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Selma Cain * 1884

Lüneburger Straße 48 (Harburg, Harburg)

JG. 1884
ERMORDET 30.11.1941

Selma Cain, born on 8 Oct. 1884 in Harburg, deported on 18 Oct. 1941 from Berlin to Lodz, murdered on 30 Nov. 1941

Lüneburger Strasse 48 (formerly Lüneburger Strasse 18)

Selma Cain was born as the daughter of the Jewish merchant Max Cain and his wife Rosalie, née Hütgen, shortly before the election of Julius Ludowieg to mayor of Harburg. Her father operated a store selling "finery goods” ("Putzwaren”) and linens on Lüneburger Strasse, the well-known Harburg shopping mile.

Hardly anything is known about Selma Cain’s subsequent life. Later, she lived in Berlin. Whether she moved there before or after 1933 remains open for the time being. Nor do we know just how seriously she suffered because of the Nazi persecution of the Jews during the first years after Adolf Hitler’s appointment to Reich Chancellor or whether she tried to leave Germany sooner or later in the face of the mounting threat. At any rate, the imposition of the definitive ban on emigration for German Jews in Oct. 1941 put an abrupt end to all such plans, should they have existed in the first place.

Selma Cain was among the 1,082 Berlin Jews deported on the first transport from the Reich capital to Lodz on 18 Oct. 1941. A contemporary witness, then employed by the Jewish Community in Berlin, later recalled the departure of the persons affected from Grunewald train station: "The SS had ordered their open trucks to drive up, […] however, only the frail and the children were allowed to use them; all of the others had to walk in a long procession through the city. It was pouring […] rain; the loading in old but tidy and clean private cars according to a system worked out by the Community took place without any jostling and injustices. When all of them had taken their places, warm meals and drinks were distributed; the prepared parcels with provisions were handed to every person present there as well.”

When Selma Cain arrived in the Lodz Ghetto one day later, she too – like many other "western Jews” (Westjuden) – probably experienced a great shock. Even at this early stage, the ghetto was hopelessly overcrowded. All of the new arrivals were quartered in provisional collective accommodations at first. Even worse was the hunger that soon set in and deprived the older people in particular of their remaining strength.
More than one quarter of the Berlin Jews was no longer alive after six months following their arrival in the Lodz Ghetto ("Getto Litzmannstadt"). Their number also included Selma Cain, who closed her eyes forever on 30 Nov. 1941 – at the age of 57.

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

Stand: April 2018
© Klaus Möller

Quellen: Hamburger jüdische Opfer des Nationalsozialismus. Gedenkbuch, Jürgen Sielemann, Paul Flamme (Hrsg.), Hamburg 1995; Gedenkbuch. Opfer der Verfolgung der Juden unter der nationalsozialistischen Gewaltherrschaft in Deutschland 1933 – 1945, Bundesarchiv (Hrsg.), Koblenz 2006; Yad Vashem. The Central Database of Shoa Victims´ Names:; Freie und Hansestadt Hamburg Staatsarchiv, 332-5. Standesämter; Harburger Opfer des Nationalsozialismus, Bezirksamt Harburg (Hrsg.), Hamburg-Harburg 2002; Alfred Gottwald, Diana Schulle, Die `Judendeportationen´ aus dem Deutschen Reich 1941 - 1945, Wiesbaden 2005; Andrea Löw, Juden im Getto Litzmannstadt, Göttingen 2006.

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