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Betty Elkeles * 1885
Bornstraße 4 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)
Betty Elkeles, born on 3.2.1885 in Hamburg, murdered on 23.9.1940 in the killing center Brandenburg at river Havel
Bornstraße 4, Hamburg-Rotherbaum
Betty Elkeles was born on February 3, 1885, the second child of the "Commis" (clerk) and accountant Salomon (called Sigismund) Elkeles and his wife Clara, née Nossen, at 38 Caffamacherreihe in Hamburg. Their sister Mary had already been born on December 16, 1882 in Hamburg at ABC-Straße 59.
Salomon Elkeles had been born in Posen in 1852. He settled in Hamburg in 1881 and was granted citizenship in 1895. Clara Elkeles' original first name was Chawolesch. She came from Gniezno, Poland. Betty's parents belonged to the Jewish faith.
Betty Elkeles was two and a half years old when her mother died on August 29, 1887, probably of tuberculosis, at the age of barely thirty. Clara Elkeles was buried in the former Neuer Steinweg Jewish Cemetery in Hamburg's Neustadt district.
Salomon Elkeles remarried, probably to the sister of his deceased wife. With Hannchen Elkeles, née Nossen, born on February 25, 1868 in Gnesen, Salomon Elkeles had two more children, Alphons, born on December 6, 1896 in Hamburg, and Curt, born on October 25, 1889 also in Hamburg. Mary, Salomon Elkeles' older daughter from his first marriage, died at the age of barely twelve on June 28, 1894.
After the Elkeles family had lived for many years in Hamburg's Neustadt, Salomon Elkeles moved their residence around 1913 and moved to the Grindelviertel, which had been favored by Hamburg's Jews for some years. The address was now first Bornstraße 25 and a year later Bornstraße 4.
Towards the end of his life, Salomon Elkeles also rose professionally. After decades in which he was listed in the Hamburg address book as an accountant, his job title in the 1921 edition was "Prokurist" (authorized signatory). However, he was not able to enjoy professional success for long. He died on May 2, 1921, at the age of 69, and was buried in the Ohlsdorf Jewish Cemetery on Ilandkoppel.
We know nothing about Betty Elkele's childhood and youth. Betty is said to have lived in Wedel since July 1915. Evidence for this, however, cannot be found. Wedel, then a small town west of Hamburg on the Elbe, is today one of Hamburg's preferred suburban communities. It is documented that Betty Elkeles had been living in the Wedel nursing home since January 7, 1927. She initially remained there until February 1936.
The Wedel old-age and nursing home had evolved from the workhouse and poorhouse established in 1854 in the Gärtnerstraße there. As a result of the reorganization of the welfare law, a welfare association for the town of Wedel and the community of Holm was formed in 1924. The conditions in the home were cramped and hygienically inadequate. As late as 1931, water had to be drawn from a well contaminated with germs. Among the home's residents were children, severe nursing cases and people with mental disabilities or mental illnesses, who were cared for only by the "house father" and his wife.
On February 25, 1936, the "house father" brought Betty Elkeles to the Neustadt/Holstein State Sanatorium. On admission, she reported that she had attended the auxiliary school and had suffered from seizures since she was a small child. After a good period of acclimatization, Betty Elkeles suffered several of these seizures in March, leading to intermittent disorientation. Already at the time of admission to Neustadt, Betty Elkeles had expressed that she did not like being there and wanted to return to Wedel.
Betty Elkeles only escaped forced sterilization under the "Law on the Prevention of Hereditary Diseases" of July 14, 1933, because she was judged to be "too old”. The sheet known as the "Sippentafel," (a Nazi-version of a family tree) which was supposed to record the alleged hereditary-biological background, also contained a field for the entry of the "Predominant Racial Proportion." For Betty Elkeles, "Anterior Asian" was entered. In Betty Elkeles's description at the time of admission to Neustadt, the doctor "differentiated" this assessment by writing: "Racial type: predominantly Near Eastern with Mediterranean influence; not typically Jewish in appearance."
On April 2, 1936, the Wedel "house father" brought Betty Elkeles back to Wedel, "unhealed," as it was called. Apparently she remained at the Wedel institution for the next three years. According to a report from the State Health Office in Pinneberg dated April 28, 1939, Betty Elkeles again required admission to the Neustadt State Sanatorium, to which she was admitted by ambulance on May 4, 1939.
The Nazi law on the Change of Family Names and First Names stipulated that Jewish women had to adopt the name "Sara" as an additional first name as of January 1, 1939. This also affected residents of institutions. Betty Elkeles was now called "Betty Sara Elkeles”. Her identification card with the identification number A. 000 002, issued in Wedel/Holstein, is still preserved.
In the spring/summer of 1940, the "euthanasia" headquarters in Berlin, Tiergartenstraße 4, planned a special action against Jews in public and private sanatoriums and nursing homes. It had the Jewish people living in the institutions registered and rounded up in state-run so-called collective institutions. The Hamburg-Langenhorn sanatorium and nursing home was designated as the North German collective institution. All institutions in Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg were ordered to transfer the Jews living in their institutions there by September 18, 1940.
Betty Elkeles arrived in Langenhorn on September 13, 1940. On September 23, 1940, she and another 135 patients from asylums in northern Germany were transported to Brandenburg at river Havel. The transport reached the Märkish city on the same day. In the part of the former penitentiary that had been converted into a gas killing facility, the patients were immediately herded into the gas chamber and killed with carbon monoxide. Only Ilse Herta Zachmann initially escaped this fate (see www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de).
Alice Elkeles, a distant relative of Betty Elkeles, was also on this death transport (see www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de). We do not know whether the two women knew each other and had contact with each other in the last days in Langenhorn or during the transport.
On the birth register entry of Betty Elkeles it is noted that the registry office Cholm II registered her death under the number 269/1941. However, those murdered in Brandenburg were never in Chelm (Polish) or Cholm (German), a town east of Lublin. The Polish sanatorium that had existed there earlier no longer existed after SS units murdered almost all the patients on January 12, 1940. There was also no German registry office in Cholm. The invention of the registry office and the use of later than actual dates of death served to disguise the murder and at the same time to be able to claim longer boarding costs.
Betty Elkeles' stepmother Hannchen Elkeles, née Nossen, her half-brother Alphons and his wife Ida Elkeles, née Kaschmann, were deported to Theresienstadt on July 19, 1942. There Hannchen Elkeles found death on November 27, 1942 and Ida Elkeles on September 20, 1944. Alphons Elkeles was further deported to Auschwitz on October 6, 1944. Curt Elkeles survived the Nazi period. The fate of these people is described in detail in the volume "Stolpersteine in Hamburg" and on the Internet at www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de. There are Stolpersteine for them in Hamburg-Eimsbüttel, Flagentwiet 5.
Translation by Beate Meyer
Stand: February 2022
© Ingo Wille
Quellen: 1; 3; 4; 5; 7; 8; 9; StaH 133-1 III Staatsarchiv III, 3171-2/4 U.A. 4, Liste psychisch kranker jüdischer Patientinnen und Patienten der psychiatrischen Anstalt Langenhorn, die aufgrund nationalsozialistischer "Euthanasie"-Maßnahmen ermordet wurden, zusammengestellt von Peter von Rönn, Hamburg (Projektgruppe zur Erforschung des Schicksals psychisch Kranker in Langenhorn); 332-5 Standesämter 2033 Geburtsregister Nr. 4531/1882 Mary Elkeles, 2099 Geburtsregister Nr. 627/1885 Betty Elkeles, 8064 Sterberegister Nr. 237/1927 Salomon Elkeles, 324 Sterberegister Nr. 2800/1887 Clara Elkeles, 2193 Geburtsregister 3182/1889 Curt Elkeles, 9129 Geburtsregister Nr. 2830/1896 Alphons Elkeles, 889 Sterberegister Nr. 605/1894 Mary Elkeles, 227 Sterberegister Nr. 2800/1887 Clara Elkeles; 332-7 Staatsangehörigkeitsaufsicht A I e 40 Bd. 9 1876-1896 Nr. 22499; 352-8/7 Staatskrankenanstalt Langenhorn Abl. 1/1995 Aufnahme-/Abgangsbuch Langenhorn 26. 8. 1939 bis 27. 1. 1941; Landesarchiv Schleswig LAS Abt. 377 Nr. 8349 Patientenakte Landesheilanstalt Neustadt Betty Elkeles; Stadtarchiv Wedel, 854.2 Alters- und Pflegeheim Wedel, Insassen des Pflegeheimes, Pfleglinge des Landesfürsorgeverbandes 1936-1946; JSHD Forschungsgruppe "Juden in Schleswig-Holstein", Datenpool Erich Koch, Schleswig. Gillis-Carlebach, Miriam (Hrsg.), Memorbuch zum Gedenken an die jüdischen in der Schoa umgekommenen Schleswig-Holsteiner und Schleswig-Holsteinerinnen, Hamburg 1996. Rannegger, Anke, Armen- und Altenversorgung in Wedel, Wedel 1989.
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