.

    The Leser parents attended a regulars' table in a pub on the corner of Danziger Straße and Brenner Straße. Amalie played bridge, Siegbert, who always wore a suit and tie, the card game 66. St. Georg was his home; he had grown up here and gone to school with Hans Albers. The couple was assimilated. The shock of the November pogrom of 1938 must have been all the greater. Like many other Jewish men, Siegbert Leser was imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. His wife managed to get ship tickets to Shanghai, so he was released, but he did not want to emigrate even after the terrible experiences in the concentration camp. He was probably afraid of an uncertain future in a foreign country.

    In November 1941, the Leser family received the deportation order to Minsk. With the help of a certificate, a few weeks' delay was obtained, but on December 6, 1941, they had to make the journey to Riga. Hans was 17, Siegmund Manfred 14 years old. When his father saw the Latvian SS there with whips and shepherd dogs on arrival, he knew what was going on, the younger son recalled. Hans, the older, was sent with his father to the Salaspils labor camp in the forests near Riga. When Siegbert fell ill and reported for a "sick transport," Hans did not want to leave his father alone and went along. Both were murdered.

    Siegmund Manfred Leser and his mother were able to keep in touch during the various stages of suffering they went through in the Riga ghetto and in the Kaiserwald concentration camp, and towards the end of the war they were shipped on the same transport to the Stutthof concentration camp near Danzig.

    This is where Amalie Leser must have perished. Siegmund Manfred survived and was liberated by the Red Army at the end of the war.

    The then 17-year-old returned to Hamburg and later emigrated to the USA.

    Tranlation by Beate Meyer
    Stand: January 2022
    © Sabine Brunotte

    Quellen: 1; 4; AB 1933; Forschungsstelle für Zeitgeschichte, WdE 495, Interview vom 25.8.1997; mündliche Auskunft Fred Leser vom 5.6.2009 und 22.10.2010.
    Zur Nummerierung häufig genutzter Quellen siehe Recherche und Quellen.

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