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Konstanzer Straße 3

Konstanzer Straße 3

Konstanzer Straße, probably taken at an elevation close to the Preußenpark in a northerly direction, 1938, photographer unknown. Source: Stadtmuseum Berlin, Reproduction: Rolf Goetze Archive, Inv.-Nr.: SM 2014-1784,87SM 2014-1784,87
This respectable residential block close to Olivaer Platz contained 15 apartments. Eleven of them were used as compulsory accommodation between 1939 and 1943. At least 74 Jewish people were deported from the building. Almost all of them were murdered. The district of Wilmersdorf had been a center of Jewish life in Berlin before 1933. And it remained so, though under completely different circumstances, until the deportations: many Jewish people were forcibly allocated housing here who had previously lived elsewhere in the neighborhood.

The apartment building at Konstanzer Straße 3 was owned by Regina Deutsch. She was Jewish and occupied an apartment in the building from 1934 on, or perhaps from 1938 on.

Before 1939 there were already 26 Jewish residents registered in the building. Eleven of them fled abroad between 1939 and 1941. After 1939, 60 more Jewish people were forced to move in. For 74 people, this was their last address before they were deported.

After owner Regina Deutsch was deported in September 1942, the Berlin-Brandenburg Chief of Finance claimed the property “for the benefit of the German Reich”.


Street-facing building, first floor


In October 1942, Jewish married couple Dr. Jacob und Alice May moved into the 3-room apartment on the raised ground floor. They shared it with subtenants: the family of three Meinhard and Ursula Gumpel and their 1938-born son Denny. Denny was one of the few names Jewish parents were still permitted to give their children under the Law on Name Changes of August 1938. All the occupants of the apartment were deported in March 1943 to Auschwitz and murdered.


Therese and Gustav Lewin moved into this 4-room apartment in early 1939. Gustav Lewin died here on November 27, 1939. After 1939, subtenants were forced to move into three of the rooms: Marie Hüttel, née Schlüssel, occupied one room. Alice Schönheimer, née Meyerheim, lived in another until her deportation in July 1942. The third room was occupied by Hedwig Schindler, who performed housekeeping and caretaking work in the apartment instead of paying rent. She took her own life in July 1942.

On August 1, 1942, husband-and-wife Simon und Elsbeth Looser moved into one of the rooms that had become vacant. They had previously lived in the building opposite at Konstanzer Straße 63. SS Obersturmführer Hermann Müschen took their apartment. Before he moved in, the apartment was renovated. By the time it was ready for occupation, in October 1942, Simon and Elsbeth Looser had already been deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto. They both died shortly after arriving. The apartment’s other occupants were also deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto. Marie Hüttel was the only one to survive the ghetto.

Street-facing building, 2nd floor


Alfons and Edith Brünn took over the tenancy of this 4-room apartment in December 1942. They had previously lived 200 meters down the road at Konstanzer Straße 8. They were deported after less than two months at Konstanzer Straße 3, in late January 1943, to Auschwitz. The Brünns had two subtenants, who were probably both already living in the apartment when they moved in. Ruth Pick had occupied one room since August 1941 and was deported in March 1943. Rudolf Caspary occupied another; it is unclear since when. He was not deported until March 9, 1944, which suggests that he managed to go into hiding in Berlin for some months. All of them were murdered in Auschwitz.


The property’s owner, Regina Deutsch, very likely moved into the well-appointed 4-room apartment on the second floor in 1934. From 1936 on, she was the proprietor of a sack-lending business on Luisenufer. She had lived with her non-Jewish housekeeper Ida Neumann since 1915. In June 1941 Clara Wedel was forced to move into one room as a subtenant. In December 1941 the married couple Selmar and Bertha Ballin also moved in. The Ballins were deported from here in July 1942. Paula Cohn moved into their now vacant room. Regina Deutsch was deported in September 1942. Prior to her deportation, she promised her furniture and household goods to her housekeeper. Paula Cohn and Clara Wedel were deported in early 1943. Their rooms were sealed and housekeeper Ida Neumann applied for permission to retrieve the furniture.

“The C. of F. gave clearance of the furniture from the Deutsch rooms to Miss Neumann, as of November 11, 1942. However, the release of the furniture was prevented by the Gestapo officers who took away the Jewess Wedel.”

Street-facing building, 3rd floor


Regina Levi, née Altmann, moved into this 4.5-room apartment in 1934. After 1939, her mother Meta Steinberg, née Wasser, moved in with her. Anna Aron, née Stern, took the subtenancy of one room in March 1941. Ismar Goldstein, Dora Rossert and sisters Clara and Elsbeth Süskind also moved in; it is unclear when. All seven probably did not live in the apartment at the same time. Clara Süskind died in February 1941, her sister Elsbeth in May 1942. Dora Rossert and Anna Aron were deported in summer 1942.

In September 1942, Mr & Mrs Kamnitzer moved into one of the now vacant rooms. Alfred Kamnitzer had been the proprietor of a pharmacy in Eydtkuhnen, East Prussia, until he was forced to sell it in 1936. Like many other Jewish people, the Kamnitzers then moved to Berlin. The couple’s three daughters fled abroad with their husbands before 1939. Else and Käte went to the United States, Eva to Palestine. In Berlin, Alfred and Meta Kamnitzer had initially lived in a large apartment at Wilmersdorfer Straße 93. In 1940 they were forced to move in as subtenants of one room at Xantener Straße 16 in Wilmersdorf. In September 1942 they were forced to move again: For a few months Alfred and Meta Kamnitzer lived 200 meters down the road at Konstanzer Straße 3. Meta Kamnitzer performed forced labor for Tornado at Müllerstraße 30 in Wedding. Alfred and Meta Kamnitzer were the last remaining occupants who had been forced to move in. They were deported on January 29, 1943, to Auschwitz and murdered there.

Alfred Kamnitzer’s pharmacy in Eydtkuhnen, around 1936, photographer unknown. Source: Neumann family private collection
Alfred Kamnitzer (right) in his pharmacy, around 1936, photographer unknown. Source: Neumann family private collection
Meta Kamnitzer (right), with her daughter Käte Neumann (center), around 1936, photographer unknown. Source: Neumann family private collection
Meta Kamnitzer, around 1936, Source: Neumann family private collection
Alfred Kamnitzer, around 1936, Source: Neumann family private collection

Pauline Schwarz, née Salomon, moved into a 3rd-floor apartment here in 1935. She lived with her daughter Ilse Schwarz and her sons Ernst and Heinrich Schwarz. Ilse Schwarz worked for the Berlin Jewish Community. Her brothers were made to perform forced labor at the Siemens-Schuckert works. By 1942 at the latest, they were forced to take in subtenants. In March 1942 Arthur and Käthe Lewandowski moved in. They were deported in July 1942. In October, Martin and Horst Wohlmann moved into one room. A month later, Lotte Engel also moved in. The new subtenants were deported together with Ilse, Ernst, and Heinrich Schwarz on January 29, 1943, to Auschwitz. Pauline Schwarz was the last to be taken away. She was deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto. Nobody from the apartment survived.

Courtyard building, first floor


Frieda and Heinz Briske moved into a 1-room apartment in the courtyard building in June 1938. They had three children, Reha, Tana and Klaus, who were all born between 1938 and 1941. After 1939, Leonie Saulmann, Heinz Briske’s sister, moved in with them. On December 21, 1942, Heinz Briske was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen concentration camp for unknown reasons. In April 1943 he was deported to Auschwitz and later to Buchenwald concentration camp and murdered there. Frieda Briske was deported with her children on January 29, 1943, to Auschwitz; Leonie Saulmann a few days later. None of them survived.


Ida Pless, née Moses, took over the tenancy of this 3-room apartment on February 6, 1942. She lived here with her adult children Karl and Lilli Pless. After 1939 Paul Lonnerstädter also lived in the apartment as a subtenant. Another room was sublet to Max Freund. He died on January 10, 1943, in the Jewish hospital. The apartment’s other occupants were deported between September 1942 and March 1943 to different ghettos and extermination camps. None of them survived.

Courtyard building, 2nd floor


Frieda Friederike Aronheim, née Moses, took over the tenancy of this 3.5-room apartment on July 1, 1939. A short time later she signed a sublease agreement with Richard and Elisa Moses. It is likely she was related to Richard Moses.

„I [agree to] lease two rooms in my apartment to Mr & Mrs Richard and Elise Moses of Crossen, unfurnished as viewed, as of August 1, 1939, for a rent of M 75.00 per month […] the subtenants shall also bear half the cost of the telephone, gas, and electric light

On November 1, 1939, Sofie Tausinger moved into another room in the apartment. Like the Moses, she had not been allocated accommodation there; she had made a sublease agreement with Frieda Friederike Aronheim. Tenants needed the authorization of the Berlin Jewish Community’s housing advice office to privately organize subleases such as this.

“Authorization is hereby granted for the leasing of 1 room of the apartment to Mrs Sofie Sara Tausinger, currently resident at Sächsischestr. no. 42, as of November 1, 1941.”

Lastly, Irene Schwarz moved into a room in December 1942. By that time, Frieda Friederike Aronheim had already been deported and Richard and Elisa Moses had taken over the tenancy of the apartment. On January 1, 1943, Sofie Tausinger committed suicide. The remaining occupants who had been forced to move in were deported on January 29, 1943, to Auschwitz and murdered.

Courtyard building, 3rd floor


The Hirsch family had moved into this apartment with their son Harry Walter before 1939. Isidor Hirsch was categorized as Jewish; his wife Bertha Hirsch, née Sänger, was not. In June 1941 Siegmund and Eva Heymann were forced to move into the apartment. They were deported in late November 1942. Isidor Hirsch died in the apartment on December 22, 1942. Harry Walter Hirsch was deported in February 1943 to Auschwitz. In his declaration of assets, he stressed that his mother was not Jewish in a bid to gain recognition of his status as a “person of mixed race”. His efforts were in vain; he was murdered in Auschwitz. By the time the Berlin Main Planning Office sought to collect his belongings in April 1943, Berta Hirsch was living alone in the apartment. She lived there until her death on June 12, 1945, of a shrapnel injury.

Unknown location


Juliane Wertheim was the main tenant of an apartment at Konstanzer Straße 3. Four people named her as such in their declaration of assets. However, her identity and the location of the apartment she occupied remains unclear. She cannot be identified with any certainty in the national census, the commemorative book, or any deportation list. Her subtenants were Rosa Labischin, née Cohen, who moved in on June 1, 1939, and Martha Engel, née Hannes. In March 1941, Friederike Bernstein also moved in. Two months later, they were joined by another subtenant, Helene Wald, née Aronsohn. All four women were deported between March and August 1942 to different ghettos. They either died there or were sent on to extermination camps.

Subtenant Helene Wald, née Aronsohn, Undated, photographer unknown. Source: Yad Vashem, Hall of Names, page of testimony for Helene Wald, ID: 14165697


In 1933, 26,607 Jewish people lived in the Berlin district of Wilmersdorf. That amounted to almost 16 percent of the population of Wilmersdorf; a larger proportion than in any other part of Berlin. The number of Jewish residents continued to rise until 1935. It is likely that many Jewish people moved to Wilmersdorf from other areas during this period because of its large Jewish Community. Between 1935 and 1939, however, the number fell drastically here, too. In June 1941, shortly before the deportations from Berlin started, only 11,700 Jewish residents remained in Wilmersdorf; less than half the number in 1933 but still more than in any other district of Berlin. Jewish and non-Jewish people had, then, lived next-door to one another here for some years. Though many Jewish people were forced to move into the house at Konstanzer Straße 3 after 1939, many of them had previously lived in Wilmersdorf, too.

View of Olivaer Platz leading to Konstanzer Straße. The junction is on the left, at the building with two towers, around 1936, photographer unknown. Source: LAB, F Rep. 290 (01) Nr. 0270146
Olivaer Platz, at the end of Konstanzer Straße, around 1936, photographer unknown. Source: LAB, F Rep. 290 (01) Nr. 0270150

Johanna A. Kühne

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Antisemitische Wohnungspolitik in Berlin 1939–1945

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