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© State Archives in Belgium – Individual file established by the Belgian Foreigners Police
Benjamin Goldberger * 1895
Agathenstraße 3 (Eimsbüttel, Eimsbüttel)
FLUCHT 1939 BELGIEN
Benjamin Goldberger, born on 26 Dec. 1895 in Kolomyia (Kolomea) in Galicia, emigrated to Antwerp in the fall of 1939, interned on 29 Apr. 1944 in Mechelen (Malines), deported on 19 May 1944 to Auschwitz-Birkenau
Kre(a)ine Goldberger, née Brun, called Geller, born on 2 Mar. 1898 in Zalocze (Galicia), emigrated to Antwerp in the fall of 1939, interned on 29 Apr. 1944 in Mechelen (Malines), deported on 19 May 1944 to Auschwitz-Birkenau
From Christchurch in New Zealand, Kate Gibson established contact to Hamburg via the home page. She had read about the Stolperstein project in New Zealand and she was so enthusiastic about it that she inquired in Hamburg whether Stolpersteine also existed for her grandparents Benjamin and Kreine Goldberger, who had lived at Agathenstrasse 3. There were none yet but thanks to Peter Hess, it was possible to lay stones for Benjamin and Kreine Goldberger in Oct. 2013.
Both were natives of Galicia. Their families probably came to Germany at the beginning of the twentieth century. In Apr. 1922, Benjamin and Kreine got married in Hamburg. At the time, Benjamin Goldberger still lived in Hannover, his bride at Rutschbahn 25 a, house no. 2. There is a clue to Benjamin Goldberger’s father owning a printing firm or a publishing house with retail outlet.
Kreine Goldberger’s parents were the Torah scribe [sofer] Meschullom (also Meschalon) Geller (born on 20 Sept. 1867 in Przemysl) and Schura Brun (born on 2 Feb. 1868 in Zalozce). Kreine had a sister, Hynde, who was six years younger. Both girls had the double first name of Geller Brun or were officially recorded as "Brun, called Geller.” Probably, the parents were not married, although on the Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) file card of the father, the name of the mother was entered under the category of "wife.” The mother, Schura Brun, died in Hamburg on 16 Nov. 1938. According to the marriage certificate, Benjamin Goldberger was a "dealer,” i.e. a merchant, by occupation. The Jewish religious tax file card designates him as a ship’s cook. Indeed, he likely worked as a ship’s cook for the Hamburg-Süd shipping company for a while in the 1920s. Apparently, he sailed on the "SS Monte Olivia” that traveled to South America from Apr. 1925 onward.
The marriage produced five children: Deborah (in 1923), Abraham (in 1925), Esther Malie (in 1926), Marcus (in 1927), and the late arrival Isaak (in 1934). Family stories have it to this day that the oldest child entered this world in 1923 aboard a ship. The younger children were born in Hamburg. It is no longer possible to reconstruct how Benjamin Goldberger earned a living after starting the large family. The family probably lived in poverty. On the Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) file card, no tax payments are entered as of the late 1920s. It appears Kreine Goldberger worked as a tailor in Hamburg. The family lived in a two-bedroom apartment in the building of the Nanny Jonas Stiftung at Agathenstrasse 3. By 1938 at the latest, the couple probably made efforts to emigrate with their children. A "tax clearance certificate for emigrants” ("Unbedenklichkeitsbescheinigung für Auswanderer") dated 23 Dec. 1938 has been preserved. The destination indicated was the United States of America. In June 1939, the family prepared a list of moving goods, but the emigration of the family as a whole to the USA did not materialize. The children traveled to Britain on a "children transport” ("Kindertransport”) in early Aug. 1939. According to additional information by the surviving children, the entire family had lived in hiding in the apartment of two sisters in Altona since Christmas of 1938. The family was registered with the authorities, on the other hand, at Kielortallee 24 with Kaufmann. Mrs. Kaufmann was Kreine Goldberger’s sister. Benjamin and Kreine Goldberger fled illegally to Antwerp (Belgium) in Nov. 1939, that is, after the outbreak of war. They found accommodation there on Zurenborgstraat. The "Decree concerning police measures in certain areas of Belgium and northern France dated 12 Nov. 1940” meant the deportation of many Jews from Antwerp to the Province of Limburg on the border to the Netherlands. In the course of 1941, however, the Jews were permitted to return to Antwerp or certain areas in Brussels and environs. They were quartered only provisionally and in poor housing, without being allowed to leave their community. Benjamin and Kreine Goldberger found accommodation in Anderlecht at rue de Megissiers 4 on the second floor.
They did not survive. In the spring of 1944, they were interned in the "Caserne Dossin,” a military barracks, and from there transported to Auschwitz-Birkenau on 19 May 1944. There are no further traces.
Today the "Kazerne Dossin” is a museum and place of remembrance, for the building is connected inseparably to the Holocaust in Belgium. Between 1942 and 1944, it served the German occupying forces as a transit camp for Jews, Sinti, and Roma scheduled for deportation on trains to Auschwitz-Birkenau. For 25,484 Jews and 352 Sinti and Roma ["gypsies”], the journey to death began in the "Mechelen SS assembly camp.” This is precisely where the story of persecution of Jews, Sinti, and Roma in Belgium is told today.
Daughter Deborah returned to Germany after the war, probably only for a short time, remained unmarried, and died in Wales in 1999. Abraham became a soldier in a Polish brigade within the British Army before going to Palestine and fighting there in the 1948 War of Independence. In Israel, he became a lawyer, also working as a lecturer at universities in Australia and Scotland. He died in Scotland in 1974. Esther lived in Britain until her marriage and then emigrated to Australia, where she still lives at an advanced age. Marcus became a potter in Britain. He died in 2012, leaving behind nine children and numerous grandchildren. Isaak the youngest, found accommodation in a loving, non-Jewish British family. He became a lecturer in biology and lives in Scotland today. Kate Gibson is his daughter.
Kreine’s sister Hynde married the bread dealer Simche Strul Kaufmann, a native of Hungary, with whom she first lived at Rutschbahn 25 a, house no. 2, like her parents, and from the mid-1930s at Kielortallee 22 and 24. The couple had four children between 1933 and 1938. The entire family was deported to Lodz in Oct. 1941, including the father, Meschullom Geller, who was already an old man aged 74. He died there on 1 June 1942.
Probably Kreine Goldberger’s mother, Schura Brun, was a sister of the bookbinder Nachum Brun (born on 15 Jan. 1864 in Zalosce), who also lived in the Oppenheimer Stift on Kielortallee, dying in Oct. 1936. (In the records, "Brunn” also appears as a spelling.) Nachum and his first wife, Rahel Brun, née Brun, are buried in the Langenfeld Jewish Cemetery. In a second marriage, Nachum Brun was married to Riwka, née Goldberg. He had six children, born between 1891 and 1906. The oldest son, Israel, was a witness to the marriage when Benjamin and Kreine Goldberger got married. The Brun family was expelled to Zbaszyn in Oct. 1938. Their subsequent fate is not known.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Susanne Lohmeyer
Quellen: 1; StaH 332-5, 1053 + 382/1936; StaH 332-5, 1089 + 384/1938; StaH 351-11 AfW, 17897; StaH 314-15 OFP, FVg 5663; StaH 332-5, 8785 + 173/1922; mail von Laurence Schram, Kazerne dossin vzw, Mechelen v. 12.7.2013; Informationen der Enkelin Kate Gibson aus Neuseeland.
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