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Already layed Stumbling Stones

Braina Horenstein (née Schechter) * 1870

Flemingstraße 3 (Hamburg-Nord, Winterhude)

1942 Theresienstadt
1943 Auschwitz ermordet

further stumbling stones in Flemingstraße 3:
Moses Horenstein

Breina Horenstein, née Schechter, born 10.11.1870 in Odessa, deported 19.7.1942 to Theresienstadt, further deported 18.12.1943 to Auschwitz

Fleming Street 3

Unfortunately, there are almost no meaningful documents on Breina Horenstein in the Hamburg State Archives. The few facts known about her are not really sufficient for a biography. Nevertheless, with the help of temporal and regional supplementary information, an attempt will be made to give a rough overview of her life situation.

Breina (in some documents also Braina) Schechter was born in 1870 in the tsarist Black Sea metropolis Odessa and married the merchant Moses Horenstein (born 11.2.1860 in Odessa) (see his biography: The names of her parents or siblings are not documented on the few surviving records. However, a four-week stay of the Russian lawyer Louis Schechter (born 1.1.1869 in Odessa) from St. Petersburg with the Horenstein couple could be determined in the old Hamburg residents' register in 1910. It can be assumed that this was Breina's brother.

From this it can be concluded that the parents were financially able to let their son graduate from high school and study. By means of customs privileges (1819-1849) Odessa with its port had taken a strong economic upswing, especially in the trade sector. A large part of this was due to Odessa's significant Jewish population. From 1903 to 1905, hundreds of Jewish pogroms occurred in Russia, including in Kishinau (Chişinău), Odessa, Kiev, Lodz, Zhitomir, Poltava, Podolia, Bialystok, and Siedlce. The result was tightened laws against Jews and emigration of hundreds of thousands of Jews from Russia. Probably this was also the reason for Breina Horenstein and her husband Moses to leave their homeland. We do not know in which Russian city they last lived, nor do we know the year of their marriage or whether they had children.

In April 1907 Moses Horenstein moved to Hamburg and rented a room in a hotel near the stock exchange. We do not know whether Breina Horenstein was already traveling to the Hanseatic city with her husband at this time. It is also conceivable that Moses Horenstein went ahead to register his business and look for a suitable apartment. In 1908, Moses Horenstein was listed for the first time in the Hamburg address book as the main tenant. Since only the head of household was printed there, Breina Horenstein does not appear in the Hamburg address books in the following years either.

Moses Horenstein had founded an import and export company to and from Russia in Hamburg, had joined the German-Israelite community in 1910 and retained his Russian citizenship in the following years. The couple lived in middle-class neighborhoods with about 15% Jewish residential population and Jewish infrastructure. The addresses were Parkallee 18/ Harvestehude (1908-1909), Brahmsallee 11 I. Stock/ Harvestehude (1910-1915) and Isestraße 5/ Harvestehude (1916-1918). Around 25% of Hamburg's Jews lived in that quarter of Hamburg.

With the end of the First World War and the collapsing company sales, the Horensteins decided to move from the central district of Harvestehude to Winterhude, which was still rural in parts; here they lived at Flemingstraße 3, mezzanine floor (1919-1934) and Flemingstraße 2, first floor (from 1935). Stock (from 1935). The five-story plaster buildings on Flemingstraße, which were erected between 1910 and 1916, exhibited a homogeneous architectural style despite slightly different design elements. The house at Flemingstraße 3 had been built in 1912/1913 according to designs by the architects Ulrich Pierstorff and Carl Plötz; for a time, the house belonged to the department store owner Rudolf Karstadt. The last monthly rent of 85 RM paid by Horensteins around 1939 indicates an apartment of about three rooms.

Breina Horenstein received several visits from Odessa, for example from her two nieces. Such guests are noted in the old residents' register of Hamburg (1892-1925). In the years 1908, 1909, 1915 and 1916 it recorded the student Sinaida Schechter (born 11.2.1898 in Odessa) as a temporary visitor to Mr. and Mrs. Horenstein, who had traveled to Hamburg for the first time in 1906; she died in August 1916 in Horenstein's apartment at Isestraße 5. On her death certificate the parents are listed as the merchant Heinrich Schechter from Odessa and the already deceased Elisabeth Schechter, née Mansor. Sinaida Schechter was buried at the Jewish Cemetery Hamburg-Ohlsdorf.

The student Therese Schechter (born 4.8.1896 in Odessa) also stayed with Horensteins in Hamburg. In 1917 she came last and left Hamburg for Berlin-Charlottenburg in April 1917.

The economic situation of Breina and Moses Horenstein improved briefly in the early 1920s after the sales slumps of 1918 and 1919. However, the company profits fluctuated greatly, so that Moses Horenstein continued to operate his business beyond his retirement years. When the couple acquired half of the property at Tresckowstraße 38-42 (Eimsbüttel) could not be inferred from the few sources. However, the fact that the land register entry was in the name of Breina Horenstein was probably a security measure in case Moses Horenstein and his company became insolvent.

From 1933 onwards, Moses Horenstein's company was also systematically disadvantaged and hindered in the National Socialist German Reich. Step by step, the Nazi state appropriated the assets of the Jews. By means of a "security order" issued by Regierungsrat Fritz Klesper of the Foreign Exchange Office of the Hamburg Chief Finance President, the entire assets of Mr. and Mrs. Horenstein were frozen as of February 1939. Although the couple's monthly expenses amounted to around 560 Reichsmark, the foreign exchange office allowed them only 325 RM in monthly payments from their checking account. Starting in December 1938, the Horenstein couple also had to pay a Jewish property levy ("Sühneleistung") of 5,000 Reichsmark (= 25% of their assets) in five installments - a systematic robbery of the Jews in Germany that was makeshiftly disguised as a levy.

Breina Horenstein's 50% share in the Tresckowstraße property, together with the import and export merchant Moritz Weis (see, was now also subject to a block on sale, which the foreign exchange office of the Chief Finance President informed the land registry. According to the address book, the building complex at Tresckowstraße 38-42 consisted of two four-story apartment buildings (No. 38 and No. 42) and between them (No. 40) a block of five terraced houses. For the first time in 1924 Moritz Weis appeared in the address book as the owner of the houses, also in 1925, 1930 and 1939 only his name and not also that of Breina Horenstein was noted in the address book. In April 1939, the house was sold by the owners of necessity under the pressure of the lack of company sales as well as punitive taxes and compulsory levies for Jews. In the 1940 address book, Mrs. Anna Werth from Blankenese (Mühlenberger Weg 59) was now listed as the owner of the property. The restitution file of the Hamburg District Court from 1951 also did not list Breina Horenstein as the owner of the property on Treskowstraße - whether she was actually a co-owner therefore remains questionable.

In the census of May 1939, in addition to Moses and Breina Horenstein, a further 27 Jews or persons of Jewish origin were recorded in Flemingstraße. In No. 1 merchant Walter Soltsien and Helli Soltsien. In No. 3 the painter Gretchen Wohlwill (1878-1962) and her sister the pianist Sophie Wohlwill (1872-1944). In No. 5, entrepreneur Hermann Jablonsky (1869-1942) and Helene Jablonsky, née Lion (1882-1942). In No. 6 Hans Christiansen and widow Hedwig Ettler with their children Hasso and Gisela. In No. 7 the general practitioner and school doctor Hans Plaß with wife Käthe and children Christel, Claus and Jens, who lived there since 1927. At No. 13, Gustav Jäger, a merchant, with Lili and Hans. In No. 16 the independent textile agent Alfred Durra with wife Gertrud and son Walter, who emigrated in July 1939, as well as Anna Pulvermacher née Mayer (see, Sulamit Silbermann and merchant Anton Mengers with Ellen, Hans and Nelly.

The lawlessness of the Jews in Germany was constantly aggravated. To make matters worse, Moses and Breina Horenstein were by now stateless. Moses Horenstein's company was liquidated by a state-appointed receiver from December 1940 to March 1941.

Following instructions from the Gestapo and the housing office, which the Jewish community had to implement, they had to leave their apartment and move into assigned quarters where only Jewish residents were allowed to stay. The addresses were Bundesstraße 35 Haus A (Rotherbaum), Papendamm 3 (Rotherbaum) and Rutschbahn 25a, Haus 1, II. floor (Rotherbaum). The Minkel Salomon David Kalker Foundation (founded in 1878) had acquired the building in the street Rutschbahn in 1904 and set up free apartments in it for needy Jews. From the spring of 1942, the house was declared a "Judenhaus" by the Gestapo and included in the preparations for the deportations.

Due to the forced moves and the resulting reduction of their living space, Breina and Moses Horenstein had to reduce their apartment furnishings. The whereabouts of the apartment furnishings from Flemingstraße are unknown; there is no documentation in Hamburg of either storage with a forwarding agent or an auction.

Following instructions from the Gestapo and the housing office, which the Jewish community had to implement, they had to leave their apartments and move into assigned quarters where only Jewish residents were allowed to stay. The addresses were Bundesstraße 35 Haus A (Rotherbaum), Papendamm 3 (Rotherbaum) and Rutschbahn 25a, Haus 1, II. floor (Rotherbaum). The Minkel Salomon David Kalker Foundation (founded in 1878) had acquired the building in the Rutschbahn in 1904 and set up free apartments in it for needy Jews. From the spring of 1942, the house was declared a "Judenhaus" by the Gestapo and included in the preparations for the deportations.

Breina and Moses Horenstein were deported on July 19, 1942, together with the married couple Moritz Weis (born March 14, 1871 in Mainz) and Sarah Weis, née Blimowitsch (born October 30, 1888 in Minsk), to the Theresienstadt ghetto set up by the German occupying forces in the conquered Czech Republic. In the completely overcrowded former barracks of the Habsburg Empire, usually several people were accommodated in one room. Moses Horenstein was quartered in building Q 310 (= Badhausgasse 10), where he died of "old age" only four months later on November 23, 1942.

We do not know whether Breina Horenstein was also assigned to this quarters. She was deported from the Theresienstadt ghetto to the Auschwitz extermination camp on December 18, 1943, where she was murdered.

Translation Beate Meyer

Stand: February 2023
© Björn Eggert

Quellen: Staatsarchiv Hamburg (StaH) 213-13 (Landgericht Hamburg, Wiedergutmachung), 17195 (Jewish Trust Corporation für Moses Horenstein, gemäß Globalabkommen 1957 Antrag zurückgenommen); StaH 214-1 (Gerichtsvollzieherwesen), 363 (Bücher von Moses Horenstein, Lgb. C65/1943); StaH 314-15 (Oberfinanzpräsident), R 1939/0466 (Sicherungsanordnung 1939, Moses u. Braina Horenstein); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 8668 u. 158/1910 (Heiratsregister 1910, Moritz Weis u. Sarah Blimowitsch); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 8033 u. 517/1916 (Sterberegister 1916, Sinaida Schechter); StaH 332-8 (Meldewesen), Altes Einwohnermelderegister (1892-1925), Mikrofilm K 4249 (Beer Blimowitz, Sara Blimowitz, Schimka Blimowitz) und Mikrofilm K 6866 (Louis Schechter, Sinaida Schechter, Therese Schechter); StaH 351-11 (Amt für Wiedergutmachung), 8779 (Alfred Durra); StaH 522-1 (Jüdische Gemeinden), 992b (Kultussteuerkartei der Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde Hamburg), Moses Horenstein; StaH 352-10 (Gesundheitsverwaltung Personalakten), 258 (Dr. Hans Plaß, 1919-1933); Jüdischer Friedhof Hamburg Ohlsdorf, Gräberverzeichnis im Internet (Sinaida Schechter, Grablage B9-103; Beer Blimowitz 1846-1908, Grablage B10-297); Meyers Lexikon, Band 8, Leipzig 1928, Spalte 1566/1567 (Odessa); Handelskammer Hamburg, Handelsregisterinformationen (Moses Horenstein, HR A 23170); Hamburger Börsenfirmen 1910, S. 302 (Moses Horenstein, gegr. 1909, Import von u. Export nach Russland, Inhaber Moses Horenstein, Brahmsallee 11); Hamburger Börsenfirmen 1926, S. 477 (Moses Horenstein, gegr. 1908, am Pf. 13 B, Im- u. Export, Flemingstr. 3); Hamburger Börsenfirmen 1935, S. 391 (Moses Horenstein, gegr. 1908, am Pf. 13 B, Im- u. Export, Flemingstr. 2); Hamburgs Handel und Verkehr, Illustriertes Export-Handbuch der Börsen-Halle 1912-1914, S. 156 (Moritz Weis); Adressbuch Hamburg (Horenstein) 1908-1910, 1912-1920, 1932, 1934-1936; Hamburger Adressbuch (Branchenverzeichnis Import, Export) 1914, 1918, 1922, 1927, 1932; Telefonbuch Hamburg 1914 (M. Horenstein, Kaufmann, Brahmsallee 11); Telefonbuch Hamburg 1920, 1931 (M. Horenstein, Kaufmann, Flemingstr. 3); Adressbuch Hamburg (Treskowstraße 38/42) 1924, 1925, 1930; Maike Bruhns, Geflohen aus Deutschland, Hamburger Künstler im Exil 1933-1945, Bremen 2007, S. 212-213 (Gretchen Wohlwill, ab 1928 wohnhaft Flemingstr. 3); Ina Lorenz, Die jüdische Gemeinde Hamburg 1860-1943, Kaiserreich – Weimarer Republik – NS-Staat, in: Ina Lorenz (Hrsg.), Zerstörte Geschichte, Vierhundert Jahre Jüdisches Leben in Hamburg, Hamburg 2005, S. 135 (Jüdische Bevölkerung nach Stadtteilen 1925); Wilhelm Mosel, Wegweiser zu ehemaligen jüdischen Stätten in Hamburg, Heft 3, Hamburg 1989, S. 73-76 (Rutschbahn 25a); Denkmalliste Hamburg, Bezirk Hamburg-Nord, ID 21620 (Flemingstraße 3); (Todesfallanzeige Ghetto Theresienstadt, Moses Horenstein); (Moritz Weis); (Volkszählung Mai 1939: Moses Horenstein; Braina Horenstein; Flemingstraße).

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