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Lucie Moses (née Curjel) * 1894
Beim Andreasbrunnen 8 (Hamburg-Nord, Eppendorf)
Lucie Moses, née Curjel, born on 26 June 1894 in Niederrad, deported on 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz, died there on 29 Oct. 1943
Beim Andreasbrunnen 8
Lucie was the only child of the commercial agent for stationary Hermann Curjel and his wife Martha. In 1894, her place of birth, Niederrad, was still an independent town with a population of 5,400; however, the family is not entered in the relevant directories dating from 1891, 1896, and 1900. It is not known when and why the family moved to Hamburg.
In the 1930s, the Curjel couple lived at Abendrothsweg 55, and the company was located on Catharinenstrasse. The grandson, Lucie’s son, recalled that his grandmother was a piano teacher and died in the early 1930s, as did the grandfather.
We have no information about Lucie’s childhood, schooldays, and training. In Aug. 1919, she was married to Kurt Moses, born in Hamburg on 19 June 1895 and the son of Jenny and Alexander Moses (called Süsskind). The Moses family operated a butcher’s shop at Hoheluftchaussee 19. Perhaps the Curjels were customers there and this was how the families became acquainted. The ancestors of both families had been living in Germany for centuries. Susanne Lohmeyer has portrayed the fate of Jenny and Alexander Moses and their three additional children in the volume entitled Stolpersteine in Hamburg-Eimsbüttel.
In May 1921, Lucie and Kurt had a son, Gerhard. Until the early 1930s, they lived at Lenhartzstrasse 9, and then they moved into the house at Beim Andreasbrunnen 8 on the second floor.
In 1983, Gerhard said about his parents’ house in an interview conducted in connection with the exhibition entitled "Als Hamburg erwachte” ("When Hamburg awoke”): "My father was proud of having been a frontline soldier in World War I and that was characteristic of liberal, middle-class Jews. He was apolitical. Before 1933, I never consciously heard my parents talk politics. They did not concern themselves with politics and they had no idea what they were in for, I would venture to say,” adding, "All Jewish acquaintances with whom my parents socialized were people who felt themselves to be Germans, nothing but Germans … And just like other people were Catholic or Protestant, we were [liberal] Jews. We went to the Temple Association (Tempelverband). The temple was first on Poolstrasse and then on Oberstrasse, and we went there twice a year, for the New Year’s celebrations and for fasting, just like others went to church at Christmas. For us, this was purely a question of religion – [to be a] Jew … I can expressly say that I did not sense any anti-Semitism as a child. What did happen indeed is that for certain reasons Jewish children stuck together as well, simply based on the family background. The acquaintances of my parents and my acquaintances at school were in fact mostly Jews.”
Kurt Moses managed a clothing store at Alter Steinweg 1, the "Allgemeine Bekleidungshaus Centrum.” As Gerhard grew up, Lucie also worked at the store. Gerhard remembers her as a loving mother.
On 1 Apr. 1933, the "Centrum” was supposed to be boycotted according to the Nazis’ intention. Gerhard described the situation as follows: "[The store] extended over two houses. Thus, it was quite a front on the first floor, and the SA men first stood at the entrance downstairs and then posted themselves at the entrance upstairs. We had mostly working-class customers because it was a pay-by-installments business and after all, the economic situation was such that quite the popular thing to do in those days was to buy a suit on monthly installments of three to five marks. We had quite a lot to do that day, with many customers calling. My father concentrated the entire customer business to the center, which meant the SA men standing in front of the entrance were permanently forced to see that the store was very full. If I recall properly, they did take off early, not staying until the evening.”
On that day, everything still seems to have gone well. Why should one have been seriously worried? Gerhard said on this score, "After all, my parents had the store, business went well, and basically they did not devote any thought to emigration until 1938 because that did not fit in with their plans at all.” Then, after the November Pogrom of 1938, came the rude awakening, as it did for many other Jews as well. Suffering from a lung condition, Kurt Moses was arrested one morning directly from his lung specialist’s practice. Along with hundreds of other Jewish residents of Hamburg, he was detained in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.
On 2 Dec. 1938, Kurt Moses was released, probably due to his state of health. Did his [Gerhard’s] parents contemplate emigration after this experience? The shock must have been profound. According to the son’s assessment, Kurt’s illness had worsened to such an extent that it would have been impossible to obtain a visa for a host country. In order that at least their child would get to safety, in 1938 they had sent Gerhard on a children transport (Kindertransport) to Britain, where he survived National Socialism and the war. Kurt Moses died on 30 May 1940, just before his forty-fifth birthday, of the delayed effects of his imprisonment. His grave is located in the Ohlsdorf Jewish Cemetery on Ihlandkoppel.
One can glean the economic downfall of the Moses family due to the plundering of their business quite vividly from a file of the Chief Finance Administrator (Oberfinanzpräsident): On 22 Nov. 1938 (Kurt was in prison at the time) notice was given that his company would be put under a "security order” ("Sicherungsanordnung”): Lucie Moses was the authorized signatory but soon afterward she was no longer permitted to set foot in the store. One Mr. Erich Pommerenke, Altona, was appointed "trustee with sole power of representation with the task of continuing to manage the business in the previous framework and preparing the transfer into Aryan hands.” The constantly recurring reasons given in this case, too, were as follows: "Mr. Kurt Moses is a Jew. One has to reckon with him emigrating in the near future. According to experiences gathered recently concerning emigrating Jews, it is therefore necessary to withdraw from the above-mentioned the authority of business management and representation for his trading company. … In accordance with Sec. 3 of the 9th Implementation Decree to the Foreign Currency Law dated 20 Feb. 1937, the costs of this security order are yours to bear.” In the next step, Lucie had to surrender the family car. In vain, she asked to be able to keep it because it was needed for transporting the severely disabled Kurt. In Feb. 1939, an administrative fine of 100,000 RM (reichsmark) was imposed on the company. A breakdown read, "Status as of 31 Mar. 1939; Assets 135,000.61 RM, debts 135,000.61 RM.”
Two months later, Pommerenke reported in a letter to the Chief Finance Administrator that the warehouse had been seized and auctioned off along with the bulk of the fittings and furnishings. The car had also been impounded and was to be auctioned off within a few days, notice of termination had been given for the store premises as of 30 Apr. 1939, and "furthermore, with the approval of the authority, a monthly sum of 200 RM has been paid out to the Moses couple.”
Just how might Lucie Moses have felt after Kurt’s death – widowed, without parents and siblings, with the only son far away…? Gerhard tried to find a job for his mother in Britain in order to enable her to enter the country. Anyone who found a post as a domestic help had a chance to obtain a visa for Great Britain. For Lucie, it was too late. She was expelled from her apartment on Beim Andreasbrunnen and had to move to Ostmarkstrasse 2 (until the Anschluss of Austria in 1938 called Hallerstrasse). Probably, she was enlisted, like all Jewish persons still residing in Hamburg, to perform forced labor, because the occupation indicated for her on the deportation list is "worker.” In the "Litzmannstadt” (Lodz) Ghetto, she lived on Cranachstrasse. The occupation listed for her there was sometimes office employee and at other times worker. Lucie Moses had a job at "Eigene Plantagen.” This involved fields and vegetable patches used for agricultural purposes and located in the immediate vicinity of the ghetto. Due to this employment, she managed to get an exemption from the "resettlement” in May 1942. One and a half years later, on 29 Oct. 1943, 49-year old Lucie Moses died of tuberculosis in the "Litzmannstadt” Ghetto.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: October 2017
© Sabine Brunotte
Quellen: StaH 314-15 OFP, R 1938/3213; Bruhns, Hier war doch alles nicht so schlimm, 1984, Gespräche mit dem Sohn, S. 115, 120, 127; schriftl. Auskunft Gedenkstätte und Museum Sachsenhausen vom 6.11.2008, AZ 2-10/5; Telefongespräch mit dem Sohn vom 6.8.2007; Auskunft Jüdisches Museum Frankfurt/Main, E-Mail vom 2.11.2009; USHMM, RG 15.083 302/336-336, Auskunft Fritz Neubauer, Universität Bielefeld, E-Mail vom 9.6.2010; Auskunft Fritz Neubauer, Universität Bielefeld, E-Mail vom 20.6.2010 (betr. "Eigene Plantagen").
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