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Already layed Stumbling Stones

Antonie Simon (née Pagener) * 1904

Brahmsallee 39 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)

JG. 1904

further stumbling stones in Brahmsallee 39:
Gertrud Johanna Alsberg, Ernst Alsberg, Dora Nathan, Dr. Nathan Max Nathan, Lane Simon

Antonie Simon, née Pagener, born on 2 Sept. 1904 in Epe/Westphalia, deported on 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz, deported further to Chelmno in May 1942 and murdered there
Lane (Lene) Simon, born on 29 Mar. 1940 in Hamburg, deported on 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz, died there on 26 Dec. 1941

Brahmsallee 39 (Werderstrasse 5)

Antonie Simon came from the Pagener family, who at the end of the eighteenth century were the first Jewish families to settle in the Münsterland community of Epe Dorf. When Antonie Pagener was born there in 1904, the place had about 4,800 almost exclusively Catholic inhabitants, 35 or 36 people were Jews. Among them, the Pageners with diverse kinship relationships were most strongly represented. Epe Dorf was a prosperous community, thanks to its textile industry with spinning mills and weaving mills featuring modern equipment, as well as in particular the railway connections across the nearby border to Eschede in the Netherlands, and to Dortmund and Düsseldorf. The Pageners were particularly active in this region, whether as representatives for fabrics and clothing or as local textile retailers. One of the Pageners became an artificial honey manufacturer in Epe, another a doctor of jurisprudence in Heidelberg. Antony’s father was a livestock dealer.

Antonie, the daughter of Itzig (Bendix) Pagener (1858–1942) and his wife Emilie, née Bachmann (1860–1929), grew up in Epe. She had three older brothers: Benno (1895–1938), Norbert (1896–1944), and Siegfried (1899–1945). Since there was no Jewish school in Epe, Antonie attended the local eight-grade elementary school (Volksschule) like the other children. Jewish religious classes were given privately.

Whether Antonie completed vocational training and if so, what type, could not be determined. On their registration card with the Epe police administration, which was updated from 1922 to 1933, the category "status or trade” lacked any entry. What was registered is that Antonie Pagener left Epe "for Heidelberg” on 8 May 1922, at the age of 17. After some nine months, on 21 Feb. 1923, she was back and stayed in her parents’ house (Epe Dorf no. 183) for over a year. On 11 Mar. 1924, she gave notice of departure for Dortmund, but five weeks later she was back in Epe and stayed there for the next nine years until 6 Feb. 1933, when she notified the authorities that she was moving to Düsseldorf. It is the last entry in the Epen register of residents. What Antonie Pagener did during those years in different places and how she earned her living is not known. Apparently, her parents’ home was a permanent place to go.

The next information is provided by the Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) file card no. 21,800 of the Hamburg Jewish Community in the name of Antonie Pagener, containing a note to the following effect: "joined on 31 Dec. 1935.” Antonie was 31 years old at the time. We do not know why she left Düsseldorf and went to Hamburg. In Sept. 1935, however, the so-called Nuremberg Laws ("Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor” ["Gesetz zum Schutze des deutschen Blutes und der deutschen Ehre”]) were promulgated, providing the anti-Semitism of the Nazi state with a legal basis. Many examples illustrate that Jews left their previous homes and sought shelter in a large city where they were unknown, especially when they were single.

The row "company and industry” on the Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) file card indicates: "support” ("Stütze”). This means that Antonie made it through as a domestic help – this term is hardly exaggerated, because maids were among the least respected, least paid persons within civil society, and those most dependent on the arbitrariness of the respective families, especially if they were Jewish servants in the years after 1935. She could practically only find employment in Jewish households, and only as long as the respective family could afford any "support” in the face of increasing repression. The social situation became more difficult day by day.

We do not know whether Antonie first sought to earn her livelihood as a maid in Hamburg. However, the Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) file card gives some hints about her life there: From the beginning, she was exempt from any payment to the Jewish Community. In Jan. 1941, the stamped entry indicating "welfare” ("Wohlfahrt”) appears, i.e., the Jewish Community or the Reich Association of Jews in Germany (Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland) had to support Antonie. The entries also show that between 1937 and 1941 she changed accommodation at least ten times, always to another family, and almost always "St.L.” was noted, i.e., "support” and "lodging” (accommodation and food). The last accommodation mentioned was: Hamburg Rothenbaum, Werderstrasse 5, with Ruben. Antonie lived there with her little daughter Lane (Lene) from 1 February until their joint deportation to Lodz on 25 Oct. 1941.

Lane was born on 29 Mar. 1940. The father was the Hamburg Jewish resident Alfred Sally Simon (19 Dec. 1900 to 5 May 1968). On 13 Jan. 1940, when Antonie was seven months pregnant, the couple had married. However, at the same time, Alfred Simon made intense efforts to complete the last formalities for his emigration to the USA. Time was short, for by then the war had broken out. Nine days after the wedding, on 22 Jan. 1940, Alfred Simon fled from Trieste to the USA on the MS "Saturnia.” The once wealthy entrepreneur and travelling salesman in the metal and building materials industry was completely destitute as a result of the National Socialist policy of persecution and plundering; ultimately, he possessed nothing more than his clothes and could leave to Antonie nothing more than the child as yet unborn. We do not know how she made it through this situation, who helped her, or if someone helped her at all.

Put on the so-called substitute list for deportation to Lodz ("The 200 Jews listed below are intended for possible no-shows”), Antonie Simon received number 161 and Lane received number 164. Many Jews had taken their own lives in the days before the deportation or had disappeared. The Gestapo, the organizer of the transport toward extermination, then resorted to the substitute list. On the morning of 25 October, a Saturday, a train with 1,034 Jews left Hamburg from the Hannoversche Bahnhof railway station in the harbor (today Lohseplatz) to Lodz. Among them were Antonie Simon (37 years old) and Lane (1 year and seven months).

Lane lived through the plight in the ghetto only for a few weeks. She died on 26 Dec. 1941. In the "Chronicle of the Lodz Ghetto,” icy winds, snowstorms, and temperatures of minus 10 degrees Celsius are noted for those December days. Within three days, 82 people died. Antonie lived with two women from Hamburg in one room, one was Hedwig Rosskamm (born on 11 Dec. 1881) from Haynstrasse 29. Antonie cared for the seriously ill woman. But she could not find any registered work, and without it, she hardly had a chance to survive in the ghetto. At the beginning of May 1942, she received her "resettlement notice” ("Aussiedlungsmitteilung”) from the Council of Elder Jews in the ghetto. This was the veiled term for further deportation to the Chelmno extermination facility, some 70 kilometers (nearly 44 miles) from Lodz. Anyone arriving there did not stand a chance of getting away alive. All victims were immediately locked into specially prepared trucks and killed on their way to the mass grave with the exhaust fumes.

On 8 May, Antonie wrote a pleading letter to the "Eldest of the Jews” ("Älteste der Juden”) to allow her to stay in the ghetto. The request was denied. Antonie Simon died between 10 and 15 May 1942 in Chelmno.

Concerning Departure Request No. III.
To the Eldest of the Jews in the Litzmannstadt-Ghetto
Dear Praeses!
Hereby I ask for the following reasons to exempt me from the departure: I am 37 years old, very keen to work and unfortunately, it has not been possible for me to find work until now, because in the first months of my being here I had a child one and three quarter years old, who died here in the ghetto. A short time later, I was accommodated from the collective in private quarters. I took care of the seriously ill Miss Rosskamm, who lives with me and another 63-year-old lady. Then came the ban on work, then came the emigration of Polish Jews and once again I could not get a job. That is why I tried to get work in the tailoring department, which had me requested by the employment office, but then came the registration and no more German Jews were hired.

For these reasons, I ask you to consider my request. I am happy to make my labor available 100%, because I only have the one wish and that is to see my husband again, who is already in America.
Antonie Simon
from Hamburg

Hedwig Rosskamm, by this time without Antonie’s care, died in the ghetto on 27 May 1942.

Only a few people from Antonie’s family, the Pagener family in Epe, survived the Nazi extermination program. After the November Pogrom during the night of 8 to 9 Nov. 1938, in which the synagogue in Epen burned to the ground, Antonie’s brother Benno fled to the USA, married a Jewish woman from Uchte near Hannover and had children. Other family members fled to the Netherlands, being tracked down after the German invasion of the country (May 1940), and taken to concentration camps. Antonie’s father, Itzig Pagener, was murdered in Minsk, her brother Norbert in Auschwitz, his wife Anna, née de Levi, and their two daughters, 19-year-old Ruth and 15-year-old Ingrid in Stutthof. Antonie’s brother Siegfried was murdered in Flossenbürg, while his wife Hermine, née Meyer, and the children Bernhard (eleven years) and Gretel (seven years) died in Auschwitz. Other relatives annihilated included the family of her uncle Simon Pagener, with his wife Bertha, née Meyer, and their two grown daughters Anna (married name Eichenwald), who were killed in Flossenbürg, and Käthe, who was murdered in Bergen-Belsen.

Since 2009, Stolpersteine have been laid for her and other murdered Jews in Epe; so far they number 26.

At the end of 1945, when Antonie and Lane had not returned, Alfred Sally Simon started a new family in the USA, which produced two sons. He died in Chicago on 5 May 1968.

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

Stand: September 2019
© Johannes Grossmann

Quellen: 1; 4; 5; 8; StaH 351-11 AfW, 28086 Simon, Antonie; 351-11 AfW, 23805 Simon, Alfred Sally; StaH 332-5 Standesämter Geburten, 13400-2624 Simon, Alfred; Standesamt 2 (Hamburg-Eimsbüttel) 1940, Heiratsurkunde Nr. 19/40 und Aufgebot zur Eheschließung Simon-Pagener; StaH 522-1-992 e 2, Band 1, Deportationsliste Litzmannstadt; Meyer (Hrsg.): Verfolgung; Feuchert u.a., Chronik des Gettos Lodz, Band 1941, S. 320ff.; Stadtarchiv Gronau, Polizeiverwaltung Epe i. Westf., Melderegister, Pagener, Antonie; Diekmann: Sabbats wegen, S. 154ff.; Lippert/Diekmann, DenkMal, S. 6ff.; Diekmann, Jüdische Gemeinde, in: ders., Natur und Kultur, S. 208ff.; Lippert, Stadtarchiv Gronau, E-Mails vom 4.12.2012 und 15.1.2015; Petra Böing, Stadtarchiv Gronau, E-Mails vom 26.2. und 24.3.2015; USHMM, RG 15083, M 300/156-157, Fritz Neubauer, Universität Bielefeld, E-Mail vom 2.10.2011.
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