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Karin Horwitz * 1937

Hohenzollernring 89 (Altona, Ottensen)

JG. 1937

further stumbling stones in Hohenzollernring 89:
Lieselotte Horwitz, Rolf Horwitz, Siegfried Horwitz

Karin Horwitz, born 29 Nov. 1937, deported 6 Dec. 1941 to Riga-Jungfernhof, where she was killed
Lieselotte Horwitz, née Leser, born 24 Sept. 1914, deported 6 Dec. 1941 to Riga-Jungfernhof, where she was killed
Rolf Horwitz, born 17 Aug. 1928, deported 6 Dec. 1941 to Riga-Jungfernhof, where he was killed
Siegfried Horwitz, born 28 July 1894, deported 6 Dec. 1941 to Riga-Jungfernhof, sub-camp of Riga Ghetto, died

Hohenzollernring 89

Siegfried Horwitz was born on 28 July 1894 as the son of the textile merchant Moses Horwitz and his wife Caroline Sally, called Klärchen, née Levin, who came from Flensburg. The Jewish family lived in Altona at Großen Bergstraße 207. Siegfried grew up with three older sisters: Henny, born on 19 June 1883, Jeanette, born on 25 May 1886, and Bianca, born on 25 May 1888.

Siegfried Horwitz completed a commercial apprenticeship and found work as an office assistant and clerk. On 1 Apr. 1922 he married a sales woman of the same age, the Altona native Helene Henriette Karoline Dedmann, born on 22 Nov. 1894. She was not of Jewish heritage. In 1922 or 1923, their son Karl Wilhelm was born. The family lived from the mid 1920s in Altona-Bahrenfeld at Schützenstraße 54, on the second floor. The house was part of the "Schützenblock”, a residential complex belonging to the Altona Savings and Building Association in Bahrenfeld. Siegfried Horwitz was a member of the non-profit housing cooperative that, since its launch in 1892, was dedicated to creating affordable housing for "the little guy”, for working-class and lower middle-class families in Altona. In the meantime he had a position at the Altonaische Support Institute, the forerunner of the Altona Savings Bank.

On 17 Aug. 1928, their son Rolf was born in Altona; he was baptized in the Protestant faith. Roughly six weeks after his birth, his mother took her own life. Apparently she suffered from post-partum depression. Karl Wilhelm was six years old.

Seven months later on 16 Mar. 1929, Siegfried Horwitz married a second time, the seamstress Minna Johanna Frieda Geissler; she was not Jewish and came from Kiel. Evidently she accepted Rolf like her own son; Käthe Wegner said, according to family lore, she was always good to the boy. Siegfried Horwitz had been a member of the Jewish Community since 1920. He withdrew in Nov. 1930. The family moved into one of the comfortable and generously built apartments in the "Reichardtblock” at Reichardtstraße 7, belonging to the Altona Savings and Building Association.

In 1935 Siegfried Horwitz again joined the Jewish Community, perhaps because he now needed the Community’s support. For in 1936, according to the entry on his culture tax card, he was "destitute” after he lost his job with the Altonaische Support Institute. In 1936 the family moved into a simpler and smaller ground-floor apartment at Hohenzollernring 89 in the newly erected "Röhrigblock”, a housing complex of the Altona Savings and Building Association in Ottensen.

On 29 Sept. 1938, Siegfried Horwitz was forced to take on the additional Jewish name "Israel” and have the name change included in the notices at Altona’s Registry Office. The National Socialist authorities had begun identifying Jews and also forced them to carry an identity card with them.

To commemorate the Horwitz Family, the Altona Savings and Building Association assumed the sponsorship for Stumbling Stones outside the house at Hohenzollernring 89 in 2014, The Association had historical research carried out and, through an announcement in the association newsletter, sought cooperative members who still remembered the family.

Käthe Wegner, a relative of the Horwitz Family – her mother Elise Wegner, née Bartels, was a cousin of Helene Dedmann, Siegfried Horwitz’s first wife – reported family memories that Siegfried Horwitz had been a good father. "He was very musical, could play violin and zither. He brought his instruments along to family celebrations.” Since he was unable to find another job due to his Jewish background, he worked as a vendor. "I remember he sold odds and ends. He came over here with a carrying case, he sold Persil detergent, yarn, buttons. A neighbor bought a few things, she felt sorry for him.”

Käthe Wegner played with Rolf who was one year younger in the yard when he was visiting his "Oma Dedmann” on Löfflerstraße and she was visiting her "Oma Bartels” around the corner on Haubachstraße. She remembers that both of Siegfried Horwitz’s sons were intelligent boys, both got good grades.

Rolf Horwitz often visited his aunt Bianca Klock, née Horwitz, at the Steenkamp housing estate during the summer. She lived in a so-called mixed marriage with August Klock who was not Jewish. Gerd Schreiber, cooperative member of the Altona Savings and Building Association who as a child lived on the same street as the Klock Family, "Im Winkel” (today Rosenwinkel), frequently played with Rolf who was one year his senior. He remembers him as being smart, "very agile and witty”: "He was second to none.” August Klock, a Social Democrat by conviction, was harassed for his marriage to a Jewish woman, lost his job at the Altona Building Authority, and had to perform forced labor during the war as a "Jewish relation” clearing rubble. As his grandchildren Dieter and Peter Klock confirmed, it was out of the question for him to divorce his wife in spite of the pressure exerted by the Gestapo. Bianca Klock was a popular, open and determined woman who did not put up with any nonsense. Günter Klock, August and Bianca Klocks son who was born in 1919 and father of Dieter and Peter Klock, remained with his family even though his apprenticeship instructor, the owner of an electrical installation company, had offered him his car and advised him: "Beat it!” As a "half-breed of first degree” he was drafted into the military and deployed in France. However, due to his Jewish background, he was soon discharged and also called on to do forced labor.

After the National Socialists came into power, the Altona Savings and Building Association, which had been a cooperative run according to democratic principles, was "brought into line” (gleichgeschaltet). The Social Democrats on the executive board and supervisory board were replaced by National Socialists from the ranks of the cooperative’s members. The chairman of the executive board who had been in office since 1930, Hermann Jeddicke, remained in his position because he was able to persuade the National Socialists that he had been pressured into joining the Social Democratic Party.

From 1938, the cooperative excluded "non-Aryans” from joining and forbade them the use of cooperative apartments. In a newsletter, the Altona Savings and Building Association called on Jewish members to come forward. Moreover, all apartment holders were called upon to report Jewish neighbors; they were called upon to denounce Jews. The minutes of the joint sessions with the executive board and supervisory board document the event. One entry on 14 Oct. 1938 stated: "The letter regarding non-Aryans has been mailed to all apartment holders. Until now, two cases have been reported. The self-reporting non-Aryan members are to be granted a 3 to, at most, 6 month notice period.”

At the end of 1938, three Jewish cooperative members and their families were given notice to clear their apartments. The meeting minutes recorded the decision taken on 11 Nov. 1938 to give notice: "Three Jewish apartment holders have been identified: Horwitz, Berta Winterhoff, Anton Schnur. Clearance deadline by 1 June 1939 at the latest.” It was noted on 9 Dec. 1938 under the agenda item "Jews in the cooperative”: "Schnur was called upon to vacate his apartment on 1 Apr. 1939. Winterhoff will move out on 1 Jan. 1939, as will Horwitz.”

In Feb. 1939, Minna Horwitz divorced her husband and again assumed her maiden name Geissler. Two months later, Siegfried Horwitz married a third time; his wedding to Lieselotte Leser took place on 14 Apr. 1939. The Jewish native of Altona, born on 24 Sept. 1914, was twenty years younger than her husband. Her parents were Emil Leser and his wife Jenny, née Liebenthal. Lieselotte Leser had given birth to an illegitimate daughter, Karin Leser, at the Israelite Hospital on 29 Nov. 1937 at the age of 23. Siegfried Horwitz was the biological father and accepted her as his daughter; she then was given the name Karin Horwitz.

His son Karl Wilhelm died in 1938/1939 at the age of 16 or 17 from diphtheria.

Evidently the Horwitz Family remained in their apartment until they were evicted. Ingrid Bienzeisler, born in 1935, lived as a child with her family in the neighboring house at Hohenzollernring 91, and she remembered everyone in her house was deeply distressed when a neighbor told them the Horwitz Family had been "removed from the house and picked up by the Nazis”. The clearly well-liked family was possibly not driven out of the apartment until June 1939, at the end of the set notice period, aided by the police or Gestapo officials.

According to the culture tax card of the Jewish Community, the Horwitz Family then lived for a short time at Reichenstraße 7 before they were housed in Altona’s "Jewish house” at Große Bergstraße 110a in 1940. The National Socialists resettled the Jewish population in houses belonging to the Jewish Religious Association which the Gestapo kept a watch on. Käthe Wegner knew from her relatives’ reports that the Horwitz Family had to live there "jammed together”.

In that and the following year, Siegfried Horwitz was no longer called upon by the Jewish Community to pay taxes. From Jan. 1941 he was forced to apply for welfare support. Käthe Wegner’s grandmother Henriette Bartels tried to help the needy people. "Grandmother Bartels regularly went over there and brought them food. That was forbidden, that was dangerous. But she said: ‘I am an old woman. What are they going to do to me?’ She carried a basket with a blanket over it. She always looked around to see if police were in sight.”

Käthe Wegner happened to see Siegfried Horwitz for the last time in Grindelviertel. "My sister and I ran into him with his wife and their little child in the carriage. We wanted to greet him, but he just said quietly: ‘Keep going, children, keep going, say hello to your mother and father’.”

In Oct. 1941, large-scale deportations began to take Hamburg’s Jews to the camps and ghettos in the east. "One day my grandma went to them with her basket of food, came back and said, they’re no longer there. She couldn’t ask anyone either.”

Siegfried and Lieselotte Horwitz were deported with their four-year-old daughter Karin and their thirteen-year-old son Rolf on 6 Dec. 1941 to the ghetto in Riga, the capital of German-occupied Latvia. Rolf’s name was on the deportation list even though he was the product of Siegfried Horwitz’s first marriage to an "Aryan” wife and hence was a "half Jew”, as noted on his father’s culture tax card. His "Aryan” relatives or representatives of the Jewish Community probably could have pulled him off the transport. Käthe Wegner reported that Siegfried Horwitz was very attached to Rolf and always said: "Wherever I go, the boy will go too.” Rolf’s aunt Bianca Klock, whose son was also regarded a "half Jew”, supposedly had offered to take Rolf in. Yet apparently Siegfried Horwitz did not want to leave his son behind since he had already lost his biological mother and his brother and had to separate from his stepmother after his father’s divorce. He likely hoped that they would all survive.

The transport of altogether 753 people was diverted to a sub-camp of the Riga Ghetto, the estate Jungfernhof located several kilometers away. Nearly 4,000 people were housed there crammed into the dilapidated property, some of them in unheated barns and stalls. Many of them were shot dead in a nearby forest in Mar. 1942. The others were later transported to the Riga Ghetto. Siegfried, Lieselotte, Rolf and Karin Horwitz perished.

Jeanette Horwitz, Siegfried Horwitz’s sister, deported with her nearly 85-year-old mother Klärchen Horwitz on 19 July 1942 from the "Jewish house” at Sonninstraße 14 to the Theresienstadt Ghetto in German-occupied Czechoslovakia, where Klärchen Horwitz perished on 15 Apr. 1944. Jeanette Horwitz was deported on to Auschwitz on 1 Feb. 1943 and killed.

Siegfried’s sister Henny Hampe, née Horwitz, was sent to the Theresienstadt Ghetto on 14 Feb. 1945 on a transport disguised as "work deployment”. She survived the three months until liberation. Their sister Bianca Klock survived the war under the protection of her "mixed marriage”, however the years of persecution left her with severe stomach problems.

The retiree Anton Schnur, a former train conductor who had to moved out of his cooperative apartment at Gerichtstraße 48 because of his Jewish background, was a native Viennese Jew, born on 22 Aug. 1863. From 1939, he lived with his wife Margarete Schnur, née Berganski, born in 1882, who was not Jewish and their son Hans Schnur, born in 1919, at Unzerstraße 1. Evidently he was spared from deportation by his "mixed marriage” to an "Aryan”.

Theodor Winterhoff, a track switch cleaner employed at the time by the German National Rail, and his wife Bertha also had a "mixed marriage”. They had to clear their cooperative apartment in Bahrenfeld at Kirchenweg 8 at the end of 1938. Bertha Winterhoff was of Jewish extraction and remained exempt from deportation as the wife of an "Aryan”. Following an interim stay at Rolandstraße 22, the Winterhoffs moved to Lübeck in 1943 where they survived the war. After the end of the war, their cooperative apartment was returned to them by the Altona Savings and Building Association.

Translator: Suzanne von Engelhardt
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: April 2018
© Birgit Gewehr

Quellen: 1; 4; 5; 7; 8; AB Altona und Hamburg; StaH 332-5 Standesämter, 6286 (Eintrag Nr. 2270); StaH 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung, 16867 (Erbengemeinschaft Horwitz, Siegfried) und 7833 (Winterhof, Bertha); StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden, 992 e 1 Band 4 (Deportationsliste Riga, 6.12.1941) und 2 Band 1 (Deportationsliste Litzmannstadt, 25. Oktober 1941); StaH 424-111 Amtsgericht Hamburg, 5888 (Aufgebot zur Todeserklärung Siegfried Horwitz); StaH 332-5 Standesämter, 13016 (Eintrag Nr. 72, Heirat Siegfried Horwitz); StaH 332-5 Standesämter, 6065 (Eintrag Nr. 320, Heirat Siegfried Horwitz); StaH 213-11 Staatsanwaltschaft Landgericht – Strafsachen, 1436/41 (Winterhoff, Bertha); StaH A200/009 (Weitere Ergebnisse der Volks-, Berufs- und Betriebszählung vom 17. Mai 1939 in der Hansestadt Hamburg, hrsg. v. Statistischen Landesamt der Hansestadt Hamburg); Auskunft Standesamt Hamburg-Mitte, Geburteneintrag Karin Leser, 17.4.2014; Stahnke, Eine Genossenschaft, s.90f.; Gespräch mit Dieter und Peter Klock, Großneffen von Siegfried Horwitz, 26.6.2014; Gespräch mit Gerd Schreiber, 12.6.2014; Gespräch mit Käthe Wegner, Verwandte der Familie Horwitz, 19.6.2014; Gespräch mit Ingrid Bienzeisler, 23.6.2014.
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