Gießbergstraße 7

                                                               LEVI HEILBRUNN







on July 9th, 2019

Levi Heilbrunn
Levi Heilbrunn


Levi Heilbrunn was born on 13. 12. 1878 in Spangenberg. Levi was a teacher by profession and worked at the Jewish elementary school in Kassel. Since 1919 he was a part-time director and after 1929 a full-time director of the Jewish Orphanage at Gießbergstraße 7. He was also chairman of the Israelite Nursing Association. Levi is described as wise, faithful and conscientious. He put his life entirely at the service of the Jewish youth entrusted to him.

Sara Heilbrunn
Sara Heilbrunn

 He was married to Sara Heilbrunn, born Neuhaus, who was born on 26.9.1882 in Harmuthsachsen (today part of Waldkappel). Both lived since 1.4.1908 also in the Gießbergstraße 7, the Israelitischen orphanage. Their three sons Oskar (24.9.1912), Martin (20.8.1918) and Paul (10.1.1923) were born here.

more to the orphanage here

cerificate of death for Levi Heilbrunn
cerificate of death for Levi Heilbrunn

 In August 1939 Levi Heilbrunn was ordered to the police station in Reuterstraße in Kassel and did not return from there. His relatives were told that he had died of a heart attack, but this, since he was a healthy man, is highly doubtful. It must be said that he was killed or died as a result of serious ill-treatment. The obituary reads: "In the midst of the work for one of the orphans" he was killed.

Sara Heilbrunn was then forced to move from the Jewish orphanage (where Levi Heilbrunn was an inspector) to Rosenstraße 20 (where only one room was available for Sara Heilbrunn). Most of the furniture disappeared.  A witness (the electrician Gödeke) together with her son Paul wanted to fetch a carpet from the warehouse of the forwarding Agent Flöther, in vain. "Damned Saujude, make sure you come from the court," he had to listen.

marriage certificate for Oskar and Fridl
marriage certificate for Oskar and Fridl


The two older brothers (at that time 26 and 22 years old) had already left Kassel at that time.                                                                  Oskar studied architecture in Stuttgart for two semesters, but had to break off his studies after 1933 and "take up a non-food profession as an unskilled worker". He returned to Kassel and probably assisted in the orphanage as a "practical assistant". There he also met his later wife Bringfriede Fridl Loewenthal (born on 28.10.1915 in Spangenberg). Fridl grew up as an orphan in the orphanage and was there also active as an "intern". On 29.4.1939 they get married.


When on 7 November 1938 in Kassel (two days earlier than in the rest of Germany) the synagogues were destroyed and the Jewish businesses demolished, Oskar was among those arrested.  For several weeks he was imprisoned and abused in the Buchenwald concentration camp.  Somehow his wife manages to get him out of there ("with a forged American visa", reports his daughter Suzanne). They go to Regensburg and emigrate from there to Australia. In 1953, Oskar suffers a heart attack, the cause of which he regards as persecution and suffering in Nazi Germany.


exit  certificate for Oskar and Fridl
exit certificate for Oskar and Fridl
William Katz reports of the detention in KZ Buchenwald
William Katz reports of the detention in KZ Buchenwald

Excerpt of the deportation list (with the names of Sara and Paul)
Excerpt of the deportation list (with the names of Sara and Paul)


We know from his brother Max Martin that he moved to Frankfurt in 1937 (there are no registration documents) and emigrated to Great Britain in 1938 and from Southampton to the United States of America in the same year. In 1941 he signed up for military service and fought for the Allies in Europe. He also met his wife Inge, with whom he lived in New York after the war.                                                                                                                                                             Paul, the youngest of the three brothers, began an apprenticeship as a locksmith, for which he had to temporarily live in an apprentice home in Frankfurt, but otherwise he continued to live with his mother in Kassel. The mother and Paul moved to Weißenburgstraße 6 in 1939 and to Kölnische Straße 4 in 1941. Six weeks later, on December 9, she and her son Paul were driven to the main station and loaded onto the deportation train to Riga. Sara Heilbrunn came to Auschwitz on 2 November 1943 and was murdered there three days later, on 5 November.  Unfortunately, we know nothing about the fate of her son Paul.

In the Riga ghetto, those who had arrived, as far as they were able to work (the 18-year-old Paul was certainly one of them), were first used to clear the snow and then to work at the numerous offices and companies (approx. 200 in total). Until the liberation of the camp on 23.10.1944 by the Soviet troops he certainly did not hold out. Otherwise his two brothers, who fought from overseas after the war for compensation for the family, would know about it.

in front of the orphanage:  Levi and Sara with their protégés (about 1936)
in front of the orphanage: Levi and Sara with their protégés (about 1936)



Hessian Main State Archives Wiesbaden: HHStAW,518/16212, HHStAW 518/16214, HHStAW 518/16215, HHStAW 519/N 10512                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hessian State Archives Marburg: HStAM 270 Kassel 5937, HStAM 270 Kassel 6658, HStAM 910. 5678                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     City Archive Kassel: A 3.32 HB 200, A 3.32 HB 617, A 3.32 HB 371                                                                                                                                 B. Kleinert and W. Prinz: Names and Fates of the Jews of Kassel: A Memorial Book 1982                                                                               Helmut Thiele: The Jewish inhabitants of Kassel 1700 – 1942                                                                                                                                 Daniel Moses: Genealogy of the family Heilbrunn / Moses                                                                                                                           Deportation lists                                                                                               Written messages from Suzanne Moses, granddaughter of Leve Heilbrunn                                                                                                       Photos Private Archive Hans-Peter Klein, State Archive Marburg 165 I 108


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