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Martha Dessen (née Hirsch) * 1895
Schäferkampsallee 29 (Eimsbüttel, Eimsbüttel)
1944 weiterdeportiert nach Auschwitz
Martha Dessen, née Hirsch, born on 21 Nov. 1895 in Hamburg, deported on 23 June 1943 to Theresienstadt, deported on 19 Oct. 1944 to Auschwitz and murdered
Martha Dessen had a twin brother. His name was Max and he was born before her. The parents of the twins were the "Kommis” – an obsolete expression for sales assistant or commercial employee – Harry Hirsch and his wife Auguste, née Levy. In 1895, the family lived at Karolinenstrasse 21. We do not know how many children the Hirsch family numbered, but the twins had at least one considerably older brother Siegmund (born in 1879). At the time of his birth, the parents had still lived at Elbstrasse 23 in Hamburg-Neustadt.
Martha Dessen became a nurse. On 8 Sept. 1922, she married the commercial clerk Leopold Dessen (born in 1887). In those days, she lived at Bornstrasse 25 with her older brother, the grain trader Siegmund Hirsch, who also acted as a witness to the marriage at her wedding. Siegmund was married to Lea, née Rimberg, and had two sons, Harry (born in 1904) and Samuel Herbert (born in 1906). He died in May 1940. Stolpersteine for Lea Hirsch and Samuel Herbert Hirsch are located at Hütten 87. Martha Dessen’s other nephew, the second-hand bookseller Harry Hirsch, managed to emigrate to the USA in the summer of 1936.
The Dessen couple lived in an apartment at Burggraben 7 in Hohenfelde. Leopold Dessen had resided there even before his marriage, probably together with his father, the cigar dealer Simon Dessen. The business address of Leopold Dessen was Neuer Wall 40. He died after not even two years of being married, in Jan. of 1924. His death was reported by the commercial apprentice Bruno Dessen, who also lived at Burggraben 7 and was probably a relative. Bruno Dessen, born in Berlin in 1907, survived.
Martha and Leopold Dessen remained childless. In 1929, five years after the death of her husband, Martha Dessen moved to Mannheim, where she was registered with the authorities from Apr. 1929 until Mar. 1930. She lived at the Israelite Hospital and worked as a nurse. In Mannheim, she subsequently informed the authorities of departing for Herne in Westphalia. Later, she reportedly was employed at Berlin’s Charité Hospital as a head nurse and matron, living at Invalidenstrasse 33. She was dismissed in 1937. From 1938 until 1942, she worked as a freelance nurse in Hamburg and had her home at Papendamm 25. Martha Dessen was deported from the "Jews’ house” ("Judenhaus”) on Schäferkampsallee to Theresienstadt on 23 June 1943 and further from there to Auschwitz on 19 Oct. 1944.
After the war, a niece claimed a major loss of assets in the course of restitution proceedings. According to this, Martha Dessen apparently owned, among other things, jewelry, paintings, and a book collection.
Martha Dessen’s twin brother Max married Rocha Gitkin in 1931. He fell ill with multiple sclerosis and died in the Israelite Hospital in Sept. 1939.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Susanne Lohmeyer
Quellen: 1; 4; 7; StaH 332-5 Standesämter, 1959 und 4687/1879; StaH 332-5, 9118 und 2639/1895; StaH 332-5, 0118 und 2640/1895; StaH 332-5, 884 und 35/1924; StaH 332-5, 3441 und 802/1922; StaH 332-5, 1104 und 705/1939; StaH 332-5, 8167 und 248/1940; StaH 351-11 AfW AZ 7314 Lotte Degner nach Martha Dessen; Auskunft Stadtarchiv Mannheim.
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