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Oswald Pander
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Oswald Pander * 1881

Brahmsallee 6 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)

JG. 1881
ERMORDET 19.8.1943

further stumbling stones in Brahmsallee 6:
Julius Behrend, Minka Behrend, Bertha Gansel, Martha Hess, Siegfried Hess, Henny Hoffmann, Max Hoffmann, James Hermann Schwabe

Oswald Pander, born on 12.5.1881 in Berlin, deported on 16.7.1942 to Theresienstadt, died there on 19.8.1943

Brahmsallee 6

Oswald Pander was a theater critic and writer. His interest in the performing arts was in his cradle, for his father Kaskel (Carl) Pander, born in 1844, was an actor and director in Berlin as a member of the Residenztheater, and his mother, Albertine Friederike, née Philipp, performed as a singer. The couple did not feel religiously bound, so it meant no more than a formality that Kaskel Pander appeared as "Mosaic," his wife as "Lutheran" on the marriage certificate. The first son, Oswald Hermann, was born in Berlin in 1881, his brother Hans in Bremen in 1883; according to the entry, both were raised "Lutheran."

We know nothing about Oswald Pander's childhood and youth. The upbringing and education of the two sons were determined by the unsteady life of their parents, whose foreign engagements involved a frequent change of location. The parents separated in 1895, when Oswald was 14 years old. His father Carl Pander made guest appearances in Bremen and Hamburg, where he worked at the Thalia Theater from 1883 to 1897. After a long illness, he died, publicly mourned, in 1905 in Bergedorf, where he had retired.

In the same year, on October 22, 1905, his son Oswald Pander married Helene Elisabeth Katharina Wihe, a native of Bergedorf and eight years his senior, daughter of the merchant Ludwig Heinrich Daniel Wihe and Maria Sophia, née Spät. On the marriage certificate both religions are indicated as "Lutheran", Oswald Pander appears here as "police clerk". After completing a police training course, he was accepted into the civil service and rose through the middle ranks to become a senior secretary in the insurance department. It can be assumed that the example of his parents prompted him to avoid the uncertain existence of an artist's life and to seek a secure foundation for starting a family.

Nevertheless, he began part-time journalistic work as early as 1904. The couple's only son, named Karl Pander after his grandfather, was born in Hamburg-Lohbrügge on September 21, 1907. When he was 13 years old, his parents' marriage was divorced on December 9, 1920, before the Civil Chamber of the Hamburg Regional Court.

We do not know how Oswald Pander experienced the First World War. His written testimonies indicate that he was looking for an intellectual and cultural path into the "new era" and that his orientation was less party-political than socially critical. In 1918, an essay of his entitled "Revolution der Sprache" (Revolution of Language) appeared in the magazine "Das junge Deutschland" (The Young Germany), which was widely acclaimed. He sketched an expressionist vision of the "new man" who would take possession of the world "by willing, looking, forming." It was about the unleashing of language from the constraints of grammar. Following in the footsteps of Johann Gottfried Herder, Pander interpreted evolution as an increasing loss of originality and immediacy. Expressionism, on the other hand, wanted to "give new birth out of experience to the language that had died to experience. Pander dedicated many of his later essays to Expressionism as a "moving art of expression.

In 1924, Oswald Pander freely decided to resign from his permanent position in the civil service in order to devote himself entirely to writing. His new life plan was partly determined by his second marriage. On July 5, 1922, he married Sara Susanne Goldschmidt, a Jewish woman born on October 29, 1892. Susanne Pander was qualified to teach at secondary schools by her final examinations in 1912 and 1913 at the Klosterschule St. Johannis. She also passed the exam for gymnastics and dance with Rudolf von Laban and the exam for remedial gymnastics at the Swedish Institute of H. Petersen in Hamburg. She taught at the Hamburg Volksschule from 1913-1914, and at the Jewish Girl’s School (Israelitische Töchterschule), Carolinenstraße from 1914-1920; from 1929 to 1933 she worked at the school for the blind and visually impaired in the Hamburg school service.

Her parents, the teacher Jonas Goldschmidt and Jenny, née Mendel, lived in Harvestehude in an eight-room apartment on the 3rd floor of Brahmsallee 6 with their daughters Frida and Susanne. At the time of his daughter Susanne's wedding, her father was no longer alive; since 1921, the widow Jenny Goldschmidt had been the sole tenant in Brahmsallee, and since 1925, Oswald Pander was listed in the address book under Brahmsallee 6. On October 24, 1924, Miriam Renate, the only daughter of Susanne and Oswald Pander, was born. The photos that daughter Miriam, now 92 years old, showed us convey a family happiness lived in artistic freedom, undisturbed by economic worries, by the misery of German politics, and not even by growing anti-Semitism.

Oswald Pander published numerous articles in various magazines of the culturally turbulent 1920s, in the "Freihafen", in the sheets of the Deutsches Schauspielhaus "Die Rampe", in the "Theater Rundschau", in the "Monatszeitschrift für Literatur und Theater", in the Munich magazine for "Bücher, Kunst und Lebensstil", the " Zwiebelfisch" and many others the monthly magazine "Der Querschnitt", which leaned towards literary expressionism, he delivered "Hamburgensien" in September 1931.

With a light but accurately drawn pen, he sketched some of Hamburg's characteristics: the "foreland" of Lake Alster, firmly in the hands of prominent residents; the Eppendorf Moor, which was threatened with disappearance by development; the various types of Senate receptions; and the new establishment of the Artists' Clubhouse on Neue Rabenstraße, whose patron Ivo Hauptmann, the poet's son, was a friend of Pander. The criticism contained in the text is neither aggressive nor mocking.
Pander also reviewed newly published novels and dramas, such as "Der arme Vetter" (The Poor Cousin) by Barlach, "Perrudja" by Hans Henny Jahnn, and the best-selling works of the author Leonore Niessen-Deiters. He attested to her that she was "probably the only one among all living writers who has real humor, a humor that does not overlook the hardships and chasms of life."

Oswald Pander was a member of the Schutzverband deutscher Schriftsteller. His theater reviews attracted interest beyond Hamburg. As a permanent editor of the "Hamburger 8 Uhr Abendblatt," he praised his wife's art in the article "Tanzprobe" on June 17, 1924.

In 1933 he was banned from writing. From then on, texts by him can only be found in Jewish papers. Accordingly, the income dried up almost completely. In order to publish, he would have had to be a member of the Reichsschrifttumskammer (Reich chamber of writing), which did not accept Jews or persons of Jewish descent. Nevertheless, in his plight, Pander sent a request for admission, perhaps hoping for an exemption. On March 9, 1935, he received the following notice:

"Only those who, out of the racial community, feel connected and committed to their people may undertake to exert an influence on the inner life of the nation by means of such profound and momentous work as that represented by intellectual and cultural creation. By being non-Aryans, you are unable to feel and recognize such an obligation. I must therefore deny you the reliability and suitability which give the prerequisite for membership in the Reichsschrifttumskammer."

Susanne Pander was also affected by the National Socialist laws. In 1933, as a result of the "Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service," she had to leave the teaching profession as a Jew. Like the well-known dancer Erika Milee, who was also Jewish, she had been a student of the dance theorist Rudolf von Laban, who had founded the "Tanzbühne" in Hamburg in 1922 and the first Laban School the next year. Turning away from classical ballet, he developed dance out of individual improvisation as an expression of spiritual experience. In this spirit, Susanne Pander founded a "school for gymnastics and dance, acrobatics, pantomime and step" in her apartment at Brahmsallee 6 in 1933, in which she largely followed Laban's method.

The extent to which her conception of body work and the art of movement harmonized with her husband's expressionist theories is shown by various texts by him, especially his essay "Stage and Movement" in the monthly news of the Jewish Cultural Association ("Monatsblättern des Jüdischen Kulturbundes") in 1936.

Susanne Pander performed publicly with her students as part of the "Jüdischer Kulturbund," for the first time on November 6 and 8, 1937, in the Gabriel Riesser Hall of the Temple in Oberstraße. To the piano playing of Senta Lissauer, the group of young dancers offered a cross-section of their school program. Susanne Pander performed her second choreography, "Biblical Figures in Dance," on April 10 and May 8, 1938, on the stage of the Jewish Community House (Jüdisches Gemeinschaftshaus) on Hartung Street, also with piano accompaniment by Senta Lissauer.

The story of the Persian king Ahasver and his Jewish wife Esther, who saved her people from annihilation through clever cunning, was told in dance. She explained the dance interpretation of the biblical story in the program booklet: "We dance these figures - not in the overwhelming grandeur of their historical significance, nor in the playful diminishment of a pantomimic imitation. Just as many of these biblical figures have become enduring models for us - symbols of timeless life, so we want to take them up in dance." The ethical content of this dance pedagogy consisted in the strengthening of body and spirit and of resilience against the increasingly threatening hardships of life.

Oswald and Susanne Pander found an intellectual home in the Jewish Cultural Association, Susanne also as a contributor to the "Jewish Artists' Group". Both lived entirely in art and for art. This was associated with high ethical standards. They regarded theater as a moving art form, created by actors with versatile training. Oswald Pander saw the ideal in the "unleashed theater" of the Russian director Alexander Jawkolewitsch Tairow (1885-1950). Jewish artists combined "sensual imagination with sharp logic" and were therefore particularly suitable for the "moving theater". For the Pander couple, the theater meant a place of worship. As free spirits, they did not want to bind themselves denominationally. Oswald did not officially change his religious affiliation. Even though he considered himself a Jew, he was not required to pay the tax for the Jewish community. Only his wife was a member of the Jewish community with her own cult tax card.

How did the Pander family experience the humiliating restrictions and the "fateful year" 1938? In any case, they could not close their eyes to reality. They managed to send 14-year-old Miriam with them on a Kindertransport to Liverpool/England on January 12, 1939. Susanne had Miriam's host family request her as a domestic helper. Because her permit was limited to a few weeks, she repeatedly asked for her case to be expedited. The six-page list of household items, separated into used and new items acquired since 1933, had to be received. Among the "new" items for which a "Dego levy" was obligatory, for example, the repair of an old typewriter. For this, 15 RM dego tax had to be paid. Susanne stated that she would leave most of the household goods packed in the apartment. Her husband would bring everything with him when he joined them.

Nothing seemed to stand in the way of this. However, Oswald Pander no longer had the money to pay the necessary taxes and duties. The emigration of his wife and daughter had swallowed up their joint assets. He began to sell the furniture and his books. He was also expecting an inheritance that a relative had awarded in equal shares to his daughter Miriam and his sister-in-law Frida Goldschmidt, who had emigrated to Palestine in 1934.

The legal situation seemed quite clear to Pander, but pitfalls were laid for him. He missed a deadline over this, which earned him a reprimand, which he stumbled over in the next process. Above such bureaucratic obstacles, the inheritance matter dragged on. When Pander realized in May 1939 that the noose was beginning to tighten, he asked friends and acquaintances for expert opinions about his person. They readily confirmed his "unconditional civic reliability and honesty" (Ivo Hauptmann); he was known as an "honorable, reliable person and respected contributor to major daily newspapers" (Director Raphael Israel Plaut). To another reviewer, Oswald Pander appeared "very reserved in his judgment, committed only to the interests of art, as a quite excellent character." All those interviewed agreed that they owed Oswald Pander important insights and suggestions. Such judgments, however, failed to have an effect on National Socialist authorities, who worked rigorously according to scheme.

On August 23, 1939, Oswald Pander received a clearance certificate from the tax office for the purpose of emigration, which was confirmed by the foreign exchange office on August 25 with an entry in the passport list of the tax investigation office, a permit to England was available, and the only thing missing was the money due from the inheritance, when the war began on September 1 and delayed the emigration for an indefinite period.

Karl Pander had to change his apartment several times, from Brahmsallee to Flemingstraße; his last Hamburg address was the "Judenhaus" Kielortallee. In the summer of 1941, Käthe Starke met the poet Oswald Pander. She got to know "two Panders" in him, "a soigné, somewhat solitary gentleman (...) and a vagabond who wandered through moor and heath dressed like a wandering boy".

In the meantime, emigration was officially forbidden. In the fall/winter of 1941, large-scale deportations from Hamburg took place. Oswald Pander had to join the first transport VI/1 destined for Theresienstadt on July 15/16, 1942. Among the 925 people there were, apart from the Hamburgers, about 30 from other northern German cities. Few of the travelers believed the claim that a safe retirement home awaited them at their destination. Nevertheless, the arrival at the train station, the walk with luggage on a dusty road and the arrival in a crowded city was a severe shock for the deportees. The previous inhabitants of the ghetto were Czechs from the Protectorate of Bohemia/Moravia.

They perceived the arriving Reich Germans as intruders and often met them with hostility. Oswald Pander was used to a life in educated, assimilated circles. Little concerned with material concerns, he had no powers of resistance to the brutal reality of ghetto life. He was unable to find his way in the forced community of Theresienstadt, and Käthe Starke, who had also been deported to Theresienstadt, met him a year later in the "Dvorka," the closed lunatic ward of the "Kavalier" barracks, which was filled with old people. She described him as outwardly neglected, completely starved, but quite normal in behavior and speech. He apologized for the greed with which he devoured the sausage sandwich he had brought with him, not lamenting his fate, but only the appalling hunger. He presented the performances of his insane fellow sufferers to the visitor like theater performances. On a next visit she did not meet him again and commented on his disappearance with a quotation from his comedy "Man türmt": "He couldn't help it either."

On August 19, 1943, Oswald Pander died of "enteritis TbC." As illness the physician certified "schizophrenia" and "split consciousness".

Susanne Pander, who lived in New York with her daughter Miriam, learned of her husband's death through the Red Cross. She continued to practice her profession as a dance teacher and remedial gymnast in the USA. Miriam Pander was also a dancer. In the 1970s she felt sick and unsatisfied and returned to Germany. Thinking that the socialist system of the GDR would better suit her ideals of progressive art, she moved to East Berlin with her daughter and worked there. She wanted to be near her stepbrother Karl Pander, who lived in Kuhlenfeld near Boitzenburg, also in the GDR.

Karl Pander had been discharged from the military hospital in 1948 and was a bombed-out man with nothing. In 1949, he married Anni Brümmer from Bergedorf and took over his job in Kuhlendorf in the office of a grain company, which had changed greatly as a result of the changing times. He felt close to his father. On the evening before the deportation of Oswald Pander - so Käthe Starke told - he had appeared in Wehrmacht uniform to get his only "half-Jewish" father released. However, he was not heard, but sent back to his location with a reprimand.

Now, after the death of Oswald Pander, he took care of his literary estate by sending some copies of the unpublished writings to the mediator Hans Harbeck in Hamburg, whom he knew from before, with the request to forward these pieces to the editors of the "Delphin". Karl Pander also got in touch with the publishing house Max Pfeffer, which had accepted the two stage plays of Oswald Pander that had been lost in the meantime. Among the texts of her father kept by daughter Miriam was a poem for Susanne (not translated, see German version).

Translation by Beate Meyer
Stand: January 2022
© Inge Grolle/Christina Igla

Quellen: 1; StaH: 314_15 Oberfinanzpräsident _ FVG 3213, _ FVG 6013; 332-5 Personenstandsunterlagen _ 8677/361/1922 (Heiratsurkunde Pander), _9077/1692/1892 (Geburtsurkunde Susanne Pander), _10579/26/1905 (Sterbeurkunde Kasel (Carl) Pander), _ 10842/63/1905 (1. Eheschließung Pander) 332-8 Meldewesen-"Toten-und Verzogenenkartei" Film Nr. 7402, Nr. 6701 Hausmeldekartei 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung _ 5268 (Pander, Oswald Hermann), _14797 (Pander, Susanne), _32468 (Pander, Carl Ludwig); 731-8 Zeitungsauschnittsammlung _ A765 Pander, Karl; www. (Volkszählung 17.5.1939) (eingesehen am 1.2.2016); Hamburger Adressbuch – online – eingesehen am 1.2.2016; (eingesehen am 28.1.2016); (eingesehen am 28.1.2016); E-Mail von Lisa Marshall vom 17.1.2016; Monatshefte des Jüdischen Kulturbundes, Mikrofilm in Institut für die Geschichte der Deutschen Juden, Signatur: X/1625:1936/38; Anz/Stark,(Hrsg.), Expressionismus, S. 612f.; Anz, Literatur; Der Querschnitt, IX. Jahrgang Heft 9 Ende September 1931, Berlin. S.636f.; Pander, Revolution, (1918) Nr. 5, S. 147f.; Ders.: Kunst, in: Der Sturmreiter 2. Jg. (1920) H.1, Oktober, S. 26–27; Ders.: Roman, in: Die Flöte. 3. Jg. (1920/21), S. 241–244, Starke, Führer, S. 69–74.
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