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Johanna Oppenheim * 1886

Brahmsallee 18 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)

JG. 1886
ERMORDET 29.10.1942

further stumbling stones in Brahmsallee 18:
Walter Hauptmann, Siegmund Silberberg

Johanna Oppenheim, born 26 May 1886 in Kassel, deported 15 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, death by suicide 29 Oct. 1942

Brahmsallee 18

Johanna Oppenheim was born on 26 May 1886 in Kassel. Her parents were Lehmann Oppenheim (*25 May 1849 in Reichensachsen) and Franziska Fleischmann Oppenheim (*6 Dec. 1858 in Altona). Lehmann Oppenheim was the son of Victor Oppenheim, a Jewish factory-owner in Reichensachsen. The family had lived in Kassel since at least 1868. Like his father, Lehmann was also a factory-owner. He ran a horsehair spinning mill. He died when Johanna was three years old.

Her mother Franziska was from Altona. She moved to Kassel, her fiancés home, in 1879. The couple had three children: Johanna had an elder brother, Victor William (*20 Feb. 1880), and an elder sister, Dora (*4 May 1884 in Kassel). In 1908 Dora married David Otto Frank (*9 Jan. 1873 in Hamburg), a Jewish merchant in Hamburg. The couple lived in Hamburg.

Johanna probably attended the lyceum and then a trade school in Kassel, like her older sister. She never married or had children. We know nothing about her life in Kassel, other than that she lived at Kölnische Straße 54, where she and her paternal uncle, Meier (also known as Meyer or Max) Oppenheim (*1 Oct. 1852 in Reichensachsen, died 15 June 1939) were still registered in early 1933.

In 1932 Johanna Oppenheim moved to Hamburg and joined the Hamburg German-Israelitic Community. At first, she lived with her sister and brother-in-law on Isestraße 76, where the childless couple lived in a well-appointed flat. David Otto Frank ran the specialty shop for paper and printing goods, Philip Spiro's Sohn, on the elegant Hermannstraße. He was the sole owner of this profitable family business, founded in 1858, and had a large number of employees. His wife, Dora, had been with the firm since moving to Hamburg and, while her husband was on the front lines during the First World War, had run the business in his name. Johanna later moved to the nearby Brahmsallee, where she rented a room for a while at No. 18. At that time, two Jewish families were living in the multi-story building – the physician Louis Goldschmidt with his wife Piroska and daughter Eva, and the businessman Moritz Silberberg with his wife Martha. Johanna probably lived with one of these families. As she did not pay any religious taxes in Hamburg for entire time she lived there, it can be assumed that she – probably because of her health – did not have her own income and was financially supported by her relatives. From the autumn of 1935 onwards, she lived, although she was not even fifty years old, in the Salvation Army retirement and care home at Harvestehuder Weg 108, and on December 1, 1936, she was admitted to the Jewish nursing home at Schäferkampsallee 29. According to the nursing home records, Johanna Oppenheim was classified as "needy" and "permanently unable to work due to her physical condition."

It is possible that her sister and brother-in-law assumed the costs: the family business was still in their possession and brought in regular income. But in 1938 the business was "Aryanized" – the SS-Obersturmbannführer Josef Nieland, nephew of the Hamburg city treasurer, became the new owner. After David Otto Frank had been summoned and interrogated by the Gestapo several times, emigration seemed to be the best option. He applied for visas for himself and his wife for various countries, especially the US, where his brother lived. In 1939, the plan appeared to be coming together: The passage to New York had already been paid and the household goods, including some of the furnishings, were packed in a container for transport to New York. At the last moment, however, the US visas were not issued, and Dora and Otto had to emigrate instead to Sweden in June 1939. A friend in Stockholm helped to organize this stopgap solution. The transport costs for the container to Malmö were offset against the transport costs to New York, which had already been paid, and the remaining sum of 371 Reichsmarks was given to Johanna Oppenheim, who remained behind in Hamburg. When they arrived in Sweden, the Franks were neither allowed to stay permanently nor to work. They continued to try for a visa for the United States, but in vain. Finally, in May 1941, they traveled via Russia and Turkey to Palestine, where Otto's sister and his family were already living. The couple – now penniless – finally settled there.

After her sister emigrated, Johanna Oppenheim remained in the nursing home in Hamburg for several years. She was exempted from the deportations in the fall and winter of 1941, but on 15 July 1942, she was deported to Theresienstadt. She took her life there on 29 Dec. 1942.

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

Stand: September 2019
© Pavel Golubev

Quellen: 1; 2; 3; 7; StaH 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung, 2103, 7037; 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden, 489 fasc. 2; Hamburger Adressbücher; Gedenkbuch Kassel; Stadtarchiv Kassel, Einwohnermeldekarte von Lehmann Oppenheim, Auskunft von Florian Franzmann, E-Mail vom 11.2.2015; Auskunft von Jochen Boczkowski, E-Mail vom 17.2.2015; Thiele, Die jüdischen Einwohner.
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