Search for Names, Places and Biographies
Already layed Stumbling Stones
Elfriede Ruben * 1885
Haynstraße 10 (Hamburg-Nord, Eppendorf)
1942 ermordet in Chelmno
Elfriede Ruben, born on 30 May 1885 in Lübeck, deported on 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz, deported further to Chelmno on 12 Sept. 1942
Elfriede Ruben’s parents were the Hamburg merchant Philipp Jacob Ruben (1849–1911) and the native of Hannover Bertha Ruben (1849–1927), née Jüdel. This was Ruben’s second marriage, after his first wife had passed away. With her, he had four children: Richard (born in 1872), Henry (born in 1873), Cäcilie/Cille (born in 1876), and Sammy/Sonny (born in 1879). The marriage with Bertha, entered in 1883, produced daughters Johanna/Hannah (born in 1884) and Elfriede/Elly.
Philipp Ruben worked in the field of secondary raw materials, particularly rags. In about 1873, he relocated his business and residence to Lübeck, obtaining Lübeck citizenship. After his death, Elfriede, who had gone to Bochum as a merchant for a few years, returned to Lübeck and moved in with her mother into the parental home at Mühlenbrücke 1. She took over the management of her father’s business and became the co-owner of "Rohproduktenhandlung Ruben & Co.” based at Glockengiesserstrasse 20, later at Werftstrasse 2. The siblings from the father’s earlier marriage had set out on careers outside of Lübeck. Only in 1927 did her half-brother Henry, by then the retired director of the Celle branch of Hannoversche Bank, return to Lübeck. He was married to Jenny Grete (born in 1878), née Hammerschlag. He became actively involved in the Jewish Community, being elected its head in 1937.
Anti-Semitic actions increased in Lübeck, too. Elfriede left the city, moving in June 1938 to Hamburg and living as a subtenant with Kramer at Rappstrasse 15 on the second floor. Hamburg was already the home of two of her cousins from her mother’s family who had also arrived from Lübeck.
Elfriede remained unmarried. Her employment in Hamburg is not clearly identifiable. On various occasions, she indicated merchant as her occupation but also homemaker, and sometimes she put down "without occupation.” Upon joining the Jewish Community in July 1938, she described herself as "entirely destitute,” stating that she was "supported by relatives.” She was exempted from the Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer). In Nov. 1940, her situation improved somewhat. A pension scheme from the Reich Insurance Company became due, which yielded 53.60 RM (reichsmark) a month. This was barely enough to survive. Elfriede was 55 years old by then.
Until Aug. 1940, she changed accommodations four times. Rappstrasse was followed by Grindelallee 138, with Hauptmann; then Lenhartzstrasse 3, on the ground floor, with Wallach; and eventually Haynstrasse 10 on the fourth floor, with Klein. One can conceive this rapid change as the search for the most affordable accommodation in the face of financial distress. Haynstrasse 10 was the last address of her own choosing. She lived there for 14 months.
On 25 Oct. 1941, she was deported to Lodz. The addresses at which she was quartered there bore mellifluous names, cynically suggestive of high culture: Initially, she was committed with 20 other persons to a "three-room apartment” (without a kitchen) at Tizianstrasse 2, then relocated to Rubensstrasse 2.
On 2 May 1942, she received "departure order” III 224 (Ausreisebefehl III 224). These "journeys” went to Chelmno, for murdering in the gas vans.
Elfriede Ruben wrote a helpless-desperate letter "To the expulsion commission [Ausweisungs-Kommission].” She underlined a few words to give them more weight.
The letter reads, "I, Elfriede Ruben, Rubensstrasse 2/2, belonging to Transport I Hamburg, have been scheduled for resettlement on 4 May. I am entirely on my own, having no relatives in the ghetto, and I am very hard of hearing. For these reasons, I would like to ask the expulsion commission to kindly defer me for the time being. Very respectfully yours, Elfriede Ruben.”
The commission decided by stamping the application with ODMOWA. The request was turned down.
For reasons unknown, Elfriede did not board this transport after all. There is a file card dated 12 Sept. 1942 that reads, "Deregistration Ruben Elfriede … New address: Expelled.” Between 3 and 12 Sept. 1942, 15,681 people were murdered in Chelmno using gas vans. Elfriede Ruben reached the age of 57.
Her half brother Henry Ruben and his wife Jenny Grete were deported on 19 July 1942 from Lübeck via Hamburg to Theresienstadt. Jenny Grete died there on 23 Dec. 1942, Henry on 27 May 1943. She was 66 years old, he was 69.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: October 2018
© Johannes Grossmann
Quellen: 1; 4; 5; 8; StaH 522-1 Jüd. Gemeinden, 992e2 Band 1; StaH 332-8 Meldewesen, A 51/1 (Elfriede Ruben); Archiwum Panstwowe, Lodz (Getto-Archiv), PL-39-278-1011-22066, 22067, 22068, 22069; USHMM, RG 15083, M 300/444-445, Fritz Neubauer, Universität Bielefeld, E-Mail vom 12.6.2010; www.shtetlinks.jewishgen.org/Lodz/statistics.htm (eingesehen am 10.6.2010); Auskunft von Heidemarie Kugler-Weiemann, Lübeck, E-Mail vom 22.6.2010; Auskunft von Hans Herman Meyer, Surrey/England, Brief vom 25.5.2010.
Zur Nummerierung häufig genutzter Quellen siehe Link "Recherche und Quellen".