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Edgar Heimberg * 1888

Jüthornstraße 49 (Tankstelle) (Wandsbek, Marienthal)

1941 Lodz
1942 Chelmno ermordet

further stumbling stones in Jüthornstraße 49 (Tankstelle):
Bertha Heimberg

Bertha Heimberg, née Elias, born on 7 Mar. 1908, deported on 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz, and on 7 May 1942 to Chelmno
Edgar Heimberg, born on 14 Sept. 1888, in 1938 detained in the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp, deported on 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz, and on 7 May 1942 to Chelmno

Stolpersteine located at intersection of Robert-Schuman-Brücke and Jüthornstrasse 49 (formerly: Goethestrasse 20)

At the location where today the four-lane bridge called Robert-Schuman-Brücke rises to channel traffic streams over the train tracks and the Marienthal mansion district, representative villas from the Gründerzeit [the founding period of Wilhelmine Germany] once lined up along what was then Goethestrasse. People who lived there, at the same time close to the city and to the green spaces, had gone somewhere in life – often practicing an academic profession like the Heimberg family.

The entrepreneur Louis Heimberg, born as Leser Heimberg in the Westphalian town of Padberg in 1854, had four sons with his wife Meta, née Oppenheimer, all of whom were born in Padberg between 1887 and 1897. He came to Hamburg to take over the company of the pharmacist L. Seydel Succrs. at Bornstrasse 28. Since Sept. 1902, he lived with his family in Wandsbek at Goethestrasse 20. Louis Heimberg then operated a small-scale chemical plant at Rennbahnstrasse 28. His sons, René, Edgar, Alwin, and Manfred fought in World War I, with the two younger sons not surviving the wartime deployment; Edgar Heimberg received the Honor Cross for Front-Line Veterans for his services.

In 1917, Louis Heimberg joined the Wandsbek Jewish Community, and since that year, he also paid Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer). The two oldest sons were active in their father’s line of work: René Heimberg working as a sworn industrial chemist holding a doctorate; Edgar Heimberg selling chemical preparations, according to his entry in the directory, also at Goethestrasse 20.

In 1927, René Heimberg married the Jewish chemist Maria, née Krauss, born in Budapest in 1895, whose family lived in Vienna. Upon getting married, she moved to Germany and was registered with the authorities as residing at Goethestrasse 20 since 1 Feb. 1928. The couple had one son, Ludwig Heimberg, who was born on 10 Aug. 1929.

In 1928, Louis Heimberg died, and in 1937, René Heimberg passed away as well. Both were buried in the family grave on the Ohlsdorf Jewish Cemetery.

By then, the company called Apotheker L. Seydel Nachf. ("Pharmacist L- Seydel Succrs.”) belonged to Edgar Heimberg, who together with his sister-in-law Maria Heimberg also held a 50-percent share each in the Dr. René Heimberg Chemical Lab. The names of the two brothers, too, appeared in the anti-Semitic Nazi pamphlet under the heading of "industry.”

Maria Heimberg and probably her husband as well contemplated plans to emigrate. In Feb. 1937, Maria Heimberg was granted permission by the foreign currency office to undertake a fact-finding tour to Palestine – after her husband had declared his consent vis-à-vis this authority concerning his wife’s trip. However, emigration to Palestine ultimately did not materialize, perhaps because the illness and death of René Heimberg prevented it.

The persons hindered from emigration also included Edgar Heimberg. It all started with the rejection of his application for a passport in Aug. 1938 and initiation of security measures against him and René Heimberg’s company. The foreign currency office asked the Wandsbek Tax and Revenue Office for information regarding assets and turned to the Wandsbek police department. Under the reference of "capital flight,” the objective was to draw the following details about the residential situation of the Heimbergs from these offices: "whether the apartment is still fully furnished with furniture … Is the apartment actually used by the person named? … exact personal details of all persons mentioned. Furthermore, I request to determine inconspicuously whether … intentions to emigrate exist. Clues might potentially be dissolution of the rental agreement, sale of the property, new purchases of any kind beyond the scope usual so far, trips abroad.” At the same time, the passport police division was ordered by the foreign currency office to "withdraw the passport from the person named, his wife, and any family members, without, however, divulging that the revocation of passports took place at my prompting.” As early as three days later, the reply by the Wandsbek police department was forthcoming; apparently, the police authority had paid the Heimbergs an inspection visit. The questions as to whether the apartment was furnished and used as living quarters were answered in the affirmative. The document reads furthermore that "Edgar Heimberg and the widow of Dr. René Heimberg reside ... jointly in an adequate detached house. The widow of René Heimberg is currently staying in Vienna (with her parents). The valid passport was taken away and is on file at this office.”

At the end of Aug. 1938, Edgar Heimberg had to submit a listing of his real-estate property. Apart from the house on Goethestrasse, the list contained a villa at Waldstrasse 20 as well as building land on Ahrensburger Strasse. On 10 Oct. 1938, "security orders” ("Sicherungsanordnungen”) were issued against Edgar and Maria Heimberg. At the same time, five financial institutions and one mortgage debtor were notified. All of the banks reported the existing, by then blocked, balances. In conclusion, the foreign currency office noted, "[N]o further assets are known to this office. Any intentions of the taxpayer to emigrate are unknown.”

In the course of the pogrom of Nov. 1938, Edgar Heimberg was arrested, as were many other Jewish men of means. He was in "protective custody” ("Schutzhaft”) at the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp from 12 to 30 Nov. 1938. During interrogations, he was probably urged to emigrate, something that was hopeless in light of his blocked assets.

By that time, his sister-in-law already had plans that were more concrete: From Dec. 1938 until her emigration to Cambridge/Britain on 1 Apr. 1939, Maria Heimberg applied for several larger and smaller sums of money. She indicated that she needed them for supporting an acquaintance in Hamburg and for family members in Vienna, obtaining the corresponding approval. However, when she applied for the unblocking of 10,000 RM (reichsmark) to take possession of a used extraction apparatus, which she wished to take along, the approval note was lacking.

This occurred even though she had added the following reason: "I have calculated this amount incl. transport and other expenses. I would like to stress that this apparatus may perhaps provide me, a widow with a small child, a meager basis of livelihood.” On 2 Mar. 1939, she wrote to the foreign currency office, "[F]rom the list of my moving goods, one can see that I am taking along mainly my old household, which I have owned since 1929 … I am a certified food chemist and until recently I was a sworn industrial chemist. I intend to continue practicing this profession abroad. In order to establish a new livelihood for me and my underage child … I would like to take along the apparatus and the items from my laboratory detailed on the attached list. I enclose an expert’s report by the Public Information and Advisory Center for Emigrants ["Öffentliche Auskunfts- und Beratungsstelle für Auswanderer”]. … I plan to take my moving goods to the shipping location in the second half of March and I ask the Chief Finance Administrator [Oberfinanzpräsident] for unblocking of the funds. Most humbly, Dr. Maria Sara Heimberg.” It was not possible to clarify whether Maria Heimberg actually held a doctorate of her own or only used her husband’s academic degree.

The investigative report of the customs investigation department dated 13 Mar. 1939 read, "[V]aluable drawings, paintings, or carpets do not exist. H(eimberg) was ordered to offer jewelry and silver items to the Municipal Pawnshop [Städtisches Pfandleihhaus], located at Bäckerbreitergang, for sale.” A jeweler by the name of Hintze, Jungfernstieg 32, attested Maria Heimberg that the sealed suitcase no. 164 of her moving goods contained only imitation items. She would not have been allowed to export any real pieces of jewelry anyway.

On 4 Mar. 1939, the "Public Information and Advisory Center for Emigrants” in Hamburg issued the required certificate stating, "Mrs. H. had to give up her industrial chemical laboratory managed independently until now. Since she cannot find any further professional advancement in Germany, she wants to set up an identical enterprise in Britain in order to establish a new basis of livelihood.

The scope of the used laboratory equipment, purchased before 1933 and complemented since, is acknowledged as justified for the endeavor and toward practicing the profession. The Advisory Center for Emigrants deems adequate the taking along of the used laboratory fittings valued at approx. 1,500 RM in total toward establishing a new livelihood in Britain and it considers the emigration plan of Dr. Heimberg economically feasible.”

However, at the last minute, the emigration threatened to fail. Due to allegedly incorrect information concerning the moving goods, a so-called "submission hearing” ("Unterwerfungsverhandlung”) at the Main Customs Office took place on 29 Mar. 1939, and a fine of 6,000 RM was imposed on Maria Heimberg. What had been her offense? In Feb. 1939, Maria Heimberg had listed in her register of moving goods an "Autoclav” under the heading of "acquired before 1933,” even though the apparatus was scheduled for delivery by the factory only shortly before her emigration. According to the invoice from the vendor in Hannover, the equipment was a bone-degreasing unit (bone fat extraction unit) with a capacity for 300 kilograms of bone filling, including attachments. A few days after the hearing, on 1 Apr. 1939, Maria Heimberg was able to emigrate with her son.

After she had relocated her place of residence abroad, the "security order” against her was lifted on 13 Apr. 1939. The assets were now subject to the blocking regulations of the foreign currency law in effect for emigrants. The customs treasury office collected the fine of 6,000 RM on 23 June 1939.

A "security order” had been issued against Edgar Heimberg as well. In May 1939, he applied for a monthly allowance of 500 RM to cover his living expenses, which he was granted. The "levy on Jewish assets” (Judenvermögensabgabe), the "atonement payments” ("Sühneleistung”) that German Jews had to pay after the pogrom of Nov. 1938, as well as other taxes, were withdrawn directly, as the finance authority informed him.

In October of that same year, Edgar Heimberg attempted to have the monthly allowance increased to 875 RM, a sum that included, among other things, the wages for a domestic help amounting to 120 RM. Contrary to his application, he was granted only 450 RM. His emigrated sister-in-law had appointed him general agent on behalf of herself and her son, hoping that he would be able to transfer to her 200 RM a month from her blocked assets as an educational allowance, since "after all, both had taken along only 10 RM each,” as he argued in the corresponding application. In addition, he requested to have a touring bicycle, a present of the deceased husband, refurbished and sent to his sister-in-law. In the meantime, he apparently realized the futility of these applications, relinquishing the shipment of the bike and reducing the allowance for his nephew to 50 RM.

In 1940, Heimberg’s financial straits escalated. He no longer seems to have entertained any plans to emigrate. Instead, he attracted the attention of the criminal investigation department as a "fraud” in May 1940.

The reason for this was provided by the purchase of a gas stove at the end of Sept. 1939. After subtraction of a down payment, Edgar Heimberg still had to pay a balance of 128 RM, for this purpose requesting a loan from the supplier, Otto Schröder, apparently a common procedure. The signature was checked by the legal department of the Hamburg gas utility company (Hamburger Gaswerke), which alleged that Heimberg had acted with intent to deceive and denounced him. The following letter was sent to the Hamburg Criminal Investigation Department: "Loan agreement with Edgar Israel Heimberg ... On 27 Sept. 1939, the above mentioned borrower submitted an application to our company for the granting of a loan amounting to RM 128. He signed the application with ‘Edgar Heimberg.‘ Since, in accordance with the decree of Reich Ministry of the Interior dated 18 Aug. 1938 the applicant ... as a non-Aryan would have had to sign with ‘Edgar Israel Heimberg’ when filing the loan application, we assumed that the applicant was an Aryan. Now we have learned by coincidence that Heimberg is a non-Aryan and that he has deceived us concerning his racial affiliation by leaving out the legally required added first name of Israel. Had we had knowledge of the true state of affairs, we would not have granted the loan, since as a public company we do not grant any loans to non-Aryans for purchasing gas appliances as a matter of principle. We request that you follow up on this matter and inform us of the outcome of the proceedings.” What exactly the "coincidence” was and who provided the tip-off remains just as unsolved based on the available records as the question about the grounds on which the gas utility company denied "non-Aryans” a loan.

On 8 May 1940, Heimberg’s personal data were assembled, in the course of which he indicated that he did not belong to any confession. Concerning the matter at hand, he declared, "I must resolutely reject the [charge of] fraudulent procurement of a loan of which I am accused. I applied for the loan via the Schröder Company and received such loan from the gas utility company. Schröder does not know me personally. I did not add the name of Israel to my signature on the application. It was far from my mind to make myself out as an Aryan by doing so. The gas utility company is an incorporated company [German: GmbH] and in my view it is not required that I express the fact that I am a Jew. According to the law, I only have to emphasized this when dealing with the authorities. To my knowledge, however, we do not include gas utilities among these. I regarded the agreement merely a private matter. I have no criminal record so far and I certainly did not intend to conceal my descent by this omission either. In the world war, my three brothers and I stood at the front and fought for Germany. Two of my brothers were killed in action for Germany. I was at the front for two years and in British captivity for two and a half years. I have not infringed any laws so far and in the case at hand, it was also far from my mind to do so. I cannot provide any further information on this matter. The account administrator and the debt collection….. (author’s note: illegible) of my name know that I am a Jew, as I have on occasion talked to them about it. Read, confirmed, signed, Edgar Israel Heimberg."

On 6 Aug. 1940, the trial took place in open session before the District Court (Amtsgericht) Div. 131, a so-called summary court (Schnellgericht), i.e., this constituted a date designated for immediate sentencing. Heimberg appeared with his defense counsel, the Jewish "legal adviser” ("Rechtskonsulent”) [a newly introduced Nazi term for Jewish lawyers banned from full legal practice] Dr. Bachur, repeating his statement: "I was of the opinion to be obliged to write out my full name only vis-à-vis the authorities. I am born as a Jew and proud to be a Jew. I would not have minded to write out my full first name; the gas utility company knows that I am a Jew. The remaining balance was paid yesterday. I receive 450 RM a month paid out by the foreign currency office.” Nevertheless, the public prosecutor demanded a fine of 50 RM and ten days in prison, whereas the defense counsel pleaded for an acquittal and the defendant asked for a fine.

The verdict was as follows: "Because of an offense against Secs. 3 and 4 of the Second Decree regarding the Implementation of the Legislation on the Alteration of Family and Personal Names [§ 3 und 4 der 2. Verordnung zur Durchführung des Gesetzes über die Änderung von Familien- und Vornamen] dated 17 Aug. 1938, the defendant is sentenced to 50 RM and possibly ten days in prison, and he has to cover the cost of proceedings. Reasons: … The defendant had to assume the first name Israel as far as the use of the first name is usual in legal and business correspondence. This applies in this case and it was specifically required on the form as well. Accordingly, the defendant did indeed provide a first name, though omitting the added first name of Israel. … Since it was impossible to establish whether the defendant was acting with view to fraudulent intent, a fine of 50 RM appears to be adequate atonement in light of the circumstances.”

On the form Heimberg had signed, it was certainly necessary to enter a first and last name, but any indication concerning entry of additional names to be used was missing.

One should not fail to mention another event of the year 1940. On 17 Nov., Edgar Heimberg married Bertha Elias, 20 years his junior. She was born on 7 Mar. 1908 as the daughter of Nathan Elias and his wife Handeltje, née Cohen in Hamburg. With her occupation indicated as "buffet waitress” (Büffetfräulein), she had probably joined Edgar Heimberg’s household as a domestic help in the summer of 1939.

In Oct. 1941, the couple received the deportation order. However, their names are not entered on the regular list of deportees. They numbered among those 200 Hamburg Jews, who were – as the Nazi terminology had it – "scheduled [to compensate] for possible no-shows” and drawn upon "as replacements” for the first large-scale transport.

On 25 Oct. 1941, the Heimbergs had to board the train to Lodz. In the Lodz Ghetto, they were registered as a chemist and housewife and lived at Rubensstrasse 2, apartment 2. After more than 10,000 ghetto occupants had been murdered in the Kulmhof (Chelmno) extermination camp in Jan. 1942 and again more than 34,000 additional ones had been killed there in March and April, eventually in May the order for "resettlement” ("Aussiedlung”) struck German-speaking Jews as well. Without knowing exactly which fate awaited him and his wife, Edgar Heimberg attempted to prevent the "resettlement” by submitting a petition to the administration. In his letter dated 2 May 1942, he argued with his two injuries sustained in the First World War and his British captivity in France. However, he was unable to substantiate his information with documents, instead being limited to swear on their truth. The petition was rejected.

A few days later, probably on 7 May 1942, the Heimbergs were deported further on Transport 4, to which many Hamburg residents were assigned, to the Chelmno death camp and murdered. The date for Chelmno originally documented, 25 Apr. 1942, which also found its way into the Memorial Books, must be considered obsolete based on Heimberg’s petition.

Although by then he had not lived (there) anymore for a long time, in 1942, Edgar Heimberg was still entered in the directory as residing at Goethestrasse 20, as were the Jewish warehouse employee Hermann Hirsch, who had resided in the house together with his wife Jenny, née Weile. The Hirsch couple was deported as well, on 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk. Apparently, they had moved into the apartment of an engineer by the name of Hans Theberath, after he, a non-Jew, had moved out of the house accommodating Jewish tenants. Since July 1941, this apartment was also home to the musician Arthur Bud, who had relocated there from Hamburg; he was deported to Lodz.
In this way, the house at Goethestrasse 20 served as a sort of "Jews’ house” ("Judenhaus”) of Wandsbek.

Bertha Heimberg’s mother was deported to the Theresienstadt Ghetto on 5 May 1943, where she died on 20 Nov.

As mentioned at the outset, Goethestrasse has been entirely redesigned by now, and building no. 20 no longer exists. The two Stolpersteine are located on the right side of the entry to a gas station.

Translator: Erwin Fink

Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: October 2016
© Astrid Louven

Quellen:1; 2 OFP Str 578, R 1938/1552, F 962; STAH 522-1 Jüd. Gem. 992e 1 Band 1; ebd., 213-11 Staatsanwaltschaft Landgericht – Strafsachen 4921/40; ebd., 213-8 Staatsanwaltschaft Oberlandesgericht- Verwaltung, Abl. 2, 451a E 1, 1 c) Schutzhaftzeiten; ebd., 332-8 Meldewesen K 7439; AB 1907 Wandsbek, 1920 VI, 1942 IV; Lodz Ghetto List; Frank Bajohr, "Arisierung", S. 154; Astrid Louven, Juden, S. 134, 201; Lodz-Briefe von Hamburgern, Mail von Fritz Neubauer 31.1.2010; Promotion Maria Krauss: Auskunft von Rudolf Werner Soukup, Mail vom 14.8.2018; Auszug aus dem Promotionsregister, übersandt von Prof. Max Sussman, London, Mail vom 19.8.2018.

aus: Astrid Louven/Ursula Pietsch, Stolpersteine in Hamburg-Wandsbek mit den Walddörfern Biographische Spurensuche, Hamburg 2008 (siehe Literatur)

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