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Edith Horwitz (née Spanier) * 1897
Grindelallee 6 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)
Edith Horwitz, née Spanier, born on 15 Aug. 1897, deported on 6 Dec. 1941 to Riga
Edith Horwitz was born on 18 May 1897 as the daughter of Emilie and Moritz Spanier in Bünde (Westphalia). There, she attended the local girls’ high school (Lyzeum), where she probably took theology classes. Later, she married Arthur Horwitz, born 7 September 1897 in Uelzen and had with him son Karl-Heinz, to whom she gave birth in Uelzen on 2 Jan. 1919.
Edith was a Protestant and did not feel herself to be Jewish. Nevertheless, as of 1939, she was included in the Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) card file of the Hamburg Jewish Community by means of the compulsory decree stipulating membership in the Reich Association of Jews (Reichsvereinigung der Juden). In this context, it remains unclear when she moved to Hamburg. By this time, her parents were not alive anymore. As early as 1933, her husband no longer appeared in the directories, and she is listed in the Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) card file as divorced. The divorce decree was pronounced by the District Court of Hamburg on 9 May 1934. Since she was given a Jewish religious tax file card of her own, one may assume that she lived as a single mother.
Edith Horwitz did not pursue any gainful employment but earned her living by subletting her apartment at Grindelallee 6, to Albert Josephi (see corresponding entry), among others. Accordingly, one may assume that she herself lived in very cramped conditions and had to make do with little money.
Sept. 1941 saw passage of the law compelling all Jewish persons in the Third Reich to wear the "Jews’ star” ("Judenstern”). Edith, too, would have worn this star, sewn clearly visible on to her clothes, whenever she left the house.
On the evening of 5 Dec. 1941, she had already received the deportation order, and so she had to report along with more than 1000 other members of the Jewish Community to the former Masonic Lodge house on Moorweidenstrasse, where deportees of the transport to Riga were assembled. The sanitation facilities at Moorweidenstrasse were extremely inadequate for such a large number of people. Moreover, the persons arriving were often separated from parts of their luggage by force and many of them sustained injuries in this connection, making subsequent carrying of their belongings difficult or impossible for them.
The following day, 6 Dec. 1941, Edith Horwitz was deported to Riga. The railroad cars were reportedly either completely overheated or icy cold, depending on how close they were to the locomotive. As well, they were so overcrowded that it was virtually impossible to move. Provisions were available only to the extent that the deportees themselves had brought them along.
Upon arrival in Riga, what awaited them was the coldest winter of the century. The Hamburg transport was escorted to Jungfernhof, a decrepit farming estate without any means for heating or sanitation facilities. Living quarters were only prepared by the prisoners themselves over the course of time. Every day, a large number of prisoners froze to death. If Edith Horwitz survived the strains of the transport and the inhuman conditions of imprisonment, she was probably taken to the Riga Ghetto later on. She has been considered "missing” since the end of the war.
Her son Karl-Heinz was deported from Hannover to the Riga Ghetto on 15 Dec. 1941. Whether mother and son met again for one last time is not known.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: October 2016
© Melanie Herrmann/Korrekturen u. Ergänzung (2019) Christina Igla
Quellen: Staatsarchiv Hamburg, 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden, 992b, Kultussteuerkartei der Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde Hamburgs; Stah 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung_19393 u. _24820; Bundesarchiv Berlin, Liste der jüdischen Einwohner des Deutschen Reichs 1933–1945; Gedenkbuch des Bundesarchivs Berlin: www.bundesarchiv.de/gedenkbuch, Zugriff 27.8.2008.