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Already layed Stumbling Stones
Noemi Nora Toczek * 1938
Isestraße 37 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)
Artur Toczek, born 22 Nov. 1908 in Hindenburg, deported 14 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, deported 19 Oct. 1944 onward to Auschwitz
Nelly Toczek, née Nathan, born 15 Jan. 1909 in Oels, deported 14 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, deported 19 Oct. 1944 onward to Auschwitz
Neomi Nora Toczek, born 28 July 1938 in Hamburg, deported 14 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, deported 19 Oct. 1944 onward to Auschwitz
Reha Toczek, born 16 Apr. 1942 in Hamburg, deported 14 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, deported 19 Oct. 1944 onward to Auschwitz
Artur Toczek, born in Hindenburg in Upper Silesia, moved from Ratibor to Hamburg. In the summer of 1935 the Talmud Torah School hired him as a student teacher with teaching qualifications for physics and mathematics. He worked there as a teacher until the school was dissolved.
While Toczek had begun his career at a halfway "normal" high school for boys, after the pogrom night in Nov. 1938, more and more families emigrated with their children or sent their children abroad on a children’s transport. The girls’ school on Carolinenstraße was merged with the Talmud Torah School, with classes still held on Carolinenstraße. In 1939, the school lost its name, steeped in tradition, and was renamed "Elementary School and High School for Jews”. For the school year 1940–41, Artur Toczek was appointed senior teacher and assumed full-time teaching in physics, chemistry and mathematics for the upper grades of the high school. He also became administrator for the physics library after his colleague who had performed that job until Jan. 1940 had emigrated.
The Jewish citizens’ freedom of movement was by this time considerably restricted by numerous harassing regulations. For Artur Toczek to even get to school, he had to obtain permission from the Gestapo to use the streetcars. He also required special permission to be allowed to move around on the streets after 8 p.m. since his work in the library often lasted late into the evening.
From Oct. to Dec. 1941, four deportations cut huge holes in the school community. Most children and several colleagues had reported for deportation to Lodz, Minsk and Riga. Seventy-six students and eleven teachers stayed behind, among them Artur Toczek. He conducted a middle school class of 7th and 8th graders.
In spring 1942, the Jewish school was forced to give way to the school for children with speech defects. During its final weeks, students and teachers met at the Jewish orphanage on Papendamm. All remaining teachers and students were deported by 19 July 1942, either to Theresienstadt or directly to their death in Auschwitz.
In Aug. 1937, Artur Toczek had married Nelly Nathan. She had followed him in May of that year from Wroclaw. The couple’s first home together was a sublet at Isestraße 37, where their first daughter Neomi was born. After that the family moved two more times, first to a sublet on Schlüterstraße, then in June 1939 to their own apartment in a building belonging to the Jewish Community at Heimhuder Straße 70 where the Toczeks now took in their own tenant. Their building also housed the counseling center for Jewish financial aid and the Jewish Housekeeping School where Nelly Toczek, herself a master seamstress, taught the seamstress class. She also worked at the counseling center for Jewish financial aid.
On 24 Dec. 1941 the family was forced to move to a "Jewish house" on Benneckestraße where Artur Toczek’s mother Salka Toczek was also housed. It was there that their second daughter Recha was born on 16 Apr. 1942.
On 15 July 1942 they were all deported to Theresienstadt, the young family and their grandmother along with his colleague Lilly Freimann and several remaining students of the Talmud Torah School. Four days later the last two remaining teachers followed.
Recha Toczek was not yet three months old when she and her parents were shipped to Theresienstadt. The family stayed there just over two years. Since Theresienstadt afforded its detainees a certain degree of freedom of movement, it is conceivable that their grandmother was able to watch her granddaughters grow despite all the distress and hardship, for instance how Neomi became a schoolgirl. This is evident in a postcard with which Neomi searched for her "Aunt” Fanny David, in vain. The well-known Hamburg official at the welfare office who later was a social worker for the Jewish Community was also at Theresienstadt, having arrived on 23 June 1943. The postcard, written in June in the name of her sister Recha, was only mailed from Berlin on 3 Aug. Mail to and from Theresienstadt occasionally had to be sent via the main office of the "Reich Association of Jews in Germany” in Berlin.
Then great uncertainty befell Salka Toczek: Her children and her two granddaughters were sent on a transport to "the East”, and she never heard from them again. The young Toczek Family was on the transport "Es 106” to Auschwitz.
Salka Toczek was one of the few survivors of the Shoah. She was among the 1200 people who were liberated from Theresienstadt by the International Red Cross in Feb. 1945 and taken directly to Switzerland. There she was received at the St. Gallen reception camp. The director of the nursing home where she was given accommodation endeavored to gather information in the 1950s on the fate of her children before they were declared dead. The reply stated: "A communication from the Czech Red Cross from 25 May 1951 states that the transport ‘Es’ is to be regarded as a death transport, less than 10 percent of the transport returned after the war.”
A second Stumbling Stone has been laid for Artur Toczek in front of the Talmud Torah School at Grindelhof 30.
As of 1964, a street in Hamburg-Lohbrügge is named after Fanny David. A Stumbling Stone has been laid for her at Haynstraße 5 in Hamburg-Eppendorf.
Translator: Suzanne von Engelhardt
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: March 2019
© Christa Fladhammer
Quellen: 1; ITS/Arch/KL Bergen-Belsen Ordner 4, S.84; ITS/Arch/F-18-49 Ordner 27, S. 210; ITS/Arch/TD 307 489-492; StaH, 741-4 Fotoarchiv, Sa 1254; StaH, 522-1 Jüd. Gemeinden, 992 e 2, Bd.1; Ursula Randt, Die Talmud Tora Schule in Hamburg, Hamburg 2005, S. 169ff, S. 264; Das Jüdische Hamburg, Ein historisches Nachschlagswerk, Herausgegeben vom Institut für die Geschichte der deutschen Juden, Göttingen 2006, S. 52f.
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