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Porträt Hannelore Gerstle
Porträt Hannelore Gerstle
© Archiv Vorwerker Diakonie Lübeck

Hannelore Gerstle * 1924

Eppendorfer Landstraße 62 (Hamburg-Nord, Eppendorf)

JG. 1924
‚VERLEGT’ 23.9.1940

further stumbling stones in Eppendorfer Landstraße 62:
Kurt Silberstein

Hannelore Gerstle, born on 5 May 1924 in Nuremberg, murdered on 23 Sept. 1940 in the Brandenburg/Havel euthanasia killing center

Stolpersteine in Hamburg-Eppendorf, at Eppendorfer Landstrasse 62 and in Lübeck, at Triftstrasse 131-133 (entrance area of today’s Diakonie Vorwerk in Lübeck)

Hannelore Gerstle was born on 5 May 1924 in Nuremberg. Her parents were Julius Gerstle, born on 28 Mar. 1894 in Georgensgmünd (Middle Franconia), and Berta Gerstle, née Mansfeld, born on 12 May 1902 in Kirchhain/Hessen.

Soon after her birth, Hannelore Gerstle was diagnosed with a mental disability. Four years later, on 20 Jan. 1928, the Gerstle couple had their second child in Nuremberg, Heinz Erich Gerstle.

Julius Gerstle came from a long-established family in Georgensgmünd, which had played an important role in the former Jewish Community there. He left his hometown together with his wife and took up residence on Roonstrasse in Nuremberg. There he worked as an authorized signatory for the Heidecker, Keim & Co. toy manufacturer. The company was under Jewish ownership and also employed Julius’ younger brother Leo as a traveling salesman. The Hamburg directory lists Julius Gerstle for the first time in its 1928 edition, which means he was probably already a resident of Hamburg in 1927. Probably he moved to Hamburg by himself at first and got his family to join him after the birth of his son. For many years, the family lived at Oben Borgfelde 41 in the Borgfelde quarter. The Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) file card of the Hamburg Jewish Community for Julius Gerstle shows that the family was assessed for payment of Jewish religious taxes in Hamburg since 1929. Julius Gerstle represented the Nuremberg parent company of Heidecker, Keim & Co. in Hamburg. The company was "Aryanized” in Jan. 1938 by sale to the Günther Wagner Company in Hannover.

It is not known whether Hannelore Gerstle attended a school in Hamburg and what led to her being accommodated in the Lübeck-Vorwerk educational and nursing home (Erziehungs- und Pflegeheim Lübeck-Vorwerk) in which she lived since 18 Nov. 1934. The reasons why the parents chose the Vorwerk facility are unknown to us. The Vorwerk files do not provide any information in this respect. At that time, there were a conspicuous number of admissions from Hamburg. Apparently, Vorwerk had a good reputation in the Hamburg welfare authority, which was responsible for committals to homes. Since 1913, Paul Burwick had been the director of the Vorwerk institution.

The files of the Hamburg Chief Finance Administrator (Oberfinanzpräsident) show that Julius Gerstle planned for himself, his wife Berta, and their son Heinz emigration to Palestine in Oct. 1935. In this connection, Hannelore is not mentioned at any time. The reason would likely have been that a person with a disability could not obtain an immigration permit. Julius Gerstle stated that he wanted to open a meat factory there and therefore applied for an export permit for 12,500 RM (reichsmark; the equivalent at that time was about 1,000 Pal. £). He stated his assets to be as follows:
• 9,135.55 RM (dowry Berta Gerstle)
• Residential house with garden in Georgensgmünd/Bavaria (parental property; the usufruct assigned to Julius Gerstle’s mother during her lifetime)
• Life insurance policies worth about 5,650 RM (Allianz insurance corporation; Allianz transferred 7,845.50 RM on 23 Feb. 1937).

The emigration efforts dragged on for over two years.

In 1935, the Jewish religious tax payments of the Gerstle family to the Jewish Community of Hamburg ceased. Apparently, they could not afford the apartment in Borgfelde anymore. They moved to Eppendorfer Landstrasse 62. On 25 Mar. 1937, Hannelore’s parents and brother moved to Armbruststrasse 2 on the fourth floor in Eimsbüttel. There they lived as subtenants of the landlord by the name of Gröger.

On 3 July 1937, Julius Gerstle officially gave notice to the authorities that he, his wife, and son were leaving Hamburg to emigrate to Palestine. Apparently, however, the family had not yet departed for good, for on 15 July 1937, Julius Gerstle informed the St. Pauli/Eimsbüttel tax and revenue office, in whose jurisdiction Armbruststrasse was located, in a final declaration of assets that he had made over his house in Georgensgmünd to his mother. He probably wanted to prevent the authorities from confiscating this house, which would have forced his mother to vacate the building.

Finally, the tax records contain a reference dated 12 Nov. 1938 that Julius Gerstle and his relatives lived in Tel Aviv at Ben Jehudastrasse 122 by then.

At that time, Hannelore Gerstle continued to be in the Vorwerk educational and nursing home in Lübeck.

In the spring/summer of 1940, the "euthanasia” headquarters in Berlin, located at Tiergartenstrasse 4, planned a special operation aimed against Jews in public and private sanatoriums and nursing homes. It had the Jewish persons living in the institutions registered and moved together in what were officially so-called collection institutions. The Hamburg-Langenhorn "sanatorium and nursing home” ("Heil- und Pflegeanstalt” Hamburg-Langenhorn) was designated the North German collection institution. All institutions in Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein, and Mecklenburg were ordered to move the Jews living in their facilities there by 18 Sept. 1940.

Hannelore Gerstle arrived in Langenhorn on 16 Sept. 1940 together with nine other young people from the Vorwerk children’s and education home. On 23 September, she was transported together with 135 patients from the North German institutions to Brandenburg/Havel. The transport reached the city in the Mark (March) on the same day. In the part of the former penitentiary converted into a gas-killing facility, the patients were immediately driven into the gas chambers and killed with carbon monoxide. Only one patient, Ilse Herta Zachmann, escaped this fate at first (see corresponding entry).

The birth register entry of Hannelore Gerstle contains a note indicating that the Cholm II records office registered her death under the date of 4 Feb. 1941 and number 483/1941. Those murdered in Brandenburg, however, were never in Chelm (Polish) or Cholm (German), a town east of Lublin. The former Polish sanatorium there no longer existed after SS units had murdered almost all patients on 12 Jan. 1940. Also, there was no German records office in Chelm. Its fabrication and the use of postdated dates of death served to disguise the killing operation and at the same time enabled the authorities to claim higher care expenses for periods extended accordingly.

On 20 Mar. 1957, the New York lawyer Karl Boehm, on behalf of his client Julius Gerstle, "merchant, now worker,” residing at 736 Riverside Drive, New York 31, N. Y., USA, filed an application for restitution with the Restitution Office (Amt für Wiedergutmachung) in Hamburg. The reason given was, as usual in such cases, "compensation for detriment to freedom [Schaden an Freiheit] after the testatrix.” Daughter Hannelore was considered the testatrix. On the declaration of death required for this, the date of death was 8 May 1945.

The fixed date of death (8 May 1945) ultimately benefited the family by recognizing 55 months of "detriment to freedom.” The restitution payment was determined on this basis. On 7 May 1962, a final note reads, "The claims contained in the file are settled.”

In addition to Hannelore Gerstle, other relatives of the family died in the Holocaust. One of them, Hannelore’s grandmother Rosalie Gerstle, was first deported from Munich to Theresienstadt on 7 Aug. 1942 and from there to Treblinka on 19 Sept. 1942, where she was murdered.

Hannelore Gerstle is commemorated by a Stolperstein each at the entrance area of today’s Diakonie Vorwerk in Lübeck, located at Triftstrasse 139-143 and in Hamburg-Eppendorf at Eppendorfer Landstrasse 62.

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

© Ursula Häckermann

Quellen: 1; 2; 4; 5; 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); 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung 25812 (Gerstle); 352-8/7 Staatskrankenanstalt Langenhorn Abl. 1/1995 Aufnahme-/Abgangsbuch Langenhorn 26.8.1939 bis 27.1.1941; Archiv Vorwerker Diakonie, Lübeck. Berghofer, Berghofer, Georg, Die Anderen. Das fränkische Georgensgmünd und seine Juden vor und während des Dritten Reiches, Treuchtlingen 2013, S. 79, 95, 238. Jenner, Harald, Das Kinder- und Pflegeheim Vorwerk in der NS-Zeit, in: Theodor Strohm/Jörg Thierfelder (Hrsg.), Diakonie im "Dritten Reich". Neuere Ergebnisse zeitgeschichtlicher Forschung, Heidelberg 1990, S. 169–204. Reh, Sabine, Von der "Idioten-Anstalt" zu den Vorwerker Heimen, Lübeck 1997, S. 60. (Zugriff 11.2.2016); (Zugriff 11.2.2016), (Zugriff 11.2.2016).
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