Alice Mielzynski

Krausnickstraße 8
17 November 1905 in Berlin
on 18 May 1943 to Theresienstadt
When stumbling stones were laid for Ida and Alice Wielzynski, very little was known about the two women. Later, however, information gathered from the Commemorative Book pointed to further details of their lives: their dates of birth, date of deportation to Theresienstadt and their address, Krausnick Straße 8.
But it was not until the fate of the infant Berl Hirschfeld (see Berl Hirschfeld) was researched that these two women’s identities became clearer. Berl Hirschfeld was deported aged just five months from Krausnick Straße 8, on the same transport as Ida and Alice Wielzynski. He had clearly been in their care. But no information could be found on a Wielzynski family, either in the Berlin directories or in any sources on victims of Nazism. A search for a woman named Hirschfeld who might have had a baby in 1942 yielded the name Dorothea Hirschfeld, whose maiden name had been Mielzynski. Further research showed that the surnames of Ida and Alice had been incorrectly written and that they were in fact also named Mielzynski.
Alice Mielzynski was born on 17 May 1905 in Berlin. Her father Robert Mielzynski was a master tailor and lived at the time with his wife Ida, née Budzislawski, in Immanuelkirch Straße. Alice had two younger sisters: Dorothea, born on 2 January 1907, and Babette, born on 12 January 1912. Babette was the only one of the family to manage to emigrate with her husband and child in 1939.
After attending the Jewish Community School, in 1921-1923 Alice Mielzynski completed a commercial apprenticeship with the firm Hesselberg & Herz, where she subsequently worked as a bookkeeper and forwarding clerk until 1933. Forced to liquidate that year, one of the company’s owners, Dr. Erich Herz, set up a linens factory and re-employed Alice Mielzynski. She was able to continue working here until the business was “Aryanized” in 1939.
In June 1938, Alice’s father, Robert Mielzynski, was deported to Buchenwald concentration camp during the Nazis’ “anti-workshy” campaign (Aktion Arbeitsscheu Reich). Following periods of internment in several other concentration camps, he was deported on 19 October 1942 to Auschwitz, where he died one month later.
At the time of the population census, in 1939, Ida Mielzynski lived with her daughters, Alice and Dorothea, and Dorothea’s husband, Martin Hirschfeld, at Linien Straße 239. The family’s last place of residence, which was probably not voluntarily chosen, was Krausnick Straße 8.
Alice Mielzynski was made to perform forced labour. Her last job, from October 1940 to February 1943, was in the Petrix factory in Oberschöneweide. Following her arrest during the Nazis’ “factory campaign” (Fabrik-Aktion) of February 1943, she was taken to an assembly camp in preparation for deportation, but her brother-in-law Martin Hirschfeld, who worked for the Jewish Community, managed to secure her release. Subsequently, she performed forced labour for Michalski, a uniform tailoring firm. But on 10 May 1943 her “period of grace” – as she put it – was finally over. She was taken with her mother and her sister Dorothea’s five-month-old son to the assembly camp in Große Hamburger Straße, where conditions were abysmal. 406 people awaiting transport to Auschwitz were cramped together with a further 100, awaiting deportation to Theresienstadt. The Mielzynskis shared a room with 24 others that was crawling with vermin, keeping them awake at night. On 18 May, the train left Berlin taking Ida and Alice Mielzynski and little Berl Hirschfeld to Theresienstadt.
In the Theresienstadt ghetto, Alice Mielzynski was initially recruited to perform secretarial tasks; later, she was made to work in the mica workshops. Her mother Ida was assigned to the baby nursery, where her charges included her grandson, and later made to perform heavy household duties.
Alice Mielzysnki survived Theresienstadt, as did her mother Ida. Himmler and the former Swiss premier Musy made an agreement that resulted in the offer of 1200 prisoners in Theresienstadt being released to Switzerland. Alice and Ida Mielzynski volunteered to go, albeit skeptically. They boarded the train destined for Switzerland on 5 February 1945. As they approached the Swiss border, they could rip off their yellow stars. They reached St. Gallen on 7 February 1945.
In a refugee camp in Switzerland, Alice Mielzynski got to know Marcel Monnier, one of the soldier-guards. They were married in December 1945 and in 1946 Alice gave birth to a son. She stayed in Switzerland until her death on 30 June 1990.