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Emma Weiland (née Cohn) * 1871
Schäferkampsallee 29 (Eimsbüttel, Eimsbüttel)
Emma Weiland, née Cohn, born on 8 Nov. 1871 in Altona, deported to Theresienstadt on 19 Jan. 1944, liberated on 8 May 1945, died on 27 Nov. 1945 in Hamburg-Eimsbüttel.
Emma Weiland was born the daughter of Isaac Cohn and his wife Fanny Möller. Both parents were natives of Altona. At the time of their wedding in 1868, approx. 2,359 Jews lived there.
Emma’s father Isaac came from an Altona merchant family that can be traced back two generations. He himself was a "produce trader” ("Productenhändler”), so presumably, he bought agricultural products from farmers and sold them in his shop. Isaac and his wife Fanny, 13 years his junior, were buried at the Altona Jewish Cemetery on Bornkampsweg, where many relatives are also buried.
Emma’s mother Fanny had eight siblings. Her daughter Emma accordingly enjoyed a large number of aunts, uncles, cousins, and cousins. Fanny’s ancestors came from Northern Germany. Her paternal great-grandfather – Jesaias Möller – was a native of the Jewish settlement in Fackenbourg near Lübeck. In the list of Jews living in Altona in 1860, his profession is listed as exterminator. Fanny’s mother Mariane Hirsch came from Kiel. Not much is known about her.
There are two known addresses of Emma’s family in Altona-Altstadt: Breitestrasse 145 and Langestrasse 84 in 1878. Emma was the second child of the family. Her older brother Josef Cohn (also spelled "Joseph,” see www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de) was born in 1870 and her younger brother Rudolf in 1878. There may have been another brother Max, born in 1873.
The brothers were circumcised. It can be assumed that they had a religious upbringing, as was customary at the time.
On 21 Mar. 1896, at the age of 24, Emma married August Hermann Weiland. August, who was baptized a Protestant, came from Graefentonna, District of Gotha (Saxony-Coburg), and was 31 years old at the time. He was a roofer by profession, a child from a divorced marriage. His mother Friederike Henriette Kettenbeil, divorced name Möller, had remarried when he was nearly two years old. Later his stepfather Christian Gottlieb Weiland adopted him. In later documents, August’s job title is "worker” and "trader.”
Emma’s siblings also married non-Jewish spouses. This was the first time in her generation that membership of the Jewish Community was relaxed. In Hamburg, Jewish women lost their community affiliation when entering an interdenominational marriage.
Soon after the wedding, Emma Weiland became pregnant and in 1897, she gave birth to her daughter Paula, who died only one year later. At that time, the family lived on the fourth floor of Gustavstrasse 113 (today Gilbertstrasse). In 1899, their son Hermann was born. By then, the family lived on the ground floor of Conradstrasse 24 (today Gilbertstrasse). Later, they moved to Kieler Strasse 18 in Hamburg Langenfelde and built up a pig-fattening farm there. In 1910, daughter Margret ("Grete”) was born. Hermann and Grete Weiland were baptized Protestants at the Eimsbüttel Apostle Church.
In 1911, August Weiland, who had fallen ill, died at the age of 46. Emma was 39 years old at that time. She continued to run the pig farm in her name, later with the support of her son. In 1914, the First World War began. Hermann Weiland served in the army from 1917 to 1919, where he was awarded an Iron Cross Second Class. Afterward, he moved back in with his mother and supported her in the company.
The address of the pig farm is given in the directories from 1929 to 1933 as being Kieler Strasse 203/207. Hermann Weiland mentioned in his curriculum vitae that they had to close the farm at the turn of the year 1933/1934 due to "time-related circumstances,” presumably, the Nazis’ assumption of power.
From then on, Hermann Weiland made a living for himself and his mother as a coachman for the Bernhard Jasper haulage company, but he continued to live with Emma Weiland. On 9 Nov. 1938, he was arrested and committed to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. He remained there until 2 Dec. 1938, and after his return, he resumed his work as a coachman until his employer was drafted into the army in 1940. He did not find a new job as a coachman, but worked as a farmhand for an acquaintance in Schnelsen. Thus, he eked out a living for himself and his mother.
On 25 Jan. 1941, Emma was forced to bear the additional first name of "Sara,” as is recorded in her Jewish identity card ("Judenpass”) and also in the register of the Hochdeutsche Israelitengemeinde ("High German Israelite Community”) (according to Nazi regulations, she should have complied with this starting in Jan. 1939).
On 24 July 1943, bombs fell on Hamburg during "Operation Gomorrah,” destroying large parts of the city. Emma’s entire house also burned to the ground. She and Hermann were left only with the clothes they wore on their backs. She then moved to a Jewish retirement home, possibly to the Jewish retirement home at Sedanstrasse 23. In the same year, at the age of 71, she went blind and moved to the Hamburg Israelite Hospital, which was then (again) housed at Schäferkampsallee 29.
In Dec. 1943, Heinrich Müller, head of the Gestapo, gave the order that Jewish spouses from "mixed marriages” ("Mischehen”) that had ended in death or divorce should henceforth be deported as well. In January, a wave of deportations to Theresienstadt began throughout the Reich. On 10 Jan. 1944, Emma Weiland was arrested. Four days later, all of her assets were confiscated. On 19 January, she was deported on transport number VI/9 together with 61 other persons. On 22 January, they reached Theresienstadt. On 21 April, their son received a postcard: "Dear children, soon we will reach our destination, I am well, and I send my best to all of you (?) Many greetings, your mother.” The postmark on the card was 22 January from Prague.
In Theresienstadt, Emma Weiland lived in the home for the blind, Building D VI, Block Q 319 (later Badhausgasse 19). Each person there had an average of 3.2 square meters (about 34.5 sq ft) of space at his or her disposal.
The year 1944 saw an inspection visit by the International Committee of the Red Cross in the ghetto as well as production of the film entitled Theresienstadt. Ein Dokumentarfilm aus dem jüdischen Siedlungsgebiet ("Theresienstadt. A documentary film from the Jewish settlement area”). Thousands of Jewish residents were further deported to Auschwitz and murdered in the course of these propagandistic actions. Emma Weiland was not among them; she survived.
In the late evening of 8 May 1945, the Red Army liberated the ghetto. Due to a typhus epidemic, however, the liberated persons could not return home immediately. Emma Weiland remained in quarantine until mid-June. On 14 June, she received medical confirmation that she had not been diagnosed with typhus. However, she was to take medication at home as a precaution. She left on 27 June and arrived in Hamburg three days later.
She was then registered as residing with her daughter Margret (Grete) and her husband Jonni Nielsen at Thusneldastrasse 6 in Hamburg-Stellingen. In her application to the Restitution Office (Amt für Wiedergutmachung) in Sept. 1945, she wrote that she had returned from Theresienstadt with severe physical injuries.
She passed away on 27 Oct. 1945 at the age of 74 in the Israelite Hospital on Schäferkampsallee. According to the death certificate, she died of agranulocytosis, the absence of neutrophils and other granulocytes in the blood. This disease reduces the ability to fight off infections. It can be caused by various factors, including malnutrition.
Emma Weiland was buried in the Stellingen Cemetery in Row Grave II Section D N-336. The grave no longer exists today.
Emma Weiland today has offspring in the fifth generation.
Emma Weiland’s uncle, Marcus Ruben Cohn, was also a merchant. His son Leopold Cohn (see www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de) – her cousin – established a successful wholesale business in grain and animal feed, achieved considerable economic and social success, and became a member of the Board of Directors of the Grain Exchange. In Nov. 1938, his company was forced into liquidation. He and his wife Gertrud were deported to Riga-Jungfernhof on 6 Dec. 1941, where they were murdered. The Hamburg Chamber of Commerce commemorates him with a Stolperstein at Adolphsplatz 1.
His descendants now live in New York.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: September 2020
© Katrin Holtsteger
Quellen: Dokumente aus dem Privatbesitz der Familie; StaH, Amt f. Wiedergutmachung, 351-11_1831; 351-11_1833; Jüdische Gemeinden, 522-1/ Hochdeutschen Israelitengemeinde in Altona:; Verzeichnis der israelitischen Einwohner in Altona mit Index (1860), 158, S. 8. Geburts-, Heirats- und Sterberegister 1866 – 1874, 222 c, S. 40; Geburtenregister 224 a;
https://www.hk24.de/share/flipping-book/4188630/index.html#page/12; https://www.israeliten-luebeck.de/de/juden-von-fackenburg/; https://juedische-geschichte-online.net/thema/familie-und-alltag; http://hup.sub.uni-hamburg.de/volltexte/2008/25/pdf/HamburgUP_HHF03_Lange.pdf
https://www.ik-h.de/ueber-uns/geschichte/; https://www.statistik-des-holocaust.de/list_ger_nwd_43t.html; https://collections.arolsen-archives.org/archive/5128303/?p=1&s=weiland,emma&doc_id=5128303; https://www.ancestry.de/ div.