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Gella Julie Hamel * 1859

Grindelallee 136 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)

JG. 1859
ERMORDET 24.8.1942

Gella Julie Hamel, b. 11.13.1859 in Hamburg, deported to Theresienstadt on 7.15.1942, died there on 8.24.1942

Grindelallee 136

Julie Hamel was the older of two daughters of the Hamburg musician and journalist, Eduard Hamel, and his wife Mina (née Haarburger). Actually, until the mid-1820s, Eduard Hamel had been named Gabriel Pollack; he changed his name sometime before 1833. Under his new name, he was a celebrated violinist/violist and for a time belonged to, among others, the Grand Opera of Paris ensemble. In 1846, however, he returned to his Hamburg hometown, where he worked as a music teacher and critic. As a composer, he created the comic opera "Malwina,” which premiered on 16 March 1857 at the Hamburg State Theater, as well as numerous piano pieces and art songs, which he offered up regularly at his soirées and chamber music evenings. From 1875 until 1892, he worked as a musical journalist and opera critic for a Hamburg newspaper and was also appointed by the Senate as a member of the Association of Musical Experts, to which he belonged until his death in May 1899 at 88 years of age.

Julie, as well as her sister Clara, inherited the musical talent of their father. Unfortunately, it is not known to what extent and where Julie was musically trained. However, numerous articles in various Hamburg newspapers between 1886 and 1901 testify that she was active as a composer and also as an accompanist in the Hanseatic City’s lively chamber music scene, even though the critics were not always carried away by their enthusiasm. Julie made appearances in, among other places, the St. Johanniskirche in Altona, in the little hall of the Convent Garden in the Hamburg New City, as well as at the private parties given by the piano manufacturer Jean Haring, on whose instruments she regularly performed.

Julie appeared in the Hamburg directory for the first time in 1900, when she was living with her mother in an apartment at Grindelallee 163-165, where the family had moved when her father was still alive in 1892. Previously, the Hamels lived in various apartments in the Old and New City. Like her father, music was not only Julie’s hobby, but the way she earned her living. Until 1930, and perhaps even beyond this time, she was a music teacher. It is only speculation because the instruction she gave was rather private in nature and there is no evidence that she ever was employed by a school.

Following the death of her mother, Julie moved a few times within the Grindel quarter and surrounding neighborhoods, before she settled in an apartment at Eppendorfer Weg 200, where she stayed from 1914 to 1930. In 1931 she moved for a few years to Grindelallee 136, where the donated commemorative stone for her is installed. After the National Socialists came into power, she had to move three more times: initially to an apartment at Papendamm 4, then as a sub-lessee to Heidestrasse 25 in Hamburg-Hoheluft. According to the data on Communal Religion Tax record and the death notice filled out in Theresienstadt, she, now over 80 years old, had to leave this apartment and spend at least a brief period of time in the "Jew house” at Schäferkampsallee 29, which had previously served the Jewish Congregation as an old people’s home.

On 15 July 1942, together with 926 other Hamburg Jews, Julie Hamel was deported to Theresienstadt and there assigned to House E III, the former Genius Barracks, which was used as an old people’s home and infirmary.

Little more than a month after her arrival, she died on 24 August, at 12:30 pm, in Room 337 of her apartment block. The two Jewish doctors who filled out her death notice listed as causes, "multiple sclerosis” and "striatodental calcification.”

Translator: Richard Levy
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

© Thomas Rost

Quellen: 1; 3; 5; 7; Hamburger Adressbücher 1860–1942; StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden, 992 e 2, Band 4 Liste 1; Meyer: Die Deportation, S.70–74; Sittard: Geschichte, S. 222; Altonaer Nachrichten, 15. März 1857, S. 6; Hamburger Nachrichten, 29.03.1886, S. 2; Hamburger Nachrichten, 6.10.1886, S. 12; Hamburger Nachrichten, 24.10.1887, S. 2; Hamburger Anzeiger, 31.1.1891, S. 2; Altonaer Nachrichten, 10.4.1891, S. 7; Hamburger Anzeiger, 28.2.1896, S. 3; Hamburger Anzeiger, 27.5.1899, S. 9; Hamburger Anzeiger, 29.7.1899, S. 2; Altonaer Nachrichten, 15.11.1901, S. 3.
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