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Vera Neustadt * 1898
Grindelberg 90 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)
Wera "Käthe” Neustadt, born on 17 June 1898 in Hamburg, deported on 6 Dec. 1941 to Riga, murdered
Wera (on the Stolperstein, Vera) Neustadt was born in 1898 in Hamburg-Rotherbaum at Bornstrasse 18 as the third child of Wolf (called Wilhelm) Neustadt, born on 13 Oct. 1855 in Goerchen, District of Kröben/Posen (today Miejska Gorka in Poland), and Flora Neustadt, née Engels, born on 22 Sept. 1867 in Reichenbach/Silesia (today Dzierzoniow in Poland), who had married in 1887 in Ernsdorf. Earlier, her sisters Edith (in 1891) and Ilse (in 1893) had been born in Hamburg. The father had moved to Hamburg in 1882 and one year later, he established a uniform factory there, whose business premises were located near city hall, first at Grosse Johannisstrasse 15 (from 1883 to 1895), then at Rathausmarkt 3 (from 1896 to 1900), at Rathausmarkt 12 (from 1901 to 1908), and finally, at Plan 5 (from 1909 to 1938). The acquisition of Hamburg civic rights by the father in 1902, and thus also the right to vote in Hamburg, points to the family’s secure financial situation (the taxable annual income amounted to 13,500 marks in 1901). The family lived at Bundesstrasse 38 (from 1888 to 1893), Bornstrasse 24 (from 1893 to 1898), Bornstrasse 18 (from 1898 to 1899), Grindelhof 43 (from 1900 to 1904), and Hallerstrasse 72 on the third floor (from 1904 to 1924).
Wera, also called "Käthe,” had attended Fräulein (Miss) Wichna’s private school until 1914, then a boarding school for girls in Dresden and from 1915 to 1918, the arts and crafts school in Altona. There she was trained as a porcelain painter in one of the specialist classes. Around 1925, she is said to have started her own business as a porcelain painter. For the years 1927 to 1930, she paid contributions to the Jewish Community. Her sister Ilse later stated, "She had a small business in which she produced sample paintings for porcelain factories. (...) After the Nazis came to power, a few companies terminated their business relations with her at first. She did not receive any further orders from private individuals either. In 1935, she had to close her business.” Starting in 1933, Wera Neustadt was financially supported by her sister Ilse and her brother-in-law Ernst Frankenstein.
After the marriage of her sisters in 1911 and 1918 and their moving out, Wera Neustadt, the youngest and unmarried of the daughters, continued to live with her parents. After the death of her mother (in 1912) and her father (in 1924), both buried at the Jewish Cemetery in Hamburg-Ohlsdorf, she probably had to give up the apartment, by then too large and too expensive. According to the updated Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) file card of her father, she moved to Dorotheenstrasse 43on the third floor (in Winterhude), but she did not appear as the main tenant in the Hamburg directories from 1925 to 1932. In 1933, she moved from Hamburg to Wiesbaden. There she lived at Wilhelmstrasse 60 (in about 1935), Weissenburgstrasse 6 (Jan. to Mar. 1940), and as a subtenant at Adelheidstrasse 82 with the cigar dealer Alfred Scherer (born on 4 June 1897 in Herne) and his wife Jenny Scherer, née Horwitz (starting on 18 Mar. 1940). On 31 July 1940, she left for Hamburg again. However, the residents’ registration card for Wiesbaden also shows deregistration from Wiesbaden to Bad Oeynhausen for 6 Aug. 1940, where she briefly lived as a subtenant with Frank at Herforderstrasse 44 (then Adolf-Hitler-Strasse 44). The widow Johanne Frank, née Gans (born in 1872 in Meerhof), together with her daughters Paula Gans (born in 1893 in Hildesheim) and Edith Ruth Frank (born in 1912 in Bad Oeynhausen), maintained a guesthouse for spa guests there, which had to be closed in 1940. On 11 Oct. 1940, Wera Neustadt’s deregistration to Hamburg (Wassmannstrasse 3a) took place and from 4 Mar. 1941 to 3 May 1941, she stayed again with the Franks in Bad Oeynhausen.
In Hamburg, Wera Neustadt was forced to become a member of the state-controlled Jewish Religious Organization (Jüdischer Religionsverband) starting on 21 Aug. 1940. Due to anti-Jewish housing and labor laws, she could not even contemplate an apartment of her own or a job in Hamburg either. The file card of the Jewish Religious Organization in the Hanseatic city noted Wassmannstrasse 3a as residential addresses (as a subtenant in each case) with the unmarried former teacher Sabine Levy (born on 18 Oct. 1876 in Hamburg); Brahmsallee 15 with Julius Behrend (see Stolpersteine in Hamburg, Grindel I, Hallerstrasse and Brahmsallee, and on www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de); and Grindelberg 90 with the insurance broker Leonhard Weinberg (see Grindelberg 90), without specifying the exact durations of residence. Instances of deregistration from Hamburg were not recorded on the Jewish religious tax file card. According to the Hamburg "house registration” card file (Hausmeldekartei), she moved from Hamburg to Frankfurt/Main on 3 June 1941. In the Jewish residents’ registration of Wiesbaden, her move to Dotzheimer Strasse 13 on 9 June 1941 was noted, as was her final deregistration for Hamburg on 1 July 1941. In Hamburg, where she moved in with Julius Behrend on Brahmsallee, he had to vacate his apartment in Nov. 1941. Wera Neustadt was then accommodated in the house at Grindelberg 90. The reasons for her multiple moves between Hamburg, Wiesbaden, Frankfurt/Main, and Bad Oeynhausen are not known.
With no prospect of gainful employment, Wera Neustadt was forced to gradually sell her parents’ household goods. The six-room apartment at Hallerstrasse 72 had been furnished with high-quality furniture, Persian carpets, antiques, and art objects. These included a bronze figure of "Nathan the Wise” on the large desk in the smoking room, Meissen and Copenhagen porcelain figures and bronzes in a glass cabinet, a replica of the Venus de’ Medici, and Empire period furniture from the early eighteenth century in the salon – including a secretary, a sofa, eight chairs, and four armchairs, "some of which were museum pieces,” wrote sister Ilse in the late 1950s. In the dining room, there was a large oak table that could be extended to seat up to 36 people; the wood-paneled smoking room was furnished with chairs and a tapestry-covered sofa as well as two red leather armchairs. The salon and hall featured many other pieces of antique furniture that Wolf Neustadt had collected.
The additional compulsory first name "Sara,” which Wera Neustadt had to use starting on 1 Jan. 1939, was also noted on her birth certificate archived at the registry office in May 1939. Following the German invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940, contact with her sister Ilse, who had emigrated there, broke off. The sister later explained, "I corresponded with my sister via Holland in the end. With the occupation of Holland, this correspondence also ceased.” Starting on 19 Sept. 1941, Wera Neustadt was forced to wear a yellow "Jews’ star” ("Judenstern”) on her outerwear; at the end of Oct. 1941, systematic deportations from the German Reich began.
The 43-year-old Wera Neustadt was deported from Hamburg to the Riga Ghetto in occupied Latvia on 6 Dec. 1941. Some of the deportees already died during the journey in the closed freight cars of the German Railway Corporation in the cold winter of 1941/42, a journey that took place without food and water. The poor living and sanitary conditions in the makeshift ghetto at Jungfernhof, the scarcity of medical care and the poor food rations soon led to a high mortality rate. In addition, a mass shooting operation was carried out in Mar. 1942 (Operation Dünamünde).
When and under what circumstances Wera Neustadt died is not known. A Stolperstein was laid for her in Hamburg in July 2008, and by mistake, the erroneous spelling of her first name "Vera” used in some documents was chosen instead of the correct "Wera.”
Wera’s sister Edith Neustadt (born on 27 March 1891 in Hamburg) married Georg Silbermann (born on 21 Oct. 1884 in Bütow), an authorized signatory living in Berlin, in Jan. 1911. In Sept. 1923, the married couple adopted the newborn Ingrid (born as Sulamith Mandler on 5 Feb. 1923 in Frankfurt/Main); in Feb. 1926, the marriage was divorced in Hamburg. Georg Silbermann, who had taken over the W. Neustadt uniform factory of his father-in-law in 1920, sold it to Franz Julius Fischer, the company’s authorized signatory, in Mar. 1934 under pressure from anti-Jewish measures. He changed the company name to W. Neustadt Nachfolger (Succrs.). In Dec. 1938, the shop was sold further to Wilhelm Langemeier and managed under his name (until 1971).
Georg Silbermann emigrated to Sweden in Feb. 1939 and from there to the USA, where he died in 1979. The daughter Ingrid Silbermann emigrated directly to the USA in Aug. 1939. Edith Silbermann, née Neustadt, married Leopold Scherer (born on 4 Apr. 1876 in Hamburg), a sales representative, in Nov. 1926. Scherer had been running his own export business since 1905, focusing on Africa and Australia. His first marriage had been divorced in 1925. Edith moved to join him in Africa, but as she did not like the climate there, so the couple returned to northern Germany in 1927. The decline in business from 1930 onward and the sharp drop in the value of the British pound led to capital losses and permanent financial problems for the Scherers. This was followed by rental arrears and support from public welfare services, which in Apr. 1934 stated with regard to Leopold Scherer: "In the opinion of Department VII, he will hardly be able to earn a living through his activity as a commissioned traveling salesman (for the Berliner Wäschefabrik AG [a textiles company] based in Berlin).”
Leopold Scherer died in Feb. 1940; his widow was taken to the "sanatorium and nursing home” ("Heil- und Pflegeanstalt”) in Hamburg-Langenhorn on 12 Mar. 1940 due to a nervous breakdown, according to her welfare file. The five-room apartment at Eppendorfer Baum 6 on the second floor, where the couple had lived since 1939, was sealed by the police. Edith Scherer died after only one week in the Langenhorn "sanatorium and nursing home” on 19 Mar. 1940 of "acute confusion and bronchopneumonia,” as was noted on her death certificate. The Jewish Religious Organization paid for the institutional and funeral costs. Due to the heavily indebted estate, the commissioned Jewish "legal adviser” ("Konsulent”) [a newly introduced Nazi term for Jewish lawyers banned from full legal practice] and former lawyer Ernst Kaufmann (based at Dammtorstrasse 27) had to order foreclosure.
Edith’s sister Ilse Frankenstein, née Neustadt (born on 28 June 1893 in Hamburg), had first attended the Emilie-Wüstenfeld-Schule in Hamburg at the intersection of 2nd Durchschnitt 72/Lagerstrasse in the former Central-Hotel, a school that was only opened in 1897, and then, until 1910, Jakob Loewenberg’s girls’ secondary school on Johnsallee (Rotherbaum). Eventually, she had worked as a "social welfare official.” After the end of World War I, she married the Berlin lawyer Ernst Frankenstein (born on 31 May 1881 in Dortmund) in Dec. 1918 and moved to Berlin with him. Ernst Frankenstein was an attorney and legal counsel to the Italian embassy (since 1912), a notary (since 1922), and a sworn Italian court interpreter with a legal practice at Behrenstrasse 23, very close to the Brandenburg Gate. From 1926, he wrote a four-volume work on international private law and in 1930, he lectured at the Hague Academy of International Law.
The Frankenstein couple had been living since 1923 in their own house in Berlin-Dahlem, at Goebenstrasse 23. They recognized the danger of National Socialism early on. In July 1931, they were invited to dinner by the publisher Rothschild: "My wife’s table neighbor, Senate President at the Reich Insurance Office, discussed the (political) situation with her and said that if he were free to do so, he would go abroad for the winter. We discussed the question further and the next morning we decided to follow the suggestion.” The Frankenstein couple moved with their daughters, born in 1920 and 1924, to Paris, where they lived until 1936, after which they emigrated to London. In the summer of 1932, Ernst Frankenstein returned to Berlin for another two weeks. The Berlin law office was continued by Fritz Arnheim on behalf of Ernst Franckenstein. Large parts of the furniture from the spacious house had to be sold at low prices because the buyers knew how to take advantage of the owners’ predicament. Among the "sales” were the dining room furniture in Dutch Baroque style, an Empire period secretary, a Biedermeier period glass cabinet, and a landscape by the North German painter Otto Niemeyer-Holstein (1896–1984). The Frankenstein family did not return to Germany after the surrender of Nazi Germany. Ernst Frankenstein became a British citizen in 1947 and died in London in 1959, where his wife also passed away two years later.
For Wera Neustadt’s landlord in Bad Oeynhausen, Johanne Frank and her daughter Paula Gans, Stolpersteine are planned at their place of residence.
A Stolperstein was laid at Isestrasse 21 for her Hamburg landlady Sabine Levy; a Stolperstein commemorates the landlord Julius Behrend at Brahmsallee 6, and a Stolperstein was placed at Grindelberg 90 for the landlord Leonhard Weinberg.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Björn Eggert
Quellen: 1; 4; 5; StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 9144 u. 1278/1898 (Geburtsregister 1898, Wera Neustadt); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 8675 u. 33/1911 (Heiratsregister 1911, Edith Neustadt u. Georg Silbermann); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 9916 u. 353/1940 (Sterberegister 1940, Edith Scherer); StaH 332–7 (Staatsangehörigkeitsaufsicht), A III 21 Bd. 11 (Aufnahmeregister 1897–1905, L–Sa), Wolf Neustadt Nr. 66807; StaH 332–7 (Staatsangehörigkeitsaufsicht), B III, 1902, Nr. 66807 (Wolf Neustadt); StaH 332-8 (Meldewesen), K 2409 u. K 2425 (Hausmeldekartei, Was(s)mannstraße 31a); StaH 351-11 (Amt für Wiedergutmachung), 21064 (Wera Neustadt); StaH 351-11 (Amt für Wiedergutmachung), 45821 (Ingrid Silbermann); StaH 351-14 (Arbeits- und Sozialfürsorge), 1887 (Leopold Scherer); StaH 522-1 (Jüdische Gemeinden), 992b (Kultussteuerkartei der Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde Hamburg), Wera Neustadt, Wolf Neustadt; StaH 741-4 (mikroverfilmte Alte Einwohnermeldekartei 1892–1925), K 6664 (Wolf Neustadt, Ilse Neustadt); Handelskammer Hamburg, Firmenkartei (W. Neustadt, HR A 3467); Stadtarchiv Bad Oeynhausen, Einwohnermeldekartei; Stadtarchiv Wiesbaden, Jüdisches Adressbuch 1935, Jüdische Einwohnermeldekartei ab 1939; Landesamt für Bürger- u. Ordnungsfragen (Labo Berlin), Entschädigungsbehörde 150.890 (Ernst Frankenstein); Adressbuch Hamburg (W. Neustadt) 1883, 1886, 1888, 1894–1897, 1900, 1901, 1903, 1905, 1907–1910, 1918, 1924, 1928, 1930, 1932, 1934–1936; Adressbuch Berlin (Dr. jur. Ernst Frankenstein) 1918, 1923, 1928, 1932; Gedenkbuch Koblenz, Internetdatei (Vera/Wera Neustadt); Jüdischer Friedhof Ohlsdorf, Internetdatei (Grablage B 9–6 Flora Neustadt, B 9–7 Wolf Neustadt); Ohlfest/Lilienthal (Hrsg.): Hamburger Börsenfirmen, Hamburg 1935, S. 610 (W. Neustadt Nachfolger); Altonaer Museum Hamburg/Norddeutsches Landesmuseum (Hrsg.): Altonaer Künstlerverein, S. 15 u. 43 (Handwerker- u. Kunstgewerbeschule); Mosel: Wegweiser Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum, Hamburg 1985, S.31–37 (Emilie-Wüstenfeld-Schule); Press: Judenmord, S. 96–97, 111–112, 121, 122; www.tracingthepast.org/mino rity-census/census-database (Volkszählung 1939, Wera Neustadt in Frankfurt am Main, Edith Scherer in Hamburg, Aufruf: 29.3.2016); www.ancestry.de (US-Sozialversicherungsindex, Sterbedatum Georg Silbermann 12.1.1979).
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