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Dr. Hugo Salinger
© Yad Vashem

Dr. Hugo Salinger * 1866

Bogenstraße 25 (Eimsbüttel, Eimsbüttel)

1942 Theresienstadt
ermordet am 8.8.1944

further stumbling stones in Bogenstraße 25:
Hermann Asser, Jettchen Asser, Ruth Meyer, Else Zimmack / Zimmak, Denny Zimmack / Zimmak

Dr. Hugo Salinger, born on 5 Apr. 1866 in Marienwerder, deported on 15 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, died there on 8 Aug. 1944
Regine Salinger, née Hirschberg, born on 3 Sept. 1875 in Marienwerder, deported on 15 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, deported further from there to Auschwitz on 15 May 1944

Dr. Hugo Salinger was born on 5 Apr. 1866 as the son of the merchant Carl Salinger and his wife Emma, née Lachmann, in Marienwerder (today Kwidzyn in Poland) in West Prussia. His wife Regine (born on 3 Sept. 1875) was also a native of Marienwerder. Her parents were Elias and Rosalia Hirschfeld, née Lachmann. Hugo and Regine Salinger were probably cousins. Their mothers had the same maiden name, as documented by a Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem. To be sure, in that documentation, the information regarding cousinage seems to refer to Regine’s parents, but that is likely a misleading correlation.

Since 1818, Marienwerder was a district town and capital of the administrative district by the same name that encompassed the entire southern part of West Prussia. When Hugo Salinger was born, the city had about 65,000 residents.

In Marienwerder, Hugo Salinger attended the Königliche Gymnasium, passing his high-school graduation exam (Reifeprüfung) there at Easter of 1885. His high-school diploma shows a grade of "sufficient” for each subject; thus, despite his subsequent career, he was not an outstanding student. He was excused from physical education, which may point to a weak physical constitution. The report card also indicates, "His conduct was good, his diligence regular and intense.”

When graduating, he wished to become a physician, though he changed his plans shortly afterward. During the 1885 summer semester, he registered for the faculty of law at the University of Berlin. At Easter of 1887, he left Berlin to continue his studies in Greifswald, returning to Berlin after one semester, however. As early as May 1888, he passed his first law exam at the Royal Court of Appeal (Königliches Kammergericht) in Berlin.

In July of that year, he began his legal traineeship in the Prussian civil service, and he was employed for training in Tiegenhof (today Nowy Dwor Gdanski in Poland), Danzig (Gdansk), Berlin, and Marienwerder. In Berlin, he completed the training period in a law firm, working for M. Kempner, lawyer and notary public, at Französische Strasse 9.

After Salinger had passed the major examination in law in 1892, he was appointed assistant judge (Assessor) in Marienwerder, working in this position as a stand-in judge in Konitz (Chojnice), Graudenz (Grudziadz), Elbing (Elblag), and Gollub (today part of Golub-Dobrzyn). In Danzig, he worked at the Regional Court (Landgericht) and the public prosecutor’s office. In Dec. 1895, he was awarded his doctorate in law at Greifswald University with a grade of cum laude. He dedicated his thesis on a topic from insurance law (Über den Umfang des der Hypothek und Grundschuld verhafteten Objekts nach preussischem Recht ["On the Extent of the Object Bound by Mortgage and Land Charge According to Prussian Law”]) to his bride. Since he had actually set his hopes on a university career, he continued his studies after his second state examination in law parallel to his work as an assistant judge, with a view to a subsequent career as a lecturer.

In 1909, he tried to qualify as a university lecturer in Breslau (today Wroclaw in Poland), though unsuccessfully. Possibly, his Jewish descent thwarted these plans. In the judicial service, he later became very involved in teaching legal trainees, writing a contribution to the Juristische Wochenschrift on this topic in 1908.

Regine and Hugo Salinger were married in July 1898, after Hugo had established himself professionally. In Apr. 1899, the only son, Hans Dietrich, was born in Konitz (today Chojnice in Poland).

In fact, in Konitz (West Prussia), Salinger became an associate judge at the Regional Court (Landrichter) in 1898, working there until 1906. This phase coincided with the most severe local anti-Semitic excesses in the German Kaiserreich. The backdrop was the alleged Konitz Ritual Murder, through which the small provincial town with a population of about 10,000, including nearly 500 Jews, achieved notoriety throughout the German Empire.

In Mar. 1900, the dismembered and bled corpse of the 18-year-old high school student Ernst Winter had been discovered. This prompted rumors about a ritual murder and outbreaks of anti-Semitic violence. The military had to intervene to protect the Jewish population. In Feb. 1901, even the Reichstag and the Prussian House of Representatives debated about the allegations of the Konitz ritual murder. The Jewish residents of Konitz found themselves under great psychological pressure. In all likelihood, the Salinger couple with their small child would not have remained unaffected either by the situation in the city. The social relationships between Jews and non-Jews were disturbed in a lasting way, and the Jewish families were caught in isolation, causing many Jews to leave the city in the ensuing period.

Hugo Salinger relocated as a Regional Court associate judge to the Prussian Regional Court (Landgericht) in Breslau (today Wroclaw) only in 1906, where he was promoted to Regional Court judge (Landgerichtsrat) in 1907 and to judge at the Higher Regional Court (Oberlandesgerichtsrat) in 1910. Breslau was a major city with a population of about 500,000. The proportion of Jews among the population was almost 4 percent. For the family, the Breslau years were the phase of life in which the son grew from a child to a young man. Hans-Dietrich obtained his high-school diploma (Abitur) at the Johannesgymnasium in 1917. This happened during World War I, and after graduating, he volunteered for the German Imperial Navy. Hugo Salinger was later decorated for his services at the home front. By decree of the Prussian State Government on 19 Dec. 1919, he was awarded the Merit Cross for War Aid (Verdienstkreuz für Kriegshilfe). The decoration had been established by Kaiser Wilhelm II on 5 Dec. 1916, to be awarded to any men and women who had particularly distinguished themselves in patriotic war aid service.

On 1 May 1919, that is, just after the end of the Kaiserreich, Hugo Salinger went to work at the Reich Court (Reichsgericht) in Leipzig; he and his wife left Breslau. Almost from the start until his retirement in 1931, he was employed in the Seventh Civil Division (VII. Zivilsenat). He was one of the first judges of the Jewish faith appointed Reich Court Judge (Reichsgerichtsrat). To be sure, there were a few judges of the Jewish faith in the Kaiserreich, who had themselves baptized Christians, but until early 1918, there was only one judge of the Jewish faith at the Reich Court. Although formally equal before the law since 1869, in practice Jews tended to be kept away from the state administration and judiciary – as were Catholics and Social Democrats. This changed to some extent only in the Weimar Republic. At the beginning of 1918, two Jewish Reich Court Judges were appointed to the Reich Court. Hugo Salinger was the first Jewish Reich Court Judge appointed in the Weimar Republic.

A personnel form dating from 1914 says about Hugo Salinger: "Despite his markedly Jewish outward appearance, Salinger is a pleasant personality who, just like his wife, has tact and good social manners.” Thus, his "Jewishness” was openly discussed in the reference. After his studies in political science, son Hans-Dietrich eventually made his career as an expert in shipping matters during the Weimar Republic. The title of his thesis was Staatswissenschaft und Seeschiffahrt ("Political Science and Maritime Shipping”). In 1933, he had good prospects of obtaining a post as an undersecretary in the Reich Economics Ministry, Department of Transport, a perspective that obviously vanished due to the political developments after 1933 with the occupational ban on Jews. At least because of his work-related contacts, the son managed to emigrate to the Netherlands in 1937 and gain a professional foothold there.

Politically, Hugo Salinger was national-conservative, and in terms of his appointment to judge and his political attitudes, the political new beginnings after 1918 – not to mention any democratic awakening – were not reflected at all. However, in the milieu of senior Prussian civil servants his political orientation was the rule and by no means the exception. Even at the end of the Weimar Republic, there was only one member of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) at the Reich Court. In June 1920, Hugo Salinger applied to the President of the Reich Court for leave to travel to Marienwerder, his hometown, in order to participate in the local referendum. According to the Treaty of Versailles, plebiscites were held in the West Prussian districts located east of the Vistula (Weichsel) River as well as in the southern part of East Prussia to establish the affiliation of these regions to Germany or to Poland. The request by Salinger, who as a German patriot surely deemed it important to vote, was approved. The ballot on 11 July 1920 resulted in a clear vote in favor of staying with Prussia. Consequently, the eastern part of the former Province of West Prussia was added to the Province of East Prussia as an administrative district, with Marienwerder as the district capital.

In 1921, Hugo Salinger became a founding member of the Association of German National Jews (Verband nationaldeutscher Juden – VnJ) in Leipzig. The members of this association, residing primarily in cities and often self-employed, opposed Zionists, Eastern European Jews, as well as the liberal establishment comprised of Jewish communities and associations. At the same time, the members considered themselves decidedly as Jewish Germans. Thus, the agenda was not achieving assimilation by giving up the Jewish faith and converting to Christianity. In a complete misjudgment of the new political circumstances, after the Nazi "seizure of power” in 1933, the Association of German National Jews strove to establish contact to leading Nazis. The association was already banned in Nov. 1935.

Hugo Salinger and his wife lived in Leipzig at Scharnhorststrasse 23 on the third floor, located in the southern part of the city, and therefore not far away from the Reich Court at Reichsgerichtsplatz 1 (today Simsonplatz 1). The house was a very grand apartment building and thus befitting the social status of a Reich Court judge. The same house also accommodated a non-Jewish colleague, Reichsgerichtsrat Otto Sayn. In contrast to many other structures in the neighborhood, the residential building made it through the Second World War intact.

The first wife of son Hans-Dietrich was Therese Auguste Anne Elisabeth Sayn, whom he had married on 1 May 1923. Perhaps she was a daughter of his father’s neighbor and colleague.

At the time, the age of retirement for civil servants and judges was 68. However, in June 1931, Hugo Salinger submitted an application to the Reich Minister of Justice for his retirement in accordance with Sec. 128 Par. 1 Sentence 2 of the German Judicature Act (Gerichtsverfassungsgesetz), a request that was approved. The relevant section reads, "Unfitness for service is not a prerequisite for eligibility for retirement pension if the member retiring from service has reached the age of 65.” That year, 1931, the Salingers already moved to Hamburg; for this relocation, Hugo Salinger had applied for days off in the second half of September at the very end of his work in Leipzig.

Since mid-Oct. 1931, the couple had rented an apartment in Hamburg at Isestrasse 119. In this six-and-a-half-room apartment on the raised ground floor, Hugo Salinger and his wife lived for more than ten years, until 24 Mar. 1942, when they were forced to move to the "Jews’ house” ("Judenhaus”) at Bogenstrasse 25. Perhaps they had rented short-term accommodation on Schlüterstrasse in 1931 in order to take their time looking for and furnishing an apartment, for this address is noted on the Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) file card of the German-Israelitic Community. By 1933 at the latest, the couple had a phone, with the name showing up in the official phone directory.

A third person, not Jewish, was registered with the authorities as residing in the spacious apartment on Isestrasse, a domestic help. At the time of the German national census of 1939, this person was Frida Kotze; from 1939 until Apr. 1942, the domestic servant was Alwine Jöhnck. She had moved from Kiel to Hamburg to stay with the Salingers, eventually moving in Apr. 1942 from Isestrasse to Schedestrasse, where she had maybe found a new position.

In 1939, the audit office of the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court (Hanseatisches Oberlandesgericht) wrote to the audit office with the Reich Court in Leipzig. Apparently, in Hamburg officials were surprised at the fact that a Jew could still be entitled to an undiminished pension by this time. However, the reply from Leipzig points out that "Sec. 9 of the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service [Gesetz zur Wiederherstellung des Berufsbeamtentums]” had "not given any cause to re-determine his pensionable period of service at the time. As for the rest, there are no stipulations known here according to which the fixing of pension benefits for Jewish civil servants retiring before 1933 would have to be modified.”

In Feb. 1940, a "security order” ("Sicherungsanordnung”) was imposed on Hugo Salinger. His statement of financial affairs showed close to 4,000 RM (reichsmark) in assets. After a few calculations, he indicated 740 RM as necessary monthly expenses. The foreign currency office reduced this sum to 550 RM. The expenses included 240 RM a month in rent and utilities as well as 100 RM for a domestic help. On 1 Apr. 1940, the allowance was increased to 650 RM, after Salinger had filed an application to this effect.

In the spring of 1939, Hans-Dietrich sent a sum in Dutch guilders from the Netherlands, aimed at redeeming and shipping to the Netherlands a gold ring featuring a rosette made up of seven cut diamonds. Prior to this, a jeweler by the name of Hintze had prepared an expert’s report, estimating the value of the ring at 70 RM. During the proceedings around this ring, the foreign currency office with the Chief Finance Administrator (Oberfinanzpräsident) sent a letter to Hugo Salinger, demanding a conversation regarding his emigration. Salinger responded to this in a handwritten letter dated 6 Apr. 1939, stating that the whole thing must be a mistake, as he did not intend to emigrate. When he wrote the letter, he had just recovered from a serious illness.

The address on the deportation list was the "Jews’ house” at Bogenstrasse 25. From there, the couple was deported to Theresienstadt on 15 July 1942. Dated 13 July 1942, a note exists from the audit office of the Hanseatic Higher Regional Court that states, "The wife of retired Reich Court Judge Dr. Hugo Israel Salinger informs us by phone that she and her husband would be evacuated to Theresienstadt in the Protectorate [of Bohemia and Moravia] on 14 July 1942 and that their entire assets had been confiscated; she asked how things would go with continued payment of the pension. I replied to her that we had to terminate payment since their assets had been confiscated.” For the same date, an "order to the pay office” ("Kassenanweisung”) is documented concerning the cessation of pension benefits, "Payment to the Reich Court Judge Dr. Hugo Israel Salinger is to be ceased as of 31 July 1942 ...”

Nearly one year after the deportation, in May 1943, part of the household effects were auctioned off. The gross auction proceeds amounted to 797 RM. After deduction of charges and insurance, 747.50 RM were deposited to the postal check account of the treasurer’s office with the Hamburg Chief Finance Administrator. The auctioned items included furniture, pictures, and books, as well as the bust of a child. Perhaps this bust had been a souvenir of their son, and they had the child’s head sculpted in a way not unusual among middle-class families at the time. The date of the auction had been published through an ad in the Hamburger Fremdenblatt.

The documents still available contain a series of details about the life of Hugo Salinger, who made his career as a jurist and held an important position as a Reich Court judge in the Weimar Republic. The situation is entirely different regarding his wife Regine. There are no traces of her, and her life remains in obscurity since it did not take place in public and personal sources are not existent or accessible. She was "the woman by his side” and shared the most important stations of his life with him, i.e., Breslau from 1906 until 1919, Leipzig from 1919 until 1931, and Hamburg from 1931 until 1942. Hugo and Regine Salinger probably knew each other from childhood, and they spent their lives together until the bitter end. Hugo Salinger died not very long after arriving in Theresienstadt, on the morning of 8 Aug. 1942, at the age of 76. The death notice indicates Building E I/Room 79 in Theresienstadt as the place of residence. Almost two years later, Regine was transported to the Auschwitz extermination camp on 15 May 1944. Therefore, she had to cope with life for a considerable period all by herself in Theresienstadt, under extremely difficult circumstances.

The time of Regine Salinger’s death is unknown. Son Hans-Dietrich, who had survived in exile, passed away in 1979. His estate is preserved at the Dutch National Archive in The Hague.

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

Stand: January 2019
© Susanne Lohmeyer

Quellen: 1, Nr. 16724; 2; 3; 4; 5; 7; 8; Hamburger Adressbuch; Leipziger Adressbuch; StaH 314-15 OFP R 1940/155; StaH 314-15 OFP, FVg 8791; StaH 214-1 Gerichtsvollzieherwesen 604; Amtliche Fernsprechbücher Hamburg; Dissertation Greifswald 1896; Bundesarchiv R 3002, PA 785 Bd. 1–8; Mitgliedskarte der Israelitischen Religionsgemeinde zu Leipzig 1935; Wählerliste Leipzig von 1924; Wählerliste Gemeindewahlen Leipzig 1932; Zugriff 29.6.2009; Adolf Lobe (Hg.), Fünfzig Jahre Reichsgericht, Berlin/Leipzig 1929, S. 383; Matthias Hambrock, Die Etablierung der Außenseiter. Der Verband nationaldeutscher Juden 1921–1935, Köln 2003; Bergemann, Hans/Ladwig-Winters, Simone, Jüdische Richter am Kammergericht nach 1933, hrsg. vom Kammergericht, 1. Aufl. Köln/Berlin/München 2004; Prof. Dr. Horst Göppinger, Juristen jüdischer Abstammung im "Dritten Reich", 2. Aufl., München 1990; Juden in Preußen, hrsg. Von Ernst Gottfried Lowenthal, 2. Aufl. Berlin 1982; Annemarie van Heerikhuizen: Haden, een vergeten pioneer (1899–1979), in: De Weerspannigheid van de Feiten, von W.H. Roobol und Menno Spiering, 2000; Helmut Walser Smith, Die Geschichte des Schlachters, Göttingen 2002; Thomas Henne, "Jüdische Juristen" am Reichsgericht und ihre Verbindungen zur Leipziger Juristenfakultät, 1870– 1945, in: Leipziger Beiträge zur jüdischen Geschichte u. Kultur, 4 (2006), S. 189–206; Thomas Henne, "Jüdische Richter" am Reichs-Oberhandelsgericht und am Reichsgericht bis 1933, in: Ephraim Carlebach Stif­tung/Sächsische Landeszentrale für politische Bildung (Hg.), Antisemitismus in Sachsen im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert, Dresden 2004, S. 142–155.
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