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Minna Bachrach * 1863
Harburger Rathausstraße 27 (Harburg, Harburg)
Minna Bachrach, born on 4 Jan. 1863 in Nieszawa (today in Poland), deported on 15 July to Theresienstadt, died on 7 Aug. 1942
Harburger Rathausstrasse 20 (formerly Rathausstrasse 27)
At the time Minna Bachrach was born in her birthplace in the lower Warta valley, many Poles were just rising yet another time against the hated rule of the Russian Czar Alexander II. The uprising was again crushed with a lot of bloodshed and the consequence was that the Polish population suffered even harsher repression. Hundreds of Poles were executed, thousands sentence to forced labor and banned to Siberia, tens of thousands punished with utter impoverishment. Many left their homes and set out to cross the Prussian-Russian border westward in the hope of a better future. So far, it has not been possible to clarify whether Minna Bachrach and her Jewish parents were already among these refugees or sought salvation in flight only later, nor how she eventually ended in the Prussian industrial town of Harburg/Elbe. She remained unmarried and without any occupational training.
In May 1939, she ranked among the 55 inhabitants of Harburg that according to Nazi understanding were Jews. Many had already emigrated to other countries worldwide or migrated to a larger German city.
At the age of 79 years, she was deported from the infirmary of the Jewish Community at Schäferkampsallee 29 to Theresienstadt on 15 July 1942, along with 925 mostly older Jews from Hamburg and northern Germany. In the fall of 1941, the Nazi leadership had begun developing the former garrison town on the Ohre (German: Eger) River into a ghetto for Jews from Bohemia and Moravia. Since July 1942, this place was also used as a "ghetto for the elderly” ("Altersgetto”) for German and Austrian Jews. The decision of the Reich Security Main Office (Reichsicherheitshauptamt) to call on those affected to finance the ghetto is testimony to a cynicism of this Nazi institution that can hardly be topped. Every person having received a deportation order was compelled to conclude a so-called "home purchase contract” ("Heimkaufsvertrag”) with the "Reich Association of Jews in Germany” ("Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland”), make an advance payment, and transfer assets. These revenues were later confiscated to the benefit of the German Reich. As a service in return, those affected were promised lifelong cost-free room, board, and medical care in an environment suitable to their age.
The reality was different. In Theresienstadt, practically all occupants were quartered in mass accommodations, Minna Bachrach in L 420, a building on Hauptstrasse. Provisions were more than dreadful. The food consisted largely of water. The poor nutrition resulted in protein and vitamin deficiencies and rendered people susceptible to disease. In the face of the high numbers of sick persons, the physicians were completely overwhelmed from the very beginning. Helplessly, they had to watch an increasing number of occupants of the ghetto perish every day.
Minna Bachrach’s life ended on 7 Aug. 1942, not even four weeks after her arrival.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: April 2018
© Klaus Möller
Quellen: Hamburger jüdische Opfer des Nationalsozialismus. Gedenkbuch, Jürgen Sielemann, Paul Flamme (Hrsg.); Hamburg 1995; Gedenkbuch. Opfer der Verfolgung der Juden unter der nationalsozialistischen Gewaltherrschaft in Deutschland 1933 – 1945, Bundesarchiv (Hrsg.), Koblenz 2006; Theresienstädter Gedenkbuch. Die Opfer der Judentransporte aus Deutschland nach Theresienstadt 1942 – 1945, Prag 2000; Yad Vashem. The Central Database of Shoa Victims´ Names: www.yadvashem.org; Bundesarchiv Berlin, Volkszählung 1939; http://www2.holocaust.cz/de/victims/PERSON.ITI.277148.