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Betty Baruch (née Kleve) * 1892

Gefionstraße 11 (Altona, Altona-Nord)

JG. 1892

Betty Baruch, née Kleve, born on 3 Sept. 1892, deported on 6 Dec. 1941 to Riga, murdered

Gefionstrasse 11

"Retired on 6 Dec. 1941 due to outmigration [Abwanderung].” This note on the Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) file card of the Hamburg Jewish Religious Organization (Jüdischer Religionsverband), which was under Gestapo supervision, concealed a forced deportation: On that day, Betty Baruch was transported from Hamburg to Riga. With her occupation indicated as "cleaning lady,” she was indicated as no. 22 of the deportation list that included 964 names overall. She was born on 3 Sept. 1892 in Hamburg as the daughter of the merchant Joseph Salomon Kleve and his wife Amalie Kleve, née Cohn; both were of the Jewish faith. The family lived in Hamburg at Spaldingstrasse 61. On 30 Nov. 1919, Betty Kleve married in Hamburg the merchant Salomon Siegfried Baruch, born on 11 Mar. 1883 in the Schleswig-Holstein town of Segeberg and nine years her senior. His father was the religious instruction teacher Samuel Levien Baruch who died in 1898; his mother was Clara Baruch, née Lindenburg. Siegfried Baruch was also Jewish. On 8 Sept. 1920, Betty Baruch gave birth to daughter Alice, the couple’s only child, in Altona. The family lived at Schulterblatt 35. In 1930, they moved to the third floor of the building at Gefionstrasse 11, an apartment house of the Altona Non-Profit Residential Stock Corporation (Gemeinnützige Siedlungs-Aktiengesellschaft Altona – SAGA), where Betty Baruch took care of the family as a housewife. According to information from the office of the Chief Finance Administrator (Oberfinanzpräsident), the couple separated at the beginning of the 1930s. While Siegfried Baruch moved to Berlin, his wife stayed in Altona with the daughter; in 1937, they moved into an apartment on the fifth floor of Nachtigallenstrasse 2 (today Lerchenstrasse, north of Stresemannstrasse). After the separation, Betty Baruch was unemployed at first, subsequently working as a cleaner. In early 1938, a note on her Jewish religious tax card indicated: "destitute.” Her daughter Alice had attended the Israelite Girls’ School on Karolinenstrasse since 1927 but she was forced to end her school education in 1936 without graduating. She did an apprenticeship with the Bachrach & Loeb Company in Hamburg to become a private secretary but she was not able to finish this training either, because the Jewish company owners emigrated and had liquated the business beforehand. Parallel to this, she had attended the public business school, which she was not able to complete either. From July until the end of Sept. 1938, she worked as a receptionist for a doctor, and then as a sales assistant until the end of the year. In Feb. and Mar. 1939, she found short-term employment as a domestic help. Eventually, in 1939, at the age of 18, Alice Baruch succeeded in departing for Britain. Until that time, she had lived with her mother. On 13 June 1939, Alice Baruch reached Southampton from Hamburg aboard the "SS Manhattan.” The desired destination of her emigration was the United States; however, she had to give up this goal due to the outbreak of war in Sept. 1939. In Feb. 1939, her mother Betty Baruch received a sum of money from an inheritance of her husband’s family and the proceeds from a mortgage in Segeberg. Nevertheless, the office of the Hamburg Chief Finance Administrator (Oberfinanzpräsident) refrained from issuing a "security order” ("Sicherungsanordnung”) or blocking her bank account, respectively; the value of her assets was deemed too low. According to information by her daughter, Betty Baruch was forcibly quartered in a "Jews’ house” ("Judenhaus”) on 19 Sept. 1941. On request of the Restitution Office (Amt für Wiedergutmachung), after the war the local police authority investigated to the following effect: "According to testimony by the current apartment owner, Katharina Lehnemann, […] residing in Hamburg-Altona, Lerchenstrasse 115 on the fifth floor (formerly Nachtigallenstrasse 2, on the fifth floor), Mrs. Baruch moved out of her apartment in about the middle of Dec. 1941 and departed with her luggage on a transport whose destination was unknown […] According to her knowledge, the father of Mrs. Baruch, Josef Kleve, was apparently accommodated in a Jewish charitable foundation in Altona.” Inquiries with the registration office revealed that Joseph Kleve had been forced to move to Hamburg on 4 Sept. 1941 and had lived at Laufgraben 37 in a so-called "Jews’ house,” the former Jewish Paulinenstift girls’ orphanage. On 6 Dec. 1941, Betty Baruch was deported to Riga, the capital of occupied Latvia. She ended up in the nearby Jungfernhof concentration camp, a makeshift subcamp of the Riga Ghetto for temporary accommodation of Jews. Several thousand people dwelled in partly dilapidated, mostly unheated barns, barracks, and stables of the former farming estate. Many died in the winter of 1941/42 of hunger, typhoid fever, and other diseases, and of the cold. In Mar. 1942, the camp was largely disbanded. About 1,800 elderly and sick persons as well as mothers with children were shot to death in the nearby forest. Betty Baruch perished as well. Her husband, Siegfried Baruch, was sent on a large-scale transport comprised of 9,520 persons from Berlin to the Auschwitz extermination camp on 3 Feb. 1943. The daughter, Alice Baruch, married name Calder, traveled to Hamburg in Feb. 1949 and had her mother declared dead by the Hamburg-Altona District Court (Amtsgericht): "My mother was deported to Riga as a Jewish woman in Dec. 1941, and to this day no one has ever heard anything of her since.” Four years later, she emigrated from Britain to the USA, settling in San Francisco. In 1976, she bore witness to her parents’ deaths in Pages of Testimony submitted to the Yad Vashem memorial site in Jerusalem.

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

Stand: April 2018
© Birgit Gewehr

Quellen: 1; 2 (R 1939/271, FVg 4854 Baruch, Alice); 4; 5; 7; 8; AB Altona und Hamburg; StaH 5221 Jüdische Gemeinden, 992 e 2 Band 3 (Deportationsliste Riga 4.12.1941); StaH 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung, 43556 (Calder, Alice); StaH 424-111 Amtsgericht Altona, 5819 (Aufgebot zur Todeserklärung Betty Baruch).
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