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Bert(h)a Seligmann (née Ambrunn) * 1890

Dillstraße 21 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)

JG. 1890

further stumbling stones in Dillstraße 21:
Bertha Berges, Charlotte Berges, Marianna Berges, Emma Blitz, Abraham Freimann, Karl Gänser, Julius Gottschalk, Minna Gottschalk, Hermann Samuel Gottschalk, Ernst August Gottschalk, Karola Gottschalk, Erwin Levinson, Flora Levinson, Hugo Levinson

Bertha Seligmann, née Ambrunn, born on 12 July 1890 in Munich, deported on 15 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, deported from there to Auschwitz Birkenau on 20 Jan. 1943, murdered

Dillstrasse 21

Bertha Ambrunn was born in Munich on 12 July 1890 as the third child of the Jewish couple Mayer and Jettchen Ambrunn. Her father was a merchant by profession and her mother, née Adler, was the owner of Sally Adler & Co., a packing and waste paper company at Pestalozzistrasse 38.

Bertha grew up in a solid middle-class environment together with three brothers: Joseph (born on 14 Oct. 1882), Leopold (born on 23 June 1889), and the younger Nathan Nikolaus (born on 18 Dec. 1894). Nathan died in 1929 and we know nothing about his siblings’ childhood and youth.

On 23 Apr. 1914, Bertha married the Hamburg merchant Ivan (Iwan) Isaak Seligmann in Munich. After their wedding, the couple settled in Hamburg and moved into a four-bedroom apartment at Dillstrasse 21 on the third floor.

Ivan Isaak Seligmann was born on 5 Oct. 1875 in Segeberg and as a boy moved with his family to Hamburg, where his father Abraham ran a textile retail store. Since 1902, Ivan worked as an independent merchant as well as an "agent” for the Hamburg area and ran an office at Admiralitätsstrasse 26. Later he took over his father’s business together with his brother Gustav Seligmann (born on 2 May 1874) and managed it quite successfully before and during the First World War. Bertha thus lived as a homemaker in comfortable circumstances. In the following years, the couple had three children: the first-born Arnold (born on 19 Mar. 1915) and the daughters Blanka (born on 12 Sept. 1919) and Margot (born 6 Jan. 1923).

Arnold attended the Talmud Tora School and then went to Berlin for an internship at the Jewish Federation (Jüdischer Bund). His sisters attended the Jewish girls’ school on Carolinenstrasse. After completing her studies, Blanka began training as a gardener and moved to Blankenese, where she was able to complete her training at the Warburgs’ estate. Daughter Margot decided to work in the areas of home economics and in preparation attended the Jewish Home Economics School (Haushaltsschule) at Heimhuderstrasse 70 for one year (1937/38). She then took up a "position” (i.e., worked as a domestic servant) with the Heckscher family until they left Germany in Jan. 1939.

In the course of the 1920s, the poor overall economic situation had also affected the Seligmann brothers’ business. By 1926 at the latest, revenues were no longer sufficient to provide for two families. For a time, the business received support from the medium sized business relief fund (Mittelstandshilfe) of the German-Israelitic Community, and family members such as Gustav’s father-in-law invested in it as well.

At the end of 1929, Mrs. Pels – their Community welfare worker – informed the brothers that the Community could no longer grant the payment. This forced Ivan to seek assistance from public welfare services. Bertha’s nerves were so strained about the whole situation that Mrs. Pels considered it necessary that Bertha, despite the tense financial situation, continued to employ a maid for 30 RM (reichsmark) per month, who helped her with the laundry and in the household. The welfare office did not take the same view and the domestic help had to be dismissed. As it happened, the Seligmann family received a support payment that was probably not sufficient, however. This is suggested by a lawsuit against Ivan Isaak Seligmann for rent arrears recorded in the welfare file.

In 1933, Ivan reoriented himself professionally and started a fruit trade, which he operated from the apartment extending over an entire floor. However, the increasing repression against the Jewish population also had an effect on his business – in Nov. 1938, the Gestapo (as noted in the welfare file) took away his ID for shopping from him and banned him from continuing the business. Again, the family was dependent on welfare support.

In the course of time, Bertha Seligmann’s state of health had deteriorated. In May 1936, she was admitted to the German-Israelite Hospital for the first time with the diagnosis of "organic brain disease,” two years later (21 Jan. -3 Mar. 1938) a second time. She suffered from dizzy spells, balance problems, and an unsteady gait. Doctors first suspected a brain tumor, then multiple sclerosis. No further medical history is known.

The children of Bertha and Ivan Seligmann decided one after the other to leave Germany for Palestine. Arnold seems to have been the first to go to Palestine. Blanka’s Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) file card of the Jewish Community mentions 13 Sept. 1940 as the date of her departure for Palestine. Margot left Germany in Feb. 1939 with a youth transport. The journey went by train from Hamburg to Trieste and by ship from Trieste to Haifa. She arrived there on 27 Feb. 1939.

In 1940, Ivan Seligmann registered a new business – renting rooms to permanent Jewish tenants. This he did until the forced move to a so-called "Jews’ house” ("Judenhaus”) at Dillstrasse 15 on 18 Mar. 1942. Bertha and Ivan Seligmann had to wear the yellow "Jews’ star” ("Judenstern”) on their clothing since Sept. 1941.

Ivan Seligmann’s health was probably already bad at the time of his move. On 4 July 1942, he died of a lung tumor in the Israelite Hospital at Johnsallee 68.

Bertha Seligmann did not have much time for her grief. On 15 July 1942, she was deported on Transport VI/1 from Hamburg to the Theresienstadt Ghetto and from there on 29 Jan. 1943 on Transport Ct, Train Da 107 to Auschwitz Birkenau, where she was murdered. There is no direct proof of death either for them or for others, but Transport Ct was considered a death transport. After the war, the date of death was set at 8 May 1945.

What about the other family members?
The children of Bertha and Ivan Isaak Seligmann survived: Mirjam (Margot) Porath and Blanka Friedmann stayed in Israel; they lived near Tel Aviv. Arnold had moved on to Essex, Britain.
Bertha Seligmann’s brother Leopold worked as a lawyer until he was banned from practicing his profession in 1938. He was deported to Piaski in 1942 and murdered.
Joseph emigrated to Lyon in 1933, after which all traces of him disappear.
Bertha Seligmann’s mother Jettchen died on 15 Nov. 1938, her father on 27 Feb. 1942. Both were buried at the New Israelite Cemetery in Munich.
Bertha’s brother-in-law Gustav Seligmann (born on 2 May 1874), her sister-in-law Debora, née Katzenstein (born on 19 July 1886), and her daughter Margarethe (born on 8 Apr. 1920) were deported four days after Bertha, on 19 July 1942, to Theresienstadt. Gustav died there on 23 Jan. 1943; Debora and Margarethe were deported to Auschwitz on 12 Oct. 1944 and murdered there.
Her son Alfred (born on 29 Sept. 1913) was deported from Bremen to the Minsk Ghetto on 18 Nov. 1941 and murdered there on 28 July 1942.

Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: June 2020
© Sylvia Möller

Quellen: 1; 7; StAHH 351-14 Arbeits-und Sozialfürsorge 1797; StAHH 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung 12469; StAHH 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung 45706; StAHH 332-3 Standesämter – Totenschein Nr. 314 vom 6. Juli 1942; Deportationsliste von Hamburg nach Theresienstadt am 15.7.1942, (letzter Aufruf: 23.9.2018); (letzter
Aufruf: 30.9.2018). Biographische Gedenkbuch der Münchner Juden 1933–1945; (letzter Aufruf: 24.1.2019).
Zur Nummerierung häufig genutzter Quellen siehe Link "Recherche und Quellen".

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