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Already layed Stumbling Stones

Sally Herzberg * 1889

Kattunbleiche 30 (Wandsbek, Wandsbek)

JG. 1889

further stumbling stones in Kattunbleiche 30:
Albert Herzberg

Albert Herzberg, born on 6 June 1887, deported on 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk
Sally Herzberg, born on 3 Oct. 1889, deported on 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk

Kattunbleiche 30 (Bleicherstrasse 6–10)

The brothers Albert and Sally Herzberg were born in Wandsbek as the sons of Semmy Herzberg (born in 1852) and Henriette, née Moses (born in 1852), a native of Hamburg. They spent a large part of their lives in Wandsbek, to be precise, in what was then Bleicherstrasse. Between 1892 and 1928, the Herzbergs frequently moved within their street, which suggests unstable economic circumstances. For instance, they lived in house no. 11, nos. 6–10, and again in no. 10. The family of the father came from Lower Saxony. A slaughterer/kosher butcher by trade, he came to Wandsbek where he established a (probably) kosher (poultry) butcher’s shop. The Herzberg couple had been married since 1884 and had an older daughter Johanna (born in 1885) in addition to the two sons.

The sons attended the school of the Wandsbek Jewish Community, the Israelite elementary school. After its closure – it no longer met the requirements for complying with compulsory eight-grade elementary school (Volksschule) education – the brothers changed to the public Wandsbek middle school [Mittelschule – a practice-oriented secondary school up to grade 10]. The financial situation of the family was probably not a favorable one, for in 1903, Semmy Herzberg received for his son Sally 28 RM (reichsmark) from the Homann’sche Stiftung, a charitable foundation for supporting needy schoolchildren. This allowance did not meet the approval of the other community members and of the Herzberg family, respectively, and it took a reprimand by the first mayor of Wandsbek of those involved in order for the family to accept the subsidy.

From 1915 onward, Albert and Sally Herzberg fought in the First World War. Albert Herzberg was discharged from the army due to deafness, and his brother contracted typhoid fever.

About the year 1920, the father, Semmy Herzberg, worked as a merchant according to the directory. He died in 1923. His daughter Johanna was found dead in 1931. Henriette Herzberg passed away in 1935. All three of them were buried in the cemetery on Jenfelder Strasse.

Albert Herzberg remained unmarried and probably also childless. He worked as a commercial clerk or travelling salesman, respectively. The membership card file of the Jewish Community refers to a soap trading company. Until 1928, he lived at Bleicherstrasse 10, and then moved in with his mother to Narzissenweg 13, and later, also with her, to II Schulstrasse 43. After the death of his mother in 1935, he lived at Hirschstrasse 8, a side street of Bleicherstrasse, and in 1938, he was registered with the authorities as residing at Langereihe 14, where he lived in one of the simple front buildings close to the pathway to the synagogue, houses that belonged to the Wandsbek Jewish Community. This was his last address in Wandsbek. He spent the greater part of 1939 as a patient of the Langenhorn State Hospital (Staatskrankenanstalt Langenhorn). It is not known whether he required psychiatric treatment there or was admitted as a homeless person without any relatives. After his discharge, he was given a legal guardian. This person, Hermann Frank, was probably a former member of the Wandsbek Jewish Community, who, placed by the welfare office of the Jewish Religious Organization (Jüdischer Religionsverband), was now charged with settling Herzberg’s affairs. Herzberg moved to the Hoheluft district, Abendrothsweg 19, to live with Hermann Semler, a textiles trader, who after giving up his business had moved there from Wandsbek as well (see corresponding entry on Semler). Apparently, Albert Herzberg remained unfit for gainful employment and no longer had any income at all. As a result, he did not have to pay any Jewish religious taxes (Kultussteuer) but was looked after by the former Jewish Community. His last residential address before the deportation from a so-called "Jews’ house” ("Judenhaus”) in the Grindel quarter was Heinrich-Barth-Strasse 8 with Wolff. From there he was deported to Minsk on 8 Nov. 1941, the same day as his brother Sally. The last entry on the Jewish religious tax file card about him notes, "Deleted in 1941.”

Sally Herzberg was also registered with the authorities as residing at Bleicherstrasse 10 until 1928. He practiced the occupation of a butcher’s journeyman, probably with the intention of continuing his father’s tradition. However, according to a subsequent entry in the directory, he did not operate a butcher’s shop but a poultry trading business. In the years up to the First World War, he was on the road by horse and cart as a traveling salesman in Northern Germany, also registered in a number of towns, from which he would always return to Wandsbek. During the war, he became the father of a son; the marriage to the non-Jewish mother of the child never materialized though (see entry on Freytag).

In 1921, he got married to Margarethe (Mary), née Lury (born in 1893). The couple registered with the authorities as living at Bleicherstrasse 10 with his parents. In the course of the 1920s, three children were born, one son and two daughters. Son Werner (born in 1922) recalled that his father operated a cart business with horses and otherwise often preferred the pub to the confined family quarters. Thus, during the week Werner Herzberg lived with his grandmother in Eimsbüttel in well-to-do circumstances, spending time in Wandsbek only on weekends. This changed in 1932 when he became a student of Matthias-Claudius-Gymnasium, a high school in Wandsbek.

However, when the Nazis assumed power in 1933, conditions there became unbearable for the Jewish student. Even though several teachers warned him that there might be reprisals against him and perhaps even bloodshed, asking him to stay away from classes, he held out until the end of the school year. He left school at the end of March despite good grades, changing to the Talmud Tora Realschule located in the Grindel quarter.

The situation of his father continued to be precarious. Due to the economic and banking crisis in 1929–1931, he suffered a nervous breakdown, which according to his son could be attributed to the fact that in 1931, the main client had run into serious difficulties. Sally Herzberg had carried out transports to the port by horse and cart or truck for the company that produced metal bed frames for hospitals and exported them to Africa and South America. The company in question was probably the Fischer & Eckmann bed frame company with headquarters at Bleicherstrasse 6–13. Co-owner Max Eckmann belonged to the Wandsbek Jewish Community. During Herzberg’s illness, the court bailiff showed up at the family home because it had been impossible to pay the rent.

The Herzberg family was not particularly religious, and Mary Herzberg did not run a kosher household, but the three children attended classes of Rabbi Bamberger at the religious school of the Wandsbek Jewish Community.

In 1933, the family moved to Alsenstrasse 18 in Hamburg, later to Grindelallee 35, joining the Neue Dammtor Synagoge, a moderate Orthodox religious association.
Sally Herzberg worked as a butcher, occasionally in the slaughterhouse at Sternschanze, and he served as a helper in the Israelite Hospital. However, his state of health did not allow him to pursue permanent employment. He spent some time in the Neustadt sanatorium and nursing home (Heil- und Pflegeanstalt Neustadt) in Holstein, where in 1935 he attracted the attention of the Hereditary Health Court (Erbgesundheitsgericht) based on the "Law for the Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases” ("Gesetz zur Verhütung erbkranken Nachwuchses”) and was reported for compulsory sterilization. The files do not give any information as to whether the procedure was carried out. After the death of his wife – she died of breast cancer in 1936 – the family fell apart even further, especially since there was no longer a breadwinner capable of earning a living. Thus, the children found accommodation in orphanages of the Hamburg German-Israelitic Community: Werner in the orphanage on Papendamm, Clärchen (born in 1927) and Ilse (born in 1928) in the Paulinenstift on Laufgraben. Sally Herzberg apparently rented the vacated rooms of the family home to non-Jewish tenants as well. However, a female neighbor accused him of having sexual relations with a female subtenant. As a Jew, he would have been threatened with prison or penitentiary, but a medical examination of the woman found that there was no evidence to support the charge of "racial defilement” ("Rassenschande”) against Sally Herzberg.

After this incident, he gave notice that he was vacating the apartment, though in this way he also lost the means of earning any income. He now became a subtenant himself, at Rappstrasse 6 with Goldschmidt.

As did his brother Albert, by then Sally Herzberg also required financial support from the Jewish Community. For the year 1939, one can read the following entry about him in the file card of the Jewish Community: "unemployed, casual work, weekly wages 13 RM/Winter Relief Fund.” He moved one last time, living as a subtenant at Heinrich-Barth-Strasse 17 with Nathan.

The brothers Herzberg, aged 52 and 54, were deported together on 8 Nov. 1941 in the course of the second deportation from Hamburg to Minsk, where they arrived with 966 other residents of Hamburg on 10 November. It is not known whether they perished together as well. It is unlikely that they were able to withstand the harsh living conditions in Minsk for long. Nevertheless, the deportees from Hamburg viewed themselves as an independent group, who also provided – as well as possible – protection and care for those without any relatives. However, the only persons managing to survive were those who remained fit for work and were lucky enough to evade the numerous firing and gas van squads or the massacre in May 1943. Sally Herzberg was declared dead retroactively as of 9 May 1945.

By contrast, his three children managed to reach safety: After the Pogrom of Nov. 1938, their aunt Hedwig Lury had decided to emigrate. On 14 Dec. 1938, she departed Germany with her nephew Werner Herzberg for the Netherlands. Afterward, the adolescent made his way to Britain. Nathan Max Nathan from the Hamburg Jewish Community had provided him with money and vouchers for the passage. At the end of 1938, Werner Herzberg’s sisters, too, reached Britain on a "children transport” (Kindertransport).

In 1954, the three siblings, none of whom resided in Germany permanently any longer, filed claims for restitution. By then, Ilse was a teacher, Werner a university student, and Clärchen a private secretary. In 1947, Werner Herzberg had managed a Jewish orphanage in London together with his wife, then studied psychology, and taught as a lecturer at the University of Reading. By then, he had changed his name to Vernon Hamilton.

In 1962, three days after the Hamburg flood disaster, he had his lawyers communicate that he wished to offer 10 percent of his restitution claim to a working-class couple that had lost household effects because of the flood. They were required to meet the following criteria: be over 60 years of age, live a solid lifestyle, and not have participated in the persecution of the former Jewish population in Hamburg. In this way, he set a sign of reconciliation and attachment to his hometown, from where at least three of his family members had been sent to their deaths: in addition to his father and uncle, his beloved grandmother Bernhardine Lury, née Lilienfeld. She died on 23 Aug. 1942, only a few weeks after being deported to the Theresienstadt Ghetto.

Translator: Erwin Fink

Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: October 2016
© Astrid Louven

Quellen: 1; 4; StaHH 352-8/7 Staatskrankenanstalt Langenhorn 158; StaHH Meldekartei, Auskunft von Jürgen Sielemann 2003; StaHH Beratungsdienst, Auskunft von Barbara Koschlig vom 27.7.2007; AfW 031089; FZH/WdE 071; AB Wandsbek 1887, AB 1892 IV, AB 1897 IV, AB 1911 IV, AB 1913 IV, AB 1920 IV; Naphtali Bamberger, Memorbuch, Bd. 2, S. 96; Astrid Louven, Juden, S. 72f, 134, 201, 205, 228; Beate Meyer (Hrsg.), Verfolgung, S. 51, 174, S. 62–64, 174f.; Peter von Rönn, Entwicklung, in: ders. u.a., Wege, S. 27–61, hier: S. 35–49; Heinz Rosenberg, Jahre, S. 18–36.

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