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Gunda Himmelweit (née Plastereck) * 1872

Ottersbekallee 14 (Eimsbüttel, Eimsbüttel)

JG. 1872
TOT 20.11.1942

Kunigunde (Gunda) Himmelweit, née Plasterek (Plastereck, Plasterk), born on 27 Sep. 1872 in Posen, deported to Theresienstadt on 15 July 1942, died there on 20 Nov. 1942

Ottersbekallee 14

Gunda Himmelweit’s Jewish family came from the West Prussian province of Posen. Her mother, Philippine Plasterek, née Jacob, had been born in Posen in 1845. We know nothing about her father, Salomon. Gunda had at least three siblings: her brothers Aron (born 11 Nov. 1868 in Halle), Max (born 10 Mar. 1871 in Posen), and Moritz (born 17 Mar. 1875 in Berlin). Gunda was married to Adolf Himmelweit (born 1867), who died in Hamburg in Dec. 1939. Adolf Himmelweit was born in Grätz in the province of Posen. The town of Grätz, now part of western Poland, is known today as Grodzisk Wielkopolski. The region was granted to Poland after the First World War. Adolf’s parents were Nathan Himmelweit and Hannchen, née Plasterek. Presumably, Gunda and Adolf were related to one another. They married in Posen on 24 Jan. 1898.

Gunda and Adolf Himmelweit had two children: Hans (born 13 Nov. 1898) and Johanna (born 2 Aug. 1903). Both were born in Posen. The family presumably came to Hamburg in 1922 and registered with the German Israelite Community. One can conjecture that the entire family moved into the German Empire after 1919, when Posen had to be ceded to Poland. Gunda’s mother lived with her daughter and son-in-law until her death in Apr. 1934. Gunda’s brother Max also worked as a retailer in Hamburg. He lived at Husumerstraße 9 II and at Alte Rabenstraße 6 III. According to the telephone directory, he was the manager of Sprithandel AG, which sold distilled alcohol, or the manager of the North German Distillery (Spritwerke). He died in Mar. 1931, after having married Fanny, née Goldschmidt, the widow of a man named Alsberg, in Berlin in 1929.

Adolf Himmelweit worked in the early 1920s at the Sally Harlam Company, a wholesale grocery on Gerhofstraße, where he became a partner in 1922. He probably dropped out at the latest in 1926, when the firm took on a different legal structure. In 1928, the branch was transferred to Berlin Charlottenburg. Presumably there were ties of kinship to the Harlam family as well, because Pauline Plasterek, née Harlam, recorded Adolf’s death with the civil registry office in Oct. 1939. Perhaps Pauline Plasterek was a sister-in-law of Gunda and Adolf. She was deported from Berlin to the Riga ghetto on 13 Jan. 1942.

From the end of the 1920s on, Adolf Himmelweit paid only very low Jewish religious-community taxes (Kultussteuern) or none at all. This implies that his economic circumstances had sharply deteriorated. He continued to have a telephone connection, however. The couple moved from Ottersbekallee to Werderstraße 10 or 13 and then to Grindelallee 188. From there, in Feb. 1942, Gunda Himmelweit moved into the "Jews’ house” (Judenhaus) at Dillstraße 15 II.

A few weeks later, in July 1942, 70-year-old Gunda Himmelweit was deported to Theresienstadt. The name Gunda Himmelweit had previously appeared on the standby list (Ausfallsliste) for deportation to Lodz on 25 Oct. 1941, but it was crossed out. In Theresienstadt, she died on 20 Nov. 1942; the officially certified cause of death was pneumonia. When one recalls the horrendous living conditions, starvation, and deprivation in the ghetto, it becomes clear that she actually was murdered. In the death certificate, the last address in Hamburg is given as the "Jews’ house” at Beneckestraße 6.

Her daughter, Johanna, died in 1933. Until her death, she had lived with her parents on Ottersbek¬allee. Gunda’s son, Hans, became a physician. Little is known about his professional career. He obtained his medical license in May 1930. For some length of time, he worked as a resident in the Rabenstein District Hospital in Saxony. According to the religious-community tax card, he moved from Ottersbekallee 14 to Fruchtallee 109, c/o Keilson. From Oct. 1934 on, his address is listed as Grindelallee 188, where his parents also lived at the time. By then, however, he had already left Hamburg. In Sep. 1934, according to the Jewish religious-community tax card, he moved to Erfurt, where he was registered in Sep. 1934 at the address Nonnenrain 68a, c/o Baumgart. From Nov. 1934 to Mar. 1937, the registered address in Erfurt was Roonstraße 56, ground floor. In 1937 he moved from Erfurt to the Reich capital, Berlin, where he lived at Schönhauser Allee 41, c/o Haarzopf. Like all other Jewish doctors, he lost his medical license in early 1938.Then, in Feb. 1938, he managed to immigrate from Hamburg to New York. In the United States, he joined the army in 1942. Later he lived in Massachusetts and worked as a hospital aide and male nurse. Presumably he had been unable to obtain a medical license again in the US. He married in the US and died on 7 Feb. 1955.

The memorial book in the German Federal Archives contains many names from the Himmelweit, Plasterek, and Harlam families, which all came from Posen. Presumably there were multiple family connections. For example, Erfurt, to which Hans Himmelweit moved, was the home of Henriette and Moritz Himmelweit in the early 1930s. They came from Posen and were members of the same generation as Adolf and Gunda Himmelweit. In Berlin, Dr. Hans Joachim Plasterek (born 1881 in Grätz/Posen) had also practiced, as a specialist in gynecology and surgery. In 1940 he was listed in the telephone directory as a "treater of the sick” (Krankenbehandler). He had obtained his medical license in Munich in 1908. He was married to a non-Jew and survived in Berlin.

Translator: Kathleen Luft

Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg

Stand: October 2016
© Susanne Lohmeyer

Quellen: 1; 4; 5; 7; StaH 231-7, A1 Bd. 104 HRA 24045; StaH 332-5 Standesämter, 8164 und 460/1939; StaH 332-5, 1024 und 165/1934; StaH 332-5, 8107 und 121/1931; StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden 992e2 Bd. 3 De­portationsliste; HAB II 1926; Berliner Adressbücher;; Berliner jüdische Kassenärzte, S. 348 und 692; Stadtarchiv Erfurt Melderegister EF: 2-136-226; www.ancestryinstitution. com, Zugriff am 15.2. 2013.

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