JewishGen Home Page

Schneidemühl Detainees
Not Without a Trace: The Fate of Those Who Did Not Return

Introduction by Peter Simonstein Cullman

· Background
· Database
· Acknowledgements
· Searching the Database

This database contains records for 512 people who were detained in or deported from the district of Schneidemühl in 1941.

Background

The following is a reconstructed chronology of events that unfolded in Pomerania in 1940, an attempt to record the fate of every person who was affected by the mass arrest of Jews in the wider administrative district of Schneidemühl on that fateful Wednesday, 21 February 1940, leading to the tragic conclusions in 1941-44.  These are the names of those who became ensnared in the Naziís bureaucracy of death.  Very few of these men, women and children survived.  This is in homage to their memory.

The original number of detainees is reported to have been 544.  However, due to the poor condition of many of these lists, only the names of 512 persons could be identified with reasonable certainty, and even here it was not possible to account for the fate of all persons, leaving a lacuna of thirty-one persons. 

While great care has been taken in the accumulation and deciphering of data, the spelling of names and places and the accuracy of personal data gleaned from the lists is limited to the quality of some surviving documents.  Names will appear as on the original lists, unless they could be corrected by comparing them to surviving pages of the 1939 census, extant civil records, or data supplied by the latest version of the Gedenkbuch Berlins.

To determine family connections and the fate of each person, several additional sources were consulted.  Of particularly value were Pages of Testimony that had been submitted by survivors to Yad Vashem over the past five decades, thus some maiden names and family relationships could be added to this database.  Additionally, the Theresienstädter Gedenkbuch, the Datenbank of the Landesarchiv Berlin and the Głowna lists comprising of Judentransportgruppen Nos. 473, 474, 475 from Głowna in Poznan (not to be confused with Głowno near Lodz), together with records from the so-called Jüdisches Umschulungslager in Bielefeld and the labor camps Radinkendorf and Neuendorf, were most useful.

It should be noted that the Głowna lists had originally been drawn up in family groups and frequently included names of persons who were deported to Głowna at an earlier time and do not appear in the Schneidemühl lists.  Subsequently, some of these extra names are mentioned in the text of the list below when it became apparent that a person from the Głowna lists belonged to a particular family in the Schneidemühl lists.

After their initial round-up, men, women and children were initially held in Schneidemühl and kept prisoners in such locales as the mortuary of the Jewish cemetery, the Jewish community building and the makeshift quarters of the Bürgergarten, a local restaurant.  As soon as detailed lists of every person were drawn up, the Gestapo began to shuffle most of the prisoners between transit camps, hospitals, nursing homes, childrenís homes, old age homes, hospices and forced labor camps in areas of Pomerania, Brandenburg and as far as Berlin, Bielefeld and Frankfurt/M.

Of the arrested, six persons are known to have died in one or another place of detention in Schneidemühl; they were largely the unmarried elderly, ranging in age from fifty to ninety years, who succumbed to illness and stress, thus in a tragic way evading the later deprivations. 

At least four persons are known to have perished in the forced labor camps of Radinkendorf and Neuendorf; at least four men are known to have been murdered in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.

At least twenty-eight men and women died in Berlin after their transportation from one institution to another; together with the two persons who are known to have taken their own lives — they were all still assured a Jewish burial in the Jewish cemetery of Weissensee.  Where known, the burial location within the cemetery is recorded here, i.e. Feld P, Abteilung VII, Reihe 3, Grab 647258 (= Field P, Section VII, Row 3, Grave No. 647258).

At least three hundred and seventy-six men, women and children were eventually deported to concentration camps and ghettos.

Even before the Wannsee-Konferenz of 20 January 1942 had legitimized the Shoah, the first mass deportations of German Jews from the Reich began in Berlin on 18 October 1941.  The first persons of the Schneidemühl Aktion to be deported were at least eleven men and women who were sent to the Lodz ghetto.  Those who survived the squalor of ghetto life until the following year were either sent to their death in Chelmno — deportations to this extermination camp began on 16 January 1942, and lasted until April 1943 — or they were deported to Auschwitz later.

Between 27 November 1941 and 26 October 1942, at least fifty-two men, women and children were deported to the Riga ghetto where most of them were murdered upon arrival.

At least eighty-nine men, women and children were deported to the Warsaw ghetto with transports that began on 2 April 1942; most of these persons who had not perished in the ghetto were later deported from there to various extermination camps, although no definitive dates and locations could be ascertained; at least eight persons are known to have perished in Trawniki.

One hundred and twelve men, women and children are known to have been sent to the Theresienstadt ghetto between 3 July 1942 and 17 June 1943; of those who survived long enough, many were deported again, either to Auschwitz or to Treblinka, some as late as 23 October 1944; with the exception of one fifteen-year-old girl, most of these were the elderly.

The largest numbers of victims, however, were the men, women and children who were sent directly from Berlin to Auschwitz.  Their deportation began 2 March 1943 and lasted until 28 June that year, at a time when the mass gassing of Jews was in full operation.

One outstanding case of fortitude was that of the ninety-four-year-old Philipp Falkenstein from Flatow; he was one of only eight persons from the initial raid in 1940 who survived the deportations.  At least eight men and women are known to have succeeded in emigrating legally, several months after their initial arrest.

The only known person born in Schneidemühl — arrested in Berlin and not part of the mass arrests of 21 February 1940 — who survived the hell of Auschwitz in a confluence of luck and timing, was Barbara Weldon, née Schwarzbach.

Database

This database includes records for 512 individuals from Schneidemühl detainees.

The fields for this database are as follows:

  • Surname
  • Given name
  • Maiden name
  • Date of birth
  • Place of birth
  • Spouseís surname
  • Spouseís given name
  • Fatherís surname
  • Fatherís given name
  • Motherís surname
  • Motherís given name
  • Comments

Acknowledgments

The information contained in this database was indexed from the copies of salvaged lists of names and pages of correspondence between members of the Jewish community in Berlin and Schneidemühl and the RSHA, the Gestapo, the Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland, as well as from the Akten Notizen, memoranda of Gestapo orders — all compiled with astounding thoroughness but only partially preserved and frequently fragmented.

In addition, thanks to JewishGen Inc. for providing the website and database expertise to make this database accessible.  Special thanks to Warren Blatt and Michael Tobias for their continued contributions to Jewish genealogy.  Particular thanks to Nolan Altman, coordinator of Holocaust files.

Nolan Altman
Coordinator - Holocaust Database
May 2010


Searching the Database

This database is searchable via JewishGen's Holocaust Database, the JewishGen Germany Database, and the JewishGen Poland Database.


JewishGen Databases JewishGen Home Page
Last Update: 12 June 2010 by MFK
Edmond J. Safra Plaza | 36 Battery Place | New York, NY 10280
646.437.4326 | info@jewishgen.org | © 2014, JewishGen. All rights reserved.