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Porträt Anuta Sakheim
Anuta Sakheim, o. D.
© Sammlung Wilfried Weinke

Anuta Sakheim (née Plotkin) * 1896

Eilbeker Weg 29 (Wandsbek, Eilbek)

JG. 1896

Anuta Sakheim, née Plotkin, born on 15 Feb. 1896 in Lodz, suicide in Aug. 1939 in Tel Aviv

Eilbeker Weg 29

On 7 Oct. 1919, the 23-year-old unmarried bank employee Anuta Plotkin registered with the authorities in Hamburg as residing at Mittelweg 143 on the fourth floor with Abraham (called Aby) Süsskind, a Jewish merchant of Russian origin.

Anuta Plotkin was born on 15 Feb. 1896 in Lodz, held Russian citizenship, and belonged to the "Mosaic” (Jewish) religion. She had arrived from Königsberg (today Kaliningrad in Russia) two days earlier, on 5 Oct. 1919, and apparently, she did not have any relatives in Hamburg. After only two weeks, she moved to Hansastrasse 55 to reside with Morduch Markus Sakheim, a greengrocer, and his family. She stayed there until Jan. 1920, subsequently living as a subtenant at Rappstrasse 12 with Sophie Behrens. Ten weeks later began her longest stay during this first phase of her life in Hamburg, lasting eight months, with Otto Boedecker at Rappstrasse 21. On 27 Nov. 1920, she gave notification to the authorities that she was moving to Berlin-Wilmersdorf. Except for her relocations, nothing is known about this year in Hamburg. The following year, she returned as Mrs. Sakheim to Hamburg for five years. By that time, she had married the son of one of her landlords, Dr. phil. Arthur Sakheim, in Königsberg.

Arthur Sakheim, born on 27 Oct. 1884 in Libau (today’s Liepaja) in Latvia, had arrived in Hamburg in 1895 with his parents Morduch Markus and Rosalie Sakheim, née Mowschensohn, and his two younger siblings, Leon and Jeanette. There, Morduch Markus Sakheim traded in vegetables and seeds at Heinrich-Barth-Strasse 11. Son Arthur studied philosophy, philology, and theater in Berlin, Leipzig, and Zürich, earning his Ph.D. with research on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s personality and works in 1908.

In the following years, he wrote theater reviews for, among others, Die Schaubühne, essays, poems, a novel, and plays that were performed at the Deutsche Schauspielhaus in Hamburg and at the Thalia Theater. In 1914, he joined the German-Israelitic Community in Hamburg, paying his dues during the war years. After the end of the war, he fell behind with his payments for some time.

In 1921, Arthur Sakheim applied for admission to the Hamburg Federation (Hamburgischer Staatsverband), and on 24 June 1921, he received the corresponding certificate. As a residential address, he provided Hansastrasse 55, his parents’ home.

After their wedding on 27 Sept. 1921, Anuta and Arthur Sakheim went on their honeymoon in Merano in South Tyrol. At the time of the wedding, Anuta was 25 years old, Arthur was 37. Upon getting married, they moved to Horner Landstrasse 144 in Hamburg-Horn and from there to Eilbeker Weg 29. On 12 June 1923, their son Ruben Gabriel was born.

In 1924, Arthur Sakheim published seven lectures in a book titled Das jüdische Element in der Weltliteratur ("The Jewish Element in World Literature”), which met with a wide positive echo. He became a dramaturge at the Hamburger Kammerspiele and earned a name for himself in the artistic-literary scene beyond Hamburg.

In 1926, Morduch Markus Sakheim, his wife Rosalie, and daughter Jeanette, who had become a physician, moved to Berlin. Two years later, Leon Sakheim left Hamburg as well; he had become a merchant. That same year, Arthur and Anuta Sakheim relocated with their son to Frankfurt/Main, where Arthur Sakheim had been hired by the Städtische Bühnen, the municipal theater. He had offers from Max Reinhardt to come to the "Deutsche Theater” in Berlin, also from the "Habimah,” the Jewish theater in Palestine. After his dismissal by the Frankfurt theater manager, who was also Jewish, Arthur Sakheim went on vacation on the Island of Hiddensee, where he reoriented himself professionally. On his return trip, he fell ill with appendicitis and, as an effect of it, with pneumonia, which resulted in his death. Arthur Sakheim died in Berlin in 1931, at the age of 47 years. He was widely acknowledged but his widow was left unprovided.

In 1932, Anuta Sakheim moved with her son Ruben Gabriel from Frankfurt/Main to Berlin to stay with her sister-in-law Jeanette in order to build a life for herself there. The Ullstein Publishing House hired her as an editorial assistant, but she lost this position a short time afterward. Her attempt to earn a livelihood by operating a kind of ride-share service failed as well. In the spring of 1933, she fled with her son from Berlin to Palestine, without taking along or liquidating her husband’s household. The journey to Palestine took her to Merano once more, from there on to Trieste, and finally by ship to Jaffa. Anuta settled with her son in Tel Aviv. Anuta Sakheim had not specifically prepared herself for life in Palestine, though she did have a driver’s license. She used it to earn a living. She bought a cab and obtained the necessary cab driver’s license, based on which she, the first female cab driver in Palestine, built up a thriving operation. Initially, her main work consisted of shuttling visitors between the harbor and the hotels, subsequently extending her business by tourist roundtrips in the country. This required absences from home lasting several days and accommodating her son in a foster family.

Tensions between Arabs and Jews mounted and by this time, instead of wealthy clients, an increasing number of destitute immigrants came to Palestine fleeing from rising anti-Semitism in Western Europe. This development caused Anuta Sakheim to run into dire straits again. The financial distress was so severe that she was unable to afford an operation when she fell ill with cancer. In this situation, her sister-in-law Jeanette, who had emigrated to the USA, suggested sending her son to stay with her in New York. In the spring of 1938, Ruben left Palestine, not having reached 15 years of age. Anuta Sakheim corresponded with him on a weekly basis, until her last letter dated 16 July 1939. Terminally ill and penniless, she took her own life in Tel Aviv in Aug. 1939.

Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: January 2019
© Hildegard Thevs

Quellen: 1; AB; StaH 332-8 Meldewesen K 6739; Cache; Profundes Wissen und brennende Liebe – Ausstellung, SUB Hamburg, 2007; Weinke, Wilfried, Verschwundene Welt.
Zur Nummerierung häufig genutzter Quellen siehe Link "Recherche und Quellen".

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