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Chaim David Kellmann * 1895
Grindelallee 81 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)
BENTSCHEN / ZBASZYN
Chaim David Kellmann, born on 10 Sept. 1895 in Neu Sandez (today Nowy Sacz in Poland), Galicia, expelled on 28 Oct. 1938 to Zbaszyn (Bentschen), declared dead at the end of 1945
Rosa Emma Kellmann, née Hoffmann, born on 3 Sept. 1914 in Hamburg, expelled on 28 Oct. 1938 to Zbaszyn (Bentschen), declared dead as of late 1945
Evi Kellmann, born on 24 Aug. 1937 in Hamburg, expelled on 28 Oct. 1938 to Zbaszyn (Bentschen), declared dead as of late 1945
David Kellmann’s birthplace Neu Sandez was in Galicia, which belonged to the Habsburg Monarchy until the end of the First World War in 1918 and then to the newly founded Republic of Poland as Nowy Sacz. We do not know anything about David’s school and training years or about the beginnings of his professional life. In Sept. 1936, he moved from Stuttgart to Hamburg and immediately joined the Jewish Community there. He worked as a traveling salesman (representative) in the German Reich and in Poland.
Rosa Emma Hoffmann was the second child of the Jewish couple Aron Zwi Hoffmann, born on 17 June 1884 in Aurich, East Friesland, and Henriette, née Cohen, born on 4 Oct. 1893 in Hamburg. Aron worked as a clothing salesman. Henriette had left the Israelite girls’ school at the age of 15 after obtaining the intermediate high school certificate following completion of the Selekta (senior class). She then completed an apprenticeship in Berlin-Charlottenburg as a sales clerk specializing in butchery, poultry, and delicatessen at the Martha Jacob Company, located at Kantstrasse 138. Back in Hamburg, she worked in the butcher’s shop operated by her father.
On 21 Nov. 1912, Henriette and Aron married in Hamburg. Their first child, son Hermann, was born on 5 May 1913 in Hamburg.
During the First World War Aron Hoffmann served as a musketeer in the 12th Company of the Royal Prussian Infantry Regiment Nr. 150. On 3 Aug. 1915, at the age of 31, he died from a rifle shot in the back. Henriette became a widow at the age of 22 and had to raise two-year-old Hermann and eleven-month-old Rosa on her own.
From 1916 to 1919, she worked at the Hermann Tietz department store on Jungfernstieg (today Alsterhaus) as a buyer and seller in the meat department. She earned 240 RM (reichsmark) net per month. Together with her children, she lived on Bartelsstrasse in the Schanzenviertel quarter. She remarried on 29 Mar. 1919. Her second husband was the non-Jewish butcher Wilhelm Völker, born on 18 Jan. 1893 in Arnstadt/Thuringia. Hermann and Rosa’s half brother Karl Heinz Völker was born on 29 Oct. 1920.
Rosa Hoffmann attended the Israelite Girls’ School on Karolinenstrasse from Apr. 1921 to 1929. She then began a commercial apprenticeship at the Gebr. Robinson (Robinsohn Bros.) fashion store on Neuer Wall, which she completed in 1931. Due to the prevailing economic crisis, the company was not able to take her on in a full-time permanent position, instead offering her a job on a per-month basis. In 1934, Rosa joined the Jewish Community. In 1935, sales of the Robinson Company, whose owners were Jewish, collapsed due to boycott measures. The company had to dismiss employees, including Rosa, who now received unemployment benefits. In 1937, she found a new job at the Walter Messmer tea and coffee trading company, but her monthly salary of 50 RM was below the subsistence level. At the beginning of 1936, she had already moved in as a subtenant with Abe to Grindelallee 81. One year later, she relocated to Heimhuderstrasse 3e. David Kellmann had already been living there for some time. In Apr. 1937, both moved together into Rosa’s previous accommodation with the Abe family on Grindelallee. On 22 Sept. of the same year, they married, shortly after the birth of daughter Evi (whose date of birth is falsely stated in some documents as 29 Sept. 1937).
Through her marriage to David Kellmann, who was a Polish citizen, Rosa obtained Polish citizenship, and Evi was considered a Polish citizen as well. That was to cost the family their lives. After the Polish government had announced in Mar. 1938 that it would not renew the passports of Poles living abroad, the Nazi government feared that thousands of "East European Jews” ("Ostjuden”), by then stateless, would remain on German territory. In order to prevent this, the German authorities had about 17,000 Poles arrested the night of 28 to 29 Oct. 1938 without any prior notice and deported by rail and truck to the border town of Bentschen/Zbaszyn. Their number included Rosa, David, and Evi Kellmann. For Rosa Kellmann, the files indicate the following: "By order of the Hamburg Chief of Police dated 28 Oct. 1938, Mrs. Kellmann, née Hoffmann, has been banned from staying on Reich territory based on Sec. 5 of the VO [ordinance] dated 22 Aug. 1938.”
According to Rosa’s half-brother Karl Heinz and her mother Henriette, the family lived in Bentschen for only a short time. From there, they were sent to Warsaw. In letters to Karl Heinz, Rosa described, among other things, how she witnessed the bombing of Warsaw in Sept. 1939. From Warsaw, the Kellmann family was first taken to Zamosz and then to Piaski near Lublin, where Rosa worked as a Jewish forced laborer in the laundry of a German military hospital. Until 1942, her half-brother and her mother were in correspondence with her. They sent clothes for her and Evi as well as food that Karl Heinz procured. He was employed as an assistant paymaster at the Hamburg-Süd shipping company in Gotenhafen (Gdynia). The last package to Rosa was returned to Karl Heinz in the spring of 1942 with a note indicating "opened in the interest of the Wehrmacht;” letters and cards also returned bore the stamp of "Der höhere SS Polizeiführer im Wehrkreis Lublin” ("The higher SS Police Chief in the Lublin military district”). Thus, the direct connection was severed.
Karl Heinz later heard that Lublin was "dissolved” at that time. From survivors who knew his half-sister and her family, he learned that Rosa had been separated from her husband and taken with Evi to the Treblinka extermination camp. Neither of them returned from there. What had happened to her husband David Kellmann could not be clarified. In 1951, the Hamburg District Court (Amtsgericht) declared Rosa, Evi and David Kellmann dead as of late 1945.
Rosa’s brother Hermann Hoffmann and his wife Lydia, née Boetzel, born on 12 Oct. 1912 in Hohensalza (today Inowroclaw in Poland), were deported to Minsk on 8 Nov. 1941. Lydia was in the late stages of pregnancy at the time. Her son was born in the Minsk Ghetto. None of them returned.
Rosa’s half-brother Karl Heinz Völker survived, and he belonged to the Jewish Community of Hamburg until his death in 1998. His father Wilhelm, non-Jewish, died in Geesthacht on 25 August 1940 after a protracted and serious illness.
Rosa’s mother Henriette was deported to the Theresienstadt Ghetto in 1942. She survived and returned to Hamburg in June 1945. In 1950, she remarried and her husband’s name was Sigmund Roth. Henriette Roth died on 9 June 1967. Rosa’s letters to Henriette had been confiscated and lost in Theresienstadt.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Hermann Völker/Peter Steckhan
Quellen: 1; 5; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 727 u. 1112/1967; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 3200 u. 778/1912; StaH 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung 15119; Sammlung Völker, Geburtsurkunde Evi Kellmann; Heiratsurkunde Wilhelm Voelker; Völker: Familie; Meyer: "Das Schicksalsjahr 1938", in: Meyer (Hrsg): Verfolgung und Ermordung, S. 25.
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