Ernestine Silberstein was born in Heinrichsdorf in West Prussia in 1871, as the daughter of Max and Minna Feibel née Cohn. As a young woman, Ernestine met Samuel Silberstein, who lived in the nearby town of Löbau. They married in 1896.
The first son, Siegbert, died of cot death. Their daughter, Meta was born in 1898, followed by their sons Hermann in 1899 and then Walter in 1901. The young family of five then moved to Berlin, like so many others, presumably in search of a better life.
At the age of 38, Ernestine gave birth to the twins Bianka and Martin on April 15th, 1909, a very special gift for the older sibling Meta, who was celebrating her 11th birthday that day. After moving several times within Berlin, the family finally settled at Fritschestr. 54, not long after the arrival of the twins. The mother was responsible for the upbringing of the children, since the father, an independent textile merchant, traveled a lot for work. Family life was described by the children as harmonious and close-knit; by now the Silbersteins had completely adjusted to their ways of life and, as liberal Jews, religion played only a minor role within the family.
Their son Walter died as a young man in 1926 from pneumonia; at that time he was in Frankfurt / Main – perhaps he was studying there?
Little is also known about Ernestine. Please see Samuel Silberstein's short biography for more information on her life.
Ernestine died in August 1943 of an alleged “heart muscle degeneration” in Theresienstadt. Samuel survived the atrocious living conditions until 1944.
Ernestine had three siblings, who were sadly also murdered in the Shoah. Her brother, a veterinarian residing in Hamburg, died in Auschwitz and the two other siblings were shot by the Gestapo in their homeland near Culm-Weichsel.