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Helene Flörsheim * 1880
Parkallee 15 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)
Helene Flörsheim, born on 12 May 1880 in Hamburg, deported to Theresienstadt on 15 July 1942, further deported to Auschwitz on 9 Oct. 1944
Helene Flörsheim’s name was on the deportation list for the Hamburg transport to Theresienstadt on 15 July 1942, along with 924 others. In Terezin, a garrison town in the northwest of the Czech Republic, the Nazis established the Theresienstadt collection and transit camp in Nov. 1941 after the German occupation. It was initially intended for Czechoslovakian Jews, but later also for older German Jews and "preferred” groups. At times, it served as a "showcase ghetto” to make the world believe that the Jewish inhabitants deported there were doing well. In fact, overcrowding, malnutrition, inadequate medical care, and unhygienic conditions prevailed, causing thousands to die, and for 88,000 people the ghetto was a transit point to the death camps.
Helene Flörsheim was born on 12 May 1880 in Hamburg.
Her mother, Sarchen Spangenthal, born on 2 Aug. 1852, came from Hessen, as did her six siblings and parents. The last name of Spangenthal was created by changing the name Spangenberg, their birthplace, at the time when all Jewish families had to adopt an official last name.
Helene’s father, Carl M. K. Flörsheim, was born in Hamburg on 2 June 1849. Carl’s other first names, "Mosche Kalonimus,” and those of his brother, "Nehemias Speyer,” honored their maternal grandparents: Kalonimus Moses and Hannchen Speyer. The first names Calonimus and Speyer were popular Jewish first names at that time. They served as a reminder of the leading Jewish families (Kalonymos) from the eleventh to the thirteenth century in the area around Worms, Speyer, and Mainz, from which important religious and cultural impulses emanated at that time.
Carl’s father, Joseph Flörsheim, born in 1824, had moved from Rothenkirchen to Hamburg, married Goldchen Moses there, and in 1848, he opened a "paint plant with sales of lacquered tin goods, as well as all kinds of lacquer varnishes, lamps, and household items” at Grossneumarkt 6. In 1855, the business address was Alter Steinweg 16. Joseph and Goldchen had five children.
In 1856, Goldchen died at the age of only 31 years. Joseph married a second time; with Hannchen Joelsohn, he had two sons, Michael Jechiel and Julius Joel. Joseph died in 1913.
In 1876, Carl Flörsheim had joined his father’s company and the family moved to Fuhlentwiete 122. Carl and Sarchen’s first child Golda, born in 1878, died after one year; son Michael was born on 11 Sept. 1877. Helene was born on 12 May 1880 in Hamburg (son John, born on 19 June 1881, died already in 1882).
The family lived at Herrengraben 87/88 at the time, and when Carl died unexpectedly in 1883, his wife took over the guardianship of the two underage children. Although she was the birth mother, she needed two "assistants,” as required by law. In Apr. 1883, Meyer Israel Meyer, (see Parkstrasse 26), merchant at Neuer Wall 78, and her neighbor Emanuel Fischer, shopkeeper, at Herrengraben 88, agreed to assume this role. They had the task, according to the law dating from 1844, until Michael and Helene came of age, of "carefully looking after the financial and educational interests of the children” and of "giving the mother advice and support.” When her father died, Helene was three and her brother Michael six years old.
Mother Sarchen Spangenthal and the two children first moved to Schellingstrasse 41, then to Rutschbahn 24. From 1909, they lived on the second floor of Parkallee 15.
In 1919, the mother also died. Helene stayed in the apartment. Her niece Irene Elisabeth Stern described her aunt Helene Flörsheim as follows: "She was a teacher, but because of a severe physical handicap she was not in public service but worked a private teacher.”
Helene Flörsheim had officially started her professional activity in 1912 in the Parkallee apartment. In the Hamburg directory, she first appeared as a "private teacher,” then in 1915 with the addition "Healing of speech disorders.” In 1920, she declared her profession as "specialist teacher for children unable to attend school.”
One year after the death of her mother, Helene herself joined the Jewish Community on 18 Jan. 1920. Helene received her business registration as a private teacher on 30 Mar. 1920, and the "Authority for Further Education” ("Behörde für das Fortbildungsschulwesen”) noted on 26 Feb. 1920 that she had not participated in any further vocational training. In 1922, she described her profession as "private teacher of the German language for domestic and foreign students.”
Helene remained unmarried and childless, but earned a sufficient income from her teaching, supplemented by regular interest income from her parents’ inheritance.
On 3 Feb. 1941, she had to move into the "Jews’ quarter” ("Judenwohnung”) at Bogenstrasse 25, the former May Stift, a residential home. In July 1942, she received a deportation notice. The entry on her Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) file card euphemistically states, "resigned due to emigration.”
Her assets were confiscated by the German Reich immediately after her deportation to the Theresienstadt Ghetto.
Despite the conditions in the ghetto, hostile to life, Helene Flörsheim survived there until she was transported to the Auschwitz concentration camp on 9 Oct. 1944. That is where all traces of her disappear. She was probably killed by gas on arrival.
The official date of death was set at 8 May 1945.
Helene Flörsheim is commemorated by a Stolperstein at Parkallee 15.
Helene’s brother Michael Flörsheim, born on 11 July 1877, worked in the banking business. He married Recha Martha Philipp. The couple had three children: Carl Alexander, born in 1907; Irene Elisabeth, born in 1909; and Ruth Amelie, born in 1912. Michael Flörsheim died in 1931 and Carl Alexander Flörsheim died in 1941.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: July 2020
© Susan Johannsen
Quellen: StaH: Personenstandsbücher; 231-1_Serie III2341 (Carl Flörsheim); 351-11_5927 (Recha Martha Flörsheim); 351-11_34311 (Irene Elisabeth Stern); www.yadvashem.org; www.statistik-des-holocaust.de, Deportationslisten; historische Adressbücher HH; Zentralgewerbekartei; IGdJ, W.Weinke: Harry Lipstadt’s Imprisonment and Escape from Hamburg; Kultussteuerkartei; www.jinh.site50.net (Juden in Nordhessen); www.geni.de; www.ancestry.de; arcinsys.hessen.de; Günter Hönicke: Jüdische Stiftungen und Legate bis 1943 (Gottlieb und Max Flörsheim); email@example.com (Kalonymos Carl Salomon); Gedenkbuch HH; Gedenkbuch des Bundesarchivs: https://www.bundesarchiv.de/gedenkbuch/directory.html.de?result#frmResults.