Search for Names, Places and Biographies
Already layed Stumbling Stones
Rosa Priebatsch (née Kassel) * 1888
Klaus-Groth-Straße 60 (Hamburg-Mitte, Borgfelde)
Walter Kassel, born 5 July 1882 in Hamburg, deported 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk
Elisabeth Kassel, born 28 Sept. 1891 in Hamburg, deported 11 July 1942 to Auschwitz
Margarethe Kassel, born 9 Apr. 1893 in Hamburg, deported 11 July 1942 to Auschwitz
Rosa Priebatsch, née Kassel, born 21 Dec. 1888 in Hamburg, deported 3 Oct. 1942 from Berlin to Theresienstadt, deported on to Auschwitz 16 May 1944
Klaus-Groth-Straße 60 (Klaus-Groth-Straße 64)
"Due to a drop in the number of students, Miss Kassel had to be let go. The school board and school administration wish Miss Kassel all the best for her future." These two sentences from the then school principal Alberto Jonas ended the professional life of a dedicated Jewish teacher on 19 Dec. 1941, after 30 years of service. Elisabeth Kassel did not stand out in her duties; she made her mark as part of the private, Jewish, community-owned and state school system. Her years of service saw the blossoming of progressive education during the Weimar Republic and its destruction coincide with the exclusion and killing of Jews under the Nazi regime, a regime to whom she also fell victim at the age of 50.
Elisabeth Kassel, born on 28 Sept. 1891 at Burggarten 14 in Hamburg-Borgfelde, was the second youngest of seven children born to Heinrich and Emma Kassel, née Zernik. The family belonged to the synagogue association of the German-Israelite Community of Hamburg for many years. In 1907 Walter Kassel joined the community as an independent member, Elisabeth joined in 1923 after the death of her father.
Heinrich Kassel ran a financially successful scrap iron wholesale business at Wendenstraße 155 which provided a comfortable life for his family. The business was located in the Hammerbrook part of Borgfelde, the industrial park in the fen. Their apartment was above it on the raised moraine of the Geest. Their sons, Walter, born on 5 July 1882, and Reinhold, born on 4 July 1885, joined their father’s business. Their third son, Ernst, fell in the First World War, Reinhold survived severely injured. Their two daughters, Anita and Rosa, married, while the two youngest ones, Elisabeth and Margarethe, remained single. Rosa married the Berlin physician Walter Priebatsch in 1921 and moved to Berlin. Their son Gerhard Heinz, called Gerd, was born there on 9 Dec. 1922. In the same year Reinhold wed the reformed Protestant Christian Hertha Lentz.
Heinrich Kassel left his wife financially well provided for.
Margarethe Kassel appears not have undertaken any vocational training , while Elisabeth Kassel trained as an elementary school and lyceum teacher at the teacher training academy in Hamburg. As a twenty-year-old, she began teaching in 1911. It is not clear at what school she began teaching. She taught for many years at the private Jakob Löwenberg’s Higher Girls School at Johnsallee 33, a progressive educational institution recognized beyond the borders of Hamburg which awarded a secondary school certificate.
After closure of the school in 1931, Elisabeth Kassel changed to the public school system and taught in her neighborhood at the Elementary School for Girls at Bürgerweide 35. However in Apr. 1934 she was dismissed due to the "Law for the Restoration of Civil Service". She returned to the Jewish school system and found a job at the Girls School of the German-Israelite Community on Carolinenstraße, which at that time comprised an elementary and secondary school.
Until it closed at the end of 1941, Elisabeth Kassel witnessed how the school became a high school awarding university entrance qualifications, it changed its name several times and also accepted boys. Although she was trained as an elementary and high school teacher, in 1939 she assumed responsibility for the remedial class. It was a small group of about 15 students unable to take part in regular school instruction for physical or psychological reasons. With great empathy and patience she was able to help many children to such an extent that they were able to attend regular classes.
In 1932 Emma Kassel died and left her two unmarried daughters a small fortune in securities. Margarethe lived off of it since she had no other income. Reinhold Kassel earned a living in the meantime as a buyer of scrap, Walter Kassel took on jobs as an errand boy and packer and retired from working life at the age of 52; he received a small pension. The center of the family remained their apartment at Klaus-Groth-Straße 64, and Elisabeth Kassel took the place of their mother. The two sisters lived under one roof with their unmarried brother Walter. In connection with the Reich pogrom in Nov. 1938, he was arrested, like his brother Reinhold, and taken to the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp. From 1940 Reinhold Kassel performed compulsory labor. The previous year, Walter Kassel received a guardian "due to imbecility", the legal advisor of the Jewish Religious Organization, Max Nathan, and moved to Heinrich-Barth-Straße 17 in the Grindel quarter. The two sisters also left Borgfelde and set up house at Fröbelstraße 11. Margarethe ran the household for free. On 11 July 1940 the regional finance director issued a "security order" against the remaining portion of their mother’s inheritance, thus depriving them of access to the funds; Elisabeth Kassel provided for herself and her sister with her salary and her pension.
Exactly one year passed from the date the "security orders" were issued against the assets of Margarethe and Elisabeth Kassel and their deportation to Auschwitz. Few other cases experienced looting and humiliation as intensely as these people, therefore the following will present a thorough account based on the files of the foreign currency office of the regional finance director.
Elisabeth Kassel’s assets and income were seized with a "security order" on 11 July 1940. She and her sister were granted a monthly allowance of 350 RM. This sum was greater than her income, and she consequently had to rely on her savings which had, however, been seized. In order to obtain the difference and be able to continue paying the taxes demanded by the regional finance director, she had to humbly request him to permit her to use her savings for that purpose. The additional taxes included the Social Compensation Contribution (15 percent of gross income), introduced 1 Jan. 1941, the Winter Aid Contribution and taxes. The regional finance director granted permission in each instance.
On 27 Oct. 1941, two days after the first deportation of Hamburg’s Jewish men and women to the East, the Hamburg Office of Household Care informed Elisabeth Kassel that she had to move to an apartment assigned to her by the Jewish Community at Grindelallee 21, a "Jewish house". She applied for an advance payment of 200 RM for the move on 8 Nov. 1941, carried out by the moving company Heiser, and for necessary changes to the apartment. She needed blackout blinds and wanted to replace the gas lamps with electric lighting. When it turned out that it was technically impossible without replacing the electric main, the single gas tap was replaced with a double tap, making it possible to run the gas lamp and cook at the same time. That was cheaper than a new light line. Elisabeth Kassel did not use all of the advance payment and deposited the remainder back into her seized bank account.
On the same day, 8 Nov. 1941, Walter Kassel was deported to Minsk, despite his "imbecility". That transport was the first of two to Minsk. At the age of 59, Walter Kassel just fell into the category of the ostensibly physically fit for "Eastern Development”. All living trace of Walter Kassel disappeared upon his deportation from Hamburg.
At the end of Nov., Margarethe and Elisabeth Kassel prepared for their "resettlement". They each applied for the release of 300 RM for their travel costs and purchases for the "evacuation" (100 RM for travel costs, 200 RM for purchases). Two days after the fourth transport departed Hamburg to the East, on 6 Dec. 1941 destined for Riga, Elisabeth Kassel deposited the money back into her account. There is no indication that the sisters were scheduled for that transport. After she was dismissed from the "Jewish School in Hamburg", Elisabeth Kassel worked as an aid at the Jewish Nursing Home at Laufgraben 37.
At the beginning of July 1942, Elisabeth and Margarethe Kassel were once again told to move, this time to Schlachterstraße 47 in Neustadt, likewise a "Jewish house". Once more they had to pay a moving company – this time Carl Luppy – and buy blackout blinds, as well as pay for repairs and two bedsteads to be made into folding beds due to the cramped space. The regional finance director summoned Elisabeth Kassel because she had not included receipts with her application. The move became unnecessary. The sisters, who had been added by hand to the reserve list for the first transport in the new year, left on 11 July 1942 for the East. Their destination, which had been kept secret, was Auschwitz. Their transport included three other teachers and 21 schoolchildren from her former school at Carolinenstraße 35. None of them survived.
On 20 Aug. 1942, the regional finance director noted, "I hereby cancel the security order against Miss Elisabeth Sara Kassel", and the same for Margarethe Kassel. The bank was notified, and the remaining balance reverted back to the Reich. Shortly before, the jewelry surrendered by Margarethe Kassel, with an estimated value of 26 RM, was auctioned off and the proceeds transferred to the regional finance director.
Reinhold Kassel and his non-Jewish wife also had to move to the Grindel quarter and found accommodation on Rutschbahn. From there he watched the deportations of his siblings. Rosa Priebatsch was deported with her husband Walter on 3 Oct. 1942 from Berlin to Theresienstadt where he died on 2 Jan. 1943. Rosa survived the Theresienstadt ghetto a further year until her deportation to Auschwitz on 16 May 1944. Her son Gerd was deported directly to Auschwitz on March 6, 1943, where his trail disappears.
Translator: Suzanne von Engelhardt
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: April 2020
© Hildegard Thevs
Quellen: 1; 2 R 387/1940, R 388/1940; 4; 5; StaH, 214-1 Gerichtsvollzieherwesen, 385; 332-5 Standesämter, 2266+1662/1891; 351-11 AfW, 040785; 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden, 992 d, Bd. 16; 992 e 2, Bde 2, 4; https://collections.arolsen-archives.org/archive/127212800/?p=1&s=gerhard%20priebatsch&doc_id=127212800;
Randt, Carolinenstraße 35; dies., Talmud Tora Schule; dies. Jüdische Schulen am Grindel, in: Wamser/Weinke, Verschwundene Welt; Sielemann, Zielort; freundliche Mitteilungen von Miklas Weber, Berlin, E-Mail 30.4.2020.
Zur Nummerierung häufig genutzter Quellen siehe Recherche und Quellen.