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Ferdinand Daniel * 1879
Rutschbahn 35 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)
Ferdinand Daniel, born on 4 Aug. 1879 in Weissenthurm, deported on 6 Dec. 1941 to Riga-Jungfernhof, died on 14 Jan. 1942 in Salaspils
Jettchen Daniel, née Katzenstein, born on 16 Aug. 1885 in Rhina, deported on 6 Dec. 1941 to Riga-Jungfernhof
Manfred Manasse Friedel Daniel, born on 15 Aug. 1924 in Hamburg, deported on 6 Dec. 1941 to Riga-Jungfernhof
The father of the family, Ferdinand Daniel, was born on 4 Aug. 1879 in Weissenthurm near Koblenz as one of at least three children of the tradesman Moses Daniel and his wife Amalia (née Abraham). In the year 1907, the trained tailor moved from Frankfurt/Main to Hamburg, although he must have spent some time in the Hanseatic city before, since he had his military medical examination there in 1901. On 24 Dec. 1908, he married Jettchen (Jenny) Katzenstein, a native of Rhina in Hessen. The couple had two sons born in Hamburg, Harry David Felix on 16 May 1910 and Manfred Manasse Friedel on 15 Aug. 1924.
Jettchen was born on 16 Aug. 1885 as the seventh of nine children of the married couple David Katzenstein and Amalie (Malchen) Katzenstein (née Stern). Her native village of Rhina was among the oldest communities in North Hessen and at times had more Jewish than Christian inhabitants. At the beginning of the twentieth century, however, many Jews moved from Rhina and the neighboring villages to bigger cities and medium-sized towns due to the jobs available there. Jettchen went to Hamburg in 1892. In years prior, her older sisters had already been sent to Hamburg to train in managing a household and looking after children as "Haustöchter” [Note: in this context, daughters of legal age working in another family as a domestic help/nanny].
In 1913, the Daniel family lived in an apartment on the third floor of the house at Rutschbahn 35, which until their forced relocation to the "Jews’ house” ("Judenhaus”) at Rutschbahn 25 would be their home for 25 years. Before that, the family had moved almost every year, among other places, from Gänsemarkt 38 to Neuer Steinweg 46/47 in the city center, to Reeperbahn 40/41 in St. Pauli, and to Wikingerweg 11 in Borgfelde, before settling in the Grindel quarter. During the initial years of World War I, Ferdinand served as a soldier, but he was discharged from military service for unknown reasons in the course of 1915. For several years to come, he no longer worked in the profession he had trained in, women’s tailor, but as a rag dealer. Even though Ferdinand Daniel joined the Jewish Community only in 1920, the family already received rent subsidies between 50 and 45 marks from there as early as the period from 1915 to 1918, as well as a general subsidy amounting to 22.88 marks for the year 1917. For a while, Jettchen’s mother, by then widowed and a member of the Jewish Community in Hamburg since 1917, lived with the family, before moving to the Parkallee hospice and eventually into an apartment at Hallerplatz 10, where she died in 1925. Except for brother Leo (Löser) Katzenstein, the years had also seen Jettchen’s siblings Aron, Ida (married name Nussbaum), Selma (married name Katzenstein), Regina (married name Neufeld), Julius, Mathilde (married name Wertheim), and Nathan move from Rhina to Hamburg, start families, and work in the most diverse occupations.
In the years from 1920 to 1927, Ferdinand Daniel’s Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) file indicates steadily decreasing membership dues, ceasing entirely from 1928 onward. In 1921, Ferdinand Daniel apparently tried to expand his trade in scraps of fabric or initiate some changes to his business, respectively. In this year, the Hamburg directory also lists, in addition to his residential address, a business address in the basement of the house at Rutschbahn 2, designated as "produce wholesale” ("Prod.-Grosshandel”), and Ferdinand’s occupation is indicated as merchant. It is not clear what goods or products he traded. At any rate, the business was not destined to succeed, as the reference to a business address was already missing the next year and Ferdinand was once more listed with his pre-war profession of women’s tailor.
Besides the precarious financial situation, probably the fate of the first son Harry caused the parents the greatest headaches and grief during these years. From 1924 until 1928, he was institutionalized in the Kalmenhof supervised home in Idstein for "psychopathic symptoms” and completed an apprenticeship as a baker there. Harry committed petty thefts, escaped several times, and roamed around the countryside for days. In a letter to Ferdinand Daniel dating from 1928, the director of the institution doubted that Harry would pass the journeyman’s examination, attested him temporary mental disorders and occasional mental incapacity. Despite this assessment, Harry passed the final exam and returned to Hamburg, where he once again lived with his parents and his brother Manfred. However, he continued to undergo treatment at the Staatskrankenanstalt Friedrichsberg (Friedrichsberg State Hospital) and the Landesirrenanstalt Ochsenzoll (Ochsenzoll State Mental Asylum) in Langenhorn. In Mar. 1934, he married Henny (née Lissauer), started a family with her and moved to the quarter of St. Georg.
In the 1930s, the financial situation of the Daniel family did not improve either. As early as 1927, Ferdinand had switched from women’s to men’s tailor but without success. The Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) file card does not list any income. In July 1932, the family applied for subsidies with the relevant welfare authority. The personal client file (Personalbuch) compiled afterwards by a "nurse” (social worker) named Schloss contains detailed information providing insight into the circumstances of the Daniels. What emerged from talks with Jettchen and Ferdinand during the home visits was that the family had been dependent for some time already on support from Jettchen’s siblings and from the Jewish Community. In particular, the Daniels received regular support payments from the families of Jettchen’s sisters, and the Jewish Community arranged for food donations. On 18 Aug. 1932, the social worker noted, "the Daniel family are bashful, poor people, who in dire straits have, until now, been too ashamed to rely on welfare assistance.” The welfare allowances applied for were granted immediately and increased in the months following. However, the financial relief lasted only until the Nazis assumed power. In Apr. 1933, the welfare office assigned a new male social worker, who instantly had all payments stopped and the personal client file confiscated. In the following years, all of the family’s applications were turned down. In a letter from 1935, even the guild of men’s tailors, to which Ferdinand belonged, spoke out in favor of supporting the family but to no avail. Only the health care office approved funds for treatment: Son Manfred suffered from a chronic pulmonary disease, as a result of which he was sent to a health spa with financial support of the Jewish Community; mother Jettchen was afflicted by a vascular disease that required continual treatment; and father Ferdinand had a heart condition. In order to make ends meet nevertheless, from 1935 onward both of the spouses took on part-time jobs with the fraternal burial society (Beerdigungsbruderschaft or chevrah kadisha) from the Jewish Community: Ferdinand as a bearer of corpses and Jettchen as a washer of corpses. In Dec. 1936, the welfare office held out the prospect of payments to Ferdinand, should he relinquish his trade license as a tailor. He refused, however, arguing that he wished "not to burden the welfare system by being idle.”
From 14 June 1938 until 24 June 1938, Ferdinand was detained as a "protective custody prisoner” ("Schutzhäftling”) in the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp and probably became a victim of the "operation ‘work-shy Reich’” (Aktion "Arbeitsscheu-Reich”). On the pretext of preventing crime, the criminal investigation department had arrested approx. 120,000 men. Originally aimed against the "work-shy” and "asocial,” the responsible police authorities extended the target group to include Jews with petty offenses and other "national comrades (Volksgenossen) of the bothersome kind.” In contrast to most of those falling victim to the wave of arrests, Ferdinand was not transferred directly from the police prison to a concentration camp. This occurred only following his renewed arrest after the November Pogrom on 10 Nov. 1938. He then came to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where he was interned under the prisoner category of "Jew” and the prisoner number 8,497 until he was released on 21 Dec. 1938. According to the transcript of the welfare office documenting the home visit on 28 Nov., Jettchen Daniel was left behind completely destitute and faced debts from rent, electricity, phone bills, and income tax payments. Only the financial subsidies by her siblings and the sublease of one of the four rooms helped her.
The time of Ferdinand’s arrest coincided with efforts by son Manfred to emigrate. A file of the Chief Finance Administrator also contains, in addition to the tax clearance certificate issued by the passport office, a questionnaire for emigrants dated 29 Nov. 1938, filled out by Manfred and signed by Jettchen Daniel. The plans provided that Manfred emigrate on a "children transport” (Kindertransport) to the Netherlands. The student of the Talmud Tora School, aged 14 years at the time, was scheduled to go on his journey with one suitcase of luggage and 10 RM (reichsmark) in cash. So far, it has not been possible to find out whether Manfred ever left the German Reich and spent at least the short period until the invasion of the Wehrmacht in the spring of 1940 in the Netherlands or whether his departure eventually failed due to insufficient funds. The Dutch archives do not reveal any clues to Manfred Daniel entering. The decision for Manfred to emigrate was taken by Jettchen alone since not only her husband but also her first-born son were imprisoned at that time: Harry had already been arrested in Dec. 1937 for numerous criminal offenses, and in June 1938, he was sentenced to one year in prison. After serving his prison term and being released from the Fuhlsbüttel prison, he moved in with his parents for a brief period because his wife Henny was not willing to take him in again, instead intending to get a divorce. Shortly afterward, Harry disappeared without a trace until he was arrested at the end of Feb. 1939 during an attempt to cross the border to France illegally. On 4 Mar. 1939, he was committed to the Dachau concentration camp as a political prisoner and transferred from there to the Buchenwald concentration camp, where he was shot dead "while fleeing” on 30 Oct. 1940.
In the spring of 1939, the Daniel family was forced to give up its apartment and move to the "Jews’ house” ("Judenhaus”) at Rutschbahn 25a, where they lived until their deportation. After Ferdinand’s release from internment in the concentration camp, the situation deteriorated even further because he was ordered to surrender his trade license as of 1 Jan. 1939, which meant he was no longer allowed then to work as a tailor. By Feb., the family found itself compelled to sell the furnishing of the dining room. Jettchen’s siblings made one last payment of 500 RM to finance the family members’ flight. Where the Daniels intended to flee does not emerge from the records; there is only a new entry regarding their son Manfred, which points to Palestine as a destination. No documentation exists about the type of efforts the family may have undertaken toward emigration and as to why the departure eventually failed. The same applies to the circumstances they lived in until the deportation at the end of 1941.
On 6 Dec. 1941, the Daniel family was deported to the Riga-Jungfernhof camp. The daughter-in-law with her three little children was also on the transport. Upon arrival in the camp, all traces of the family members disappear except for those of Ferdinand Daniel, which means that nothing is known about the circumstances surrounding Jettchen’s and Manfred’s deaths.
Probably shortly after his arrival in Jungfernhof, Ferdinand Daniel was assigned to a labor squad scheduled to construct an extended police prison resembling a concentration camp in the town of Salaspils, located some 12 kilometers (approx. 7.5 mi.) from Jungfernhof. The working conditions were catastrophic: Malnutrition, bitterly cold weather, lack of opportunity to wash up, as well as the arbitrariness of the guards comprised of Germans and Latvians caused the death rate in the camp dubbed as "white hell” to rise quickly. Only few prisoners lived to see completion of the complex of camp buildings in the summer of 1942; they were then transferred to the Riga Ghetto. One of these few was Alfred Rosentreter, a nephew of Ferdinand from Duisburg, who chanced upon his uncle in the Salaspils camp, where the latter mended prison clothes. After the war, Alfred Rosentreter stated in an affirmation in lieu of an oath before the Duisburg District Court (Amtsgericht) that Ferdinand was found lifeless in the camp on 14 Feb. 1942, having died of dysentery and malnutrition.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Thomas Rost
Quellen: E-Mail von Frau Miriam Keesing vom 17.12.2013; Häftlingsliste Polizeigefängnis Fuhlsbüttel, 126.96.36.199, 11405506 ITS Digitales Archiv; Hamburger Adressbücher (HAB) 1908–1941; http://www.bundesarchiv.de/gedenkbuch/de850415 (zuletzt abgerufen am 20.05.2014); http://www.steinheim-institut.de/cgi-bin/epidat?sel=du4&function=Ins&jahrv=1955 (zuletzt abgerufen am 20.05.2014); Korrespondenzakte TD 21807, 90960780 ITS Digitales Archiv; Protokoll Lagerarzt KZ Buchenwald, 188.8.131.52, 5721926 ITS Digitales Archiv; Rosentreter, Alfred. Interview 24639. Visual History Archive. USC Shoah Foundation Institute. Online abgerufen am Center for Digital Systems der Freien Universität Berlin am 25.4.2014; StaHH, 213-11 Staatsanwaltschaft Landgericht- Strafsachen, 08358/38 Band I; StaHH, 332-5 Standesämter, Film Nr. A250/29 Generalregister Heiraten (1901–1910) 47014-47017; StaHH, 342-2 Militärersatzbehörden, DII 96 Band 1, Lfd. Nr. 372, Daniel, Ferdinand; StaHH, 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung, 3567 Selma Katzenstein; StaHH, 351-14 Arbeits- und Sozialfürsorge – Sonderakten, 1097, Daniel, Harry; StaHH, 351-14 Arbeits- und Sozialfürsorge – Sonderakten, 1099, Daniel, Ferdinand; StaHH, 314-14 Oberfinanzpräsident, FVg 5142; StaHH, 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden, 477, Statistik der während des Weltkrieges von diesem betroffenen und unterstützten Familien und Personen bezüglich ihrer Fam. Verhältnisse, Daniel, Ferdinand in den Jahren 1915,1916,1917 und 1918; StaHH, 522-1, 992b, Kultussteuerkarten, Ferdinand Daniel, Harry Daniel, Amalie Katzenstein, Aron Katzenstein, Ernst Katzenstein, Julius Katzenstein, Nathan Katzenstein, Hermann Neufeld, Regina Neufeld, Ferdinand Nussbaum und Adolf Wertheim; StaHH, 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden, 992e2 Deportationslisten, Band 3 Liste 1; Stammbaum der Familie Katzenstein, erstellt von Frau Elisabeth Sternberg-Siebert, basierend auf dem Personenstandsregister der Synagogengemeinde Rhina (HHSTA Wiesbaden, Abt. 365); Veränderungsmeldung KZ Sachsenhausen, 184.108.40.206, 4094036 ITS Digitales Archiv; Chotjewitz-Häfner, Renate; Chotjewitz, Peter: Die Juden von Rhina. Aus der Chronik eines osthessischen Dorfes, Oberellenbach, 1988, S.5–16 und 21–24; Faludi, Christian: Die "Juni-Aktion" 1938. Eine Dokumentation zur Radikalisierung der Judenverfolgung, Frankfurt am Main, 2013; Scheffler, Wolfgang und Schulle, Diana: Buch der Erinnerung. Die ins Baltikum deportierten deutschen, österreichischen und tschechoslowakischen Juden, Band 1, München, 2003, S.13–16.