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Already layed Stumbling Stones

Erich Stein * 1927

Hansastraße 21 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)

JG. 1927
"VERLEGT" 23.9.1940
ERMORDET 23.9.1940

further stumbling stones in Hansastraße 21:
Adolf Coutinho, Arnold Stein

Arnold Abraham Stein, born 7 Nov. 1923 in Hamburg, murdered 23 Sept. 1940 in the killing centre Brandenburg an der Havel
Erich Elieser Stein, born 3 Sep. 1927 in Hamburg, murdered 23 Sept. 1940 in the killing centre Brandenburg an der Havel

Hansastrasse 21

The brothers Arnold Abraham and Erich Elieser were the sons of the businessman Siegbert Awieser Stein, born in Berlin on 18 July 1890, and Hilde Stein, née Hammerschlag, born in today’s Frankfurt district of Fechenheim on 24 April 1893.

After having finished secondary school, their father, Siegbert Stein, completed an apprenticeship in his native city with a company in the leather industry. Several years later he took a position as a travelling salesman in Copenhagen, until he switched to his company`s head office in Hamburg and became responsible for Germany and the Nordic states. At the beginning of the First World War Siegbert Stein volunteered for the military, but was classified as unfit. During the war he worked in a cereals business in Posen which belonged to a brother in law. When, as a result of the Treaty of Versailles, the city was awarded to Poland, Siegbert Stein returned to Hamburg and worked as a stockbroker with procuration in a Hamburg bank.

Siegbert Stein and Hilde Hammerschlag married on 17 May 1922 in Altona. At the time of their marriage, Siegbert Stein lived in Hamburg-Rotherbaum, Grindelhof 64. After their marriage, Hilde Stein moved from Frankfurt to Hamburg. In 1927, the family moved to Hansastrasse 21 in Harvestehude. In 1923, at about the same time as the start of the hyperinflation, Siegbert Stein founded a wholesale business for cigars. His wife saw to the housekeeping. The Jewish couple had three sons: Arnold Abraham, born on 7 Nov. 1923, Siegmund Werner, born on 31 March 1925 and Erich Elieser, born on 3 Sept. 1927.

At the age of four and three respectively, the sons were admitted to the Education and Care Home in the Lübeck district of Vorwerk. At the request of his parents, Arnold Stein, the elder of the two boys, lived in the Education and Care Home Vorwerk from 10 April 1927. They had noticed signs of illness when Arnold was only nine months old. The diagnosis was "congenital mental deficiency”. The same diagnosis was made for Erich Stein. He lived in Vorwerk from 26 Jan. 1930.

After the transfer of power to Adolf Hitler, Siegbert Stein had been abandoned by the vast majority of his customers who were not Jewish so that he lost the basis for his livelihood. It was only with great difficulty, that he was able to keep the cigar wholesale business going, until he left Germany. He emigrated to Capetown, initially on his own on board the SS "Thermopyla” in December 1933. There, he first of all wanted to see whether he would be able to establish a new livelihood. Hilde Stein followed him in July 1934 together with their son Siegmund Werner. Without giving notice, she left behind the flat and all the furniture and fittings.

Probably it was not possible to get an additional entry permit for the handicapped sons Arnold and Erich.

In 1935 or 1936, the Steins are said to have had another son in Capetown.
From letters from the head of the Education and Care Home Vorwerk, Paul Burwick, it is clear that Siegbert and Hilde Stein made every effort to pay the cost of their sons’ accommodation. Initially this was probably successful as Siegbert Stein found a job with a tobacco company. In 1936, however, the company went into liquidation and this marked the start of financial difficulties for Siegbert Stein which led to the payments to the Vorwerk Home being in arrears. Paul Burwick wrote to South Africa in April 1936 that the financial problems had been settled for the time being. He wrote further: "Regarding Arnold and Erich, we can only repeat that they are as they have been approximately two years ago. Both are receiving care and, unfortunately, only care. No mental development can be observed. We commiserate with you, but the facts have to be accepted for what they are”.

In 1938, Burwick wrote: "Let us deal with the big question first – how are the children? Unfortunately, in reply we have to tell that there is no change in their condition. Physically, they are growing and growing. Erich sometimes demonstrates an awareness of his surroundings, but we cannot talk about mental progress. They are the patients in need of care which they were, exactly as you left them, and this is still the case today. Erich is in the care of Sister Anna and Arnold in the care of Sister Margarete. Both are staff members who have been working in the home for many years and know the children well”.

In spring/summer of 1940, the "Euthanasia” central office in Berlin, Tiergartenstrasse 4, planned a special action against Jews of both sexes living in public and private Nursing and Care Homes. They had the Jews living there registered and transferred to so called Collection Homes. The Nursing and Care Home Hamburg-Langenhorn was designated as Collection Home for Northern Germany. All institutions in Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg were instructed to transfer all the Jews living in their establishments to Langenhorn by 18 Sept. 1940.

Arnold and Erich arrived in Langenhorn on 16 Sept. 1940 together with eight other Jewish residents of both sexes from the Vorwerk Home.

On 23 Sept. 1940, the almost 17-year-old Arnold and the 13-year-old Erich Stein were transported to Brandenburg an der Havel together with 134 other Jews from North German institutions. On the same day, the people were herded without delay into the gas chambers in a part of the former penitentiary and murdered with carbon monoxide. Only Ilse Herta Zachmann initially escaped this fate (see separate entry on her).

On the Birth Certificate entry for Erich Elieser Stein, it was noted that the "Registry Office Chelm II” had registered his death on 20 Jan. 1941 under number 404/1941. For Arnold Stein there is no corresponding note. In all the communications which have been documented, it was claimed that the person concerned had died in Chelm (Polish) or Cholm (German). However, the people murdered in Brandenburg had never been in Chelm/Cholm, to the East of Lublin. The former Polish nursing home did not exist any longer after SS Units had murdered nearly all the patients on 12 Jan. 1940. In addition, there was no German Registry Office in Chelm/Cholm. Its invention and the use of dates of death later than the real ones served to cover up the murders and, at the same time, to enable the claiming of maintenance costs for a correspondingly longer period of time.

One and a half years later, the Vorwerk Home contacted the Deutsche Bank in Hamburg and informed them:

"Lübeck, 21. April 1942
To Deutsche Bank
The Education Home Vorwerk receives monthly payments for boarding for the children Arnold and Erich Stein, Account no [….].
We would advise you that the children have not been in the Education Home Vorwerk since 16.9.1940. They were transferred from here by order to the Nursing Home Langenhorn Hamburg. From there, they are said to have been transferred to another institution, but we do not know to where. The amounts of the payments which have been transferred since then are, of course, at the disposal of the payer. It was not possible to establish contact there and we would ask you not to transfer the money in future.”

The fact that the payments to the Vorwerk Home were made until at least April 1942 indicates that the Steins had not been informed of the death of their sons up until then.

Siegbert Stein died in Capetown on 10 June 1964. Hilde Stein left Capetown and settled in Israel. She died on 1 Febr. 1971 in Kibbuz Afikim South of the Sea of Galilee. Nothing is known about the fate of Werner, the son who emigrated with them, or that of the son born in Capetown.

Stumbling stones for the brothers Arnold and Erich Stein have also been laid at the entrance area of the present day Diakonie Vorwerk clinic in Lübeck.

Translator: Steve Robinson

Stand: May 2020
© Ursula Häckermann/Ingo Wille

Quellen: 1; 4; 5; 8; AB; StaH 133-1 III Staatsarchiv III, 3171-2/4 U.A. 4, Liste psychisch kranker jüdischer 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); 332-5 Standesämter 60666 Heiratsregistereintrag Nr. 535/1922 Siegbert Stein/Hilde Hammerschlag; 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung 12542 (Stein), 15440 (Stein); 352-8/7 Staatskrankenanstalt Langenhorn Abl. 1 1995 Aufnahme-/Abgangsbuch Langenhorn 26. 8. 39 bis 27. 1. 1941; Standesamt Hamburg-Mitte, Nr. 583/1923 Geburtsregistersteintrag Arnold Abraham Stein, Nr. 756/1927 Geburtsregistersteintrag Erich Elieser Stein; Akte Arnold und Erich Stein: Archiv Vorwerker Diakonie, Lübeck; JSHD Forschungsgruppe "Juden in Schleswig-Holstein", Datenpool Erich Koch, Schleswig; Harald Jenner: Das Kinder- und Pflegeheim Vorwerk in der NS-Zeit, S. 169-204 in: Strohm/Thierfelder: Diakonie im "Dritten Reich", Heidelberg 1990;
Zur Nummerierung häufig genutzter Quellen siehe Link "Recherche und Quellen".

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