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Else Flatau (born Raesener)

Stolperstein Else Flatau, Foto:H.-J. Hupka, 2014
Else Flatau, Foto: Archiv Daniel Eger
LOCATION
Pestalozzistraße 66

DISTRICT
Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf – Charlottenburg
STONE WAS LAID
03/24/2014

BORN
10/08/1888 in Pasewalk
ESCAPE
August 1942 nach Belgien
INHAFTIERT
in Mechelen, Belgien
DEPORTATION
on the 26th of September 1942 from Mechelen, Belgien to Auschwitz
MURDERED
09/28/1942 in Auschwitz

Else Flatau geb. Raesener met Max Danielsohn in 1920 while visiting the grave of Rosa Luxemburg. She was a World War I widow and he was an accountant, married with two children. Within a year Max separated from his wife and moved in with Else. They both were communists and according to Lea, their only child, the party asked them for security reasons not to marry and to have only a single child. Max took over the small business Flatau & Jacoby on Dresdener Str. 76 which manufactured trimming laces (Posamenten) and which Else inherited from her first husband Leo who was killed in WWI.
Else was born on 8 October 1888 in Pasewalk in Pommern and had 2 sisters and a brother (who also was killed during WWI). Max was born on 30 März 1879 in Bönhof, kreis Stuhm, Westpreussen, and had eight brothers and sisters from his father's two marriages.
After the couple met they moved into a single room apartment in MichaelkirchStr. 8, in a rather poor, working class neighborhood. They were very active politically and socially and so opened a soup kitchen every Sunday for the poor.
In 1931 they moved to Charlottenburg, to a much bigger apartment on Pestalozzi Str. 66. There they would organize literature and music evenings where Else would play the piano and sing, and Jean – Max's son from the previous marriage – would play the violin. Others would read literature and poetry.
After the Nazis came to power the SS searched the apartment, arrested Max who then went on trial and sentenced to three years in prison for communist activity. Max was arrested again in 1938 during the "Aktion Arbeitsscheu Reich" and sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp where he was imprisoned between June and September.
In July 1940 Max and Else managed to send their daughter to Palestine. Although some of their friends managed to get out of Germany they themselves could not get out as no country would have accepted a communist with a prison record. In 1942 they decided to try and cross the border into Switzerland. Around April or May of that year they traveled there and moved into a small chalet. Max went to reconnoiter the border and never came back. Else waited for him for three weeks, and then returned to Berlin "all tortured and nervous" (according to a friend). For a while she hid in a friend's apartment, over stretching her stay in Berlin in the hope to hear something from Max or their daughter. She then decided to try and escape through Belgium, Denmark or the Netherlands.
In August 1942 Else somehow managed to arrive at Brussels and stayed there at an apartment on Rue Amédée Lynen 4. About a month later she was arrested, taken to Mechelen transit camp (SS-Sammellager Mecheln), and from there deported to Auschwitz. She was number 1317 in transport XI which departed the Mechelen transit camp on 26 September 1942. The train arrived at Auschwitz 2 days later and Else, along with 1,397 people from that transport, was killed that day in the gas chambers. It was a Monday. She was 53 years 11 months and 20 days old.
Surprisingly, Max surfaced again in Berlin some months after he disappeared at the Swiss border. It is unknown how he got there, but it is assumed he was caught at the border and sent to Berlin. His name appears on a list of Jews deported from Berlin to Riga. This was the "18 Osttransport" by train number Da401. It departed Berlin on 15 August 1942 and arrived in Riga 3 days later. Soon after their arrival all 1,004 deportees were shot in the forests of Rumbula and Bikernieki. It was a Tuesday. He was 63 years 4 months and 19 days old.


Biographical Compilation

Text: Daniel Eger (Tel Aviv, Enkel von Else Flatau und Max Danielsohn). Übersetzung aus dem Englischen: Harald Marpe

English Translation

Daniel Eger