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Minna Littmann (née Harrison) * 1869
Eppendorfer Landstraße 12 (Hamburg-Nord, Eppendorf)
Mayer Max Littmann, born on 25 Dec. 1870 in Brody, deported on 15 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, death on 31 Aug. 1942
Minna Littmann, née Harrison, born on 24 Apr. 1869 in Hamburg, deported on 15 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, and on 18 Dec. 1943 to Auschwitz
Eppendorfer Landstrasse 12
After the economic decline of the small town of Brody in what was then Austrian Galicia, Isaak Littmann and his wife Rebekka, née Selony (spelling variants are Zielony, Ziloni), left their home with their four children Joseph (born on 17 Nov. 1869), Simon Mayer (born on 25 Dec. 1870), Chaje Lea (born on 21 July 1875), and Hinde Glückl (25 July 1879). Isaak, born in 1842 as Eiszig Littmann, and Rebekka Selony (born 1848) had grown up in Brody, which derived its major revenues from trade between Austria and Russia. Some 80 percent of the 20,000 inhabitants were Jews, just as they were. Isaak Littmann’s parents, the father being a lumber dealer, lived in Brody until they died, whereas Rebekka Littmann’s parents – the father was a merchant – moved to Odessa, where they stayed until the end of their lives.
We do not know where Isaak Littmann took up residence with his family initially, when he came to Hamburg in 1894. For a few years until his death, he lived in Hamburg-Neustadt at Neuer Steinweg 66, operating a trading business in job lot goods from there. In the second half of 1894, Alexander Littmann, a young commercial clerk from Brody, joined him, though returning to his home even before the end of the year. All of Isaak and Rebekka Littmann’s four children received commercial training. Their subsequent lives took place between Hamburg and Altona, where they became a contact point for relatives.
When Isaak Littmann passed away in Hamburg on 18 May 1896, all of the children had reached their majority, except for the youngest daughter, Hinde Glückl, who also called herself Annette. Upon being widowed, Rebekka Littmann continued to operate her husband’s trading business for a short while. In 1897, she moved to 3rd Elbstrasse 2, living in Altona near her children and grandchildren for the subsequent nine years. They joined the Altona Jewish Community. Then, on 30 Mar. 1906, Rebekka Littmann returned to Hamburg, residing at Schulterblatt 106, where she died on 24 June 1907. Following tradition, the oldest son, Joseph, gave notice of her death to the local records office.
Joseph Littmann, an accountant by profession and married to Fanny Tschesljak (born on 7 Nov. 1876), had moved to Altona, where their four daughters and three sons were born between 1898 and 1908. The only one to keep his birth name unchanged was Joseph. Simon Mayer, the brother one year his junior, added "Max” to his name and dropped "Simon,” sister Chaja Lea called herself Clara, and Hinde Glückl went by Annette. The two sisters remained unmarried, starting their own business with a corset store located at Grosse Bleichen 66 and residing at Grindelallee 54. Hinde Glückl died as early as 26 June 1919, at the age of only 40.
Like his older brother Joseph, Mayer Max Littmann moved with his family to Altona as well. He had married Minna Harrison (also spelled Harrisson), born on 24 Apr. 1869 in Hamburg. Her grandfather, Joseph Selig Harrison, married to Betty Soldien, had lived as an umbrella maker in Britain, where sons Henry and Emil were also born. Joseph Harrison had moved to Hamburg with his family, where both sons married natives of Hamburg. Emil Harrison had worked as a plant supervisor and lived at Spitaler Strasse 59 when he was married to Sara, née Lesser, on 21 Feb. 1864. Sara Harrison gave birth to daughter Toni in 1868 and one year later, on 24 Apr. 1869, to daughter Minna. Toni only reached the age of seven but her name subsequently lived on in Minna’s second daughter. Mayer Max and Minna Littmann’s marriage produced four daughters, Edith (24 Dec. 1895), Toni (1 May 1898), Hertha (2 Mar. 1902), and Helene (14 May. 1903), all born in Altona.
Mayer Max Littmann started his own business as a real estate agent for houses, setting himself up on Schulterblatt at the turn of the century. In 1915, he and Minna Littmann became grandparents for the first time. On 9 Mar. 1915, Edith, the oldest daughter, gave birth to a son whose father was a non-Jewish Italian. She called her son Werner Max. On 5 Dec. 1925, Edith Littmann married the general manager Carl Krüger, the son of a precinct sergeant (Revierwachtmeister) from Hamburg-Rothenburgsort, a non-Jewish man. Her son, too, received his last name (see biography on Werner Max Krüger). In 1926 and 1931, two daughters were born, Lotti and Inge.
Mayer Max Littmann had sent his daughter Helene to business school and then employed her as an apprentice in his company. As a family member without any employment status of her own, she worked for him as a secretary and accountant from 1925 onward, eventually becoming his "right hand.” At times, he earned a good income as an agent and administrator for real estate and houses. Since 1911, he advised the Wempe watch making company concerning the establishment of branches. His clients also included the Jäger and Mirow companies, for whom he found stores and business premises, and the Salamander and Hirschfeld Brother Companies, whose properties he administrated. He enjoyed a reputation as a reliable and agile agent.
In the years 1923 to 1925, he earned only a modest income. Afterward, revenues rose to several times the amount. In 1927, he relocated the residential and business quarters from Schulterblatt 133 to Schlüterstrasse 42 in Hamburg, where the family set up their home in upper-middle-class fashion. The family members switched from the Altona to the Hamburg Jewish Community. Apparently the only ones to do so, Minna and Helene Littmann obtained valid passports in the period from 1928 to 1933. The purpose for which they required them is not known.
As early as 23 Feb. 1923, Toni Littmann had married Johann Hemmenga, born on 25 July 1897 in Aurich, a secretary working in the Atlantik Hotel located on the Alster. Their two children were born in 1928 and 1929.
Hertha also married a non-Jewish man, the retired colonel Gustav Ernst Heinrich von Roerdansz, nearly 40 years her senior. The couple lived in Wandsbek for a short time. In 1922, her husband had come to Hamburg from Bad Homburg vor der Höhe, moving to Wandsbek in May 1923. He died already at Christmas of 1923 in the hospital of the Red Cross on Schlump. Hertha von Roerdansz returned to Hamburg a widow, not getting married again a second time until after her emigration to New York.
Helene was the only one to marry a Jewish man, Paul Dessauer, who was 15 years her senior. Both of their [Hertha’s and Helene’s] marriages did not produce any children. Consequently, the final number of Mayer Max and Minna Littmann’s grandchildren remained at five.
Mayer Max’ brother Joseph had already moved from Altona to Hamburg in 1918. On 30 Nov. 1932, he and his wife Fanny followed son Leo to Berlin. This was also the time when Mayer Max Littmann’s revenues caved in.
In 1934, he moved with his wife and daughter Helene to Eppendorfer Landstrasse 12, into a home furnished in upper-middle-class style as well but somewhat smaller. In 1936, they experienced the birth of their first great grandson, Werner Herbert. His parents, Werner Max Krüger and his fiancée Elsa Jacke, were not allowed to live together, let alone get married, due to the "Nuremberg Laws” on race. As a child born out of wedlock, Werner Herbert received his mother’s last name. His father stayed at the grandparents’ place quite often, while his fiancée and the child lived on Kleine Bäckerstrasse, where Werner Max visited them on a regular basis. The only memory Werner Herbert has of his great grandparents is the spacious hallway of the apartment, where he was able to ride his tricycle.
Mayer Max Littmann initially lived with his wife and daughter Helene from savings and he was exempted from paying dues to the Jewish Community. For financial reasons, in 1937, they moved into a smaller apartment consisting of three rooms at Haynstrasse 26, which they gave up again after another three years. Afterward, they resided only in parts of apartments at Hochallee 11, Isestrasse 50, and Lenhartzstrasse 3.
In 1938, when an occupational ban was passed, Mayer Max and Helene Littmann’s last prospects for any new income faded. In 1940, the remainder of their assets had been used up. Moreover, they had neither jewelry nor any dispensable household effects that the family could have used to make a living. Without support from their sons-in-law, they would have had to depend on welfare assistance.
The first daughter to emigrate was Hertha von Roerdansz in Jan. 1937. Via the Netherlands, she reached New York and in 1939, she was married there to Eugen Gold, with whom she had been friends in Hamburg already. He was a native of Hungary and had become prosperous by importing corn. Their immigration destination was New Zealand, and they had already shipped their furniture there. When they, traveling via Panama, arrived there, however, they were deemed "enemy nationals,” and thus they returned to New York in Mar. 1941 in order to evade internment. From his blocked alien bank account, which Eugen Gold had been forced to open prior to his emigration, he transferred a one-time sum of 5,000 RM (reichsmark) to his destitute father-in-law in June of 1940. Eugen Gold already died on 10 Mar. 1943 in New York.
Helene Littmann emigrated via the Soviet Union and Japan to the USA in May 1940. In Feb. 1939, she had married Paul Dessauer, born on 12 Feb. 1882 in Oschersleben. Up to his emigration, Paul Dessauer supported his parents-in-law with 250 RM monthly. He had operated a department store in Hoheluft, but was imprisoned due to alleged "racial defilement” ("Rassenschande”). On condition that he leave the German Reich immediately, he was released from prison early. On 18 July 1940, Paul and Helene Dessauer arrived in San Francisco.
Mayer Max Littmann had to tie up the funds transferred by the sons-in-law in a blocked account. He was granted a monthly allowance of 280 RM. Sums documented by receipts, e.g., for glasses valued at 20 RM for his wife on 19 July 1940, were unblocked upon application.
As a businessman, Mayer Max Littmann had a phone connection. Based on the identification card ordinance (Kennkartenverordnung), Jews were compelled to add "Israel” to their name in the phone entry as well. However, he had failed to do so and thus received an order of summary punishment on 21 May 1941, though he was able to substantiate that he had not received the "yellow note” from the telephone office alerting him to this obligation. He pointed out that he had cancelled his connection immediately upon learning about the new regulation from acquaintances. Nevertheless, he was sentenced to a fine of 50 RM, which he was allowed to pay in installments.
After the emigration of the daughters Hertha and Helene, only Edith and Toni stayed behind in Hamburg with their families. Edith’s son, Werner Max Krüger, Mayer and Minna Littmann’s oldest grandson, was detained in the Neuengamme concentration camp in May 1941. We do not know the reasons.
Of Mayer Max Littmann’s siblings, Chaje Lea Clara still continued to live in Hamburg. She had given up the corset business and lived on welfare assistance from 1930 onward, without ever regaining a foothold in her job. When she was no longer able to afford her apartment at Grindelallee 54, she moved into accommodation at Heinrich-Barth-Strasse 8. From there, she moved to the Samuel Levy Stift at Bundesstrasse 35, eventually being quartered at Laufgraben 37, the retirement home of the Jewish Community. She died on 21 Feb. 1942 and was buried in the Jewish Cemetery in Ohlsdorf.
Mayer Max and Minna Littmann, too, found their last accommodation prior to their deportation from Hamburg in the Samuel Levy Stift at Bundesstrasse 35, which by then served as a "Jews’ house” ("Judenhaus”). There they received word of their grandson Werner Max’ death. According to the death certificate, he had died of "pulmonary and intestinal tuberculosis” in the Neuengamme concentration camp on 16 June 1942, but in fact, he was murdered in the euthanasia killing center in Bernburg using carbon monoxide.
On the transport of Hamburg Jewish men and women departing on 11 July 1942 with destination unknown, though in fact going to Auschwitz, Minna’s cousin by marriage, Fanny Harrison, was deported. Four days later, Simon Mayer Max and Minna Littmann were forced to depart Hamburg as well. They were transported to the "ghetto for the elderly” ("Altersgetto”) in Theresienstadt on the first large-scale transport, leaving Hamburg on 15 July 1942. After this, they were no longer able to do anything for their great grandson and his mother, who were in dire straits.
Simon Mayer Max Littmann perished in the Theresienstadt Ghetto as early as 31 Aug. 1942. On 17 Mar. 1943, Minna Littmann’s brother-in-law and sister-in-law Joseph and Fanny Littmann arrived on a transport from Berlin. Together, they were deported to Auschwitz on 18 Dec. 1943 and apparently murdered immediately upon arrival.
We do not know whether from Theresienstadt, Minna Littmann still had any contact to the relatives remaining in Hamburg. Toni and Edith lived with their husbands and children in Hamburg, initially protected through their "privileged mixed marriages” ("privilegierte Mischehen”). Edith Krüger (see corresponding biography) lost this protection due to the death of her husband on 20 Dec. 1943.
The Gestapo exerted pressure on Toni Hemmenga’s husband Johannes to get a divorce but he resisted. As a "Jewish crossbreed of the first degree” ("Mischling 1. Grades”), the son had to leave school in 1943. In the spring of 1944, Toni Hemmenga was enlisted to perform forced labor by Willibald Schallert, who was in charge of "Jewish labor deployment” (Judeneinsatz), as a packer at Rasch & Co. located at Neuer Wall. In October of that year, her husband was drafted into forced labor service for "persons interrelated to Jews” ("jüdisch Versippte"), i.e., non-Jewish husbands in mixed marriages and "Mischlinge.” He was quartered in barracks in Ohlsdorf, where he was deployed for clearing and grave digging work. Shortly before the end of the war, on 13 Feb. 1945, Toni Hemmenga was transported to alleged labor duties to the Theresienstadt Ghetto.
Out of fear to be deported like her sister Toni, Edith Krüger took her own life ten days later. Her daughters Lotti and Inge, 19 and 14 years old, remained behind as orphans and without any completed training.
Toni Hemmenga lived to see the liberation of Theresienstadt, returning to her family in Hamburg in the summer of 1945.
With every move, Mayer Max and Minna Littmann had scaled down their household. Compared to the original value of approx. 30,000 RM, the auctioning of what remained at the time of their deportation yielded proceeds amounting to 352.50 RM. The sum was transferred to the treasurer’s office with the Chief Finance Administrator (Oberfinanzkasse) on 14 Oct. 1942. When they were deported, they were no longer able to pay their electricity and gas bills. The treasurer’s office with the Chief Finance Administrator transferred the balances of 4.65 RM to the HEW (Hamburgische Elektrizitätswerke) and 8.16 RM to the HGW (Hamburger Gaswerke), as well as 70 RM for outstanding rent.
After the end of the war, Elsa Jacke was registered by the records office as having been married to Werner Max Krüger as of 15 May 1936, which meant that she and her son received the last name of Krüger and thus were invested with the rights of a widow and an orphan.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: March 2017
© Hildegard Thevs
Quellen: 1; 2 R 1940/374; 4; 5; 7; Hamburger Adressbücher; StaH 213-11, 0489/42; 332-5 Standesämter, 396-824/1896; 589-456/1907; 808-504/1919; 3522-504/1925; 6071-157/1923; 8074-628/1923; 8180-85/1942; 332-8 Meldewesen, K 6520, 6818; A 24 Band 360; 351-11, 1477, 1655, 17746, 20442, 25415, 27268, 35171; persönliche Mitteilungen von Werner Herbert Krüger, 2007 bis 2014.
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