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Lilly Nathan sitzt vor einem Baum mit einer Handarbeit
Lilly Nathan mit einer Handarbeit
© Sanatorium Dr. Schulze Uelsby

Lilly Nathan * 1900

Hochallee 128 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)

JG. 1900
ERMORDET 1.5.1943

Lilly Nathan, born 11 July 1900 in Hamburg, deported 19 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, died there 1 May 1943

Hochallee 128

On 11 October 1939, Lenchen Nathan, Lilly Nathan’s mother and legal guardian, died. At this time Lilly was living in a private nursing home, Villa Wilhelma, run by Dr. Ferdinand Schulze in Uelsby near Schleswig. The court appointed a new, Jewish guardian, Hermann Franck, on 21 November 1939.

Lilly Nathan’s parents were both of Jewish heritage, and both were born in Hamburg. Her father, Neumann Nathan (*11 November 1871) and mother, Helene (Lenchen) Gumpel (*5 May 1876) married on 18 November 1897. Neumann Nathan was a successful businessman. In 1895 he opened a watch and gold warehouse at Amelungstraße 13/14, and worked first as a sales representative. His father, Gerson Nathan (*8 April 1839) was originally from Rendsburg. His mother Recha, née Joseph (*28 October 1840) was from Hamburg. They married in 1864 and lived in Hamburg, where their four children were born. Neumann had one elder sister, Helene (*1 December 1870), and two younger brothers, Julius (*25 September 1873) and Marcus (*14 February 1877). Gerson Nathan was a tailor, and in 1887 his income was sufficiently high to meet the requirements of becoming a citizen of Hamburg.

Unlike her future husband, Helene was from a small family. She had just one younger brother, Maximilian (*28 December 1977). Her father, Siegmund Gumpel (*23 September 1846 in Altona), had first earned his living as a trader in linens, then as a typesetter at the Hamburger Correspondent. He had moved to Hamburg in November 1874, where he married Rosa Nathan (*30 June 1854) on 23 May 1875. He became a citizen of Hamburg on 17 May 1878. Like Neumann Nathan’s family, they lived in Hamburg’s Neustadt. Maximilian Gumpel (see Biographies: Maximilian Gumpel) apprenticed as a salesman, but Helene did not receive any professional training. She lived with her parents at Kohlhöfen 18 until she married.

Neumann and Lenchen Nathan moved into an apartment at Holstenplatz 9, where their first child, Max, was born on 13 October 1898. Max died nine months later on 25 July 1899. Lilly was born on 11 July 1900. She was to remain an only child, but had many cousins. When Neumann and Lenchen married, Neumann’s sister Helene had already been married to Henry Herz for two years. In order to avoid confusion, Neumann’s wife Helene was called Lenchen, and his sister was called Helene. Helene Herz already had one daughter, and two weeks after her brother’s wedding her son Manfred (see Biographies: Manfred Herz) was born. At that point the Herz family already lived in the Grindel Quarter. One year before Lilly was born, Helene Herz’s third child, Walter, was born, and her fourth and last child, Berta, was born three months after Lilly.

Neumann Nathan rented business space at Wexstraße 16 and moved to Brahmsallee 24 in Harvestehude. Far from Hamburg, in Stettin, another cousin to Lilly was born: Waldemar, the first child of Neumann’s brother Julius and his wife Ida (née Herzberg), was born on 9 June 1900. Their daughter Elise was born in 1905. In that same year Marcus, Neumann’s youngest brother, married Henriette Levy. Ten years later their only child was born: Ernst Gerhard, on 11 November 1915. At this point the children’s grandparents, Recha and Gerson Nathan, had already passed away.

Neumann and his brother Marcus were both members of the Synagogue Association of the Hamburg Jewish Community. On 2 January 1903, Neumann Nathan took over Robert Neben & Co., a men’s clothing company with stores in Bremen and Lübeck. He entered this company as well as his watch and gold warehouse in the trade register, and ran them both from his offices on Wexstraße.

His daughter Lilly began to speak and walk quickly, but after several severe infectious illnesses which kept her in bed, she was no longer able to walk. At the age of four she suffered a head injury and broke her collarbone in a fall. Shortly after she started school she again became severely ill and couldn’t attend regularly. Lilly’s father’s reaction to her condition was irritability; it strained her mother’s nerves and she spoiled the child. Lilly’s mental development lagged behind her physical development. When she was eleven she witnessed an accident in which a construction worker fell from a scaffold. As a result she suffered spells of weakness and spasms, and developed a fear of climbing stairs. Later she had fainting spells, which were preceded by episodes of fear and screaming, and after which she experienced migraine-like conditions for as much as three days. The most noticeable of her problems was her inability to concentrate, which strongly affected her ability to learn, so that she was unable to finish her schooling. She stayed at home and helped her mother with the household.

With the outbreak of the First World War, Neumann Nathan’s business stagnated, and he and his wife divorced on 11 June 1918. He married Chaja/Clara Wegsmann, the daughter of a merchant and sixteen years his junior, on 22 October 1918. They had two children, Beate Recha (*4 March 1920) and Hans Gerd (6 January 1922). He and his new family lived at Parkallee 4. Lenchen and Lilly lived at Parkallee 26. It is not known how Lenchen and Lilly’s finances were covered, nor how Lilly reacted to her half-siblings.

Lenchen Nathan registered with the Hamburg German-Israelitic Community on 3 September 1919, but she paid next to nothing in fees, because her income was "negligible.” Neumann Nathan turned over his men’s clothing business to his brother Marcus on 28 March 1918, and also reduced his involvement in his watch and gold business, which he eventually turned over to his nephews Manfred and Walter Herz. Manfred Herz had trained as a cabinetmaker, but successfully learned the ropes of the business world. His brother Walter soon left the company and went to sea.

Meanwhile Lilly’s restlessness and rebellion against her mother increased, for which reason Lenchen put Lilly temporarily in a nursing home on Norderstraße in Altona. When she returned home, Lilly unsettled her relatives by occasionally going on dates, which they considered "loose behavior.” In fact she never left the house alone because of her fear of climbing stairs. Her only diversion was going to the movies. But Lilly was never able to be independent. She suffered from extreme mood swings, was irritable and restless. In 1925 she was sent from the nursing home for observation to the psychiatric ward at the Altona Hospital.

It was recommended that Lilly be put under legal guardianship, ostensibly in order to prevent her father from influencing her to sign documents that would be detrimental to her. Lenchen Nathan and Johanna Kröger became co-guardians, although Kröger’s responsibilities are unclear. At the same time, it was determined that she was to "be treated and to recover in the care of Dr. [Ferdinand] Schulze.” She was admitted to the private care home Villa Wilhelma in Uelsby with a diagnosis of "idiocy,” although no cause for her condition was determined. Lilly quickly adjusted to life in her new residence, was courteous and worked diligently in the household. She was described as a "friendly, easily led patient, slow but always willing and pleasant.” We do not know who financed her stay at the private clinic.

Her cousin Manfred Herz became a partner in his uncle’s company, and in 1926 became its sole proprietor. He was able to consolidate the family business before the Great Depression. Neumann Nathan remained involved in the business, and in 1924 invested 10,000 Reichsmarks in his brother Marcus’s company and became a limited partner. He also ran a business for German silver and silver-plated handbags from his home address at Parkallee 4/6. In 1928 he came to an agreement with his brother Marcus that in exchange for an investment of 30,000 Reichsmarks, he would receive a monthly pension of 300 Reichsmarks, which would be paid to Lilly upon his death. In that same year he and his family moved to Hanover, where he divorced the next year. He ran two companies, from which his second wife and their two children were to receive a monthly pension of 400 Reichsmarks after his death.

Neumann Nathan died on 24 March 1932. At the end of that year, Marcus Nathan became sole proprietor of the company, with which he was increasingly successful. Lilly Nathan had been released from the clinic "into the care of her family” on 18 July 1930 and returned to live with her mother at Brahmsallee 12. They later moved to Deichstraße 37, and then to Burchardtstraße 12. After her father’s death, Lilly was registered as an independent member of the Jewish Community. Her religious community fees were paid from her pension. Eight years later she returned to Uelsby, on 11 July 1938, but remained a member of the Jewish Community in Hamburg. She felt more comfortable in the familiar surroundings of the clinic; she was "pliable” and fulfilled her responsibilities. Even when her mother died, her behavior did not change.

In 1939 the Chief Tax Authority began to take an interest in Lilly Nathan’s finances. She had mortgages worth 4000 Reichsmarks, a 21,730 RM inheritance from her mother, furniture and clothing valued at 300 RM, and 210,70 RM in a savings account which she planned to use for a holiday trip. She also had the pension from her uncle’s company, which, however, was in the process of being liquidated. The legal issues related to her pension and the inheritance from her father were handled by an "Aryan” lawyer. Her monthly pension was reduced because of the liquidation of the company. When the company was closed, Lilly received 15,750 RM. Like all wealthy Jews, she was forced to make an "atonement payment” after the November Pogrogms. In her case it amounted to 6,800 RM.

A decree issued by the Reich Home Minister on 30 August 1940 within the framework of the T4 Euthanasia Program required that all "full Jewish” patients in northern German institutions be sent to the Langenhorn State Mental Institution. This decree affected several of Lilly’s relatives. Her cousins Berta and Walter both showed symptoms of unnamed psychological disorders, but neither of them had been admitted to an institution. When Walter Herz suffered an episode of "manic agitation” in 1925, he was admitted to the Friedrichsberg State Mental Institution. Berta was also held there temporarily. Hans Fabian, the husband of Lilly’s cousin Herta, also showed symptoms of a psychological disorder. He was transferred from a care home in Farmsen to Langenhorn on 2 February 1940. Berta Herz was already at Langenhorn by this time, and Walter Herz was transferred there from Strecknitz.

The purpose of the concentration of the mentally ill in Langenhorn was their transport on 23 September 1940 to the "Brandenburg State Care Institution,” as the extermination hospital was euphemistically called. For unknown reasons, Lilly was not included in this transport. Thirteen months later her relatives began to be deported. Her uncle Maximilian Gumpel, her cousin Herta Fabian, and her cousin Manfred Herz and his family were deported to Riga on 6 December 1941, from whence they never returned. Three months later her half-sister Beate Recha was sent to the Ravensbrück Concentration Camp, and then to the Bernburg Euthanasia Center as part of the 14 F 13 Euthanasia Program. On 11 July 1942 her uncle Marcus and aunt Henriette Nathan were deported to Auschwitz and murdered immediately upon arrival.

On 18 July 1942 a letter arrived at the Villa Wilhelma: "To be picked up by the police on 18 July 1942 at 6:00 p.m. at the bus in Uelsby and taken to Kiel, Kleine Kuhberg 25. Issued at the order of the Local Group Leader Wolleson … the legal guardian Israel Hermann Franck has been notified by telephone.” Items to be brought along were "50.00 Marks, 1 suitcase or rucksack, complete suit of clothing, sturdy shoes, bed linens and blanket, dishes, 1 plate or 1 pot with spoon, provisions for appx. 8 days.” Hermann Franck had been replaced by Heymann Goldstein. This order also applied to Ina Löwenthal, née Ascher (*8 July 1873 in Bad Doberan), who had also lived in Hamburg. Both she and Lilly, along with Lilly’s former guardian Hermann Franck, were put on a transport to the Theresienstadt Ghetto on 19 July 1942. Lilly’s aunt Helene Herz had been sent there four days earlier. Although the ghetto was fully over-crowded, it is not impossible that Lilly and her aunt met there before Helene Herz died two months later. Lilly Nathan survived through the winter and died on 1 May 1943.

Of the large Nathan family, only Lilly’s half-brother Hans Gerd Nathan, her cousin Ernst Gerhard Nathan, and her uncle Julius Nathan and his family survived the Nazi Regime. On the Gumpel side of the family, only Lilly’s cousin Werner survived.

Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: April 2018
© Hildegard Thevs

Quellen: 1; 2 R 1939/239; 4; 5; 7; Hamburger Adressbücher; StaH 332-5, 1871-1741/1876;
2890-1189/1897; 332-7 BIII 1878, Nr. 10 438; 352-5, StA2 1899, Nr. 1213; 352-8/7, Abl. 1/1995, Bde. 1939–1943, Bd. I; Sanatorium Dr. Schulze, Uelsby, Archiv: Hausprospekt, Krankenakte Nr. 143, Dank Ingo Willes zur Verfügung gestellt, persönliche Mitteilungen 22.1.2015; http://www.stolpersteine-, Abfrage 2.1.2015.
Zur Nummerierung der häufig genutzten Quellen siehe Link "Recherche und Quellen".

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