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Helene Herz (née Nathan) * 1870
Kuhmühle 6 (Hamburg-Nord, Hohenfelde)
further stumbling stones in Kuhmühle 6:
Helene Herz, née Nathan, born on 1 Dec. 1870 in Hamburg, deported on 15 July 1942 to the Theresienstadt Ghetto, died there on 14 Sept. 1942
Helene was the only girl among the four children of master tailor Gerson Nathan and his wife Recha, née Joseph. Both parents came from Jewish families and they were married in 1864 in Hamburg, Recha’s hometown. Gerson Nathan was from Rendsburg. The first son, Neumann, was actually born there on 11 Nov. 1871. The other children were born in Hamburg: Helene on 1 Dec. 1870, Julius on 25 Sept. 1873, and Markus on 14 Feb. 1877.
Helene was born at Alter Steinweg 34 in Hamburg-Neustadt, where the Nathan family also lived when she started school. In 1887, Gerson Nathan had himself and his family naturalized in Hamburg.
By the time Helene married, the first of the siblings to do so, the Nathans lived at Zeughausmarkt 26. In the first issue of the newly founded Allgemeine Zeitung für Verlobte und Aufgebotene published on 2 Oct. 1984, her engagement to Henry Herz was announced, and the wedding took place on 24 Jan. 1895.
Henry Herz, born on 13 July 1870 in Hamburg, was an upholsterer by trade. He had lived with his parents and his two younger sisters Franziska and Sophie at Eichenallee 3 in Harvestehude until getting married. His father, Sander Levy Herz, ran a decoration and furniture store at Hermannstrasse 27 in Hamburg-Altstadt. His mother Selde, née Wolffsohn, managed the household and probably also worked in the business.
Helene and Henry Herz moved into an apartment in the Grindel quarter, located at 2nd Durchschnitt 10. They had four children, two boys and two girls: Herta (born on 17 Nov. 1895), Manfred (born on 25 Nov. 1897; see Stolpersteine in Hamburg- Eilbek and www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de), Walter (born on 19 May 1899, see www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de), and Berta (born on 26 Oct. 1900; see www.stolpersteins- hamburg.de).
Helene’s mother Recha passed away on 2 Dec. 1903, and shortly afterward, Helene took in her father Gerson. She, her husband Henry, and the four children lived at Heinrich-Barth-Strasse 3 in the Grindel quarter by then. One and a half years later, Gerson Nathan moved back to Hamburg-Neustadt and lived with other relatives until his death on 11 Jan. 1913. During the First World War, Henry Herz struggled to make his contributions to the Jewish Community. He was too old to take part in the war as a soldier, while his two sons were too young.
In 1919, Helene joined the German-Israelitic Community in Hamburg. In the same year, she took over the Park-Hotel in Niendorf on the Baltic Sea – a summer guesthouse with which she earned her own income. In fact, Helene and Henry Herz’ marriage was not happy. They were officially divorced on 9 May 1922. They had already separated some time before then. Henry Hertz had earned an income renting rooms since 1921. He later remarried with a non-Jewish woman who remained childless.
Helene Herz never remarried. Her son Manfred worked in the watch and gold wholesale trade of his uncle Neumann Nathan, Helene’s brother. Her second son, Walter, who had been at sea for a while, also joined the company in 1923. The daughter Berta worked as a salaried employee. After Helene Herz had lived on Langenrehm for a short time, around 1923, she found an apartment at Rothenbaumchaussee 101/103, house no. 3, where Berta and Walter also registered with the authorities. Manfred lived with his sister Herta and her husband Hans Fabian (see also corresponding entry and at www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de) at Kuhmühle 6. Herta and Hans were married since 27 Mar. 1921. Helene had already handed over the hotel on the Baltic Sea to her son-in-law by that time.
Berta Herz had been suffering from epileptic seizures for some time. This led to her becoming disabled in 1925 and receiving a disability pension. Walter, in turn, had given up his job in his uncle Neumann’s company after a short time and gone to sea again. He returned mentally ill. Also in 1925, he was admitted to the Friedrichsberg State Hospital (Staatskrankenhaus Friedrichsberg) and from there committed to the Langenhorn "sanatorium and nursing home” (Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Langenhorn) in April of the following year.
Since none of his own children could continue his watch and gold wholesale business, Neumann Nathan handed it over to his nephew Manfred as sole owner in 1926. The business went very well and so Manfred was able to support his needy family members from his income. In 1928, he married Rosalie Preiss, born on 24 Apr. 1901 in Essen.
Helene Herz had meanwhile turned to the "Erste Kirche Christi, Wissenschaftler, Hamburg,” the first branch church of the Christian Science Community of Faith founded in Hamburg, and left the Jewish Community in 1927. She was not the only Jewish woman in Hohenfelde to undergo this religious conversion. The same is known about Elfriede Chariner, residing at Wandsbeker Stieg 31/33 (see also corresponding entry and at www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de). Helene’s pastoral and healing adviser, Bruno Kempe, the "practitioner” ("Ausüber”) of Christian Science, lived in the neighboring Eilbek quarter.
Helene Herz’ daughter Herta and Hans Fabian, whose marriage had remained childless, separated in 1932. Hans Fabian also suffered from epilepsy and his health had deteriorated continuously. Both gave up the apartment on Kuhmühle, from which Manfred Herz had already moved out when he got married.
For Helene Herz, the births of the children of her son Manfred and her daughter-in-law Rosalie were certainly more gratifying events at the beginning of the 1930s: In 1931, Ruth was born; in 1933, Herbert. Initially, she did not feel the effects of the Nazi takeover. Family problems were dominating her life. Her daughter Berta was committed to the Langenhorn "sanatorium and nursing home” on 3 Nov. 1935, just as her son Walter had been before.
In Apr. 1937, Helene Herz moved to Grindelallee 62, residing there as a subtenant with Zinkower. Manfred took out a life insurance policy for her at the end of 1938, from which she received a monthly life annuity of 100 RM (reichsmark). In 1939, she was forced to rejoin the Jewish Religious Organization (Jüdischer Religionsverband) and was admitted on 4 December. However, nonetheless, she did not leave Christian Science, not even after its ban on 14 July 1941.
Walter Herz was transferred from Langenhorn to the Strecknitz "sanatorium” (Heilanstalt Strecknitz) near Lübeck in Oct. 1939. In the following September, however, when Langenhorn became an assembly center for patients as part of the "euthanasia” program designated as "T4,” he had to return there. On 2 Feb. 1940, Helene Herz’ son-in-law Hans Fabian also arrived in Langenhorn. He had been accommodated in the Farmsen care home (Versorgungsheim Farmsen) since Jan. 1937.
Walter and Berta Herz, like Hans Fabian, were transported from the Langenhorn "sanatorium and nursing home” to the euthanasia killing center in Brandenburg on 23 Sept. 1940 in a collective transport comprised of over 120 persons. They were killed the same day by carbon monoxide. Helene Herz consulted her healer Bruno Kempe once more in those days "because of her sick children,” as it says in the Gestapo’s investigation transcript against him. She did not even learn that her children were no longer alive at that time.
Bruno Kempe had been denounced for his continued activity as a "practitioner” of Christian Science. The fact that Helene Herz, who was seeking his advice, was a "full Jewess” ("Volljüdin”) was considered a particularly serious offense.
Helene’s landlords, the Zinkowers, were deported on the first large-scale transport toward the "Development in the East” ("Aufbau im Osten”) in the fall of 1941. The Jewish Religious Organization then quartered Helene in one of Hamburg’s "Jews’ houses” ("Judenhäuser”), the former Louis-Levy-Stift at Durchschnitt 8, where she shared a basement apartment with other Jews who, like her, did not know what would happen to them.
With the fourth and last transport of 1941, Helene’s daughter Herta, her son Manfred, his wife Rosalie, and grandchildren Ruth and Herbert were deported to Riga on 6 December. Her brother Marcus and his wife Henriette were assigned to the transport on 11 July 1942, which headed directly to Auschwitz. Helene herself was sent on 15 July 1942 on the first transport to the Theresienstadt Ghetto, completely overcrowded at that time, where the new arrivals were provisionally accommodated in vacant attics.
Helene Herz died on 14 Sept. 1942 – like so many others, due to a lack of hygienic and sanitary facilities as well as inadequate medical care. Four days after her, her niece Lilly Nathan, a daughter of her brother Neumann, arrived in Theresienstadt (see www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de). Lilly Nathan survived the winter and died in May 1943.
Neumann Nathan’s second daughter, Beate Recha, was also murdered in a "euthanasia” killing facility. Coming from the Ravensbrück concentration camp, she was murdered by gas on 24 Apr. 1942 as part of the "euthanasia” program during the "14f13 Operation” ("Aktion 14f13”), committed against concentration camp prisoners in Bernburg who were no longer able to work.
For Herta Fabian, née Herz, a Stolperstein is located at Parkallee 2, for Hans Fabian, a Stolperstein was laid at Kuhmühle 6; for Berta (Bertha) Herz and for Walter Herz, Stolpersteine have been placed at Rothenbaumchaussee 101/103, and for Manfred, Rosalie, Ruth, and Herbert Herz, at Wandsbeker Chaussee 62; for Helene Herz’ brother Marcus and his wife Henriette, née Levy, Stolpersteine are located at Grindelberg 66, and for Lilly Nathan there is a Stolperstein at Hochallee 128.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: December 2019
© Hildgard Thevs
Quellen: 1; 2; 4; 5; 6; 7; 9; Hamburger Adressbücher; StaH 213-11, 1080/44; 232-5 Amtsgericht Hamburg – Vormundschaftswesen 429; StaH 314-15 OFP R 1941/53; StaH 331-3 Politische Polizei Karton 880 (2); StaH 332-5 Standesämter 1009 u. 368/1933, 1904 u. 857/1877, 2846 u. 49/1895, 3043 u. 755/1905, 6670 u. 290/1928, 9112 u. 2055/1895, 9134 u. 2359/1897, 13404 u. 1946/1900, StaH 351-11 AfW 3292 (Marcus Nathan), 11088 (Martin Fabian), 20158 (Manfred Herz), 39776 (Julius Nathan); Archiv der Christian Science, Boston/Mass.; H. G. Adler, Theresienstadt; Ingo Wille, Stolpersteine in Hamburg-Eilbek. Biographische Spurensuche, Hamburg 2014; persönliche Mitteilungen von Karla Malapert, 2008 bis 2010; Mitteilungen und Fotos von H. Herde, 2010 bis 2013.
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