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Kleiststr. 36

Kleiststr. 36

Tempelhof-Schöneberg, A new building now stands here
Kleiststraße 36 at the corner of Eisenacher Straße from the Nollendorfplatz station, around 1905, photographer unknown. Source: Collection Ralf Schmiedecke, Berlin
In the late 1930s, this stately residential building in a neighborhood that then belonged to Charlottenburg had over 16 apartments. At least four of them were used as forced homes. Ten of the eighteen Jewish people who lived here were deported to Auschwitz or the Theresienstadt and Riga ghettos and murdered. Only six survived. The property owner managed to escape to the United States.

The building at Kleiststraße 36, on the corner of Eisenacher Straße, stood between Nollendorfplatz and Wittenbergplatz subway stations. Property owner Wolf Chaim Mandel was first listed as such in the Berlin directory of 1902. Mandel had Jewish roots and came from Brody in what is now Ukraine. He was arrested by the Gestapo in May 1941. A month later he managed to escape via Madrid and Lisbon to Cuba. Later he emigrated to the United States.

There were three apartments on each of the building’s four stories. Businesses were located on the first floor. In the 1930s, the 6-room apartments on the second and third floors were converted into 3-room and 4.5-room apartments. On November 23, 1943, the building was hit by bombing and burned down.

Roadworks on Kleiststraße with Nollendorfplatz subway station in the background, showing the building at Kleiststraße 36 up to the 4th floor on the far right. The “Parfümerie” sign belonged to the Kleist drugstore. March 31, 1916, photographer unknown. Source: Museen Tempelhof-Schöneberg/Archiv, Inv. Kls8 | Sig. T-Ss 211
Drawing of the Kleist drugstore, with a neon sign over the door advertising “Welt-Detektiv Auskunftei Preis”, Kleiststraße 36, July 18, 1928. Source: Landesarchiv Berlin, B Rep 211 Nr. 1428, building file Kleiststr. 36, page 23
The ruins of the building at Kleiststraße 36, photo: Herwarth Staudt, March 15, 1950. Source: Museen Tempelhof-Schöneberg/Archiv, Sig. Staudt-011-10, CC BY-NC-SA
Ground plan of the 2nd floor at Kleiststraße 36, February 9, 1937
Ground plan of the 2nd floor at Kleiststraße 36, February 9, 1937. Source: Landesarchiv Berlin, B Rep. 211 Nr. 1428, page 139


2nd floor, front


Charlotte Hoffmann, née Waldbaum, took the lease on a 4.5-room apartment on the second floor on May 5, 1939. She lived with her son Gerhard from her marriage with Eduard Albert Walter Hoffmann, a non-Jew. The "privileged mixed marriage" lasted just over four years; they were divorced on November 20, 1937. Despite the divorce, the Kinship Office ruled that Charlotte Hoffmann did not have to wear a yellow star. Her son Gerhard Hoffmann, who was classified as "of mixed race, first-degree", was also exempted. In the 1950s, the former property manager, Hans Schierse, described a neighbor's reaction when Charlotte Hoffmann stopped wearing the discriminatory label:

“Richter's drugstore was in the same building. The proprietor of the drugstore [...] pointed out to me that Frau Hoffmann has started walking around without a yellow star and what do I intend to do about it? I responded: I have seen the documents and am convinced that Frau Hoffmann no longer needs to wear a yellow star.”
Quoted from: Charlotte Hoffmann's compensation file, LABO Berlin, BEG-Akte, Reg.-Nr. 11 308, Blatt C16a. Affidavit of February 28, 1955, by property manager Dr. Hans Schierse
Star for marking “Jewish apartements”, undated. Source: Bundesarchiv, R 8150/19
“I have known Frau Charlotte Hoffmann since 1926. We cultivated close friendly relations. I can therefore [...] confirm that Frau H. wore a yellow star and that there was also a yellow star on the door of her apartment. [...] Frau H. [was] summoned to the Gestapo, with her son, where they tore off her yellow star, which she had merely mistakenly worn, as she was a privileged Jew.”
Quoted from: Charlotte Hoffmann's compensation file, LABO Berlin, BEG-Akte, Reg.-Nr. 11308, Blatt 15. From a statement of September 6, 1951, by Anna Nuthmann, born November 20, 1897, resident at Apostel-Paulus-Straße 40

From February 1942 on, Charlotte Hoffmann was made to perform forced labor for Krause in Reinickendorf. On February 27, 1943, the day of the Nazis' "Factory Action", she was taken from her workplace probably to the Markthalle III grocery market at Mauerstraße 82. She was released because of her earlier "privileged marriage" with a non-Jew and her son Gerhard's status as a person "of mixed race, first degree".

In March 1944, Charlotte Hoffmann was arrested by the Gestapo on Albrecht-Achilles-Straße, where she was visiting a Jewish acquaintance she helped while he was in hiding, a certain Herr Rachmann. She and her son Gerhard were taken to the Schulstraße assembly camp, from where Charlotte Hoffmann was sent to Fehrbellin corrective labor camp. After 15 weeks in the labor camp, she was sent to the Große Hamburger Straße assembly camp. From there she was sent to Ravensbrück concentration camp. She was then sent on a "Polish transport" to the subcamps Helmstedt-Beendorf, Hamburg-Langenhorn, and Hamburg-Eidelstedt. In May/June 1945 she was released from a forced labor camp in Hamburg-Bahrenfeld. Eleven-year-old Gerhard was cared for by her friends Wilhelm and Anna Nuthmann in their home at Apostel-Paulus-Straße 40 while she was imprisoned. Charlotte Hoffmann returned to Berlin in September 1945.

Charlotte Hoffmann, after 1945, photographer unknown. Source: LABO Berlin, PrV-Aktenteil Reg.-Nr. 11 308/211 929
Gerhard Hoffmann, after 1945, photographer unknown. Source: LABO Berlin, PrV-Aktenteil Reg.-Nr. 11 308/211 929

One room in the apartment was sublet to Erich Waldbaum, who performed forced labor for Rudolf & Pietsch at Lützowstraße 38. It is not clear when he moved in at Kleiststraße 36; in May 1939, he lived at Akazienstraße 3. On February 1, 1943, all his assets were seized by the secret state police (Gestapo). He paid a last monthly rent for the furnished room on February 28, 1943, and was deported a few days later, on March 3, 1943, to Auschwitz. His private belongings were considered worthless and not cleared out. Today, a stumbling stone outside Akazienstraße 3 commemorates Erich Waldbaum.

In August 1941, Oskar Hollaender, a widowed trader, moved into another furnished room in the apartment. His wife Fryderyka Ukrainczyk had died on December 25, 1933, in their home at Martin-Luther-Straße 42. They did not have any children. Oskar Hollaender last worked as a forced laborer for the Neukölln-Mittenwald railroad. Just a few months after he moved in, on November 27, 1941, he was deported to the Riga ghetto, where he was murdered on arrival.

In January 1942, Katharina Carsch, née Wohlgemuth, also moved into a furnished room in Charlotte Hoffmann's apartment. She had lived alone since she and her second husband Salli Carsch had divorced in 1932. In her declaration of assets of January 27, 1943, she stated that she had no cash, no credit, and no securities. But she claimed to co-own the residential building at Ludendorffstraße 40 with her sister Gertrud Charlotte Van Vlymen, who was ten years younger. Katharina Carsch was deported on February 3, 1943, to Auschwitz and murdered a short time later.

Ground plan of the 3rd floor at Kleiststraße 36, August 31, 1933
Ground plan of the 3rd floor at Kleiststraße 36, August 31, 1933. Source: Landesarchiv Berlin, B Rep. 211 Nr. 1428, page 91

3rd floor front


Markus and Maria (Marja) Aszkenazy, née Reissmann, moved into a 3-room apartment with a kitchen, bathroom, and pantry in 1936. Their apartment had hot running water and was heated by stove. The Aszkenazys are only listed as resident at Kleiststraße 36 in the Berlin directories of 1940 and 1941. Markus Aszkenazy fled on October 10, 1938, to Argentina. Maria Aszkenazy stayed with her sons Manfred and Erwin in the apartment. She was a sales assistant and probably worked as a forced laborer for Siemens & Halske AG, in the Wernerwerk F department. On January 1, 1942, all Maria Aszkenazy's and her children's assets were seized for the benefit of the German Reich. On January 12, 1943, Erwin and Manfred and their mother were deported to Auschwitz. The apartment was cleared on April 19, 1943.

Rose Mendelsohn, née Müller, and her daughter from her first marriage, Lilli Henoch, moved into one room of the apartment on May 21, 1941. They paid Maria Aszkenazy a monthly rent of RM 50 until August 1942. They had previously lived for many years with Rose's late husband and Lilli's stepfather, Mendel Mendelsohn, in a 6-room apartment at Haberlandstraße 11. In 1938, the year Mendel Mendelsohn died, this street was renamed Treuchtlinger Straße, erasing the reference to the Jewish entrepreneur and city councillor it had been named after. Rose Mendelsohn and Lilli Henoch were deported on September 5, 1942, to the Riga ghetto and murdered.

Rose Mendelsohn with her daughters Lilli (right) and Suse, around 1908, photographer unknown. Source: Martin-Heinz Ehlert private collection
Lilli Henoch, 1938, photographer unknown. Source: Martin-Heinz Ehlert private collection

Lilli Henoch was a qualified sports teacher and graduate of the Prussian College of Physical Exercise. She taught adults and children gymnastics, orthopedic training, medical gymnastics and massage at Haberlandstraße. She was a renowned sportswoman who enjoyed major successes in shotput, discus, long jump, and the 4 x 100 m relay race. She won championships and broke records. She was the head of several ladies' sections of the Berlin Sport Club. In 1933, her membership of the club was cancelled. Subsequently, she was only permitted to train and teach in Jewish sports clubs and schools. She joined the Jewish "1905" gymnastics and sports club. From 1933 to 1941 she worked as a gymnastics teacher at the Jewish elementary school on Rykestraße.

Rudolf Alterthum and his widowed mother Elsbeth Alterthum, née Isaac, also lived in the apartment as subtenants. They moved into one of the three rooms in early 1942. Rudolf's father was the architect Max Alterthum, founding co-owner of the architectural firm Alterthum & Zadek OHG, who had died in 1925. His firm was responsible for some distinctive Berlin buildings, two of which were on Hausvogteiplatz: "Haus zur Berolina" at number 12, and the business premises at number 3-4. Rudolf was made to perform forced labor for Blaupunkt electronics manufacturers on Köpenicker Straße. He listed three unspecified oil paintings among his belongings in his declaration of assets. He was deported on January 12, 1943, to Auschwitz, where he was murdered. His mother Elsbeth Alterthum was deported on August 14, 1942, to the Theresienstadt ghetto, where she was murdered on February 25, 1944. The apartment was cleared on April 19, 1943.

“[…] Frau Alterthum and her sons Kurt and Rudi had to leave their home on Kaiser Allee. They were allocated a room with use of the kitchen in an apartment on Kleiststraße […]. She lived there with her adult son Rudi. If my memory serves, I believe her son Kurt also lived with her for a time. After the law came out forcing Jews to wear the yellow star, I was there in Frau Alterthum's apartment as she sewed on the yellow stars for herself and her sons. […] From that point on of having to wear the yellow star she didn't go out of the house much […]”
Quoted from: Elsbeth Alterthum's compensatoin file, LABO Berlin, BEG-Akte, Reg.-Nr. 54 008, page C5, affidavit by Johanna Heinicke (sister-in-law of claimant Dr. Paul Alterthum, son of Elsbeth Alterthum) of December 21, 1956

Julian Reissmann, a trader, took the lease on a 3rd-floor apartment at Kleiststraße 36 some time before May 1939; he is listed as resident at that address in the Berlin directory of 1939. He was a brother of Maria Aszkenazy, who lived with her children on the same floor. Julian Reissmann's name appears on a list of October 1941 of Jewish people who were shot in the village Zasovica near Schabac, Yugoslavia. Alongside his name is that of Frau Elsa Reissmann, born June 4, 1914. She was probably his wife. It is likely the Reissmanns had tried to reach Palestine overland and been stranded in Yugoslavia.

Emil and Martha Galliner, née Salzmann, lived with their son Heinz in Julian Reissmann's apartment. Emil and Martha had married in Berlin in August 1909 and set up a department store, Galliner, in Finsterwalde, Brandenburg. Emil and Heinz Galliner were abducted during the November pogrom of 1938 and taken to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Martha was placed under house arrest in Finsterwalde. On her release on November 10, 1938, she left for Berlin and rented a room from Julian Reissmann. Emil was released on December 14, 1938, and joined Martha. Heinz Galliner was released from Sachsenhausen concentration camp on December 29, 1938, after his uncle, the rabbi Siegfried Galliner, had secured him a scholarship in the United States. He started out for the United Kingdom on April 3, 1939, but was prevented from traveling on to the United States as the US immigrant quota had been reached. Emil and Martha Galliner were forced to sell everything they owned and left Germany. They took the Transsiberian Railroad and reached Shanghai, China, on June 12, 1941. They survived the war in the Shanghai ghetto and finally reached Johannisburg, South Africa, in 1956.

Martha Galliner in the apartment at Kleiststraße 36, between March 1939 and April 1941, photographer unknown. Source: From the book “Epitaph of No Words” by Jeanine Hack, 2019
Emil Galliner in Berlin after his release from Sachsenhausen concentration camp, photographer unknown. Source: From the book “Epitaph of No Words” by Jeanine Hack, 2019
Hanna Galliner visiting her parents at Kleiststraße on March 11, 1939, photographer unknown. Martha and Emil Galliner’s eldest daughter, Hanna lived in Frankfurt am Main and was a Jewish Community welfare worker. She committed suicide on July 10, 1941. Source: From the book “Epitaph of No Words” by Jeanine Hack, 2019

Dr. Moritz Galliner was another brother of Emil Galliner. He and his wife Hedwig Galliner, née Isaac, did not manage to leave the country in time. They wrote to their son Peter, describing the ever-worsening conditions. After their apartment at Speyerer Straße 10 was completely destroyed in the November pogrom, they were forced to move to Kaiserallee 134. Moritz and Hedwig Galliner committed suicide on December 28, 1942.

“But now the bedroom is gone, too, and the Company R[ehn] moved in today! For the time being, of course, it all seems very funny. But I hope our couches are done soon so that we have something to sleep on again. Now we're lying on mattresses on the floor, but I suppose that makes a change, too.”
Letter from Moritz and Hedwig Galliner to their son Peter, June 28, 1939. Source: Private property of Jeanine Hack
“In the meantime, the Rehn company has made itself at home and seems quite comfortable here. [...] So, if it got authorized we would be quite content. I don't know if we'd rent out the other two rooms as well, though, because the building has been sold! You can imagine how horrified we all are [...]. For the time being it counts as a Jewish house but who knows for how long?”
Letter from Moritz and Hedwig Galliner to their son Peter, July 4, 1939. Source: Private property of Jeanine Hack
Ground plan of the 4th floor of the building at Kleiststraße 36, October 30, 1931
Ground plan of the 4th floor of the building at Kleiststraße 36, October 30, 1931. Source: Landesarchiv Berlin, B Rep. 211 Nr. 1428, page 71

4th floor left


The main tenant of this apartment was Maria Reicher, née Dusek. A Catholic, she was the widow of Wilhelm Reicher, who converted form Judaism to Catholicism shortly before their marriage in 1903. Wilhelm Reicher died in 1934 in Zitternberg near Vienna. From 1938 on, Maria Reicher was listed in the Berlin directory as a woman of independent means, resident at Kleiststraße 36.

Maria Reicher sublet a room to Felix Neftel – for 15 marks per month. He was separated from his wife Irma Maria (maiden name unknown) and their son Hans Franz. He is listed in the Berlin telephone book of 1938 under the number 27 43 64, address Kleiststraße 36. He probably worked in trade. The name Felix Neftel does not appear on any deportation list. While the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee Berlin (Deportations) holds a file card on him, it remains unclear whether he committed suicide or survived. His property, which consisted only of a few pieces of clothing, was seized on October 12, 1942. The room was cleared on April 17, 1943.


Until 1933/34, the neighborhood was a known as a center of gay and lesbian life. Kleist-Kasino at Kleiststraße 15 was a bar for homosexuals that opened in 1921. When it was closed on March 3, 1933, SA leader Ernst Röhm filed a complaint with Adolf Hitler and the bar reopened. The lodge house of the German-Jewish welfare organization B’nai B’rith was at Kleiststraße 10 until its closure by the Nazis. The Theater am Nollendorfplatz was just a short walk away from Kleiststraße 36, but it was out of reach for the Jewish residents. On November 12, 1938, a law came into force banning Jewish people from visiting theaters, cinemas, concerts and exhibitions.

Eldorado, a bar for homosexuals, after its closure, Motzstraße 15 (Schöneberg), on the corner of Kalkreuthstraße, March 5, 1933, photographer unknown. Source: Landesarchiv Berlin, F Rep. 290 (03) Nr. II6938

Marc Mendelson

In remembrance of the Jewish residents of Kleiststraße 36

Elsbeth Alterthum, née Isaac

Born October 17, 1867, in Berlin
Deported August 14, 1942, to the Theresienstadt ghetto, died February 25, 1944

Rudolf Alterthum

Born July 26, 1900, in Berlin
Deported January 12, 1943, to Auschwitz, declared dead December 31, 1945

Erwin Aszkenazy

Born June 21, 1931, in Berlin
Deported January 12, 1943, to Auschwitz, murderd

Manfred Aszkenazy

Born February 24, 1929, in Berlin
Deported January 12, 1943, to Auschwitz, murdered

Maria (Marja) Aszkenazy, née Reissmann

Born January 29, 1896, in Posen (Poznań)
Deported January 12, 1943, to Auschwitz, murdered

Markus Aszkenazy

Born October 5, 1894, in Zurow, Galicia
Escaped October 10, 1938, to Argentina

Katharina Carsch, née Wohlgemuth

Born June 30, 1879, in Berlin
Deported February 3, 1943, to Auschwitz, murdered March 1943

Emil Galliner

Born June 14, 1881, in Zinten
Escaped June 12, 1941
Survived, died May 18, 1960, in Johannesburg

Heinz Galliner

Born December 18, 1917, in Finsterwalde
Escaped April 3, 1939, to the United Kingdom
Survived, died November 3, 1994, in London

Martha Galliner, née Salzmann

Born July 10, 1886, in Jeżyce, Posen (Poznań)
Escaped June 12, 1941
Survived, died October 7, 1959, in Johannesburg

Lilli Margarethe Rahel Henoch

Born October 26, 1899, in Königsberg (Kaliningrad)
Deported September 5, 1942, to the Riga ghetto, murdered

Charlotte Hoffmann, née Waldbaum

Born December 30, 1905, in Berlin
Survived, died April 19, 1974

Gerhard Hoffmann

Born September 19, 1933, in Berlin
Survived, died November 7, 2010, in Berlin

Oskar Hollaender

Born September 25, 1882, in Hamburg
Deported November 27, 1941, to the Riga ghetto, murdered November 30, 1941

Rose Mendelsohn, née Müller

Born May 17, 1876, in Königsberg (Kaliningrad)
Deported September 5, 1942, to the Riga ghetto, murdered

Felix Neftel

Born November 8, 1865, in Glogau (Głogów)
Later whereabouts unknown: in hiding or suicide

Julian Reissmann

Born March 7, 1909, in Schrimm (Śrem)
Murdered October 1941 in Zasavica near Schabac (Yugoslavia)

Erich Waldbaum

Born November 2, 1899, in Neumünster
Deported March 3, 1943, to Auschwitz, murdered April 30, 1943