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Georg Blankenstein * 1879

Sierichstraße 70 (Hamburg-Nord, Winterhude)

1943 Theresienstadt
ermordet 14.4.1943

Georg Blankenstein, born 12.11.1879 in Hamburg, deported on 24.2.1943 to Theresienstadt, died there on 14.4.1943

The Dortmund merchant Hermann (actually Herz) Blankenstein (1844–1932) and his Mainz-born wife Emma Eleonore, née Levinger (1852–1919), had married in January 1876 in Dortmund and lived there at least from 1876 to 1878 in the street Ostwall 30. Her children Bertha (born 8.11.1876) and Curt (born 23.2.1878) were also born here.

From Dortmund, the family of four moved to the Hamburg suburb of St. Georg in Steindamm 61, where Georg Blankenstein was born in 1879. Four years after Georg the sisters Edith (born 15.5.1883) were born in Hamburg-St. Georg (An der Koppel 88) and in 1888 Gertrud in the flat Rutschbahn 16 (Rotherbaum). In 1891 the family of six moved to Altona in Prussia. There the sons Curt and Georg visited the wellknown Christianeum from May 1891. From Quinta to Prima maturity, Georg Blankenstein was a pupil of the Gymnasium.

In the birth certificates of the registry offices of 1879 and 1883 as well as in the Altona register of 1892 the parents with Jewish religious affiliation are noted. The mother Emma Blankenstein was called "denominationless" on her death certificate in 1919. In April 1892 Hermann and Emma Blankenstein had their five children baptized in St. Johanniskirche (Altona); the sisters Louise Brütt (1856–1934) and Ottilie Brütt (1858–1931) were godparents. The Blankenstein family lived in Altona in Wohlers Allee 18 II. floor, nearby the church Johanniskirche.

The military examination commission responsible for Altona gave Georg Blankenstein the "Berechtigungsschein für den1jährigen Dienst" in December 1898; the examination commission in Altona deferred him from military training until October 1902. Together with his family he moved to Hamburg in the Eimsbüttelerchaussee 90 and completed a commercial apprenticeship at the export company Alfred Pattenhausen in Hamburg at Glockengießerwall 17. Here he worked for several years as a buyer and authorized signatory before he changed to the company Eugenio Barth & Co. in Montevideo/Uruguay. For this company he worked for several years in Argentina and Uruguay.

In 1911 he married Elsa Hoofe (born 24.7.1892 in Rio Grande do Sul), whose father worked as a merchant and consul in Brazil in Rio Grande do Sul. Both were noted in the marriage certificate with Protestant-Lutheran religion and Hamburg address, witnesses to the marriage were brother Curt Blankenstein (Isestraße 56) and merchant Gustav Feddersen (Bellevue 27). The marriage was divorced in 1921.

From 1915 to 1918 Georg Blankenstein took part in the First World War, at last with the rank of a vice guard (NCO/Unteroffizier). After the war he went into business for himself as an import/export merchant in Hamburg. The rented offices were located in Grosse Reichenstraße 3 (Old Town). From 1915, however, his apartment was located in Ottensen in Dürerstraße 2, which belonged to the city of Altona. As an independent merchant, he travelled to Brazil on various occasions. In April 1923 he joined the Hamburg import and export company "Gebrüder Kalkmann" OHG (Schauenburger Straße 14) as a partner. Georg Blankenstein also became a member of the Patriotic Society in 1923.

In 1924 he married the divorced Helene Burmester, née Westphal (1899–1967), who brought three children from her first marriage to the lawyer Paul Walter Burmester (1884–1960) into the marriage. She was gentile. Georg and Helene Blankenstein did not have children together. From 1925 to 1937 Georg Blankenstein was listed in the official telephone directories with the residential address Innocentiastraße 31 (Harvestehude). According to Helene Blankenstein herself, she had inherited the house from her father, a leather manufacturer from Kellinghusen, as well as two apartment buildings, each with 8 apartments in Moltkestraße 45a and 47a (Hoheluft-West).

Georg Blankenstein's business situation became problematic at the end of the 1920s: the company had to file for bankruptcy in August 1930. From about 1932 to 1940 Georg Blankenstein worked in the technical department of the export company Robert Bösenberg (Mönckebergstraße 10) with an annual income of about 8–10.000 RM. The efforts to force employees of Jewish descent out of the companies also endangered the existence of Georg Blankenstein and his family.

In 1937 the family had moved into a smaller apartment, and from 1938 to 1940 they lived in Sierichstraße 70 (Winterhude). This storey house, built in 1914, had already been poorly prepared for the war in 1936 and 1937 by the mandatory installation of air-raid doors and an air-raid shelter in the basement. In 1938 the properties Moltkestraße and Innocentiastraße were transferred to the daughter from her first marriage in order not to lose the houses in the rampant forced sales.

Helene Blankenstein reported in 1948 to the Office for Reparation (Amt für Wiedergutmachung): "In 1938 it became more and more difficult for my husband to work in his profession (exporter) and the situation became materially quite difficult for us. After all, I (...) had obtained permission by autumn 1942 for my husband to work as an employee." He found a job at the engineering office Joseph Michelbach (Mönckebergstraße 17) for about 600-700 RM monthly in salary and sales remuneration.

After researches of the Red Cross (Arolsen) from the year 1968 Georg Blankenstein was "on 24 October 1942 as a prisoner of the Secret State Police in the police prison Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel committed". He was arrested without giving reasons. The Gestapo claimed that he had been denounced. For weeks, his wife tried in vain to obtain a visit permit. "I was only allowed to bring laundry to prison every Tuesday and pick it up every Friday. (...) Only after weeks was it possible for me to bribe a guard with cigarettes so that he could give my husband butter (...), etc. from me (...). In mid-November 1942 the married couple Blankenstein could meet again for the first time: "After 4 weeks I was able to speak to my husband in the Gestapo house at Rothenbaum. My husband told me that he had orders to be taken to the Neuengamme concentration camp."

Helene Blankenstein repeatedly visited Claus Göttsche from the Jewish Department of the Hamburg Gestapo in order to avert or at least mitigate the imminent transfer of her husband. She reports later: "When I went to him again and again and he implored my husband to let him go home, he told me he would help me (...) send my husband to Theresienstadt, that would be a model camp, only selected people could go there, people could take their things with them, would be accommodated in homes, we could write to each other 3 times a month, I could send a parcel every month and after the end of the war we could meet again abroad. The only condition would be that we divorce each other. (...) I then spoke to my husband for several hours on several days and we then decided to officially separate, simply because we thought it would save my husband's life."

The Gestapo was anxious to dissolve so-called mixed marriages. In the divorce decree of the Civil Chamber 2 of the Hamburg Regional Court of January 1943, Judge Herbert Wolgast (born 18.6.1892 in Hamburg, since 1920 Judge at the Hamburg Local Court, since 1933 also member of the NSDAP District Court and since 1938 Higher Regional Court Councillor) argued in accordance with the Nazi language product according to constructed "racial" categories. He also accused the "Volljuden" Georg Blankenstein of not having worn the "Judenstern". The judge assigned the sole blame for the blackmailed divorce to the defendant, saying that he had "by his own conduct brought him into police custody and was likely to be taken to a concentration camp or evacuated".

Helene Blankenstein rejected the judge's offer to have the marriage annulled "in order to carry on my husband's name". The divorce was pronounced on February 19. The wife had "after long urgent requests achieved that my husband the last 2 days before the transport was still allowed to stay at home. I was allowed to pick him up at the Rothenbaum in the morning (...). My husband had to be at Bornstr. on February 24th at 11 o'clock." Georg Blankenstein and another 50 prisoners were deported to Theresienstadt with "Transport VI/3". On February 26, 1943, the train arrived there.

On 10 March 1943 she received a message from there with the address Theresienstadt L 425 (= Hauptstraße Haus 25). Only a few weeks later, on 14 April 1943, Georg Blankenstein died in Theresienstadt. His wife was not informed. There is no record of a death report for him. Until 1945 Helene Blankenstein sent letters and parcels to her husband in Theresienstadt, but received neither an answer nor a confirmation. It was not until 1956 that a death certificate was subsequently issued for him.

Two sisters of Georg Blankenstein, who had been dismissed from teaching in 1933 as teachers and who had separate apartments on the first and second floors of a "Judenhaus" in Böttcherstraße 5 (Rotherbaum) and were forced to become members of the Jewish Religious Association in 1939, were deported to Lodz on 25 October 1941. Helene Blankenstein: "We never heard from them again." Both were murdered in the Chelmno extermination camp on 20 May 1942.

For Bertha and Edith Blankenstein, stumbling blocks were laid at Abendrothsweg 23 (Hoheluft-Ost).

Georg's older brother Curt Blankenstein, married since 1911 to Auguste, née Vetter (born 16.3.1892 in Frankfurt/Main), had founded the import and export company for food and beverages Blankenstein & Bosselmann oHG (Neuer Wall 59) together with Walther Bosselmann in 1908. At the end of the 1920s and beginning of the 1930s, the company owned around 50 export agencies and employed an average of five people over the years. In 1933 Curt Blankenstein was banned from his honorary activities as a commercial judge and as chairman of the "Verein Hamburger Export- und Platzvertreter" in Nazi Germany. In July 1938 the general partnership was dissolved with a "dispute contract", the Hamburg NSDAP-Gauleiter and Reichsstatthalter approved this in September 1938. Walther Bosselmann continued the company with Alfred Gottschalk under a new name (Bosselmann & Gottschalk).

On 11 November 1939, Curt Blankenstein died in his apartment at Harvestehuder Weg 112. In addition to his heart condition, the Nazi reprisals had led to a breakthrough in his stomach and diaphragm.

His son Kurt Blankenstein (born 1914) had graduated from the "Gelehrtenschule” Johanneum in 1932, but after two semesters of law studies he was not allowed to continue his studies and emigrated in June 1936.

Two years later Curt Blankenstein’s daughter Gertrud (born 1912) emigrated.

His son Hans-Jürgen Blankenstein (born 1920) had graduated at the Johanneum in 1937 and studied two semesters of economic had to leave Hamburg University but then had to leave the University of Hamburg. After his military service he was drafted in April 1943 for the shipyard Blohm & Voss in Hamburg. On 29 September 1944 he was arrested by the Gestapo (sabotage department) and taken to Fuhlsbüttel prison, transferred to Neuengamme concentration camp in January 1945, and taken to Lübeck at the end of April 1945 to the "Cap Arcona", which sank on 3 May 1945 after air raids in the Baltic Sea.

Georg and Curt Blankenstein’s youngest sister Gertrud Penkert, née Blankenstein, had passed the examination as a private music teacher at the Vogt Conservatory (An der Verbindungsbahn 10) in 1908 and probably met her later husband, the non-Jewish Anton Penkert (born 1875 in Hamburg). The married couple had been living at Sierichstraße 56 II. floor since 1934, since Anton Penkert had been forced to retire as a school music teacher because of his marriage to a Jewish woman. Already in April 1933 his teaching activities at two music conservatories as well as his journalistic activity as a music critic at the Hamburger Nachrichten had been terminated.

On 26 March 1943 and 8 or 9 April 1943, Gertrud Penkert was summoned by the Hamburg Gestapo to be interrogated at Rothenbaumchaussee 38. The reason is not known.

After the second interrogation date, Gertrud Penkert was transferred to the Fuhlsbüttel police prison as a "protective prisoner", although she lived in a "privileged mixed marriage" with a gentile and was thus protected from deportation for the time being. If, however, the Gestapo accused such protected Jews of a criminal offence, protection ceased. Since October/November 1942 a decree had been issued ordering prisons, penitentiaries and concentration camps to be made "Jew-free", the Jewish prisoners were transported to Auschwitz.

In October 1943, the husband was informed that Gertrud Penkert would be deported to Auschwitz. There she was murdered on December 1, 1943.

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

© Björn Eggert/Changings Björn Eggert (Beate Meyer)

Stand: November 2019
© Björn Eggert

Quellen: Staatsarchiv Hamburg (StaH) 213-13 (Landgericht Hamburg, Wiedergutmachung), 10273 (Kurt Blankenstein Erben); StaH 221-11 (Entnazifizierung), F 548 (Herbert Wolgast); StaH 231-7 (Handelsregister), A 1 Band 19 (A 4934, Gebr. Kalkmann); StaH 231-7 (Handelsregister), A 1 Band 32 (A 7961, Blankenstein & Bosselmann); StaH 332-4 (Aufsicht über die Standesämter), 618 (Georg u. Helene Blankenstein); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 1948 u. 4587/ 1879 (Geburtsregister 1879, Georg Blankenstein); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 2043 u. 2059/1883 (Geburtsregister 1883, Edith Blankenstein); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 8665 u. 480/1909 (Heiratsregister 1909, Gertrud Blankenstein u. Anton Penkert); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 8676 u. 360/1911 (Heiratsregister 1911 Georg Blankenstein u. Elsa Hoofe); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 9775 u. 1543/1919 (Sterberegister 1919, Emma Eleonore Blankenstein geb. Levinger); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter) 5083 u. 562/1931 (Sterberegister 1931, Ottilie Brütt, Altona); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 9857 u. 503/1932 (Sterberegister 1932, Hermann Herz Blankenstein); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 5089 u. 470/1934 (Sterberegister 1934, Luise Brütt, Altona); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 8163 u. 457/1939 (Sterberegister 1939, Curt Blankenstein); StaH 332-8 (Meldewesen), K 4391 (Alte Einwohnermeldekartei Altona 1892–1919), Herz/ Hermann Blankenstein; StaH 342-2 (Militär-Ersatzbehörden) D II 95 Band 1 (Georg Blankenstein); StaH 351-11 (Amt für Wiedergutmachung), 11424 (Helene Blankenstein); StaH 351-11 (Amt für Wiedergutmachung), 40265 (Kurt Blankenstein jr.); StaH 351-11 (Amt für Wiedergutmachung), 14243 (Auguste Blankenstein); StaH 351-11 (Amt für Wiedergutmachung), 2652 (Anton Penkert); StaH 522-1 (Jüdische Gemeinden), 992b (Kultussteuerkartei der Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde Hamburg), Bertha Blankenstein, Edith Blankenstein; Bundesarchiv Berlin, Gedenkbuch, Opfer der Verfolgung der Juden unter der nationalsozialistischen Gewaltherrschaft in Deutschland 1933–1945 (Internetseite), Bertha Blankenstein, Edith Blankenstein, Georg Blankenstein; Stadtarchiv Dortmund, Adressbücher 1877, 1878; Archiv des Gymnasiums Christianeum, Auskunft vom 19.9.2007; Gelehrtenschule des Johanneums, Bibliotheca Johannei (Kurt Blankenstein Abgang mit Abitur Ostern 1932, Hans-Jürgen Blankenstein Abgang mit Abitur 20.3.1937), Auskunft 2019; Evangelisch-Lutherischer Kirchenkreis Hamburg-West/ Südholstein, Auszug aus dem Taufregister St. Johannis Altona 1892, S. 251, lfd. Nr. 417–421 (Blankenstein), Abschrift 2010; Bezirksamt Hamburg-Nord, Bauamt/Bauprüfabteilung, Akte Sierichstraße 70; Handelskammer Hamburg, Handelsregisterinformationen (Gebrüder Kalkmann, HR A 4934); Hamburger Börsenfirmen, Hamburg 1910, S. 63 (Blankenstein & Bosselmann, gegr. 1908, Agentur u. Commission, Spezialhaus in Lebensmitteln u. Getränken für Export, Inh.: Kurt Blankenstein u. Carl Walther Bosselmann, Königstraße 21, Ottoburg), S. 498 (Alfred Pattenhausen, gegr. 1900, Exp. haupts. industr. Anlagen u. dazu gehör. Bedarfsartikel, Proc.: R.H.Pattenhausen u. F.A.Ed.W.Hatje, Einkäufer: G. Blankenstein); Hamburger Börsenfirmen, Hamburg 1926, S. 524 (Gebr. Kalkmann, gegr. 1851, Inhaber: Ernst Heinr. Kalkmann, Louis Philipp Herm. Kalkmann u. Georg Blankenstein, Export nach Brasilien, Import dort. Produkte, Kleine Reichenstr. 27); Hamburger Börsenfirmen, Hamburg 1935, S. 76 (Blankenstein & Bosselmann, gegr. 1908, Lebensmittel u. Getränke f. d. Aus- u. Einfuhr, Inh.: Kurt Blankenstein u. Carl Walther Bosselmann, Neuer Wall 59); Frank Bajohr, "Arisierung" in Hamburg. Die Verdrängung der jüdischen Unternehmer 1933–1945, Hamburg 1998, S. 350 (Blankenstein & Bosselmann, Spezialhaus Lebensmittel Getränke, Neuer Wall 59); Beate Meyer (Hrsg.), Die Verfolgung und Ermordung der Hamburger Juden 1933–1945, Hamburg 2006, S. 196/197 (Gestapo Judenreferat); Patriotische Gesellschaft, Stolpersteine für jüdische Mitglieder, Hamburg 2015, S. 28–31 (Georg Blankenstein); Adressbuch Altona (Agent H. Blankenstein) 1894, 1897, 1901, 1902; Adressbuch Hamburg (H. Blankenstein) 1881, 1882, 1884–1886, 1888–1891, 1903, 1905–1907, 1911, 1913; Adressbuch Hamburg (Georg Blankenstein) 1920, 1928, 1937, 1938; Adressbuch Hamburg (Friedrich Vogt, Conservatorium f. Musik, An der Verbindungsbahn 10) 1908; Telefonbuch Hamburg (Georg Blankenstein) 1919–1920, 1925–1940; Telefonbuch Hamburg (Konservatorium für Musik, Vogt’sches, Rothenbaumchaussee 15) 1931; (Edith Blankenstein); (Herz Blankenstein: 4.8.1866 als Kfm. mit Dampfschiff Saxonia von Hamburg nach New York, Ankunft 21.8.1866, Wohnort Dortmund, keine Rückreise verzeichnet).

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