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Already layed Stumbling Stones
Sprecher: Hubertus Meyer-Burckhardt
Biografie: Johann-Hinrich Möller
Lambert Leopold * 1890
Sievekingplatz 1 Ziviljustizgebäude (Hamburg-Mitte, Neustadt)
further stumbling stones in Sievekingplatz 1 Ziviljustizgebäude:
Heinrich Basch, Paul Blumenthal, Franz Daus, Hermann Feiner, Richard Hoffmann, Kurt (Curt) Ledien, Wilhelm Prochownick, Alfred Rinteln, Anna Rosenberg, Walter Rudolphi, Leonhard Stein
Else Leopold, born 8 Mar. 1891, deported 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz, 15 May 1942 to Chelmno
Lambert Friedrich Leopold, born 30 Aug. 1890, deported 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz, 15 May 1942 to Chelmno
Wenn noch einmal mich dieses Leben riefe
und höbe mich in den geweihten Kreis
der Schaffenden aus der Verbannung Tiefe
ins Licht herauf, das ich zuinnerst weiß,
dann soll mein Jubel wie ein Sturzbach schäumen
durch alle meine Stunden, Tag und Nacht.
Gelobet seiest Du, der im Dunkel wacht
und Wirklichkeiten webt aus Menschenträumen.
Dieses Gedicht schrieb im November 1933 der Hamburger Richter Lambert Leopold, nachdem ihm die nationalsozialistischen Machthaber wenige Wochen zuvor, am 30. September 1933, Berufsverbot erteilt hatten.
Lambert Leopold was born on 30 August 1890 in Hamburg to the Jewish businessman Leyser Leopold and his wife Meda, née Stern. After attending law school, he entered civil service on 6 September 1920, and was appointed to the bench of the Hamburg District Court on 1 February 1921. He was married to Else Perutz (*9 Mar. 1891). The couple had two children, both born in Hamburg: Hanna Deborah (*1919) and Ludwig (*1926).
Both children left Germany in 1939, and emigrated to the USA and Sweden. Else and Lambert Leopold also attempted to flee to Palestine or England the same year, but were not able to do so. They were deported to Lodz on 25 October 1941, and sent from there to Chelmno on 15 May 1942, where they were murdered.
Like many assimilated Jews of the time, Lambert Leopold considered himself a nationalist and a patriot. He thus hoped until the end that the Nazis would allow him to remain in office. In late May 1933, when he filled out the mandatory questionnaire upon which the decision would be made whether or not he would be able to remain in the civil service, he attached a letter stating that he was a member of the Bund Deutscher Bodenreformer (Union for German Land Reform), and emphasized that their "goals are, for the most part, in line with those of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party.” Even after he and his wife had been deported to Lodz, he felt he could rely on the ocnventions of the German civil service, and requested in a letter dated 6 December 1941 that his pension payments be sent to Hohensteiner Straße 43, Apartment 33 in Litzmannstadt (Lodz).
This letter brought it to the attention of the court administration that the payments for November and December, i.e. after Leopold’s deportation, had been paid into his secured account. Thereupon the administration ordered the confiscation of his assets, and demanded that the November and December payments be reimbursed.
A few days before he was deported to Chelmno, Lambert wrote a letter to the authorities in a last, desperate attempt to evade his certain death:
Lambert Leopold (District judge, ret.)
Hohensteiner Straße 43/33
Litzmannstadt ??? 2 May 1942
To the [Department?] for Settlers
In light of the evacuation order No. III / 427/8 received today, I humbly request that we be exempted from the evacuation, for the following reasons:
My wife and I have been registered (Nos. 99 and 100) with the work detail for street and garden construction since 3 April 1942. We volunteered to work on this detail as soon as it was announced that workers were sought.
Frostbite wounds on both hands and feet, from which I suffered over the winter, and a severe heart condition forced me to remain in medical care throughout the month of April (with Dr. Natannsen and Dr. Rubinstein), and force me to depend on my wife for care. For this reason we have not yet been able to join the work detail.
We await our assignment to begin work.
In the hope that our reasons will be heeded, we request that we be exempted from the evacuation.
Most sincerely, Lambert and Else Leopold
The request was denied. Else and Lambert Leopold were probably murdered in a gas van immediately upon their arrival in Chelmno on 15 May 1942.
During my research about Else and Lambert Leopold I discovered an interesting audio recording. Lambert Leopold described his personal situation, after he had been prohibited from practicing his profession, in a series of poems. In early 1934 he recorded some of these poems for his sister Frieda Wertheim, who had emigrated to South Africa with her husband, on a vinyl LP.
The LP was recorded in Hamburg at a studio on Große Bleichen. There were a number of small recording studios there, especially for such private recordings. Irmgard Pilz, a friend of Frieda Wertheim’s daughter, made a copy of the LP on tape, and kindly allowed me to have a copy.
On the occasion of the dedication of Stolpersteine at the Hamburg Civil Courts on Sievekingsplatz for ten Hamburg judges who were victims of the Holocaust, the Norddeutsche Rundfunk aired two reports about Lambert Leopold in late July and early August 2006. Included in the reports were portions of this recording.
In letters to her daughter Maria, Elisabeth Flügge mentioned Else and Lambert Leopold’s last days in Hamburg. At that time they were living at Hansastraße 65 with the Michaeli family. Elisabeth Flügge also mentioned Lambert Leopold’s poems, and, in a letter dated 24 October 1941, wrote:
"In the middle of the night, a large cupboard fell over in Else’s room, - everything was broken, - Else nearly broke down! Lambert was completely calm, - he sat at his desk and put old letters in order, - he found pictures, read poems, - he’s not a judge, he’s a poet!”
In early August 2006, Arielah Press and Michael Knight, Else and Lambert Leopold’s grandchildren, visited Hamburg from the US in order to take part in the dedication ceremony at the Civil Courts. It was a special and moving experience for the brother and sister when they visited their grandparents’ former apartment at Isestraße 45.
Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: March 2017
© Johann-Hinrich Möller
Quellen: 1; 4; StaH, Personalakte Justizverwaltung, A 1212; USHMM, RG 15.083, M 300/142-143; Fritz Neubauer, E-Mail November 2009; Elisabeth Flügge, Briefe an ihre Tochter Maria, Oktober 1941 (Archiv Ursula Randt) Irmgard Pilz, Tonaufnahme (1934) und Abschrift von Lambert Leopolds Gedichten.
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