Else Weissenberg, geb. Bloch
8 December 1882 to 28 May 1942 (?)
To be updated: This page is under construction
Note: Translations of letters and documents are works in progress
Raschau, 11th December 1882
In front of the signing Civil Registrar, known to the registrar, innkeeper Joseph Bloch, appeared in person, resident in Raschau, of Jewish faith, and reported that Hermine Bloch, geb. Cohn his wife, of Jewish faith, living with him in Raschau in his apartment on 8th December 1882 at 8.30pm a female child was born who was given the name Elsbet.
Read out, authorized and signed by Joseph Bloch
The Civil Registrar
Authorized in accordance with the main registry
Raschau, on 11th Dec 1882
The Civil Registrar
Translated by: Rüdiger Rodrigo Dikty-Daudiyan, Master of Arts, Translation & Localization Management
Raschau is a village in the county of Opole in southwestern Poland; at the time it was in Upper Silesia, according to my father’s (translated) notes, which also provide the following information about her early life.
"Else, my mother, was born on 8 December 1882 in Raschau o/s (Upper Silesia). She attended a higher girls’ school and had, among other things, a secretarial post in Osnabrueck. She married Leopold on 30 October 1910, and my parents had a business in Pless ... [Written by Werner Weissenberg, Else's son, after the war]
Else’s father Joseph ran an inn in Upper Silesia, as far as we know, and two years after he registered his daughter’s birth, her brother Fedor (Feodor) was born. Three years after this Kurt (Curt) was born, and finally their sister Rosa, in 1891.
If we are to judge by the places in which the births are registered, the family seems to have moved around quite a lot over these years while the siblings were young, although only within a small geographic area.
I do not yet know which girls’ high school Else attended, nor how she ended up working as a secretary in Osnabrück – the town in which she seems to have known Wilhelmina Hoffmeister. Wilhelmina was a good friend to Else, and they corresponded throughout Else’s life.
We do however know that Else Bloch married Leopold Weissenberg on 30 October 1910. For many years we have had a photograph of Else and Leopold, but only recently was I told (by Sławek Pastuszka) that it was almost certainly taken on their wedding day, given the clothes they are wearing.
Their marriage was registered at Keßlern registry office in the region of Tost Gleiwitz, shortly before they moved to Pleß, which was also in Upper Silesia. The photograph above was taken in Beuthen, which is where Leopold’s parents (Albert and Bettina Weissenberg) lived.
To be continued ...
I submit the following details of the tracking process.
On 14 May 1942 my mother and grandmother, who lived together at that time in Gleiwitz, were ordered on the next Sunday to appear at the Police HQ in Gleiwitz for deportation to Poland.
She had her apartment and had to leave it suddenly.
It was forbidden to them to take more than Pfund 20 per person and provisions for two days to be carried in a rucksack.
My grandmother, who at that time was in her 88th year, and therefore no longer had the strength to carry a rucksack, could not make use even of this small ration.
The fate that my mother and grandmother had to wear after 25 May 1942 is unknown to me.
The above facts result from a number of surviving letters sent to me from my mother’s almost lifelong friend, Fraulein W. Hoffmeister, resident until recently in Hemeln (Weser), Baeckerstrasse 34.
The last letter that Frl Hoffmeister received is dated 25 May 1942, in which my mother expected – in knowledge of her destiny, the other members of our family having been previously affected in the same way – to be deported together with my grandmother on 27 or 28 May 1942.
Neither Frl Hoffmeister, nor any other person known to me, learned of the further life of my grandmother, or my mother; it has been made clear that it is unlikely that there will be further news.
After the war, my efforts to clarify the matter/to receive something were unsuccessful.
The remaining apartment furnishings and other property of value is also not known to me.
I have not succeeded through connections in Gleiwitz; I am not particularly well known, and developing further in this direction, to my knowledge, there are no records.
I have personal and universal grounds to understand the content of the above-mentioned letters; further details of the situation at that time reflect only too well the representation of the true facts.
I have always estimated the objectivity of my mother in epistolary affairs, and her handwriting is undoubtedly recognised.
The above explanations are for me personally authentic.
[Written by Werner Weissenberg, Else’s son]
Letters sent by friends to the house after the war were returned, marked “Return: Gone Away”
The family’s last known address was 10, Wernickestrasse, Gleiwitz
For those unfamiliar with the historical detail of this period, careful records were made and retained by the various forces working under the National Socialist government.
It is believed that all deportations through the year 1942 from Gleiwitz, where Werner’s immediate family lived, were to Auschwitz.
See also the link below to the lists of deportations – now retained online in the German government archives:
Bundesarchiv record number 989117
Weißenberg, Elsbeth née Bloch
born on 08th December 1882 in Raschau / Oppeln / Schlesien
resident of Gleiwitz
Deportation destination: from Gleiwitz
16th May 1942, Auschwitz, extermination camp
Date/Place of Death: officially declared dead
Of course, when looking for information on family in this context, it is seldom good news when found.
Below is a scanned page showing Else’s name on the transport list for deportation out of Gleiwitz.
Else’s mother’s name is shown on another page of the same set of lists, and can be viewed on Hermine’s page on this website.
I think in some ways this was the hardest thing to find – especially the pencil ticks. I don’t know, but suppose, that these marks show where two elderly women have turned up as instructed by the Gestapo, have had their names called out, and have been marked as present. Before being loaded onto cattle trucks to a death camp.
At the same time, I knew beyond all doubt when I saw those ticks that I was doing the right thing. If the last person before me to see the names of my grandmother and great grandmother on that list (or one like it) was a Nazi in a black uniform, I was grateful to now be able to view their names, instead, with love.
If it was ever me, I think I’d want to know that someone would have cared enough to look for me: to know that the last person to view my name on that list was someone to whom I mattered.
I also know that this definite knowledge was something my father tried for decades to obtain, but he was never able to do so in the years before so much data became available online.
For my father, then: it was never going to be good news, but may it somehow set your mind – and heart – at rest.
Transport list: Else Weissenberg
02 March 2015
Yad Vashem is now showing the names of some of our family members, as more material is gradually being uploaded: to put this in context, I was told that the ITS database at Bad Arolsen will hold around 17.5 million records when complete.
The entry for Else is below. I will be uploading additional family information there in due course, as part of the Shoah collection.
Update: 20 March 2015
I have detailed the discovery of the Gleiwitz Residence Cards on my grandfather Leopold’s page: here is the image of Else’s card, from the Centralna Biblioteka Judaistyczna/Central Jewish Library website.
This tells us that Else was forced to move to Niederwallstrasse 17, and we know from Hermine’s card the date on which they moved – 1 December 1941, so they were there for about 6 months. The information given on the card suggests it was indeed some kind of ‘holding’ place for Jews ahead of deportation. Conditions must have been horrific with so many on the transport list given as living at this address. The card states the date of death/deportation as 28 May 1942.
We now have conflicting information about which transport Else was on, although all sources point to Hermine as having been deported on May 28th. Hopefully, we will soon get some kind of resolution on Else, when New York comes back with the documents that we know exist (they are listed in the ITSD) but so far have not been able to locate.