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The Schachtel family lived at Beckergrube 90.

In 1919 the brothers Jacob and Michaelis Schachtel, from Znin in Poland (between Bromberg/Bydgocz and Posen/Posnan) immigrated to Lübeck and became naturalized citizens, together with their wives, Selma and her sister Martha Rawicz, who were from Rogasen/Rogasno west of Znin.

Jacob Schachtel was born in Znin on 23 February 1878. He was a trader and a master shoemaker. His wife Selma was born in Rogasen on 16 June 1882.

Michaelis Schachtel was born in Znin on 21 February 1880 and was a merchant and leather trader. His wife Martha was born on 14 July 1885 and their daughter Gerda on 27 December 1911 in Znin.

Beckergrube 90 in 2008, Photograph: Heidemarie Kugler-Weiemann
Beckergrube 90 in 2008, Photograph: Heidemarie Kugler-Weiemann

Once in Lübeck the Schachtel family bought the building at Beckergrube 90 in 1919. The then 39-year-old Michaelis Schachtel had his leather trade on the ground floor and lived on the first floor with his wife and daughter. His brother lived on the second floor with his wife. His business, a shop for leather and shoemaker’s supplies, was at Hüxstraße 60.

Even as late as 1942 the Lübeck directory shows Michaelis Schachtel still living at Beckergrube 90, but from 1936 on his shop at Hüxstraße was no longer listed.

In 1936 Gerda was able to emigrate to Palestine. She became a naturalized citizen there, which caused her to lose her German citizenship. She had previously lived in Freiburg, Berlin and Holland preparing herself for her immigration to Palestine.

Her parents and their brothers and sisters must have tried hard to emigrate to England as indicated by short comments in the letters of Bertha and Dora Lexandrowitz. On 21 August 1939 the two sisters from Lübeck wrote to their relatives in Shanghai about various Lübeck families’ desperate efforts to leave the country. "The Schachtel family are also anxiously waiting for it." (P. 61) “It” refers to the permit issued by the British Home Office in London to work in their chosen profession in Great Britain. The start of war on 1 September 1939 must have put an end to all their hopes at a chance to escape.

On 1 November 1940 Dora Lexandrowitz, who was already living in Hamburg, reported to her relatives: "Today I was in Lübeck to pay the Schachtels a visit and express my condolence as Jacob Sch. has died. " (P.112) Jacob Schachtel had died on 25 October 1940 at the age of 62.

Upon signing this document Martha and Michaelis Schachtel declared they would adopt their additional compulsory first names
Upon signing this document Martha and Michaelis Schachtel declared they would adopt their additional compulsory first names

Already two years before, in December 1938, the Schachtels had to close their business and thus lost their means of making a living.  One of the files of the police administration, available in the archives of the Hanseatic City of Lübeck (126), on the “Elimination of Jews from German business life and the Aryanization of businesses and companies” programme reports that according to an order of 3 December 1938 businesses, whose owners were Jews with German citizenship or stateless, were to be closed.

On 6 December 1938 representatives of the police, the local Chamber of Commerce, Economic Department for Retail Trade, as well as the District Business Consultant (Kreiswirtschaftsberater) met at Königstraße 9 for taking stock of the situation and discussion. The minutes of their meeting read: "Schachtel, Michaelis, leather goods, Beckergrube 90 (the shop is still open)". After re-examining the shop a report by the local police force dated 13 December 1938 states: "The Jew Schachtel, Beckergrube 90, has packed his complete stock and wants to hand it over to the Leather Wholesalers Association. He hasn’t opened his shop again since the windowpanes were smashed. People living in the neighbourhood have confirmed this.”

After another inspection on 5 January 1939 a commando of the police force was finally able to report that his shop had been closed (Polizeiverwaltung 129).

At that time according to the registration files Michaelis Schachtel was also sentenced to a fine of 350, - Reichsmarks “for violating paragraph 69, section 1, clause 7 of the Foreign Exchange Control Law of 12 Dec. 1938. In accordance to paragraph 52 of the Foreign Exchange Control Law an order has been issued to secure his assets by confiscation.

In the police files we find a further reference to the Schachtel family namely an anonymous handwritten letter from "a national comrade " to the police department Lübeck stamped with 16 September 1941 as the date of its receipt. "The Jew Schachtel at Beckergrube, as well as both his females, don’t wear the badge (meaning the star of David), live in a 4 ½-room-flat, whereas our national comrades have to be content with 1 to 2 rooms." This malicious denunciation was also investigated. A note in their file dated 30 September 1941 states "inspection proved negative” (Archiv der Hansestadt Lübeck, Staatliche Polizeiverwaltung 120).

At that time or a little later the so-called Evacuation Order may have been delivered to Beckergrube 90. Michaelis Schachtel was 61 years old, his wife 56 and her sister 59, when they were deported to the Jungfernhof in Riga. We don’t know when or under what circumstances they lost their lives. All three of them were declared dead by the Lübeck district court in 1950.

The compensations file of their daughter Gerda Schachtel states: "The property at Beckergrube and the leather and shoemaker’s goods were confiscated. The furnishings were also confiscated by the Gestapo, the Lübeck tax office sold the articles." -LAS Wg. 352/ Kiel Nr. 07333

References in Addition to Standard Reference Materials:

  • Adressbücher und Meldekartei der Hansestadt Lübeck (Address and Registration Records of the Hanseatic City of Lübeck)
  • Archiv der Hansestadt Lübeck, Staatliche Polizeiverwaltung 109, 110, 120, 126, 129
  • Buch der Erinnerung, Die ins Baltikum deportierten deutschen, österreichischen und tschechoslowakischen Juden, bearbeitet von Wolfgang Scheffler und Diana Schulle, München 2003
  • Gottwald, Alfred / Schulle, Diana: Die "Judendeportationen aus dem Deutschen Reich 1941-1945
  • Datenpool JSHD der Forschungsstelle "Juden in Schleswig-Holstein" an der Universität Flensburg,  (Erich Koch)
  • Landesarchiv Schleswig-Holstein, Entschädigungsakten, Abt. 761, Nr 17737 und 18024, Abt. 352, Nr. 7221, 8197, 10058
  • Lübecker Nachrichten, 7.5.1989, Beitrag von Erna Gogowsky in der Serie von Helmut: 1939-1949, Zeizeugen berichten: "So haben wir es erlebt" von der Lippe
  • Kugler-Weiemann, Heidemarie / Peperkorn, Hella (Hrsg.): "Hoffentlich klappt alles zum Guten ", Die Briefe der jüdischen Schwestern Bertha und Dora Lexandrowitz (1939 - 1941 ), Neumünster 2000
  • Memorbuch zum Gedenken an die jüdischen, in der Schoa umgekommenen Schleswig-Holsteiner und Schleswig-Holsteinerinnen, hrsg. V. Miriam Gillis-Carlebach, Hamburg 1996
  • Theresienstädter Gedenkbuch, Prag 1995
  • Datenbank auf der Website www.holocaust.cz
  • www.ghetto-theresienstadt/info
  • Yad Vashem, The Central Database of Shoah Victims Names
  • Conversations with contemporaries of Frieda Dieber

Heidemarie Kugler-Weiemann, 2008

Translation:  Martin Harnisch and Glenn Sellick, 2010