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Henry Friedenheim * 1873

Mansteinstraße 6 (Eimsbüttel, Hoheluft-West)

JG. 1873

further stumbling stones in Mansteinstraße 6:
Agnes Friedenheim

Henry Friedenheim, born on 9 July 1873 in Hamburg, deported in 1942 to Theresienstadt, murdered on 21 Sept. 1942 in Treblinka
Agnes Friedenheim, née Cohen, born on 5 Sept. 1872 in Hamburg, deported in 1942 to Theresienstadt, murdered on 21 Sept. 1942 in Treblinka

Henry Friedenheim was born on 9 July 1873 in Hamburg as the son of the trader in tongues [for gastronomy], Louis Friedenheim, and his wife Tereza, née Schöning. They had been married in Hamburg on 18 Nov. 1866.
Louis Friedenheim, born in 1842, was a dynamic and dedicated merchant, who was awarded the certificate of Hamburg civic rights (Bürgerbrief) quite early. For instance, he was one of the 102 founding members of the "Citizens’ Association of Harvestehude and Rotherbaum” ("Bürgerverein Harvestehude und Rotherbaum”) established in 1898. In this association, extensively active in terms of local and state politics and after 1918 close to the German Democratic Party (Deutsche Demokratische Partei – DDP), Louis Friedenheim was involved in a variety of ways, for example, as an auditor and in 1908 as a delegate in the Central Committee of Hamburg Associations. Louis Friedenheim apparently had connections to Wiesbaden. The register of residents reveals that the family frequently moved in Hamburg, mostly within the Grindel quarter, though also departing Hamburg for extended periods. Following the death of his wife, Louis Friedenheim moved to Wiesbaden again, where he resided at least in the year 1914.

On 8 June 1900, Henry Friedenheim married Bertha Edelstein, who was born in Bückeburg on 4 Sept. 1872. In the marriage record, the occupation indicated for him is pawnbroker and his address as Lange Reihe 16. Daughter Blanca was born on 16 Aug. 1901, daughter Margot on 19 Dec. 1907. However, this domestic bliss was not to last for long, as Bertha Friedenheim gave notification to the authorities as early as 19 Feb. 1912 that she was moving to Hannover, perhaps back to her parents in Bückeburg. By decision of the Hamburg Regional Court (Landgericht), becoming effective on 29 Aug. 1913, the marriage of Henry Friedenheim and Bertha was divorced. Both became attached to new partners and both continued to live – at least by today’s standards – close to each other.

On 5 Aug. 1914, Bertha married John Meyer, a grain merchant. They resided at Schäferkampsallee 61 on the fourth floor. Apparently, the daughters moved with her as well, for this address is also listed in the marriage certificate of daughter Margot Friedenheim dated Aug. 1926. Could the addition in the certificate, "residing with the father,” perhaps point to an adoption by her mother’s new husband? At any rate, John Meyer passed away shortly after his stepdaughter’s wedding, since starting in 1927, the only person listed for Schäferkampsallee 61 on the fourth floor is Bertha Meyer as a widow. In 1932, though, the first wife of Henry Friedenheim can no longer be found there either. However, in exile in Belgium and France, the mother and her daughter Margot were together at least some of the time.

Henry Friedenheim also got married a second time, on 12 Jan. 1915, to Agnes Cohen, born on 5 Sept. 1872 in Hamburg. He stayed together with her until death parted them.
It is not known what type of employment Henry Friedenheim pursued at the beginning of his life. In any case, from Dec. 1896 onward, he operated together with a partner the G. Wortmann und Co Company, a pawnbroking business in the St. Georg quarter. From 1898 until 1900, the company was located at Spadenteich 8, and from 1901 at Hansaplatz 11. Starting in 1909, the enterprise was designated as a "pawnbroking and shipping company” in the phone directory, which points to an extension of business activities beyond mere pawnbroking.
However, in Apr. 1913, the liquidation of the enterprise was initiated, with Henry Friedenheim appointed as the liquidator; in July 1914, the company ceased to exist. To the extent that one can gather this from the directories, Henry Friedenheim had lived with his family near this company in St. Georg throughout (Hansaplatz, Beim Strohhause, Besenbinderhof). Afterward, though – probably already without his wife and daughter – he returned to his childhood area, for in 1912, he resided at Brahmsallee 6 in Harvestehude, in 1915 at Heinrich-Barth-Strasse 15, before settling in 1916 at Mansteinstrasse 6 in Hoheluft-West. Henry Friedenheim lived there at least until 1932.

After 17 years in the pawnbroking and shipping business and the end of his first marriage, Henry Friedenheim seems to have turned to an entirely different line of business. According to the documents that can still be found, he bought into a highly flourishing fish and game wholesale business steeped in tradition. The A. Dümeling Company, founded in 1876 – "fish, lobster, game, and poultry wholesale” was taken over by Amandus Behrens and him as a general partnership on 1 Mar. 1914. Until 1923, this enterprise had an office at Deichstrasse 35/39 and a storeroom in the cold storage in the St. Pauli quarter. In Mar. 1923, the partnership was dissolved and Amandus Behrens remained as the company’s sole owner. By 1924, it has disappeared from the directories as well. Was it possibly a casualty of the hyperinflation? For his part, in any case, Henry Friedenheim later indicated that he had lost his assets in the inflation. He then had to reorient himself again.

In Jan. 1924, he registered a business as a "merchant and agent of textile goods.” No records exist as to whether and to what extent he was successful in this endeavor; no traces on this score can be found. The records pertaining to Jewish religious taxes (Kultussteuern) paid to the Jewish Community suggest the opposite, however. Whereas in the years up to 1923, sums between 10 to 500 RM (reichsmark) are noted, Henry Friedenheim paid 2.15 RM one last time in 1925 and nothing more afterward.

By 1926 at the latest, the couple had to turn to the public welfare office because as a sales representative, Friedenheim barely earned any income at all and because he was ill on top of that. By this time, two rooms of the three-bedroom apartment on Mansteinstrasse were already sublet in order to be able to cover the rent. The files of the welfare department document the couple’s unstoppable social decline. The Friedenheims lived on support payments from a brother of the wife and from the husband’s two daughters, with an additional 8 RM a week coming from welfare services. In 1927, Friedenheim indicated that he earned between 12 and 20 RM a month. That year, support from the brother-in-law ended since he had passed away. The couple lived in a single room by then. For some time, Agnes Friedenheim tried to earn a bit of money hawking textiles, though earning barely anything in the process. Repeatedly, Henry Friedenheim was ill and in need of care; in any case, he suffered from diabetes and pulmonary emphysema; occasionally, he was also certified to have psychological problems.
From 1930 until 1935, both are listed as welfare recipients of the Israelite Community. In 1932, they could no longer hold on to the apartment on Mansteinstrasse. After staying in changing rooms on Wrangelstrasse and Bogenstrasse, the couple moved into a room at Bornstrasse 22 in June 1936. At this time, Bornstrasse 22 was not yet a "Jews’ house” ("Judenhaus”); it had been made available to welfare recipients by a wealthy Jewish sponsor. The evidence regarding payments from public welfare services ends in Dec. 1938.

On 15 July 1942, Henry Friedenheim and his wife Agnes were deported to Theresienstadt.

On 21 Sept. 1942, they were deported further on Transport Bp-1489 to Treblinka and murdered there.

The items remaining behind in Hamburg were a pewter plate and a silver napkin ring that Henry Friedenheim had to leave when being deported, items that were "confiscated to the benefit of the German Reich” and auctioned off.

The daughters of Henry Friedenheim and his first wife both managed to emigrate:
The older daughter, Blanca, had married Alfred Simon in Mar. 1921 and given birth to grandson Harald Simon in November. Alfred Simon and his brother Fritz owned the Max Simon jr. chemical plant on Mühlenkamp and it was regarded a foregone conclusion that Harald would also study chemistry and take over the company one day. Nothing changed about these plans when the marriage ended in divorce in Mar. 1930. Blanca and her son moved into a spacious apartment at Dorotheenstrasse 141, elegantly furnished. Due to the alimony payments, they had a secure standard of living. The increasing anti-Semitism after 1935 prompted grandson Harald to change schools several times, eventually attending the Talmud Tora School. After completing grade 9 there, the boy was enrolled in the Grone School, in order to learn "something substantial” instead of obtaining the high school graduation diploma (Abitur).

Friedenheim’s daughter Blanca and his grandson Harald managed, as late as Dec. 1939, to emigrate to Antwerp in Belgium. In Jan. 1940, they travelled onward aboard the "Westerdam” to the USA. There, daughter Blanca married again in Dec. 1941 (one Mr. Laponte) and grandson Harald for the first time in Apr. 1943 (Vera Kahn, a native of Hamburg as well). All of the family members lived in New York City, Harald got by after a fashion by working in a large number of jobs, as a representative, in the watchstrap exporting business, and as a cab driver. Whether they had children – and thus, Henry Friedenheim great grandchildren – is not known.

Harold (Americanized) and Vera Simon could be found until a short time ago in the phone directory as residing on 85th Street in Manhattan, though they can no longer be contacted and may have passed away.

In Aug. 1926, the younger daughter Margot married Martin Kurt Simon (there is no evidence of a family relationship to the first husband of her sister), a merchant. In Jan. 1927, grandson Gerhard was born. Margot’s husband was a salaried employee in what was apparently a flourishing ship provisioning company, which, owned by two childless uncles, he would have partially inherited upon their deaths. The family emigrated to Antwerp as early as 1937, at which time it was still possible to take along the entire and probably rather extensive household effects. Gerhard was put up in a boarding school near Antwerp.
In May 1940, the parents just having picked up Gerhard from the boarding school after the German air raids, all three of them were apprehended on the street by Belgian soldiers as Germans and interned. Another person interned was Margot‘s mother Bertha, Henry Friedenheim’s first wife, who was staying with the family. After a few days, Martin Kurt Simon was deported to St. Cyprien in southern France, while the other family members were released again. They fled to France as well, since word had spread that all Jews of Antwerp would be arrested. In France, Margot and her son and mother were interned in May 1940 and taken to the Gurs camp, though released from there in late July. They made their way to a small coastal town on the Mediterranean near Perpignan (Canet Plage), where in September Margot’s husband Martin Kurt Simon caught up with them again as well. He had been able to escape from the camp in St. Cyprien and now hid in Canet Plage.

The family’s situation worsened further abruptly when the German Wehrmacht occupied Vichy France. One day in June 1943, the local gendarme of Canet Plage warned the family that in the night ahead, the Gestapo would arrest and deport all of them. Consequently, Mr. and Mrs. Simon hid with their son Gerhard in a remote shack, while Margot’s mother was accommodated elsewhere. Later they learned that the Gestapo had indeed showed up at their apartment at 4 a.m. Until the end of 1943, they had to hold out in this hiding place in Canet Plage, before being able to obtain counterfeit papers for the parents via the Jewish Community. Using these papers, they were taken further to Chambery in the Departement Savoie and from there the couple, once again assisted by the Jewish Community, was placed to Pragondran, a mountain village, in the spring of 1944. Their son Gerhard, 16 years old at the time, for whom no papers could be procured, had already been living in hiding with farmers since Oct. 1943. Henceforth, Martin and Margot Simon eked out a meager and highly dangerous living doing hard physical labor in the mountains. The counterfeit papers were low quality and actually served only to protect the farmers giving them work, in case they had been checked. For food stamps, however, the Simons did not dare use the papers; they kept in hiding at all times whenever they did not work. Without the help and support of the mountain farmers, it would have been impossible to get through this time.
In the fall of 1944, the Germans were driven out of the Departement Savoie and the family was free at long last.

It was impossible to establish what became of Bertha, the first wife of Henry Friedenheim and mother of Margot – her traces disappear in Canet Plage. Perhaps she passed away during this time.

After the liberation of France, Henry Friedenheim’s son-in-law worked as an interpreter for the Allies for some time. The family’s hardship was still so great that relatives living in London had to send clothing because Martin Kurt Simon earned too little to buy more than food. In 1946, the family moved to London but failed to establish themselves economically. In June 1948, Margot travelled with her husband to the USA, with son Gerhard following them in Jan. 1950. From 1950 onward, Martin Kurt Simon once again worked as a salaried employee in the ship provisioning business. This family, too, eventually resided in New York, very close to the sister, on 66th Street in Manhattan. Margot and her husband passed away within several months of each other in 1983.

Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: April 2018
© Carola v. Paczensky

Quellen: StaH 332-3_A 157 (4500/73) Geburtenregister des Zivilstandesamtes Hamburg; StaH 614-2/4_1 Band 1; StaH 332-5_2938 Heirats-Hauptregister 1900 Band 2 Nr.478; StaH 332-5_13554 (1680/01) Geburtenregister Standesamt Hamburg 1, StaH 332-5_8698 Heirats-Hauptregister 1914 St.Amt 3 Nr.283; StaH 332-5_8705 Heirats-Hauptreg. 1915 StAmt 3 Nr. 6; StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gem. Nr. 992e 2 Band 4, Deportationsliste Transport nach Theresienstadt am 15.7.1942, Liste 1 Nr. 244 und 245; StaH 231-3_A 13 Bd 19 Gesellschaftsregister; StaH 231-7_A1 Band 59 Handelsregister S. 146 Nr. 14274; StaH 231-7_A5 Band 33 (Reponierungsregister) S. 284 Nr. 31809; StaH 231-7_A1 Band 75, Handelsregister A Nr.18438; Gewerbeanmeldeschein 6201 vom 26.1.1924, Gewerbekarteifilm StaH 741-4_K3893; StaH 351-14_1151 (Akten der Fürsorgeabteilung); StaH 214-1_275 Versteigerungsprotokoll des Gerichtsvollziehers; StaH 351-11_44920 Wiedergutmachungsakte Harold Simon; StaH 351-11_24868 Wiedergutmachungsakte Blanche Laponte; StaH 351-11_18572 Wiedergutmachungsakte Martin Kurt Simon; StaH 351-11_32796 Wiedergutmachungsakte Margot Simon; StaH 351-11_2161; StaH 314-15_FVg 8305;; (Adressbücher / Telefonbücher digitalisiert)

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