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Margarethe Michelson (née Leeser) * 1877
Rothenbaumchaussee 99 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)
Lili Michelson, born on 10 Nov. 1900 in Hamburg, murdered on 23 Sept. 1940 in the Brandenburg/Havel euthanasia killing center
Margarethe Michelson, née Leeser, born on 18 June 1877 in Stadtoldendorf, died on 18 Sept. 1942 in Theresienstadt
Hildegard Michelson, born 10 Jan. 1904 in Hamburg, murdered in Auschwitz
Stolpersteine at Rothenbaumchaussee 99 in Hamburg-Rotherbaum
The widower Simon Arje Michelsohn, born on 22 Nov. 1858 in Hamburg, married for the second time on 25 Jan. 1900. His first wife Adele, née Lilienfeld, born on 7 Aug. 1859 in Hamburg, whom he had married in 1888, had died on 24 Oct. 1898. The marriage had produced Waldemar Michelsohn, born on 25 Jan. 1891 in Hamburg. Simon Arje Michelsohn, like his two wives, was of the Jewish faith.
In 1929, Simon Arje Michelsohn managed to obtain a decision by the Hamburg District Court (Amtsgericht) to change his last name from Michelsohn to Michelson. As a result, his children from the second marriage also bore the name of Michelson.
With his second wife Margarethe, née Leeser, born on 18 June 1877 in Stadtoldendorf, Simon Arje Michelson had four children: Lili, born on 10 Nov. 1900; Fritz, born on 2 Aug. 1902; Hildegard Alice, born on 10 Jan. 1904; and Erika, born on 24 Dec. 1907.
Simon Arje Michelson initially earned his income from the manufacture of malt extract products. His company was located in Hamburg’s historic downtown at Brauerstrasse 5, which no longer exists today. Apparently, he soon gave up the plant and then earned a living as a merchant doing commercial transactions, at an advanced age as a commercial agent. The family resided at several addresses in the St. Georg and Hammerbrook quarters. Around the turn of the century, they moved to Fröbelstrasse 14 in the Rotherbaum quarter. Lili Michelson was born there on 10 Nov. 1900.
Already in 1902, the Michelson family moved back to St. Georg. From 1912 onward, Simon Arje lived with his family at Von-Essen-Strasse 5 in Eilbek. He died on 10 Nov. 1932 at Barmbek General Hospital. His widow Margarethe left Eilbek and, together with son Fritz and daughter Erika, moved into an apartment at Rothenbaumchaussee 99 in the Rotherbaum quarter in 1933. At that time, daughter Lili was no longer living with the family. We do not know anything about her childhood, youth, and possible vocational training.
Lili Michelson was admitted to the Friedrichsberg State Hospital (Staatskrankenanstalt Friedrichsberg) at the end of 1924/beginning of 1925. The patient file can no longer be found, so that we cannot find out anything about the reason for her stay there. On 18 July 1925, Lily was transferred from Friedrichsberg to the Langenhorn State Hospital (Staatskrankenanstalt Langenhorn), where she remained until 1940.
In the spring/summer of 1940, the "euthanasia” headquarters in Berlin, located at Tiergartenstrasse 4, planned a special operation aimed against Jews in public and private sanatoriums and nursing homes. It had the Jewish persons living in the institutions registered and moved together in what were officially so-called collection institutions. The Hamburg-Langenhorn "sanatorium and nursing home” ("Heil- und Pflegeanstalt” Hamburg-Langenhorn) was designated the North German collection institution. All institutions in Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein, and Mecklenburg were ordered to move the Jews living in their facilities there by 18 Sept. 1940. After all Jewish patients from the North German institutions had arrived in Langenhorn, they were taken to Brandenburg/Havel on 23 Sept. 1940, together with the Jewish patients who had lived there for some time. On the same day, they were killed with carbon monoxide in the part of the former penitentiary converted into a gas-killing facility. Only one patient, Ilse Herta Zachmann, escaped this fate at first (see corresponding entry).
It was noted on Lili Michelson’s birth register entry that she had died on 30 Jan. 1941. The records office Chelm II had registered her death under number 361/1941. Those murdered in Brandenburg, however, were never in Chelm (Polish) or Cholm (German), respectively, a town east of Lublin. The former Polish sanatorium there no longer existed after SS units had murdered almost all patients on 12 Jan. 1940. Also, there was no German records office in Chelm. Its fabrication and the use of postdated dates of death served to disguise the killing operation and at the same time enabled the authorities to claim higher care expenses for periods extended accordingly.
Lili Michelson’s mother Margarethe also died in the Holocaust. Her last Hamburg residential address was Rutschbahn 25, a so-called "Jews’ house” ("Judenhaus”). She was deported to Theresienstadt on 19 July 1942. There she may have reunited with her sister Antonie Leeser, born on 29 Jan. 1882, who was deported from Hannover to Theresienstadt four days after her, on 23 July 1942. Margarethe Michelson died there on 18 Oct. 1942, allegedly of influenza. Antonie Leeser was further deported to Auschwitz on 12 Oct. 1944 and probably died there.
Lili Michelson’s sister Hildegard fled to France and was interned in the Drancy collection and transit camp, 20 kilometers (some 12.5 miles) northeast of Paris. From there, she was deported to Auschwitz on 28 Oct. 1943 and murdered.
Fritz Michelson died on 21 Feb. 1942 in the Oberaltenallee care home (Versorgungsheim). Until then, he had been living with his parents or his mother. He was considered ailing and destitute by the Jewish Community. It can be assumed with certainty that he was only admitted to the care home after 23 Sept. 1940, because otherwise he would have been assigned to the death transport on 23 Sept. 1940.
Erika Michelson (stage name Milee), who had trained as a dancer and gymnastics teacher, emigrated to Paraguay in Oct. 1939 via Italy and Portugal. Despite the murder of her mother and sisters during the National Socialist era, Erika Milee returned to her hometown in 1959. In her own dance studio, she offered classes in classical and modern dance, folklore, jazz dance, and gymnastics. In 1976/77, she joined a number of others to found the Kreis Hamburger Ballettfreunde ("circle of Hamburg friends of the ballet”), holding its honorary chair until her death in June 1996.
The fate of Waldemar Michelsohn, Simon Arjes son from his first marriage, lies in the dark.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Ingo Wille
Quellen: 1; 3; 4; 5; 7; 9; AB; StaH 133-1 III Staatsarchiv III, 3171-2/4 U.A. 4, Liste psychisch kranker jüdischer Patientinnen und Patienten der psychiatrischen Anstalt Langenhorn, die aufgrund nationalsozialistischer "Euthanasie"-Maßnahmen ermordet wurden, zusammengestellt von Peter von Rönn, Hamburg (Projektgruppe zur Erforschung des Schicksals psychisch Kranker in Langenhorn); 332-5 Standesämter 428 Sterberegister Nr. 1930/1898 Adele Michelsohn, 2245 Geburtsregister Nr. 279/1891 Waldemar Michelsohn, 2731 Heiratsregister Nr. 1609/1888 Simon Arje Michelson und Adele Lilienfeld, 7139 Sterberegister Nr. 1227/1932 Simon Arje Michelson, 7256 Sterberegister Nr. 187/1942 Fritz Michelson, 8602 Heiratsregister Nr. 16/1900 Simon Arje Michelsohn und Margarethe Leeser, 13277 Geburtsregister Nr. 2631/1900 Lili Michelson, 13817 Geburtsregister Nr. 1587 Fritz Michelson, 14223 Geburtsregister Nr. 106/1904 Hildegard Alice Michelson; UKE/IGEM, Archiv, Patienten-Karteikarte Lili Michelson der Staatskrankenanstalt Friedrichsberg; Landkreis Holzminden, Innerer Service, Geburtsregister Stadtoldendorf Nr. 56/1877 Margarethe Leeser, Nr. 10/1882 Antonie Leeser.
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