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Alphons Elkeles * 1896
Flagentwiet 5 (Eimsbüttel, Schnelsen)
Hannchen Elkeles, née Nossen, born 25 Feb. 1868 in Gnesen (present-day Gniezno, Poland), deported 19 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, died there 27 Nov. 1942
Alphons Elkeles, born 6 Dec. 1896 in Hamburg, deported 19 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, 6 Oct. 1944 to Auschwitz
Ida Elkeles, née Kaschmann, born 22 Nov. 1895, deported 19 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, died there 20 Sept. 1944
Flagentwiet 5 (Schwarzer Weg 2)
Anna Nossen, called Hannchen, married the businessman Salomon Elkeles on 25 October 1888 in her hometown of Gnesen (Gniezno, Poland). He had previously been married to Clara Nossen – if and to what degree the two women were related can no longer be determined. His eldest daughter Mary died at the age of twelve and was probably buried in Hamburg. He had another daughter, Betty, from his first marriage. She was born on 3 February 1885 in Hamburg. In her church tax records her date of birth is listed as "around 1883.” Salomon, who also called himself Sigismund, was born on 18 March 1852 in Posen (Poznan). He lived in Hamburg, where he became a citizen in 1895, and was a bookkeeper.
Hannchen and Salomon’s son Curt was born on their first wedding anniversary. Their second child Alphons was born seven years later, on 6 December 1896. At this time the family lived at Weidenallee 59.
Like his elder brother Curt, Alphons attended the Stiftungsschule von 1815 at Zeughausmarkt 32. He probably began school in 1902. Today the school building houses the Anna-Siemsen-Schule, a vocational school for textile and clothing design. The Stiftungsschule was founded as a Jewish charity school by a group of reform-oriented Hamburg Jews who, in 1817, formed the New Israelite Temple Society. Anton Rée (1815-1891), a progressive educator, was headmaster of the school for many years. He opened the school to children of all confessions. Christian pupils were admitted beginning in 1859, and by 1890 only one-third of the pupils were of Jewish heritage. As Curt recalled after the war, his brother Alphons finished his primary schooling there, before he began an apprenticeship as an export merchant with a firm in Hamburg. On 12 March 1913 the family moved to Bornstraße 4 II.
We were not able to discover many details about Hannchen Elkeles’ life. Both of her sons fought in the First World War. Betty left the family on 14 July 1915 and moved to Wedel. Neither the reasons for her move nor her exact address are known, making it impossible to trace the next 25 years of her life. On 7 January 1928, however, she was registered in an old-age home in Wedel. Ten years later, in 1938, her name was included on a list of residents at the home who received subsidies for their room and board. In the first quarter of 1939, "Sara” was added to her name, and from the second quarter of 1939 onward her name is not listed at all. It can thus be assumed that after that point she lived in Neustadt (Holstein).
Schleswig-Holstein’s Memorial Book notes that on 13 September 1940 she was sent from Neustadt to Brandenburg, probably via Hamburg, from where the transport of 23 September originated. The Hamburg Memorial Book states that Betty Elkeles was transferred from the Langenhorn mental institution to the Brandenburg Euthanasia Center. According to the Federal Archive’s Memorial Book, she was murdered on the day she arrived. She was 55 years old, and her address is listed as unknown. On her birth certificate, a notation in blue ink reads: "deceased 269/41 … Cholm II. General Governorate.” Cholm is a fictional address to which Jewish mental patients were allegedly transferred.
Alphons served in the First World War in the Hamburg dragoon regiment. He was wounded and sent to a military hospital, probably in Marburg an der Lahn. After the war he was 60% disabled and found work at the Hamburg Welfare Agency. In 1919 he was a civil servant in the Hamburg Employment Agency, in the insurance department. His last professional title was administrative secretary.
Salomon Elkeles died in May 1921. His son Curt, who had lived in Berlin for several years, returned to Hamburg and made the funeral arrangements. Salomon Elkeles was buried in the Jewish cemetery at Ilandkoppel.
Just a few weeks after the death of his father, Curt married Anna Christine Abfalter. They lived in Groß Flottbek. Alphons married Ida Kaschmann in 1926. She was born in Ungedanken in Hesse (at that time Hesse-Nassau) and was one year older than her husband. The couple never had children. They lived with Alphons’ mother Hannchen Elkeles on Bornstraße.
Alphons lost his position as a civil servant on 30 November 1931. As his surviving brother Curt recalled, he bought the property at Schwarzer Weg 2. It had a large fruit orchard, with which Alphons busied himself. The title register in Schnelsen lists a land charge of 2000 gold marks with the addendum: "two thousand gold marks (at least this much to be paid in Reichsmarks) loan, bearing one-tenth interest per annum, with regard to the authorization of 26 September 1932, entered for Frau Minna Clara Wessels, née Becker, Hamburg, Hermannsthal 105/I (widow) on 18 November 1932.” In 1936 the entry was changed: "Amount of 2000.00 gold marks transferred upon settlement of creditor’s claims to the owner Alphons Elkeles, entered as land charge on 4 January 1936.” Alphonse Elkeles, his wife, and his mother moved to this property in 1936. His veteran’s benefits, retirement pension, and Hannchen’s widow’s pension supported the three of them. At that time Schwarze Weg was said to be "a better country road off of Kieler Chaussee (today Holsteiner Chaussee).” The house, a simple one-storey, flat-roofed construction built in 1930, stood 200m from the main road. It had three small rooms, a kitchen, and a non-flushable toilet, but had electricity. It had a small extension, a kind of stall. The property was below street level, and there were ditches in front of it. Neither the house nor the property were damaged during World War II. In early 1940 the street name was changed from Schwarzer Weg to Flagentwiet, and the house number changed from 2 to 5.
In May 1939, the Chief Tax Authority decided not to issue a "security order” for Alphons Elkeles’ property since, as noted in a file, there were no plans for emigration. His retirement pension was reduced on 1 July 1939, however, due to his "racial heritage.” In February 1940 he received a registered letter demanding that he submit an account of all expenses for the three-member household. Monthly expenses came to 260 Reichsmarks. A few days later a "security order” was issued, which limited the family’s monthly allowance to the submitted amount. Alphons Elkeles was required to open "limited-access accounts” for himself and his wife at different banks, and to instruct the banks to inform the Foreign Exchange Office that a copy of the official "security order” had been lodged with them. The civil service authority responsible for the payment of his pension had to inquire whether his pension was to be transferred to this account. The clerk was assured that that was the Reich Financial Minister’s direction. Alphons’ mother also received a letter from the Chief Tax Authority. No "security order” was issued against her, however.
The Gestapo Department II B 2 arrested Ida Elkeles on 18 July 1941 and sent her to the Fuhlsbüttel Concentration Camp. On 6 August she was transferred to Gestapo Headquarters. The reason for her arrest is unknown.
The Reich Security Main Office had begun deportations in October 1941. At first, people over 65 and invalids – probably including war invalids – were exempted. But then it was decided that the camp at Theresienstadt was to be used as a "ghetto for the elderly” for German Jews. The Gestapo described Theresienstadt to the Hamburg Jews as a "model ghetto,” where the elderly would be cared for. For this reason the Reich Association of Jews in Germany and the Jewish Communities as its subsidiaries had to sign "home purchase contracts,” which not only meant the loss of their savings, but also "death in installments,” as Regina van Son wrote her family from Theresienstadt. What was described as an "old-age home” was in reality a concentration camp. Hunger, exhaustion, and untreated illnesses claimed the lives of more than 30,000 people. Alphons Elkeles paid the sum of nearly 10,000 Reichsmarks from his cash holdings and securities for himself and his wife, as well as 3,300 Reichsmarks for the "Levy on Jewish Assets.” Hannchen Elkeles paid 1,327.19 Reichsmarks from her savings and 297 Reichsmarks in securities. At this time she was 74 years old.
The first transport from Hamburg to Theresienstadt departed on 15 July 1942. It had the number 807-VI/1. The VI stood for Hamburg, and the 1 for the first transport. The Elkeles family arrived in Theresienstadt on 20 July 1942 with the second transport from Hamburg – 807-VI/2. It is not known if Ida Elkeles boarded the transport from Fulsbüttel or if she had returned home by the time she received her deportation notification.
Four months after the family’s arrival in Theresienstadt, Hannchen died of an inflammation of the gall bladder, according to the death certificate. She was buried two days later in Theresienstadt, on 29 November 1942.
Ida Elkeles died two years later, on 20 September 1944, probably of hunger, cold, and illness. Shortly thereafter, on 6 October 1944, Alphons was transferred to Auschwitz, where he was probably murdered immediately upon arrival. His brother Curt heard from relatives from his mother’s side of the family that they had seen Alphons in Theresienstadt, and that he had been on the transport to Auschwitz. After the war his date of death was declared as 8 May 1945.
Curt survived in the Netherlands, and after the war remained in Amsterdam.
The title for the property at Flagentwiet 5 in Schnelsen was transferred to the German Reich, represented by the Chief Tax Authority of Hamburg, on 3 May 1944. Alphons Elkeles’ debt of 2,000 Reichsmarks remained unchanged. The property was managed by the Hamburgischen Grundstücksverwaltungsgesellschaft von 1938 until March 1951, when the Hamburg Restitution Office reinstated it to the Jewish Trust Corporation, in accordance with Article 8, Law No. 59 of the British Military Government. The Jewish Trust Corporation registers and secures heirless Jewish property.
Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Ursel Leilich
Quellen: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 7; 8; StaH 332-5 (Geburtshauptregister 1896), 9129, Eintragung Nr. 2830, Alphons Elkeles; StaH 332-5 (GeburtshauptregisterII.) 2099/1885, Betty Elkeles; StaH 332-8 (Meldewesen, Einwohnerkartei von 1892–1925), A 31 Band 2; StaH 314-15 (OFP), R 181/40 und Ablieferung 1998 1, J 7/123/24; 314-15 (OFP), V 1 286 (1942–1952); StaH 351-11 (AfW) Akte 11863; StaH 522-1 (Jüdische Gemeinden) Abl.1993, Ordner 10; StaH 522-1 (Jüdische Gemeinden) 992 e Band 7, Theresienstadt Deportationslisten Transport vom 19.7.1942; StaH 732-5 (Einwohner- und Firmenverzeichnis der Stadt Altona) 1935, Abschnitt II – Seite 364, Die Straßen der Stadt Altona – Grundstücke und deren Eigentümer; StaH 732-5, Abschnitt IV – Seite 364; Verein für Hamburgische Geschichte, Sonderabdruck aus dem Amtlichen Anzeiger Nr. 207 vom 2. Dezember 1938, Bekanntmachung über die Umbenennung von Straßen.); Auskunft StaH zu 331-1 II (Polizeibehörde II), Ablieferung 15 Band 1, Ulf Bollmann am 13.4.2010; Bundesarchiv Berlin, "Liste der jüdischen Einwohner im Deutschen Reich 1933–1945; Stadtarchiv Wedel, Signatur 854.4 Kostenabrechnung des Alters- und Pflegeheim Wedel 1936–1945; Miriam Gillis-Carlebach (Hrsg.), Memorbuch zum Gedenken an die jüdischen in der Shoa umgekommenen Schleswig-Holsteiner und Schleswig-Holsteinerinnen, Hamburg 1996; Beate Meyer (Hrsg.), "Die Verfolgung und Ermordung der Hamburger Juden 1933–1945", Hamburg/Göttingen 2006, S. 70f.; Jürgen Sielemann, "Aber seid alle beruhigt", Briefe von Regina van Son an ihre Familie 1941–1942, Hamburg 2005; Ursula Randt, Zur Geschichte des jüdischen Schulwesens in Hamburg (ca. 1780–1942), in: Ina Lorenz (Hrsg.). Zerstörte Geschichte. Vierhundert Jahre jüdisches Leben in Hamburg, Hamburg 2005 S. 76–106; www1.uni-hamburg.de/rz3a035//1zeughausmarkt. Html (eingesehen 2011).
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