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Helene Burchard
© Ellen Broido, Johannesburg

Helene Julie Burchard (née Warburg) * 1877

Feldbrunnenstraße 21 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)

1942 Auschwitz

further stumbling stones in Feldbrunnenstraße 21:
Dr. Edgar Burchard, Margarethe Guradze, Hedda Guradze

Helene Burchard, née Warburg, born 19.9.1877 in Altona, deported 11.7.1942 to Auschwitz, murdered

Dr. Edgar Burchard, born 6.7.1879 in Breslau, escaped to his death on 10.7.1942 in Hamburg

Feldbrunnenstraße 21

Edgar Burchard and his wife Helene, née Warburg, lived from 1914 to 1938 at Feldbrunnenstraße 21 in Hamburg-Rotherbaum in the neighborhood of many lawyers and politicians. Albert Warburg (23.6.1843 - 19.2.1919), Helene's father, had purchased the house in 1913. He belonged to the less prominent branch of the long-established Jewish Warburg family, namely the Altona branch, not to its Hamburg line with its well-known members Aby, the art historian (1866 - 1929), and Max, the banker (1867 - 1946), or others who were active in science and politics.

Albert Warburg's wife Margaretha, née Rindskopf (23.11.1856 - April 1943), called Gerta, came from the Netherlands. Their oldest daughter, was Helene Julie, born 19.9.1877, called Ellen. She was followed by Ada Sophie (11.9.1878), Betty (27.9.1881), and in 1884 by their only son, Wilhelm, who died of diphtheria at the age of seven.

The children grew up in a stately atmosphere. The father ran the banking house W. S. Warburg, was a member of parliament of the oppositional liberal German Progress Party in Prussia, chairman of the High German Jewish Community of Altona and held other offices. His mother ran her villa at Palmaille 33 with the help of numerous employees in a social style that was cultivated in France or with dinners in Berlin salons. Young officers of the Altona garrison and young assessors of the court were invited to the balls. Here the daughters grew into a stimulating city life.

In addition to school, which the children dutifully attended, home tutors and governesses for English and French supplemented the lessons, and their artistic inclinations were encouraged by artists. To their mother's chagrin, none of the daughters showed any musical talent. They received the social polish from herself. Daughter Helene shared her father's love of nature.

In addition to their home, Albert and Margaretha Warburg, like other wealthy merchants, maintained a summer house in Großflottbek at Jenischpark with a large garden. There Gerta Warburg had a studio set up where she could paint undisturbed. She had a special relationship with Ernst Barlach (1870-1938), whom she supported and also visited in his studio in Güstrow, and another with Edvard Munch, who portrayed Helene/Ellen in 1905. (The painting is part of the Edvard Munch collection at the Kunsthaus Zürich).

Edgar Burchard, a law student, was invited to one of the balls at the Palmaille. Two years younger than Helene Warburg, he fell in love with her "at first sight," according to family lore, wooed her with charm, humor and knowledge, and impressed her with a smack on the left cheek. However, the marriage was prevented by the fact that he had not yet completed his education, was younger than the bride and that his father rejected a mixed marriage with a Jewish woman.

Eduard Walter Edgar Burchard (born 6.7.1879 in Breslau) came from a Protestant Reformed family of physicians in Prussian service. His father, August Albert Burchard, (born 10.2.1845 in Breslau) worked as a medical councillor in Breslau. On October 20, 1872, he married Anna Windmüller (born 18.7.1850 in Breslau) in the court church in Breslau. The Prussian church was uniate, i.e. it united Lutherans and Reformed. Both of Edgar Burchard's parents belonged to it, the mother Anna as a convert.

Their first child, Bertha Martha (born 28.10.1875) remained the only daughter. The youngest child was Oswald (born 16.1.1883). (Martha later married the surgeon Hans Wagner and remained in Breslau. After his death in 1904, her trace is lost).

Unlike in Hamburg, Jews in Prussia possessed civil rights since the enactment of the Judenedikt in 1812, regardless of whether they were baptized or not. Apart from state offices and the military, all professions were open to them. Many became doctors, as did Edgar Burchard's ancestors.

Edgar and his brother Oswald attended school in Breslau until they were ready for university and then studied law there. One of Edgar Burchard's professors, the jurist and writer Felix Dahn, influenced the national-liberal thinking of his time with his historical work "A Struggle for Rome" and also made a lasting impression on Edgar Burchard. Edgar joined the "Wratislavia", a non-color-bearing student fraternity that exempted its members from the Mensur. Nothing is known about later contacts with fraternity brothers. Further training of assessors took place at various courts. It led Edgar Burchard to Altona and Kiel.

Helene/Ellen and Edgar were able to overcome the obstacle of a mixed marriage that stood in the way of their marriage: she converted to Christianity before her marriage, which in Hamburg traditionally meant joining the Lutheran Church. She was baptized at St. Catherine's Church on May 12, 1905, and the couple was married there on May 25, 1905. The civil marriage had taken place on May 23, 1905 in Altona, where she still lived with her parents at Palmaille 33. Their fathers, Sanitätsrat Albert Burchard from Breslau and Geheime Kommerzienrat Albert Warburg from Altona attended as witnesses. Both supported their children financially in establishing their own households.

From this it appears that he was tall, had dark brown hair, gray eyes, a round face, and had a mensur scar as a distinguishing feature. Details about the use of this passport are not known; it may have been for the honeymoon. According to a later passport, Helene Burchard was of medium build, had black hair, brown eyes, and an oval face.

After his marriage, Eduard Burchard was initially employed at the land registry on Helgoland. This was followed by employment in Kiel. There Helene Burchard gave birth to her first child, Gertrud Anna (born 2.5.1906). Around the same time, the lawyer Ernst Siegfried Guradze, whom Edgar Burchard may have already met as a court assessor in Altona, lived in Kiel with his wife Margarethe, their son Hans Werner Manfred and their daughters Elisabeth, called Ise (born 1902), and Hedda (born 1904). Margarethe and Hedda Guradze moved in 1934 as tenants to Edgar and Helene Burchard in Ferdinandstraße.

Edgar and Helene Burchard returned to Hamburg and moved into a small rented apartment at Magdalenenstraße 54 in Hamburg-Rotherbaum. Gertrud's siblings were born there: Albert Edgar (4.1.1908), Oswald Ernst (3.10.1909) and Marie Betty (12.1.1912). Gertrud was baptized in March 1906 at St. Johanniskirche in Eppendorf and started school in April after Betty's birth. Edgar Burchard gave up his legal practice and became managing director of Hanseatische Pflanzenbutterwerke GmbH, which was founded in 1910 and produced and distributed various margarine brands.

Albert Warburg generously provided his daughters Helene and Ada with dowries and living space. For Ada, married since 1908 to the engineer Ernst Martienssen (born 1875), her father purchased the house at Mittelweg 106 in Harvestehude in 1911, where she lived with her four children until her husband's death in 1927. Ada also became a Protestant like her husband.

In 1913 Albert Warburg bought another house, Feldbrunnenstraße 21 in Rotherbaum, where Helene Burchard moved in with her family. This house became the family's home until Helene and Edgar Burchard moved out in 1938. Helene also brought the furnishings, carpets, pictures, silverware, dishes, linens and jewelry with her into the marriage.

After the move - before the start of World War I - Albert was enrolled in school, Oswald and Marie followed during the war. The daughters Helene and Ada began their elementary school years at "Frl. Henckel's Lyzeum" on the Moorweide, the sons Albert and Oswald at the Gustav Bertram School in the Esplanade, which was also private.

Before Albert and Gerta Warburg sold their houses in Altona and Groß Flottbek before the end of World War I, the garden provided vegetables and fruit for their children and, by now, eight grandchildren, which especially helped them survive the "turnip winter" of 1917. Edgar Burchard worked as a merchant for the branch of the French company D. Becot & Cie. during the First World War, but his income was not enough to support the family.

Meanwhile confined to a wheelchair, Albert Warburg and his wife moved into an apartment at the Hotel Esplanade on Stephansplatz, not far from their daughters and grandchildren. He died there on February 19, 1919, and was buried in the Jewish Cemetery on Königstraße in Altona-Altstadt.

Albert Warburg kept his assets - real estate and securities - together in a will, for the execution of which he appointed two administrators. His widow became the sole heir to the capital, after which his three daughters would inherit and only after them the grandchildren. In this way, he also ensured the continued cohesion of his daughters among themselves and with their mother. Gerta Warburg resumed her Dutch citizenship.

In December 1919 she acquired a family grave in the municipal cemetery Ohlsdorf, whose gravestone was designed by Ernst Barlach. Albert Warburg's urn was reburied there in January 1920. Gerta Warburg also bought a house at Hochallee 5 for herself and her unmarried daughter Betty, who later set up her medical practice there (see

Edgar Burchard's brother Oswald, who had a doctorate in law and was a public prosecutor in Berlin, served as a volunteer in the Kaiser's army. After his return from the war, he married Franziska Elisabeth, née Lange (born 4.10.1891 in Hamburg) by profession a welfare worker, in the same year in Hamburg, on September 9, 1919. She was a Lutheran. Their first son was born in Berlin on June 16, 1920.

When new positions were created at the district court in Hamburg, Oswald Burchard applied, was hired on the basis of his impeccable evaluations at the stations of his previous professional career, and had himself transferred to Hamburg. His application for naturalization in Hamburg was made swiftly on October 19, 1920, giving up his Prussian citizenship. The family moved to Isestraße 53 in Hamburg-Harvestehude. A second son was born there (4.8.1921), followed by a daughter (26.4.1924).

The First World War ended the previous life of Edgar and Helene Burchard with its sociability and staff. Only the cook remained. Helene had already used the dining room as a classroom after the Hunger Winter, when there was no heating material and the children therefore had no school lessons, and invited her children's teachers to teach there.

Edgar Burchard's protestant rigor, which had met her liberal Jewish spirit when she married, had nevertheless affected her life, secular as it was. Helene did not adhere to any faith, and the children were brought up areligiously. They did not learn that there were Jews and that they belonged to them from the point of view of the anti-Semites.

Only daughter Gertrud found her way into the Lutheran church and was confirmed in 1922 in the St. Johanniskirche in Eppendorf. The inflation of 1923 destroyed a large part of Albert Warburg's assets. Nevertheless, Gertrud Burchard studied biology at Hamburg University; she financed her studies herself mainly through private tutoring.

Edgar Burchard could no longer support his family and fell ill. As a way out, he offered to remodel the apartment and rent rooms to Englishmen who could pay in foreign currency. Helene Burchard also took over the care of the tenants' clothes for a fee.

Edgar Burchard's economic situation improved when he became co-owner of the company Adolf Dannenberg Nachf., an export and import business for iron. His taxable income now amounted to 6000 marks annually, which finally enabled him to have himself and his family naturalized. On November 8, 1924, they were also naturalized, as his younger brother's had been four years earlier. In the same year, Edgar Burchard left the company again and went into business for himself.

Thanks to Edgar Burchard's lucrative professional activity, he and his wife were able to forego the rental income and once again hired a house help. In addition, they took out a mortgage to furnish a full apartment with kitchen and bathroom on the second floor of the house.

Sanitätsrat Albert Burchard and his wife Anna, Edgar and Oswald Burchard's parents, moved to Hamburg in the mid-1920s to Moorweidenstraße 4 to be near their eldest son Edgar and grandchildren, whose childhoods had until then been largely shaped by their Warburg grandparents. Anna Burchard died on November 26, 1926 at the home of her daughter-in-law Helene/Ellen. Albert Burchard then moved in with his family on Feldbrunnenstraße.

Marie still attended the elementary school of "Frl." Henckel at Moorweide when her grandfather moved in with them. She transferred to the Klosterschule in 1927, leaving in 1930 with the Unterprimareife, without following vocational training.

Albert and Oswald Burchard had school difficulties that weighed heavily on their parents, especially since neither showed any interest in banking. They became merchants.

Gertrud earned a Dr. rer. nat. degree from the University of Hamburg in 1928 with a thesis on "Contributions to the Knowledge of Parasitic Fungi," which was published in the Phytopathological Journal in 1929. She left Hamburg to work for the "Notgemeinschaft der Deutschen Wissenschaft", researched a fungal disease (fusariosis of the stalk base) widespread on cereals at the "Institut für Pflanzenkrankheiten" in Bonn-Poppelsdorf, and lectured there. In 1931, she went to Kitzingen am Main to qualify in poultry breeding at the district teaching institute there. In October of that year she married Alexander Wenzel, a non-Jew who had a doctorate in agronomy. She also belonged to the Society of Naturalists and Physicians as an active member. When her grandfather Albert Burchard died on August 16, 1932, she had already moved to Gruiten an der Düssel in the Rhineland, where she and her husband ran a farm and poultry breeding business. There Gertrud Wenzel gave birth to a son on Nov. 23, 1933, the 76th birthday of her grandmother Gerta Warburg.

Other drastic events for the Burchard family in 1931 were Oswald's emigration to Cairo and Marie's marriage with eleven years her senior Alfred Ehrhardt, a lecturer at the Hamburg Landeskunstschule. Their son Klaus was born in 1932. When the couple separated in 1933, he stayed with his father who placed him in the care of an educator. Marie Ehrhardt lived until the divorce in 1934 as an intern at Bethlehem Hospital on Anscharplatz. She was divorced without fault. She then worked as a travel companion for the Hamburg-America Line on trips to New York.

She obtained the return of her son to her, who had become difficult due to the separation from the mother. and initially went with him as a helper to an anthroposophical curative and educational institute Lauenstein near Jena. After a few months she changed to an institution in the Netherlands as an assistant gardener, which suited her son better. There she received a visit from her Amsterdam-born grandmother, Gerta Warburg, who persuaded her to return to her parents in Hamburg.

There was not only enough room for her and her son, but also for female tenants. Since April 1, 1934, Margarethe Guradze, who was separated from her husband, Dr. jur. Ernst Guradze, a district court councilor living in Wiesbaden, lived with them, together with her daughter Hedda, a librarian at the bookstore in Mönckebergstraße. Both were Jewish.

Since the Edgar and Oswald Burchard families were assimilated Jews and not members of the Jewish community, they initially remained unaffected by the anti-Jewish measures of the Nazi government. However, with the Nuremberg Race Laws of September 1935, Helene Burchard was classified as a "full Jew" and her husband Edgar as a "half-Jew" or "Mischling 1st degree." That is, their marriage was treated as Jewish. Their children were "three-quarter Jews" and were classified as "Geltungsjuden," treated as "Volljuden."

Their daughter Gertrud now lived in a mixed marriage, which offered her and her children temporary protection. Marie prepared herself for possible emigration. Her unclear status as a "Geltungsjüdin," who was the mother of a son with an "Aryan" father, did not allow her to take up the desired profession as a kindergarten teacher, but she was able to attend a commercial school and gain work experience at a bank. Her son was in good hands with his grandparents.

On June 24, 1936, Gertrud Wenzel-Burchard's daughter was born, in the same year Albert Burchard Jr. left Germany and emigrated to Johannesburg.

Edgar Borchard's brother, District Court Administrator Oswald Burchard, also a "Mischling 1st degree", married to a non-Jewish woman, escaped dismissal from civil service. His transfer in 1936 from the district court to the land registry office as its head can be understood as a persecution measure, but also as a protective measure.

Edgar and Helene Burchard moved with their complete household to nearby Innocentiastraße 78 in 1938/39, Marie emigrated to Melbourne with her son. Their property in Feldbrunnenstraße remained in the family for a short time until new owners and tenants changed several times from 1941. Edgar Burchard suffered a stroke with hemiplegia and inability to work as a result. He recovered just enough to be able to assist his wife.

In 1939 Edgar and Helene Burchard had to become compulsory members of the Jüdischer Religionsverband e. V., as the Jewish Community now had to call itself, i.e. the present district office of the compulsory organization of the Reich Association of Jews in Germany.

This was connected with the declaration of her assets. Helene Burchard had none because her mother was heiress to the estate of her father Albert Warburg. It had an approximate value of half a million Reichsmarks, which was fixed in real estate and securities. One of the executors had emigrated, and the other alone had no power of disposal over the assets. The Chief Finance President ordered the "safeguarding" of the assets and collected the compulsory Jewish taxes at the expense of Helene Burchard's inheritance, which they now had to pay.

Edgar Burchard declared assets that amounted to RM 160,000 as of January 1, 1935, and was retroactively charged a tax for the Jewish Community of RM 700. (Until 1939, the cult tax was calculated and paid in advance according to the income tax paid to the tax office). The renewed levy of the tax on assets and compulsory contributions to the Nazi state reduced Edgar Burchard's assets to RM 70,000 as of January 1, 1940. The advance payment of the cult tax for 1942 was assessed at RM 472.50, as the Jewish Community now levied a surcharge on its part.

On May 8, 1940, Gerta Warburg returned to the land of her birth, accompanied by her youngest daughter Betty. One day later, the German Wehrmacht occupied the Netherlands and successively introduced the anti-Jewish measures there as well, on the basis of which her middle daughter Ada was imprisoned for three weeks in Fuhlsbüttel Prison on May 17, 1940 for illegal radio listening.

District Court Councillor Oswald Burchard died on October 11, 1940, in the Eppendorf University Hospital in Hamburg. His son Jürgen was drafted into the Wehrmacht in 1941 and died as a soldier in the same year at the age of 20. The death of her husband Ernst Martienssen in 1927 removed the protection that an existing mixed marriage would have offered his widow Ada. In January 1944, she was deported to Theresienstadt ghetto for an alleged "work assignment," which she survived.

At the end of 1940, Helene and Edgar Burchard also gave up their apartment at 78 Innocentiastraße and were quartered by the Jewish Community in a one-and-a-half room apartment at Kleine Papagoyenstraße 1 in Altona. They sent surplus furniture to their daughter Gertrud Wenzel-Buchard. They furnished the apartment tastefully and helped to care for an elderly roommate, thanks in part to Gertrud's food parcels. The contact did not break off, Edgar and Helene Burchard visited their daughter, Helene knitted for the grandchildren, Edgar Burchard drew postcards with pictures of mice for the grandchildren and inscribed them with stories.

On July 9, 1942, the Gestapo order for "evacuation" arrived at Edgar and Helene Burchard's home for departure on July 11, 1942. It did not include a destination. Edgar Burchard had made provisions for this eventuality in order to take his own life; he took a high dose of Veronal sleeping pills. His sister-in-law Ada Martienssen was summoned, and Helene Burchard accompanied her husband to the Israelite Hospital at Johnsallee 68. There, despite all life-saving measures, he died on July 10, 1942. He was buried in the municipal cemetery at Ohlsdorf.

Helene Burchard did not give up hope for a good end. She was transported away on July 11, 1942. Still at the Hanover train station, she wrote a postcard to her daughter Gertrud Wenzel-Burchard before the train left, saying that she was equipped with warm winter clothing and a sleeping bag and had taken knitting needles with her so that she could perhaps earn something. She would always think of her children and grandchildren and believed in a good end.

Edgar Burchard's last mouse card to his beloved grandchildren and their mother ended
"The mice-ahne sinks into the grave
And looks down blessingly on the grandchildren."

The destination of the deportation transport of July 11, 1942, as we know today, was Auschwitz-Birkenau. The participants were not registered there and were murdered without exception, among them also Helene Burchard.

This was also not yet known when Marie Ehrhardt, née Burchard, submitted a search request for her mother Helene to the International Red Cross from Melbourne in 1946, which was rejected.

With their "departure to the East," the deportees lost their German citizenship and their assets fell to the state. Helene Burchard's household inventory was auctioned off and the proceeds transferred to the treasury of the Chief Finance President. Particularly valuable individual items such as paintings or carpets were not separately accounted for.

In November 1942, Alexander Wenzel died during the encirclement of Stalingrad. His widow stood her ground against strong hostility and lived through the end of the war in Gruiten. In 1951 she emigrated with her children to Australia and returned to Europe in 1963, but never to Germany, after her children had settled in Australia.

After the expiration of the resting period, Edgar Burchard's grave was cleared above ground, and due to "garden landscaping changes" the grave location no longer exists either.

Translation Beate Meyer

Stand: March 2024
© Hildegard Thevs

Quellen: 1, 2, 4, 5, 9; Hamburger Adressbücher; StaHH 213-13_11633; 242-1_252; 314-15, R 1939/569; 331-5 Polizeiwesen, 3 Akte 1942/1147; 332-5 Personenstandsregister; 332-7, Staatsangehörigkeit, B III, 540/1924; 332-7332-8 Melderegister; 351-11, 3440, 3441; 522-1, 992 d Band 4, 992 e 2 Band 4; Arolsen Archives, Abruf 30.2.2022; Friedhof Ohlsdorf, E-Mail 15.3.2022; Gertrud Wenzel-Burchard, Granny, Hamburg, 1971; Heiko Morisse, Ausgrenzung und Verfolgung der Hamburger Juristen im Nationalsozialismus, Band 2, Beamtete Juristen, Göttingen 2013; submitter=suchen&BIO_ID=929; true&referrerPosition=0&referrerResultId=%22Burchard%22+and+%22Edgar%22%26any&query=idn%3D117295299,, Abruf 30.2.2022;;;; Abruf 5.4.2022;; 20.4.2022;
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