Schwartauer Allee 9a - Gertrud Kendziorek
The Kendziorek family came to Lübeck in late 1938. They had lived at Soldin, District of Neumark, (today Mysliborz/Poland) where Kurt Kendziorek ran a haulage business with long-distance haulage, service station and a yard with garages to let. His company had five juggernauts/tractor trailers for long-distance freight delivery.
Kurt Alfons Kendziorek was born on 4 July 1896 at Neustadt on the Warthe River (Polish: Nowe Miasto na Warta), his wife Gertrud, née Aronsohn, at Gnesen (Polish: Gniezno, about 50 km east of Posen/Poznan´), on 16 June 1893.
Their youngest daughter Inge Marion was born at Soldin on 5 June 1924, whereas Erika, the elder daughter, was still born at Stargard on 31 October 1921. Frau Kendziorek’s parents had a corn trade at Pyritz (Pyrzyce). Massive boycotts made her parents give up, and they moved to Hamburg in 1937. The Kendzioreks followed them in summer 1938, when Kurt also couldn’t manage to keep his business up against all harassment in the small town of Soldin. After half a year in Hamburg the family moved on to Schwartauer Allee 9a, Lübeck.
Erika Richter, née Kendziorek, remembers that her family had moved from Hamburg to Lübeck on 31 October 1938 and lived in a “Jewish Villa“ together with the Isaac family. They had a son named Werner and his two cousins lived next door. Kurt was her age and Helga about her sister Inge’s age (b. 1924). They had been friends with these neighbours’ kids. Apart from them the Isaaksohn couple and another Jewish family lived in the house, who had later left the country. That family would have been Eisig Gutmann with his wife Margarete, née Blumenthal, and their sons David and Hans, who had also lived at 9a for a short time. In December 1938 they were able to escape to Shanghai. At first the Lübeck administration hadn’t known that the Kendzioreks were Jews, but then the Kendzioreks had informed the proper authorities in order not to be denounced by someone.
In May 1940 Kurt Kendziorek was conscripted to work at Engelhardt & Söhne, a wholesale wine store. At that time young Kurt Jepsen from Lübeck also was doing his commercial training at this wholesale wine store at Schmiedestraße 5/7. He remembers Kurt Kendziorek clearly as a very active, vital, positive and cheerful person, who thought and worked quickly and was full of ideas. After a short time he had been the best worker at the wine store. (Conversation with Kurt Jepsen, end of 2007).
Kurt Kendziorek’s grandson added in a letter:
"... Now about Granddad Kurt – I’m glad Herr Jepsen remembers him like that. I think ‘thinking and working quickly and being full of ideas’ must have decisively helped him to survive the time at the concentration camp with his daughters. My mother once described how he understood the situation immediately, when Grandma was separated from him and the children when they were ‘unloaded’. Erika told me that he had tried to signal his wife that she should join the group, with which he, Erika and Marion were. But – said Erika – her mother didn’t seem to be able to understand his signals and obviously was not aware of the imminent peril to life."
(2nd January 2008)
In his memoir, The Story of my Life. How a 12-year-old German/Jewish Boy Named Juergen Jaschek Survived the German Concentration Camps, Richard J. Yashek mentions the Kendziorek family:
" Then one day in the late summer or early fall of 941, came the order to report on December 3 (or possibly December 4) with two suitcases, 50 pounds each, and a Rucksack. We were told to report at the Juedische Gemeinde building on the St. Annenstrasse the night before, for transport to work in the east. We were not told where we were going or at what jobs we would work. We were warned to take along warm clothing and several days’ supply of food, which we would need for resettlement and work in territory overrun by the German army.
For several months the situation became tenser. Our family befriended the family of Kurt Kendziorek, his wife Gertrude, and daughters Inge and Erika, who were older than my brother and I. Kurt was a trucker and I was fascinated with the stories he told about his kind of life.
The adults would get together and try to make plans for the unknown future. The subjects were wide ranging as they speculated on what to expect, wondering what housing, working and living conditions would be like. We wondered: would families be separated or kept together? What do we take, what do we leave behind? How do you hide money? Should you take any valuables? If so, what valuables? Gold or silver, precious metals or money? It was illegal for one to have more than one gold watch, but throughout history, "portable wealth" has helped people survive. In those unsettled times, we sold what we could spare and (illegally) purchased gold pocket watches and some jewellery, to guard as much as possible against future deprivation.
We also wondered what items of clothing to take — the winter temperatures would be colder further east. There was the realization that two families sticking together might have a better chance. Of what? Against what? What will they do with us?"
On 6 December 1941 the so-called Hamburg Transport with a thousand Jewish people from Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, among them about 90 people from Lübeck, left for Riga. After three days and nights the train ride ended at the Skirotova train station near Riga. Upon their arrival SS men drove them on foot through the snow to camp Jungfernhof, a former estate on the Daugava River. Several thousand people were housed on multi-level plank beds in two large barns, the men being segregated from the women. The baggage they had was taken from them when they arrived. Hunger and cold, commands and brutality comprised their daily routine. From December 1941 to March 1942 over 700 people died at Jungfernhof.
" Every day, corpses were wrenched from the narrow bunks. The clothing was removed and the corpses were stacked one on top of the other, eight or ten meters high. We were not able to bury the corpses because the ground was frozen so hard and so deep that we could not dig the graves. The bodies were piled in the middle of the camp in two mounds."
(Richard Yashek, p. 30)
Only in May the ground had thawed enough, so that the prisoners, working all day, could dig large mass graves to bury the corpses.
At that time there were only few hundred people left fit for work at Jungfernhof. In February and March there had been selections; children, elderly and sick people, and many others had been taken away on lorries to the Bikernieki Forest (High Forest of Riga) and shot there.
The Kendziorek family stayed at Jungfernhof until April 1943 and were forced to do farm work. Then camp Jungfernhof was dismantled and the Kendzioreks came to the Riga ghetto and had to work in different places. In August 1943 both of their daughters, Erika and Inge, were sent to the SS-workshops at Lenta near Riga and slept in barracks there, whereas the parents were sent to Bretscho (near Riga) to work for the Reichsbahn (Railways). The comparably "good" time at Lenta with regular food and somewhat better health care came to an end for Erika and Inge, when they were redeployed to concentration camp (KZ) Kaiserwald, a district in northern Riga. But then later they were sent to Bretscho in exchange for other prisoners.
During a selection on 27 July 1944 Gertrud Kendziorek, née Aronsohn, was separated from her family and killed.
Kurt Kendziorek and both his daughters Erika and Marion survived under dramatic circumstances. In early August 1944 they were sent on grain barges to KZ Stutthof near Danzig (today Polish: Gdansk).
"After three weeks we were taken from there to the Reichsbahn repair workshop Stolp/Slupsk in Pomerania. We remained there until 6 or 7 March 45. Then we were taken back to Danzig, for some time taken back and forth between Danzig and Gotenhafen (translator’s note: the Nazi name (1939 – 45) for Gdynia or Gdingen) and finally sent to camp Burggraben near Danzig. We were then redeployed to Stutthof, where we got out of again on 25/26 April 1945. From there we travelled on barges via Hela to Lübeck, where we arrived on 2 May 1945. From there we were sent to Neustadt/Holstein, where we were liberated by the British on 3 May 1945."
(Kurt Kendziorek, statement made at restitution proceedings on 3 May 1954)
References in Addition to Standard Reference Materials:
- Adressbücher und Meldekartei der Hansestadt Luebeck (Address and Registration Records of the Hanseatic City of Luebeck)
- Archiv der Hansestadt Lübeck, Staatliche Polizeiverwaltung 109, 110, 124, 125, 126, Schul- und Kultusverwaltung 375
- Buch der Erinnerung, Die ins Baltikum deportierten deutschen, österreichischen und tschechoslowakischen Juden, bearbeitet von Wolfgang Scheffler und Diana Schulle, München 2003
- Datenpool JSHD der Forschungsstelle "Juden in Schleswig-Holstein" an der Universität Flensburg
- Hans Hirsch Jakobson, Das tragische Schicksal einer Familie in Riga 1941-1945, Stockholm 1992 (unpublished)
- Josef Katz, Erinnerungen eines Überlebenden, Kiel 1988
- Landesarchiv Schleswig, Abt. 352 Kiel, 8264, 13654, 7265, 7219, 9573, 14555, 12968 und Abt. 761, 12239 und 12240
- Landgericht Hamburg vom 29.12.1951, (50) 14/50, Lfd. Nr. 307: NS-Gewaltverbrechen in Lagern / Riga Lettland
- Memorbuch zum Gedenken an die jüdischen, in der Schoa umgekommenen Schleswig-Holsteiner und Schleswig-Holsteinerinnen, hrsg. v. Miriam Gillis-Carlebach, Hamburg 1996
- Albrecht Schreiber, Zwischen Davidstern und Doppeladler, Illustrierte Chronik der Juden in Moisling und Lübeck, Lübeck 1992
- Yad Vashem, The Central Database of Shoah Victims Names
- Richard J. Yashek (Jürgen Jaschek), The Story of My Life, How a 12-year-old German/Jewish Boy Named Juergen Jaschek Survived the German Concentration Camps, 2009 (this English version of our homepage quotes from the American edition 2009, whereas the German version quotes from the German translation of 1998)
- Zeitzeugengespräche und Schriftwechsel, vor allem mit Erika Richter, geborene Kendziorek und ihrem Sohn (seit 1997)
Heidemarie Kugler-Weiemann, 2008
Translation: Martin Harnisch ans Glenn Sellick, 2010