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Anna Pulvermacher (née Mayer) * 1872
Brahmsallee 24 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)
Anna Pulvermacher, née Mayer, born 9 Sep, 1872 in Berlin, deported 15 July 1942 from Hamburg to Theresienstadt, died there 19 Aug. 1942
Anna Pulvermacher was born on 9 Sep. 1872 in Berlin. Her parents were Abraham Mayer and his wife Berta, née Mecklenburg. She married Max Pulvermacher on 20 Oct. 1897 in Berlin. Their daughter Kaethe Sarah was born on 15 Mar. 1899, followed by Charlotte Amalie (Lotte) on 8 May 1901.
Max Pulvermacher was a successful businessman. He had founded several agencies dealing in hosiery. The family had a comfortable income and lived a carefree life. At first the family lived on Mommsenstraße in Berlin. In 1901 Max Pulvermacher gave up the agencies and founded a real estate agency. It was apparently profitable, as it enabled Max Pulvermacher to acquire several rental properties, including a multi-floor house at Bleibtreustraße 27, where the family moved into a spacious apartment. The Pulvermachers’ home was open and welcoming; they employed a cook and a maid, and a nanny looked after the two daughters. It was very important to the parents that the daughters received a first-class education. As the children grew older, a tutor was hired to give the girls afternoon lessons in French, Hebrew, piano, and calisthenics.
Fate dealt the family a first blow with the death of Max Pulvermacher on 1 Sep. 1915. Anna Pulvermacher and the two daughters were on their own. Anna Pulvermacher accepted the challenge and took over her husband's real estate business. In 1919 Lotte Pulvermacher started working in the offices at Meyerhof & Nathorff (manufacture and storage of textiles), at Hausvogteiplatz 12 in Berlin. The onset of inflation in the early 1920s also affected the family, but not severely. In 1928, Lotte Pulvermacher quit her job to help her mother manage her properties. She also did volunteer work for a Jewish organization that aided the elderly.
We do not know when exactly Lotte Pulvermacher met her future husband Georg Silbermann. Silbermann (born 1884 in Bütow, administrative district of Köslin, died 1946 San Francisco, USA) was a successful and respected businessman in the field of textiles in Berlin in the 1910s. At the end of the 1910s he received an attractive offer from the uniform maker W. Neustadt in Hamburg, which he did not want to refuse because the company enjoyed a high reputation. It was there that Silbermann met the owner’s daughter, Edith, who also worked at the company. They married, and Neustadt retired and handed over the business to his son-in-law. However, the marriage did not last long. The couple divorced in 1924.
Lotte Pulvermacher and Georg Silbermann married on 22 Mar. 1932, and Lotte moved from Berlin to Hamburg. As a wedding gift her mother gave her 25,000 Reichsmarks. The Silbermanns moved into an elegant seven-room apartment at Brahmsallee 26. They employed two housemaids, a laundress and a chauffeur for the company car. They traveled abroad, hosted social gatherings, were highly regarded, and led a lively social life. They made generous donations to Jewish community.
The lives of Jews in Germany changed dramatically on 30 Jan. 1933. 1 Apr. 1933, the day of the boycott of Jewish businesses, law firms and medical practices, was only a harbinger of what was to come. The situation may have been what prompted Anna Pulvermacher to move to Hamburg in 1934 to live with her daughter. Before she moved, she sold all of her property in Berlin. The notary who conducted the sales was Ludwig Ruge. She had already sold a piece of property in Berlin-Lichtenberg to the Christian wife (Anita Mecklenburg) of a deceased cousin.
When she arrived in Hamburg, Anna Pulvermacher joined the Jewish Community. On 22 Mar. 1934, her son-in-law’s company was "Aryanized" and ownership was transferred to Franz Julius Fischer, an authorized representative of the company. Georg Silbermann was damned to idleness. Lotte Silbermann continued to work in the management of the company in secret. She was afraid she might be seen by customers who might denounce her. Over the years, the measures against Jews intensified. At some point the Silbermanns and Anna Pulvermacher decided to leave Germany. Anna Pulvermacher assumed all costs incurred in advance (the levy on Jewish property, the Reich flight tax, and the currency exchange tax). All of the family’s assets were placed under a security order. By order of the Chief Finance Office of 9 Jan. 1935, Anna Pulvermacher was allowed access to 800 Reichsmarks per month from her account to cover living expenses. As of 1 Nov. 1939, her access was reduced to only 300 Reichsmarks per month, from which she had to pay all of her expenses, including taxes.
In February 1939, the Silbermanns fled to Sweden, where Georg Silbermann's brother already lived and assisted in obtaining the visa. The Silbermanns had sold their household goods, much of it at prices well below the market value. Sweden was planned only as a first stop on their journey, as they intended to emigrate to the US. The outbreak of the war in early September 1939 foiled their plans, however, as it was no longer possible to take a ship from Gothenburg. The Silbermanns changed their plans and traveled to the US via Russia and-Japan, with nothing but hand luggage.
We do not know why Anna Pulvermacher failed to flee the country. From 1940 onwards she lived at various addresses. She was first quartered at Flemingstraße 16, then with the Heller family at Loogestieg 19. In 1941 she was living with the Aron family at Löwenstraße 52.
Anna Pulvermacher was deported to the Theresienstadt Ghetto on 15 July 1942 on Transport VI/1. She was given the prisoner number 714. She died in Theresienstadt on 19 August 1942.
Anna Pulvermacher’s daughter Kaethe Sarah married Curt Sluszewer. They emigrated to Palestine. The method and dates of their emigration are unknown.
Lotte and Georg Silbermann arrived safely, aside from some inconveniences along the way, in the US and settled in Seattle.
What remained of the Silbermanns’ household goods was stored in containers and entrusted to a moving company for transport. The war prevented the company from shipping the items, however. In the spring of 1941, the Nazi regime began auctioning off the contents of 3000 to 4000 containers belonging to Jewish families who had emigrated. The proceeds from these auctions, about 7.2 billion Reichsmarks, were paid into a Gestapo account.
Anna Pulvermacher’s daughters didn’t learn of their mother’s death until September 1944. An obituary was published in the 6 Sep. 1944 issue of Aufbau, a magazine for exiles.
Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: September 2019
© Sonja Zoder
Quellen: 1; 5; 7; 8; StaH 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung 1941, 24433, Jüdische Gemeinden, 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinde 992e2 Bd. 2 (Deportationslisten); Deutsches Zollmuseum Hamburg, Verfolgung; Sielemann in Brämer u.a. "Aus den Quellen …", S. 341; www.freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/alcalz/aufbau/1944 Deutsch-Jüdische Exilzeitschrift "Aufbau"; Hamburger Adressbuch; Berliner Adressbuch.
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