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Already layed Stumbling Stones
Selly Baruch * 1874
Parkallee 7 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)
1944 Auschwitz ermordet
further stumbling stones in Parkallee 7:
Selly Baruch, born on 11 May 1874, in Bad Segeberg, deported on 15 July 1942 to Theresienstadt and from there to Auschwitz on 15 May 1944, and murdered
Stolperstein at Parkallee 7
If one wishes to understand why Selly Baruch hastily left her birthplace and hometown of Bad Segeberg already in the year the Nazis took power in 1933, at the age of 59, one must know that anti-Semitism fell on particularly fertile ground in this small city.
The comparatively late but rapid rise of the Nazi party (NSDAP) in the Segeberg District, which in 1925 had only 94 Jewish residents, did not take place until the late 1920s. In the course of the world economic crisis in 1929, which led to increased foreclosures in the region, the "Brownshirts” were henceforth considered the saviors, while the democratic parties of the Weimar Republic were blamed for reparations payments and mismanagement.
The German National People’s Party (Deutschnationale Volkspartei – DNVP) proved to be a long-standing political trailblazer of the Nazis. Anti-Jewish statements and attacks became more frequent. Finally, on 27 Aug. 1929, during a meeting of the NSDAP in the "Hotel Germania” – Jews were banned from entering – its local group Bad Segeberg was founded. While the party had already won more than 40 percent of the votes in the Segeberg District in the Reichstag elections of Sept. 1930, by Nov. 1932 this number had risen to just under 68 percent. There was de facto no counterforce. The fourth son of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Prince August Wilhelm von Hohenzollern, a high-ranking SA leader who liked to visit the spa town of Bad Segeberg, even perceived the location as a "piece of Hitler land” in 1932. It was also at this time that the first acts of violence against Jewish businesspeople took place. When a torchlight procession marched through Bad Segeberg on 30 Jan. 1933, stores were looted. The Segeberger Kreis- und Tagblatt reported that they had "become victims to the wrath of the people.”
The rapid "forcible coordination” ("Gleichschaltung”) of public institutions was followed on 1 Apr. 1933 by a call to boycott Jewish stores in the city, described by the local press as a "defensive struggle.” The NSDAP deliberately agitated against the Jewish population, some of whom were known personally and by name, erstwhile neighbors and business partners. Confronted with escalating violence and agitation, many Segeberg Jews – including Selly Baruch – tried to escape the threatening situation and find a protective refuge in the anonymity of the big cities. It proved a deceptive hope.
Selly Baruch was born on 11 May 1874 in Bad Segeberg. The traces of her ancestors can be dated back to the mid-eighteenth century, when the first Jewish residents settled in Segeberg. Her great-grandfather Jacob Baruch and his wife had two children, daughter Zwicka Cäcilie (born on 14 Feb. 1789 in Segeberg, died on 31 Oct. 1864 in Segeberg) and son Levin (Levy), who was born there on 6 June 1797. According to the census of 1835, Levin Baruch, a leather merchant by profession, ran a store at Lübecker Strasse 61 in Segeberg. Since 12 Oct. 1831, he was married to Sara (Särchen) Samuel, born in Lübeck-Moisling. She was active at the Sterbegilde Segeberg, a burial association, as cashier. Selly’s paternal grandparents both died in Segeberg, her grandfather on 29 May 1846, her grandmother in 1871.
The marriage of Levin and Sara Baruch produced seven children. Their son Samuel Levin was born on 15 Jan. 1834 in Segeberg. From 1862 to 1866, he worked as a religious official and teacher of religion in Gadebusch, Mecklenburg. There he met Clara Lindenberg, born on 13 Mar. 1841 in Gadebusch. On 30 Dec. 1863, they were married there. In 1866, the couple moved to Segeberg, where Samuel Levin continued to serve as a religious official and pursued his previous activities as a teacher of religion.
In 1892, Samuel Levin and Clara opened the Pension Baruch, a guesthouse, in their home at Kurhausstrasse 31, where they offered kosher food. They provided a "lunch menu, which orthodox circles have confidence in,” Chief Rabbi Lerner told the Altona Hochdeutsche Israelitische Gemeinde ("High German Israelite Community”). Small communities, such as Segeberg, usually did not have their own local rabbi for reasons of cost savings. The rabbi’s area of responsibility in that case fell to the religious official, who thus combined three professions. In addition to religious education, he also held the cantorate and the shechita (kosher slaughtering). The latter part, essential for the provision of kosher food, was not considered very popular and in this connection a quote by Director Holzmann of the Berlin teacher training college found widespread use: "Für den Mann im Lehrerstande – passt nicht das Messer im Gewande” ("For the man in the teaching position – the knife in the robe does not befit.”).
Selly’s father Samuel Levin died in Segeberg on 30 Aug. 1898.
Selly, the seventh child of her parents, had eleven siblings. However, she did not have a chance to meet them all personally, because her brothers Luis, born on 29 Nov. 1863 in Gadebusch; Isidor, born on 16 May 1865 in Gadebusch; and Bernhard, born on 6 Mar. 1873 in Segeberg, died in infancy. Three sisters also died young: Frieda, born in 1876 in Segeberg, at the age of 12; Emmy, born in 1878 in Segeberg, at the age of ten; and Bertha, born in 1880 in Segeberg, at the age of eight.
Her other siblings reached adulthood: Auguste, born on 5 Feb. 1867 in Segeberg, later owner of a fashion store (died on 3 Jan. 1938 in Hamburg); Anna, born on 13 Mar. 1869 in Segeberg (murdered in the Chelmno extermination camp); Julius, born on 3 Apr. 1871 in Segeberg (later a merchant, died in 1934 in Berlin); Siegfried, born on 11 Mar. 1883 in Segeberg (deported on 3 Feb. 1943 to Auschwitz, murdered there); and Paula, born on 14 Oct. 1886 in Segeberg (deported on 15 May 1944 to Auschwitz, murdered there).
Selly celebrated her bat mitzvah on 7 Apr. 1889. In 1925, she took over the guesthouse of her mother Clara, one year before the latter died in Bad Segeberg at the age of 85 in 1926. In keeping with tradition, she also cooked according to Jewish rites and prepared kosher meals, which were very popular with Jewish spa guests. To mark its 135th anniversary in 1927, the Segeberg Sterbegilde organized a banquet in memory of the deceased and fallen of the First World War in the Baruch guesthouse.
In 1933, according to the census, 32 Jewish residents were still in Bad Segeberg.
Most of them left the town in the face of the harassment and violence and due to the call for a boycott on 1 Apr. 1933 – "No German buys from a Jew!” Many moved their residence to Hamburg, like Selly Baruch, who remained unmarried and childless.
Since 1 Nov. 1933, she was registered at Parkallee 7 in Hamburg-Harvestehude. There she rented a seven-and-a-half-room apartment on the second floor on the left with her own telephone connection, for an annual rent of 1,752 RM. At this location, she built up, as she had done before on Kurhausstrasse in Segeberg, a guesthouse operation with kosher cooking. After the war, the Hamburg State Association of the Restaurant and Hotel Industry doubted that she had run a guesthouse and assumed that it had been "merely a commercial room rental business.” A trade license was sufficient for this; she did not have to obtain a concession. In fact, she did not register the trade for room rental until 19 Jan. 1940, and received permission, along with the condition that she rent rooms exclusively to Jews, as the Central Trade Register of the Office for Economic Order recorded.
Selly was listed as "head of the household” in the house registration card file (Hausmeldekartei) for Parkallee 7.
Her Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) file card – she joined the Jewish Community on 18 Aug. 1937 – certifies that Selly Baruch earned only a moderate to no taxable income.
The house registration card file reveals that Selly’s sister Anna, who married the merchant Ernst Beer (born on 26 June 1881 in Märkisch Friedland, murdered on 8 Sept. 1942 in Chelmno) on 11 Sept. 1906 in Segeberg, visited Parkallee 7 together with their daughter Gisela (born on Feb. 1913 in Segeberg – also murdered in Chelmno) at the turn of 1939. She also took in her sister Auguste, before she died in the Jewish Hospital in Hamburg on 3 Jan. 1938.
Selly’s sister Paula had also moved her residence to Hamburg. Her first address was Kielortallee 25. In Hamburg, she married the merchant Berman Levy, born in Hamburg on 5 May 1879, in her second marriage on 28 Dec. 1937. In her first marriage, she had been married to the merchant Friedrich Brandl (born on 3 Jan. 1889 in Frankfurt/Main), who had moved to Hamburg from Segeberg and died at the age of only 26 years on 1 June 1915 in the private Wünsch Clinic at Mittelweg 144.
For Berman, too, it was his second marriage, after his first marriage to Minna Heymann in Friedrichstadt on 24 July 1904 had been divorced on 24 Mar. 1936. At the time of the German national census of 17 May 1939, the couple resided at Moltkestrasse 1 (Generalstabsweg).
Starting on 25 Feb. 1942, Selly lived at Kielortallee 22, a "Jews’ house” ("Judenhaus”). Since she was over 65 years of age, she was deferred from deportation in 1941 and was scheduled for the first Hamburg transport to Theresienstadt on 15 July 1942. The note on her Jewish religious tax file card, "retired by emigration,” ended her membership.
The special transport of the German railroad (Deutsche Reichsbahn) designated as "VI/1” and comprised of 926 people – including Selly Baruch, her sister Paula, and her brother-in-law Berman – left the Hannoversche Bahnhof station for Theresienstadt and reached the small Bohemian town a day later. In 1943, 23 people from this train were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. The year after, 124 people followed.
While Berman Levy did not survive the inhuman conditions in Theresienstadt (he died on 4 May 1944), Selly and Paula were also on that transport "Dz,” a death train called the "Arbeitseinsatztransport” ("labor deployment transport”), which took 2,503 inmates to the extermination camp on 15 May 1944. This and two other transports to Birkenau on 16 and 17 May, each with 2,500 people, were intended to make the hopelessly overcrowded Theresienstadt camp more presentable for the inspection by the International Red Cross.
In Auschwitz, Selly Baruch and Paula Levy were probably murdered immediately. They were declared dead as of 8 May 1945.
My special thanks go to Erich Koch, Schleswig, for his friendly support.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: December 2020
© Michael Steffen
Quellen: 4; 5; StaH 351-11 2549 Amt für Wiedergutmachung; 332-8 A51 Meldewesen Film Nr. 4227; 522-1, 128 Bd. 29; Adressbücher Hamburg 1935–1942; JSHD Foschungsgruppe "Juden in Schleswig-Holstein", Datenpool Erich Koch, Schleswig; Bettina Goldberg "Abseits der Metropolen – die jüdische Minderheit in Schleswig-Holstein",Neumünster 2011, Seiten 148, 581; Gerhard Paul, Miriam-Gillis Carlebach (Hrsg.) "Menora und Hakenkreuz", Neumünster 1998, Seiten 185f., 331ff.; Helge Buttkereit "Verdrängen, Vergessen, Erinnern", Bad Segeberg 2017, Seiten 14ff., 115ff.; Alfred Gottwaldt, Diana Schulle "Die ,Judendeportationen’ aus dem Deutschen Reich 1941–1945", Wiesbaden 2005, Seiten 298, 430f.; www.dasjuedischehamburg.de/inhalt/lerner-maier, zugegriffen am 28.2.2018.
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