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The Selmanson family lived at Bei St. Johannis 4

Salomon Selman Selmanson was the second eldest son of a large family from Berditschew in the Ukraine. They came to Lübeck in 1904. Salomon was born on 11 March 1896, and his wife Rebecca, née Barsam, on 23 February 1892, also in Berditschew. Their wedding took place on 18 July 1913 in London. They both were regarded stateless, as were their five children, who were all born in Lübeck: Simmy Chaya on 1 May 1914, Ephraim David on 15 October 1917, Siegmund on 21 April 1919, Esther Berta on 6 January 1921 and Heinz on 3 January 1926.

Bei St. Johannis 4; Photograph: Heidemarie Kugler-Weiemann, 2008
Bei St. Johannis 4; Photograph: Heidemarie Kugler-Weiemann, 2008

From 1918 on the family rented a small house at Bei St. Johannis 4, in which the parents ran a "cigarette factory and paper shop", which at times had a branch at Falkenplatz 2. From 1920 on the Selmansons owned their house.

Their relatives had moved several times during their first years in Lübeck but from 1915 on they lived at Kapitelstraße 7. Salomon Selman Selmanson’s father, the trader and cigarette maker Josef Selmanson, was born on 15 November 1856 in Berditschew and died on 30 September 1931 in Lübeck. He was first married to Riskah, née Radowinkle. After she died he married Rebecka, née Arinowitsch. She was born on 20 May 1870 and died on 24 January 1926 in Lübeck. Her grave is in the Jewish cemetery in Moisling. From his two marriages Josef Selmanson had eleven children, with the three youngest being born in Lübeck. But apart from the second eldest son Salomon Selman and his family only one other daughter stayed in Lübeck. Mischka / Mischna Selmanson, born in Berditschew on 1 January 1902, became a dressmaker and had her workshop at Kapitelstraße 7a.

Rebecca and Salomon Selman Selmanson at first sent all five of their children to the Interdenominational School at Domkirchhof, a progressive school with co-education, interdenominational religious and ethical education, where great importance was placed on instruction in manual skills and encouraging a sense of community.

Later both their sons, Ephraim and Siegmund, went to the Johanneum, right across the street from their parental home.  After the tenth form (tenth grade) Ephraim first transferred to Oberrealschule zum Dom, but then began a business-training like his brother. Simmy later went to the Girls’ Middle School and after school she worked as a cashier in Noah Honig’s department store at Hüxstraße 110.

In 1934 Esther and Heinz went to the Jewish elementary school on St. Annen - Straße, after the Interdenominational School was closed by the Nazis.

Jewish Religious School Lübeck, 1935
Jewish Religious School Lübeck, 1935

In 1933 the horrors of exclusion started for twelve-year-old Esther, when her best friend was no longer allowed to be friends with her. She was the daughter of the then caretaker of the Johanneum, who expected there would be future career problems, if his child had further contacts with the “Jew girl”.

Upon completing her public schooling Esther moved to Hamburg, where she went to the school for housekeeping in Paulinenstift at Laufgraben 37, the Jewish orphanage. After that training she worked in the household of the Rubens, a Jewish family, on Wakenitzstraße in Lübeck.

A newspaper article of 7 September 1935 further highlights the problems of the family: "Jewish cigarette factory closed due to unsanitary conditions.” The shop was closed too, so the family’s means of earning a living was taken away.

On 9 November 1938 Ephraim and Siegmund were arrested and taken to Sachsenhausen concentration camp north of Berlin. In early March 1939 they escaped to Shanghai, where Ephraim died in March 1943.

Simmy and Esther emigrated to England in 1939.

Esther, Heinz and Simmy Selmanson in 1939, Photo: family
Esther, Heinz and Simmy Selmanson in 1939, Photo: family

The Lübeck Chamber of Skilled Crafts deleted Mischka Selmanson’s name from the register of craftsmen on 31 December 1938, so she also lost her livelihood from her profession as a dressmaker. She and her husband Erich Simonsohn escaped to Australia.

Rebekka Selmanson became critically ill and died on 1 November 1940 at Israelitisches Krankenhaus (the Jewish hospital) in Hamburg and was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Hamburg Ohlsdorf. There is no gravestone.

At the same time the family had to give up their little house. Salomon Selmanson and his son Heinz found shelter at St.-Annen-Straße 7, a building owned by the Jewish Community.

From April 1940 on Heinz attended the training workshop for metalworkers for Jewish youths in Hamburg for about a year.

Father and son were deported to Riga on 6 December 1941 where they lost their lives. The exact dates of their deaths are not known.

Page of Testimony for Salomon Selmanson at Yad Vashem
Page of Testimony for Salomon Selmanson at Yad Vashem

Esther Mace, née Selmanson, using her address in England, completed the Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem for Salomon Selmanson and Heinz. So with this information Heidemarie Kugler-Weiemann was able to contact her and visit her in the summer of 2005.

Esther Mace, née Selmanson, with her son Stanley and his wife, Gloucester 2005, photo: Heidemarie Kugler-Weiemann
Esther Mace, née Selmanson, with her son Stanley and his wife, Gloucester 2005, photo: Heidemarie Kugler-Weiemann

Esther Mace died in November 2006.  Before the stumbling stones were laid in memory of his relatives he would never get to know Stanley, Esther Mace’s son, wrote:

"Until your letter, I had never heard about the Stolpersteine. I am most interested to hear that you belong to a group of people who want to realize Stolpersteine in Lubeck and wish you all success. I agree to you putting stones for my Grandfather and Heinz. Who knows, maybe I shall stumble across this in the future? "

(11. June 2007)

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, 124, 126,
  • Schulen, Gemeinschaftsschule 3, Johanneum 216 und 221,
  • Schriftwechsel Meike Kruse mit Susan Turpin, Kanada
  • Briefwechsel mit Esther und Stanley Mace, Gloucester, England und Susan Turpin, Ontario, Kanada seit 2004
  • 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
  • Friedhofsregister des Jüdischen Friedhofs in Hamburg-Ohlsdorf
  • 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
  • Staatsarchiv Hamburg  362-6/10 Talmud Tora
  • Yad Vashem, The Central Database of Shoah Victims Names
  • Zeitungsmeldung KNN vom 7.9.1935
  • Coversation with Esther Mace, née Selmanson, August 2005

Heidemarie Kugler-Weiemann, 2008

Translation: Martin Harnisch and Glenn Sellick, 2010