Skip to main content
Skip to content Skip to navigation

Franziska Borchardt (born Pasmantier)

Stolperstein für Franziska Borchardt. Foto: OTFW.
Pallasstr. 12

Tempelhof-Schöneberg – Schöneberg

01/13/1889 in Warszawa (Russisches Reich) / dt. Warschau
on the 19th of October 1942 to Riga
10/22/1942 in Riga

Franziska Pasmantier, daughter of Chaim and Marie Pasmantier, was born on 13 January 1889 in Warsaw, which then belonged to Russia. Here, she grew up surrounded by siblings (including her sisters Emma, Bella and Regina and brothers Adolf and Judka). Later the family moved to Berlin. In 1920, Franziska Pasmantier married Jacques Borchhardt, owner of a woollens factory. The marriage produced three children: Helmut Michael (born on 20 October 1922), Lilli Flora (born on 25 January 1926) and Irene (born on 31 January 1929).
The Borchardts were financially comfortable and lived in a detached villa in Nikolassee, in the district of Zehlendorf. They employed a household help to assist raising the children. After the Nazis assumed power, the family was forced to leave their home at Dreilinden Straße 23 and move to the inner city.
When her husband’s woollens factory was expropriated, Franziska Borchardt went to work as a secretary (as her daughter Irene remembered at a Jewish art school).
Like many parents, the Borchardts tried to get their children out of Germany first – in the hope of joining them soon afterwards. In May 1939, their youngest daughter Irene left for England on a “kinder transport”. The non-Jewish Shaxsons, who lived with their four boys in Midhurst in southern England, took Irene in. Just a few months later, in September 1939, Irene was able to start school, even though she had not spoken a word of English before leaving Germany.
Evidently, the Borchardts wanted thirteen year-old Lilli to follow her sister to England in autumn 1939, but the outbreak of World War II frustrated their plans. Franziska Borchardt could only stay in contact with her younger daughter by mail. In her letters, she reminded her daughter to always be “good and obedient” and to show gratitude to her host family – apparently for fear they might otherwise send her back to Germany. Franziska also told Irene to never forget how to speak German “under any circumstances … on the contrary, you have to improve it; this is your birth country.”
Due to the censorship of post, Franziska Borchardt could only make very vague comments about her personal life, which was becoming increasingly restricted and oppressed. In July 1939, for example, she wrote that she hoped to go on some outings with Lilli in the school holidays but it was “just so difficult because we don’t know where we’re allowed to go”.
In June 1941 the Borchardt family was forced to move from Pallas Straße 12 in Schöneberg to Ebers Straße 18. Here they lived as subtenants of Edith Löwenthal, a photographer. Franziska Borchardt started working as a secretary for the Jewish Religious Association at Oranienburger Straße 26. In June 1942, she was brutally separated from her husband and son when they were deported to Minsk.
On 14 October 1942, Franziska Borchardt informed her youngest daughter via the Red Cross mail service about a forthcoming “journey”: “Dearest darling Irenie, Lilli and I are going to Papa and Helmut. Stay healthy and be good. God bless you! All love, kisses, Mami, Lilli.” It was the last short message – no more than 25 words were allowed – which Irene Borchardt received from her mother.
Franziska and Lilli Borchardt were deported on 19 October 1942 with the 21st transport to Riga and murdered immediately on arrival, on 22 October, in the surrounding woods.
Irene Borchardt was the only one of her family to survive. In 1948 she emigrated to Palestine where she married and had three children. She did not realize the significance of her mother’s last message until much later, she said at the laying of the stumbling stone for her parents and siblings in April 2012.

Biographical Compilation

Dr. Claudia Schoppmann

English Translation

Charlotte Kreutzmüller

Additional Sources

Fotos; Angaben der Tochter und Recherchen von Amelie Döge; 6 Briefe von Franziska Borchardt an ihre Tochter Irene;
ITS Transportliste;
BArch, Residentenliste
Gottwald/Schulle, Die „Judendeportationen“, S. 255