Clara Weissenberg

Clara Weissenberg: 29 August 1877 to 02 June 1942 (?)

As soon as I saw in letters that there was a family member called Clara, I knew this was who I was named for.

I remember my dad used to roll the sound of the name around – he loved the way words sounded and felt in his mouth – you could hear it. He’d look at me sometimes and say “Cl-aaa-ra”, and smile.

Of course, Werner’s first language was German, but English became his adopted mother tongue and he pushed his knowledge of it every day of his life – not least with The Guardian crossword always open. If he couldn’t work out a clue, he would keep the paper until the solution was published, and then work it out backwards from there. It was a patient, laborious and ongoing learning exercise. He had learned some English at school, and had then taught it to pupils at Philanthropin; he’d also learned some French, and was highly proficient in Latin and Greek.

Clara: I hadn’t known whether Clara was a hitherto unknown-about sister of Leopold’s or a wife of Fedor or Kurt. The documents we found in Gliwice archive on our visit to Poland told us that she was the former.

My husband recalls hearing from Werner that he lived with two maiden aunts while studying – this was one of them; Hedel was the other. Clara, in other words, is one of ‘the aunts’ about whom Leopold writes in tones of amused affection.

We also have some letters from Clara and her sister Hedwig, which you will be able to read as they are translated and uploaded on this website.

Clara was born in PeiskretschamPyskowice in Upper Silesia on 29 August 1877. I don’t know very much about her, but I do have a photograph of her and her sister Hedel, and know that they lived in Beuthen / Bytom for a while.

Both these sweet sisters, who clearly doted on my dad, were deported in June 1942. Clara was almost 65 years of age.


Deportation: Beuthen to ‘an unknown place’, 2nd June, 1942

Once I knew what I was looking for by way of a surname, I was able to locate Clara on the transport lists from Beuthen: Clara and Hedwig Transport list_Beuthen12. As we can see from her Birth Certificate, she was forced to use the ‘Jewish’ Sara as her middle name from September 1938.

Clara’s last known address as given on the transport list was Gleiwitzer Straße, 13 Hinterhaus. Stock rechts.

The 2nd June 1942 transport from Beuthen is on the Yad Vashem website, and the information is extracted here as a PDF: Yad Vashem_Transport from Beuthen. It concludes, “There is not a single known survivor from this transport”.

Interestingly, on the Bytom transport lists, two more Weissenberg are listed as living in the same place as Clara and Hedel – they are called Salo and Henriette. I have no idea whether they were family members, or if so, how they might fit into the family tree, but with time, perhaps we will find out more.