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Frieda Karseboom mit ihrer Schwiegertochter Lucie Karseboom, 1935
Frieda Karseboom mit ihrer Schwiegertochter Lucie Karseboom, 1935
© Privatbesitz

Frieda Karseboom (née Valk) * 1871

Hansastraße 36 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)

1942 Theresienstadt
ermordet 22.11.1942

further stumbling stones in Hansastraße 36:
Käthe Cohn, Lilly Cohn, Ludwig Cohn, Richard Cohn, Edith Löwenthal, Lina Löwenthal, Max Löwenthal, Vera Richter

Frieda Karseboom, née Valk, born 8.6.1871 in Hamburg, deported to Theresienstadt ghetto on 15.7.1942, died there on 22.11.1942

Hansastraße 36

"My mother refused to leave the child [Ellen Ingrid Berger] alone in Germany and thus perished." With these few words Frieda Karseboom's son Friedrich described why his mother had not accompanied him and his family on their flight to Palestine in 1938. Through a selfless act, the once wealthy Frieda Karseboom let the opportunity to escape pass and paid for it with her life.

Frieda Valk was born on June 8, 1871 as the second youngest of six children. Her father, the Jewish master tailor Abraham Joseph Valk (1831-1908), came from Emden. He had moved to Hamburg around 1852, received citizenship here in 1857, and in the same year married Betty Hertz (1833-1918), a native of Altona. Frieda Valk lived with her parents in the Harvestehude district at Eichenallee 17 until her marriage. On October 25, 1895, she married Adolf Karseboom (1866-1926), also a Jewish merchant. The latter came from Uttum, a village near Emden.

Adolf Karseboom had already moved from Berlin to Helmstedt in Lower Saxony on June 24, 1895, and his wife followed him immediately after the wedding. In Helmstedt, various places of residence of the family can be identified. Adolf Karseboom had initially founded the "Weiß- und Wollwaarenhandlungen Karseboom". The step from textile business to department store probably took place in 1898. On April 1, the family moved into the so-called Rohrsche Haus at Papenberg 2, where Karseboom opened his first department store. It was located directly on the market square and thus in the center of the city, i.e. in a prime business location. Apparently business was good, because the Karsebooms moved out of the apartment above the store on October 1, 1900, into a house at Wilhelmstraße 5.

The family had expanded. On August 11, 1896, daughter Käthe was born, and about a year later, on September 9, 1897, daughter Paula was born. On Apr. 24, 1899 Frieda Karseboom gave birth to a third child. Heinrich, however, died after only two days. His child's grave can still be found today in the Helmstedt cemetery. On July 18, 1900, Friedrich Karseboom, the last child of the family, was born. Around the turn of the century, most Jewish families left Helmstedt, including the Karseboom family. On October 1, 1902, Adolf Karseboom deregistered in Helmstedt and moved to Wismar. He sold the business in Rohr's house to the Jewish merchant Sally Baumann.

The Wismar address book of 1903 records the merchant Adolf Karseboom as "owner of the department store S. Hirsch Nachfolge" and names Lindenstraße 89 as his private residence. The address books of the following years provide information about the family's moves within the city: in 1904 the Karsebooms moved to the second floor of the house Lübschestraße 8, then in 1907 to Lindenstraße 23, where they lived for the next two decades. We know little about the Karsebooms' family life of that time. Adolf and Frieda Karseboom raised their children according to the Jewish faith. As the wife of a man who was active in many ways, Frieda Karseboom presided over a large business household. According to the 1919 census, a relative, Jacoba Meyer née Bos (see, also lived in the family and was employed in the company as a clerk.

Adolf Karseboom played an important role in the small Jewish community of Wismar, which had joined the Jewish community of Schwerin. From March 1923 at the latest, he was officially the confidant of the Wismar Jews of faith. He was also active as a city politician and ran for the citizens' committee elections on December 29, 1918. Karseboom won the election and moved to the Wismar city council for the left-liberal German Democratic Party (DDP) for the next three years. He was thus actively involved in shaping life in Wismar.

Above all, however, Adolf Karseboom made a name for himself as a merchant. In 1904, he had the former Hirsch department store - now Kaufhaus Karseboom - rebuilt and thus enlarged. Shortly afterwards, Karstadt opened a new department store in Wismar. Karseboom followed suit. This time it did not remain with a rebuilding, because the entire building was replaced by a new building, so to speak. Adolf Karseboom was also involved in the founding of two more department stores in Grevesmühlen and Parchim. On October 25, 1926, Adolf Karseboom died completely unexpectedly of a heart attack. His body was taken to Hamburg for burial. He was buried on October 28, 1926 in the burial ground of the Jewish community of Hamburg of the cemetery in Ohlsdorf.

His son Friedrich (married in 1927 to Marie Arlette Lucie Reichenstein, born in Leipzig in 1906) took over the business together with his mother. Friedrich Karseboom, who had already joined the company as junior manager of the Wismar department store on February 28, 1925, came to the fore. Frieda Karseboom, however, remained co-owner until the end.

After the National Socialist "boycott actions" of March/April 1933, the Karseboom family feared for their safety. They left Wismar in the course of 1933, their path leading Friedrich Karseboom and his family first to Hamburg and finally to Lübeck, from where he continued to run the department store. He converted the business into a limited liability company on August 29, 1933. Friedrich and Frieda Karseboom were registered as managing directors and representatives of the company in 1933. This meant that they were no longer liable for the company with their private assets. After renewed "boycott actions" in 1935, he was forced to sell it and move to Hamburg.

Frieda Karseboom apparently moved from Wismar to Hamburg as early as the first half or at least the middle of 1933. The address books are silent about her place of residence in Wismar in the years 1929 to 1933. Whether she continued to live in Lindenstraße or in the villa of her son's family until 1933 cannot be reconstructed at present. In the Wismar address book of 1934, her name can be found as co-owner of the department store, but now with a Hamburg address. It is certain that Frieda Karseboom registered with the Jewish Community of Hamburg on September 14, 1933. She first lived briefly in Lenhartzstraße and then in Hansastraße 36. For the years 1933 to 1936, various sources can be found that give Innocentiastraße 51 as her place of residence in Hamburg-Harvestehude.

Friedrich Karseboom realized that as a Jewish merchant in Hitler's Germany he had no chance of supporting his family and providing for their security. So he made the decision to leave his homeland. At the beginning of 1937, he began preparations to leave the country. On April 28, he emigrated alone to Haifa. Friedrich Karseboom made a new home for his family in Palestine. From correspondence between the international forwarding company Gaertner & Co and the Hamburg tax authorities, it is clear that Frieda Karseboom wanted to accompany her daughter-in-law and grandchildren into exile in Palestine. In the end, circumstances arose that prevented this.

Frieda Karseboom had supported her granddaughters financially since 1933. Of course, the Nazi coercive measures against the Jewish population also affected her, but at first she still had enough means to help others. As a partner in the Wismar department store and a dormant partner in the Karseboom company, she had a 38 percent share in the company's profits. And she was co-owner of properties in Wismar and in Parchim. Thus Frieda Karseboom was able to support her daughter Paula and her family from 1938 on.

The fact that she did not join the emigration of her children to Palestine was due to her care for the children of her daughter Käthe, who had died in 1933.

After her daughter's death, Frieda Karseboom brought her three granddaughters Ilse, Liesel and Ellen Ingrid Berger (see to live with her in Hamburg. She paid for their living expenses and for their education. The three girls were admitted to the Paulinenstift, a Jewish girls' orphanage at Laufgraben 37 in Hamburg-Rotherbaum, on August 15, 1933. They attended the Israelitische Höhere Töchterschule (girl’s school) of the Jewish community in Hamburg.

In the meantime, there were plans for the family to escape. Frieda Karseboom, probably together with her son Friedrich, who had been in Haifa since the spring of 1937, had prepared everything for their departure. The three girls were to flee to Palestine in July 1938. Frieda Karseboom wanted either to accompany them or to join them a few weeks later with her daughter-in-law Lucie and her family. We know from Liesel Berger that in July 1938 she took the train from Hamburg via Munich to Trieste and there boarded a ship that took her to Haifa. Since her sister Ilse also fled Germany at this time, it is reasonable to assume that they both took this route together. An important role in the escape was played by the Children and Youth Aliyah. This Jewish organization tried to bring as many children and young people as possible out of the German Reich to safety and was able to save about 21,000 lives.

Ellen Ingrid was also supposed to reach Palestine this way. However, she was a "germ carrier" and therefore did not receive the necessary certificate, but had to stay behind in Hamburg. A document from the 1950s mentions diphtheria. Frieda Karseboom did not want to leave her granddaughter alone and decided to stay with her in Hamburg. Frederick Karseboom later wrote that she had refused to accompany his wife and children on the trip to Haifa in September 1938.

Frieda Karseboom and Ellen Ingrid Berger thus did not succeed in leaving Germany before the November pogrom of 1938. Like many other Jews, they now experienced increasingly harsh persecution measures:
- On November 11, 1938, Frieda Karseboom had to adopt the additional first name "Sara" in accordance with § 2 of the II Ordinance for the Implementation of the Law on the Change of Families and First Names of August 17, 1938.
- Her valuable furnishings and other valuables were confiscated. A blocked account was also set up for her after the November pogrom, i.e. she could no longer freely dispose of her financial means, such as the lease income for the property in Parchim.
- To pay the "Judenvermögensabgabe" (Jewish property levy), the sum of 28,500 RM was debited from her account.
- And after the enactment of the "Police Order on the Identification of Jews" of September 1, 1941, Frieda Karseboom was also obliged to wear the "Jewish Star".
- In March 1939, she had to leave her apartment at Curschmannstraße 2. Frieda Karseboom was forced to move to Bornstraße 25 b and later to Beneckestraße 6 in the Grindelviertel. The building complex at Beneckestraße 2-6 belonged to the Jewish community of Hamburg and a part had been converted into a "Judenhaus". Her sister Bertha Engers (see was also forcibly quartered there.

The "Law on Tenancies with Jews of April 30, 1939" had abolished tenant protection and the free choice of housing for Jews. The law created the conditions for "ghettoization". Jews were thus to move with their families into certain districts or houses. The Jewish community which had to call itself Jewish Religious Association now, had been instructed in 1941 to provide living space for Jews who had been evicted from their homes. Those affected were mainly placed in Jewish residential homes, old people's homes and nursing homes. The houses at Beneckestraße 2 to 6 became the last place of residence in Hamburg for many Jews, including Frieda Karseboom and Bertha Engers. Here the sisters experienced their complete financial plundering before their deportation.

In 1941, a collection and transit camp for Jews had been established in Theresienstadt. In 1942, the Theresienstadt concentration camp was declared a "ghetto for the elderly" for Jews from Germany and Austria. Thus, elderly and infirm Jews were interned there with their spouses. The Hamburg district office of Northwest Germany of the Reich Association of Jews in Germany, which was forced to act as an extended arm here, handled the modalities of transferring the Jews concerned to Theresienstadt. For Frieda Karseboom, this meant that she had to conclude a "home purchase contract" (Heimeinkaufsvertrag). This "contract" provided for the transfer of her entire savings to the Reich Association of Jews in Germany, the fictitious consideration being the lifelong use of a "home place" in Theresienstadt. The sum amounted to RM 22,445.49. In the end, the money collected by the Reichsvereinigung was confiscated by the Gestapo.

The first large old-age transport from Hamburg, for which Frieda Karseboom and her sister Bertha Engers received the deportation order, left the city on July 15, 1942. The assembly point for the deportees was a school in the Schanzenviertel. There were 925 people on the transport marked with the number VI. It reached its destination the next day.

About three months later Frieda Karseboom died in Theresienstadt. The death notice from the ghetto, in addition to the room in which she spent the last weeks of her life and the name of the attending physician, gives November 22, 1942 as the date of death. The cause of death was noted as pulmonary tuberculosis.

Bertha Engers died on July 23, 1943.

Ellen Ingrid Berger was deported to Auschwitz in July 1942 and murdered.

Frieda Karseboom's daughter Paula (married in 1925 to Richard Krakowiak, born 1887 in Hohensalza/Posen) lived with her family in Berlin. In 1939 they fled to Chile, where their descendants live today. Friedrich and Lucie Karseboom returned to Hamburg in 1956. Their children and grandchildren live today in the USA and Israel.

At the Jewish Cemetery in Hamburg-Ohlsdorf, a gravestone today commemorates Adolf, Frieda, Friedrich and Lucie Karseboom. Only Adolf Karseboom was buried at this site in 1926, and his name was the first on the stone. Friedrich and Lucie Karseboom had Frieda Karseboom's name added after their return to Hamburg.

In July 2004, a stumbling stone for Frieda Karseboom was laid at Hansastraße 36. In Wismar, too, Frieda Karseboom has been commemorated since February 16, 2019, by a Stolperstein in Dr.-Leber-Straße, in front of the exact spot where the house Lindenstraße 23 stood before the bombings of Wismar in 1940.

Her great-grandchildren from the USA came to the laying of the stone.

Translation by Beate Meyer
Stand: February 2022
© Falk Bersch

Quellen: 1; 3; 5; StaH 332-5_8572; StaH 351-11_1693; StaH 351-11_45625; StaH 351-11_46911; StaH 351-11_47172; Falk Bersch, Kaufhaus Karseboom. Die Geschichte einer jüdischen Familie (= Schriftenreihe der Stiftung Mecklenburg, wissenschaftliche Beiträge, Bd. 8), Wismar 2021; Archiv der Hansestadt Wismar (AHW), Sterbeeintrag Nr. 281/1926; Familienarchiv Hertz/Karseboom; Familienarchiv Weidmann; Adressbücher der Stadt Helmstedt; Adressbücher der Stadt Wismar; Brunotte, Sabine, Bertha Engers, geb. Valk, online unter: (Zugriff am 29.04.2021); Brunotte, Sabine, Ellen Ingrid Berger, online unter: (Zugriff am 1.7.2020); Buddrus, Michael/Fritzlar, Sigrid, Juden in Mecklenburg 1845–1945. Lebenswege und Schicksale. Ein Gedenkbuch, Band 1: Texte und Übersichten, Schwerin: 2019; Gemeindeblatt der Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde zu Hamburg, Nr. 12/1926, S. 6.; Hoffmann, Heiko, Stolpersteine erinnern an Verfolgte, in: Ostsee-Zeitung, Wismarer Zeitung, 18.2.2019, S. 9.; Mecklenburger Tagesblatt, Wismarsche Zeitung, 24.12.1918, 31.12.1918, 27.10.1926; Meyer, Beate, Judenhäuser, in: Das Jüdische Hamburg. Ein historisches Nachschlagewerk, online unter: (Zugriff am 11.9.2020).
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