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Hermann Goldstein * 1907
Bahrenfelder Straße 61 (Altona, Ottensen)
1945 KZ BUCHENWALD
further stumbling stones in Bahrenfelder Straße 61:
Hermann Goldstein, born on 24 June 1907, from Oct. 1944 onward imprisoned in München-Gladbach, Buchenwald, Dachau, perished in 1945 in the Dachau concentration camp
Paul Goldstein, born on 24 June 1907, from 1943 onward imprisoned in the Fuhlsbüttel, Auschwitz, and Mauthausen concentration camps, liberated in May 1945
Hermann and Paul Goldstein were born as twins in Hamburg. Their father David Goldstein, born in Kiel in 1873, was of Jewish descent; their mother, Catharina Barbara Goldstein, née Widmann, born in Baden in 1871, was non-Jewish. Paul and Hermann had two sisters: Helene Emma Gertrud, five years older, and Martha Klara, four years older. Since Oct. 1918, the family lived in Altona-Altstadt at Königstrasse 223, later at Steinstrasse 79 and at Breitestrasse 142; they then moved to neighboring Hamburg and lived at Fruchtallee 73.
In 1922, Hermann Goldstein began an apprenticeship in his father’s secondary raw materials trade ("Produktenhandel”) and continued to work in the company. He married Ingeborg Kaak and lived with her on Henriettenstrasse and later on Bismarckstrasse.
At the end of 1934, Hermann Goldstein was charged with trading in stolen goods. Together with two metal and junk dealers, who had several previous convictions, he allegedly stole a two-meter (nearly seven feet) bronze statue in Hamburg – a work by the sculptor Richard Kuöhl, who created numerous fountains, sculptures, mausoleums and cenotaphs in Hamburg (in 1936, he crafted the war memorial at Dammtorbahnhof honoring fallen soldiers, a work controversial to this day). Police managed to seize only parts of the stolen statue. The clues pointed to the metal and scrap trade at Hohe Weide 7, which Hermann Goldstein operated as the official owner by then, together with his father.
In his defense, Hermann Goldstein stated that he, without suspecting it to be stolen goods, had purchased the statue for his father, who had the necessary purchasing permit for metal. On 25 Feb. 1935, the Altona District Court (Amtsgericht) Altona sentenced Hermann Goldstein to a fine of 150 RM (reichsmark) or 15 days in prison for an offense against the regulations concerning trade in base metals. Hermann Goldstein had already stood trial once before: In 1931, the Hamburg Jury Court (Schwurgericht) had convicted him on charges of aiding and abetting in an abortion.
He paid only the first installment amounting to 50 RM and had to begin serving a ten-day term in the Fuhlsbüttel prison on 13 Aug. 1935.
Incidentally, prison sentences were not uncommon and petty crimes, such as theft or trading in stolen goods, constituted somewhat of a strategy for survival in the working-class district of Altona-Altstadt, where both brothers lived most of the time. In the neighborhood extending from Altona Train Station to Grosse Freiheit, many impoverished proletarians lived in the three-story to four-story apartment houses, and in between there were small streets and backyards with workshops; inhabitants operated small-scale retail businesses and industries. The area around the Münzmarkt, in particular, accommodated many junk dealers, shady bars, and sleazy hotels.
By that time, attacks on and marginalization of the Jewish population were escalating in Altona as well. The father of the Goldstein brothers emigrated to the USA in Mar. 1936. The mother took her own life. According to the National Socialist racial ideology, Hermann and Paul Goldstein were considered "half-Jews of the 1st degree” ("jüdische Mischlinge ersten Grades”).
Despite the boycott measures, both apparently continued to operate their father’s "Putzlappen-Industrie Dago” company at Langestrasse 38–46, which included production of cleaning rags, operation of an industrial laundry, and trade in secondary raw materials until July 1938, when they had to close the business.
Until 1938, the twin brothers lived together in Altona-Altstadt at General-Litzmann-Strasse 17; in 1939, they moved to Unzerstrasse, close to the Münzmarkt; and eventually, in late 1939, to Schomburgerstrasse 120. In 1940, Hermann Goldstein was registered with the authorities as living in Grosse Mühlenstrasse.
During this time, the married Hermann Goldstein met the kitchen help Martha Adelstein from Altona, cohabitating with her at Barnerstrasse 7 in Ottensen. In Mar. 1941, she gave birth to a son of theirs.
Hermann Goldstein officially acknowledged paternity. Two months later, he divorced his wife. By then, the Nuremberg Laws [on race] prohibited marriage of a "half-Jew of the 1st degree” to a "female of German blood” ("Deutschblütige”), and the Gestapo kept extramarital relationships under surveillance. When the liaison between Goldstein and his girlfriend became known, the Gestapo summoned both of them, demanding that they separate. Hermann Goldstein took a room at Bahrenfelderstrasse 61 as a subtenant. However, secretly they stayed together, and Hermann Goldstein provided for his son financially, as Martha Adelstein stated after the war. In addition, she noted that he was imprisoned in Fuhlsbüttel as an active Communist.
Hermann Goldstein worked as a truck driver for, among others, the Langen greengrocery on Bahrenfelder Steindamm and, starting in Aug. 1943, for the Pahl and Doescher spice processing plant on Holstentwiete, where he earned about 240 RM a month.
On 26 Oct. 1944, he was given the order to report to the Grasbrook quarter for clearing work, to remove rubble. According to testimony by Martha Adelstein, he regarded that as a "suicide mission,” fleeing to München-Gladbach (today Mönchengladbach), where he was picked up by police on 27 Oct. 1944 and committed to the local police prison. On 24 Feb. 1945, the Düsseldorf State Police transferred him to the Buchenwald concentration camp with the following reference: "Political – half-Jew of the 1st degree – Pr[otective custody]”) ("Politisch – Mischling 1. Grades – Sch[utzhaft]”). There, he underwent treatment several times at the prisoner’s hospital complex – the evidence proves that he was in Buchenwald as late as 27 Mar. 1945. Subsequently, he was transferred to the Dachau concentration camp, where he perished. His name appeared on a death notice, issued in Dachau and dated 4 May 1945.
After the war, a law permitted couples not allowed to marry during the Nazi period due to "racial” ("rassische”) or political persecution to get married retroactively. Based on this, Martha Adelstein had her marriage with Hermann Goldstein officially acknowledged in Dec. 1950, backdated to 15 Aug. 1940.
Paul Goldstein had completed the commercial further education school on Behnstrasse in Altona with the exam qualifying him as a commercial assistant. In 1922, he began work as an apprentice at his father’s company, taking over the operation after his father’s emigration. Following the forced closure of the secondary raw materials trade ("Produktenhandel") in the summer of 1938, he entered into service as an unskilled construction worker and truck driver with different companies. He got married and the union produced three children. However, in 1939, his wife divorced him in the face of pressure from the race laws. As he himself indicated, she did not want to be regarded as Jewish. During the war years, Paul Goldstein was enlisted as a forced laborer toward building the autobahn and doing general construction work. From the summer of 1942 onward, he lived with his brother Hermann at Bahrenfelderstrasse 61. It was their last shared address.
On 8 Jan. 1943, Paul Goldstein was arrested as well. He suspected that he had been denounced either due to relationships with "Aryan” women or by the company for which he had worked last as a truck driver, because he had refused to pay the dues for the German Labor Front (Deutsche Arbeitsfront). For him, this meant the beginning of an odyssey through different camps. Initially, he was taken to the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp. From there, he was deported to the Auschwitz concentration camp. In Auschwitz, he belonged to the "labor detachment leather plant” ("Kommando Lederfabrik”). The former leather plant was a forced labor site that saw, among other things, the examination of the confiscated suitcases, the search of the victims’ shoes for hidden gold, and the sorting and storage of the murdered women’s hair. On 18 Jan. 1945, Paul Goldstein arrived at the Mauthausen concentration camp in Upper Austria – probably on one of the so-called death marches, which he survived, however. On 5 Mar. 1945, US troops liberated the prisoners. In August, Goldstein returned to Hamburg at the age of 38.
Due to the mistreatments while imprisoned, he had lost most of his teeth and ended up with chronic bronchitis. In connection with his restitution proceedings, he himself declared the following in 1950: "What I endured in these concentration camps in terms of mental and physical suffering is beyond any words I can find. It was inhuman.”
Paul Goldstein fought long and acrimoniously for a higher compensation in order to build a new livelihood for himself. He felt deceived and wrote letters to Mayor Max Brauer and the President of the German Federal Republic, Theodor Heuss. Eventually, he got married again and worked as, among others, a scrap dealer, unskilled construction worker, and coal trimmer, but he got into financial difficulties, repeatedly suffering from serious diseases and psychological breakdowns. Obviously full of rage, he went on rampages at administration offices. However, the German public was not interested yet in one of the few Auschwitz survivors’ story of suffering back then. He died in Altona at the age of 57 on 29 Sept. 1964.
His two sisters survived the war. The older one had emigrated to California; the other one had stayed in Altona.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Birgit Gewehr
Quellen: StaH 213-11 Staatsanwaltschaft, Landgericht – Strafsachen, 1936/2146; StaH, 331-1 II Polizeibehörde II, Ablieferung 15, Band 1 (Abrechnungslisten über Schutzhaftkosten des KZ Fuhlsbüttel); StaH 332-8 Meldewesen, Alphabetische Personenkartei des Statistischen Landesamtes ("Steuer- und Wahlkartei") für Groß-Hamburg (1934); StaH 332-8 Meldewesen, A 50/1 (= 741-4 Fotoarchiv, K 5011); AB Altona 1933; StaH 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung, 32809 (Paul Goldstein) und 32808 (Erbengemeinschaft Hermann Goldstein).