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Gerda Walter (née Borgolte) * 1912
Graskeller 2 (Hamburg-Mitte, Hamburg-Altstadt)
Ferdinand Neumann Borgolte, born on 4 May 1891 in Hamburg, deported on 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk
Irma Borgolte, née Vogel, born on 25 Mar. 1890 in Hamburg, deported on 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk
Friedrich Moritz Walter, born on 16 Feb. 1897 in Worms, deported on 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk
Gerda Walter, née Borgolte, born on 6 July 1916 in Hamburg, deported on 18 Nov. 1941 to Minsk
Petra Irma Walter, born on 7 Apr. 1938 in Hamburg, deported on 18 Nov. 1941 to Minsk
Graskeller 2 (Graskeller 16)
The Jewish couple Irma and Ferdinand Borgolte had been living at Graskeller 16 since 1933. Part of this street belonged to the historic downtown to the west and to Hamburg-Neustadt to the north. The street was named that way in about 1750 because the grass from the Elbe islands was unloaded at the stone canal stairs (Fleettreppe). The old row of houses next to Graskeller Bridge no longer exists.
Irma Vogel and Ferdinand Borgolte had married on 12 Mar. 1926 and spent the first years of their marriage at Rentzelstrasse 10. Irma had taken over the apartment on the third floor with her sisters after the parents’ deaths. Her mother Martha/Meta Vogel, née Bachrach (born on 20 Feb. 1858), had died on 21 May 1917. Her father, the antiques dealer Sally Peretz Vogel (born on 13 Mar. 1860) had passed away on 30 Sept. 1924.
Irma’s only brother John Herbert (born on 30 Nov. 1888) was apparently seriously injured as a soldier in the First World War. He died at the age of 26 on 4 June 1915 in a field hospital in Stryj (today Ukraine).
When Irma and her siblings were born, their parents still lived in Hamburg-Neustadt. Irma and her twin sister Erna were born on 25 Mar. 1890 at Kohlhöfen 16. Erna died at the age of eleven months on 19 Mar. 1891 in her parents’ home at "bei den Hütten” 51 (today Hütten).
In about 1905, the family moved to the Grindel quarter. Irma had started an apprenticeship as a tailor after finishing school, after which she trained as an office clerk and worked at various companies. On 6 July 1916, she had a daughter she called Gerda, who later received the last name of her stepfather, Borgolte.
Ferdinand Borgolte was born on 4 May 1891 in Peterstrasse 16. His parents Louis Carl Borgolte (born on 14 Mar. 1858) and Lewine, née Wolf (born on 2 Sept. 1866), had married in Hamburg on 24 Dec. 1890 and belonged to the Jewish religious denomination according to the registry office entry. Ferdinand was named after his paternal grandfather who died on 24 Aug. 1881. The grandparents Ferdinand Gustav Borgolte (born in 1840 in Pyrmont) and Caroline, née Wolf (born in 1842), had lived until 1880 at Grünersood 45, where they operated a trade "in articles of clothing, furnishings, and beds.” According to their marriage registration, the grandparents belonged to the Lutheran Church. The grandfather had passed away in Hamburg on 24 Aug. 1881, the grandmother, Caroline Borgolte, on 19 June 1907 in Auckland, New Zealand.
Ferdinand’s father, Louis Carl Borgolte, was a carpenter and since 1892 a "junk dealer” ("Trödler”) at Lindenstrasse 1e in the Eimsbüttel District, in the following year at Marthastrasse 14a, where the second son Leopold had been born on 4 Aug. 1893. Louis Carl Borgolte had died very early, at the age of 26 years on 9 Dec. 1894. Little Leopold had followed him on 10 Apr. 1895, only one year and eight months old.
Lewine Borgolte, Ferdinand’s mother, was born as the daughter of the Jewish couple Heimann Lion Wolf and Karoline, née Hess, from Carolinensiel in the Wittmund administrative district. Her father was a brush maker and later lived in Bremerhaven. After the death of her husband, Lewine Borgolte had entered into a second marriage with the Jewish butcher Emil Naphtali Philippsohn (born on 30 Aug. 1867 in Jever). This marriage produced the children Oscar (born on 31 July 1896), Carl (born on 19 Dec. 1898), and Alfred Joseph Philippsohn (born on 5 Aug. 1899). The Philippsohn couple had taken over a poultry shop at Wexstrasse 9 in 1903, which they operated until 1911. During the First World War, Ferdinand’s half-brothers Carl and Oscar were killed as soldiers. The youngest son, Alfred, had survived the wartime deployment and he became Ferdinand’s best man in 1926.
Ferdinand’s stepfather Emil Naphtali Philippsohn died of pneumonia on 14 Dec. 1914. Lewine Philippsohn, widowed for the second time at the age of 48, continued the "Mittagstisch”, a lunch restaurant that she had operated on the third floor of Wexstrasse 9 since 1912, on her own for several years. In 1920, she left Hamburg-Neustadt with her sons Ferdinand and Alfred and moved to Bornstrasse 8. Later, Lewine Philippsohn lived in the neighboring Louis-Levy-Stift, a residential home located at Bornstrasse 22.
We know nothing about Ferdinand Borgolte’s childhood and education. Subsequently, he worked for some time as an electrical engineer at the Vulkan shipyard, since 1930, his occupation was indicated as that of an office worker. In 1941, he was employed as a messenger at Schröder & Sudeck Assekuranz, an insurance company at Neue Gröningerstrasse 28, where he earned 24.75 RM (reichsmark) a week. Irma was also employed, in the very end as a domestic servant. Her daughter Gerda attended the Jewish girls’ school on Carolinenstrasse. Her performance in school was good and she wanted to become a dental technician. At the age of 16, on 26 Sept. 1932, Gerda had a son who was named Horst. Six years later, on 7 Apr. 1938, daughter Petra Irma was born. Gerda Borgolte then met Friedrich Moritz Walter, who was 19 years her senior. The couple married in the summer of 1939 and lived with Gerda’s parents at Graskeller 16.
The farmer Friedrich Walter was born on 16 Feb. 1897 in Worms/Rhine, where his parents Alfred Walter (born on 7 Sept. 1851 in Neustadt-Eberswalde) and Johanna, née Löb/Loeb (born on 6 Feb. 1855), had married on 19 Dec. 1882 in the birthplace of his mother. Grandfather Moses Walter was an "Israelite teacher” in Berlin. Alfred Walter had stayed in Worms after the marriage and became a respected merchant. He operated a "women’s ready-to-wear clothing shop” in his own house at Kämmererstrasse 42, in the "Warmbolder Hof.” At the time of his death on 4 June 1905, an obituary of the Association of Independent Merchants and Tradesmen in the Wormser Tageblatt read, "Since the Association was founded, he has been active as the first secretary, endowed with a sharp intellect, rich knowledge, and great experience, supporting and promoting our endeavors at all times with rare creative enthusiasm. We deeply deplore the loss of a highly esteemed colleague. His great interest in our cause, coupled with his extraordinary sense of duty, will always be exemplary for us.”
His widow Johanna died 15 years later, on 24 July 1920. Their graves are located in the Jewish Cemetery in Worms.
Their son Friedrich Walter had attended the Oberrealschule [a secondary school without Latin] according to his own information and emigrated to the USA with his older brother Georg David (born on 28 Sept. 1885) on 2 Dec. 1913. During the First World War, however, Friedrich Walter returned to Germany to volunteer. His brother stayed in the United States and started a family in 1915 (he died in New York in 1963). The oldest brother, Erich Jakob (born on 20 Feb. 1884), a theater conductor, did not survive his wartime deployment; the non-commissioned officer was killed near Slendkowice on 3 Dec. 1914, at the age of 30. His name is listed along with 18 others "killed in action” on the Jewish war memorial in Worms.
Friedrich Walter had been discharged from military service in 1918 with the "Honor Cross,” but he was no longer able to work as a farmer for health reasons. He entered a first marriage, in which twins were born, in the East Prussian town of Rössel in 1927 and converted to the Catholic faith. The marriage failed and was divorced in 1934.
The year before, Friedrich Walter had moved to Altona, perhaps because his sister Lilli Rosalie (born on 3 Jan. 1891) was already living in Hamburg at this time. Lilli Rosalie had married the authorized bank signatory Samuel Sally Blumenthal (born on 9 May 1886 in Bochum), called Hans, in Worms on 2 May 1912. The couple had initially lived in Hannover and Bremen, and since 1923 at Klosterallee 25 in Hamburg-Harvestehude. Samuel Blumenthal founded "S. Blumenthal & Co.,” a banking business located at Colonnaden 3. In 1927, he relocated his banking operation to Kaiser-Wilhelm-Strasse 28/31. The couple moved with their three children to Isestrasse 139, from where they emigrated successively in 1936 via Britain to Brazil.
Friedrich Walter was employed as a domestic servant by the Salomon couple at Loogestieg 19 when he was arrested there on 15 May 1936. He was accused of having stolen wine from his employers, which he was supposed to have drunk, among other things, with a friendly non-Jewish couple. On 10 July of the same year, he was sentenced to one year in prison for "repeated theft.” In a second trial on 1 Mar. 1937, under the additional "suspicion of racial defilement” ("Rassenschande”), the Hamburg Regional Court (Landgericht) sentenced him to two and a half years in a penitentiary overall, calculating his pretrial detention against the total sentence. Beyond this period, Friedrich Walter remained in "protective custody” ("Schutzhaft”) in the Fuhlsbüttel police prison until 5 May 1939. After his release, he lived at Rentzelstrasse 14 as a subtenant and shortly afterward married Gerda Borgolte.
By this time, Gerda had succeeded in getting her six-year-old son Horst to safety with a children transport (Kindertransport) to Britain in Dec. 1938. However, the married Walter couple were no longer able to realize their own emigration, noted on their Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) file card as "17 July 1939 Brazil.” Perhaps the beginning of the war prevented them from leaving the country.
On 25 Apr. 1940, at 8 o’clock in the evening, the "permanent state police service” ("staatspolizeilicher Dauerdienst”) took down the following report: "Graskeller 16 is home to the Borgolte Jews, specifically in the house opposite to my apartment. This Jewess called out aloud in her apartment that I was just hanging around the house and not going to war, and she said the same about my brother Hans S.” Between the S. family and the Borgolte couple there had already been several disputes. Irma’s daughter Gerda was also accused of calling her neighbors slackers and draft dodgers for whom the Jews had caught bullets during the First World War.
On 28 Aug. 1940, Irma Borgolte was sentenced to a fine of 50 RM for slander in a summary trial. Hans S. had demanded a prison sentence during the proceedings, because "money [is] not enough for Jews.”
By then, Gerda and Friedrich Walter resided as subtenants with Fränkel at Parkallee 12, when Friedrich, together with his parents-in-law Irma and Ferdinand Borgolte, received his deportation order for 8 Nov. 1941 to the Minsk Ghetto. Gerda and her three-year-old daughter Petra were put on the deportation list for the next transport to Minsk ten days later. Gerda had given birth to another daughter named Bela on 15 Apr. 1941. Bela was born with a cleft lip; she died only a few weeks after her birth on 31 May 1941 in the state-operated Norddeutsche Kieferklinik (former Israelite Hospital) at Eckernförderstrasse 4 (today Simon-von-Utrecht-Strasse) of a cardiac insufficiency and circulatory weakness.
Ferdinand Borgolte’s half-brother Alfred Philippsohn had married the non-Jewish woman Helene Meyer (born on 7 May 1903). The couple lived with their daughter Beate (born on 22 Feb. 1927) at Brunnenhofstrasse 16. On 23 June 1938, Alfred Philippsohn was arrested and taken to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. After his release, he fled to Shanghai without his family in Aug. 1939. His wife Helene filed for divorce to protect daughter Beate, who "had been raised in the Mosaic faith, from wearing the Jews’ star.” Helene Philippsohn (later, Helene Duggen) kept in contact with her mother-in-law Lewine Philippsohn until she received her deportation order. Later she briefly reported, "She [Lewine Philippsohn] had to leave everything in the apartment as it was, and she was committed to the retirement home. From there she was taken away on 15 June 1942 (correct: 15 July) at 8 o’clock in the morning on a truck in which benches had been placed. I never heard from her again. The day before, the Gestapo had taken away her money, about 1,100 reichsmark and all of her papers, including her pension certificate. Mrs. Philippsohn received a pension for her sons who died in the war of 1914–1918.”
Shortly before her deportation on 15 July 1942, Lewine Philippsohn had been transferred from her apartment at Bornstrasse 22 to the Jewish Retirement Home at Schäferkampsallee 29. She was deported on the first Hamburg transport to the ghetto in Theresienstadt. The same fate also befell other inhabitants of the house at Schäferkampsallee 29, as well as her widowed brother Levy (Luis) Lion Wolf (born on 27 Apr. 1871 in Wittmund) from Bornstrasse 22.
Levy Wolf was murdered in the Treblinka extermination camp on 21 Sept. 1942. He is commemorated by a Stolperstein at Schlüterstrasse 63.
Lewine Philippsohn died in Theresienstadt on 18 Oct. 1942, at the age of 76.
Her son Alfred Philippsohn did not return to Germany after the war; he passed away in New York on 12 Nov. 1960.
Irma Borgolte’s sisters Melitta Hirschfeld, née Vogel (born on 3 June 1891, died on 13 Oct. 1970), and Senta Schwanz, née Vogel (born on 20 Nov. 1898, died on 15 Jan. 1986), lived with their non-Jewish husbands in so-called "mixed marriages” ("Mischehen”), which initially protected them from being transported to the East. Together they survived their late deportation to Theresienstadt in Feb. 1945. The youngest sister, Margot Amilie Russow, née Vogel (born on 31 May 1900, died in 1992), was able to follow her husband Benno Russow (born on 21 Apr. 1906, died in 1976) to the USA with their son Heinz Erich (born in 1931) at the beginning of 1939.
Horst Borgolte survived in Britain and later changed his name to Brian Birch. He was only six years old when he left Germany and could not remember his sister Petra. It was only through an official working on his restitution case that he learned about her. His hope that she too had been taken to safety on one of the children transports was not fulfilled.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: April 2020
© Susanne Rosendahl
Quelle 1; 3; 4; 9; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 106 u 2418/1881; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 2183 u 5845/1888; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 2225 u 1413/1890; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 2763 u 1471/1890; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 2256 u 2029/1891; 332-5 Standesämter 9092 u 1865/1893; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 7890 u 1150/1894; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 13095 u 1759/1899; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 13404 u 1601/1900; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 8026 u 528/1915; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 8806 u 65/1926; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 1137 u 341/1941; StaH 351-11 AfW 41535 (Gerda, Walter); StaH 351-11 AfW 19732 (Walter, Friedrich); StaH 351-11 AfW 22006 (Philippsohn, Alfred); StaH 351-11 AfW 12952 (Hirschfeld, Melitta); StaH 351-11 AfW 21199 (Schwanz, Senta); StaH 351-11 AfW 24027 (Russow, Margot); StaH 351-11 AfW 27035 (Duggen, Helene); StaH 351-11 AfW 12904 (Blumenthal, Lilli); StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinde Nr. 992 e 2 Band 2; StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinde Nr. 992 e 2 Band 3; StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinde Nr. 992 e 2 Band 4; StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinde 628c; StaH 213-11 Landgericht Hamburg 2492/1937; StaH 213-11 Amtsgericht Hamburg 5298/41; StaH 361-2 II Abl. 01/07_333; Adressbücher der Stadt Worms, http://www.dilibri.de/rlb/periodical/pageview/1357261 (Zugriff 6.2.2016); Liste der vom Standesamt beurkundeten Kriegsgefallenen aus Worms 1914–1918 (mit Nachträgen bis ca. 1930), http://www.worms.de/de-wAssets/docs/kultur/stadtarchiv/Bestaende/5_7602.pdf (Zugriff 30.4.2016); Umfangreiche Informationen von Elizabeth Herrmann, E-Mail am 5.5.2016.
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