86 Biographies

 

Here you find out who the 86 Jewish women and men were, who were murdered in the gas chamber of the concentration camp Natzweiler-Struthof in August 1943. They came from Norway, Poland, Greece, Germany, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. They had often already been fleeing the Nazi pursecutors for some time, before they were deported to Auschwitz and, from there, brought to the concentration camp located in Alsace. In the cases of some of these 86 persons, I was unable to find out much at all about their lives. But I am continuing my research. Therefore, I greatly appreciate any further information about any of these persons. If you have information that can help the process in any way, I ask you to share under contact.

 

The spelling used here for the names does not always correspond to the official documents.  Often the names in the registry of Auschwitz werr only written according to their perceived sound.  Deviations in the spelling of the names also comes from transferring Greek letters into the Latin alphabet.  The script that appears on the grave stones of the Jewish cemetery in Strasbourg-Cronenbourg was compared against that used by the Jewish congregation in Thessalonica, Greece. In those cases where a deviation was identified in the government documents and the cemetery, the spelling that appeared on the grave stone was added in square brackets.

 

Dr. Iman Makeba Nick has translated the 86 biographies into English. The US-American is a linguist and Holocaust researcher living in Germany.

 

  • A

    David Akouni · Bella Alaluf · Israel Albert · Elvira Amar · Emma Amar · Palomba Arnades · Aron Aron · Nety Aruch · Martin Ascher · Esra Asser · Allegra Attas

    • David Akouni

      In 1895, David Akouni, the son of Issac and Ester Akouni, was born in Thessalonica, Greece. At that time, the multiethnic harbor city was still a part of the Ottoman Empire and had ca. 115,000 inhabitants. The largest sub-group was made up of Jews, who made up approximately47 percent of the total population. Thessalonica, also called “the Jerusalem of the Orient”, was one of the most important Jewish centers of the world. Indeed, at the turn of the century, the Jewish community constituted some 80,000 people in the flourishing city.

       

      David Akouni witnessed his city undergo a period of great political turbulence. The wars between first the Ottoman Empire and the Baltic nations of Montenegro, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Greece (1912), and then a year later between the Baltic nations themselves had left their mark on the city. After becoming a Greek city on the 26th of October 1912, Thessalonica underwent groundbreaking changes in the wake of the subsequent national and international conflicts. After the catastrophic fire of August 1917, the appearance of the city also underwent dramatic change after the Greek government introduced measures to rebuild the metropole using a Hellenic model.

       

      Saloniki.Ufer.1919

      A post card with the caption: War 1914,1915,1916… in the Orient/ Salonica: The Quay

       

      As a consequence of a so-called “population exchange” which involved the compulsory resettlement of some 500,000 Muslims from northern Greece into Turkey and 1.2 million Greek Orthodox residents of Asia Minor to northern Greece, the previous demographic and social composition of the city changed radically. The Jews of Thessalanica suddenly became a minority.

       

      Presumably at the start or middle of the 1920’s, David Akouni married Dudun Azi. The two later had four children: Issac (born in 1926); a set of twins, Martha and Nathan (1933); and Dolsa. The family lived in a district of the Thessalnica called “Synikismos 151”. It was here that David ran a tavern. At 5feet 7 inches tall, Akouni was a strong, stocky man. He had dark brown hair that was slightly grey about the temples and thick, bushy, eyebrows.

       

      In April of 1941, the German troops occupied Greece. At the start of 1943, employees of Adolf Eichmann convened in Thessalonica and began making preparations for the deportation of the local Jewish residents who had been forced to relocate to a central ghetto. The “Baron-Hirsch Ghetto” was located near the railway station and served as a transit camp for the transports designated to leave the city on March 16, 1943 and travel to their final destination: Auschwitz.

       

      The train in which David Akouni and his family were transported left Thessalonica on the 28th of April 1942 with a total of 2,930 Jewish men, women, and children. On the 4th of May 1943, 220 men and 318 women were registered as arriving in the camp. Among them was David Akouni. The rest of 2,392 people who were originally in his transport were immediately sent to the gas chamber where they were murdered. Among the victims were Akouni’s wife and four children. Under the command of the camp SS, the new arrival David Akouni had the number 119801 tattooed on his left forearm.

       

      David Akouni was selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker. He was then subjected to an anthropological examination like several of his comrades from the Thessalonica transport: Israel Albert, Aron Aron, Esra Asser, Aron Esformes, Aron Eskaloni, Maurice Francese, Charles Hassan, Albert Isaak, Sabetaij Kapon, Lasas Menache, Dario Nathan, Israel Rafael, Samuel Rafael, Albert Saltiel, Maurice Saltiel, Maurice Saporta and Mordochai Saul. During this time, all of the men were held in the camp infirmary of Auschwitz I, the so-called main camp.

       

      As one of the 86 selected men and women, on July 30, 1943, David Akouni was placed on a train for further transport. On August 2, 1943, the group arrived in the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp. Once there, the 48-year-old was murdered in the camp gas chamber on 16th of August 1943.

       

      Three siblings of David survived the Holocaust: his two brothers, Samuel and Solomon; and their sister, Dora.

       

      The details about David Akouni’s appearance are taken from the autopsy report of the French pathologists. Biographical information is based on data provided by the Archives of the Jewish Community of Thessalonica. Special thanks go to the archivist, Aliki Arouh.

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    • Bella Allaluf

      Bella Alaluf was born in Thessalonica in 1923: a year in which the northern Greek habor city experienced ground-breaking changes. As a consequence of the so-called “population exchange” between Greece and Turkey, a large number of Greek refugees from Asia Minor were forcibly re-settled in northern Greece. Many of these forced immigrants landed in Thessalonica. The Jewish community, which at that time numbered some 60,000 people, consequently lost much of its numerical and social prominence in the city.

       

      Thess.hist.1

      Thessaloniki

       

      The parents of Bella Alaluf were Avaraam (1876 – 1941) und Djamila Sason (1898 – 1943). A family of six, the Alalufs lived in the Baron-Hirsch district of Thessalonica. On March 15, 1943, Bella was placed on the very first Jewish transport to Auschwitz, presumably together with her widowed mother and three sisters. They were among the 2,800 Jewish men, women, and children who were deported from the city of Thessalonica. Upon their arrival in Auschwitz, the Alalufs were separated on the arrival ramp. Bella’s mother, her 11-year-old brother Pepo, and her 7-year-old sister Riketa were immediately sent by the SS to the gas chamber where they were murdered with 2,189 others.

       

      Both of the Alaluf daughters—Vidak Hayim (born in 1924) and Bella— as well as 190 other Greek women and 417 Greek men were admitted to the camp. Of the two Alaluf siblings, only Vidal Hayim survived the Holocaust. After her liberation and temporary stay in a camp for “displaced persons” in Landsberg, she immigrated to Israel.

       

      Bella Alaluf, Flora Biwas, Dora Cohen, Juli Cohen, Ester Eskenasy, Bienvenida Pitchon, and Sara Vahena had all been placed in the same deportation train from Thessalnoica. Upon their arrival in Auschwitz the women were all sent to Block 10 in the main camp. Here Bella was assigned the number 38790 which was tattooed on her left forearm. Whether or not she became a victim of the inhuman medical experiments conducted with the women of Block 10 is not known. However, in the second week of July 1943, both of the SS anthropologists, Bruno Beger and Hans Fleichhacker, selected the single 20-year-old woman with other Jewish men and women for anthropological measurements

       

      As one of the 86 selected men and women, Bella Alaluf was transported on the 30th of July 1943 from Auschwitz to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp. The group arrived on August 2, 1943. Once there, the 20-year-old was murdered on either the 11th or 13th of of August 1943 in the camp gas chamber.

       

      Flora Biwas (born on May 2, 1925), Dora Cohen, Bienvenida Pitchon (born on July 1, 1917) and Sara Vahena (nee. Weinstein) (born in 1917) survived the Holocaust. I am indebted to the Archive of the Jewish community of Thessalonica for the biographical information about Bella Alaluf. Special thanks go to archivist Aliki Arouh for her assistance in this research.

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    • Israel Albert

      Israel Albert was presumably born in Thessalonica, Greece. His exact date of birth is, however, unknown.  Soon after the Gestapo placed him under arrest and sent him to the Baron-Hirsch Ghetto, he was placed on a deportation train to Auschwitz on April 28, 1943.

       

      On the 4th of May 1943, he arrived with a transport of 2,930 Jewish men, women, and children in the extermination camp.  On the arrival ramp of the camp railway station, 220 men and 318 women were sent to the camp as prisoners.  Among them was Israel Albert.  The SS assigned him the number 119868 which was tattooed on his left forearm.  The rest of the 2,392 people in his transport were immediately driven off to the gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      On July 30, 1943, after his selection by two anthropologists, Israel Albert was transported along with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp.  There, he was murdered in the camp gas chamber, along with his 85 other comrades, on either the 16th or the 18th of August 1943.

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    • Elvira Amar

      The city of Thessalonica had been an official part of Greece for a little over two years when Elvira Amar was born there in 1915. Her exact date of birth is not known and very few documents exist that provide information about her relatives, marital status, or position in society.

       

      What is known is that in April 1941, the German troops occupied Greece. Early in 1943, Eichmann’s staff meet in Thessalonica and began to make preparations for the deportation of the local Jewish population. The members of Thessalonica’s Jewish community were initially forced into one of the ghettos. Located in close proximity to the railway station, the “Baron-Hirsch Ghetto” served as a transit camp for the transports to Auschwitz that began on March 15, 1943.

       

      After her internment in the Baron-Hirsch Ghetto by the Gestapo, Elvira Amar was deported to Auschwitz on April 12, 1943. Five days later, she arrived in the extermination camp as one of the 3,000 Jewish men, women, and children who had been placed in the 9th train transport from Thessalonica. On the arrival ramp of the camp railway station, the SS physicians selected 2, 271 adults and children to be sent to the gas chambers. The remaining 467 men and 262 women were sent to the camp. From these women, SS camp physician Eduard Wirths, selected 99 women whom he sent to Block 10, where human experiments were being conducted. Along with Elvira Amar, other Greek women who came from this transport were Hanna Ajasch, Oro Amar, Sylvia Amar, Palomba Arnades, Nety Aruch, Allegre Beracha, Nina Knesits, and Aliza Sarfati.

       

      The camp administration issued the 28-year-old Elvira the number 41547 which was then tattooed on her left forearm. It is not possible to determine today whether or not she was in some way subjected to the inhuman medical experiments conducted in Block 10. However, according to the documents that have been recovered, in the second week of June 1943, she was one of people finally selected by the two SS anthropologists, Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker, for anthropological examinations. Also selected from Elvira’s transport were Palomba Arnades, Nety Aruch, and Allegre Beracha as well as 82 other Jewish men and women.

       

      As one of the 86 selected men and women, on July 30, 1943, Elvira Amar was placed on a transport from Auschwitz to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration. After their arrival on August 2, 1943, the 28-year-old Elvira was murdered in a gas chamber on either the 11th or 13th of August 1943.

       

      Hanna Ajasch (nee Alchades) (born on April 23, 1922), Sylvia Amar, Nina Knesits (born on April 2, 1923) and Aliza Sarfati all survived the Shoah.

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    • Emma Amar

      Emma Amar was born on June 4, 1925 in Thessalonica.  Her parents were the restaurant owner Isaak Amar (1880-1943) and his wife, Buena nee Pardo (1900-1943).  Emma, the youngest of the family, had three older sisters: Evangelia (born in 1915), Margo (1919), and Rita (1922).

       

      Of these sisters, the only one to survive was Evangelia Amar, who had married a Greek-orthodox salesman with the surname “Taptopoulou”.  Evangelia avoided capture by hiding during the deportations.  All of her other immediate family members were, however, deported to Auschwitz.  Among them was Emma.  On the 28th of April 1943, after suffering six grueling days in cattle wagons, the group of 3,070 Jewish men, women, and children arrived in the death camp.  Theirs was the 13th deportation from Thessalonica.   Of that group, the SS selected 2,529 people to be immediately murdered in the gas chamber.  Among those immediately sent to their deaths were Isaak and Bueno Amar.  It is not known today whether their daughters, Margo and Rita, were also murdered at this point or whether they died some time later.

       

      According to the documentation, however, their sister, Emma Amar, was sent with 180 men and 361 women to the main camp (Auschwitz I). At this point in time, this camp was exclusively made up of men, with the exception of Block 10.  Together with Sarina Nissim, who had also arrived in the same transport, Emma was sent to this block.  It was here that the camp administration issued her the number 43167 which was then tattooed on her left forearm. It is not known today whether or not Emma was made to participate in the inhuman experiments that were being conducted on the female prisoners of Block 10.  According to the records, however, in the second week of June 1943, Emma—along with 85 other Jewish men and women— was selected by the two SS anthropologists, Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker, for anthropological examinations.

       

      On July 30, 1943, the 86 men and women were deported to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp.  They arrived on August 2, 1943.  A little over a week later, on either the 11th or the13th of August 943, the then 18-year-old Emma was murdered in the camp gas chamber.

    • Palomba Arnades

      Palomba Arnades was born in Thessalonica in 1923.  Soon after she was forced to relocate to the Baron-Hirsch Ghetto by the Gestapo, she was deported to Auschwitz.  On the 17th of April 1943, she arrived in the death camp with a transport of some 3,000 other Jewish men, women, and children.

       

      On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz railway station, 467 men and 262 women were sent to work as prisoners in the camp.  Among those selected was Palomba Arnades.  The SS ordered that she be assigned the number 41545 which was then tattooed on her left forearm.  It is presumed that the rest of the 2,271 people were sent off to the camp gas chamber where they were murdered. 

       

      On July 30, 1943, after she was selected by the anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacler, Palomba was deported along with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp.  Once there, the 20-year-old was murdered in a gas chamber on either the 11th or the 13th of August 1943.

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    • Aron Aron

      While it is generally presumed that Aron Aron was born in Thessalonica, Greece, his exact date of birth is unknown. After being forced by the Gestapo to relocate to the Baron-Hirsch Ghetto in Thessalonica, he was then placed in the 14th transport from Thessalonica to Auschwitz.

       

      On May 4, 1943, Aron arrived in the death camp with 2,930 other Jewish men, women, and children.  At the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz railway station, 220 men and 318 women were sent to the camp to serve as prisoners. Within this group was Aron Aron. The SS assigned him the number 119803 which was tattooed on his left forearm.  The remaining 2,393 others people from the transport were driven off to the camp gas chamber where they were immediately murdered.

       

      After having been selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June of 1943, Aron Aron was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp on July 30, 1943.  Aron was murdered in the gas chamber on August 16, 1943.  According to the autopsy report written by a French pathologist, at the time of his death, Aron Aron was between 50 and 55 years old. 

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    • Nety Aruch

      Nety Aruch was born in Thessalonica, Greece in 1919.  After she was forced by the Gestapo to move to the Baron-Hirsch Ghetto in Thessalonica, she was deported to Auschwitz.  On April 17, 1943, she arrived in the extermination camp with a transport of 3,000 Jewish men, women, and children.

       

      On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 467 men and 262 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners.  Among them was Nety Aruch, who was issued the number 41547 which was then tattooed on her left forearm.  The remaining 2,271 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      After being selected by SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June of 1943, the 24-year-old was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp and murdered on either the 11th or the 13th of August 1943.

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    • Martin Ascher

      Martin Ascher was born on May 4, 1910 in Berlin.  On June 16, 1906, he married Ernestine Bendit.  The couple lived in the section of the city known as “Berlin-Mitte” on “Blumenstraße 17”.

       

      Martin was a mechanic by trade.  His brother, Willy, survived the Shoah. On the 1st of March 1943, five days before his wife, Martin Ascher was placed on the 31st train transport leaving Berlin and going East—to Auschwitz.  On the 2nd of March 1943, the transport arrived carrying 1,500 Jewish men, women, and children.  On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 150 men were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners.  Of those chosen was Martin Ascher, whom the Gestapo issued the number 104744 which was then tattooed on his left forearm.  The remaining 1, 350 people were driven to the gas chamber where they were immediately murdered. 

       

      On March 28, 1943, Martin Ascher was sent to Block 21, the prisoners’ infirmary of the main camp.  It was there that he was subjected to an operation for an abscess.  Afterwards, in June of 1943, he was selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker.  On the 30th of July 1943, the 33-year-old was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp.  On either the 16th or the 18th of August, Martin Ascher was murdered in the camp gas chamber.

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    • Esra Asser

      Although it is presumed that Esra Asser’s place of birth was Thessalonica, Greece, his exact date of birth is unknown.  After being forced by the Gestapo to relocate to the Baron-Hirsch Ghetto in Thessalonica, Esra Asser was deported to Auschwitz.  On May 4, 1943, Esra arrived with a transport of 2, 930 Jewish men, women, and children in the extermination camp.

       

      On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 220 men and 318 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners.  Of those chosen was Esra Ascher, whom the SS issued the number 119804 which was then tattooed on his left forearm.  The remaining 2,392 people were driven to the gas chamber where they were immediately murdered. 

       

      After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on the 30th of July 1943, Esra Asser was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp.  He was murdered in the camp gas chamber on either the 16th or the  18th of August.

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    • Allegra Attas

      Allegra Attas was born in 1923 in Thessalonica, Greece.  Shortly after being forced by the Gestapo to relocate to the Baron Hirsch Ghetto in Thessalonica, she was deported to Auschwitz. She arrived in the camp on the 24th of March 1943 in a transport made up of some 2,800  Jewish men, women, and children.

       

      Immediately upon their arrival, 584 men and 230 women from the transport were chosen to serve as slave laborers in the camp.  Among them was Allegra Attas whom the SS issued the number 38976 which was then tattooed on her left forearm.  The rest of the some 1,986 people in that transport were immediately driven to the camp gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, the 20-year-old was sent to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp with 85 other Jewish men and women.  It was there, on either 11th or the 13th of August 1943, that she was murdered in the camp gas chamber. 

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  • B

    Ernestine Baruch · Joachim Basch · Joachim Behrendt · Günther Benjamin · Allegre Beracha · K. Bezsmiertny · Samuel Bluosilio · Harri Bober · Sara Bomberg · Sophie Boroschek · Nisin Buchar

    • Ernestine Baruch

      Ernestine Baruch was born in 1918 in Thessalonica, Greece. Shortly after the Gestapo forced her to move to the Baron Hirsch Ghetto in Thessalonica, she was deported to Auschwitz. On April 13, 1943, she arrived in the camp with some 2,800 other Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp at the Auschwitz train station, 500 men and 364 women were sent to the camp to serve as slave laborers. Among them was Ernestine Baruch. The SS then ordered that the number 40949 be tattooed on her left forearm. The remaining 1,936 people who were in Ernestine’s transport were immediately driven to the camp gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      In June 1943, in Block 10 of Auschwitz I (the main camp), Ernestine was selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker. The 25-year-old was then transported on June 30, 1943 to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp with 85 other Jewish men and women.  It was there that she was murdered in the camp gas chamber on either the 11th or the 13th of August 1943. 

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    • Joachim Basch

      Joachim Basch was born in 1922 near the Baltic Sea.  At that time, Joachim’s birth city was called  “Swinemünde”.  Today, the municipality is a part of Poland and is called “Świnoujście”.  Joachim’s father, Bruno Basch was also born in Swinemünde, on the 5th of October 1889.  Bruno manage to survive the Holocaust and relocated to the district of Wedding in Berlin after being liberated.   Joachim’s mother, Alice Basch (nee Basch), was born in Berlin on the 20th of October 1893.  On the 17th of March 1943, she was deported to Theresienstadt, where she died in August 1944.

       

      The Basch family business in Swinemünde was a clothing and shoe shop that Joachim’s grandfather, Siegfried Basch, had founded in the 19th century.  The store was eventually passed on to Joachim’s father, Bruno, who carried on the family business until 1933.  Except for a short period of time when the store was located on the “Hinderburgstraße”, for the most of its existence, the Basch family business was located at “Am Markt 14”.  Joachim Basch lived together with his parents in the Berlin district of “Prenzlauer Berg” before the family eventually relocated to the “Fehrbellinerstraße 8”.  Joachim was made to work as a forced laborer at the Deuta-Werken which was located on “Oranienstraße 25”. For his labor he was paid a weekly salary of 28 Reichsmark.

       

      Joachim Basch’s sister, Ilse, was born on April 12, 1921 in Swinemünde.  On the 3rd of March 1943, she was forced to join the 33rd Transport leaving Berlin and travelling the “East”.  On the 12th of March 1943, Joachim was placed on the 36th Transport, along with 344 other Jewish men as well as 620 Jewish women and children.  Once the Transport reached the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 218 men and 147 women were sent to the camp to work as prisoners.  Joachim was in this group.  The camp SS issued him the number 107790  which was then tattooed into his left forearm.  The 599 people who were not selected to work as slave laborers were immediately driven to the gas chambers where they were murdered.

       

      Joachim Basch was made to labor in a “youth work assignment” for the “Buna factory” near Auschwitz III. On the 25th of March 1943, he was ordered to leave this detail and was selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June of 1943.  On the 30th of July 1943, the 20-year-old was sent along with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp.  It was there that he was murdered in the camp gas chamber on either the 16th  or the 18th of August 1943. 

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    • Joachim Behrendt

      Joachim Behrendt was born on December 9, 1922 in what was then the German town of “Bischofwerder” and is now the Polish town of “Biskupiec”.  His father, Walter Behrendt, was born on August 22, 1886 in the West Prussian city of Marienburg.  His mother, Erna (nee Seligmann), was born on November 11, 1895 in Bischofswerder.  Alongside Joachim, his parents had a second son, Joachim’s older brother Max, who was born on July 31, 1920.  Max managed to survive the Shoah in Sweden.

       

      By contrast, on March 3, 1943, Joachim Behrendt and his parents, were made to join one of the deadly transports leaving Berlin and travelling East.  On this transport were 632 Jewish men as well as 1,118 Jewish women and girls.  On March 4, 1943, the transport reached its final destination: Auschwitz.  On the arrival ramp of the death camp train station, 517 men and 200 women were sent to work as prisoners in the camp.  Among them was Joachim, whom the camp SS issued the number 105598 that was tattooed upon his left forearm.  The rest of the 1,033 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered. Joachim was made to work in the “Buna factory” near Auschwitz III.

       

      B On April 24, 1943, he was transferred from the factory to the main camp because of an abscess on his right hand.  Then on April 27, 1943, his abscess was operated upon in Block 21, the camp infirmary.  He was subsequently selected by SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June of 1943.  On the 30th of July 1943, the 20-year-old was sent along with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp.  It was there that he was murdered in the camp gas chamber on either the 16th or the 18h of August 1943. 

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    • Günther Benjamin

      Günther Benjamin was born on December 20, 1919 in Berlin.  He was the son of Fritz Benjamin. Born on June 11, 1891, Fritz was transported on March 1, 1943 to Auschwitz where he was murdered.  Benjamin’s mother, Gertrud Benjamin (nee Finn), was born on January 23, 1894 in Berlin.  On March 1, 1943, she too was deported to Auschwitz where she was also murdered.  Günther Benjamin’s wife, Margot, was born on September 29, 1920 in Berlin.

       

      Günther was initially made to work as a mechanical engineer in the Stiller Company for a weekly salary of 35 Reichsmark.  At this time, he lived with his wife and mother-in-law on “Winnsstraße 18” in the Berlin district of Prenzlauer Berg.  They later relocated to “Katzbacjstraße 26” in the Berlin district of Kreuzberg.  On the 2nd of March 1943, they were forced to join a transport of some 1,500 Jewish men, women, and children.  Once they reached their destination, 535 men and 145 women were selected from the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station and sent off to the camp to serve as prisoners.  Among them was Günther Benjamin.  The SS assigned him the number 105257 that was then tattooed upon his left forearm.  The rest of the transport, some 820 people, was immediately sent to their deaths in the camp gas chamber.

       

      After being selected by SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June of 1943, the 23-year-old was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp.  The date was 30th of July 1943.   Then, on either the 16th or the 18h of August 1943, Günther Benajmin was murdered in the camp gas chamber. 

    • Benjamin_Guenther
      Günther Benjamin
    • Allegra Beracha

      Born 1922 in Thessaloniki (Greece) as a daughter of Yakov Beracha and his wife Vida nee Koen. Allegra Beracha had four brothers: Lieto (*1914 or 1915), Pepo (*1917), Mois (*1919) and Mordo (*1927). Her mother died early, at least before 1943. In February 1943 the Germans called upon all the members of the Jewish community to register in order to receive a new identity card and a yellow star. A few days later they demanded that the Jews fill in a detailed declaration of all their family members and prperty as well.

       

      Allegra and her family wore the yellow stars with the numbers 11.696 to 11.698 and 12.338 to 12.340. She lived in nr 12 of Synikismos (Area) 6, with her father and her siblings. The family was deported on April 10, 1943 (9th transport) together with about 3000 jewish men, women and children and arrived in Auschwitz on April 17, 1943. On the ramp Eduard Wirths - Chief SS doctor (SS-Standortarzt) at the Auschwitz concentration camp - selected 99 women who have been brought to Block 10 in the main camp, a station for human experiments. Among the Greek women who were admitted to Block 10 were, in addition to Allegra Beracha, also Hanna Ajasch, Elvira Amar, Oro Amar, Sylvia Amar, Palomba Arnades, Nety Aruch, Nina Knesits and Aliza Sarfati

       

      The camp administration tattooed the number 41377 onto the left underarm of the unmarried 21-year-old. Whether she was, in some way, delivered to the test operation, is impossible to know for sure. In the second week of June, 1943, she was selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker to be sent, along with Elvira Amar, Palomba Arnades and Nety Aruch from her shipment, along with other Jewish women and men to be subjected to anthropological studies. [see: Anthropologists in Auschwitz]

       

      In addition to Allegra also her father, who was a widower, and her four brothers had been deported to Auschwitz. Only Lieto survived. After his liberation he immigrated to Israel.

       

      As one of 86 women and men, Allegra Beracha was sent by train transport on July 30th, 1943 to the concentration camp Natzweiler-Struthof, where they arrived on August 2nd. There she was murdered on August 11 or 13, 1943 in the gas chamber. Her body lay conserved for two years in the anatomical institute of the german Reichsuniversität Straßburg, though the planned collection of Jewish skeletons was never made a reality. Some time after the liberation of Strasbourg, her body was laid to rest in a mass grave in the Jewish cemetary of Strasbourg-Cronenbourg.

       

      The researches in Thessaloniki have been supported by Aliki Arouh, Archive of the Jewish community.

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    • Kalman Bezsmiertny

      As of now, his exact date and place of birth in Poland have not been determined. However, research has uncovered that Kalman Bezsmiertny’s last known location, before his deportation to Auschwitz, was a ghetto in Białystok, Poland.  On February 7, 1943, Kalman arrived in Auschwitz along with 1,950 other Jewish men, women, and children.  On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 123 men were sent to the camp to work as prisoners.  Of those chosen was Kalman Bezsmiertny, whom the SS issued the number 100614 which was then tattooed on his left forearm.  The remaining 1,827 people from Kalman’s transport were driven to the gas chamber where they were immediately murdered.  Kalman was then selected once again for deportation by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker.  On August 2, 1943, he arrived in the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp along with 85 other Jewish men and women.  It was there that he was murdered on either the 16th or the 18th of August 1943 in the camp gas chamber.

    •  
    • Samuel Benosilio (Samuel Bluosilio)

      In the camp records of Auschwitz, he is registered as Samuel Bluosilio.  His birth name was, however, “Samuel Benosilio”.  Samuel was born on February 12, 1902 in Thessalonica, Greece, as the son of ….After being forced by the Gestapo to relocate to the Baron-Hirsch Ghetto in Thessalonica, he was deported to Auschwitz.  On April 22, 1943, he arrived with a transport of 2,800 Jewish men, women, and children in the extermination camp. On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 255 men and 413 women were sent to the camp as prisoners.  Of those chosen was Samuel Benosilio, whom the SS issued the number 117246 which was then tattooed on her left forearm.  The remaining 2,132 people were driven to the gas chamber where they were immediately murdered.  After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June of 1943, on the 30th  of July 1943, the 41-year-old was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp and then murdered on either the 16th or 18th  of August 1943 in the camp gas chamber.

       

      I am indebted to the Central Registry Office of Thessalonica for the additional details about Samuel Benosilio.

    •  
    • Harri Samuel Bober

      Harri Samuel Bober was born on June 29, 1922 in Thessalonica, Greece.  His father, Alfred Bober, was born on February 28, 18891 in Glogau.  His mother, Klara Bober (nee Bober), was born on January 9, 1888 in Ostrow in Poznan.  In 1939, the Bober Family resided in Berlin, in the district of “Prenzlauer Berg” on the “Choriner Straße 80”.  On the 12th of March, Harri, along with both of his parents, was placed on the 36th Transport to leave Berlin for Auschwitz.  On the 13th of March 1943, the transport arrived in the extermination camp with 344 Jewish men as well as 620 Jewish women and children.  On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 218 men and 147 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners.  Of those selected was Harri Samuel Bober, whom the Gestapo issued the number 107881 which was then tattooed on her left forearm.  The remaining 599 people were driven to the gas chamber where they were immediately murdered.  On the 14th of April 1943, Harri was transferred from the sickward of the Buna factory near Auschwitz III to the main camp for generalized exhaustion.  Shortly thereafter, in June 1943, he was selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker and on the 30th of July 1943, the 21-year-old was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp and then murdered in the camp gas chamber on either the 16th or 18th  of August 1943.

    •  
    • Sara Bomberg geb. Birentzvaig

      Sara Bomberg (nee Birentzvaig) was born on July 16, 1904 in Warsaw.  She married Moishe Bomberg, also a Warsaw native.  The couple immigrated to Belgium where they had two children: Aleram Hil who was born in 1932; and Hadassa who was born in 1935.  Both children survived the Holocaust.  On October 31, 1942, however, their father Moishe Bomberg was deported to Auschwitz where he was held as a slave laborer.

       

      Just before being sent to the transit camp “Mechelen” on the 10th of April 1943, Sara managed to hide her daughter Hadassa in a Belgian home for children.  Hadassa can still remember being separated from her mother, who had promised her that they would see one another again soon.  Sara was never able to fulfil that promise to her daughter.  Hadassa remained in the children’s home until 1944 when she was taken in by a non-Jewish family.  After the War ended and Belgium was liberated, Hadassa was sent for by an Aunt who lived in Dover, England.  Then, in May 1949, Hadassa finally relocated to Israel.  There, she married and had four children of her own. It was not until 2005 that she finally discovered what had become of her mother. Before the new grave stone was lain with the 86 names , Hadassa visited the Jewish Cemetery of Strasbourg-Cronenbourg where the memory of the Hadassa’s mother, Sara, and the other 85 Jewish victims is officially commemorated.

       

      Sara Bomberg was deported from the Mechelen transit camp to Auschwitz on April 19, 1943.  On the 22nd of April 1943, she arrived with the 20th transport, along with 121 boys, 631 women, and 141 girls—all of whom were Jewish.  On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 276 men and 245 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners.  The remaining 879 people were driven to the gas chamber where they were immediately murdered.  Sara Bomberg was first sent to Block 10 of the main camp, where the SS issued her the number 107881 which was then tattooed on her left forearm.  While in Block 10, where inhuman medical experiments were conducted on the prisoners, Sara was selected by the two SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June of 1943.  Their goal was to assemble a group of Jewish men and women who would be murdered so that their corpses could be harvested for an anthropological exhibit on race at the Reich University of Strasbourg.  On the 30th of July 1943, the 39-year-old Sara was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp where they were murdered in the camp gas chamber on the 11th or the 13th of August 1943.

       

      I am indebted to Sara Bomberg’s daughter, Hadassa Pastel, for the additional background information.

    • Sara Bomberg
      Sara Bomberg

       

      Bomberg Hadassa
      Am 15. September 2005, drei Monate
      vor der Enthüllung des neuen Grabsteins, besuchte
      Hadassa Pastel das Grab ihrer Mutter auf dem Jüdischen Friedhof von Strasbourg-Cronenbourg

       

      Inschrift Grabstein
      Unter dem am 15. September 2005 noch verhüllten Grabstein der Name von Sara Bomberg.
    • Sophie Boroschek

      The oldest of three girls, Sophie Boroschek was born on the 29th of Janaury 1910 in the town of Moschin which is located some 20 km to the south of Poznan.  Now known as Mosina, Poland, shortly before WWI, the town’s Jewish community had some 110 members and constituted roughly 5% of total population.  Sophie’s parents were the distiller, Abraham Boroschek (born on July 22, 1882 in Jaratschewo) and Lieschen (nee Hopp) who was born on May 10, 1886 in Moschin.  Sophie’s younger sister, Hildegard, was born on February 4, 1912 in Moschin.  Her youngest sister, Else, was born two years later on the 10th of February 1914 in Schrimm, which is known today as Srem, Poland.  

       

      The entire Boroschek family was murdered by the National Socialists during the Holocaust.  Shortly after WWI, the family moved to Berlin. From there, Hildegard relocated to Stettin.  The exact time of her move is unknown.  However, the records indicate that on the 13th of July 1940 she married Lothar Leske in Paderborn.  On December 13, 1940, the young couple moved to Berlin and lived in the Boroscheks’ apartment located on “Brunnenstraße 16”.  Hildegard and Lothar were deported on February 19, 1943 to Auschwitz where they were murdered.  Else Boroschek, Hildegard’s older sister, married Rudi Herzko. The two resided in Kassel. 

       

      In 1935, Sophie Boroschek left her residence on “Wilhelm-Stolz Straße 35” and moved into the apartment of her parents, who were at that time living in the Berlin district of Wedding on “Bellermannstraße 1”.    On May 14, 1936, Sophie relocated to Große Salze in the Kalbe district. From there, she moved again to Bad Salzelmen on “Lindenstraße 18”.  Again, the exact time of this move is not known.  However, her official place of residence was registered as her parents’ apartment in Wedding from May 28, 1937 to June 14, 1937.  Afterwards, she apparently relocated again, this time to the Wyk auf Föhr, one of the main Frisian islands off the German coast of the North Sea.   Thereafter, she moved back in with her parents in Berlin.  Starting on May 1, 1939, she had a new place of residence: this time, in the Berlin district of Pankow, on Berlin Straße 127, in the villa of an elderly cigarette manufacturer, Josef Garbáty-Rosenthal.  Either unwilling or unable to face the prospect of immigration with all of its herculean difficulties, Rosenthal chose instead to remain in Berlin.  He died on June 29, 1939.  Sophie Boroschek presumably served as his care-taker until his death. Starting on September 1, 1942, she then worked as a nurse in the Jewish hospital in Berlin, where she resided in her parents’ now empty apartment on “Brunnenstraße 16”.  Both her mother and father had been forced to leave their home and were deported to Auschwitz on March 12, 1943.

       

      On May 17, 1943, Sophie Boroschek was deported herself, on the 38th transport to leave Berlin, travelling east, to Auschwitz.  Two days later, on May 19, 1943, her transport arrived in the death camp with approximately  1,000 Jewish men, women, and children.  On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 800 men and 115 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners.  Among them was Sophie Boroschek, whom the SS issued the number 45177 which was then tattooed on her left forearm.  The remaining 805 people were driven to the gas chamber where they were immediately murdered.  On July 30, 1943, she was placed in another transport of Jewish men and women—this time from Auschwitz to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp.  There, on either the 11th or the 13th of August 1943, sophie Boroschek was murdered in the camp gas chamber for SS scientists who wanted use the corpses of Jews for an anthropological exhibition.  Sophie was 33-years old at the time of her murder.  

      .

    • Sophie Boroschek
      Stolperstein Berlin
      Brunnenstraße 16
    • Nissim Bahar (Nisin Buchar)

      In Auschwitz, he is registered as “Nisin Buchar”.  However, his actual birthname was most likely “Nissim Bahar”.  Born in 1893 in Istanbul, Nissim was the son of Yesuah Bahar.  Very little information is available about the Bahar family.  It is not known, for example, when exactly the Bahars came to Thessalonica.  It is probable though that they immigrated in 1923.

       

      After marrying Rahel Florntin, Nissim Bahar and his wife had twin boys: Yeshua and Ovada.  The family survived on the income Nissim earned as a shirt-maker.  In Thessalonica, they originally resided on “Paraskevopoulou 37”

       

      After they were forced by the Gestapo to move to the Baron-Hirsch Ghetto in Thessalonica, the family was deported to Auschwitz.  On April 13, 1943, they arrived in the extermination camp with a transport of approximately 2,800 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 500 men and 364 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners.  Among them was Nissim Bahar, who was issued the number 115218 which was then tattooed on his left forearm.  The remaining 1,936 people from his transport, including his wife and son,  were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered. 

       

      After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, the 50-year-old Nissim was transported with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp on July 30, 1943.  Then, on either the 16th or the 18th of August 1943, Nissim was murdered in the camp gas chamber.  

       

      I am indebted to the archive of the Jewish community in Thessalonica for the information it provided on the Bahar Family.  In particular, special thanks go to archivist, Aliki Arouh, for the invaluable assistance with my research.

  • C

    Rebeca Cambeli · Sarica Cambeli · Elei Cohen · Juli Cohen · Hugo Cohn

    • Rebeca Cambeli

      Rebeca Cambeli was born in 1912 in Thessalonica, Greece. After she was forced by the Gestapo to relocate to the Baron-Hirsch Ghetto in Thessalonica, she was deported to Auschwitz. On April 22, 1943, she arrived in the extermination camp with a transport of approximately 2,800 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 255 men and 413 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Among them was Rebeca Cambeli. The SS issued her the number 42145 which was then tattooed on her left forearm. The remaining 2,132 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, the 31-year-old was transported with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp on July 30, 1943. Then, on either the 11th or the 13th of August 1943, Rebeca was murdered in the camp gas chamber.

    •  
    • Sarica Cambeli

      Geboren am 2. November 1923 in Thessaloniki (Griechenland). Nach ihrer Internierung durch die Gestapo im Ghetto Baron Hirsch in Thessaloniki wird sie nach Auschwitz deportiert. Am 18. April 1943 kommen mit diesem Transport 2501 jüdische Frauen, Männer und Kinder dort an. An der Rampe wurden 360 Männer und 245 Frauen als Häftlinge ins Lager geschickt, die übrigen 1896 Personen wurden sofort in die Gaskammer getrieben und umgebracht. Nach einer Selektion durch die SS-Anthropologen Bruno Beger und Hans Fleischhacker im Juni 1943 wurde die 19-Jährige am 30. Juli 1943 mit weiteren 85 Jüdinnen und Juden ins KZ Natzweiler-Struthof gebracht und dort am 11. oder 13. August 1943 in der Gaskammer ermordet.

    •  
    • Elei Cohen

      Elei Cohen was born March 15, 1907 in Thessalonica, Greece. After he was forced by the Gestapo to relocate to the Baron-Hirsch Ghetto in Thessalonica, he was deported to Auschwitz. On April 18, 1943, he arrived in the extermination camp with a transport of approximately 2,501 Jewish men, women, and children.

       

      On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 360 men and 245 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Among them was Elei Cohen. The SS issued him the number 116456 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 1,896 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      Elei was sent to labor in a camp work detail before being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, the 36-year-old was transported with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp on July 30, 1943. Then, on either the 16th or the 18th of August 1943, he was murdered in the camp gas chamber.

    •  
    • Juli Cohen

      Juli Cohen was born in 1927 in Thessalonica, Greece. After she was forced by the Gestapo to relocate to the Baron-Hirsch Ghetto in Thessalonica, she was deported to Auschwitz. On March 20, 1943, she arrived in the extermination camp with a transport of approximately 2,800 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 417 men and 192 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Among them was Juli Cohen. The SS issued her the number 38774 which was then tattooed on her left forearm.

       

      The remaining 2, 191 people from her transport were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered. After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, the 16-year-old was transported with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp on July 30, 1943. Then, on either the 11th or the 13th of August 1943, she was murdered in the camp gas chamber.

    •  
    • Hugo Cohn

      Hugo Cohn, the son of David Cohn and Emma(nee Marcuse), was born on January 16, 1895 in Berlin. In 1920, Hugo married Henriette Bragenheim in the district of Berlin known as “Neukölln”. His wife was born May 9, 1897 in Güstrow. Hugo worked as a salesman in Berlin. After their marriage, Hugo and Henriette had two children. Their daughter, Ilse Cohn, was born on May 4, 1923 in Berlin. Ilse started school in 1929. On October 1, 1934, she attended the Helene Lange School and in 1939 she immigrated to Great Britain. Her subsequent whereabouts are still unknown. Their son Günther, born on Oktober 1, 1927 in Berlin, was deported to Auschwitz on On June 11, 1943

       

      Initially, Hugo Cohn was forced by the Nazis to work as aslave laborer in the Berlin company “Kurt Hein”. His last official address in Berlin was listed as “Pasteurstraße 36” in the Berlin district of Prenzlauer Berg. On March 3, 1943, he was placed on the 33rd Transport travelling east to Auschwitz. On the next day, the transport arrived with 632 Jewish men as well as 1, 118 Jewish women and children. As they stepped onto the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 517 men and 200 women were sent to the camp to work as slave laborers. Among them was Hugo Cohn, whom the SS issued the number 105611 that was later tattooed on his left forearm. The rest of the 1,033 people from Hugo’s transport were driven off to the camp gas chambers where they were murdered.

       

      After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, the 48-year-old was transported on July 30, 1943 with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp where he was murdered in the camp gas chamber on the 18th of August 1943.

    • Cohn_Hugo_1
      Hugo Cohn
      Photo: Family owned
  • D

    Günter Dannenberg · Sabi Dekalo · Kurt Driesen

    • Günter Dannenberg

      Günter Dannenberg was born October 8, 1922 in Berlin.  He resided in Berlin-Friedrichshain on “Brendickestraße 17”.  On April 19, 1943, he was forced into one of the transports headed east to Auschwitz.  On April 20, 1943, he arrived in the extermination camp with a transport of approximately 1,000 Jewish men, women, and children. When they reached the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 299 men and 158 women were sent to work as slave laborers in the camp.  Among them was Günter Dannenberg, whom the SS issued the number 117045 that was later tattooed on his left forearm.  The rest of the 543 people from Günter’s transport were driven off to the camp gas chambers where they were murdered.

       

      On May 10, 1943, according to official records, Günter Dannenberg was sent to “provide his services to SS Sturmbannführer Caeser in the agriculture administration”.  He was later selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, the 20-year-old was transported on July 30, 1943 with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof  Concentration Camp where he was murdered on the 18th of August 1943 in the camp gas chamber.

    •  
    • Sabi Dekalo

      Sabi Dekalo was born May 14, 1925 in Thessalonica, Greece. His parents were Salomon Dekalo and Isabelle Dekalo (nee Benveniste). Aside from Sabi, the couple had one other son. They family lived on “Elikonos 18” in Thessalonica.

       

      After he was forced by the Gestapo to relocate to the Baron-Hirsch Ghetto in Thessalonica, Sabi Dekalo was deported to Auschwitz. On April 17, 1943, he arrived in the extermination camp with a transport of approximately 3,000 Jewish men, women, and children. When they reached the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 467 men and 262 women were sent to work as slave laborers in the camp. Among them was Sabi, whom the SS issued the number 115983 that was later tattooed on his left forearm. The rest of the 2,271 people from Sabi’s transport were driven off to the camp gas chambers where they were murdered.  

      On June 8, 1943, the 18-year-old was transferred from the sickward of the Buna factory near Auschwitz III to the prisoners’ infirmary of the main camp for heart arythmia. Soon thereafter, he was selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, Sabi was transported on July 30, 1943 with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp where he was murdered on either the 16th or the 18th of August 1943 in the camp gas chamber.

       

      Details about the family history were graciously provided tome by Sabi Decalo, a nephew of Sabi Dekalo. I am also indebted to the archive of the Jewish community in Thessalonica for the further information they provided. In particular, special thanks go to the archivist, Aliki Arouh, for the invaluable assistance with my research.

    •  
    • Kurt Driesen

      Kurt Driesen was born on March 27, 1914 in Berlin. His parents were the salesman, Max Driesen, and Austrian-native Marie Driesen (nee Schafranik). Married in 1909 and divorced in 1934, the couple had three other children alongside Kurt: Manfred (who was born in 1909), Sylvia (1912), and Ismar (1913).

       

      After the divorce, Marie Driesen lived alone with her four children on “Kaiser-Wilhelm-Straße 32” in Berlin until 1938. Thereafter, she was forced with other Jewish men and women to relocate to Schöneberg in a building designated as a “Jewish house”. It is presumed that Marie was later murdered in August 1942 in the Riga Ghetto in Latvia. Her ex-husband Max was deported from Berlin on May 17, 1943 and sent to Auschwitz where he too was murdered. Their daughter Sylvia, was arrested during Kristallnacht /Night of the Broken Glass and sent to the Ravensbrück Concentration Camp for several months. After her release, she just managed to leave Germany and immigrate to London, England before the start of WWII. There she married Isidor James Recht and died at the after of 97. Max and Marie’s youngest son, Ismar, was able to escape to Shanghai. After the war, he immigrated to the United States where changed his name to “Jimmy Driesen”. In 1965, he died at the age of 52.

       

      Their brother, Kurt Driesen, married Elsa Alster. The couple had so little money that they could not even afford to buy any furniture for their home. Instead, they relied upon donations from the local Jewish congregation. Kurt Driesen was initially forced to labor in the Fromm’s Rubber Factory. During a factory raid, he was placed under arrest on March 1, 1943. On the very same day, his wife was deported to Auschwitz where she was murdered. Kurt was deported two days later. On March 4, 1943, he arrived in the death camp with a transport of 632 Jewish men and 1, 118 Jewish women and girls. On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 517 men and 200 women were sent off to the camp to work as slave laborers. Among them was Kurt Driesen, whom the SS issued the number 105757 that was then tattooed on his left forearm. The rest of the 1,033 people who made up his transport were immediately driven off to be murdered in the camp gas chamber.

       

      On April 27, 1943, Kurt was forced to submit to an operation in Block 21, the prisoners’ infirmary in the main camp. On May 25, 1943, a Berlin court estimated that the value of the Driesens’ household furnishings was approximately 317 Reichsmark. Two weeks later, Kurt was selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker. On July 30, 1943, along with 85 other Jewish men and women, he was transported to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp. There, the 29-year-old was murdered in the gas chamber on either the 16th or the 18th of August 1943.

       

      I am indebted to Kurt Driesen’s niece, Erika Kates, for the supplemental information she provided.

    • DRIESEN_Kurt_b
      Kurt Driesen and his wife Elsa.
      Collection Erika Kates
    •  
  • E

    Aron Esformes · Aron Eskaloni · Ester Eskenazi

    • Aron Esformes

      Although his exact date of birth is unknown, it is presumed that Aron Esformes was born in Thessalonica, Greece. According to the autopsy report, at the time of his death, he was approximately 30-years-old. After he was forced by the Gestapo to relocate to the Baron-Hirsch Ghetto in Thessalonica, he was deported to Auschwitz on the 28th of April 1943.

       

      On May 4, 1943, he arrived in the death camp with a transport of 2,930 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 220 men and 318 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Among them was Aron Esformes, who was issued the number 119858 which was then tattooed on her left forearm. The remaining 2,392 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on July 30, 1943, along with 85 other Jewish men and women, he was transported to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp. There, the twenty-nine-year-old was murdered in the gas chamber on the 16th of August 1943.

    •  
    • Aron Eskaloni

      Aron’s father died in 1936 at just 53 years of age. All of the remaining family members were deported to Auschwitz on April 28, 1943. On May 4, 1943, they arrived in the death camp with a transport of 2,930 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 220 men and 318 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Among them was Aron Eskaloni, who was issued the number 119853 which was then tattooed on her left forearm. The remaining 2,392 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on July 30, 1943, along with 85 other Jewish men and women, he was transported to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp. There, he was murdered in the gas chamber on either the 16th or the 18th of August 1943. Aron was 25-years-old.

       

      Two brothers of Aron Eskaloni survived the Shoah: Djako Eskaloni and Benjamin Eskaloni.

       

      I am indebted to the archive of the Jewish community in Thessalonica for information on the Eskaloni family biography. In particular, special thanks go to the archivist, Aliki Arouh, for the invaluable assistance with my research.

    •  
    • Ester Eskenazi

      Ester Eskenazi was born in 1924 in Thessalonica, Greece. She was the daughter of railway worker Moshe Eskenazi and Doudone Eskenazi (nee Ventura). Ester had two siblings: Samuel and Gabriel.

       

      Both of Ester’s parents died very early. Consequently, Ester lived with her grandmother in the Jewish quarter of Baron Hirsch. Her brother Samuel was shot by the Nazis during his deportation, after he refused to follow their orders. Gabriel was deported to a concentration camp but managed to survive. After his liberation, he immigrated to the United States where he died in 2005.

       

      After her arrest by the Gestapo, Esther was placed on the first transport from Thessalonica to Auschwitz on March 15, 1943. On March 20, 1943, the transport arrived in the death camp with 2,800 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 417 men and 192 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Among them was Ester Eskenazi who was issued the number 38801 which was then tattooed on her left forearm. The remaining 2,191 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      Along with other Greek prisoners, Ester was sent to Block 10 of the main camp. After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on July 30, 1943, along with 85 other Jewish men and women, the 19-year-old was transported to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp. Once there, she was murdered in the gas chamber on either the 11th or the 13th of August 1943.

       

      Supplementary biographical information was reported by New York resident, Rachel Eskenazi, a niece of Ester Eskenazi.

    •  
  • F

    Maurice (Moshe) Francés · Abraham Franco · Heinz Frischler

    • Maurice (Moshe) Francès

      Moshe David Francès was born on or around the year 1908 in Thessalonica, Greece as the son of a real-estate broker, David Francès and his wife, Esther Francès (nee Tazartes). Aside from Moshe, his parents had five other children: Buèna, Emma, Rebecca, Mathilde, and Rachel.

       

      In the early 1930’s, many members of the Francès family left Thessalonica. For example, Maurice’s grandparents, Rabbi Moshe David and his wife Benuta, immigrated to Jerusalem in 1932. Maruice’s siblings, Buèna, and Rebecca, immigrated to the Netherlands around 1930, before moving on to Belgium. In the hope that they would be able to find gainful employment, the twins, Moshe (who now went by the name “Maurice”) and Rachel left for Brussels on tourist visas. However, due to difficult economic conditions, their applications to remain in Brussels were denied and the two were forced to return to Greece after their visas expired.

       

      Once the Germans entered Thessalonica in 1943 and began to deport the Greek Jews, Maurice was forced by the Gestapo to relocate to the Baron Hirsch Ghetto. Then, together with his twin sister and his parents, he was placed on the 14th deportation train leaving Thessalonica on its way to Auschwitz.

       

      On May 4, 1943, they arrived in the death camp with a transport of 2,930 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 220 men and 318 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Among them was Maurice Francès, who was issued the number 119859 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 2,932 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered. Among them were Maurice’s parents. His twin sister reportedly became a victim of the SS physician Dr. Josef Mengele.

       

      Maurice Francès was one of the Jews who was chosen by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker. After being selected in June 1943, the 35-year-old Maurice, along with 85 other Jewish men and women, was transported to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp. Once there, he was murdered in the gas chamber on either the 16th or the 18th of August 1943.

       

      I am indebted to Elie-Guy Francès of Brussels, a nephew of Maurice Francès, for additional biographical information.

    • FRANCESE_Maurice
      Maurice Francès
    • Abraham Franco

      The camp registry of Auschwitz lists him under the German first name “Abraham”. However, he was born “Avraam Franco” on the 30th of October 1926 in Thessalonica, Greece. Avraam was the eldest son of Aaron Franco and Djilda Franco (nee Levi). The family ran a small tavern in the district of Baron Hirsch on Iatrou Perrera Street. Aside from Avraam, the Francos had three other children: Michel (born in 1933); Mordohai (1941), and Esternia (date of birth unknown)

       

      On March 15, 1943, the entire Franco family was placed on the first transport from Thessalonica to Auschwitz. On March 20, 1943, the transport arrived in the death camp with ca. 2,800 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 417 men and 192 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Among them was Avraam Franco who was issued the number 109469 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 2,191 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on July 30, 1943, along with 85 other Jewish men and women, the 16-year-old was transported to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp. Once there, he was murdered in the gas chamber on either the 16th or the 18th of August 1943.

       

      I am indebted to the archive of the Jewish congregation in Thessalonica for the information it provided on the Franco family. In particular, special thanks go to archivist, Aliki Arouh, for the invaluable assistance with my research.

    •  
    • Heinz Frischler

      Heinz Frischler was born on April 18, 1917 in “Breslau” which is now know as Wrocław, Poland. He was the eldest son of salesman Leo Frischler and his wife Frau Paula (nee Cohn). After Heinz’s birth, his parents had two more sons: Erich who was born on August 8, 1919; and Werner who was born on April 10, 1925. The two oldest boys, Heinz and Erich, were especially close. Taking their political inspiration from their father’s allegiance to the Social Democratic Party (SPD), the two were active members of the Black-Red-Gold Banner of the Reich [Schwarz-Rot-Gold Schutzverband], a SPD organization in the Weimar Republic. The boys were also members of the Zionist organization “Makkabi Hazair” and the Jewish Sports Association, “Bar Kochba”.

       

      Leo Frischler died very early. In order to sustain her family, his widow occasionally offered students who attended the neighborhood Jewish theological seminary, kosher lunches. This source of income gradually dissipated, however, once the Nazis took over Greece. Help then came from a family uncle, Julius Frischler. A manufacturer of raincoats, the uncle became the official guardian of his three nephews after his brother Leo’s death.

       

      During Kristallnacht, on November 9, 1938, Heinz and Erich were arrested by the Gestapo and sent to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp. Once there, both were made to slave in the camp stone quarry. In early January 1939, the two were released under the proviso that they immediately immigrate. In the middle of May 1939, they began their training in the Jewish-owned vocational program [Hachschara] offered on the Winkel Estate [Gut Winkel] in Lower Saxony. Their goal there was to obtain a solid education in agriculture which would help prepare them for their planned immigration to Palestine.

       

      In the fall of 1940, Heinz and Erich had the opportunity to illegally immigrate to Israel. The plan involved smuggling themselves into Israel with a small Zionist youth group [Chaluzim] that planned to work the land there. Heinz decided against going. He had just met the four years younger, Ruth Scheidel, and planned to make her his wife. Ruth had just begun her education at the Winkel Estate and did not want to risk her placement there. Erich, who later took on the name “Menachem”, decided instead to go ahead with the adventurous plan without his brother. That decision ultimately allowed him to survive the Shoah. He died in Rechovot on November 9, 2001.

       

      In June 1941, the Nazi seized the Winkel Estate and forced the landowners to serve as forced laborers on the Neuendorf Estate. Meanwhile, the now married Heinz and Ruth, found themselves once again in Breslau. Heinz first found work in a brickyard and then in a waste paper factory. On April 1, 1941, the couple were forced to leave their house again and relocated to a cramped apartment. For Ruth, who was now heavily pregnant, the move was particularly difficult. Nevertheless, on May 8, 1941, their son Denny Eli was born. In a letter to a close friend in Berlin, Heinz wrote: “You could not imagine how happy we are.”

       

      On March 5, 1943, the young family was deported from Brelau to the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. On March 6, 1943, their transport arrived in the death camp with ca. 1,405 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 406 men and 190 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Among them was Heinz Frischler. The SS issued him the number 106894 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 809 people— including Heinz’s wife Ruth and their son who had not yet reached his second birthday—were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered. Heinz’s youngest brother Werner was in the same transport. He, like Heinz, was chosen to become a slave laborer and was assigned the number 106895. Werner survived his time in Auschwitz and the death march to the Buchenwald Concentration Camp. However, a few weeks after Buchenwald was liberated, Werner died. The date was March 14, 1945.

       

      By that time, Heinz had long since perished. After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on July 30, 1943, the 23-year-old, along with 85 other Jewish men and women, was transported to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp. Once there, he was murdered on the 18th of August 1943 in the gas chamber.

       

      For the supplementary biographical information, I am indebted to Heinz Frischler’s niece Nurit Ronen, and Nurit’s father, Menachem (Erich) Frischler.

    •  

      Heinz Frischler
      Heinz Frischler
       
      Frischler mit Frau und Bruder
      Heinz Frischler (rechts) mit seiner Frau Ruth und seinem Bruder Erich

       

      Frischler mit Brüdern
      Heinz Frischler (links) mit seinen Brüdern Werner (Mitte) und Erich
      Fotos: Sammlung Familie Frischler
    •  
  • G

    Benjamin Geger · Fajsch Gichman · Brandel Grub

    • Benjamin Geger

      The exact time and place of his birth have not as yet been identified. According to the autopsy report, however, at the time of his death, Benjamin Geger was approximately 30-years-old. Benjamin Geger’s last known residence before being deportated to Auschwitz was a ghetto in Pruzhany, Poland. From there, he was transported with other ghetto residents to Oranczyce, Poland. From there, on January 30, 1943, he was deported to Auschwitz.

       

      On January 31, 1943, he arrived in the death camp with ca. 2,834 Jews, including 230 children under the age of four-years-old and 520 children between the ages of four and ten. On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 313 men and 180 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Among them was Benjamin Geger who was issued the number 98868 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 2,341 people, including 750 children, were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      Geger was transferred to the prisoner s’ infirmary in Block 21 on the 13th of April 1943. He was to receive an operation on an abscess. Shortly thereafter, he was selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943. On July 30, 1943, he was transported, along with 85 other Jewish men and women, to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp. Once there, he was murdered in the gas chamber on the 16th of August 1943.

    •  
    • Fajsch Gichman

      The exact date and place where Fajsch Gichman was born in Poland have not as yet been determined. According to an autopy report, however, at the time of his death, he was approximately 40-years-old. His last known location before his deportation was a Polish ghetto in either Vawkavysk or Pruzhany. From there he was transferred along with other ghetto residents to Oranczyce, Poland. Shortly thereafter, on January 29, 1943, he was deported to Auschwitz.

       

      One day later, on January 30, 1943, his transport arrived with 2,612 Jewish adult men and women as well as 518 children age ten or younger. On the arrival ramp of the death camp’s train station, 327 men and 275 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Among them was Fajsch Gichman who was issued the number 97928 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 2,010 people, including the 518 children, were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on July 30, 1943, Fajsch was transported, along with 85 other Jewish men and women, to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp. Once there, he was murdered in the gas chamber on the 16th of August 1943.

    •  
    • Brandel Grub née Rozen

      Brandel was born on September 29, 1922 in Düsseldorf. According to the official birth records, she was registered under the surname “Rosen” not “Rozen”. In the deportations lists of the transit camp “Mechelen-Auschwitz”, her official birth name is listed as “Kempner”. Her parents had not yet married when Brandel was born.

       

      Her mother lived in Liège, during the time that Brandel was registered as living in Duesseldorf. A change of residence could not be located in the civil registry, however. According to the Belgian records, Brandel Rozen first officially resided in Liege in 1942. Nevertheless, in the mid 1930s, she had already attended a vocational school in Brussels to become a seamstress. On October 31, 1940, she married, Abram Josek Grub, a manufacturer of men’s ties, in Grivegnée. Abram was born on July 18, 1911 in Drobin. He had left Poland to start a new life in Belgium in 1929.

       

      Rather than work in her trained profession, as of July 16, 1942, Brandel was forced to labor in a government-owned weapons factory in Herstal. Two weeks after she began work, her husband, like dozens of others in the region, was summoned to appear in the employment office of Liège. It was there that he was ordered to work in a labor camp for the Todt Organization, a Nazi controlled manufacturing enterprise. In October 1943, all of the foreign Jewish slave laborers were collected for deportation. Abram, his father-in-law Moszek Kempner, and his brother-in-law Alter Jacob Rozen, were among a group of brave men who dared to attempt an escape as their transport neared the German border. Initially, the group was able to make their way back to Liège, where they lived underground.

       

      Their initial joyous taste of freedom was short-lived, however. The hiding place of Brandel Grub, her husband, mother, uncle, and the photographer, Alter Jacob Rozen, was discovered during a raid in the middle of April 1943. On the way to the transit camp “Mechelen”, Brandel was able, however to have a message smuggled out to her father, informing him about their dire situation. On the 19th of April 1943, all four were placed in a train to Auschwitz. In an incredible act of daring, a small group of three young resistance fighters attacked the train in an effort to free the captives. Once again, Brandel’s husband was among those who was able to escape. Once again, he was recaptured, and placed on the next and last transport out of the SS-run transit camp “Mechelen” to Auschwitz. The date was July 31, 1943.

       

      On April 22, 1943, the 20th transport from Mechelen arrived in the concentration camp with 507 men, 121 boys, and 631 women—all Jewish. On the arrival ramp, 276 men and 245 women were chosen to work as slave laborers in the camp. Among them was Brandel Grub, whom the SS issued the number 104744 which was later tattooed on her left forearm. The remaining 879 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered. After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on July 30, 1943, Brandel was transported, along with 85 other Jewish men and women, to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp. On the 11th of August 1943, she was murdered in the gas chamber, like her mother, who suffered the same horrible fate.

       

      I am indebted to Fritz Lettow who was able to remember the exact death date of both Brandel and her mother. Many thanks are given to Dr. Thierry Rozenblum (Rome) who provided supplementary biographical information.

    • Brandel Grub
      Brandel Grub
  • H

    Hugo Haarzopf · Charles Hassan · Alfred Hayum · Rudolf Herrmann · Jacob Herschfeld

    • Hugo Haarzopf

      Hugo Haarzopf was born on August 20, 1896 in the town of Grätz. At that time, the town was located within a province of Poznan. Since 1920, the town has been known as Grodzisk, Poland. Hugo’s father, Louis Haarzopf, died around the time that WWI came to an end in Grätz. His widow, Ulrike Haarzopf (nee Himmelweit) relocated with her children in Berlin.

       

      Hugo Haarzopf was a solider during WWI and suffered severe facial injuries. In the post-war period, he not only worked as textiles salesman, but also ran a small company that exported textiles to the Netherlands. Between 1930 and 1931, he married Paula Jacob, a native of the west Prussian city of Graudenz, Poland. Almost eleven years his junior, Paula, was strikingly beautiful. As Hugo’s niece later recalled: “We all thought at that time that she was much too beautiful for him and that she had only married him because he could offer her financial security.”

       

      On March 28, 1933, Paula brought a daughter, Eva, into the world. According to Anneliese Klawonn: “I can still remember how she waited for me in front of the house, in a little white dress with a Jewish star.” Despite the mounting persecution that the Jews suffered during the Nazi period, Hugo still managed to hold on to his business until 1938. Afterwards he purchased eight industrial sewing machines and opened up a tailor shop in one of the rooms of the family’s spacious apartment on “Allee 41”. Working in the business were his two sisters, Julie and Paula, his mother, and his wife. Together, the women produced dressing gowns in the first-floor apartment.

       

      At this time, Martha Joachimsthal, Hugo’s youngest sister, had managed to escape to Argentina via Paris and Uruguay. In the mistaken belief that nothing would befall him as a war veteran, Hugo pushed back thoughts of immigrating, until it was no longer possible. His other sister, Julie Lehman, who was married to a Protestant, attempted to take her own life twice as the political situation worsened. She later died due to complications related to her suicide attempts on January 29, 1941. Shortly thereafter, Hugo was forced to work as a slave laborer in a Siemens factory. In the early summer of 1942, the Gestapo arrested his sister Paula and his mother, Ulrike. Both women were sent to a deportation center on “Großen Hamburger Straße”. On August 27, 1943, his mother was deported to Theresienstadt Concentration Camp where she later died on October 2, 1943. On September 13, 1942, his sister Paula was deported to the Majdenek Concentration Camp where she too was murdered.

       

      Hugo had only a short reprieve. On February 16, 1943, the Gestapo arrested Hugo, his wife, and his daughter during a late-night raid. Arrested along with them were Heinz Galinkski, the former head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany [Zentralrat der Juden in Deutschland] and his wife, Gisela Galinski. The Galinskis had lived a few doors down from the Haarzopfs on “Schönhauser Allee 31”. On February 26, 1943, the Haarzopf family was placed in a train with over 900 Berlin Jews on their way to Auschwitz. Hugo’s 35-year-old wife, Paula, and their nearly 10-year-old daughter, Eva, were driven by the camp SS to the gas chambers where they were murdered. Meanwhile, Hugo was issued the number 104423 which was tattooed on his left forearm. Afterwards, he was sent to work as a slave laborer in the Buna factory located in the satellite camp, Auschwitz-Monowitz.

       

      After just two months time in Monowitz, a camp physician sent him to the prisoners’ infirmary of the main camp to receive treatment for a foot wound. Seven weeks later, two anthropologists made selections of prisons residing in the infirmary as well as Block 10. The scientists were contracted by the SS organization for ancestral heritage [Ahnenerbe] to locate Jewish men and women. The people were to be used for a project headed by Anatomy Professor August Hirt, who had a chair at the Reich University of Strasbourg. For his racial biological research, Hirt wanted to assemble a skeletal collection of Jews. As the lives of the concentration camp prisoner, in his words, constituted little more than “waste”, he had no compunction against commissioning the selection and murder of prisoners on the basis of anthropological measurements.

       

      On June 30, 1943, Hugo Harrzopf was one of 86 Jewish men and women who were deported to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp where he was murdered in a gas chamber on the 16th or 18th of August 1943, just before his forty-seventh birthday.

       

      I am indebted to Hugo Haarzopf’s niece, Anneliese Klawonn, as well as Robert Lehmann of Berlin and Rosemarie Fleischer from Buenos Aires for the information they provided.

    • Hugo Haarzopf
      Hugo Haarzopf

       

      Hugo Haarzopf
      Stolperstein in Berlin
      Schönhauser Allee 41
    • Charles Hassan

      Although his birth place is assumed to be Thessalonica, Greece, Charles Hassan’s exact date of birth remains unknown. After the Gestapo forced him to relocate to the Baron-Hirsch Ghetto in Thessalonica, he was deported to Auschwitz on April 28, 1943. On May 4, 19443, he arrived in the death camp with a transport of 2,930 Jewish men, women, and children.

       

      On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 220 men and 318 women were selected to serve as slave laborers and were sent into the camp. Among them was Charles Hassan who was issued the number 119846 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 2,392 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered. On July 30, 1943, after his selection by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker, Charles Hassan became one of a group of 86 Jewish men and women to be sent to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp. There, he was murdered in the camp gas chamber on either the 16th or the 18th of August 1943.

    •  
    • Alfred Hayum

      Alfred Hayum was born in the town of Kirf, on the outskirts of Trier. The son of Elias and Amalia Hayum, Alfred was the third of six children: Johanna (born February 8, 1901), Jakob (March 4, 1902), Alfred (October 22, 1903), Siegfried (May 12, 1905), Erna (January 18, 1907), Walter (June 9, 1909) and Max (10. September 1911). Alfred was a livestock dealer by trade.

       

      After Kristallnacht in Kirf, Alfred left his parents’ home and moved to Saarburg. On March 13, 1939, he left Saarburg and took up residence in Trier on “Metzelstraße 36”. Then, on July 6, 1939, he moved again: this time to the town of Oberbettingen, only to return to Trier on July 25, 1939. His new address was “Saarstraße 3” where he lived with his mother and his two brothers, Jakob and Siegfried.

       

      On March 1, 1943, Alfred Hayum was deported from Trier to Auschwitz. Two days later, the set of cattle cars carrying the deportees arrived at its destination. The cargo contained some 1,500 Jewish men, women, and children from Stuttgart, Essen, Duesseldorf, and Dortmund. (This transport is missing in the records of Danuta Czech). Alfred was selected on the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station to serve as slave labor. The SS issued him the number 105097 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. He was then sent to the Buna Factory in the satellite camp of Auschwitz-Monowitz. On the 31st of March 1943, he was then transferred back to the main camp after suffering intestinal infection. On May 8, 1943, he was operated upon in Block 21, the prisoners’ infirmary. After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker, the 39-year-old became one of a group of 86 Jewish men and women to be deported to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp on June 30, 1943. It was there that he was murdered in the camp gas chamber on either the 16th or the 18th of August 1943. Almost the entire Hayum family were also murdered during the Shoah. Only the brothers Michael and Max had been able to escape to the USA with their wives.

       

      I am indebted to Alfred Hayum’s niece Ella Berenstein as well as Monika Metzler (Trier) and Günter Heidt (Saarburg) for the informations they provided.

    •  
    • Rudolf Herrmann

      Rudolf Herrmann, the son of Kurt Herrmann and Elli Herrmann (nee Jacob), was born on January 2, 1924 in Berlin. Rudolf lived with his family in Berlin-Charlottenburg on “Alexanerstraße 53”. Nothing is known about Rudolf’s schooling and training. His sister, Ingeborg, was born on August 25, 1912 in Strausberg. On August 9, 1941, she managed to immigrate to the United States. In the meantime, Rudolf and his parents were deported from Berlin to Auschwitz on February 3, 1943.

       

      On February 4, 1943, the transport carrying the Herrmanns arrived in Auschwitz. Their transport contained 1,000 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the camp train station, 181 men and 106 women were selected to serve as slave laborers and transferred to the main camp. Among them was Rudolf. The SS issued him the number 99973 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 713 people, including Rudolf’s parents, were immediately sent to the camp gas chamber where they were murdered. On July 30, 1943, the 19-year-old Berlin-native become one of a group of 86 Jewish men and women who were selected for deportation from Auschwitz. Their destination was the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp. It was there that Rudolf was murdered on either the 16th or 18th of August 1943 in the camp gas chamber.

    •  
    • Jacob Herschfeld

      Jacob Herschfeld was born on May 3, 1897 in Będzin, a small town located 65 km to the northwest of Kraków. At that time, Będzin was an economic and cultural center of Jewish life in western Poland. The town had an extremely large Jewish population. Jacob, whose surname was originally spelled “Herszfeld”, was the second of seven children born to Dwojra Laja (nee Welner) and Salomon Laib Herszfeld. Both Dwojra and Salomon died in the year 1919. The two were buried in the Jewish cemetery of Będzin. In 1922, Jacob, who had since moved to France, relocated to Heegermühle, where a number of his relatives already resided. It is conceivable that Jacob had been a captured as WWI soldier and had been held as a POW, until he was released on or about this date.

       

      In Eberswalde, located on the outskirts of Berlin, and only a few km from his new place of residence, Jacob eventually found work as a metal worker in the brass manufactory, Aron Hirsch AG. In the years that followed, he married Alice Ehrlich, who was four years his junior. On April 30, 1925, in Berlin, the couple had a daughter, Gerda.

       

      In the early 1930’s, the small family lived in the Prenzlauer Berg district of Berlin on “Jablonskistraße 34”. As of 1936, the family resided in back alley apartment in the district of Berlin-Mitte on “Michaelkirchstraße 24”. It was during this time, that for a meager 31 Reichsmarks a week, Jacob was being made to serve as a forced laborer in the metalworks business of Hedwighütte in the Berlin destrict of Treptow. On March 2, 1943, his daughter was sent to a Jewish transit center located on Levetzowstraße. She was then placed on the 32nd transport from Berlin to Auschwitz where she was murdered. A day later, Alice and Jacob followed their daughter on the 33rd transport travelling east to the death camp. On March 4, 1943, they arrive with the last transport containing 632 Jewish men as well as 1, 118 Jewish women and girls. On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 517 men and 200 women were selected to serve as slave laborers and transferred to the main camp. Among them was Jacob. The SS issued him the number 105638 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 1,033 people, including Jacob’s wife Alice, were immediately sent to the camp gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      Jacob was made to work in the Buna Factory located in the satellite camp, Auschwitz-Monowitz. After developing pleurisy, he was transferred to the prisoners’ infirmary in the main camp on April 16, 1943. The SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker selected him to became one of a small group of Jewish prisoners for a gruesome project. On July 30, 1943, the deportation to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp followed.

       

      Jacob Herschfeld was murdered on either the 16th or 18th of August 1943 in the camp gas chamber. He was 46-years-old. He was one of 85 other Jewish men and women, who had been selected to be murdered for a collection of Jewish skeletons. The planned anatomical exhibition never came to fruition, however. After the war, the conserved corpses of the 86 murder victims were laid to rest in the Jewish cemetery of Straßbourg-Cronenbourg.

       

      Zum Andenken an das Ehepaar Herschfeld und seine Tochter Gerda ließ am 4. Juni 2004 Dr. Evelyn Grollke Stolpersteine an der Michaelkirchstraße 24 verlegen. Die Medizinerin hat auch die im ersten Abschnitt wiedergegebenen Lebensdaten recherchiert, die hier mit ihrer freundlichen Genehmigung übernommen wurden. Evelyn Grollke ist eine Cousine von Jacob Herschfeld.

    • Jacob Herschfeld
      Stolperstein Berlin
      Michaelkirchstraße 24
       
    •  
  • I

    Alberto Isaac · Israel Isak

    • Alberto Isaac

      The camp registry in Auschwitz listed him under the German forename “Albert”. However, in point of fact, he had been born “Alberto Isaak” in Thessalonica, Greece. Although his exact date of birth remains unknown, research has uncovered his parents’ identities. His father was Eliau Isaak and his mother was Mathilde Isaak (nee Rotches). Aside from Alberto, the couple had a second son, Samuel, and two daughters: Ester and Klara.

       

      The entire family was deported from Thessalonica to Auschwitz on April 28, 1943. On May 4, 1943, they arrived in the extermination camp in a transport containing 2,930 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 220 men and 318 women were selected to serve as slave laborers and transferred to the main camp. Among them was Alberto Isaac. The SS issued him the number 119874 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 2,392 people were immediately sent to the camp gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on July 30, 1943, Alberto was deported along with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp where he was murdered on either the 16th or the 18th of August 1943 in the camp gas chamber.

       

      I am indebted to the archive of the Jewish community in Thessalonica for the information it provided. In particular, special thanks go to the archivist, Aliki Arouh, for the invaluable assistance with this research.

    •  
    • Israel Isak

      It is presumed that Israel Isak was born in Thessalonica, Greece, although the exact date of his birth is unknown. After the Gestapo forced him to relocate to the Baron-Hirsch Ghetto in Thessalonica, he was deported to Auschwitz. On April 22, 1943, he arrived with a transport of 2,800 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the camp train station, 255 men and 413 women were selected to serve as slave laborers and transferred to the main camp. Among them was Israel Isak. The SS issued him the number 117295 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 2,132 people were immediately sent to the camp gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      Due to an abscess, Israel Isak was transferred from the sickward of the Buna Factory to the main camp of Auschwitz. As the relevant document was partially destroyed, the exact date of the transfer is unknown. After his selection by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, Israel was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp on July 30, 1943. He was murdered on either the 16th or the 18th of August 1943 in the camp gas chamber.

    •  
  • K

    Sabetaij Kapon · Maria Kempner geb. Rozen · Levie Khan · Elisabeth Klein geb. Thalheim · Jean Kotz · Paul Krotoschiner

    • Sabetaij Kapon

      Although the exact date of birth is unknown, it is presumed that Sabetaij Kapon was born in Thessalonica, Greece. After the Gestapo forced him to relocate to the Baron-Hirsch Ghetto in Thessalonica, he was deported to Auschwitz on April 28, 1943. On May 4, 1943, he arrived with a transport of 2,930 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the camp train station, 220 men and 318 women were selected to serve as slave laborers and transferred to the main camp. Among them was Sabetaij Kapon. The SS issued him the number 119874 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 2,393 people were immediately sent to the camp gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      After his selection by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, Sabetaij was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp on July 30, 1943. He was murdered on either the 16th or the 18th of August 1943 in the camp gas chamber.

    •  
    • Maria Kempner née Rozen

      Just outside of Łódź, in the city of Pabianice, Maria (Marjem) Rozen was born on February 16, 1891. After WWI came to an end, the Rozen family left Poland. On November 13, 1919, Maria arrived in Düsseldorf and took up residence on “Lorettostraße 35.” In the records of the civil registry, her last name is listed as “Rosen”.

       

      On March 27, 1922, she is registered as having left Germany and moving to the city of Liège in Belgium. However, based on information maintained in the civil registry of Düsseldorf -Mitte, on September 29, 1922, she gave birth to her daughter Brandel in the German city. However, on October 30th, she is listed as having married Moszyk Kempner in Liège. The two reportedly resided in Grivegnée. Her husband, Moszyk, initially worked as a photographer. Later, he and his two brothers, Herz and Lajb, founded a small soda water and soft-drink company.

       

      To supplement the family income, Maria sold knitting-wear door-to-door. On August 3, 1943, Moszyk was arrested by the employment office (Office du Travail), along with dozens of other Jews in and around the region. The arrestees were sent to the work camp run by the Todt Organization (a Nazi-controlled engineering manufacturing enterprise) in the “Pas-de-Calais”. Shortly thereafter, they were transferred to the SS-run transit camp “Mechelen” and then on to Auschwitz. Right before their transport crossed the German border, Moszyk, managed to escape with his son-in-law, Abram Josek Grub. The two eventually made their way back to Liège. For a few months, they were able to keep themselves hidden in various houses. During a raid conducted by the Belgian security police in mid April 1943, Moszek was able to escape discovery by hiding in the attic of a building in Liège.

       

      His wife did not have the same good fortune, however. On April 17, 1943, Maria was arrested with the couple’s daughter and her brother, the photographer, Alter Jacob Rozen. They were first sent to the SS transit camp before being forced onto a train bound for Auschwitz. Transport No. 20 arrived on April 22, 1943 with 507 men, 121 boys, 631 women, and 141 girls—all Jewish. On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 276 men and 245 women were sent to the main camp as prisoners. The remaining 879 people were immediately sent to the gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      Along with her daughter Brandel, the 52-year-old Maria was sent to Block 10 in the main camp. It was there that the SS issued Marie the number 42617 which was then tattooed on her left forearm. After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker, she was deported with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp on July 30, 1943. The group was murdered in the camp gas chamber over a period of four days. Maria Kempner’s exact date of death was, like her daughter, August 11, 1943. Her husband, Moszek, however, managed to survive the Shoah.

       

      I am indebted to Fritz Lettow who was able to remember the exact death date of both Brandel and her mother. Many thanks are given to Dr. Thierry Rozenblum (Rome) who provided supplementary biographical information.

    •  
    • Levie Khan

      Levie Khan was born on May 25, 1922 in Brunssum, in the Netherlands. His father was Barend Khan, who was born November 25, 1885 in Hoogeveen. His mother, Marrigje Khan (nee Meyer) was born in Geldermalsen on January 7, 1901. In March of 1923, the Khan family moved to Sittard, where Levie’s sister, Henriette, was born on July 18, 1924. Levie, whose name was also later spelled as “Levei”, lived in Heerlen, possibly with his grandparents. In July 1925, his family then moved to Geleen which is now a district of Sittard. It was here that his father Barend worked as a miner. More details about the Khan family life during this period are as yet unknown.

       

      On November 5, 1942, Levie’s parents and sister were deported to Auschwitz where they were murdered. Levie was sent by the Gestapo to the transit camp “Westerbork” before he too was deported to Auschwitz. On February 25, 1942 he arrived with a transport of 1,101 Jewish men, women, and children.

       

      On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 57 men and 30 women were selected to serve as slave laborers and transferred to the main camp. Among them was Levie Khan. The SS issued him the number 104058 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 1,014 people were immediately sent to the camp gas chamber where they were murdered. After his selection by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, Levie was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp on July 30, 1943. He was murdered on either the 16th or the 18th of August 1943 in the camp gas chamber.

    •  
    • Elisabeth Klein née Thalheim

      Elisabeth Klein (nee Thalheim) came into the world at a time when gentlemen did not smoke cigarettes but cigars or pipes. Elisabeth was born May 29, 1901 in the Viennese district of Währing. Her father, Saul Thalheim, was a professional pipe-maker. His speciality was “seafoam pipes” [Meerschaumpfeifen]. Originally from Turkey, these exceedingly ornate pipes were named after the elaborately carved stone bowls that were the color of sea-foam. Elisabeth’s father owned and operated his pipe shop for over three decades, until Fascism took over Austria. The revolutionary political change was much to the heartbreak of Saul Thalheim. A member of the conservative Austrian petit bourgeois, he was an ardent supporter of both the Kaiser and the Austro-Hungarian empire. At the tender age of 18, Elisabeth’s brother, Max, moved to Belgium, only to return to his home country a few years later. After the Austro-Fascist Putsch of 1934, he left his country for good and immigrated to Rhodesia with his wife.

       

      By comparison, his sister, Elisabeth, had no desire to leave her native Austria. In all fairness, this reluctance can’t only be put down to provincialism. As a single woman at that period of time, her chances to make her mark in the world were far more limited than those of her brother. Elisabeth was, however, allowed to attend business school. Nevertheless, it was also made clear to her that she should also find herself a husband as soon as possible. In January 1924, she married the Kalman Klein, who ten years old than she. A glassmaker from Hungary, Elisabeth’s new husband was anything but a supporter of the Monarchy. He had fought along with the Communists for a Hungarian revolution and had fled to Vienna after the revolution failed. Despite their differences, Saul Thalheim assisted his new son-in-law and his daughter build up their nest egg by helping the young couple purchase hardware and kitchenware for the new retail store they had opened in Ottakring. On December 3, 1924, the couple’s first and only child, Nelly, was born. Elisabeth described her daughter as being a lover of nature and culture. “She has a few intellectual interests and quite a bit of skill in working with her hands. But somehow, nothing really comes to fruition, as is the case with so many women her age.”

       

      And so it was, day in and day out. They all went about living their lives. Resting on Sundays rather than the Sabbath—Judaism was scarcely a part of their day-to-day existence. During the week, they all everyone went to work, including Elisabeth, in the family shop. It would remain a lifelong mystery to Nelly, how even her deeply political father, had minimized the significance of the signs that heralded the catastrophe that was coming their way. No one wanted to even think about what could happen to such good, upstanding citizens. That is, until Kristallnacht. It was then that Koloman Klein and other Jews were arrested by the Gestapo and given toothbrushes to clean the shards of glass left laying on the streets and sidewalks. His daughter Nelly is fairly certain that “It was on this day, I believe, that my parents lost their faith in humanity.”

       

      In 1938 and 1939, the Kleins tried in vain, to immigrate to a country somewhere overseas. Both of the family businesses—the retail store owned by the Kleins and well as the Thalheims’ pipe shop— were “aryanized”, leaving them with just enough to finance their train tickets to Aachen and pay for someone who was willing to illegally smuggle them over the German-Belgian border during the eve of August 29th and August 30th 1939. Once they arrived, they tried to settle into a new life in Brussels. On the 10th of May 1940, however, the Klein-Thalheim family suffered another shock. After the German Wehrmacht marched into Brussels, all German and Austrian immigrants were required to register at the local police department, reportedly for the purpose of checking their papers. Upon their arrival, men between the ages of 17 and 60 were placed under arrest and sent off to Vichy, France. Kalman Klein was sent to several different internment camps before arriving in Drancy where he and 29 other Austrians were deported to Auschwitz on August 17, 1942. Kalman’s transport contained 997 people, more than half of whom were children who had been separated from their parents. There were 282 girls and boys between the ages of 2 and 9-years-old. All of the children were gassed. From the adults, 100 were sent on to the camp to work as slave labor. Of this group, only 3 survived. Kalman Klein was not one of them.

       

      Under the dire circumstances, Elisabeth and her daughter were forced to separate. Elisabeth found work as a cleaning woman and caretaker of an elderly baroness. Nelly joined the resistance. In mid-February 1943 Elisabeth Klein was arrested and taken to the infantry barracks named after General Dossin in Mechelen.

       

      Day after day, one truck after another drove into the inner courtyard of the Dossin Barracks to deliver yet another group of prisoners. Elisabeth Klein spent more than two months in the transit center. The date of departure for the next train to Auschwitz was repeatedly delayed due difficulties the Nazis experienced in locating the necessary transportation. During this long wait, a clandestine group of internees gradually made themselves ready for an escape attempt. Blades, fingernails, pliers, and even saws were sharped and hidden away. Then, on the afternoon of the 18th of April, the camp administration announced that a train would be departing on the next day. The destination was simply described as a “work camp in the East”. To allay fears that the deportation might not proceed smoothly, all of the internees were ordered to come to the main courtyard to take part in a practice deportation. The night before the train was to depart, Elisabeth Klein wrote her loved ones a final farewell letter: “My dearest, I wanted to let you know that I am healthy, optimistic, and filled with courage. I ask that all of you remain in good spirits, live your lives, and please do not spend a moment’s time worried about me. My beloved Rose (her nickname for her daughter), have no doubt. We will return. And do not cry, my one and only Rolla [the nickname for her mother, Karola). Your Else is far braver than you know! Until we see one another again, my precious ones. I am sending you all a thousand kisses! Your Else.”

       

      On the following day, 1,631 Jews, including 262 children, stood waiting in the Dossin Barracks for their deportation. Each of the prisoners with a number between 1 and 100 were ordered to stand ready for processing at 8am. It was not until 11pm that evening that the entire train was filled and ready for transit. After 19 passenger trains had been filled, the Main Security Department of the Reich [Reichssicherheitshauptamt] sent a freight train with enclosed cars. Even before the transport began its journey along the tracks, clandestine sawing and cautious boring began to loosen the wagon bars and wall panels of several cars.

       

      As the transport jerked along its route through the night, the sound of gun fire suddenly erupted. On a straightaway, in the middle of a wooded area behind Brussels, a resistance group had managed to bring the train to a stop and break open several of the wagon car sliding doors. Everyone who wanted to escape to freedom had to decide for themselves—should I use the momentary chaos to jump or would it be better for me to wait? During those few minutes before the broken doors were slammed shut and up until the time the train crossed over into Germany, 231 people decided to take a chance and sprang from the moving train. Twenty-three Jews who tried to escape were killed either in the hail of bullets that rang out from the attending police officers’ guns or perished along the tracks having fatally injured themselves.

       

      What would have happened, if the sliding doors of Elisabth Klein’s wagon had been opened? Would she have had a chance to survive? We will never know the answer to these questions. What we do know is that on April 22, 1943, the 20th transport from the Mechelen transit center reached Auschwitz. Among those 1,400 remaining people, 879 were immediately sent to the gas chamber to be killed. Of those not chosen for immediate murder were 276 men and 245 women—all of whom were driven to the main camp to work as slave laborers. Of the 245 women, 112 were assigned to Block 10. Included in this group was Elisabeth Klein, whom the SS issued the number 42619 which was later tattooed on her left forearm.

       

      From that transport, Elisabeth Klein, Brandel Grub, Maria Kempner, Jeanette Passmann, and Marie Sainderichin were all selected by the SS-anthropologists Beger and Fleischhacker for a fatal project. The women were sent along with 81 other Jewish men and women to be murdered in the gas chamber of the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp. Elisabeth Klein’s date of death was on the 11th of August 1943. She was 42-year-old.

       

      I am indebted to Nelly Sturm, the daughter of Elisabeth Klein and Eva Sturm, the grandchild of Elisabeth Klein, for assisting me in my research for this biography. Nelly died on March 9, 2017 in Berlin, at the age of 92.

    • Klein_Elisabeth_3
      Elisabeth Klein
       
      KLEIN_1
      Elisabeth Klein
       
      Elisabeth Klein
      Memorial plaque in Wien
      Ottakringer Straße 35
    • Jean Kotz

      Jean Kotz was born on February 9, 1912 in Paris. His father was Alexander Kotz. His mother was Lucie Kotz (nee Grin) who was born on January 25, 1884. Jean’s parents immigrated to France from the Polish city of Piotrków. Jean was a salesman by trade and lived in Paris in the Rue de Lancry, in house number 6. He had one sister, Renée, who was born in Paris on February 9, 1915. Renée appears to have been a single-mother of a son, Alexandre, who was born on January 27, 1935. Nothing more is known today about Alexandre’s life.

       

      Jean was arrested on January 16, 1943 for not wearing a Jewish star. He was then sent to the transit camp of Drancy. On March 26, 1943, he was assigned to join a transport to Sobor. Along with 17 other prisoners, he managed to escape from the train as it neared the city of Darmstadt. Jean was arrested once again. On April 19, 1943, he was placed on another transport scheduled to travel from the city of Frank am Main to Auschwitz. Upon his arrival, the SS issued him the number 119628 which was later tattooed on his left forearm.

       

      On May 4, 1943, Jean was transferred to Block 21, the prisoners’ infirmary, for an operation on his appendix. Five weeks later he caught the attention of the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker. After being selected, he joined a group of 85 other Jewish men and women who were deported on July 30, 1943 to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp. Once there, the 31-year-old was murdered in the camp gas chamber on either the 16th or 18th of August 1943.

    • Kotz
      Jean Kotz
      Collection Raphael Toledano
       
      Kotz_Haus
      Paris, Rue de Lancry
    • Paul Krotoschiner

      Paul Krotoschiner was born on May 13, 1894 in Berlin. The electrical engineer married Margarete (nee Hausen) in Lissa, Poznan. On November 28, 1923, the couple had a daughter, Hildegard. Up until shortly before her deportation, Hildegard lived in a furnished room in her parents’ home in Berlin-Mitte “Seydelstraße 5”.

       

      Mr. and Mrs. Krotoschiner were deported to Auschwitz on March 2, 1943. Their daughter was deported a day later. On March 3, 1943, a transport with 1,500 Jewish men, women, and children arrived in the extermination camp. On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 535 men and 145 women were selected out and sent on to the camp serve as slave laborers. Of those chosen was Paul Krotoschiner, whom the SS issued the number 105203 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 820 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      Neither Margarete nor Hildegard survived Auschwitz. Paul was first sent to work as a slave laborer in Auschwitz-Buna. By April 14, 1943, he was diagnosed with a tumor and was transferred to Block 21, the prisoners’ infirmary in the main camp. His operation took place on April 16, 1943. According to the records, the surgery was not, however for a tumorous growth for a hernia. When the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker made their selections of Jewish men and women in June 1943, Paul was among those victims chosen to be deported on the 30th of July 1943 to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp. It was there on the 18th of August 1943 that the 49-year-old was murdered in the camp gas chamber.

    •  
  • L

    Else Leibholz née Seelig · Kurt Levy · Ichay Litchi

    • Else Leibholz née Seelig

      In the late 19th century, the Polish village that is now known as “Glowczyce” was called “Glowitz”. It was at this time, on July 20, 1889, that Else Seelig was born. Glowitz was then considered to be the center of the region of Kashubia and was commonly called “the Kashubia Jerusalem”. As the nickname implies, before WWI, many Jew families lived in this area. Among them was the Seelig family. Else was the daughter of Maria and Leo Seelig. Her father ran a local glass and porcelain manufactory. On May 18, 1918, Else married the butcher Alfred Leibholz who was born on December 4, 1887 in Schlawe in Pomerania. Together the couple had four children whom they raised in Glowitz: Marianne (born April 26, 1921), Walter (September 20, 1922), Lieselotte (November 16, 1923), and Kurt (November 4, 1927). After WWII, a nephew of the Liebholz family described how the conditions of the Jewish families living in Glowtz deteriorated after the Nazis seized control. In no time at all, even the school-aged children realized that the new political situation would not simply “blow over.” Else’s husband was temporarily placed under arrest for reportedly making a disparaging comment about Hitler during a friendly game of cards [Skat] in a village restaurant. Despite these difficulties, the Leibholz family remained in Glowitz until 1938/1939, when they relocated to the city of Berlin. A year earlier, their daughter Marianne had already moved to the metropole to live with extended family. The six-person family found refuge in a three-room apartment on “Levetzowstraße 13”.

       

      The Leibholz family did not intend to remain permanently in Berlin. Instead their plan was to eventually immigrate to either Argentina or England. Those plans never became a reality, however. In 1942, Alfred Leibholz died a natural death and was buried in Berlin’s Jewish cemetery “Weißensee”. His gravestone can still be found there. His son, Walter Leibholz, was arrested on February 27, 1943 by the Gestapo and deported to Auschwitz on March 1, 1943. His sister Marianne was able to escape her brother’s fate, only because on the day of the arrest she had had to work the evening shift. Then, on March 4th, she, her mother, and her remaining siblings managed to avoid deportation once again. As she explained after the War in her biography: “My sister had fallen ill with scarlet fever. Because the Gestapo was afraid of becoming infected, they only seized our identification papers but did not place us under arrest.”

       

      However, on May 4, 1943, Else Leibholz was finally arrested in her apartment along with her children Lieselotte and Kurt. On May 18, 1943, they were taken from the “Großen Hamburger Straße” and deported to Auschwitz. On May 19, 1943, a transport with 1,000 Jewish men, women, and children arrived in the extermination camp. On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 80 men and 115 women were selected out and sent on to the camp to serve as slave laborers. Of those chosen was Else Leibholz, whom the SS issued the number 45242 which was then tattooed on her left forearm. The remaining 805 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered. While Liselotte and Kurt did not survive their deportation to Auschwitz, Marianne was able to successfully go into hiding— first in Berlin, and then later in Eggersdorf. She died in 1972. In Auschwitz, her mother Else was sent to Block 10 where she was selected by the two race anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans-Fleischhacker. On July 30, 1943, she was deported with 85 other Jewish men and women from Auschwitz to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp. It was there that she was murdered in the camp gas chamber on either the 11th or the 13th of August 1943. She was 54 years old.

    •  
    • Kurt Levy

      Kurt Levy was born on October 5, 1925 in Berlin. His father, Julius Levy, was born on April 19, 1878. After WWI, Julius moved from the west Prussian village of Mlewo to the German capital of Berlin. It was there that he met and married the Berlin native Meta Levy (nee Lehman). Meta was born on September 4, 1893. The Levys lived in Berlin-Mitte on “Weinsbergweg 7”. Julius was torn from his family on June 13, 1942 when the salesman was placed on the 15th transport from Berlin headed east. He was later murdered in the Majdanek Concentration Camp. His son, Kurt, was arrested during a factory raid and was deported to Auschwitz on March 1, 1943. Kurt’s mother, who only days later was forced to take the same route, was immediately sent to her death in the gas chambers of Auschwitz.

       

      Kurt was sent to the satellite camp Auschwitz-Monowitz where he was made to work as a slave laborer in the Buna Factory. The SS assigned him the number 104671 which was later tattooed on his left forearm. Two weeks later, on March 17, 1943, the camp physician determined that Kurt had a pneumonia and had him transferred to the prisoners’ infirmary (Block 21) in the main camp of Auschwitz. When the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker were making their selections of Jewish men and women, Kurt was among those victims chosen to be deported on the 30th of July 1943 to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp. It was there that, on either the 16th or the 18th August 1943, the 17-year-old was murdered in the camp gas chamber.

    •  
    • Ichay Litchi

      Ichay Litchi was born on July 13, 1911 in Thessalonica, Greece. On September 12, 1929 he married Esthere Litchi (nee Scialom). The couple left Thessalonica and immigrated to France. There, they had four children: Albert (born 1931), Charles (1932), Arlette (1934), and Henri (August 10, 1936). While in Paris, Ichay ran a small shoe repair shop on “Rue de l'Abbé Groult 65” in District 15. His wife, Esthere, passed away on February 24, 1941 in a Parisian hospital at the age of 30.

       

      Despite suffering his wife’s untimely death, the widower managed to hide his children from the Germans in the nick of time. He hid both of his youngest children in a small Pyreness village, Lanneplaà bei Orthez. Ichay himself was however placed under arrest. While his customers complained to the police about his business being closed, Ichay was being deported from the transit camp Drancy to Auschwitz. On February 11, 1943, he arrived in the extermination camp in a transport of 1,000 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 77 men and 91 women were selected to serve as slave laborers and sent to the main camp. Of those chosen was Ichay Litchi, whom the SS issued the number 101089 which was later tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 832 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      Initially, Ichay was made to work as a slave laborer in the Buna Factory of Auschwitz-Monowitz. Then on March 17, 1943, he was transferred to the prisoner’ infirmary (Block 21) of the main camp for an operation. When the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker began their search for Jewish men and women, he was selected. Ichay became one of the 86 victims who were deported on July 30, 1943 to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp. It was there that the 32-year-old was murdered on either the 16th or the 18th of August 1943 in the camp gas chamber.

       

      For many of the details provided here, I am indebted to Henri Litchi, Ichay Litchi’s youngest son.

    •  
  • M

    Michael Markos · Maria Matalon · Abraham Matarasso · Lazar Menashe · Katerina Mosche

    • Michael Markos [Michael Marcus]

      In the Auschwitz camp records, he is registered as “Michael Marcus”. However, his birth name was “Michael Markos”. Michael was born in September 1897 in Thessalonica, Greece, as the son of Avraam Markos and Lea Markos (nee Pitchon). Michael eventually married Ester Kuenka. In 1938, their son, Alberto, came into the world.

       

      Michael, Ester, and Alberto Markos were all placed in the same transport to Auschwitz as Michael’s widowed mother and his siblings: Leon, Ester, and Moshe. On April 17, 1943, the family arrived in the death camp. In their transport, there were some 3,000 Jewish men, women, and children—of whom, 2,271 people were immediately sent of to the gas chamber where they were murdered. Michael Markos was one of the 467 men and 262 women to be transferred to the camp. Michael was forced to serve as a slave laborer in the satellite camp of Golleschau. It was there that the SS issued him the number 116126 which was then tattooed upon his left forearm.

       

      After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on the 30th of July 1943, the 45-year-old was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp and then murdered in the camp gas chamber on either the 16th or the 18th of August 1943.

       

      Of the entire Markos family, only Michel’s brother, Moshe, survived. After his liberation, he immigrated to Israel.

       

      I am indebted to the archivist, Aliki Arouh, of the archive of the Jewish community in Thessalonica for for the invaluable assistance with this biographical research.

    •  
    • Maria Matalon

      Maria Matalon was born in Thessalonica, Greece in 1923. After being forced by the Gestapo to relocate to the Baron-Hirsch Ghetto in Thessalonica, Maria was deported to Auschwitz. On March 25, 1943, she arrived with a transport of 1,901 Jewish men, women, and children in the extermination camp. On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 459 men and 236 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Of those chosen was Maria Matalon, whom the Gestapo issued the number 3933 which was then tattooed on her left forearm. The remaining 1,206 people were driven to the gas chamber where they were immediately murdered.

       

      After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on the 30th of July 1943, the 20-year-old old sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp and then murdered in the camp gas chamber either on the 11th or the 13th of August 1943.

    •  
    • Abraham Matarasso

      Although his exact date of birth is unknown, it is presumed that Abraham Matarasso was born in Thessalonica, Greece. After being forced by the Gestapo to relocate to the Baron-Hirsch Ghetto in Thessalonica, on March 15, 1943, he was placed on the first transport to Auschwitz.

       

      On March 20, 1943, he arrived with a transport of approximately 2,800 Jewish men, women, and children in the extermination camp. On the arrival ramp of the train station, 417 men and 192 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Of those chosen was Abraham Matarasso whom the SS issued the number 109597 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 2,191 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on the 30th of July 1943, Abraham was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp and then murdered in the camp gas chamber either on the 16th or the 18th of August 1943.

    •  
    • Lazar Menashe [Lasas Menache]

      The camp registry of Auschwitz lists him as “Lasas Menasche“. However, the original name given to the son of Recaula and Chaim Menashe was “Lazar Menashe”. Lazar was born in 1903 in Thessalonica, Greece. Together with his wife, Beatrice Alaluf, Lazar had a son, Chaim-Anri, in 1938. On April 28, 1943, Lazar, Beatrice, and their small son were deported with other families from Thessalonica to Auschwitz. Their train arrived in the death camp on May 4, 1943, carrying 2,930 Jewish men, women, and children.

       

      On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 220 men and 318 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Of those chosen was Lazar Menashe whom the SS issued the number 119927 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 2,392 people were driven to the gas chamber where they were immediately murdered. After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on the 30th of July 1943, the 40-year-old was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp and then murdered in the camp gas chamber either on the 16th or the 18th of August 1943.

       

      Four of Lazar’s siblings (Meir, Benuta, Rafael, and Allegra) were murdered in Auschwitz. Three of his sisters managed to survive (Flora, Janna, and Djulia).

       

      On a recovered document from Auschwitz, the name “Lasas Menasche” is recorded. For many years, despite intensive research, no information could be uncovered about the identity of “Lazar Menasche”. Because the memorial grave stone that was placed in Strasbourg-Cronenbourg features the misspelled version of his name that has then been reproduced elsewhere, special attention is drawn here to this issue.

       

      Aliki Arouh of the archive of the Jewish community in Thessalonica provided invaluable assistance with this biographical research.

    •  
    • Esterina Moshe [Katerina Mosche]

      In the camp registry of Auschwitz, she is listed under the German name “Katerina”. However, her birth name was “Esterina Mosche”. [In other camp documents, she is also listed with the first name “Esterina”). She was born in 1928 in Thessalonica, Greece. After being forced by the Gestapo to leave her home and relocate to the Baron Hirsch Ghetto in Thessalonica, she was deported to Auschwitz. On March 25, 1943, she arrived in a transport of 1,901 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 459 men and 236 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Of those chosen was Esterina whom the SS issued the number 39339 which was then tattooed on her left forearm. The remaining 1,206 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on the 30th of July 1943, the fifteen-year-old was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp and then murdered in the camp gas chamber either on the 11th or the 13th of August 1943.After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on the 30th of July 1943, 20-year-old was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp and then murdered in the camp gas chamber either on the 11th or the 13th of August 1943.

    •  
  • N

    Regina Nachman · Siniora Nachmias · Dario Nathan · Sarina Nissim

    • Regina Nachman

      Regina Nachman was born in 1923 in Thessalonica, Greece. After she was forced by the Gestapo to leave her home and move into the Baron Hirsch Ghetto in Thessalonica, Regina was deported to Auschwitz. On March 25, 1943, she arrived with a transport of 1,901 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the train station, 459 men and 236 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Of those chosen was Regina whom the SS issued the number 39358 which was then tattooed on her left forearm. The remaining 1,206 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on the 30th of July 1943, 20-year-old was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp and then murdered in the camp gas chamber either on the 11th or the 13th of August 1943.

    •  
    • Siniora Nachmias

      Siniora Nachmias was born on March 25, 1926 in Thessalonica, Greece. After she was forced by the Gestapo to leave her home and move into the Baron Hirsch Ghetto in Thessalonica, Siniora was deported to Auschwitz. On April 22, 1943, she arrived with a transport of 2,800 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the train station, 255 men and 413 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Of those chosen was Siniora whom the SS issued the number 42329 which was then tattooed on her left forearm. The remaining 2,132 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on the 30th of July 1943, the 17-year-old was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp and then murdered in the camp gas chamber on the 11th of August 1943.

    •  
    • Dario Nathan

      Although his exact date of birth is unknown, it is presumed that Dario Nathan was born in Thessalonica, Greece. According to an autopsy report, he was approximately forty-five-years old at the time of his death. After he was forced by the Gestapo to leave his home and move into the Baron Hirsch Ghetto in Thessalonica, Dario was deported to Auschwitz. On May 4, 1943, he arrived with a transport of 2,930 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the train station, 220 men and 318 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Of those chosen was Dario Nathan whom the SS issued the number 119948 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 2,392 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on the 30th of July 1943, Dario was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp and then murdered in the camp gas chamber on the 16th of August 1943.

    •  
    • Sarina Nissim

      Sarina Nissim was born in 1906 in Thessalonica, Greece. After she was forced by the Gestapo to leave her home and move into the Baron Hirsch Ghetto in Thessalonica, Sarina was deported to Auschwitz. On April 28, 1943, she arrived with a transport of 3,070 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 180 men and 361 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Of those chosen was Sarina Nissim. The SS issued her the number 43367 which was tattooed on her left forearm. The remaining 2,529 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on the 30th of July 1943, the 37-year-old was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp and then murdered in the camp gas chamber on either the 11th or the 13th of August 1943.

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  • O

    Heinrich Osepowitz

    • Heinrich Osepowitz

      His exact date of birth and presumably Polish place of birth could not yet be determined. His last known location before being deported was the ghetto in Pruzhany, Poland. From there, he was sent to Oranczye, Poland and on January 30, 1943, he was deported once again: this time to the Auschwitz.

       

      On January 31, 1943, his transport arrived in the death camp with 2,834 Jews. Among them were 230 children under the age of four years old; and 520 children between the ages of four and ten years old. On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 313 men and 180 women were picked out and sent on to the camp to labor as prisoners. Of those chosen was Heinrich Osepowitz whom the SS issued the number 98991 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 2,341 people, including 750 children, were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on the 30th of July 1943, Heinrich Osepowitz was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp and then murdered in the camp gas chamber on either the 16th or the 18th of August 1943.

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  • P

    Jeanette Passmann née Vogelsang · Hermann Pinkus · Jacob Polak

    • Jeanette Passmann née Vogelsang

      Jeanette Passmann was born on February 28, 1878 in Gelsenkirchen. She married the salesman, Hermann Passmann who was born on June 11, 1869 in Issum (Germany). Together, the couple had two children: Kurt (born November 1909 in Geldern) and Ilse Henriette (February 9, 1911 in Geldern). The Passmanns eventually moved to Krefeld where they built a life for themselves. In June 1934, they immigrated to the Netherlands and settled down in Roermond. It was there that Hermann Passmann died on January 26, 1934.

       

      In 1934, Ilse Henriette married Erich Salm in Cologne. The two then immigrated to Chicago in the United States. She died in August 1989 in Miami, Florida. Her husband, Erich, died in August 2006 in Chicago. Ilse Henriette’s brother, Kurt, who had immigrated with his parents to the Netherlands, managed to escape to England with the help of a Dutch officer after the Germans occupied Holland. The British deported him to Canada, where he was initially placed in an internment camp. After the War, he found a wife in Canada and in the 1990’s he passed away in Montreal.

       

      Jeanette Passmann located a smuggler who gave her his word that he would get her safely to Switzerland for a price of 10,000 Gulden. Despite that promise, along the way, she was arrested by the police. On February 15, 1943, she was sent to the transit camp of Mechelen and on April 19, 1943, she was deported to Auschwitz. On April 22, 1943, she arrived in the death camp along with 507 men and 121 boys, 631 women, and 141 girls —all of whom were Jewish. On the arrival ramp of the train station, 276 men and 245 women were picked out and sent on to the camp to labor as prisoners. Of those chosen was Jeanette Passmann, whom the SS issued the number 42658 which was then tattooed on her left forearm. The remaining 879 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered. Jeanette was sent to Block 10 of the main camp along with other women from her transport group. This block was where the infamous medical experiments were conducted.

       

      After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on the 30th of July 1943, with 85 other Jewish men and women, Jeanette Passmann was deported to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp. It was there that she was murdered in the camp gas chamber on either the 11th or the 13th of August 1943.

    •  
    • Hermann Pinkus

      Hermann Pinkus was born on January 16, 1903 in Mrotschen (now Poland). A short time later, the Pinkus family moved to Berlin. It was there that Hermann’s sister, Hertha, was born on September 3, 1906. It is not known today what schooling Hermann had or what trade he learned. However, it is documented that on November 7, 1941, he married a woman named Grete Meyer who was born on December 19, 1903 in Neustadt, Poznan. Five days after their wedding day, the two moved to “Schlesischen Straße 20”. On January 19, 1943, the married couple was, forced to leave their new home and sublet an unfurnished room on “Skalizer Straße 46”. Their landlords were Max and Emmy Rosenbund. Soon thereafter the Rosenbunds disappeared into the criminal underworld and escaped deportation. Hermann was able to earn a meager income at the Kurt Seidel Company where he made horse saddles for military use.

       

      Hermann’s mother, Dora Pinkus (nee Chaim) was born on October 21, 1873 in Znin, Poznan. On January 14, 1943, she was deported to Theresienstadt where she died in March 1944. Hermann was arrested during a factory raid by the Nazis in late February 1943. On March 1, 1943, five days before his wife and two days before his sister were deported, he was placed on a train to Auschwitz.

       

      On March 2, 1943, he arrived with a transport of 1,500 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 150 men were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Of those chosen was Hermann Pinkus whom the SS issued the number 104852 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 1,350 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered. After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on the 30th of July 1943, the 40 yearold was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp and then murdered in the camp gas chamber on either the 16th or the 18th of August 1943.

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    • Jacob Polak

      Jacob Polak was born on March 24, 1911 in Amsterdam as the eldest of three sons. His father, Isaak Polak, was born on August 13, 1892 and his mother, Rebecca (nee Hennipseel) was born on June 5, 1893. Like their son, both of Jacob’s parents were natives of Amsterdam. Initially, the Polaks resided on “Laing's Nekstraat 10 III.” Jacob Polak was a dock worker —or more precisely, a stevedore—by profession. His wife, Sarah (nee Walvisch) was born on October 15, 1915 in Haarlem. The couple never even had a chance to set up their own home after their wedding. The entire family was completely obliterated during the Holocaust.

       

      On July 9, 1943, Jacob’s wife, parents, and brother Benjamin (born November 20, 1931 in Amsterdam) were all deported to Sobibor where they were murdered. His middle brother, Meijer (born April 5, 1921 in Amsterdam) had already been deported to Auschwitz on September 30, 1942. He perished there at an unknown date. On February 16, 1943, Jacob was also deported from the Westerbork camp to Auschwitz in a transport containing 1, 108 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 200 men and 61 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Of those chosen was Jacob Polak, whom the SS issued the number 103648 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 847 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on the 30th of July 1943, the thirty-two-year-old was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp and then murdered in the camp gas chamber on either the 16th or the 18th of August 1943.

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  • R

    Israel Rafael · Samuel Rafael · Siegbert Meinhardt Rosenthal

    • Israel Rafael

      Although his exact date of birth and family ancestry could not yet be determined, it is presumed that Israel Rafael was born in Thessalonica, Greece. After he was forced by the Gestapo to leave his home and move into the Baron Hirsch Ghetto in Thessalonica, he was deported to Auschwitz on April 28, 1943. On May 4, 1943, he arrived with a transport of 2,930 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the train station, 220 men and 318 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Of those chosen was Israel Rafael whom the SS issued the number 119963 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 2,392 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on the 30th of July 1943, he was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp and then murdered in the camp gas chamber on either the 16th or 18th of August 1943.

      .
    •  
    • Samuel Rafael

      Although his exact date of birth and family ancestry could not yet be determined, it is presumed that Samuel Rafael was born in Thessalonica, Greece. After he was forced by the Gestapo to leave his home and move into the Baron Hirsch Ghetto in Thessalonica, he was deported to Auschwitz on April 28, 1943. On May 4, 1943, he arrived with a transport of 2,930 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the train station, 220 men and 318 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Of those chosen was Samuel Rafael whom the SS issued the number 119964 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 2,392 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on the 30th of July 1943, Samuel Rafael was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp and then murdered in the camp gas chamber on either the 16th or 18th of August 1943.

    •  
    • Siegbert Meinhardt Rosenthal

      Siegbert Meinhardt Rosenthal was born in Berlin on July 11, 1889. That was the very same year in which the marriage of his parents — Markus Rosenthal and Minna Glass — crumbled. The two both came from the small, west Prussian city of Czersk, where they married in 1893. Two years later, their first son Harry was born. At that time, the couple lived in the eastern Prussian city of Rastenburg which is now the Polish city of Kętrzyn. Later, in 1902, in Berlin, Siegbert’s mother married her second husband, the salesman Leo Lippmann. That marriage produced a daughter, Johanna “Henny“ Lippmann.

       

      Both of the Rosenthal brothers were soliders in WWI. After the war, Harry Rosenthal began work in the shoe factory “Salamander”. The company owners were Jakob Sigle and Max Levi. The two Kornwestheim-natives opened a branch of their business in Berlin. Harry eventually rose to become the head of that branch. He was forced to give up this position, however, after the Nazis came to power. Without a return-ticket, in the fall of 1938, Harry travelled to Iceland where he planned to re-settle. Since 1934, his half-sister had already been living in Iceland’s capital city of Reykjavik with her mother, her second husband, Henrik Ottosson, and their child.

       

      By contrast, Siegbert Rosenthal had remained in Germany’s capital. He was married to the Berlin-native Erna Dorothea (nee Bärwald). Erna was born on December 24, 1901. On July 19, 1939, Siegbert and Erna’s son “Denny” was born. The young family lived in Berlin-Mitte on “Augustraße 51”. Siegbert was a salesman by trade. In all probability, he had also planned to leave Germany, like his brother, after Kristallnacht. It is highly likely that he wanted to wait until after his wife had given birth. The financial situation for Jews was becoming more and more precarious. Siegbert obtained work as a washer for the Reich Association of Jews in Germany [Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland]. His siblings did everything they could to help him leave Germany with his tiny family. They succeeded, for example, in mobilizing the Swedish embassy. However, it was all for naught. Despite all their efforts, there was to be no “happy ending” for them. By the time the Swedish Embassy attempted to contact them in Berlin in April 1943, Erna and Denny were already dead—murdered in the gas chambers of Auschwitz.

       

      On March 12, 1943, the three Rosenthals were deported. Their transport from Berlin arrived in Auschwitz on March 13, 1943 with 344 Jewish men as well as 620 Jewish women and children. On the arrival ramp of the train station, 218 men and 147 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Of those chosen was Siegbert M. Rosenthal whom the SS issued the number 107933 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 599 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered. Siegbert was forced to work as a slave laborer in the Buna Factory in Auschwitz-Monowitz. On April 27, 1943, thanks to an abscess on his left hand, he was transferred to the prisoners’ infirmary in the main camp. After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on the 30th of July 1943, the 44-year-old was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp and then murdered in the camp gas chamber on either the 16th or the 18th of August 1943.

       

      I am indebted to Magnea Henný Petersdottir for the biographical information she provided about Siegbert Meinhardt Rosenthal, a relative of her.

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  • S

    Frank Sachnowitz · Marie Sainderichin geb. Brodsky · Albert Saltiel · Maurice Saltiel · Maurice Saporta · Mordochai Saul · Gustav Seelig · Alice Simon geb. Remak · Emil Sondheim · Sigurd Steinberg · Nina Sustil

    • Frank Sachnowitz

      Larvik is a Norwegian harbor city located approximately 100 km to the southwest of Oslo.  It was in this city, on February 8, 1925, that Frank Sachnowitz was born. Frank was the youngest of eight children born to Israel Sachnowitz. At the age of 27, Israel had immigrated to Norway in 1907 from Krasnapolje in Belarus. Like him, many Jews chose to leave their country to escape the mounting religious persecution at that time.Israel’s personal impetus for fleeing came when he was denied permission to leave the military despite having already served as a soldier for four years.

       

      In Oslo, the belarusian immigrant married Sara Lahn. She who was two years older than Israel and from Lithuania.  In 1910, she gave birth to the couple’s eldest son, Martin.  The young family moved from Oslo to Larvik and opened a men’s clothing store there. Over the years, the couple had seven more children: Elias (who was born in 1911), Marie (1919), Hermann (1921), Frida (1923) and finally Frank. The family enjoyed a peaceful life. All of the children successfully learned a trade.  Elias, for example, opened the family’s second men’s clothing store. There was the “Dressmagasinet” on “Torget 4” and the “Ekko” was on “Prinsegata 8”. Everyone in the family was also very musical. Hermann, like his father, played the trumpet; Martin, the trombone and the bass; Frank, the tenor horn; and Marie had an exceptional singing voice.  Many of the Sachnowitz children also played in music bands in the area.  Hermann and Frank, for example, were members of the local brass band.

       

       

      APFELBAUM

      Israel Sachnowitz planted an appletree for his wife and each of his children in his garden. They still blossom today.

       

      Each time a child was born, Israel Sachnowitz planted an apple tree in the family garden.  “We were very proud of those trees” Hermann Sachnowitz wrote in his memoirs many years after the war had ended. “The youngest always competed with one another to see which tree had the prettiest flowers in the spring and which yielded the most fruit in the fall. We all made sure that the trees had ample fertilizer and looked after them.  We climbed in their branches and ate their apples.  And of course, each one of us was convinced that our tree was the most beautiful of all!  Only mother was without a tree.  Father planted one for her on the day she died.”  That was on October 16, 1939.

       

      Aside from the Sachnowitz family, there were no other Jews in Larvik.  But, they were well integrated. All that changed, however, in April 1940, when the German Wehrmacht marched into Norway.  From that moment, everyday life for the small number of Jews who had made their home in the country became much, much harder.

       

      The first round of large-scale anti-semitic persecution began in 1942 when the following order was issued to all police departments by the Norwegian Head of Police, Jonas Lie.  As of then, all Jews in Norway were required to have the letter “J” on their identification papers.  Shortly thereafter, the local police demanded that all Jews complete a questionnaire for a Norwegian census that would list all of the Jews living in the country.  This listing became the basis for the subsequent arrests.

       

      Soon after the Germans occupied Norway, the Sachnowitz family relocated to the countryside in a place called “Gjein”.  Frank’s father had bought a farm some 30 km outside of Larvik.  The family’s hopes for peace and quiet were dashed by the National Socialists.  Frank, then 17, was placed under arrest in Gjein with his father and brothers in the evening of October 26, 1942.  The men were then transferred to the newly erected Berg Prison Camp.  The camp was run by the Norwegian police and was located on the outskirts of Tønsberg, approximately 20 km away from the Sachnowitz family farm. The Sachnowitz men were the first Jewish prisoners in the camp, but they would not be the last.  Over the next few says, more Jews—both on their own and with their entire families—were transferred to the camp.  On the 26th of November, the now 526 imprisoned Jews were sent to Oslo.  From there, they were placed on a military ship and sent to Germany.  Included among the deportees were the Sachnowitz brothers and their sister, Marie.  In Stettin, a train was waiting for the group of Norwegians.  The train was scheduled to take them to their new destination: Auschwitz.  Upon their arrival, Israel and Marie Sachnowitz were immediately sent to the gas chambers.  The same fate awaited the two remaining Sachnowitz sisters, Frida and Rita, who arrived on a later transport to the extermination camp.

       

      The five brothers were transferred to the Monowitz camp, where they were forced to work as slave laborers.  Samuel was beaten to death by an SS-officer.  Martin and Elias died weeks later.  The exact circumstances of their deaths remain unknown.  Hermann was comparatively lucky.  As a trompeter, he was able to join the camp orchestra.  He was the only member of the Sachnowitz family to survive Auschwitz.

       

      The camp SS had the number 79238 tattooed on Frank’s left arm.  In the satellite camp Auschwitz-Monowitz, Frank was made to slave away in the Buna Factory until well past the point of complete physical and mental exhaustion.  On May 6, 1943, he was transferred back to the main camp and placed in the prisoners’ infirmary.  One of prisoners who had had access to the camp registry informed Hermann that his brother Frank had been deported to the Natzweiler Concentration Camp in the Alsace.  What had happened to him then would remain a life-long mystery for Hermann.  He never lived to discover what happened to his brother Frank.  He never learned that his brother had been selected in the main camp by the two SS anthropologists, Bruno Beger and Hans Fleichhacker.  He never learned that Frank, along with 85 other Jewish men and women, had been murdered in gas chamber of the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp.  Frank’s date of death was on the 18th of August 1943.  He was 18 years old.

    •  

      Frank Sachnowitz
      Frank Sachnowitz
    • Marie Sainderichin née Brodsky

      Marie Brodsky was born on June 4, 1881 in Kischinew, today’s capital of the Republic of Moldova. She was the daughter of David Brodsky. The Brodsky family immigrated to Belgium in 1883. On August 22, 1905, Marie married Abraham Leib Sainderichin who was born on December 15, 1885 in Moscow. Together, the two had four children: Berthe (born June 19, 1906), David Maurice (July 7, 1908), Anna (December 19, 1911), and Maurice (October 26, 1915). After her husband Abraham died on June 4, 1931, Marie continued to live with her children until, one by one, they all moved out. By 1936, she was living on her own. As of August 25, 1937, she took up residence in a three-room apartment on “Rue Delin 71” in Antwerpen. The few furnishings she had were confiscated in a whole-sale raid that was conducted by the German occupation forces on July 31, 1943. By that time, however, Marie had already been forced to leave her apartment.

       

      Marie Sainderichin was placed under arrest on February 12, 1943. She was sent to the Mechelen internment camp where she was held until April 19, 1943 when she was placed on Transport Number 20 bound for Auschwitz. On April 22, 1943, she arrived with a transport of 507 men, 121 boys, 631 women, and 141 girls—all of whom were Jewish. On the arrival ramp of the train station, 276 men and 245 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Of those chosen was Marie Sainderichin whom the SS issued the number 42670 which was then tattooed on her left forearm. The remaining 879 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered. In June 1943, she was selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker who wanted to use her corpse for a project of the National Socialists’ organization for ancestral heritage [Ahnenerbe]. The project was for a racial anthropological exhibit to be assembled for the Reich University of Strasbourg. A total of 86 Jewish men and women were selected for this purpose and sent on the 30th of July 1943 to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp where they were murdered in the camp gas chamber. Among the murder victims was Marie Sainderichin who had just had her 62nd birthday a few weeks earlier. Her death date was either on the 11th or the 13th of August 1943.

       

      Of her children, Berthe and Maurice, were able to survive. Berthe later married and took on her husband’s surname Moreels. She died in 1999. In that very same year, her brother Maurice also passed away. During the War, Maurice had been deported to Germany and made to work as a slave laborer in the Rhenish city of Baumholder.

       

      I am indebted to Rosa Talboom, the wife of David Maurice Sainderichin, for the information she provided about her mother-in-law, Marie Sainderichin.

    • Marie Sainderichin geb. Brodsky
    • Albert Saltiel

      Albert Saltiel was born in Thessalonica, Greece. His exact date of birth is unknown. After he was forced by the Gestapo to leave his home and move into the Baron Hirsch Ghetto in Thessalonica, Albert was deported to Auschwitz on April 28, 1943. On May 4, 1943, he arrived with a transport of 2,930 Jewish men, women, and children.

       

      On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 220 men and 318 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Of those chosen was Albert Saltiel whom the SS issued the number 119970 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 2,392 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      Albert Saltiel was sent to the prisoners’ infirmary (Block 21) on May 13, 1943 to have an operation for an abscess. After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on the 30th of July 1943, Albert Saltiel was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp and then murdered on either the 16th or 18th of August 1943 in the camp gas chamber.

       

    •  
    • Maurice Saltiel

      Maurice Saltiel was born in Thessalonica, Greece. His parents were Eliahu and Riqueta Saltiel. After he was forced by the Gestapo to leave his home and move into the Baron Hirsch Ghetto in Thessalonica, Maurice was deported to Auschwitz on April 28, 1943. On May 4, 1943, he arrived with a transport of 2,930 Jewish men, women, and children.

       

      On the arrival ramp of the train station, 220 men and 318 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Of those chosen was Maurice Saltiel whom the SS issued the number 119972 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 2,932 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered. Along with Maurice was his cousin, Synto Saltiel, who was issued the number 119971. The two had an especially close relationship to one another. Synto’s father was Maurice’s godfather and Maurice’s father, Eliahu was Synto’s godfather.

       

      After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on the 30th of July 1943, Maurice Saltiel was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp and then murdered on either the 16th or the 18th of August 1943 in the camp gas chamber.

       

      I am indebted to Béatrice Saltiel and Marty Saltiel for their assistance in this research.

    •  
    • Maurice Saporta

      Maurice Saporta was born in Thessalonica, Greece in 1920 as the son of Avraam Saporta and Matilde (nee Saporta). Along with his parents and his sister, Laura, Maurice was deported to Auschwitz on April 28, 1943. On May 4, 1943, they arrived with a transport of 2,930 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the train station, 220 men and 318 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Of those chosen was Maurice Saporta whom the SS issued the number 119974 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 2,392 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered. Among them were Maurice’s parents and presumably also his sister.

       

      After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on the 30th of July 1943, the 23-year-old was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp and then murdered on either the 16th or 18th of August 1943 in the camp gas chamber.

       

      I am indebted to Aliki Arouh of the archive of the Jewish community in Thessalonica who provided invaluable assistance with this biographical research.

    •  
    • Mordochai Saul

      Mordochai Saul was born in Thessalonica, Greece, as the son of Benjamin and Reina Saul. Mordochai married Rashel Levi with whom he had two children: a boy named Benjamin and a girl named Julie, who was born in 1939. On May 4, 1943, they arrived with a transport of 2,930 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the train station, 220 men and 318 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Of those chosen was Mordochai Saul whom the SS issued the number 119980 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 2,392 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered. Among them were Mordochai’s wife, children, and parents.

       

      After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, on the 30th of July 1943, the 37-year-old was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp and then murdered in the camp gas chamber on either the 16th or the 18th of August 1943.

       

      Of the Saul family, the only survivor was Mordochai’s brother, Daniel, who had already immigrated to Palestine in 1932.

       

      I am indebted to Aliki Arouh of the Archive of the Jewish community in Thessalonica who provided invaluable assistance with this biographical research.

    •  
    • Gustav Seelig

      Gustav Seelig was born on November 14, 1878 in the township of Bandeschow, in Stolp, Pommerania. Today, the town is called “Będziechowo” and is located in Poland. Gustav was the second oldest of Guter and Ernestine’s eight children. The couple had four boys and four girls. Gustav was still only a child when his parents moved with him and his siblings to Berlin. After finishing his schooling, he went on to complete vocational training to become a salesman in Berlin. In 1904, he opened his own textile business. Two years later, he married Clara Gellert. A native of Berlin, Clara was born on July 2, 1881. By 1914, Gustav, a successful businessman, had already opened two more stores. On August 5, 1914, four days before the start of WWI, Seeling began his military service. He remained a soldier until WWI came to an end. In his absence, his wife Clara managed the businesses. However, due to personnel shortages and a decline in orders, she was forced to close two of the stores.

       

      Gustav Seelig’s last known address in Berlin was on “Kopenhagener Straße 11” in the Prenzlauer Berg district. Selig’s main business— a shop for fabrics, lines, and sewing notions—was located here. On August 19, 1935, Gustav was placed under arrest by the Gestapo and brought to the police department located at the famous “Alexanderplatz”. In the meantime, members of the SA smashed in the large shop windows, broke down the shop door, and looted the merchandise. As Gustav’s daughter, Herta Noah, later reported: “Part of the store merchandise was also purposefully soiled, trampled upon, and left strewn about the shop floors.” According to Herta: “My father was physically and emotionally shattered by this experience and was forced to seek medical attention.” Many Jewish businesses and business-owners fell victim to the violent anti-Semitic boycotts during those days of August. In early 1938, Gustav finally succumbed to the political and economic pressure and sold his business for a pittance.

       

      On October 4, 1940, Herta Noah left Germany and moved to South America with her husband, Herbert. Her parents obviously made the attempt to follow suit, as they had already may a payment to a Hamburg shipping line for their passage. The couple did not, however, make it out of the country. Gustav Seelig was made to serve as a slave laborer as a machinist for the company Siemen-Schuckert. On March 2, 1943, he was placed under arrest during a factory raid by the Nazis. “After my mother waited and waited for him to return” their daughter later recounted “she eventually turned herself in to the Nazis so that she could be together with him.” On March 4, 1943, the Seeligs were deported to Auschwitz.

       

      On March 6, 1943, they arrived in the extermination camp in a transport carrying 1, 405 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the camp railway station, 406 men and 190 women were selected out and sent on to the main camp to work as slave laborers. Among them was Gustav, who was assigned the number 106786 which was later tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 809 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber and murdered. Among them was Clara Seelig. Gustav was sent to work as a slave laborer in the Buna Factory of Auschwitz-Monowitz, a satellite camp of Auschwitz. On March 29, 1943, he was transferred back to the main camp and sent to the prisoners’ infirmary for a fracture in his right lower leg. After being selected by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943, the 64-year-old was sent with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp. It was there that he was murdered on either the 16th or the 18th of August 1943 in the camp gas chamber.

       

      In Late January 1945, the Berlin Gas Company sent a letter of complaint to the office of the chief financial director: “We still have an unpaid bill for Seelig which amounts to 16 RM for the use of gas. We request therefore the reimbursement of this sum.”

    •  
    • Alice Simon geb. Remak

      As the oldest of three children, Alice Simon was born on August 30th, 1887 in the Prussian city of Posen (today: Poznań/Polen). The Jewish population percentage in this city at that time was around 10 percent. They saw themselves as Germans, who were almost a minority among the 68,000 inhabitants. Approximately 35,000 inhabitants were Poles. Among the Christian Germans, of course, the Jews were not especially well-received, for which reason they had already begun emigrating to the West several years previously.

       

      Alice Simon grew up in a merchant’s family. Her father was Arnold Remak, her mother Hedwig Löw. After Alice followed Else (*1888) and Curt (*1897) as younger siblings, until the Remak couple separated in 1904. The single mother, at 40 years old, moved with her children in 1905 to Charlottenburg. Arnold Remak also wished to leave Posen eventually, and moved in 1923 to Berlin, where he soon died at the age of 69 on May 16th, 1923.

       

      Alice Simon worked as a secretary in the firm of the Berlin attorney Dr. Herbert Simon. He had been born in her old homeland, on January 1st, 1881, in Bromberg (today Bydgodszcz), and had opened an law firm after the First World War, during which he had been conscripted as a soldier. The lawyer and his secretary fell in love, and had themselves baptized in the Lutheran Church before they were wed. Their wedding took place in the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche on August 2nd, 1920. On June 30, 1921, Alice gave birth to two twins, Carl and Hedda. Both were baptized in the Lutheran Church by the pastor Martin Niemöller, and their confirmation was performed in 1935 by the pastor Gerhard Jacobi. Jacobi was a leading member of the Confessing Church, and was called “the Jewish pastor” by Nazis for his Jewish ancestry, and experienced repressions in various forms.

       

      The Simons lived a well-to-do lifestyle, and lived in a seven-room apartment on the second floor of house number 12 in the Joachimsthaler Street, in which Herbert Simon’s mother and the housemaid Ottilie Lenz still lived. Alice spent the complete two months of summer vacation with her twins in Swinemünde an der Ostsee, and Herbert would visit for several weekends.

       

      The Nazi era brought a decisive turning point. Because Herbert had served on the front lines during the First World War, Herbert Simon was allowed to continue his law firm; however, his notary’s office was taken away in late 1935. On January 26th, at just 55 years old, he died. His widow sent the children for further education to the Forest School in the Snaresbrook borough of London: Carl in the summer of 1936, Hedda one year later. In the summer of 1938, Alice Simon came for a few weeks to London. She discussed the possibility of her son continuing his education in the U.S.A. with the Malcomson family, a family which had taken Carl in during his time abroad. However, she strictly refused to consider emigrating to England, which the Malcomson had offered to support her in doing.

       

      Alice Simon had promised her husband she would care for his almost blind mother. Because she knew her twins were in safety, she stayed in Berlin. After the Munich Agreement of September 30th, 1938, the politically interested woman looked confidently forward. In one of the few letters remaining from her correspondence, she wrote on October 3rd, 1938: “Everything could be changed for the best at the last second, thanks to meetings from the leading politicians. Every country had to suffer terribly during the last war, which all of us still hold vividly in our memory. They will surely understand, how happy and thankful we now are that peace is at hand.”

       

      Mother and children never saw each other again. Two days after this optimistic letter was sent, Jews had their passports taken away. Alice Simon had never requested a visa to leave the country. She worked for a while without being paid as an accountant for the Reich Union of Jews in Germany in the Kantstraße, only a few minutes’ walk from the Joachimsthaler Street. Her stepmother had died in December 1942 in a home for Jews, to which she had needed to move shortly before her passing. The Gestapo took Alice Simon from her home in the beginning of May, 1943, and brought her to the collection camp in the Große Hamburger Street. on May 18th, 1943, she had to leave Berlin in a transport train, which deported approximately 1,000 Jewish men, women and children to Auschwitz.

       

      Luise Cotta, a friend of Alice Simon, wrote her daughter Hedda after the war, that she had brought Alice something to eat every evening, during the ten days of Alice’s stay in the collection camp before being shipped away to Auschwitz: “That was the least that I could do for her, and she sent me little secret letters in which she wrote how thankful she was. Then, two months later, I received another short greeting in a card from her from the concentration camp Birkenau bei Auschwitz. That was the last sign of life from her; that was when her horrible end likely came.”

       

      After the selection took place upon the station platform at Auschwitz on May 19th, 1943, 805 persons were executed right away in the gas chambers. Those selecting prisoners sent 80 men and 115 women as prisoners into the camp. At least four of the women (in addition to Alice Simon also Sophie Boroschek, Else Leibholz and Friedel Levy) were sent to Block 10 in the main camp of Auschwitz, which had been designated as a place for medical experiments approximately six weeks previously. [see: Block 10] Here the camp administration tattooed the number 45263 onto the left underarm of the mother of Hedda and Carl. In the second week of June, 1943, three of the four named women from Berlin were chosen by the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker and were subjected to tests alongside other Jewish men and women: In addition to Alice Simon this included Sophie Boroschek and Else Leibholz. [see: Anthropologists in Auschwitz]

       

      Gedenken01

      Debbie Konkol, Joanne Weinberg and Chris Halverson, all USA, visited on May 21st, 2015, with their husbands the grave of their grandmother Alice Simon. Please click here, to hear the song which they have sung. © R. Toledano

       

       

      As on of 86 women and men, Alice Simon was sent by train transport on July 30th, 1943 to the concentration camp Natzweiler-Struthof, where they arrived on August 2nd. There she was murdered on August 13, 1943 in the gas chambers. Her body lay conserved for two years in the anatomical institute of the Reich University in Strasbourg, though the planned collection of Jewish skeletons was never made a reality. Some time after the liberation of Strasbourg, her body was laid to rest in a mass grave in the Jewish cemetery of Strasbourg-Cronenbourg. Alice knew her brother Curt had also been deported to Theresienstadt on March 17th, 1943. He was then murdered in Auschwitz.

       

      Thanks to aid from a kindly American woman, Carl Simon could continue his education in the U.S.A. His mother had agreed for his passage across the ocean with a heavy heart. On board of the “Mauretania,” the 18-year-old Carl passed the Statue of Liberty in New York on May 1st, 1939. After his studies, he became a pastor for the Presbyterian Church. His sister followed him after the war from London to the U.S.A. Both siblings found partners for marriage; Hedda had two children, and Carl five.

       

      Helene Lenz, niece of the long-living house maid Ottilie Lenz, wrote to Hedda Simon in 1947: “When you think of your dear mother, you can and should think with pride of her, a person who did her inner and outer duties until the very end, a person who was great and proud, who was a hero. There is no place to place an external monument to her life. But in the hearts of her children, such a monument to her could never be great enough. And now that one can speak of this time openly, even here, I have spoken of your dear mother already many times as of a person who deserves to never be forgotten.”

       

      Simon Haus
      Straßenansicht des Gebäudes Joachimstalerstraße 12 in Berlin-Charlottenburg. In der ersten Etage wohnte Alice Simon mit ihrem Mann Herbert und den Zwillingen Hedda und Carl. Diese Haushälfte wurde bei einem Bombenangriff 1944 zerstört.
    • Alice Simon
      Alice Simon
       
      Der Stolperstein
      Stolperstein in Berlin, Joachimsthalerstrasse 12
       
      Herbert Simon
      Herbert Simon (1881-1935), husband of Alice Simon
    • Emil Sondheim

      Emil Sondheim was born on June 24, 1886 in Dejwitz, a suburb of Prague. He lived in Berlin, in the Prezlauer Berg district, on “Varnhagenstraße 13”. As of October 1942, he occupied a single furnished room on “Hochmeisterstraße 10”. Initially he was forced to work for the railway as a slave laborer. By the time he was deported, he was already divorced from his non-Jewish wife, Hedwig (nee Zahn). Hedwig was born on February 1, 1896. On March 4, 1943, Emil was deported to Auschwitz. On March 6, 1943, he arrived in the death camp with a transport containing 1, 405 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the camp train station, 406 men and 190 women were selected out and sent on to the main camp to work as slave laborers. Among them was Emil Sondheim, whom the camp SS issued the number 106569 which was tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 809 people who arrived in Emil’s transport were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      Emil was forced to work in the Buna Factory in the satellite camp of Auschiwtz-Monowitz. On May 12, 1943, he was transferred to the infirmary in the main camp for general exhaustion. It was there that the 53-year-old was selected by the two racial anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943. On July 30 1943, he was deported along with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthif Concentration Camp. It was there that he was murdered on the 18th of August 1943 in the camp gas chamber.

    •  
    • Sigurd Steinberg

      Benno Steinberg was born November 4, 1890 in Berlin. His wife, Susanne (nee Kulies) was born on February 13, 1894 in Leipzig. In Berlin, the couple had two children: Margot (born August 6, 1920); and Sigurd Julius (August 11, 1921). Sigurd attended the Birger Forell School in Berlin-Kreuzberg before graduating and going on to high school. He attended the Friedrichs Realgynasium which is now the “Leibniz Gymnasium” today. In March 1937, he left the school to begin vocational training in sales.

       

      Initially, he lived in a furnished room at “Tempelherrenstraße 3” in Berlin-Kreuzberg. His sister, Margot, was deported to the Riga Ghetto in September 1942. She was murdered there on October 29, 1943. In March 1943, the rest of the family, with one exception, were all deported to Auschwitz where they were systematically and mechanically murdered. Benno Steinberg was deported on March 1. His wife, Susanne, was deported a day later. Immediately afterwards, Benno’s sisters, Franziska Heliasowicz and Bella Fraenkel were also deported with their husbands. Each one of them was murdered in the gas chambers of Auschwitz

       

      The 21-year-old Sigurd was arrested by the Gestapo during a factory raid and deported from Berlin to Auschwitz along with his 21-year-old wife, Ingeborg (nee Schohes). Ingeborg was born on January 13, 1922 in Gleiwitz. On March 3, 1943, their transport arrived in the death camp with 632 Jewish men as well as 1,118 Jewish women and children. On the arrival ramp of the camp train station, 517 men and 200 women were picked out and sent on to the main camp to work as slave laborers. Among them was Sigurd Steinberg, whom the SS issued the number 105894 which was later tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 1,033 people from the transport were driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered. Among them was Sigurd’s wife. Sigurd himself was made to slave in Buna Factory of Auschwitz-Monowitz, a satellite camp of Auschwitz. On June 5, 1943, he was diagnosed with pneumonia and transferred to the prisoners’ infirmary of the main camp. After being selected by SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June of 1943, he was deported to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp where on either the 16th or the 18th of August 1943, just a few days after his 22nd birthday, he was murdered in the camp gas chamber.

       

      This photograph shows the two Steinberg siblings, Margot and Sigurd. It was graciously provided to me by Monika Winter of Havelberg. Her grandmother was employed as a housekeeper and nanny in the Steinbergs’ home in Berlin.
    • Zeugnis von Sigurd Steinberg
      Abgangszeugnis von Sigurd Steinberg vom Friedrichs-Realgymnasium (heute: Leibniz-Gymnasium) in Berlin-Kreuzberg
    •  Nina Sustil

      Nina Sustil was born On July 14, 1920 in Thessalonica, Greece. After being forced by the Gestapo to leave her home and move into the Baron Hirsch Ghetto in Thessalonica, she was deported to Auschwitz on April 28, 1943. On May 4, 1943, they arrived with a transport of 2,930 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the train station, 220 men and 318 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. Of those chosen was Nina Sustil whom the SS issued the number 44056 which was then tattooed on her left forearm. The remaining 2,392 people were immediately driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      Nina was transferred with other Greek women to Block 10 in the main camp. She belonged to the 29 women and 57 men, whom the SS anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker selected for a scheduled racial anthropological exhibition. On the 30th of July 1943, the 86 Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp where they were murdered over the course of four days in August in the camp gas chamber. The 23-year-old Nina Sustil had her life brutally cut short on either the 11th or the 13th of August 1943.

    •  
  • T

    Menachem Taffel · Martha Testa

    • Menachem Taffel

      Menachem Taffel was born on July 21, 1900 in the small Galician city of Sedriczow which is now the Polish city of Sędziszów. Menachem presumably came to Berlin after WWI. Once there, he married another Galician immigrant, Klara Schenkel. Klara was born on April 23, 1899 in Krosno. Menachem made his living as a peddler. On May 31, 1928, he and his wife had a daughter, Ester. Starting in 1935, Esther attended a Jewish vocational school for girls. After completing her schooling, she volunteered in the Jewish hospital [das Israelistische Krankenheim] on “Elsässer Straße”. In 1929, the Taffel family lived on “Ackerstraße 5”. In 1931, they changed their address to “Rheinsberger Straße 30”. It was there that they ran a small dairy store. In 1938, they were forced to move in with Menachem’s parents-in-law, David and Breindel (nee Pindles) Schenkel. David Schenkel was born August 6, 1870 in Frysztak, Poland and Breindel was born in Korczyna, Poland in 1872. The Schenkels and the Taffels lived together in Berlin on “Elsässer Straße 8”. According to a municipal address book, Breindel ran a small fabric store from this location until 1938. It is quite possible that there is some connection between the close of the fabric store and the Taffels moving in. On April 19, 1942, the Schenkels were deported to Theresienstadt where David Schenkel died in June 1943. His wife was murdered a short time later in Auschwitz.

       

      Menachem, Klara, and Ester Tafeel were placed on the 36th eastern transport from Berlin to Auschwitz on March 12, 1943. On March 13, 1943, they arrived in the death camp. Their transport carried 344 Jewish men as well as 620 Jewish women and children. On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz train station, 218 men and 147 women were selected out and sent on to the camp to serve as slave labroers. Among them was Menachem Taffel, whom the SS assigned the number 107969 which was later tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 599 people from that transport — including Menachem’s wife and daughter — were driven off to the gas chamber and murdered. Menachem was made to work in the Buna Factory of the satellite camp, Auschwitz-Monowitz. On April 30, 1943, because of an abscess on his left foot, he was transferred to the prisoners’ infirmary in the main camp. It was there that the 43-year-old was selected by the SS race anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June 1943. On July 30, 1943, he was deported along with 85 other Jewish men and women to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp. On August 18, 1943 he was murdered there in the camp gas chamber. Members of the SS delivered his corpse to the Anatomical Institute of the Reich University of Strasbourg.

       

      On a photograph that was taken after the liberation of Strasbourg, a dissection of his body is featured. On his left forearm, one can see the number he had been assigned in Auschwitz. Through this number, Hermann Langbein, the former head of the International Auschwitz Committee, was able to positively identify Menachem Taffel. The identifcation took place during the investigations conducted for the Auschwitz Trials in Frankfurt. It would take almost four decades, however, for the 85 other victims of SS organization for ancestral heritage [Ahnenerbe] were also identified. In the summer of 2015, Taffel’s fate garnered worldwide attention. Thanks to the persistence of the Strassboourg researcher Raphael Toledano, three small glass vials were discovered in a cabinet of the Insitute for Forensic Medicine at the University of Strasbourg. The vials contained the skin fragmets and traces of stomach contents that had been extracted and later retained as evidence. Upon their discovery, it was possible to trace these specimens back to Menachem Taffel. On September 6, 2015, they were entered into the Jewish Cemetery of Strasbourg-Cronenbourg.

    • Menachem Taffel
       
      Der Berliner Kaufmann war der einzige unter den 86 Opfern, der vor 2004 namentlich bekannt war. Auf dem Foto, das 1945 in der Anatomie der Universität Straßburg aufgenommen wurde, ist am linken Unterarm die KZ-Nummer zu erkennen. Mit Hilfe dieser Nummer hat 1970 Hermann Langbein, ein Auschwitz-Überlebender, Taffel identifiziert.
    • Martha Testa

      Marta Testa was born in June 14, 1923 in Thessalonica, Greece. After being forced by the Gestapo to leave her home and move into the Baron Hirsch Ghetto in Thessalonica, she was deported to Auschwitz. On April 9, 1943, she arrived with a transport of 2,500 Jewish men, women, and children. On the arrival ramp of the train station, 318 men and 161 women were sent to the camp to labor as prisoners. The remaining 2,021 people were driven to the gas chamber where they were murdered.

       

      Along with other women from the April 9th Greek transport, Marta was sent to Block 10 in the main camp of Auschwitz. The SS issued her the number 40436 which was later tattooed on her left forearm. The women in this block were forced to take part in horrific medical experiments. However, Marta presumably was not subjected to these tests. Instead, she was selected to be one of 29 women from Block 10 and 57 men, whom the SS race anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker selected in June 1943. On the 30th of July 1943, the 86 Jewish men and women were deported to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp. There the 20-year-old was murdered on either the 11th or the 13th of August 1943 in the camp gas chamber.

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  • U

    Marie Urstein geb. Brandriss

    • Marie Urstein born Brandriss

      Marie Urstein was born on January 6, 1892 in the Galician township of Grzymałów, now known as “Hrymajliw” in the Ukraine. She was one of six children. A seamstress by trade, in 1918, in the city of Vienna, she married Leibusch-Leon Urstein, an Austrian printer, who was just thirteen years her senior. In February 1918, the two had a daughter. Later, on February 24, 1924, they had a son. In 1938, Marie and Leibusch Urstein immigrated to Beligum, after Austria became a part of the Hitler’s Reich. From 1939, the two lived in Antwerpen. They tried desperately to immigrate to England to join their daughter in London. However, to no avail. According to the records, Marie also attempted without success to immigrate to Brazil in August of 1941. Both of Marie and Leibusch’s children survived the Holocaust. Their son, Dennis, who originally had been named “Adolf”, died in Toronto, Canada in 2009. Their daughter, Lily, died on February 4, 2017 in Stuttgart, Germany.

       

      Marie Urstein was sent to the transit camp Mechelen on January 22, 1943. On April 19, 1943, she and her husband were placed in a train to Auschwitz. On April 22, 1943, they arrived in the death camp on Transport No. 20. This group contained 507 men, 121 boys, 631 women, and 141 girls — all Jewish. On the arrival ramp of the camp train station, the SS selected out 276 men and 245 women whom they sent into camp to work as slave laborers. Among them was Marie Urstein. The SS issued her the number 42685 that was later tattooed on her left forearm. In Auschwitz, Marie reported that she was a professional seamstress by trade. She was sent to Block 10 in the main camp, along with other women who had arrived with the transport from Belgium. The female prisoners in this block were subjected to inhuman medical experiements. However, Marie Urstein was presumably not made to participate in these tests. She belonged to a group of 29 women from Block 10, who, in June 1943, had been selected by the SS race anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker to join a group of 57 men. Together the 86 Jewish men and women were deported to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp on July 30, 1943. It was there that the 51-year-old was murdered on either the 11th or the 13th of August 1943 in the camp gas chamber.

       

      My thanks go to Marilyn Barlow and Deborah Bolton who provided supplementary biographical information about their relatives in the Urstein family.

    • Marie Urstein
      Marie Urstein

       

      URSTEIN.Marie
      Marie Urstein with her husband Leibusch und her five years old daughter Lily in 1924 in Wien.
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  • W

    Walter Wollinski

    • Walter Wollinski

      Walter Wollinski was born on October 21, 1925 in the former german city of Züllichau (now the Polish city of Sulechów) as the youngest son of the salesman, Emil Wollinski and his wife Else Wollinski (nee Eisack). Walter began school in Züllichau in 1932. The Wollinski family was originally from Wagrowiec (former german city of Wongrowitz). They immigrated to Züllichau which was then called Brandenburg after WWI. Emil and his brother, Hermann, owned a house on the market square and ran a household goods store. As the Jewish persecution by the Nazis began and the economic situation for Jews consequently worsened, the family moved to Berlin. They lived on “Koblanckstraße” which is now called “Zolastraße”. Walter Wollinski completed his schooling on March 29, 1940. According to the 1939, he lived in Berlin-Kreuzberg, on “Neuenburger Straße 13” with his parents and his older brother Siegbert who was born on August 31, 1920 in Wongrowitz, Poznan.

       

      Walter’s father, Emil Wollinski, was born on December 18, 1881 in Lebus. Walter’s paternal uncle, Hermann Wollinski, was born on June 28, 1888. In addition to his Uncle Hermann, Walter had another paternal uncle, Samuel who was born October 29, 1880 as well as a paternal aunt, Röschen, who was born on December 5, 1884. Walter’s uncle Samuel, had married a non-Jewish woman and was able to survive the Nazi period in Brandenburg, in the town of Zehdenick. He died in Berlin in 1963.

       

      In 1920 Walter’s paternal uncle, Hermann Wollinski, married Regina Tannchen and had four children with her: Werner, who was born on July 17, 1921; Wolfgang, Manfred, and Steffi. Hermann died of meningitis on February 8, 1942 in the Jewish Hospital of Berlin. On February 26, 1943, his widowed wife Regina was deported to Auschwitz with three of their children: Wolfgang, who was age seventeen at the time; Manfred, who was eleven; and four-year-old Steffi. All four were murdered in the death camp. Walter’s cousin Werner, completed his schooling in Neuendorf in one of Germany’s three dozen Jewish Haschara Centers. Starting in April 1936, he began a two-year program of study in agriculture. In August 1939, he completed his education and was able to immigrate to Australia where he lived until his death in 2011. Emil and his wife Else were deported to the Riga Ghetto in Latvia on August 15, 1942. Departed along with them was Emil’s mother. Röschen was also later deported to Riga Ghetto on September 5, 1942. All of them were murdered there.

       

      Walter and his brother Siegbert were forced to move out of their parents’ apartment. They moved into a shared sublet room which they rented from the Fuchs’s on “Kaiserstraße 35“. The two brothers were forced to work as slave laborers for Fritz Müller, a carpenter in Mariendorf on “Lankwitzerstraße 1–3”. On March 3, 1943 Walter and Siegbert were deported to Auschwitz. On March 4, 1943, they arrived in death camp with a transport carrying a total of 632 Jewish men and 1,118 Jewish women and girls. On the arrival ramp of the Auschwitz railway station, 517 men and 200 women were selected out and sent on to the main camp to serve as slave labor. Among them was Walter Wollinski. The SS issued him the number 105737 which was then tattooed on his left forearm. The remaining 1,033 people from the transport were driven into the gas chamber and murdered.

       

      Walter Wollinski was made to serve as a slave laborer in the Buna Factory of the satellite camp, Auschwitz-Monowitz. On April 16, 1943, he was transferred back to the prisoners’ infirmary of main camp for a severe case of diarrhea. While there, he was selected by the SS race anthropologists Bruno Beger and Hans Fleischhacker in June of 1943. On July 30, 1943, Walter was deported with 85 other Jewish men and women and sent to the Natzweiler-Struthof Concentration Camp. It was there that he was sent to the camp gas chamber and murdered on either the 16th or the 18th of August 1943. He was 17-years-old.

       

      Walter’s brother, Siegbert Wollinski, did not survive the Shoah either.

       

      For the additional information about the fate of the Wollinski family, I am indebted to Peter Wollinski, the son of Walter’s cousin.

    •