Clara Weissenberg

Above, ‘The Aunts’ Clare and Hedwig Weissenberg. Source: Werner Weissenberg, pers archive, copyright retained

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’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, 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 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 studyin. 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 can be read here.

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.

Clara Weissenberg, Pyskowice, Birth certificate, 1877, Cover. Source: Gliwice archives, Clare Weissenberg, Photograph, pers. archive

Clara Weissenberg, Pyskowice, Birth certificate, 1877. Source: Gliwice archives, Clare Weissenberg, Photograph, pers. archive

These sweet elderly 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, which can be viewed here: Clara and Hedwig Transport list_Beuthen12. (I’m so sorry but I can’t recall where I found this image: please do let me know, if you know, so I can add this information to the website.)

As can be seen from her birth certificate, Clara was forced to use Sara as her middle name from September 1938, to denote her as Jewish.

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 described on the Yad Vashem website here: This information is extracted below as a PDF in case of broken links.

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 over time perhaps we will find out more.