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Schwartauer Allee 9a und 9b - The Isaac family

Building at Schwartauer Allee 9a and 9b, undated photo; Museen für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte der Hansestadt Lübeck
Building at Schwartauer Allee 9a and 9b, undated photo; Museen für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte der Hansestadt Lübeck

The Isaac family, also called Isaac-Sachs or simply Sachs, lived in the large apartment building at Schwartauer Allee 9a and 9b.

David Isaac, born on 15 September 1877 in Mehren near Altenkirchen in Westerwald, came to Lübeck in 1906. He and his younger brother, Bernhard, ran a business together dealing with cattle and horses, which became one of the largest livestock dealers in Northern Germany.

David Isaac, his wife Selma, née Bernhard, and both their children lived on the ground floor on the left half of the building 9a. Selma Isaac was born on 30 November 1884 in Mönchen-Gladbach and came to Lübeck in 1909. On 2 July 1910 their daughter Hildegard was born here, their son Werner Ludwig on 15 February 1922.

The other half, 9b, belonged to Bernhard Isaac, who lived there on the first floor with his wife Jenny and also with their two children. Bernhard was born in Mehren on 3 June 1886. Jenny Isaac, née Bernhard, was a sister of Selma Isaac and was born on 16 February 1892. Their son Kurt was born on 9 March 1921, their daughter Helga Lori on 18 January 1925, both here in Lübeck.

Selma und David Isaac, Familienbesitz Howard Isaac
Selma und David Isaac, Familienbesitz Howard Isaac
Aufnahmeurkunde der Freien und Hansestadt Lübeck für David und Selma Isaack und ihre Tochter Hildegard, Archiv der Hansestadt Lübeck, Stadt- und Landamt, Bürgerannahme
Aufnahmeurkunde der Freien und Hansestadt Lübeck für David und Selma Isaack und ihre Tochter Hildegard, Archiv der Hansestadt Lübeck, Stadt- und Landamt, Bürgerannahme
Bernhard Isaak 1919, Archiv der Hansestadt Lübeck, Stadt- und Landamt, Bürgerannahme
Bernhard Isaak 1919, Archiv der Hansestadt Lübeck, Stadt- und Landamt, Bürgerannahme

We know that Selma was active in the Israelite Women’s Association, namely in the food commission in 1931/32.

A workout of the Jewish sports club Bar-Kochba on a Sunday morning on Buniamshof
A workout of the Jewish sports club Bar-Kochba on a Sunday morning on Buniamshof

Daughter Hildegard was a member of the sports club Bar-Kochba Lübeck.

Hildegard Isaac presumably attended Ernestinenschule or Lyzeum am Falkenplatz (translator’s note: both girls’ high schools) and finished school passing the Abitur, the German university-entrance examination. In 1931 she left Lübeck and went to Bonn to study dentistry. In the mid-thirties she emigrated to Palestine and later went to live in Israel with her husband and two children.

Both cousins Werner Isaac and Kurt attended Katharineum, a boys’ high school. At that time Helga Isaac attended the non-denominational school.

The lists of names of the Jewish religious school cites all four children. In 1931 Werner attended seventh, Kurt sixth, Helga tenth grade, so in her case she had just begun, whereas Hildegard as the most senior had already finished religious education.

Jewish religious school Lübeck in 1935
Jewish religious school Lübeck in 1935

Starting in 1933 the Isaac family massively felt the effects of the anti-Jewish measures. The non-denominational school, which their youngest daughter Helga attended, was shut down. Her cousin, Hildegard, who attended university, was affected by the „Law against the foreign influence on German schools and universities” of April 1933. She obviously drew her own conclusions at once as to the situation and left Germany.

Two pictures of the Lübeck cattle market of 1935 help us imagine the difficulties both cattle dealers David and Bernhard Isaac had to face.

Cattle market Lübeck. The banner on the wall reads “Dieser Markt ist ‘Judenrein’”. (This market is “Free of Jews”)
Cattle market Lübeck. The banner on the wall reads “Dieser Markt ist ‘Judenrein’”. (This market is “Free of Jews”)

9 November 1938 destroyed the lives of both families. The two men as well as Werner Ludwig were arrested and placed in “protective custody” on 10 November 1938 and on 12 November they were taken from the Lübeck prison Lauerhof to KZ (concentration camp) Sachsenhausen, north of Berlin. David Isaac returned to Lübeck on 22 November 1938, but as a diabetic the consequences of maltreatment and inadequate care resulted in further damaging his health so much that in February 1939 he had to be taken to hospital and died on 23 February 1939.

Werner had already left school and started training with Schneider, Graphische Maschinen- und Apparatebau, an engineering firm for graphical machines and equipment. Kurt had to leave the Katharineum after 9 November 1938. Both boys were able to escape to England in December 1939. Among the documents of the London Wiener Library you can find copies of postcards written by Werner and Kurt Isaak as well as their friend Harry Goldenberg (b.1925) to their families while on one of the first Kinder (children) transports via the Netherlands.

Hr.D.I., Lübeck  

My dears, luckily we have crossed the border. My suitcase was not opened. In Oldenzaal (Holland) we were welcomed grandly, we got warm meals and soda. The press was also there, we were photographed. I’m writing against the wall, which explains my "Klaue" (slang for bad handwriting). At 12 o’clock we’ll depart from Hoek. Lots of love and kisses Werner. Lots of love from Harry.

Hr.B.I., Lübeck  

My dears, for us to mail a letter is cheap, so I’m already writing again. The journey will be great. We were alive and very happy. We have already made friends too. The reception in Holland was excellent and the food was super. Regards to everyone, and above all to Helga, I had nearly forgotten to send her greetings. All the food is strictly koscher. Of my provisions I have hardly eaten anything. Now lots of love and kisses Kurt. Excuse my bad handwriting.

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Frau H.G., Lübeck

Dear Mum! We are already on our way to Rotterdam. In Holland we were welcomed very well. At the border we had warm meals. Otherwise we are very jolly and merry. Regards and a kiss from H. Best wishes Werner

 

(Harry Goldenberg sent this third postcard to his mother Hedwig Goldenberg, née Ewert. Her address was St. Annen-Straße 13.)

Because of the records in file 125 of the police administration a certain course of events, which occurred in 1939, can be reconstructed. A certain Hugo Sachs, resident at Lettow-Vorbeckstrasse 10, Lübeck, sent a complaint to the Oberbürgermeister (the mayor) that "non-Aryans at Schwartauer Allee used the Aryan name Sachs". Police investigations finally showed that it was not so. On 20 June 1939 it was noted: " Herr Inspektor Niemann! Frau Isaak communicated with us by phone today that her husband David Isaak, Schwartauer Allee 9a, had died on 23 Feb. this year. Furthermore her brother-in-law Bernhard Isaak, Schwartauer Allee 9b, had emigrated. They had both been summoned in a case of using proper names. Lübeck, 20 June 1939 signature " (Memo concerning the police investigations of Hugo Sachs’ accusations...)

On 30 May 1939 Bernhard Isaac with his wife and daughter Helga were able to leave Germany on the ship Costa Rica. Why Selma Isaac did not join her sister and brother-in-law we can only speculate. She was 57 years old, when she was forced to leave her home.

Together with other tenants Selma Isaac was deported to Riga on 6 December 1941. Nothing is known about her death there. A Page of Testimony at Yad Vashem, completed by her daughter Hildegard commemorates her.

Page of Testimony for Selma Isaak at Yad Vashem; reference: www.yadvashem.org
Page of Testimony for Selma Isaak at Yad Vashem; reference: www.yadvashem.org

Richard Isaaksohn was born at Brietzig/Pommerania on 8 August 1883. Hertha Isaaksohn, née Hammerschmidt, was born at Ravenstein/Pommerania on 5 July 1886.  When they arrived in Lübeck gcan not be determined, as not even registration files exist. The both can be found on the list of "Jews registered by the police" with the address Schwartauer Allee 9b, according to the directory of 1942 Richard Isaaksohn lived as a man of private means on the ground floor of 9a, all sources however agree that they were both deported to Riga on 6 December and perished there. Richard was 58 years old, his wife Hertha 55 years.

The Kendziorekfamily came to Lübeck at the  end of 1938.They had lived in Soldin/Neumark, where Kurt Kendziorek ran a haulage/carrier business with petrol/gas station and a car park. His business owned five truck-trailers for long-distance traffic.

Their younger daughter Inge Marion was born on 5 June 1924 at Soldin, while the older Erika was born on 31 October 1921 at Stargard. Frau Kendziorek's parents had a grain business in the Pommeranian town Pyritz. They were forced to give up by massive boykotts, so in 1937 they moved to Hamburg, where the Kendzioreks followed in summer 1938, when even Kurt no longer succeeded in running his business in the small town Soldin against all harassment. After six months in Hamburg the family moved on to Lübeck to live at Schwartauer Allee 9a.

Erika Richter, née Kendziorek, remembers that her family moved from Hamburg to Lübeck on 31 October 1938 and lived in a "Jewish villa" together with the Isaac family. There had been a son mamed Werner and next door had live a male and a female cousin. Kurt had been her age and Helga about the same age as her sister Inge (b. 1924). She had assocoated with these neighbours kids. Moreover the Isaaksohn couple and a further Jewish family had lived in the house who later had emigrated. This family will have been Eisig Gutmann, his wife Margarete, née Blumenthal, and their sons David und Hans, who teporarily also lived at Schwartauer Allee 9a. In December 1938 they managed to flee to Schanghai. At first the Lübeck administration didn't know that the Kendzioreks were Jews, but then they had notified the authorities in order not to be informed against.

Erika Kendziorek had left school at sixteen, but for a training to become an infant nurse she eas still too young so she stayed at home and supported her mother with the household. So she didn't qualify for a job. Her sister Inge had started a training to be a hairdresser in Hamburg.

Kurt Kendziorek's grandson wrote about this in a letter:

"... Now about Opa(Grandad) Kurt - I'm happy that Herr Jepsen remembers him like that. I think, "quick thinking, working and the many ideas "must have helped him decisively to survive the time at the camp with his daughters. My mother once described how he once immediately grasped the dangerousness of the situation, when Grandma was "separated" from him and the children whilest they were "unloaded". Erikarelated that he tried to indicate his wife through signals that she should somehow "join" the group, with which he, Erika and Marion were. But - according to Erika - her mother didn't seem to be able to read the signal and was obviously not aware of the immanent motal danger."

(2. Januar 2008)

In his memories "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 1941,came the order to report on December 3 (ot possibly December 4), with two suitcases, 50 pounds each, and a rucksack.we were told to report at the Jüdische 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 we should 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 more tense. Our family befriended the family of Kurt Kendziorek, his wife Gertrude, and daughters Inge and Erkia, 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 on 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 to have more than one gold watch, but thoughout history, "portabel wealth" has helped people to survive. In these unsettled times, we sold what we could spare and (illegally) purchased gold pocket watches and some jewellery, to guard as much as possible against fute 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 togethert might have a better chance. OPf hwat? Against what? What will they do with us?"

(p.24)

On 6 December 1941 the so-called Hamburger Transport with a thousand Jewish people from Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein set off, to Riga, among them 90 people from Lübeck. After three days and nights the train ride arrived at Skirotova Train station near Riga. On arrival they were driven on foot by SS-men through the snow to Jungfernhof, a former estate on the river Daugava. In two large barns several thousand people were accommodated on multy-storey wooden plank-beds, men and women in separate rooms.. Upon arrival their baggage was taken fom them. Henceforth hunger and cold, orders and brutality determined every day. From Dezember 1941 to March 1942 more than 700 people dies on Jungfernhof.

"Everyday 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 bcause the ground was frozen so hard and so deep that we coukld not dig the graves. The bodes were piled in the middle of the camp in two mounds."

(Memories of Richard Yashek, S. 30)

Only in May the ground had thawed so much that the prisoners could dig out two large mass graves in daylong work to bury the corpses.

At that time there were only few hundred people left on Jungfernhof fit for work. In February and March there had been selections;; children, elderly and sick people and many others had been carried away in carts to Bikerniekiwald (wooded area near Riga) where they were shot.

Die Kendziorek family stayed on Jungfernhof until April 1943 and were employed with farm work. Then Camp Jundfernhof was dissolved, and the Kendzioreks came for a few months to ghetto Riga and had to work in different places. Both daughters Erika and Inge were sent to work at the SS-works at Lenta near Riga in August 1943 where they were quartered in barracks, while their parents went to work with the Reichsbahn (The German railways) at Bretscho. Those comparably "good" times at Lenta with regular food and certain medical care came to an end for Erika and Inge, when they were transferred to concentration camp Kaiserwald. But then they also came to Bretscho in exchange for other prisoners.

At a selection on 27 July 1944 Gertrud Kendziorek, née Aronsohn, was separated from her family and murdered.

Kurt Kendziorek and both his daughters Erika und Marion survived under dramatic conditions. In early August 1944 they were taken on lighters carrying grain to Camp Stutthof near Danzig.

"After three weeks we were taken from there to Reichsbahnausbesserungswerk (repair shop for trains of the Reichsbahn) Stolp in Pommerania. There we stayed until 6 or 7 March 1945. Then we were taken back to Danzig,  shifted back and fro for some time between Danzig and Gotenhafen and finally sent to Camp Burggraben  near Danzig. We were then moved to Stutthof, where we got out again about 25/26 April

1945. From there we embarked on lighters from Hela to Lübeckwhere we arrived on 2 May 1945. From there we were transpoted to Neustadt/Holstein, where we were liberated by the English on 3 May 1945."

(Kurt Kendziorek, statement on 3 May 1954 in a restitution case.)

Erika Kendziorek 1945
Erika Kendziorek 1945

Schwartauer Allee 9a - Teil 1 | Teil 2 | Teil 3

Schwartauer Allee 9a - Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Verzeichnis der Quellen außerhalb der Standardfachliteratur:

  • Adressbücher und Meldekartei der Hansestadt Lübeck
  • 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 (unveröffentlicht)
  • 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), Die Geschichte meines Lebens, Wie ein zwölfjähriger Junge aus Lübeck und Bad Schwartau die Konzentrationslager überlebte, 1996 (deutsche Übersetzung 1998)
  • Zeitzeugengespräche und Schriftwechsel, vor allem mit Erika Richter, geborene Kendziorek und ihrem Sohn (seit 1997)
  • Novemberprogrom 1938, Die Augenzeugenberichte der Wiener Library, London, Herausgegeben von Ben Barkow, Raphael Gross, Michael Lenarz, Frankfurt a.M. 2008, S.699 ff

Heidemarie Kugler-Weiemann, 2008