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Marlesgrube 9 - Regina Rosenthal and daughter

Regina Rosenthal, née Saalfeld, and her daughter Fina lived at Marlesgrube 9.

So far we cannot find a picture of the former building at Marlesgrube 9, which was destroyed in an air raid. There are also no photographs of Regina and Fina Rosenthal, and little is known about them. There is an entry in the Lübeck address records: Marlesgrube 9, 2.Stock (second floor), Rosenthal, Regina, Witwe (widow).

Regina Rosenthal’s parents were the master clock maker Jacob Saalfeld and his wife Fanni, née Levy. The Saalfelds were among those families, who had already lived in Lübeck for a long time and before that at in Moisling. In 1848 they had been required by the State of Lübeck to take on a fixed family name, which had not generally been common with Jews. Jacob Saalfeld became a Lübeck citizen in 1907. He was an antiques dealer and had his business at Marlesgrube 7, a building which he owned and where he lived with his wife and their four children Franziska, Leopold, Regina and Mindel. His elder brother Selig Samuel Saalfeld, called Siegfried, also lived at Marlesgrube. He had an antique shop diagonally opposite (kitty corner) at No. 14. His wife Rosa, née Levy from Segeberg, was an elder sister of Fanni. The couple had a son, Albert, who volunteered to fight in World War One and was killed in action in October 1917. His wife Klara and her child lived with her parents-in-law in Lübeck during the war years, returning to Berlin in 1918, where her daughter Ruth had been born on 30 July 1914. Shortly afterwards the elder children of Jacob and Fanni Saalfeld also left Marlesgrube. Franziska married the Hamburg bank clerk Siegmund Mindel in 1920. In 1923 her son Julius was born, in 1924 son Werner. Leopold Saalfeld moved to Leipzig in 1922. In 1924 Fanni Saalfeld died, aged 67, so Jacob Saalfeld lived alone with his youngest daughter Mindel at Marlesgrube 7, while his daughter Regina lived nearby in the neighbourhood. She married the antiques dealer Max Rosenthal. Fina, their daughter, was born on 17 July 1928. In 1933 Leopold Saalfeld also returned to Lübeck with his wife Helene and their daughter Margot Fanny, who was born on 20 April 1926 in Leipzig. First they lived at Marlesgrube 7, then later at Fleischhauerstraße 1. Four deaths in 1935 brought about serious changes for the family. At the end of February Selig Saalfeld died of heart failure in his apartment at the age of 88 years.  Then only a month later, on 24 March 1935, Max Rosenthal died, Fina’s father and husband of Regina, at only 50 years of age. Tuberculosis as well as a growth on his larynx had resulted in fatal choking fits at the Lübeck General Hospital. At that time Fina had just become seven and two months later started school at the Jewish primary school at St.-Annen-Straße. A former school-friend remembers her as a little girl, thin and quite shy. At the end of November Friederike Saalfeld, sister of Jacob Saalfeld, died and then on 25 December 1935 Jacob Saalfeld died like his elder brother of acute cardiac arrest. If the family had before considered leaving Germany, the newly arisen situations with all the concerns about the sick, the mourning of the dead, including the funeral arrangements, and the definitely growing financial problems they would hardly have had the chance to organise their emigration.  In February 1936 Siegfried Saalfeld’s widow Rosa moved to St.-Annen-Straße 11, the seniors’ home of the Jewish community. Mindel Saalfeld moved to Hamburg in 1937.  The sale of the houses at Marlesgrube 7 and 14 as well as Schildstraße 20 would have brought only a small amount of proceeds due to the regulations, which in the meanwhile had come into force.

With this declaration Regina and Fina Rosenthal stated they agreed to take on their decreed obligatory names
With this declaration Regina and Fina Rosenthal stated they agreed to take on their decreed obligatory names


In 1940 the Jewish primary school at St.-Annen-Straße was closed and Fina had to attend the Jewish elementary school at Carolinenstraße in Hamburg like other Lübeck children, among them her cousin Margot.

Among the documents of the Staatliche Polizeiverwaltung (state police administration) at the Lübeck Archive we find Regina Rosenthal’s request of 20 October 1940 to travel to Hamburg in order to help Fina move to another guest-house there, as well as a permit by the police "to leave the residential municipality of Lübeck once" and to travel by train to Hamburg and back on 26 October.

Police permit for a train trip to Hamburg; Archiv der Hansestadt Lübeck, Polizeiverwaltung 121
Police permit for a train trip to Hamburg; Archiv der Hansestadt Lübeck, Polizeiverwaltung 121
Regina Rosenthal’s application for a travel permit to Hamburg; Archiv der Hansestadt Lübeck, Polizeiverwaltung 121
Regina Rosenthal’s application for a travel permit to Hamburg; Archiv der Hansestadt Lübeck, Polizeiverwaltung 121

Among the school documents at Karolinenstraße we find Fina’s registration dated 7 October 1940 and her file of school certificates with her school marks for two half-year terms. There were school marks for conduct, diligence, attention and orderliness as well as for the subjects of Bible, Hebrew, Jewish history, German, geography, English, sums, drawing, dexterity and gymnastics. In gymnastics Fina got a „1“ (in Germany the best mark), otherwise her marks were mostly “Threes” and “Fours”. In 1941 Fina was transferred to the sixth form (grade). Her class teacher was Rebecca Rothschild, who is remembered by former students as a loving pedagogue. On 25 October 1941 she was deported with the first transport from Hamburg to Lodz, Poland, by which Regina Rosenthal’s two sisters Mindel and Franziska with her husband and two sons were also taken to the Lodz ghetto and lost their lives.

The evacuation order brought Fina Rosenthal back to Lübeck. On 6 December 1941 the thirteen-year-old with her mother, together with their relatives Leopold, Helene and Margot Saalfeld and many other Jews from Lübeck and Hamburg were deported to Riga. Fina and Regina Rosenthal did not survive, neither did their relatives. It is not known whether they already died from cold and hunger at KZ (concentration camp) Jungfernhof in the first winter months or if they died in the two mass shootings at the Bikernieki Forest of Riga.

83-year-old Rosa Saalfeld was deported to Theresienstadt (now Terezin, Czech Republic) on 19 July 1942 where she died two months later. So a complete family was driven from their hometown and wiped out.

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, 121, 124, Amt für Schulwesen 879. Jüdische Voksschule, Schul- und Kultusverwaltung 375, Personenstandsbücher Israelitische Gemeinde Bd. 4, Familienverzeichnis
  • 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
  • Josef Katz, Erinnerungen eines Überlebenden, Kiel 1988
  • Ingaburgh Klatt, "... dahin wie ein Schatten", Aspekte jüdischen Lebens in Lübeck, Lübeck 1993
  • 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
  • Ursula Randt, Die Talmud Tora Schule in Hamburg 1805 bis 1942, Hamburg 2005
  • Dies., Carolinenstraße 35, Geschichte der Mädchenschule der Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde in Hamburg 1884 - 1942, Hamburg 1984
  • Staatsarchiv Hamburg  362-6/10 Talmud Tora
  • Yad Vashem, The Central Database of Shoah Victims Names
  • Conversations with contemporaries of the Saalfeld family

Heidemarie Kugler-Weiemann, 2008

Translation:  Martin Harnisch and Glenn Sellick, 2010