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Already layed Stumbling Stones

Henny Silberberg (née Heinemann) * 1858

Rothenbaumchaussee 217 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)

JG. 1858
ERMORDET 10.8.1942

further stumbling stones in Rothenbaumchaussee 217:
Dr. Albert Dreifuss, Bernhard Wolf Josephs, Caroline Josephs, Emma Josephs, Siegfried Josephs, Elise Josephs, Claus Josephs, Ida Koopmann, Anna Polak, Mary Sternberg, Albertine Vyth, Julius Wohl

Henny Silberberg, née Heynemann, born on 18 Oct. 1858 in Bad Oeynhausen/Löhne, deported to Theresienstadt on 15 July 1942, died there on 10 Aug. 1942

Rothenbaumchaussee 217

With 43 sales ads in the Nachrichten für Stadt und Land, Oldenburg Jews who had been forced in Feb. and Mar. 1940 to leave their hometown because it was being made "Jew-free” ("judenfrei”) tried to sell their remaining possessions. Among them was the widow Henny Silberberg, who had lived in Oldenburg for about 40 years.

She had grown up in Bad Oeynhausen as the daughter of Hermann and his wife Bertha Heynemann, née Wolff. Her father owned, possibly together with a brother, a leather goods store on local Koblenzer Strasse. We found no information on how Henny spent her childhood and adolescence.

Henny married Hermann Silberberg, who was born on 21 Mar. 1855 in Erder/Lemgo. He worked as a self-employed merchant and ran an agency business. In the following years, male offspring was born: Theodor (1880 Hannover–1972 São Paulo, Brazil), the younger children Bruno (1883), Richard (1884–1930 Hamburg), and Friedrich Maxim-Fritz (1888) were born in Oldenburg.

Jews had lived in Oldenburg for several centuries, sometimes a large number, sometimes a smaller one. In the nineteenth century, the number of inhabitants increased steadily. Facilities included a synagogue, a Jewish school, a ritual bath, and a cemetery. Since 1827, the state rabbinate was responsible for several surrounding communities. Many Jewish businesses shaped the economic life of the city. One of them was the flourishing company of Hermann Silberberg, which enabled him to acquire an office building at Grünestrasse 11 in Oldenburg in early 1904 and a residential building at number 13, where he lived with his family.

The world economic crisis probably affected the Silberberg family as well, but they continued to live in their familiar surroundings. Hermann Silberberg became involved in the Jewish Community of Oldenburg. At the beginning of the 1920s, he was a member of the Community Council. At that time, 316 Jews lived there, which was less than one percent of the 52,723 inhabitants.

In the meantime, the mood had changed. For since 30 Jan. 1933, the Nazis had been in power. The population could already feel the "wind” that was to blow in the future on 1 Apr. 1933, when Jewish businesses were boycotted. Hermann Silberberg died in early Oct. 1933, and after his death, Henny Silberberg inherited the two houses on Grünestrasse.

In the years that followed, further persecution measures cut deeply into the daily lives of the Jews. Starting in 1939, they had to carry an identity card, passports were marked with a "J,” and upon application, they were forced to accept the compulsory names of "Sara” and "Israel.” In Oldenburg, too, the synagogue burned from 9 to 10 Nov. 1938. More than 30 male Jews were arrested during the night, including Regional Rabbi Leo Trepp, and placed in "protective custody” ("Schutzhaft”).

Henny Silberberg’s business property at Grünestrasse 11 changed hands far below value in the course of the "Aryanization.” With the Law on Tenancies with Jews” ("Gesetz über die Mietverhältnisse mit Juden”) taking effect, tenant protection for Jews ended. Jews expelled from their original apartments found accommodation in Henny Silberberg’s home at Grünestrasse 13 from Apr. 1939 onward, including the Josephs family, Elise, Siegfried, and Claus (see

In early 1940, the Jewish Community received instructions from the Gestapo headquarters in Wilhelmshaven to be ready for transport to Poland. The reason given was that the border area was to be cleaned of "unreliable” persons. Deportation to the Lublin District was initially prevented by the district office of the Reich Association of Jews in Germany, (Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland) as the Community had to call itself by then. Within a short time, the Reich Association organized emergency quarters and accommodation, including in retirement home at Rothenbaumchaussee 217 in Hamburg. Henny Silberberg also fled there in the spring of 1940. In the retirement home, she met the Josephs couple again, who had lived with her in her Oldenburg home for almost a year. After two years on Rothenbaumchaussee, Henny Silberberg was transferred to the "Jews’ house” ("Judenhaus”) at Beneckestrasse 6 in late Apr. 1942.

Three months before her eighty-fourth birthday, the Gestapo deported Henny Silberberg to Theresienstadt on the first major transport departing on 15 July 1942. To this end, she had to report to the collection center in the school on Schanzenstrasse/Altonaer Strasse. She died at the age of 84 on 10 Aug. 1942 in the Theresienstadt "ghetto for the elderly” ("Altersghetto”).

The Oldenburg Memorial Wall, dedicated in Nov. 2013, lists all of the victims by name. The former Oldenburg resident Henny Silberberg has not been forgotten.

What clues were found regarding the further lives of the Silberberg sons?
The oldest, Theodor, moved to Hamburg and married Carola Johanna Strauss (1889 Hamburg–1973 in São Paulo/Brazil) in Nov. 1911. His wife was the daughter of Moritz and his wife Rosalie Cramer, who was born in Nordhausen on 13 Aug. 1858. Carola Silberberg had grown up in Hamburg with four sisters: Alice (born in 1882), Elsbeth (in 1885), Katharina (in 1887), and Irma (in 1892). In the years after the marriage, the Silberbergs became parents to three sons: Walter (born in 1912), Manfred (in 1913), and Helmut (1920–1945 in São Paulo, Brazil).

Theodor Silberberg worked for many years in the commercial sector and lived with his family at Isestrasse 69. His father-in-law, Moritz Strauss, had already passed away in 1920. The Silberberg family saw no future for themselves in Nazi Germany. In the mid-1930s, they emigrated to Brazil. The family’s youngest son, Helmut, broke off the training he had begun in Hamburg. In Brazil, the family suffered from economic problems, and Helmut could not cope with the pressure, ending his life at a young age. He was buried at the Vila Mariana Jewish Cemetery in São Paulo.

The oldest son Walter (1912–1987) married Gerda Kohn (1912–2003), a native of Hamburg, on 28 Sept. 1936 in Brazil. Their son Claudio was born in São Paulo in 1943. Gerda Silberberg’s parents Ahron Arnold Kohn (1883–1955) and Emma, née Kohn (1882–1958), as well as her sister Else (1909–1974), married to Heinz Lehmann (1903–1976), also emigrated to Brazil. They all found their final resting place at the Butantã Jewish Cemetery in São Paulo.

Theodor Silberberg died in 1972, Carola one year later. Both were buried at the Butantã Jewish Cemetery in São Paulo.

Carola’s mother Rosalie Strauss stayed behind in Hamburg. The Gestapo deported the almost 85-year-old Rosalie Strauss to the Theresienstadt "ghetto for the elderly” on 9 June 1943. She survived for only a few months until 2 Dec. 1943. A Stolperstein was laid at her last freely chosen residential address in memory of her.

Bruno Silberberg, a trained confectioner, had moved to Frankfurt as early as 1907; subsequently, he apparently lived in the USA.

Richard Silberberg was married to Hedel Hedwig Cohn (see, who was born in Samter/ Province of Posen (today Szamotuly in Poland) on 24 Dec. 1893. Their son Karl-Heinz was born in Oldenburg in 1915. By the time son Peter was born in 1921, the family was already residing at Weidenallee 23 in Hamburg. After the father of the family had passed away in 1930, they stayed in the apartment. In 1933, Hedel and Peter emigrated to France. The next "sign of life” emerged on 25 Aug. 1942 with the arrest of Peter Silberberg. On the transport departing on 2 Sept. 1942, Peter Silberberg was deported from Drancy to Auschwitz and murdered. The fate of Hedel Silberberg is unknown.

The oldest, Karl-Heinz, found accommodation in the early 1930s in the family of his uncle Theodor on Isestrasse. After barely two years, in Mar. 1935, he left Hamburg and moved to Frankfurt. At an unknown time, he emigrated to France. He was deported from the Drancy transit camp to the Auschwitz extermination camp on 4 Nov. 1942 and murdered.

In commemoration of Hedel, Karl-Heinz, and Peter Silberberg, Stolpersteine were laid at Weidenallee 23, their last address.

Their youngest son Fritz Silberberg had emigrated to the United States in 1914. He died in San Francisco in 1966.

After completing the biography, we managed to establish contact with the great-grandson Claudio Silberberg in Brazil. He told us the following, "Already as a student at school, I learned that my parents or, respectively, some members of the family had emigrated. There were conversations and stories about the entire life in Germany, be it from father, mother, or through the grandparents. The family talked about the school and schoolmates, about well-known neighbors and other family members. About Jewish life, the big holidays (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur), the men wearing the top hats in the synagogue. My grandparents told the stories of ‘Max & Moritz,’ ‘Little Red Riding Hood,’ and ‘Seven at One Blow.’ And of course, Hamburg was a major topic: Inner and Outer Alster, the Hamburg Cathedral, Blankenese with the Süllberg. My mother told me about the big steamers on the Elbe. My father talked about his athletic activities, including handball and gymnastics, which had a strong impact on my life. Moreover, my mother liked to sail on the Elbe.

However, there was also talk about the persecution, the dismissal of my two grandparents due to the fact that ultimately they were only Jews, the house sale at a greatly reduced price. The arrests and the transport to the concentration camps. Of relatives who unfortunately did not manage to leave the country in time.

Arriving in Brazil also occupied us: Learning a new language and finding work. To build a circle of friends again (mainly other German immigrants). And not to forget, realizing the founding of the Jewish Community in São Paulo by Rabbi Fritz Pinkuss in 1936.” Fritz Pinkuss (1905–1994) had been Rabbi in Heidelberg for six years until his emigration in 1936.

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

Stand: December 2020
© Sonja Zoder

Quellen: 1; 3; 4; 5; 7; 9; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 9046-1081/1889, 8676-369/1911; 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung 11599, 43367; div. Hamburger Adressbücher; Krispin, Ein offenes Geheimnis: "Arisierung" in Alltag und Wirtschaft in Oldenburg zwischen 1933 und 1945, S. 59, 66, 119, 120, Oldenburg 2001; Hrsg. von dem Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeindebund und der Zentralwohlfahrtsstelle der deutschen Juden, Handbuch der Jüdischen Gemeindeverwaltung und Wohlfahrtspflege 1924/25, S. 144; URL:,, http:// jeweils am 15.4.2016; am 3.4.2017; am 6.4.2017;, Joachim Hahn Mailauskunft am 6.4.2017; am 7.4.2017; am 24.8.2017; USHMM, Peter Lande Mailauskunft am 18.4.2017; Wir bedanken uns bei Claudio Silberberg für Anregungen und Hinweise und Dr. Björn Siegel für die erste Kontaktaufnahme zu ihm.
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