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Philipp Baruch * 1860

Hastedtplatz 15 (Harburg, Harburg)

JG. 1860

further stumbling stones in Hastedtplatz 15:
Olga Baruch

Olga Baruch, née Phillip, born on 24 Sept. 1869 in Lüneburg, deported on 15 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, deported further on 21 Sept. 1942 to Treblinka
Philipp Baruch, born on 24 May 1860 in Pinne (today Pniewy in Poland), deported on 15 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, deported further on 21 Sept. 1942 to Treblinka

Harburg-Altstadt quarter, Hastedtplatz 15 (Mozartstraße 15)

Though Harburg was not the native city of the real estate agent Philipp Baruch and his wife Olga, who was also Jewish, it became their hometown after they got married at the end of the nineteenth century. With their two daughters, Gerda (born on 23 July 1896) and Alice (born on 18 Jan. 1898), they lived at Mozartstraße 15 (today: Hastedtplatz). The father’s office was located at Mühlenstraße 35 (today: Schlossmühlendamm), one of the most important business streets of the then Prussian industrial town of Harburg/Elbe, which connected the city center with Harburg harbor.

Both daughters attended Harburg schools and got along just as well with their Christian girlfriends as they did with the Jewish children and youths in their neighborhood – as their childhood friend Max Rotter recalled later at any rate.

After 1933, the anti-Semitism mostly veiled until then abruptly changed into open hatred of Jews in Harburg as well. Probably it did not take long before Philipp Baruch was excluded from the "Reich Association of German Realtors” ("Reichsbund deutscher Makler”). Like other Jewish families, the Baruchs, too, relocated from Harburg to the neighboring big city of Hamburg in Dec. 1935, where they presumably hoped for better protection due to greater anonymity and more solidarity due to the encounter with other persons persecuted as well.

By that time, their daughter Gerda, an office worker, was already unemployed, taking on even the most short-term and poorly paid employment over the following years, including a job with the Warburg Bank on Alsterterrassen. After the move, her sister Alice, two years her junior, worked successively for several families as a Haustochter [a live-in maid and nanny], in the end for the Carlebachs, the family of Hamburg’s Chief Rabbi, Joseph Carlebach, at Hallerstraße 76, which had meanwhile been renamed "Ostmarkstraße.” There she also received her "evacuation order” in the fall of 1941 for the first Hamburg deportation transport to Lodz on 25 Oct. 1941. Her sister Gerda was deported three weeks later, on 18 Nov. 1941, to Minsk.

After 3,000 Jews from Hamburg had already been deported eastward in the fall of 1941, the second large-scale wave of deportations began in the summer of 1942, seizing some additional 2,000 mostly elderly Jewish residents of Hamburg. Two of these transports went to the Bohemian garrison town of Terezin (Theresienstadt), which had been converted into a ghetto by the Nazis, who shortly afterward declared it a "ghetto for the elderly” ("Altersgetto”) for German Jews. Jews aged more than 65 years and other prominent, highly decorated or frail Jews as well as spouses from "mixed marriage” no longer in effect legally would spent their old age there, supposedly well looked after and cared for.

At the latest by the time they arrived at their new "domicile” on 16 July 1942, Philipp and Olga Baruch likely realized that they had been deceived on a grand scale. Following the train journey, they still had to cover a three-kilometer distance to the camp on foot, carrying their heavy suitcases and backpacks. Probably even more depressing than the bleak everyday life they were subjected to at this place must have been the permanent fear over the coming weeks and months of the transports that departed from there to the east at irregular intervals. The people taken away in great numbers disappeared never to be seen again. All of the waiting for signs of life from the departed was in vain.

Not even two months after their arrival in Theresienstadt, Philipp and Olga Baruch also had to report to the ordered collection point to go on one of these onward transports. On 21 Sept. 1942, they left the ghetto, with destination unknown. Their journey ended in the Treblinka extermination camp in occupied Poland. In this "death factory,” more than 700,000 Jews were murdered using poison gas from July 1942 to Aug. 1943. We know just as little about the last hours of this married couple as about the death of their daughters Gerda and Alice Baruch, who according to the official version were also "missing.”

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

© Klaus Möller

Quellen: 1; 4; 5; 7; 8; StaH, 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden, 992 e 2, Bd. 4 und Bd. 5; Heyl (Hrsg.), Harburger Opfer; Heyl, Synagoge.
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