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Already layed Stumbling Stones
Josef Polack * 1899
Großneumarkt 56 (Hamburg-Mitte, Neustadt)
further stumbling stones in Großneumarkt 56:
Sella Cohen, Bertha Cohen, A(h)ron Albert Cohn, Thekla Daltrop, David Elias, Theresia Elias, Louisa(e) Elias, Camilla Fuchs, Siegmund Josephi, Robert Martin Levy, Hertha Liebermann, Fritz Mainzer, Siegfried Neumann, Fanny Neumann, Lieselotte Neumann, Mirjam Neumann, Max Leo Neumann, Therese Neumann, Bela Neumann, Bertha Polack, Eva Samuel, Rosa Weinberg, Siegfried Weinberg
Bertha Polack, born 12 Oct. 1897 in Hamburg, deported 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk
Josef Polack, born 20 Nov. 1899 in Hamburg, deported 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk, deported 1942 to Auschwitz
The siblings Bertha and Josef Polack were born in their parents’ house at the former Schlachterstraße 50. Their parents, the trained typesetter and later merchant Siegfried Polack (born 9 Aug. 1862) and the cook Caroline Levy (born 13 Mar. 1865) had married in Hamburg on 19 May 1893. Bertha and Josef Polack were the youngest of their six children. Their older sisters Sara Senta and Marianne were twins born on 21 Oct. 1893, followed by their brother Nathan Jakob on 7 Dec. 1894 and sister Auguste on 9 Apr. 1896.
Siegfried Polack died at the Israelite Hospital on 5 Apr. 1907 at the age of just 44. His widow Caroline moved into a holiday apartment with her children who were still underage in the neighboring Hertz Joseph Levy Foundation at Großneumarkt 56. According to reports, they lived in simple yet stable circumstances. Caroline Polack ran their household strictly according to the rituals of Jewish dietary laws.
When they graduated from high school, her sons learned a trade, Josef became a baker, Nathan a decorator. The brothers served in World War I and evidently both were severely injured. Nathan perished on 12 July 1918 at a battlefield hospital in Mont-Notre-Dame near Soissons. Josef fell into captivity as a French prisoner of war and later received a small disability pension, which was taken away from him, however, at the start of 1935. After the war he only found temporary work as a baker, for instance at the cooperative society Produktion. After recovering from stomach surgery and a restorative stay at a rest home of the Eduard and Adelheid Kann Foundation in Oberstedten am Taunus, he was able to find a job in the summer of 1933 as a bath attendant at a swimming pool in Hamburg-Barmbek.
His sister Bertha completed training as an office clerk and typist. For a time she ran a "lottery collection” under the company name Carl Balzer at Büschstraße 1 and then worked until 1933 at Paul Levin’s lottery business at Königsstraße 14/16 (today a part of Poststraße). From 1933 she was only able to find temporary work. Due to the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service, her sister Senta lost her job as an office clerk at the Employment Office in Großen Bleichen on 30 June 1933, like all employees and civil servants who were not able to prove their "Aryan” heritage. She gave up her apartment in Altona at Breitestraße 142 and moved back in with her family at Großneumarkt.
Unlike their siblings at that time, Marianne and Auguste were already married. Marianne had married the merchant Aron Leopold Müller (born 1 Aug. 1891 in Altona) on 15 Sept. 1922, her sister Auguste the baker Max Theodor Rankenburg in 1927. Auguste did not live to see the National Socialists take power, she died on 1 Oct. 1932 in her apartment at Tarpenbeckstraße 52.
Four years later on 23 June 1936, Caroline Polack also died. She was buried at Ilandkoppel Jewish Cemetery in Ohlsdorf, like her late husband and daughter Auguste.
By now Josef and Bertha were drawing welfare payments. Moreover, Josef took over the custodial position at the Hertz Joseph Levy Foundation in Mar. 1939 which paid 80 Reich Marks quarterly. On 30 Apr. 1939 the Reich Law on Renting to Jewish Tenants was enacted; without legal protection for renting, they could now be evicted at short notice. That also changed the residential situation at the Hertz Joseph Levy Foundation. The living conditions grew ever tighter because the Jewish Community had to house Jewish tenants who had been evicted, and the only space available was the apartments in their foundations.
When the first residents of the building received their "evacuation orders to develop the East”, the foundation building had already become a so-called Jewish house. In his role as custodian, Josef Polack registered the deaths of his neighbors on 24 Oct. 1941 at the local Police Station 34 at Großneumarkt 16. The sisters Camilla Fuchs and Thekla Daltrop (see their entries) had decided to take their own lives one day before they were to be deported to Lodz.
Just a little later Josef Polack and his sister Bertha received their deportation orders for the next Hamburg transport on 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk Ghetto, where all further trace of Bertha Polack was lost. At some point in 1942, Josef was transported to Auschwitz extermination camp.
It was there that his sister Senta was also killed. She had left her family when she married the cloth merchant Siegmund Pohle (born 16 Oct. 1885 in Frankfurt am Main) on 19 May 1939. The son of a civil servant died of leukemia on 30 July 1940. In 1941 she married a second time, the glazier Danny Siegfried Kohn (born 8 Dec. 1885 in Vienna) who was also a widower. His first wife Elsa, née Rector (born 21 Dec. 1880), had passed away in Hamburg on 25 June 1934. Senta and Danny Kohn lived as lodgers of the seaman Wiehl at Rendsburgerstraße 14 until they were forced to move in with the couple Julie and Ludwig Baruch (see their entries) at the "Jewish house” at Schlachterstraße 46/47 in 1942. On 19 July 1942 they were deported together to Theresienstadt and killed in Auschwitz on 6 Oct. 1944. (Stumbling Stones at Rendsburgerstraße 14, see Stolpersteine in Hamburg-St. Pauli).
Senta’s twin sister Marianne and her husband Aron Müller managed to send their children Inge (born 5 Apr. 1924) and Gerhard (born 20 May 1925) to safety on a Kindertransport to England in Dec. 1938.
Following his release from Sachsenhausen concentration camp and eleven months of heavy forced labor, Aron Müller fled to his brother Lazarus Siegmund Müller (born 5 Nov. 1901) in the USA on 15 Aug. 1941. He was unable to make good on his intent to later bring Marianne to the USA as quickly as possible. On 6 Dec. 1941 Marianne Müller and her sister-in-law Nanny Müller (born 29 Sept. 1893) were deported from the apartment they shared at Hegestieg 12 to Riga-Jungfernhof.
A Stumbling Stone has been laid for Nanny Müller at Helene-Lange-Straße 7. Aron Müller, whose health was severely damaged by the period of persecution, died in Chicago on 21 Aug. 1942.
His mother Minna Müller, née Engel (born 3 Sept. 1862 in Röbel, Mecklenburg), was deported to Theresienstadt on 9 June 1943 where she died on 18 Feb. 1944.
Translator: Suzanne von Engelhardt
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: May 2020
© Susanne Rosendahl
Quellen: 1; 5; StaH 351-11 AfW 15336 (Müller, Marianne); StaH 351-11 AfW 13125 (Müller, Aron); StaH 351-11 AfW 15833 (Müller, Nanny); StaH 351-14 Arbeits- und Sozialfürsorger 1691 (Polack, Josef); StaH 351-14 Arbeits- und Sozialfürsorger 1692 (Polack, Bertha); StaH 351-14 Arbeits- und Sozialfürsorger 1693 (Pohle, Siegmund); StaH 332-5 Standesämter 6270 u 2571/1891; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 2813 u 575/1893; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 2317 u 3959/1893; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 2317 u 3960/1893; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 9093 u 2334/1893; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 2401 u 1273/1896; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 2433 u 3468/1897; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 13176 u 3732/1899; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 1024 u 262/1934; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 8168 u 401/1940; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 589 u 261/1907; Stein: Stiftung, S. 184.
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