Paula Brenner, nee Nothmann, was born in Neisse, Silesia. As a young woman she moved to Berlin and married businessman Carl Callmann Brenner. In 1908, Paula Brenner started a family with her husband, with the birth of son, Walter. Paula Brenner’s brother, Max Nothmann, and his family lived close by at Brückenallee (today Bartning-Allee) at Hansaplatz.
Paula's husband was a smart businessman. In 1903 he and a partner had founded “Brenner & Nathan”, a wholesale garment fabric business, located at Poststrasse 28, in the Nikolaiviertel district. They had about 20 employees.
In 1937, because they were Jews, the Brenners were forced by the authorities to sell their business to non-Jews. That same year, their son Walter fled from Brandenburgstrasse (now Lobeckstraße) in Kreuzberg, to the USA. The Brenners also then tried to get out of Germany. The letters to their son were full of love and concern for his wellbeing. However, with the never-ending requests for additional documentation, the Brenners’ plans and hopes for exit visas began to fade. Their financial ability to escape really dimished, as a result of the many taxes imposed by the Nazis, such as the so-called Jewish property tax. In addition, the Brenners would have to deposit the so-called “Reich Flight Tax”, equivalent to 25% of their total assets. In 1941, just as the Brenners thought they would finally make it out to the USA via Cuba, they were required to wait for “confirmation papers”. Now escape from Germany was no longer possible.
On September 9, 1942, the Brenners were deported to Theresienstadt on the “age 60 and over transport”. Carl Brenner was murdered a few weeks later. His wife Paula survived two more years in the camp and was deported on July 15, 1944 to Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp, where she was murdered.
Son Walter started a family and later on moved to Israel. A niece of the Brenners survived several concentration camps and was later able to get out to Sweden, and then the USA, where she died in 1999.