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Gella Streim * 1881
Horstlooge 35 (Wandsbek, Volksdorf)
Gella Auguste Streim, b. 12.16.1881 in Hamburg, deported to Lodz on 10.25.1941
The Hamburg schoolteacher lived at Haus Horstlooge 35 since 1939.
Since 1905, Gella Streim had taught at various Hamburg schools. The directory of teachers traces her work activity without interruption until 1933. Thereafter, the entries are missing. She was, according to the "Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service" forcibly pensioned off. In spite of 28 years of service, she was now compelled to live on minimal payments for the rest of her life. Her communal religion tax record for the German Israelite Congregation of Hamburg documents frequent changes of address from one sublet to another. At the national census of May 1939, she lived with her brother Iwan (b. 1886), his wife Edith (b. 1898) and daughter Alice (b. 1926). Their membership dues for the Jewish Congregation approached zero. After passage of the Reich Law concerning Rental Conditions of Jews on 30 April 1939, the freedom for Jews to choose residences was abolished. Gella Streim and the married couple, Clara and Theodor Tuch, were assigned to rent rooms from the landlady Jordan.
There is no trace of more precise knowledge that would reveal the life that Gella Streim may have led. Her name appears on lists, at the end, only as a number in the Hamburg Teacher Directory, published by the Society of the Friends of the Fatherland’s School and Educational System, from 1905 to 1933; then as no. 6904 on the communal religion tax record of the German Israelite Congregation of Hamburg; as no. 924 on the Gestapo "evacuation list" of 10.21.1941 for the deportation transport to Lodz (Litzmannstadt) which departed on 25 October.
A few weeks after Gella Streim had left Haus Horstlooge 35, her rental neighbor and comrade in suffering, Theodor Tuch, began to write down notes for his daughter Edith Blumenfeld in Seattle (USA). In these notes, Gella Streim appears as the "third party." The 60-year old Gella Streim was summoned for the first great deportation, while the older residents waited for the "elder transport" to Theresienstadt. Gella Streim’s fate unleashed bewilderment and horror in those left behind — feelings also describing their own future.
Tuch noted on 22 December 1941: "Today they fetched the things of the third party, who is in Poland (since 10.24 and who has not written or has not been permitted to write any plausible letter). Mother was very depressed when the convertible sofa went away. The third party’s brother had spent much effort on many a Sunday working artfully with cast-off lumber to put it together. Also the electric kettle that the third party had saved for and the carpets and the beautiful quilts, in short everything to the last pinhead went away." Three weeks later, he wrote: "Regarding the third party in Litzmannstadt. A card that Clara had sent there came back with the postal notation: ‘Return. In the street of the addressee, no mail delivery takes place at this time.’ That is deeply revealing." (1.16.42).
With this card sent from Lodz back to Hamburg-Volksdorf the last sign of the life of Gella Streim evaporates. Her brother, her sister-in-law, and her niece were likewise deported to Lodz. All four died there.
In 2003, the Walddörf Church choir of Hamburg-Volksdorf traveled to Lodz in Poland and there remembered Gella Streim during a memorial service.
Translator: Richard Levy
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: January 2019
© Ursula Pietsch
Quellen: 1; 4; StaH 522-1, Jüdische Gemeinden, 922 e Deportationslisten vom 21.10.1941; Theodor Tuch: An meine Tochter, Aufzeichnungen eines Hamburger Juden 1941/42, hrsg, von Ursula Randt, in: Bulletin des Leo Baeck Instituts, Jerusalem 1985, S.6-32; Hamburger Lehrerverzeichnis 1905-33, hrsg. von der Gesellschaft der Freunde des Vaterländischen Schul- und Erziehungswesens; Bundesarchiv Berlin, R 1509, Ergänzungskarten für Angaben über Abstammung (Volkszählung v. 17.5.1939), Wohnortliste Hamburg.
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