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Johanna Laser (née Rosenberg) * 1881

Billhorner Deich 89 (Hamburg-Mitte, Rothenburgsort)

1942 Theresienstadt
ermordet 23.07.1944

further stumbling stones in Billhorner Deich 89:
Mannheim Max Laser, Felicia Laser, Martin Laser

Mannheim/Max Laser, born 3 Oct. 1874 in Wongrowitz, deported 19 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, died there 8 Aug. 1942
Johanna Laser, née Rosenberg, born 1 Apr. 1881 in Obersitzko, deported 19 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, died there 23 July 1944
Felicia Laser, born 7 Dec. 1918 in Hamburg, deported 6 Dec. 1941 to Riga
Martin Laser, born 26 Mar. 1908 in Hamburg, 1938–1943 in Bremen-Oslebshausen penitentiary, died at Auschwitz 22 Feb. 1943

Billhorner Deich 89

Mannheim Laser was the eldest of five brothers who moved, together with their sisters Rosa and Clara, from Wongrowitz, on the northern border of the Prussian province of Posen, to the Hamburg area shortly before the First World War. Mannheim Laser married Johanna Rosenberg (*1 April 1881 in Obersitzko). The couple adhered strictly to the Jewish tradition. Their son Martin (*26 Mar. 1908) was born in Wongrowitz, Alfred (*5 May 1911) was born in Sande near Bergedorf, and the three daughters Erna, Frieda, and Felicia were born between 1914 and 1918 in Hamburg. Their third child, Margot, died in infancy before the family moved to Hamburg.

Mannheim Laser and his brothers were all tailors or textile goods merchants. Mannheim/Max lived in Rothenburgsort, Hermann (*21 Dec. 1875) in Wilhelmsburg, Sally (*15 Sep. 1879) in Harburg, Simon (*18 Oct. 1882) in Billstedt (see Stolpersteine in Billstedt – Horn – Borgfelde), and Moritz (*21 Aug. 1885) in Barmbek. Clara married the textile goods merchant Bruno Cohn, who was originally from Lübeck, and lived in Harburg. Rosa and her husband Joseph Juda ran a respected clothing store on Süderstraße in Hamburg-Hamm.

Mannheim became a member of the Hamburg German-Israelitic Community on 30 November 1921. He and his family lived at Billstraße 86 until 1932, then moved to Billhorner Deich 89.

Except for two years between 1922 and 1925, his income was so low that he was exempted from paying religious community taxes. He began receiving welfare benefits in 1932, and beginning in 1939 he was supported "from abroad,” apparently by his daughter Frieda, who had emigrated to England.

Mannheim Laser’s eldest son Martin married Ingrid Schnell (*19 Nov. 1913 in Hamburg), a Protestant non-Jew. Only two of his sisters attended the wedding – his parents and the rest of his siblings disapproved of the "mixed marriage.” At the request of her husband, Ilse took lessons in Hebrew and converted to Judaism on 20 May 1935 at the synagogue on Bornplatz. Ther son Manfred was born eight weeks later. Martin Laser’s income as an independent travelling salesman was only enough to pay rent for a room, not an apartment. The Jewish Women’s Association and the Jewish Winter Relief Organization helped the family with baby clothes and necessities. The situation improved in late 1935, when Martin Laser found a position as a caretaker for Heinrich Oppenheimer at Leinpfad 62.

When the house was sold one year later, the young family moved into an apartment on Sorbenstraße in Hamm, and Martin Laser took over the caretaker duties for an unmarried woman on Bellevue. When she emigrated and sold the house, Martin Laser returned to sales, but now as an employee of the Alfred Cibulski company in Altona. His financial situation improved, and the family moved to Bellealliance Straße in Eimsbüttel.

Ilse Laser was arrested on 30 October 1938 – she had attempted to kill herself and her son. She was held in pre-trial detention on the charge of attempted homicide and her son Manfred was put into the care of his grandparents at their home on Billhorner Deich. When she was questioned, she revealed that she suspected her husband of having an affair with a co-worker, and the distress had made her desperate. Since the co-worker was "Aryan,” Martin Laser was accused of racial defilement, arrested, tried, and found guilty. The sentence of seven years in the penitentiary was extreme, as he was found guilty not only of racial defilement, but of having neglected his wife and driven her to the act of desperation. He began serving his sentence at the Bremen-Oslebshausen penitentiary on 17 March 1939.

Ilse received a prison sentence of two months, which she had already served in pre-trial detention. She divorced her husband, had her conversion to Judaism annulled, and she and her son Manfred moved in with her mother Dorothea Schnell at Kreuzbrook 17 in Hamm. Whereas the divorce allowed Ilse to return to the "German blood brotherhood,” her son Manfred retained the "racial status” of a "Geltungsjude” – according to Nazi categories he was considered a "half-Jew” and thus treated as a Jew. He was separated from his mother and grandmother before he reached school age, and the Jewish Community placed him in the "Jews’ house” at Kielortallee 22, where his aunt Felicia Laser lived.

Martin Laser was still serving his sentence in the Bremen-Oslebshausen penitentiary in the fall of 1942, when an edict was pronounced by which all Jews (and Mischlinge) serving prison sentences in Germany were to be transferred to Auschwitz. Martin was sent to Auschwitz, probably via the Fuhlsbüttel Concentration Camp, where he died on 22 February 1943.

Ilse Laser and her mother died on 27 or 28 July 1943 during the bombing of Hamburg. Kreuzbrook was at the center of the firestorm.

Martin’s sister Felicia (*7 Dec. 1918), attended the Israelitic Girls’ School from 1925 until 1933. She left school having only finished her elementary schooling, although she would have liked to become a teacher. Her parents’ financial situation, however, did not allow her to pursue an education, and with the political situation after the Nazis came to power, it seemed more prudent to enter a commercial apprenticeship. She apprenticed with the Hermann Tietz company on Jungfernstieg until it was "Aryanized” and became the Alsterhaus. She then continued her training at the Robinson women’s clothing store on Neue Wall. When it was also "Aryanized,” she could no longer find work. After two years of unemployment, she set up an independent business, but it is unclear in what area.

In 1939 Mannheim Laser, who had called himself Max for some time, moved with his wife Johanna and daughters Erna and Felicia to Rutschbahn 15. Later they were moved into the "Jews’ house” at Kielortallee 22. From there Felicia, her nephew Manfred, and other family members were deported to Riga on 6 December 1941. All traces of them after this point are lost.

Since Mannheim and Johanna were both over the maximum age for the so-called Eastern Transports, they were deported to the ghetto for the elderly in Theresienstadt six months later, on 19 July 1942. Mannheim/Max Laser died three weeks after their arrival. Johanna died two years later.

What happened to Mannheim and Johanna’s other children?

Their second son, Alfred, married Anita Grählert in November 1933. She was born on 15 March 1911 in Hamburg, was non-Jewish, and a Protestant. Unlike her sister-in-law Ilse, Anita did not convert to Judaism. She and her husband had their son christened on 10 June 1938. Alfred Laser was the manager of a textile goods company, but when it was "Aryanized” he became unemployed. When their landlord evicted them from their apartment and they were unable to find a new one, they moved in with Alfred’s parents at Billhorner Deich 89. After a short time the Gestapo forbade him from living there, on the grounds that it could lead to the crime of "racial defilement.” Living with Anita’s parents was prohibited for the same reason. They finally found a place to live with a Jewish family whose head of household had emigrated to Shanghai. Alfred Laser was conscripted to forced labor. In 1943 the family lost their home in the firestorm, and found refuge in Mecklenburg. On 11 June 1944 they were forced to move into the "Jews’ house” at Heinrich-Barth-Straße 8, where they remained until the end of the war. The family emigrated to the US in 1950.

Erna Laser (*10 June 1914) attended the Israelitic Girls’ School on Carolinenstraße, entered an apprenticeship with the Rudolf Reich company at Neue Wall 41, and later found a position in the offices of the Jewish Relief Organization. She married her co-worker Josef Norden (*26 Sept. 1913 in Hamburg) on 14 August 1941. They were deported with Erna’s parents to Theresienstadt on 19 July 1942 – this was "privileged treatment” because of their employment with the Jewish Relief Oraganization. Erna was transferred via Auschwitz to the Flossenbürg Concentration Camp’s satellite camp in Freiberg, Saxony, and then in April 1945 to the Mauthausen Concentration Camp, where she survived until its liberation. Joseph Norden was sent to Auschwitz on 28 September 1944, then to the Dachau-Kaufering Concentration Camp, where he died on 21 December 1944.

Erna Norden married Erwin Lippmann in Hamburg on 31 August 1946. They emigrated to Argentina in 1951, but returned to Germany in 1971.

What happened to Mannheim Laser’s brothers?

Hermann Laser, his wife Frieda and their son Ernst emigrated to Argentina. Three of their children and a son-in-law died in Minsk, Bergen-Belsen, and Auschwitz. Sally Laser, his wife Clara, and their three children emigrated to the US via Cuba. Moritz, his wife Hedwig, and their sons Hermann and Werner emigrated to Paraguay. Simon and his wife Paula were deported to Riga, together with his niece Felicia and grand-nephew Manfred, on 6 December 1941, where they died.

Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: March 2017
© Hildegard Thevs

Quellen: 1; 4; 5; 7; StaH 213-11 Staatsanwaltschaft Landgericht – Strafsachen, 1345/39; 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung, 030474, 150311, 100614; 552-1 Jüdische Gemeinden, 992 e 2 Bd. 3, 5; Auskunft vom Standesamt Hamburg-Nord Scheidung Laser; Weinmann, 2001.
Zur Nummerierung häufig genutzter Quellen siehe Link "Recherche und Quellen".

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