Fritz and Regina Weiß chose to take their own lives, together with their three children, on 5 March 1943. As little is known about the individual members of the family, they are profiled here together. We know about their fate from a handwritten entry in the daily records of the police station at Gothaer Straße in Schöneberg. The suicide of the family of five by “illuminating gas”– standard household gas – is recorded in the driest officialese under the heading “seizure of an estate”. The report mentions that the corpses were transported to Weißensee cemetery and the apartment closed and sealed. As no relatives were found and the head of the household was an “Aryan”, the family’s few valuables were not confiscated by the German Reich but handed over to Schöneberg district court and a receipt obtained. The Weiß “case” was then closed.
The receipt issued by Schöneberg district court on 8 March 1943 confirmed that,
“the following items and amounts of money were submitted from the estate of the family of Fritz Weiss, born 14.10.06 in Gross-Strenz, and Regina Sara Weiss, née Hirschfeld, born 19.10.09 in Schwedenhöhe, and their three children Ruth, Doris and Ursula, resident in Schöneberg, Salzburger Str. 8:
RM 17.13 (seventeen Reichmarks and thirteen pfennigs)
One gold men’s watch with chain,
One silver men’s watch,
One silver ladies’ wristwatch,
One ladies’ wristwatch (chrome),
One silver bracelet
One gold wedding band”
Fritz Weiß, classified an “Aryan”, lived with his Jewish wife Regina in what the Nazis’ termed a “mixed marriage”. He did not file for divorce, despite presumably being urged to. Nazi doctrine classified their three daughters as Jewish. Evidently to escape imminent deportation, Regina and Fritz Weiß killed themselves and their young daughters – Ruth, born on 5 July 1932 in Berlin; Doris, almost seven years her junior, born on 27 February 1939 in Berlin; and Ursula, who was not yet one year old, born on 3 April 1942 – at about 9 pm on 5 March 1943 in their home at Salzburger Straße 8.
All five members of the Weiß family are buried in the Jewish cemetery at Weißensee. For years, the only reminders of the family’s tragic history were the gravestones erected in 1990 with the support of the War Graves Commission, and a document in the Berlin state archive. In 2008, stumbling stones were laid in front of the house at Salzburger Straße 8, which was damaged but not destroyed in the war.