Erich Waldbaum was born on 2 November 1899 in Neumünster, Schleswig-Holstein. He had two brothers: Kurt, born in 1891, and Hans, born in 1892. Around the turn of the century, the family moved to Berlin, where a daughter, Charlotte, was born in 1905. Erich Waldbaum became an extremely successful businessman. When his sister Charlotte divorced in 1937, he supported her and her son, born in 1933. In 1939 he shared a large apartment with them at Kleiststraße 36. Later he moved into an apartment with his older brothers Kurt and Hans at Akazienstraße 3, probably in around 1940-1. All three brothers were unmarried. In 1940 Erich was sent to perform forced labour for the company Rudolf & Pietsch at Lützowstraße 38. His last address before his deportation was Kleiststraße 36, c/o Hoffmann.
Erich Waldbaum, his mother Meta, and his brothers and sister were arrested on 27 February 1943 during the “factory campaign”. Erich Waldbaum was the first of the brothers to be deported to Auschwitz on a transport of 1750 Jewish people – 632 men and 1118 women and children – recorded as the “33rd transport to the East”. After the new arrivals from the transport were inspected in Birkenau, 517 men and 200 women were “selected” for work; the remaining 1033, probably including Erich Waldbaum, were immediately murdered in the gas chambers. The head of task force recruitment subsequently complained to the SS administration that future transports should include more people who were fit to work, as they were needed in the rubber factories in Buna. Erich Waldbaum’s brothers Hans and Kurt also died in Auschwitz. Their mother Meta, née Behrendt, survived Theresienstadt, and their sister survived 15 months in hiding and later internment in Ravensbrück concentration camp.
After the death of her mother in 1952, as sole heir, Charlotte Hoffmann successfully applied for compensation for the loss of her brothers’ assets. In 1965 and 1966 she gave evidence against Otto Bovensiepen, the head of the Berlin Gestapo in 1941-2, relating to the transports of Jews and assembly camps for Jews in Berlin.
The stumbling stone was sponsored by house residents and laid on 29 October 2010.