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Martha Hesse (née Baruch) * 1908
Goernestraße 12 (Hamburg-Nord, Eppendorf)
ermordet am 1.3.1945
Nathan Hesse, born 15 Aug. 1905 in Hamburg, deported on 15 Feb. 1944 from Westerbork/Holland to Bergen-Belsen, died there on 19 Jan. 1945
Martha Hesse, née Baruch, born 23 Feb. 1908 in Hamburg, deported on 15 Feb. 1944 from Westerbork/Holland to Bergen-Belsen, died there on 1 Mar. 1945
Nathan and Martha Hesse were descended from Jewish families in Hamburg. His parents were Samuel Wulf Hesse and Helene Hesse, née Goldberger. Martha’s parents were the retailer and banker Ludwig Baruch (born 1872) and Recha Frieda Baruch, née Meyer (born 1880). Martha had two younger siblings: Ewald Louis, born 1910, and Lotte, born 1913.
We know that Nathan Hesse, at the age of 18, received his own Jewish community tax card, bearing the number 7027, on 18 Sep. 1923. He was assessed a tax of RM 50,000 and also paid this amount – Germany was experiencing a period of inflation. His occupation was stated as traveling salesman.
In a departure from the usual pattern, Nathan Hesse’s Jewish community taxes did not decrease during the National Socialist period. On the contrary: Starting at zero in 1933, the payments rose year after year, from RM 21.28 (1934) to RM 260 and RM 832, and then to RM 1,731 in 1937. Therefore, despite the escalating racial oppression, Hesse must have earned a very good and increasing income.
Nonetheless: it had become clear to the Hesses that it would be better to leave the country quickly. Their emigration was the last entry recorded on the Jewish community tax card, with the date given as 11 Oct. 1937. Nathan and Martha took up residence in Amsterdam. He was 32 years old, she was 29.
Martha now worked as a bookkeeper and typist. Only a few years of freedom remained to them. In the spring of 1940, the German Wehrmacht occupied the Netherlands. Beginning on 2 May 1942, the Hesses also had to wear the "Jews’ star” (Judenstern). On 20 June 1943, they were arrested and taken to the Westerbork transit camp. From there they were deported back to Germany as part of a transport on 15 Feb. 1944 (773 persons) and were placed in the Ber-gen-Belsen concentration camp.
In the camp, Nathan survived for less than a year. He died at the age of 39 on 19 Jan. 1945. Martha died less than six weeks later, on 1 Mar., just 37 years old. On 15 Apr., British troops liberated the camp.
Martha’s parents had escaped via the Netherlands to Palestine, and they lived in Tel Aviv until the 1960s. Her brother, too, survived the National Socialist era by going to Palestine. Her sister survived in Buenos Aires.
Translator: Kathleen Luft
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: October 2016
© Johannes Grossmann
Quellen: 1; 4; 5: 8; StaH 351-11 AfW, Eg 230208 und Eg 150805; USHMM, ITS, Zentrale Namenskartei 24640654_1.tif (Nachkriegszeit).
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