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Friedrich Stern * 1890
Geffckenstraße 6 (Hamburg-Nord, Eppendorf)
Friedrich Stern, b. 6.1.1890 in Gütersloh/Wiedenbrück County, deported to Minsk on 11.8.1941
Mathilde Stern, née Grünebaum, b. 3.21.1892 in Bürgel, deported to Minsk on 11.8.1941
Meyer Friedrich Stern, son of the horse trader Max Stern, grew up with his brothers Alfred and Hermann in the Horstkotte House on Bahnhofstrasse in Gütersloh. His mother Sara Stern, née Jonas, came from Dortmund. The family was quite musical. Early on the brothers received piano lessons, presumably from their aunt who was a piano teacher.
Friedrich’s brother Hermann struck out on a musical career and became a pianist. His two-year older brother Alfred died in 1898 at ten years of age. Friedrich attended elementary school and afterward went for an apprenticeship to the Levy firm in neighboring Lippspringe (25 miles away). After completing his training, the firm took him on as a commercial clerk. At 21, in 1911, he did his military service and in 1914 took part in World War I as an officer.
In 1920, Friedrich Stern moved to Hamburg and in June established, together with Otto Stern, Minna Rosenberg, and Joseph Hartmann, "Friedrich M. Stern & Co. LLC, Artificial Silk Wares." The firm represented big textile companies, among others the Bemberg firm of Wuppertal-Oberbarmen. Bemberg-Silk was, in the 1920s and 1930s, the height of elegant artificial silk stockings for women; Marlene Dietrich advertised for them in the illustrated magazines and on billboards.
Friedrich Stern ran his premises in the prestigious Streits-Hof. Two months later, in August, he separated from his partners for unknown reasons. He changed his entry in the commercial registry to "Friedrich M. Stern.” In Barmbek at Pestalozzistrasse 10, he opened a shop for women’s lingerie which employed two saleswomen. Next door the widow Luise Kronshage ran a laundry. They divided the apartment above the shops. In 1933, Stern sold the shop again and limited himself to representing linens and artificial silk items. Together with Luise Kronshage he moved into a four-room apartment at Husumer Strasse 2. He established an office and ran his business dealings from there. In 1936, Luise Kronshage and Friedrich Stern parted ways. (The Nuremberg Laws had outlawed "racial defilement” in 1935.) He moved into a sublet on Gosslerstrasse (today Eppendorfer Weg), while she kept the apartment on Husumer Strasse.
In July 1939, Fritz Stern was 49 years old when he married Mathilde Grünebaum. She came from Bürgel, today a city district of Offenbach am Main. Karl Grüenebaum, her father, worked there as a tailor. Her mother, Amalia, née Kahn, was listed in the personal registry as a hawker.
In 1911, the twenty-one year old Mathilde Grünebaum left her parents‘ house and moved to Frankfurt, presumably to look for work or begin some kind of job training. Later she lived and worked in Hamburg and Berlin as a buyer. It is probable that Mathilde Grünebaum and Friedrich Stern met through her occupation. He sold his wares in textile and lingerie shops; she was responsible for selection and purchasing.
The two newlyweds rented an apartment from the widow Selma Horwitz at Lenhartzstrasse 14. They could not manage a home of their own. A year later, in December 1940, they moved into a room in a villa at Geffckenstrasse 6. Originally a one-family dwelling, the owner in 1935 subdivided it into four units. The basement apartment was occupied by the hawker, Elise Peters, and her family. In the apartments on the ground, second, and third floors lived Jewish families. Elise Peters recalled: "In the following period there were fairly frequent turnovers in rentals, because the Jewish families frequently were concerned about their emigration. If I remember correctly, a married couple named Stern were subletters in the house at Geffckenstrasse 6, certainly from Kahn …. The apartment on the second floor consisted of three and one half rooms, a kitchen, and bath. As far as I know, the Stern couple sublet a room at the front, and, no doubt, with use of the kitchen and adjacent toilet." The beautiful furniture, piano, and collected paintings had to be gradually sold off in order for Stern to keep going. When the couple received their "evacuation order” to Minsk in November, they sold their last possessions so as not to be wholly without money for the "trip.”
Margarethe Messmer, a friend of Friedrich Stern’s youth, wanted to visit at the end of November 1941. Later, she recounted for the reparations proceedings: "When I arrived, I discovered that Friedrich Stern no longer was in Hamburg. He had been, as residents of the house related, taken away. They said he was quite composed, Friedrich was very religious; his wife, however, wept. Therefore, I did not see the apartment in Geffckenstrasse; it was sealed.”
Friedrich and Mathilde Stern vanished in Minsk. His mother, Sara Stern, who lived in a Jewish old people’s home in Bielefeld since 1938, was at 84 years of age deported to Theresienstadt in July 1942, where she died on 17 November 1942. His brother Hermann, who had gone blind, survived in a concentration camp. Commemorative stones for Friedrich Stern and his mother Sara Stern, née Jonas, were placed at Eickhoffstrasse 17 in Gütersloh.
Translator: Richard Levy
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: January 2019
© Maria Koser
Quellen: 1; 4; 5; 8; AfW 260792 Stern, Hermann; Recherche und Auskunft Anjali Pujari, Haus der Stadtgeschichte, Offenbach am Main vom 13.4.2010; Recherche und Auskunft Stephan Grimm, Stadtarchiv Gütersloh vom 15.4. und 20.4.2010.
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