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Kurt Silberstein * 1898

Hartungstraße 9 11 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)

1942 Theresienstadt
ermordet am 10.2.1945 in Dachau

further stumbling stones in Hartungstraße 9 11:
Charlotte Gurwitsch, Benjamin Helfer, Brunhilde Helfer, Charlotte Levi, Richard Levi

Kurt Silberstein, born on 28 Mar. 1898 in Hamburg, deported on 15 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, deported on 10 Oct. 1944 via Auschwitz to Dachau, murdered there on 3 Mar. 1945

Eppendorfer Landstrasse 62

Kurt Silberstein was born in 1898 into an upper-class family as the first child. His father, Edmund Silberstein, was the owner of Wallbruch & Co. located at Schulterblatt 148. His mother Emilie, née Heimann, directed a large household. By 1913, he was joined by three sisters: Gerda, Alice, and Ruth.

Kurt Silberstein attended the Wilhelm-Gymnasium in Hamburg and graduated from high school (Abitur) at Easter of 1916. In his family’s tradition, he followed up with a commercial apprenticeship. When his father passed away in 1923, he and his siblings inherited portions of various properties and houses in Hamburg. Together with his uncle Hugo Heimann, over the following years he founded the companies "Le Manteau” in Antwerp, specializing in coats, and "Damenkonfektion GmbH,” a women’s ready-to-wear clothing store in Hamburg. The joint ownership of real estate called "Heisista,” a syllabic abbreviation based on Heimann, Silberstein, and Stamm, belonged to Hugo Heimann as a 40-percent share and to Kurt Silberstein as a 20-percent share. Mr. Stamm, a real estate agent for houses, was a co-partner and managed the properties.

The year 1925 was a fateful one for the Silberstein family. In May, Kurt’s youngest sister, Ruth, was admitted to the clinic on Mittelweg after a ruptured appendix. The 12-year-old girl died after five days in hospital. Two months later, Kurt Silberstein married Ilse Fanny Rosenschein from Harburg. Ilse’s mother, Johanna Rosenschein, was the co-owner and general manager of the large-scale M. M. Friedmann textiles department store in Harburg. She managed the renowned business after her husband had passed away in 1911. The marriage of Kurt and Ilse failed, however, and was divorced in Apr. 1929. Before Ilse Fanny moved to Berlin-Halensee in 1930, she continued to live in the house of the Silberstein family at Isequai 19 for some time.

Since 1924, Kurt Silberstein was a member of the Jewish Community. In Dec. 1937, he left by "declaration,” but in July 1939, he – like all Jewish men and women, regardless of whether they belonged to the Jewish faith or were baptized Christians – was compelled to join the "Reich Association of Jews” ("Reichsvereinigung der Juden”) based on the Tenth Ordinance to the Reich Citizenship Law (10. Verordnung zum Reichsbürgergesetz). He had "no religious creed” ("glaubenslos”) entered on his Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) file card.

Since 1932, he employed a housekeeper, Mary Kloth, who managed the household for him and prepared a special diet for him. Kurt Silberstein suffered from gallbladder and intestinal conditions, seeking treatment from various physicians and non-medical practitioners in Hamburg and Berlin.

Like his sisters Gerda and Alice, Kurt also prepared for emigration. He applied for a passport, took language classes in English and Spanish, enrolled in courses on "fruit and alcohol utilization” and "fundamental technological questions” and had himself introduced to ice cream production. However, his application for an exit visa was turned down because the foreign currency office of the Chief Finance Administrator (Oberfinanzpräsident) suspected that Kurt Silberstein would transfer money abroad by means of the Le Manteau Company in Antwerp. In the course of the "Aryanization” of Jewish businesses, the Hamburg-based "Damenkonfektion GmbH” was liquidated in mid-1938. In November, his assets were placed under a "security order” ("Sicherungsanordnung”). The trigger for this was the emigration of his sister Alice Weigert to South America.

Her husband, the dentist Erwin Weigert, had been arrested during the November Pogrom of 1938 and released only on condition that he emigrate immediately. As a result, Kurt Silberstein paid out to his sister her share of the joint properties. He also paid out the joint inheritance to his other sister, Gerda Bucky. She had been living with her husband in a hotel for two years already, waiting for the exit permit.

In the course of the year 1939, Kurt Silberstein was forced to sell all of the properties he owned. The proceeds were reduced by the very high taxes imposed. The sales amounts were deposited in a "security account” that he was unable to access. Moreover, he had to pay 164,000 RM (reichsmark) in a so-called "levy on Jewish assets” ("Judenvermögensabgabe”). To cover his livelihood, Kurt Silberstein was allocated a monthly allowance from his assets. For all other expenses exceeding that sum, he was permitted to submit an application. Permission was in the hands of an official in charge at the foreign currency office, who arbitrarily approved or turned down the applications. For instance, in Jan. 1939, Kurt Silberstein wished to give his brother-in-law, Erwin Weigert, a Spanish grammar and a volume on South America on his birthday. The application was turned down.

Together with his housekeeper, Kurt Silberstein relocated from Eppendorfer Landstrasse 55 to the fourth floor of the house at Eppendorfer Landstrasse 62 in 1939. After his plans for emigration had definitively failed, he moved into a room at Hartungstrasse 9–11 in Mar. 1942. He had to dismiss Mary Kloth and tried very hard to convince the foreign currency office to allow him to make a more substantial severance payment to her.

In July 1942, the house at Hartungstrasse 9–11, owned by "Gemeinschaftshaus GmbH,” served as an assembly point for deportation to Theresienstadt. Kurt Silberstein, too, was deported to Theresienstadt on 15 July 1942. He spent two years in the Theresienstadt Ghetto, before being deported further to Auschwitz on 28 Sept. 1944. In Aug. 1944, the SS started dismantling the camps at Auschwitz. On 10 October, a transport of Jewish forced laborers went to Dachau, and Kurt Silberstein was among their number. He was registered in Dachau under prisoner no. 1,151,136. Two months prior to the end of war, on 3 Mar. 1945, he was murdered in the Dachau concentration camp.

His uncle Hugo Heimann was deported to Theresienstadt on 19 July 1942 and perished there on 28 May 1943. His sisters and brothers-in-law survived in the USA and in Montevideo. Ilse Fanny Marcuse, his divorced wife, managed to emigrate to New York via Shanghai.

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

Stand: January 2019
© Maria Koser

Quellen: 1; 2; 4; 5; 7; 8; StaH 351-11 AfW Abl.2008/1, 090802 Weigert, Alice; StaH 351-11 AfW Abl. 2008/1, 280398 Silberstein, Kurt; StaH 351-11 AfW Abl.2008/1 15249 Bucky, Walter; StaH 351-11 AfW Abl.2008/1 14427 Weigert, Erwin; StaH 351-11 AfW Abl.2008/1, 210599 Bucky, Gerda; StaH 351-11 AfW Abl.2008/1 20110 Marcuse, Ilse; StaH 351-11 AfW 1147 Marcuse, Ilse; StaH 351-11 AfW 1425 Hugo Heimann; StaH 314-15 OFP, R 1939/84; StaH 314-15 OFP, 1940/110; StaH 314-15 OFP, R 1938/3102; StaH 332-5 Peronenstandsbuch 11452 Nr. 323/1925; StaH 332-5 8081 Personenstandsbuch Nr. 211/1925; StaH 352-5 Todesbescheinigung 1925 St. 3 Nr. 211; StaH 621-1/85 Firma W. Schuler 57; Wilhelm Gymnasium zu Hamburg 1881–1956, Hamburg, ohne Jahresangabe; Auskunft Klaus Möller, Initiative Gedenken, Harburg; Auskunft KZ-Gedenkstätte Dachau vom 13.11.2007.
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