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Already layed Stumbling Stones

Richard Levy * 1885

ohne Hamburger Adresse

ermordet am 23.9.1940 in der Tötungsanstalt Brandenburg an der Havel

further stumbling stones in ohne Hamburger Adresse :
Dr. Hans Bloch, Felix Cohn, Moraka Farbstein, Erland Walter Friedmann, Richard Guth, Martha Havelland, Albert Hirsch, Auguste Hirschkowitz, Sophie Kasarnowsky, Ernestine Levy, Hannchen Lewin, Bronislawa Luise Dorothea Mattersdorf, Karl Friedrich Michael, Lucie Rothschild, Dorothea Dorthy Silberberg, Wilhelm Süsser, Anna Luise (Louise Hedwig) Weimann, Salo Weinberg

Richard Levy, born on 2 Nov. 1885 or 2 Feb. 1885 in Wollstein, (today Wolsztyn in Poland), murdered in the Brandenburg/Havel euthanasia killing center on 23 Sept. 1940

Without Stolperstein

When he was admitted to what was then the Grand Ducal Gehlsheim "lunatic asylum” (Grossherzogliche "Irrenanstalt” Gehlsheim) near Rostock on 23 Aug. 1915, Richard Levy said that he had already left his family and his native Wollstein at a young age after attending school and training as a hairdresser.

The parents, the merchant Isidor Levy and Caroline, née Cohn, lived in Richard’s birthplace. The father died in 1898, the mother in 1908. Richard Levy said he had three sisters and one brother whose names and dates of birth we do not know.

According to his own information, Richard Levy first headed for Doberlug, a Sorbian town at the foot of the Cistercian monastery of Dobrilugk in what is today the German Federal State of Brandenburg. There he worked as a hairdresser’s assistant until he moved to Dresden in 1900. Later he worked in Hamburg for a year, then in Berlin, and in what was then still the independent city of Spandau (incorporated into Greater Berlin in 1920).

Richard Levy emigrated to America in 1909. He earned his living first as a hairdresser, then at a clothing store in Chicago. As early as 1913, he returned to Europe, first to Copenhagen and then to Lübeck. Apparently, his financial means were very scarce, because he had to rely on one of his sisters, who lived in Posen (today Poznan in Poland), to support him during a visit with some money. After another stay in Dresden, Richard Levy remained in the Wilhelmsthal working asylum (Arbeitsasyl) near Spremberg until 1915 in what is today the Brandenburg Spree-Neisse administrative district.

From 1912, the institution, known as "Brandenburgisches Arbeitsasyl Wilhelmsthal,” took in unemployed and homeless people, who asked for admission, were still able to work, and committed themselves to a "contractual three-month stay in accordance with the house rules.” They received accommodation, food, and clothing, as well as 20 to 50 pennies (today’s equivalent of about two to five euros, or slightly less than two to slightly less than five dollars) in wages per day.

In 1915, Richard Levy "succeeded,” as he put it, in traveling via Berlin to Hamburg. There he "bought” a passport to Denmark. It has been impossible to locate a passport application in Hamburg. In Copenhagen, the attempt to emigrate again to America failed. Richard Levy was arrested as destitute and deported to Warnemünde in August at the behest of the German Consulate. There the criminal investigation department (Kriminalpolizei) handed him over to the military district command to check his compulsory military service. There was a suspicion that he was trying to evade duty. However, the medical examination for military service led to the conclusion that he was "mentally ill.”

On 23 Aug. 1915, Richard Levy was admitted to the Gehlsheim "lunatic asylum” in today’s Rostock district of Gehlsdorf. Since then, he remained in "institutional custody” ("Anstaltsbewahrung”) until the end of his life, until 7 Apr. 1916 in Gehlsheim and then until Sept. 1940 in the Sachsenberg "sanatorium” near Schwerin. Richard Levy was regarded as a mostly quiet patient, increasingly withdrawn over the years. At the institution, he also practiced the trade in which he was trained. He cut the hair of his fellow patients and shaved them.

On 30 Aug. 1940, at the request of Sachsenberg institution, the Schwerin District Court (Amtsgericht) decided to incapacitate Richard Levy. Why his incapacitation was carried out at this time is not evident, because Richard Levy had been in a "sanatorium” for 25 years.

In the spring/summer of 1940, the "euthanasia” headquarters in Berlin, located at Tiergartenstrasse 4, planned a special operation aimed against Jews in public and private sanatoriums and nursing homes. It had the Jewish persons living in the institutions registered and moved together in what were officially so-called collection institutions. The Hamburg-Langenhorn "sanatorium and nursing home” ("Heil- und Pflegeanstalt” Hamburg-Langenhorn) was designated the North German collection institution. All institutions in Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein, and Mecklenburg were ordered to move the Jews living in their facilities there by 18 Sept. 1940.

Richard Levy was transferred from Schwerin-Sachsenberg to the Langenhorn collection institution on 17 Sept. 1940. He completely resigned himself to his fate and quietly went on the transport.

On 23 Sept. 1940, he was transported with another 135 patients from the North German institutions to Brandenburg/Havel. The transport reached the city in the Mark (March) on the same day. In the part of the former penitentiary converted into a gas-killing facility, the patients were immediately driven into the gas chamber and killed with carbon monoxide. Only Ilse Herta Zachmann escaped this fate at first (see corresponding entry).

We do not know whether, and if so, when Richard Levy’s relatives became aware of his death. In all documented death notices, it was claimed that the person concerned had died in Chelm (Polish) or Cholm (German), a town east of Lublin. Those murdered in Brandenburg, however, were never in Chelm/Cholm. The former Polish sanatorium there no longer existed after SS units had murdered almost all patients on 12 Jan. 1940. Also, there was no German records office in Chelm. Its fabrication and the use of postdated dates of death served to disguise the killing operation and at the same time enabled the authorities to claim higher care expenses for periods extended accordingly.

Richard Levy did not have a freely chosen address in Hamburg, so that no individual place can be determined where he could be commemorated with a Stolperstein.

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

© Ingo Wille

Quellen: 5; 9; StaH 133-1 III Staatsarchiv III, 3171-2/4 U.A. 4, Liste psychisch kranker jüdischer Patientinnen und Patienten der psychiatrischen Anstalt Langenhorn, die aufgrund nationalsozialistischer "Euthanasie"-Maßnahmen ermordet wurden, zusammengestellt von Peter von Rönn, Hamburg (Projektgruppe zur Erforschung des Schicksals psychisch Kranker in Langenhorn); 352-8/7 Staatskrankenanstalt Langenhorn Abl. 1/1995 Aufnahme-/Abgangsbuch Langenhorn 26.8.1939 bis 27.1.1941; Landeshauptarchiv Schwerin 5.12-7/11. Haack, Kathleen/Kasten, Bernd/Pink, Jörg, Die Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Sachsenberg-Lewenberg 1939–1945, Schwerin 2016.;art1050,3904070 (Zugriff 22.5.2015).
Zur Nummerierung häufig genutzter Quellen siehe Link "Recherche und Quellen".

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