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Already layed Stumbling Stones

Fanny Meiberg (née Stiefel) * 1872

Kleiner Schäferkamp 32 (Eimsbüttel, Eimsbüttel)

19.7.1942 deportiert nach Theresienstadt
16.10.1943 dort verstorben

further stumbling stones in Kleiner Schäferkamp 32:
Lina Bähr, Rudolf Bähr, Esther Bähr, Frida Dannenbaum, Frieda Meiberg, Julius Meiberg, Manfred Meiberg, Ruth Meiberg, Ellen Weiss, Gerda Weiss, Louis Weiss, Martha Weiss

Fanny Meiberg, née Stiefel, born on 6 Jan. 1872, deported on 19 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, died on 16 Oct. 1943 in Theresienstadt
Julius Meiberg, born on 4 June 1897, deported on 19 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, murdered on 28 Sept. 1944 in Auschwitz
Frieda Meiberg, née Birnbaum, born on 11 Dec. 1903, deported on 19 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, murdered on 4 Oct. 1944 in Auschwitz
Ruth Meiberg, born on 27 May 1932, deported 19 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, murdered on 4 Oct. 1944 in Auschwitz
Manfred Meiberg, born on 5 Nov. 1934, deported on 19 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, murdered on 4 Oct. 1944 in Auschwitz

Kleiner Schäferkamp 32

On the mother’s side, the Meiberg family was among those Jewish residents of Wandsbek that can be documented there for three generations. Fanny Meiberg was born in Wandsbek on 6 Jan. 1872 as the daughter of the butcher Isaac Stiefel (born in 1843) and Jeanette, née Leon (born in 1831). She also had an older brother, Henry (born in 1870), and a younger sister, Hanna (born in 1874).

The center of the Leon, Stiefel, and Meiberg families’ lives was Langereihe street in Wandsbek, also the location of the synagogue. Toward the end of the 1890s, Fanny Stiefel married Meyer Meyberg (only the following generation bore the name of Meiberg). The couple left Wandsbek probably for the rural environs of Bremen, since their two sons, Julius (in 1897) and Gustav (in 1900) were born in Aumund and Vegesack respectively. It is not known just when they returned to Wandsbek. The family was religious, and according to the grandson (Meir) Mike Meiberg, Meyer Meyberg worked at Jewish (religious) schools all his life.

The older son, Julius, worked as a commercial clerk and office employee and since 1926 as a senior shipping clerk and warehouse supervisor in a managing position at the Rudolf Reich Company in Hamburg. The enterprise with headquarters at Neuer Wall 41 was active in importing and exporting lacquer and paint raw materials, operating its own production of white lead pigment as well as an oil of turpentine distillation.

In 1929, Julius Meiberg married Frieda, née Birnbaum, who was born in Hannover in 1903. The couple moved into a home in Wandsbek at Langereihe 57, where Julius’ brother Gustav was also registered with the authorities as a resident, then moved to Langereihe 47 in 1930, and relocated to Hamburg that same year. In Hamburg, daughter Ruth was born on 27 May 1932 and son Manfred on 5 Nov. 1934. The family had become members of the Jewish Community and joined the Synagogue Association (Synagogenverband) of the Bornplatz Synagogue. The Meibergs moved several times within Hamburg and according to the Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) card file, they were registered with the authorities as residing at Klosterallee 61, at Heidberg 53, and eventually at Grindelallee 134.

In 1937, Meyer Meiberg passed away. His widow, Fanny Meiberg, left Wandsbek and moved in with her son Julius’ family in Hamburg, where she also joined the Jewish Community. She was registered with the authorities as residing at Heidberg 53, then at Isestrasse 63, and at Klosterallee 67 (with Isenberg). In 1939, she moved to Grindelallee 134.

In 1938, Julius Meiberg lost his job. The Jewish company owners Rudolf Reich and Ernst Cohn were already living abroad and had their female general manager process the sale of their business. After new owners had taken over the company, all Jewish employees were forced to leave the company by about Oct. 1938. It is not known just how the family earned a living after that time. Possibly, the Meibergs received benefits from the Jewish welfare office. Julius Meiberg was employed on the cemetery of the Jewish Community in Ohlsdorf, where his father had been buried. His statement, which he made to the police as head of the cemetery office on 1.12.1941, has become known to the files. Albert Hirsch had been found dead in the men's toilet of the cemetery. He had hanged himself there in order to escape the impending deportation.

Julius’ brother Gustav Meiberg, a World War I veteran, merchant, and by then a cook, had lived with his aunt, Hanna Stiefel, in Wandsbek at Langereihe 57. That he too was connected to Jewry is shown by his work in the Wandsbek Jewish Community, where he served as a head of the Jewish Community in 1926, being a member until the early 1930s when he moved to Hamburg. He worked as a cook of kosher meals on ships of the Norddeutsche Lloyd shipping line that sailed from Bremerhaven to New York. In 1932, he and Charlotte Gabel, his future wife, participated in the first Jewish Olympic Games in Palestine – the Maccabiah Games: Gustav (Guschi) as a sprinter in the 100 meters; Charlotte as a hockey player. They returned to Hamburg where they were married on 10 June 1934. In Sept. of that same year, they emigrated to Palestine. Their last address in Hamburg was Wendenstrasse 337. At first, the married couple lived in Tel Aviv, where they opened a (kosher) restaurant, and subsequently they moved to Haifa. They had two children, Tirza and Meir. On the occasion of Tirza’s birth in 1937, her grandmother Fanny Meiberg visited the family in Palestine, though returning to Hamburg that same year because – as Mike Meiberg related – she did not wish to leave her older son’s family behind all by themselves.

The married couple Julius and Frieda Meiberg was also considering plans to emigrate. However, a family with two little children and modest funds was unable to react particularly flexibly, especially since the possibilities of finding a host country were limited. As for the children Ruth and Manfred, an opportunity arose to get them to safety in France by way of a children transport (Kindertransport). In early 1939, the father had filled out the questionnaire for emigrants and subsequently, the expert’s report was on file at the Stadthaus passport office, i.e., at Hamburg Gestapo headquarters. They received the "tax clearance certificate” ("Unbedenklichkeitsbescheinigung") on 13 Jan. 1939. A short while afterward, the children – six and four years old – were allowed to depart. A note on the Jewish religious tax file card read "January 1939 to Paris.” Thus, Ruth and Manfred Meiberg were among the 700 children to whom France granted asylum after the November Pogrom of 1938. The OSE aid organization [French: Œuvre de Secours aux Enfants; English: Children’s Aid Society] active there pursued the rescue of Jewish children. At the outset, three- to 15-year-old children were fetched from Germany and accommodated in four specially furnished homes in Montmorency, some 16 kilometers (10 miles) north of Paris. The initial plan was to integrate them into public schools after a year; however, after Paris had been occupied by German troops on 10 June 1940, the Jewish children became refugees once more and they were evacuated to Southwestern France.

In the meantime, the Meiberg parents in Hamburg had tried to push ahead with their own emigration. At the end of Mar. 1939, the main branch of the Reichsbank informed the foreign currency office in Hamburg that the family’s moving goods had been shipped. The country of destination was China. The plan did not materialize, but in late 1939 – war was already raging – Julius and Frieda Meiberg undertook a second attempt, now involving the plan to emigrate to Chile. The "tax clearance certificate” was issued by the foreign currency office on 3 Jan. 1940, after the tax office had already given its green light in November, and the moving goods had been estimated and checked. However, the plan failed once again, be it that the Chilean authorities generally stopped immigration at that very moment of all times, in early 1940; or be it because the family was unable to meet possible demands for bribes from consular staff. An open secret among the Hamburg emigrants, entry visas to Central and South American countries required payments. More likely, however, the emigration plans were delayed for reasons connected with the fate of the Meiberg children in France. For since June 1940, news from Paris clearly gave cause for concern. A "Jewish affairs department” ("Judenreferat”) had been established that immediately set out to order anti-Jewish measures. Under these circumstances, many parents considered their children’s return or actually fetched them home. On 5 Dec. 1940, Ruth and Manfred too returned to Hamburg – this emerges from an entry on the Jewish religious tax file card. In this way, unfortunately they were not among the numerous Jewish children who, departing from France, found refuge in the USA in 1941/42 and were saved.

Apparently, the Meibergs did not pursue any further plans to emigrate, even though in terms of the German authorities, emigration would have been possible until 23 Oct. 1941, two days before the beginning of deportations from Hamburg. However, many of those willing to emigrate lacked, apart from the necessary funds, the visas to countries prepared to take them in. On the lists of the Gestapo regarding the deportation to Minsk (18 Nov. 1941), the Meiberg family was also detailed, both the parents and the two children, though their names were crossed out. Apparently, they were scheduled to be deported already on this date but were deferred – for reasons that can no longer be clarified. However, Hanna Stiefel, the sister of Fanny Meiberg, became a victim of the deportation mentioned. Another relative, Hanna Meyberg, was deported to Riga (regarding both, see brochure on Stolpersteine in Hamburg-Wandsbek mit den Walddörfern).

On 17 Mar. 1942, the family felt compelled to give up their apartment on Grindelallee and move into quarters in the so-called "Jews’ house” (Judenhaus) at Kleiner Schäferkamp 32. Fanny Meiberg was also committed to this place. According to Mike Meiberg, she had previously lived at the Jewish retirement home on Schäferkampsallee.

By that time, the two children, Ruth and Manfred, were again attending school, which in the end was accommodated in the building of the Jewish boys’ orphanage at Papendamm 3. At the end of June 1942, they received school-leaving certificates of the "Elementary and Realschule for Jews – Jewish School in Hamburg” ("Volks- und Realschule für Juden – Jüdische Schule in Hamburg”) – as the school was forced to call itself in accordance with Gestapo orders. Thus, they were among the last students, for starting on 1 July, Jewish schools were shut down, since Jewish children were not supposed to receive any schooling any longer. Manfred left class G 1 at the end of the first school year. His teacher Rebecca Cohn wrote about him: "... a hard-working student. He is good at math. His performance in reading is good. He also writes dictations better now. He does particularly well in Hebrew. Manfred is talented in music. He has completed the school year successfully.” Ruth had achieved an A in nearly all subjects. The dates of her school attendance were noted by homeroom teacher Flora Rosenbaum as follows: "... attended our school from Apr. 1939 until July 1942 and was a student of class G 3 since Sept. 1941. It is no longer possible to clarify the temporal discrepancy that emerges from the date of enrolment at school in Apr. 1939 and the children’s stay in France from Jan. 1939. Possibly, the children did not leave Hamburg after all. Evidence that points against this scenario is an OFP [Oberfinanzpräsident – Chief Finance Administrator] file memo and the entry mentioned on the Jewish religious tax card file, which also notes the date of return in Dec. 1940.

The installments of the Jewish religious tax contributions to the Jewish Religious Organization (Jüdischer Religionsverband – JRV), paid until that time on a regular basis, though on a modest scale, ended in mid-July 1942. In the meantime, the family had received the deportation orders. As a last message from Hamburg to Haifa, Fanny Meiberg sent a Red Cross letter to her son Gustav. The family of five reported to the collection point at the Volksschule (elementary school) on Schanzenstrasse and had to board the train to Theresienstadt on 19 July 1942. One day later, they were registered on the admissions list of the ghetto.

There, in the spring of 1943, Ruth Meiberg met a girl her age from Hannover who had fallen ill with tuberculosis. Gerda Steinfeld survived and kept her memories of the Meiberg family, especially of Ruth, making them available for this publication. Her notes bear witness to a comforting encounter at a comfortless place. They also throw into sharp relief the particular situation of children in the ghetto, who despite hunger and physical weakness retained their dignity and showed strength.

When Ruth Meiberg wrote the poem for her teachers, her grandmother was probably no longer alive. Fanny Meiberg died on 16 Oct. 1943 in the oppressive confinement of the overcrowded ghetto. In the following year, another farewell came: On 28 Sept. 1944, Julius Meiberg was deported to Auschwitz – without his family. His name appeared on the transport list under number Ek-1197. A few days later, on 4 Oct. 1944, Frieda Meiberg and her children Ruth and Manfred had to take the same path. Their names were registered under En-907 to En-909. One can assume that the Meibergs were killed in the gas chambers of Auschwitz immediately upon arrival. Thus, no proof documenting the deaths of the family of four exists. Only the transport lists of the Hamburg Gestapo, the admission and transport lists of the Theresienstadt Ghetto, the latter for Auschwitz, and a file card were available to the International Red Cross. The family was declared dead as of the end of 1945.

Since 1950, Gustav Meiberg, having emigrated to Palestine in 1934, worked again as a ship’s cook on the Haifa-New York route with stopovers in Genoa, Marseille, and Halifax. In 1957, the parents and son Mike emigrated to the USA. Once again, Gustav Meiberg worked as a chef there, this time at Polack’s Kosher Restaurant in New York and in the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. At the end of his professional career, he worked as a certified dietary chef at the Long Island Jewish Hospital, retiring in 1971. He passed away in 1979. Charlotte Meiberg reached the age of 106 years, dying in Israel in 2011. Son Mike Meiberg reported that the family spoke German and that his parents had kept silent almost entirely about the events in Germany during the period of the Holocaust.

Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: March 2019
© Astrid Louven

Quellen: 1; 2 (FVg 8112, FVg 7028); 8; STAH 522-1 992e, Deportationsliste Minsk 18.11.41; StaH 351-11 AfW, 060172, 040697, 040400; STAH 741-4 Fotoarchiv, Sa 1248; STAH 332-8 Meldewesen, Auskunft von Jürgen Sielemann, E-Mail vom 25.8.2003; HAB 1928 VI; HAB 1939 II; Gerda Steinfeld, Erinnerungen an Ruth Meiberg, 3 Texte per E-Mail an Beate Meyer vom 20.5.07; E-Mails Mike Meiberg vom 14. und 18.12.2011, vom 4.1., 8.1. und 12.1.2012; Frank Bajohr, "Arisierung", S. 322; Sybille Baumbach, "Emigration", S. 69–70; Serge und Beate Klarsfeld, Die Kinder von Izieu; Astrid Louven, Juden in Wandsbek, S. 36; Astrid Louven/Ursula Pietsch, Stolpersteine in Hamburg-Wandsbek, S. 120–123, S. 139–141; Inge Hansen-Schaberg, Kindheit und Jugend, hier S. 83–85; Irmtraut Wojak, Chile, hier: S. 194; Ursula Randt, Die Talmud Tora Schule, S. 169–184; Michael Batz, "Hört damit auf!" 20 Dokumentarstücke zum Holocaust in Hamburg, Hrsg. von der Hamburgischen Bürgerschaft 2019, S. 377.
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