Moving from Breslau
Fritz Laib Rosinberg was born in July 1901 in Slonin, Lithuania. He did not use his Jewish middle name Laib very long, he only called himself Fritz. Irma, née Hirschhahn, Fritz’ wife, was born in 1906 in Hamborn near Duisburg. There in Hamborn her father, Salomon Hirschhahn, ran, at least in 1907, a business in manufacturing.The mother of Irma, Jenny, neé Leopold, was out of Krojanke, then Western Prussia. It could not been traced if there were any siblings.
Also it is not clear how and where Fritz and Irma met, at any rate they were married in 1929 in Breslau. Shortly thereafter the newlyweds moved to Göppingen and opened a clothing store. At first they sold men outerwear at Kellereistraße 8, then in 1932 they moved their business to Geislinger Straße 26 at the corner of Untere Markt Straße, where they took over the clothing store of Hermann Rust, who was from Stuttgart. The rented business premises and the store furnishings belonged to the Huttenlocher family who was well-known in Göppingen as the owners of the movie theater. The business had not been a successful venture for the previous owner, and according to statements made during the restitution proceedings that took place later, Fritz Rosinberg already experienced economic hardship during the Nazi era which even led to charges of misconduct against him by some of his suppliers.
SA (Nazi Storm Trooper) Sentries and Happiness at Becoming Parents
On April 1, 1933, all Jewish businesses in Germany were identified by the SA and were supposed to be boycotted. Non-Jews were asked: “Do not buy from Jews.” This appeal proved effective and led to the economic collapse of many businesses. This would have further worsened the already difficult situation of the Rosinbergs. A photo shows two SA-’Brown shirts’ stationed proudly in front of the store. The ‘Göppingen Newspaper’ which followed the party line contributed to the destruction of the family’s economic existence. A quote from the July 30, 1935, issue reads as follows:“The Jew Rosinberg, owner of the Rosinberg clothing store located at Untere Markt Straße, thought that he could offer his seasonal sales merchandise through advertisements just as it might be customary in Galicia or Palestine.”
In October 1933, during this obviously more and more dangerous time, Heinz Rosinberg, their first child, was born in Göppingen. Three years later, in May 1936, his brother Arnold was born. At that time the family lived in a rented home at Marktstraße 44. The building was owned by Paul Mayer, a private businessman, but the restaurant ‘Zum Reben’ was already being operated at that location by master baker Hugo Gut.
The economic situation of the family must already have worsened during those years. A lot of the inventory could not be sold, and Fritz Rosinberg tried to sell it as a peddler, sometimes below his purchase price. Because of their dire economic troubles, the Rosinbergs decided to sell their business to Friedrich Fauser on May 16, 1938. The proceeds from the sale of the goods and inventory were RM 10,348. A major portion of this amount, namely RM 8,526.24, had to be used to pay off Mr. Rosinberg’s debts to his suppliers.
After the war, the case regarding the former ‘Jewish’ property which Friedrich Fauser had acquired during the Nazi era was also addressed. Documents from the year 1951 show that no members of the Rosinberg/Hirschhahn family could have been located or had registered a claim. In their place the ‘Jewish Restitution Successor Organization’ stepped in. During the attempted arbitration, Lydia Fauser, the widow of the buyer, was able to prove that neither she nor her husband had been members of a National Socialist organization. It also was in their favor that the purchase had taken place prior to the Pogrom Night. During the restitution proceedings Mrs. Fauser was even appointed trustee for the business, and the settlement ended with the decision that she had to pay only a relatively small settlement amount to the JRSO.
Terror of the Pogrom Night – Move to a ‘Jewish House’
During the Pogrom Night of November 9-10, 1938, the Rosinberg family was terrorized as well: Fritz Rosinberg was one of the Jewish men in Göppingen who initially was arrested and later tortured in the Dachau concentration camp. He was detained there from November 12 until December 22. During the same year, the family must have moved from their home at Marktstraße because they lived at Geislinger Straße 6 since the end of 1938 in a house that belonged to the Jewish Dörzbacher family (see Stumbling Stone biography Julius Regensburger). During this time Jenny Hirschhahn, Irmas mother, also moved to Göppingen. Her resident registration card showed that she ‘lived with Mrs. Rosinberg’ at Geislinger Straße 6. (See Stumbling Stone biography).
Even if their move to Geislinger Street could still be considered voluntary, most certainly the same cannot be said for their next change of residence when the Rosinberg family had to move to the ‘Jewish house’ at Metzgerstraße 16 which was owned by the Geschmay family (see Stumbling Stone biography). A photo of children standing in front of that house was taken at the end of 1940. Inge Auerbacher, a contemporary witness, was able to identify her playmates Heinz and Arnold.
The Murder of the Family
On November 28, 1941, the Rosinberg family was expelled from the city. When the train rolled out of Stuttgart Nordbahnhof [North railway station] on December 1, the destination to which they were being deported was Camp Riga/Jungfernhof. What happened to them? Were they still alive when they arrived at the camp? Had they already died during the cruel transport? How horrible were the little boys affected by this transport? Were the parents and their children together until the end or were they torn from each other? Did they have to dig their own graves before they were shot or did they collapse during forced marches? Did they freeze, starve or suffocate? And how heavily did the fear for their children weigh on the parents, the fear of death?
In April 2008 Gunter Demnig laid Stumbling Stones for Arnold, Heinz, Fritz and Irma Rosinberg in front of the house at Marktstraße 44.
This text is based in part on an article by Andrea Maier in Göppingen’s NWZ newspaper.