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Lina Kümmermann (née Korn) * 1872
Wandsbeker Marktstraße 57 (Wandsbek, Wandsbek)
1944 weiterdeportiert nach Auschwitz
Lina Kümmermann, née Korn, born 18 Dec. 1872, deported 15 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, 15 May 1944 to Auschwitz
Ilse Grube, née Kümmermann, born 10 May 1899, deported 6 Dec. 1941 to Riga, 9 Aug. 1944 to the Stutthoff Concentration Camp, died there
Mary Pünjer, née Kümmermann, born 24 Aug. 1904, 1940-1942 in the Fuhlsbüttel and Ravensbrück Concentration Camps, murdered at the Bernberg Euthanasia Center 28 May 1942
Wandsbeker Marktstraße 57, corner of Wandsbeker Königstraße (Lübeckerstraße 1 / Königstraße 94)
The three Stolpersteine on the corner of Wandbeker Marktstraße and Wandsbeker Königstraße honor the memory of the Kümmermann family, whose specialty store for ladies’ clothing was located here. In the 40 years of its existence, the Korn Clothing Store and its founder became an institution with a large number of loyal customers, both from Wandsbek and outside its borders.
The Korn family was originally from the eastern regions of the German Empire. The siblings Lina and Oskar (*1880) and their father settled in Wandsbek at the end of the 19th century.
Lina Korn was born on 18 December 1872 in the Upper Silesian city of Kattowitz (modern-day Katowice in Poland). Her parents were Rosalie (Glass) and Ludwig Korn (*1850). She moved to Wandsbek in May 1898, where her first addres was Hamburgerstraße 16. In August of that year she married Joel (Julius) Kümmermann, and they lived together at Litzowstraße 19. Their first store was at Lübeckerstraße 13, directly on Wandsbeker Marktplatz. Lina Kümmermann was the registered owner. The Kümmermann’s first child, Ilse, was born on 10 May 1899. The next year they moved their store to Hamburgerstraße 6, and changed the registered ownership to Julius’ name. In 1906 the family moved to the building at the corner of Wandsbecker Marktstraße and Wandsbeker Königstraße, which they owned (at that time the streets were called Lübeckerstraße and Königstraße). The family’s address was Königstraße 94 II; they moved the store into the building as well, and its address was Lübeckerstraße 1. Lina’s father Ludwig Korn lived a few buildings away.
The Kümmermanns by now had two more children: Herbert was born in 1901, and Mary on 24 August 1904. The well-to-do family was able to provide their children with an excellent education. Herbert attended the Matthias-Claudius-Gymnasium until he was 16. Ilse and Mary attended the Schneider’schen Private Girls’ School. Mary went on to graduate from the Wandsbeker Lyzeum in 1922.
Julius Kümmermann was actively involved with the Wandsbek Jewish Community as an elected representative and treasurer. He died in 1926 and was buried at the Jenfelder Straße cemetery, where his father-in-law Ludwig Korn had also been buried in 1917.
After his father’s death, Herbert Kümmermann became a partner in the family business. He was also active in the Wandsbek Jewish Community. He had lived for several years in Remscheid and Hamburg, and returned to live in his parent’s home in 1921. In 1930 he married Margo Michel, and they had a son, Julius, the next year. The young family moved into their own apartment in the building at Königstraße 94 II.
Ilse Kümmermann married Hermann Grube, who was non-Jewish, and they had a son. They lived at Manteuffelstraße 22.
After finishing her schooling, the younger daughter Mary lived in Segeberg for six months. According to her registration papers there, she worked at the "Niendorf branch” – presumably Niendorf on the Baltic Sea. It is conceivable that the Wandsbek store had a branch store at the seaside resort, in which Mary worked during the summer season. She returned to live with her mother in November of the same year. In 1929 she married Fritz Pünjer. They had known each other since their school years. The couple had no children. Mary’s non-Jewish husband had apprenticed with an import-export company, but had entered the bookmaking trade, like his father. He was an officially registered assistant for several bookmakers who took bets on horse races.
The appearance of the Korn clothing store changed over the years. An early photo shows a two-story closed building with the store’s name painted on the façade. The store must have been modernized in the 1920s. Targeted lighting evoked a feeling of elegance, befitting the leading clothing store in Wandsbek, located at the best address. Before the Nazis came to power in 1933, the store had yearly profits of between 300,000 and 400,000 Reichsmarks.
Shortly after the begin of the Nazi regime, it became clear that the situation would soon change. The store was among those Jewish institutions that were boycotted on 1 April 1933. About two years later, the owner’s name and address were printed in an anti-Semitic flyer that was distributed in Wandsbek, with the intention of intimidating Jewish shop-owners and scaring away customers. By 1938 the business had suffered a loss of 120,000 Deutschmarks as a result of boycotts. This sum is based on an estimate from 1961 that was calculated for a compensation suit.
As a consequence of the anti-Jewish political situation, Herbert Kümmermann and his family emigrated to Los Angeles via Rotterdam in late September 1938. His mother-in-law, Cäcilie Michel, had moved there in 1935. The belongings that the family intended to take with them had been inspected two weeks earlier at the customs office at Königstraße 94. The customs officer declared "no objections to quantity and composition” of the shipment, and determined the fees to be paid to the Deutsche Golddiskontbank. Lina Kümmermann paid a part of this sum for her son. She had often helped out her children financially.
The Korn clothing store was attacked during the November Pogrom in 1938. The windows were broken, clothing strewn on the sidewalk, and the interior was damaged. After 40 years in business, Lina Kümmermann was forced to give up her store. It must have been very difficult for her – up until the last moment, she had been present in the store, had greeted customers personally and attended to them. Her grandson Julius recalled that she had employed three salesladies, a seamstress, and a warehouse clerk.
Lina Kümmermann remained the owner of the property and the building, at first. While the persecuted family lived on the upper floors, it was business as usual on the ground floor. The new owner, Marie Petersen, lost no time in "cleaning house.” She began by getting rid of the "Jewish name,” and re-christened the store "Petersen’s Fashions.” By mid-1940 she was also the owner of the property. In late 1938 there were still 25 pieces of property in Wandsbek that were owned by Jews – 0.3% of the total amount of property.
Lina Kümmermann had attempted to keep the property in the family by transferring the title, at least in part, to her "Aryan” son-in-law. One week after the November Pogrom she went to the land registry office and declared that she owed her son-in-law, Friedrich (Fritz) Pünjer, 30,000 Reichmarks. In order to pay this debt she took out a mortgage on the property, and requested that Fritz Pünjer be made the beneficiary.
At the same time, Fritz Pünjer had submitted a letter of attorney and a copy of her inventory of assets to the Foreign Exchange Office. According to this inventory, Lina Kümmerman held 50% of the shares in the OHG Geschwister Korn. The other 50% were held by her son Herbert, who had emigrated. Fritz Pünjer received notification that the debt owed to him could not be secured by means of a mortgage, since the Foreign Exchange Office had petitioned the land registry office not to grant the request.
A security order was placed on Lina Kümmermann’s assets on 25 November 1938. She was allowed to dispose of her property only with written permission from the Foreign Exchange Office, with the exception of the proceeds from her real estate. The standard justification was "You are a Jew. It is to be expected that you will emigrate soon.” Jews were typically suspected of trying to smuggle funds out of the country, allegedly based on "recent experiences with Jews who had emigrated.”
In May 1939, the Wandsbek tax office informed the Foreign Exchange Office that Lina Kümmermann had not yet paid the installments due on the "Jews’ Property Levy”, and would probably not be able to pay the third and fourth installments. The notification continued: "In the interest of securing the full Jews Property Levy, I hereby inform you of the restraint on disposal of Frau Kümmermann’s property.” The tax office was apparently attempting to convince the Foreign Exchange Office to approve the mortgage request. If they did so, the real estate could be sold and the profits could be used to pay Lina Kümmermann’s tax debts.
She had submitted an updated questionnaire about her assets in October 1939. She requested 355 Reichsmarks per month for living expenses, which included the financial support of her daughter Mary Pünjer, whose husband was serving with the Wehrmacht, and for her sister Frieda Berger, who was in the hospital in Berlin. Lina Kümmermann signed the standard declaration: "I hereby confirm the accuracy and completeness of the submitted information” – and amended it with "to the best of my knowledge.”
Her request to make Fritz Pünjer the beneficiary of the mortgage had still not been decided. In a letter to the Foreign Exchange Office she wrote: "My application has still not been granted, since the approval of the Foreign Exchange Office has not yet been submitted. The sum total of my assets should thus be reduced by the amount of 30,000 Reichsmarks.”
The Foreign Exchange Office reduced her allowance to 270 Reichsmarks. She appealed the reduction, and requested an additional 50 Reichsmarks for the support of her daughter and son-in-law.
In January 1940 the case gained in momentum, when the Office of Commerce, Shipping and Trade, under whose auspices the transfer of real estate lay, informed the Foreign Exchange Office that they had received an application for the sale of the properties at Königstraße 92/94 and Lübeckerstraße 1-3, which were owned by the Jew Lina Kümmermann. The purchasers of this corner property were Marie Petersen, who already owned the store, and Julius Heese from Malchow in Mecklenburg. The sale was approvedby the Wandsbek tax office, which had 15,500 Reichmarks for the unpaid "Jews’ Property Levy” to collect. The payment of this levy and possible other tax debts was to proceed from that part of the purchase price which was to be paid in cash by the new owner. Without the approval of the mortgage, the cash amount would be increased by 30,000 Reichsmarks to 65,000 Reichsmarks. Since the purchasers were not able to raise this much cash, the sale was in danger of falling through. A sale to other interested parties was considered out of the question, since Petersen and Malchow had already taken over the store which belonged to the property. They had been given a long-term rental agreement until 1946, and an option on the purchase of the property.
Now nothing more stood in the way of making Fritz Pünjer the beneficiary of the mortgage, and it was approved in May 1940. The Wandsbek tax office had received 16,000 Reichsmarks from Marie Petersen as a deposit on the Jews’ Property Levy and other possible taxes, with which Lina Kümmermann’s tax debt was secured. Petersen was now the sole purchaser of the properties, since her partner had pulled out of the contract. Marie Petersen profited from the interplay of official and private interests by taking advantage of the distressful situation in which the previous owner found herself.
But the matter was far from over for Lina Kümmermann. She lodged a complaint about the purchase price, which had an assessed tax value of 112,200 Reichsmarks. The assessor’s office examined the case, and determined a purchase price of 115,000 Reichsmarks. The buyer accepted the mortgage debt of about 85,000 Reichsmarks, which included Fritz Pünjer’s mortgage. Lina Kümmermann was to receive 35,100 Reichsmarks in cash. After the deduction of taxes, fees, and levies of about 13,300 Reichsmarks, including 14,900 Reichsmarks for the Jews’ Property Levy, she received about 13,300 Reichsmarks – no more than 10% of the actual purchase price. She was not even allowed access to this sum, since it was paid into her secured account at the Commerzbank in Wandsbek.
Despite her best efforts to meet her adversaries on a level playing field and to assert her equal rights, the once wealthy retail businessperson Lina Kümmermann stood, at the end of her long professional life, with empty hands.
After the forced sale of the property in the summer of 1940, things were quiet in the apartment at Königstraße 94. Only Lina Kümmermann and her daughter Mary remained there. Fritz Pünjer was enlisted as a truck driver for the "augmented police force” in Poland in September 1939. Ilse Grube lived in Eppendorf. Two years earlier both daughters had lived there – Mary with her husband, and Ilse with her son Klaus.
Ilse Grube was a partner in a commercial firm. With funds provided by Lina Kümmermann, her son-in-law, Hermann Grube, became a partner in the Schatt-Wachler company, a chemicals wholesaler in Hamburg, located at Große Bleichen 31. It was renamed Schatt-Wachler & Grube. Hermann Grube, however, was an ambitious National Socialist, and he divorced his wife. She thus lost the protection the "privileged mixed marriage” had offered. Their son Klaus (*1924) had been christened in the Wandsbek Lutheran church in May 1933. When the anti-Jewish racial policies became stricter as a result of the Nuremberg Racial Laws, Hermann Grube initiated a plan that seems especially macabre to us today: he wanted to have his son sterilized, thus making him a "full citizen of the Reich.” But Ilse Grube did not trust her ex-husband’s abstruse plan, nor the legal sophistry behind it. She bribed the necessary authorities to make sure her son was on a transport of Jewish children to England in 1938. With the departure of her son, however, her last defense fell away – the custodial responsibility of a child under 18, and the status of having a son who was a "first-degree Mischling” with a better legal status. She was now considered a "full Jew” by authorities and institutions, and was treated as such.
In April 1939 she was required to submit an inventory of her assets to the Foreign Exchange Office. According to this inventory, she owned the building at Sichimmelmannstraße 23, but otherwise had only marginal financial means at her disposal, so a security order was dispensed with for the time being. She submitted the following declaration with the inventory: "I deposited 1,000 Reichsmarks in my son’s account. I must also pay 900 Reichmarks in Jews’ levies from this money.”
By the end of 1940 her property had been sold to one H. Hövermann. The initial purchase price was reduced from 28,000 Reichsmarks to an assessed value of 20,000 Reichsmarks. The sum of 8000 Reichsmarks, which remained after deduction of taxes and fees, was paid in cash into Ilse Grube’s secured account at the Hamburger Sparkasse of 1827 in Wandsbek. She was allowed access to this account only with permission of the Foreign Exchange Office. She had to request her monthly allowance and every extra expenditure. The Foreign Exchange Office reduced her requested allowance to 250 Reichsmarks. She had some income from her position as a private secretary for Hermann Glass, who was probably a relative. When she requested 300 Reichsmarks for herself "for the purposes of the upcoming evacuation,” however, she was personally handed the money on the same day.
Ilse Grube had lived in Eppendorf, at Haynstraße 13, since 1 June 1940. She evidently had a large part of her furniture and household goods with her there, as can be determined from a letter she wrote to her ex-husband two days before she was deported, in which she informed him of the details of the financial support of their son: "Dear Hermann, you may have heard that the transport has been postponed by one day, and I had hoped that something would change. I have to report at 11 o’clock tomorrow morning, and we’ll be ‘loaded’ on the next day. I’ll keep hoping until the last moment.” She was waiting for a decision from Berlin to postpone the deportation, and still hoped to be able to emigrate to the US. The letter also gave her the opportunity to talk about the separation from her son. "Who knows how long it will be that I won’t hear anything from the boy. Yesterday I sent him a letter with the Red Cross, hopefully he’ll get it by Christmas or maybe his birthday. I asked my brother not to say anything about me to Klaus, so that he won’t be troubled. I can’t imagine what he’d think. If I am able to stay, I’ll let you know.”
But Ilse Grube was not able to stay. Her "evacuation” – as the deportations were euphemistically called – had been sealed at the end of November 1941 when the Foreign Exchange Office confiscated her assets.
The train to Riga left on 6 December. The "passengers” could not yet be delivered to the ghetto there, however, because the execution squads had not yet finished murdering the current residents. The deportees were taken to the nearby Jungfernhof Concentration Camp. They and others who arrived later were quartered there in cattle stalls and barracks, and were left with no defense against hunger and the cold. In March 1942 about 2000 of those who had survived were taken to Hochwald, near Jungernhof, and shot. In the meantime, a few of the deportees from Hamburg had been taken to the ghetto in Riga – Ilse Grube was among them. In the summer of 1944 the SS evacuated the ghetto because the Soviet Army was approaching, and transferred the prisoners to the Stutthof Concentration Camp near Danzig. This camp was soon overfilled, and the prisoners were sent on a death march westwards to Germany. Ilse Gruber was no longer among them Her date of death is unknown.
Let’s return to Königstraße 94. In the summer of 1940, 35-year-old Mary Pünjer and her mother were living in the building, which no longer belonged to the family. The feeling of being in a trap, of being under oppressive surveillance by unpredictable neighbors, of being subject to brutal special laws with occupational bans and nighttime curfews probably led to a strong wish for diversion or amusement. Why not just take the tram into the city? Mary Pünjer probably did this quite often, and gone to prohibited – not only for Jews – establishments, including ones which catered exclusively to women. Whether she went there because she was a lesbian or because she felt that she wouldn’t be discovered in the sub-culture scene is irrelevant. On the evening of 24 July 1940 Mary Pünjer was arrested. She spent nearly three months in the Fuhlsbüttel prison, and was transferred to the Ravensbrück Women’s Concentration Camp on 12 October 1940. There the reason for her imprisonment was listed as "asocial,” with the note "lesbian.” This daughter of a respectable family now found herself branded with the black triangle sewn onto the jacket of her uniform – the symbol for vagrants, alcoholics, and prostitutes. Even though Mary Pünjer was none of these, and even though lesbian relationships were not against the law (unlike male homosexuality), she was no less ostracized. Relationships between women contradicted the Nazi ideal of women as mothers of many children, and represented asocial behavior that was not directed at the upholding of the Volksgemeinschaft.
Research has found that lesbians were sent to concentration camps on the pretext of "asociality.” Those women who were accused of so-called sexual crimes, including prostitution, abortion, "racial defilement,” and lesbianism, were sent to the Ravensbrück Concentration Camp. Within the prisoner hierarchy there, Jewish women were generally in a lower position. They received reduced rations and insufficient treatment at the infirmary. They were often quartered apart from the prisoners in other categories, in over-crowded barracks and under catastrophic conditions. The forced labor to which they were assigned was of the heaviest sort. We do not know what kind of labor detail Mary Pünjer was assigned to – the Ravenbrück archive contains only her name on the registration list and one photo of her in a prison uniform.
Mary Pünjer was transferred back to the Hamburg police department, and between late November 1940 and mid-May 1941 she was subjected to interrogations, some of them by the 23rd Criminal Commission, which was responsible for sexual crimes. On 15 March 1941 she was sent back to Ravensbrück. In November 1941, a doctor began his notorious activities: Dr. Friedrich Mennecke was an SS-Obersturmbannführer and assigned to "Operation 14 F 13,” which was initiated in 1941. Its goal was to "remove” Jewish prisoners from concentration camps – in other words, to kill them. He returned to Ravensbrück a second time in January 1942. We still have his reports with "diagnoses,” which were tantamount to death sentences. Among them is his report on Mary Pünjer. In it he wrote: "Married full Jew. Very active (‘frisky’) lesbian. Continually visted ‘lesbian establishments’ and exchanged caresses in the establishment.” This formulation leads to the conclusion that she was arrested while in one of these establishments. Mennecke selected the Jewish prisoners according to their files and wrote his characterizations on the basis of police and "protective custody” records. That would mean that it was the Hamburg police or the Gestapo that classified Mary Pünjer as a lesbian. The question as to whether she actually was a lesbian or if the authorities simply thought she was remains unanswered. The women who were selected by Mennecke had no opportunity to escape their murder at the Bernburg Euthanasia Center.
Did Mary Pünjer hint at her selection by Mennecke and her transfer to the Bernburg Euthanasia Center? In a letter from December 1941 she wrote "I think I’ll soon be going the way that many from Hamburg are now going.” She never mentioned it again in her letters to her relatives. Four of these letters have survived. She probably wrote more. A single envelope from Ravensbrück, dated 30 August 1941, indicates that she did. It was also noted on the envelope that she was housed in Block 14a at that time. She was only allowed to send and receive one letter or card per month, so every one was important. The number of pages and lines was stipulated, and they were censored.
The first two letters quoted here, from July 1941 and November 1941, and the letter from January 1942 were to Fritz Pünjer. The letter of December 1941 was to her mother. The letters show Mary Pünjer’s vacillation between hope and dark foreboding, her worry about those who remained at home. Her wish to be close to her husband is clear. Between the lines she asks him to keep his mother-in-law company, to stay close to the family. These shrouded requests were probably an indication that she was afraid he would divorce her, which would remove what little protection she had from the "privileged mixed marriage,” and would have negative effects on her mental and physical condition as a concentration camp prisoner.
(November, probably 1941)
My Dearest Fritz!
Got your letter and the 20 Reichsmarks, thanks!
It’s nice that you’re having a coat and suit made. Hopefully you and mother are in good health and have enough to eat. I hope you’ve been to see Aunt Frieda? I’m so glad that you had such a nice celebration for Papa’s birthday. It makes me happy when I know you all are doing well. The day of freedom must eventually come for me but hopefully (page end, A.L.)
I hope mother is still going for walks with Fuchsi often, I feel so sorry for her, but we can’t let such minor matters upset us.
It’s already winter here, I hope you have enough fuel?
Is Fräulein Petersen now the sole owner of the building?
Mama could also write to me, otherwise I’m going to think she’s forgotten me!
What about my car? Sell it, so that Brockmann can get his money, or have you already taken care of that? Even here I’m still thinking of everything!
When will we be happily together again? I expect Mother’s letter soon.
Have your coffee with her in the mornings. Love, Your Mary
(Papa, probably Mary’s father-in-law A.L.) (Fuchsi, probably a dog. It was not yet forbidden for Jews to have pets. A.L.) (Aunt Frieda, in all likelihood Frieda Berger, her mother’s sister A.L.) (Fräulein Petersen, Marie Petersen, see above A.L.)
Thanks so much for your December letter, I just received Fritz’s letter. I’m happy that he still thinks of me. I’ve been worried about you, as I’ve heard all sorts of things from people from Hamburg. Now I’m calmer, since I know you’re healthy and at home.
Let’s hope Ilse is spared! Even so, it’s not the worst that could happen.
My dear Mother, I wish you health, confidence, and perseverance for your birthday. I think I'll soon be going the way that many from Hamburg are now going. My only hope is to soon be together again with my Fritz. I’ve been gone from home for 16 months. Is Fritz going to visit Aunt Frieda again?
He doesn’t write whether there’s still any hope. I can’t receive packages, next time send a postcard of Lübeckerstraße 1. Postcards are allowed.
I hope you’ll be with Fritz at his parents’ again for Christmas. My heartfelt greetings to you and my beloved Fritz! Mary
(Lübeckerstr. 1, the building with the apartment and store in Wandsbek A.L.) (…Ilse is spared., Probably that her sister isn’t deported A.L.) (…the way that many from Hamburg are now going, Probably the deportation of Hamburg Jews to Lodz, Minsk, and Riga in October-December 1941 A.L.) (Aunt Frieda, in all likelihood Frieda Berger, her mother’s sister A.L.)
My Dearest Fritz!
I hope the holidays were pleasant for you and Mother! Of course I thought constantly about home, the last time we celebrated New Year’s together was 2 years ago, when we were still happy. I wonder if it will ever be that way again.
The mail was just delivered and once again there was nothing for me. The last letter from you was a month ago, I got a letter from Mama.
I’ve also not heard anything from Mother, and I’m very disheartened because of it! … (censored A.L.) … time?
Who do you spend time with? Hopefully you spend some time with Mother. Even though I’ve been away from home for 17 months, I think about you every day, about Mother, and our lovely home. Hopefully we’ll see each other there again soon! But you write so seldom that I again begin to doubt everything.
Warmest greetings to you and Mother, Your Mary
(Mama, possibly her mother-in-law A.L.)
An archive in Warsaw has lists kept or copied by Ravensbrück prisoners, from which it can be seen that Mary Pünjer was among those selected for transfer to the Bernburg Euthanasia Center near Dessau, where she was gassed to death on 28 May 1942.
Questions remain. If Mary Pünjer was selected by Mennecke at the latest in January 1942, why is her date of death 28 May 1942? Can it be that she was considered for selection, but wasn’t murdered, for the time being, out of respect for her non-Jewish husband? Were there other reasons?
She was sent to a concentration camp because she was put into the "Black Triangle” category, not because she was Jewish. The protection from deportation a "privileged mixed marriage” offered was forfeit when a Jew became a "criminal.” Two days after Mary Pünjer’s death, her husband was notified, and was told that "the urn can be requested by the family at their own cost.” Fritz Pünjer did so, but three months went by before there was an interment. On 3 September 1942 the Jewish Religious Association sent a notification to the address in Wandsbek: "According to your wishes, we will undertake the interment of the ashes on Friday of this week at 4 o’clock in the afternoon.”
Lina Kümmermann was not able to attend the interment at the cemetery on Jenfelder Straße, where a grave for herself was also reserved. She had been forced to leave her home and move into the "Jews’ House” at Bundesstraße 43 on 27 April 1942. She remained there for about six weeks. On 15 July 1942, at the age of 70, she was forced to board the train for Theresienstadt, where she was registered one day later. How she coped in the over-crowded "ghetto for the eldery,” which was anything but serene, is not known. For many it was a place of death, for many a station on the way to an extermination camp. This was the case with Lina Kümmermann. She was transferred to Auschwitz on 15 May 1944. There all traces of her were lost. She was declared dead in 1951.
Of all of Wandsbek Jews who were deported, Mary Pünjer is the only one who has a grave. The gravesite, however, like that of her father and her uncle, no longer exists. They were probably destroyed during the war when the cemetery was levelled. Today floor plaques with their names and dates of birth and death memorialize them.
Mary Pünjer’s letters were returned to Fritz Pünjer in 1947. It is possible that his wife’s arrest in July 1940 affected more than his personal life. It is possible that the arrest brought it to the attention of his superiors that "one of Jewish kin” was serving under them. He was released from service in September 1940, and found a job with the bookmaker Brockmann. He was fired in July 1942 – after his mother-in-law was deported, and a month after the death of his wife. He remarried in late 1943 and in the summer of 1944, no longer "of Jewish kin,” he was again drafted into the Wehrmacht. In February 1945 he was taken into captivity as a British prisoner of war. He was released in November 1947. When he returned to Hamburg he applied to become a member of the Notgemeinschaft der durch die Nürnberger Gesetze Betroffenen ("Emergency Alliance of those Affected by the Nuremberg Laws”). In his application he stated that Mary Pünjer’s imprisonment was based solely on "racial reasons,” and characterized his marriage as harmonious.
Ilse Grube’s son became a British citizen and changed his name to Clive Graham. He served during the war, working for the British intelligence service, and became a specialist for counterespionage. For many years he lived in Bonn as a member of the Army of the Rhine. He married three times and had two sons. He died in 1996 in Austria, aged 72. He never saw his mother, Ilse Grube, again. After the war he got in touch with his father, but broke off contact. Hermann Grube had remarried in 1941. According to Clive Graham’s widow, Hermann Grube was very unhappy about the loss of contact to his son, who considered him responsible for his mother’s death since he had divorced her. As the example of Mary Pünjer shows, a "mixed marriage” alone was no absolute protection from deportation or selection. But the marriage would have saved Ilse Grube not only from the Riga Ghetto and the Stutthof Concentration Camp, she probably would have been deported to Theresienstadt shortly before the end of the war and survivied. They couldn’t have known that at the time of the divorce, however. Ilse Grube’s date of death was declared as December 31, 1945.
"Petersen’s Fashions” remained in existence until the early 1990s. In 1988, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the store, the then-owner and successor to Marie Petersen proved unwilling to give any information about the "Aryanization” process or about Lina Kümmermann’s successor. Loyal silence was easier than speaking about events that were taboo. At the end of the financial plundering by Marie Petersen stood the murder of the founder of the business and her daughters by the Nazi regime.
Julius Kumerman, who now lives in Calfornia, kindly allowed us to use photos belonging to the family.
Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Astrid Louven
Quellen: 1; 2 R 1938/3248, FVg 3196, R 1941/1; AfW 181272, AfW 100599, AfW 240804; StaHH 362-2/29 MCG1; StaHH 332-8 Meldekartei K 4481; FZH 353-34, Fuhlsbüttel, Zu- und Abgangslisten, Auskunft von Joachim Szodrzynski, E-Mail vom 8.10.2007; 7; 8; Sammlungen der MG Ravensbrück, MF Nr. 135 Sygn. 55/51-52, mitgeteilt am 15.3.2004; Archiv der VVN Hamburg; AB 1899 Wandsbek, 1936 II+VI, 1937VI-1942 II; Briefwechsel mit Gertrud Graham 1998; Auskunft von Julius Kumerman, USA, E-Mail vom 6.8.2007; Linde Apel, Jüdische Frauen, S. 47–50, 137, 149, 181, 186, 215, 244f, 312, 296–217; Frank Bajohr, "Arisierung, S. 292, 295f.; Naphtali Bamberger, Memorbuch Bd. 2, S. 86, 88, 90; Chantal Louis, Zeit, in: Emma, Jan./Febr. 2007, s. www.Emma.de; Astrid Louven, Juden, S. 34, 36, 58, 161, 200–203, 218f, 228, 230, 233; Beate Meyer, Schutz, in: dies. (Hrsg.), Verfolgung, S. 79–88, hier: S. 81–84; ebd., dies., Deportationen, S.58–67, hier: S. 65–67; Peter von Rönn, Verlegungen, in: ders. u.a., Wege, S. 137–232, hier: S. 137–146; Claudia Schoppmann "Liebe", in: KZ Gedenkstätte Neuengamme (Hrsg.), Verfolgung, S. 14–21; Aleksandar-Sasa Vuletic, Christen, S. 25f., 31.
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