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Gittel Süssmann

Stolpersteine für Gittel und Ruth Süssmann © Koordinierungsstelle Stolpersteine Berlin
Christinenstraße 35

Pankow – Prenzlauer Berg
June 2009

07/07/1939 in Berlin
on the 10th of August 1944 to Auschwitz
in Auschwitz

Gittel Süssmann was born in 1939, the second daughter of Alice, née Silbermann, and Herbert Süssmann. Her name was not freely chosen but forcibly selected from an official list of Jewish first names. Her parents had wanted to name her Brigitte. When their marriage broke down, Gittel’s mother Alice Süssmann took Gittel and her sister to live with her two unmarried aunts, Martha and Margarete Sussmann, at Christinen Strasse 35. Alice’s grandfather Siegmund Sussmann, an apron manufacturer, had bought the building in 1882. He was a descendent of one of Berlin’s oldest Jewish families, who had settled here in 1671. Alice Süssmann remarried and tried to emigrate with her children and second husband, Adolf Löwenthal, but without success. She was made to perform forced labour, and her children Ruth and Gittel (from 1942 on) attended the kindergarten in the Jewish children’s home at Fehrbelliner Strasse 92 in Prenzlauer Berg. When this was closed in 1942 the children were forced to move to the Jewish old people’s home in Schönhauser Allee. On 27 February 1943, Alice Löwenthal managed to escape capture during the Nazis’ “factory campaign” thanks to a warning, and she went into hiding with her children. Later, probably soon afterwards in spring 1943, they and other persecutees were given refuge in the weekend home of a brave and committed communist in Strausberg. Her name was Luise Nickel and her occupation was pressing laundry. But they were soon informed against and had to move on. Alice tried to muddle through on her own in Berlin with her two children, without money or papers. In June 1943, she took her daughters to Weimar to place them in the care of a friend of her aunts’, but she denied all knowledge of them. However, Alice had also been given the name of another woman in Weimar, who agreed to take the children in. Alice returned to Berlin, sending on money and food tokens to help provide for her daughters. Occasionally she travelled back to Weimar to visit them. In autumn 1943, the children were looked after in different places. One year later, the Gestapo came for the girls—most probably acting on a tip-off—and took them back to Berlin, from where they were deported to Auschwitz in August 1944. They were seven and five years old at the time. Alice Löwenthal survived the Nazi period.

Biographical Compilation

Larissa Dämmig

English Translation

Charlotte Kreutzmüller