Search for Names, Places and Biographies
Already layed Stumbling Stones
Lotte Mansfeldt (née Posner) * 1906
Schlüterstraße 5 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)
Jenny Posner, née Theilheimer, born on 16 Aug. 1874 in Hamburg, deported on 19 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, died there on 7 Apr. 1944
Lotte Mathilde Mansfeldt, née Posner, born on 14 Sept. 1906 in Hamburg, deported on 19 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, died there on 16 Apr. 1943
Bela Mansfeldt, born on 9 Dec. 1938 in Hamburg, deported on 19 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, murdered in Auschwitz in 1944
Schlüterstrasse 5, Rotherbaum
Jenny Posner was the youngest of the four children born to Amsel Anton and Bertha Theilheimer, née Wolfsohn. She had three older brothers: Adolf, Willy, and John. In about 1900, she married the merchant Wilhelm Posner, who was from Breslau (today Wroclaw in Poland). They had two children: On 23 Jan. 1901, Walter was born, and almost six years later, on 14 Sept. 1906, Lotte Mathilde. In 1916, all of the family members obtained citizenship of the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, for until then, they had been Prussian citizens by virtue of the father’s birthplace. Uniform German citizenship (German Reich citizenship) was not introduced until early 1934.
Initially, Wilhelm Posner worked as a self-employed sales representative, then founding a tie factory in Hamburg with headquarters at Kaiser-Wilhelm Strasse 64. It earned him such a substantial income that he managed to finance both of his children’s training: Lotte qualified as a stenographer, Walter first attended the Eppendorf Oberrealschule [a secondary school without Latin], which he finished at Easter 1919 by obtaining his secondary school graduation diploma (Reifezeugnis, today called Abitur). Immediately afterward, he began studying law at the newly founded University of Hamburg, which he completed single-mindedly. One year later, he changed to the University of Würzburg for one semester, then returning to Hamburg to finish his studies with his first state law exam after a total of six semesters in July 1922, followed by the administration of his oath as a legal trainee (Referendar). In order to be able to pass the second state law exam, he had to go through a number of different internship stations as a legal trainee. Among others, this included working at a Hamburg court of lay assessors and – with various emphases – at different district courts (Amtsgerichte). He passed his second state law exam in Oct. 1925, subsequently being appointed assistant judge (Assessor) at a district court. At this time, he still lived with his family at Mansteinstrasse 13. Two months later, he had himself discharged from the civil service to work as a lawyer in private practice. He announced this by way of an ad in the Hamburger Fremdenblatt in Jan. 1926, and his office premises were located at Neuer Wall 10. In Mar. 1927, he was appointed assistant judge once again, as he had apparently decided by then to become a judge. Initially, for slightly over a year, he worked at the district court as an assistant judge at the revaluation office (Aufwertungsstelle) of the land office. In July 1928, he was appointed judge at the Hamburg District Court.
Only shortly after assuming power, the Nazis passed the "Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service” ("Gesetz zur Wiederherstellung des Berufsbeamtentums”) on 7 Apr. 1933, enabling them to remove all Jewish and politically undesirable civil servants from their posts. Walter Posner was affected by this measure as well. The chairman of the State Administration of Justice at the time, Curt Rothenberger, dismissed him effective 1 Oct. 1933 into retirement – without any retirement pension. At the end of Sept. 1933, he therefore applied for need-based assistance. However, the application was turned down without any grounds given. Thus, Walter Posner, who previously had earned almost 6,000 RM (reichsmark) a month, no longer had an income. Desperately, he tried to find other work. In May 1934, he even traveled to Sweden for this purpose, but without any success. In July 1935, he finally got a job with the August Ascher Sohn importing and exporting firm located at Neuer Wall 70/74, where he was able to work until mid-Sept. 1938. Then the company was "Aryanized.”
Since 20 Jan. 1938, Walter Posner was married to Gerda Posner, née Weil, four years his junior and from Hamburg. She had worked as a manager for various travel agencies and at the time of her wedding, she was employed as a secretary with the Jewish Cultural Federation (Jüdischer Kulturbund). Just like his sister Lotte, Walter had always lived with his parents, who had moved to Schlüterstrasse 5 by then. There Gerda found accommodation as well. "All of us were kept upright by the hope that one day a change had to come,” she later wrote looking back. Considering the increasing persecution, deprivation of rights, and threat by the Nazis, however, the situation seemed ever more hopeless to her and Walter. Eventually, they decided to leave Germany. Gerda emigrated to the USA in Mar. 1938; due to problems with his visa, Walter first had to travel to the Netherlands in September of that year, then being able to emigrate to the USA from there a few weeks later.
Shortly before his departure, on 5 Sept. 1938, Walter’s father Wilhelm died at the age of 65. Now Jenny Posner was a widow.
Their daughter Lotte had stayed in Hamburg, in contrast to Walter. Initially, she had worked as an office employee for the Bachrach & Loeb hides processing company located in the Cremonhaus building, and since 1938, she was employed by the Jewish Religious Organization (Jüdischer Religionsverband). In Aug. 1938, she had married Walter Mansfeldt from Hamburg, who was about four years her senior. His parents were Gustav and Blanca Mansfeldt, née Löwenstein, and he had four other siblings: Ernst, Erica, Lissy, and Erwin. The latter had died as early as 1936, at the age of 27. Walter and Lotte’s wedding took place in Britain, for Walter had emigrated there shortly before. Originally, he had worked as a judicial authority employee with the Hamburg District Court (Amtsgericht), where he – like his brother-in-law by the same first name – was dismissed effective 31 Aug. 1933 based on the "Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service.” At the time of the wedding, Lotte was pregnant. It is not known why she returned to Hamburg afterward, instead of taking herself and her unborn child to safety from the Nazi regime in Britain. Thus, her daughter Bela was born in Hamburg on 9 Dec. 1938.
Jenny Posner, Lotte, and Bela Mansfeldt were not able to stay in the apartment on Schlüterstrasse for much longer. They had to move into the "Jews’ house” ("Judenhaus”) at Durchschnitt 8. From there, they were deported on Transport VI/2 to Theresienstadt on 19 July 1942. At this place, they apparently received parcels from Max Plaut, the Head of the Jewish Religious Organization, for which Jenny Posner expressed thanks by postcard. Little Bela, too, sent postcards to "dear Uncle Plaut” (written by her grandmother Jenny).
Lotte Mansfeldt died in Theresienstadt on 16 Apr. 1943, Jenny Posner on 7 Apr. 1944. Four-year-old Bela was taken on Transport E 371 from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz on 23 Oct. 1944 ((???)) and murdered there.
Walter Mansfeldt changed his last name to Mansfield. He remarried in 1950 and died in Britain in 1981. In 1946, Walter Posner received word in the USA that his next of kin had perished in concentration camps. As a result, said his wife Gerda later, he lost all of his courage to face life. He died in Denver/Colorado on 16 June 1947, at the age of 46. Gerda Posner passed away in Los Angeles in 1993.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: October 2017
© Frauke Steinhäuser
Quellen: 1; 4; 5; 8; StaH 241-2 Justizverwaltung – Personalakten, Sign. A1220 Personalakte Walter Posner; StaH 332-5 Standesämter, 1088 u. 47/1938; StaH 351-11 AfW 24641; StaH 522-1, 390 Jüdische Gemeinden, Wählerliste 1930; StaH 622-1 Familienarchive 173, Plaut; Frank Bajohr, "Arisierung" in Hamburg, Hamburg 1998, S. 198ff.; Ulrike Sparr/Björn Eggert, Stolpersteine, S. 45f.; Buildings Integral to the Former Life and/or Persecution of Jews in Hamburg-Rotherbaum II/ Harvestehude, 17. Von-Melle-Park, former No. 2, No. 6, and No. 4 Beneckestraße, URL: www1.uni-hamburg.de/rz3a035//vonmellepark.html (Zugriff 12.1.2013); Aufbau, New York, 1.12.1934–30.12.1950, von der Deutschen Nationalbibliothek digitalisierte Ausgabe, URL: www.dnb.de/ DE/DEA/Kataloge/Exilpresse/exilpresse_node.html (Zugriff 17.9.2011; seit Juli 2012 aus rechtl. Gründen im Internet nicht mehr zugänglich).
Zur Nummerierung häufig genutzter Quellen siehe Link "Recherche und Quellen".