Rebecka (Rebekka) Schendel was born on 4 November 1861 in Wongrowitz, district of Bromberg in Posen (today Wągrowiec, Poland). She married a man named Hirsch (his first name is not known) and moved to Berlin. On 22 October 1885 she gave birth to a daughter, Johanna, in Berlin. The couple seem to have had another daughter, Berta, who took the name Baija after marrying. Rebecka Hirsch lived in Berlin until her deportation. According to the information in the Berlin directory, she was resident at Borkum Strasse 5 in Pankow from 1926 to 1940. In 1926 she was already a widow and received a disability pension. Her daughter Johanna Schendel (born 22 October 1885, died 9 December 1942 in Auschwitz) lived nearby at Halland Strasse 12 in Pankow.
Rebecka Hirsch’s declaration of assets shows that she was forced to move to Breite Strasse 50 on 10 March 1941. By this time, the building on the corner of Hadlich Strasse housed several Jewish families, forced to live together in cramped conditions. Rebecka Hirsch was instructed to sublet the ground floor apartment from the Jewish main tenant, Pauline Becker, née Selbiger (died 13 March 1943 in Theresienstadt). At nearly eighty years of age, she was forced to live in a cold, damp shop-room furnished with only the bare necessities.
In summer 1942 Rebecka Hirsch was taken to the assembly camp at Grosse Hamburger Strasse 26. From there she was deported together with 1000 others on the “2nd major transport of the elderly” to Theresienstadt on 14/15 September 1942. Only 57 people survived this transport. Rebecka Hirsch apparently lived another four months in the inhumane conditions of the ghetto. Her “announcement of death” was issued on 29 January 1943, after she had died at 2 pm that day of myodegeneration.