Marguerite ALT

1921-2017 | Naissance: | Arrestation: | Résidence: , ,

Marguerite ALT

Two classes, a 10th grade class of German-speaking students and the 11th grade class specializing in History-Geography-Geopolitics-Political Sciences (HGGSP), both from the Marcel Pagnol High School in Marseille, worked together on this project to address the following question: What was it like to be a woman or a child during the extermination campaign in Europe?

The students carried out their investigation using the archived records about six deportees: three women, Margarete ALT, Anna TUGENDHAT and Henriette COVO, two children, Marcelle KORSSIA and Suzanne KOSLEWICZ and a teenager, Marcel KRAJZELMAN. Each of the classes contributed its own skills: the 10th grade class, with the German-speaking students, translated the archives, carried out part of the historical research and put it into context, while the 11th grade class of HGGSP students acted as their tutors during the investigation and helped them develop a critical approach to the sources and the historical silences in each deportee’s life story.

They split into groups according to the investigations to be carried out and then pooled their work. All the projects are related to each other and are organized in similar format. For example, for Margarete Alt:

  1. Investigation n°1: Who was Margarete Alt?
  2. Investigation n°2: Why was Margarete’s status as a deportee not officially recognized until 1990?
  3. The historical silences in Margarete’s story.
  4. The exhibition in the CDI (Documentation and Information Center, similar to a school library): pooling and presentation of the students’ work on all six projects, school outings, testimonies, visual aids, and sources vs the gaps in the story.
  5. Students’ observations: Why is it important to work on the history of women, children and teenagers? How does your work help to combat prejudice?
  6. Investigation n°1 translated into German: Die Ermittlung N.1 ins Deutsche übersetzt.

I) Investigation n°1: Who was Margarete Alt?

1) At the beginning, how many records about Margaret did you have? What did you learn about your deportee from these records? What hypotheses did you put forward?

At the start, we had 38 records about Margarete in the Veterans and Victims of War dossier provided by the Convoy 77 non-profit organization, www.convoi77.org. That was a lot, so the group of German speakers helped us to prepare an initial summary given that there were records in both German and French.

The hypotheses that we made:

– why are there several surnames that are: Alt, Osmo and Bojman? And several addresses?

– One photo depicts Margarete? smiling and older – did she survive?

 

A photo of Margarete? ref 21 P 653 915, Ministry of Veterans and War Victims archives, provided by the “Convoi 77” non-profit association.

– One of the documents that we had was illegible.

2) What did you learn by contacting the archives services and/or other people?

Margarete Alt was born on December 6, 1921 in Vienna, Austria1. Her father was Joseph Alt born on May 17, 1885 and her mother was Etela Gaborene Sputz2. She owned a curtain store. They lived at 9 Rembrandtstrasse, Vienna II3.

Margarete studied business in Vienna at the Handelsakademie II. Two records show that she studied there in 1935/1936 and 1937/1938. Margarete confirms that she went to the academy and finished her third year in 1938.4

Margarete’s birth certificate from 1946, file number AHF-ZI. 16.026, NHF (gr.)-ZI. 34.737, NHF.-IIZI. 9.788, in response to an e-mail sent on January 11, 2022 to the students at the Austrian National Archives in Vienna, according to Hubert Steiner.

 

Certificate of schooling at the Academy of Vienna from 1965, file number AHF-ZI. 16.026, NHF (gr.)-ZI. 34.737, NHF.-IIZI. 9.788, in response to an e-mail sent on January 11, 2022 to the students at the Austrian National Archives in Vienna, according to Hubert Steiner

This was the time of the Anschluss: the annexation of Austria by the Nazis. Margarete’s parents’ property was plundered by the Nazis 5. In a letter, her mother, Etela, talks about the collapse of the assets of her company, which she had to put into liquidation on January 1. Several records, from 1928 to 1938, attest that she was an Austrian citizen, and others from 1933 to 1938, that she was Jewish.6

Inventory of the property belonging to the Alt family dating from 1938, file number VA. 20.218, in response to an e-mail sent by the students on January 3, 2022 to the Austrian National Archives in Vienna, according to Hubert Steiner.

 

In May 1939 she had to leave school to go away with her mother and stepfather. They left Vienna together and emigrated to Western Europe, initially to Antwerp, in Belgium, from May 1939 to May 1940. She and her family tried to flee elsewhere in the world but did not succeed.

They decided to go to Lyon, in France, instead. Two witnesses attest to having seen her there: Elmir Solaghi and Joseph Kurflik7. She said that since she did not speak the language or hold a work permit, it was impossible for her to work. In May 1940, she found an apartment at 7, rue Baudelaire in the Villeurbanne district of Lyon. This address was confirmed by the Resistance social welfare committee, of which Margarete was a member. In fact, the accommodation was just a furnished room with no water and was unfit for habitation. She recalled that no one wanted to rent them an apartment in a testimony sent to her lawyer Jacob Lechner8 . In 1942, she was living in hiding in Lyon, in appalling conditions.

Margarete’s family tree, drawn by Shaima and Apoline

Margarete and her stepfather were members of a TA (Travail Allemand, or German work) Resistance network in Lyon9. One witness, Paul Kessler10, a former leader of the Austrian section of the Southern Zone MOI-TA Resistance group, reported that he often went to Lyon to contact the local leaders by means of a secret mail box, which was at the home of Dr. Zweigenthal, Margarete’s stepfather.

He was Emile Zweigenthal, who was born on December 30, 1885 in Czechoslovakia and died on August 5, 1944 in Auschwitz. It was he who enabled Paul Kessler to contact the Resistance fighters in Lyon. Paul would drop off the propaganda material at the doctor’s apartment. The TA-FTP, Francs Tireurs et Partisans (French Fighters and Partisans), created by the PCF (French Communist Party) at the end of 1941, included the youth battalions and also sub-sections of Resistance fighters from foreign and/or Jewish backgrounds, which were called the “Immigrant Movement”; the FTP-MOI. The 2nd detachment of the FTP-MOI was made up of about 40 Jews and its technical leader was called Gilbert Weissberg.

It was in Lyon that the links between the Internal Resistance and Free France movement were forged. This led to the merger of the two movements under the leadership of Jean Moulin. Some double agents set a trap at a doctor Leon Greif’s office. In total, 38 people were arrested, including Margarete and her stepfather, as stated by the witness who explained that the doctor’s address had been given to the Gestapo by a member of the Lyon group. Another eyewitness, Ernest Wexberg, confirmed this11.

Letter from Paul Kessler, former Austrian group leader of the Southern Zone MOI TA, which was part of the French Resistance, dated July 2, 1986, reference 21 P 653 915, from the Ministry of Veterans and Victims of War archives, kindly provided by the Convoy 77 association.

Letter from Ernest Wexberg, who holds a deported Resistance fighter’s card, attesting to Margarete’s presence in Lyon, dated October 1, 1986, from the Ministry of Veterans and Victims of War archives, kindly provided by the Convoy 77 association.

Margarete was sent to Montluc prison in Lyon on July 3, 1944, and then to Fresnes prison, south of Paris12,  where she was assigned the number 25,262. Margarete was transferred to Drancy13 on July 19, 1944, then deported to Auschwitz on Convoy 77 on July 31, 1944. She arrived on August 3 and was then transferred to Kratzau at the end of October, 1944. She was liberated on May 8, 1945.14 A witness called Marie Friedkowski confirmed this. In the Drancy search logbook n°157, it is noted that she Margarete had 5 French Francs on her when she arrived. In Drancy, her number was 65191516. In Auschwitz, the number 16664 was tattooed on her forearm17.

Letter from Marie Friedkowski dated January 28, 1990 attesting to Margarete’s journey from Drancy on Convoy 77 and the date of her liberation on May 8, 1945, reference 21 P 653 915, from the Ministry of Veterans and Victims of War archives, kindly provided by the Convoy 77 association

She was liberated in May 1945 and returned to France on June 1, 1945. The archives revealed that on her way back to France, Margarete Alt passed through Belgium18. She was repatriated to Lyon, according to P. Portier, the secretary of the coordinating committee of camp, prison and fortress friendly societies19.

Letter dated 1957 from P. PORTIER, the secretary of the coordinating committee of camp, prison and fortress friendly societies, reference AHF-ZI. 16.026, NHF (gr.)-ZI. 34.737, NHF.-IIZI. 9.788, in response to an e-mail sent by the students on January 11, 2022 to the Austrian National Archives in Vienna, according to Hubert Steiner.

In a handwritten application for pension funds payable to deportees dating from 1956, Margarete stated  that she had divorced her first husband, Izidor Bojman, in 1954. She lived at 2 rue Gabriel Vicaire, 75003 Paris, and then at 5/7 rue de Saintonge in the 3rd district of Paris with her second husband, Marcel Osmo, who was born on November 24, 1923 in Alexandria, Egypt. They lived with Margarete’s daughter from her first marriage, Liliane Bojman, who was 8 years old in 1956, so may have been born in 194820. She even put together a dossier to apply for French citizenship for herself and her husband, Marcel, according to the French National Archives 21.

Doctor Henri Najdorf testified in 1958 that Margarete suffered from asthenia as a result of having been deported, along with rheumatism, rachialgia and lumbago, disorders of the neuro-vegetative system resulting in stitches in her sides, precordial pain, tachycardia, insomnia and frequent headaches that were very severe and long-lasting and which prevented her from for several weeks, circulation problems with varicose veins, heaviness of the lower limbs, and severe pain while standing. As a result, he found her to be 70% disabled and said that her condition could worsen over time22 .

Letter dated 1958 from Dr. Henri Najdorf, reference AHF-ZI. 16.026, NHF (gr.)-ZI. 34.737, NHF.-IIZI. 9.788, in response to an e-mail sent by the students on January 11, 2022 to the Austrian National Archives in Vienna, according to Hubert Steiner.

Margarete made several applications to the Austrian Assistance Fund for Politically Persecuted Persons Living Abroad. She fitted into several categories based on testimonials and medical certificates. She went from category a/e to a/a and received her allowances by postal order from 1959 to 197923.

She belonged to several organizations such as the National Federation of Internees and Political Deportees, the National Federation of Deportees and Internees, Resistance Fighters and Patriots24.

She died on December 24, 2017 in Paris25.

Margarete is mentioned in some other Convoy 77 victims’ biographies because she also testified about the arrests of other deportees in the camps, such as Augustine Wolff, née Wittgenstein, who was arrested in Lyon26. Her name can be found on the Mémoire des Hommes website27 under the heading “titles, approvals and services rendered for Resistance activities”.

Map showing various places that Margarete spent time in during her life, drawn by Shaïma and Apoline.

3) Were there any lulls during the research? Why? Did you anticipate that you would be able to write such a detailed biography when you began your research?

Yes, there were some lulls while we were waiting for replies. At the beginning of the project, we did not expect to produce such a comprehensive biography.

4) In what way does your work contribute to the remembrance of Margarete?

This work plays a part in the remembrance of our deportee because we learned about Margarete’s life and talking about her contributes to remembering her. It enables us to retrace her story and to rekindle historical recollections.

During our research, we were contacted by the Bundesgymnasium 19 in Vienna, Austria, and the students taking the history option at G19, Gymnasiumstr. 83, 1190 Vienna, under the supervision of Martin Krist. We took part in a videoconference to exchange information about Margarete on Tuesday, April 5, 2022:

As regards her address, the number 2 actually referred to the floor on which her family’s apartment was located.

Margarete Alt’s father, Joseph Alt, was a tradesman and died in 1936. Margarete had a baby sister Alice Alt, who died when she was 8 months old. Her stepfather, Dr. Emile Zweigenthal, was a dentist.

Photo taken by Martin Krist of Margarete’s former home in Vienna.

 

Martin Krist emailed us on May 10, 2022 about the rest of the research he and his class had done and gave us the following information and sources:

Margarete’s mother was born on February 6, 1897 in Banska-Bistrica, which is now in Slovakia. Her maiden name was Sputz. Joseph Alt was born on May 17, 1885 in Vienna at Rembrandtstrabe 9, 2nd floor, door 7. They got married on January 9, 1921 in Banda-Bistrica. Both parents were business people. Margarete’s sister, Alice, was born on November 28, 1925 and died 8 months later in the Karolinen children’s hospital in the 9th district of Vienna.

On February 7, 1939, Margarete’s mother married Emil Zweigenthal in Vienna. He was born on December 30, 1885 in Göding, which is now called Hodonin and is in the Czech Republic. A trace of Emil can still be found in an announcement about “race defilement” (translator’s note: Rassenschande, meaning that he had a sexual relationship with a Jew) that was published in the Neues Wiener Tagblatt newspaper.

Copy of the “Race defilement” announcement about Emil Zweigenthal: Neues Wiener Tagblatt, 12 April 1939, p.3, sent to us by Martin Krist.

Margarete emigrated to Belgium with her mother and stepfather on May 3, 1939.

In the 1938 Lenmann address directory, an Etta Alt is listed at a lace store on Servitengasse. There are no references to Aryanization or repossession. In her application for an allowance, Etta Zweigenthal did not disclose anything about this. The company was wound up before the Anschluss. The Lehmann entry might well be a transcription error. This was a common occurrence in previous years in the Lehmann address book. The application includes a cover letter from Margarete in which she states that she had to provide for her mother. In 1958, she was granted a pension of 1095 Austrian schillings, the equivalent of just over 500 dollars today28.

II) Investigation n°2 : Why was Margarete Alt not officially recognized as a having been a deportee until 1990?

After having sorted all the archives from the Veterans and Victims of War dossier into a table, the 11th grade HGGSP students first put forward hypotheses, looked for sources and then presented their findings during an interview with Ms. Toros-Marter, who was deported on Convoy 74 and who confirmed or refuted their claims:

1) The hypotheses:

  • Destruction of physical evidence?
  • Several surnames: Alt, Bojman, Osmo – more complicated research?
  • Came from a different country: Austria: she had to submit applications in Austria? A lot of requests to be dealt with by the authorities?
  • Margarete considered herself first and foremost a deported Resistance fighter, rather than a woman defined by her religion. Her first applications were for the status of “political deportee” and were refused by the commission in 1955 because she was a foreigner at the time of her arrest. Her case was closed in 1958 with no further action. A further application overturned this decision, however: in 1990, the Minister, who overruled the Commission’s negative recommendation, granted her the status of a political deportee. Also, an document from the International Red Cross, used as evidence, mentions “Judin” (Jewish woman) as the category under which she was incarcerated. Her involvement in the Resistance was not mentioned.
  • Documents classified as secret or not accessible in the archives?
  • Sexism? abattus
  • Lack of witness testimonies? Witnesses were traumatized, did not want to talk, or were dead.
  • Silence, i.e. people did not speak up, when the war was over?

 

Information sheet about Margarete, including places where she was interned and deported to, reference 6.3.3.2 / 104609510, information obtained in response to an e-mail sent by the students on November 24, 2021, to the Arolsen archives, according to Elfi Pohlmann.

2) The sources and supporting documents:

Reception of the deportees when they arrived back in France at the end of the war :

  • Repatriation centers for deportees were located in the north and east of France.
  • The Lutétia hotel in Paris was requisitioned and set up to provide health care facilities and to gather information. This included medical examinations, disinfection, meals, clothing, tickets for public transport, and a donation of 2000 francs.
  • A repatriated person’s card: this was the official equivalent of an identity card for an internee.
  • They were greeted by officials and received military honors at their homes.
  • Returning to the Jewish way of life.

Recognition of their status as deported persons :

  • 1951: the creation of a special status for deportees. Submission of documents: physical evidence and duration of the deportation: for example, tattoos, psychological and physical trauma: expert medical examinations, verification of involvement in the Resistance.
  • Most of the concentration camp, extermination centres and French prison records were either burned or have been lost.

Referral agency :

  • For people living abroad, applications had to be made via the consulate in their home country
  • The International Red Cross: confirms that there is French legislation on the status of deportees through article R257AR378 for the civilian population worldwide. These people are protected by the IVth Geneva Convention of August 12, 1949 and June 8, 1977, which refers to war crimes and crimes against humanity => Ghani contacted them by email in January 2022 and the organization replied to confirm the information.
  • The Department of Veterans and Victims of War is the national agency that conducts preliminary investigations => Isaline contacted them by phone in January 2022 to confirm this information.

Right to compensation :

  • Pension funds.
  • Compensation for children whose parents were killed.
  • Reparation rights through the CIVS: The Commission for the Compensation of Victims of Spoliation.

Unconfirmed hypothesis: sexism?

3) The reality:

A telephone call to a witness to evaluate the hypotheses on January 31, 2022: testimony and answers to the students’ questions by Denise Toros-Marter, who was deported on convoy 74:

Recognition of the deported person’s status :

  • Recognition of the deportee’s status when the government issued the repatriated person’s card.
  • The terms used are debatable: in Ms. Toros-Marter’s opinion, the term “racial deportee”, meaning “person deported on grounds of race” should not be used, but rather the term “patriot” because different human races do not exist.
  • In the French language, the term Israelite is preferable to the term Jew(ish).

Right to benefits :

  • Inequality of benefits depending on the deportees: Ms. Toros-Marter was initially entitled to 20% and then later to 80%, whereas the resistant deportees received a higher rate.
  • Not all of her medical expenses were reimbursed: she lost all the toes on one foot in Auschwitz and the authorities only reimbursed her for one shoe and not for the other

Inequalities :

  • For gypsies and homosexuals, it was harder to be recognized as a deportee.
  • Some former SS personnel pretended to be deportees, which is why the intelligence service was set up to ask the deportees questions on arrival. They carried out an investigation and ultimately issued the repatriated person’s card to the deportees, which then doubled as their identity card.
  • Different timeframes in accessing pensions.
  • Unequal treatment by medical experts, Parisian doctors were more professional.
  • Fatigue and weariness were not taken into account.
  • As regards sexism: no.

III) The historical silences in Margarete’s story:

1) What are “historical silences”? And were there any such silences in Margarete’s story?

Historical silences include the lack of voices, written accounts and testimonies not only about their stories but also about their protests, their suffering and everything they endured.

Margarete had various surnames: Alt, Osmo and Bojman. This makes it more difficult to search for her, which accentuates the silence. As does the fact that she also had several addresses in France and was originally from Austria. Some of the archived documents suggested for this project are illegible. In addition, the Nazi spoliation of property in Austria made it difficult for Margarete to reclaim it.

2) What does it mean to be a woman?

Being a woman means being an adult. Being a woman is being a member of society.

3) What particular types of violence did Margarete experience? And women in general?

Margarete had her property plundered. She was forced to flee her country and ended up in Belgium. She lived in hiding and in an unhealthy place in Lyon. When she returned to France after being deported, the formalities involved in trying to get her deported person’s card were protracted and her first attempt to be recognized as a political deportee was unsuccessful.

Other types of violence suffered by women are:

Women between the ages of 20 and 40 are murdered in greater numbers. Women are treated as non-consensual human guinea pigs. Some women are made available for use by men. They are victims of multiple rapes. Women are used in experiments in order to test sterilization techniques using X-rays.

Women are forced to work, as Margarete was.

In the camps, women were ashamed to bleed in public when they had their periods. Due to malnutrition and psychological trauma, some women stopped menstruating. They used cloths as sanitary pads, but they had few of them and they were not clean. Experiments involving injections into the uterus were common, but if a woman was menstruating, doctors often avoided operating on her since they found it too messy.

4) The roles of women involved in or opposed to the extermination process:

Margarete joined a resistance network to oppose the Nazi regime. It was called the FTP MOI and was made up of foreign Jews such as herself.

A few dozen women responded to General de Gaulle’s appeal, which was not initially intended for them. In North Africa, the new volunteer armies took part in the French, Italian and German campaigns in 1945: 14,000 women and 800 men resisted, in other words, they disobeyed the authorities. They took risks and were aware of the commitment they were making.

Women took part in the fighting as part of the regular army. They played a decisive role on the home front. They replaced men in most trades when the men were called up. They worked in armaments factories. There were women pilots who worked for the authorities and quartermasters, as well as in communications, transport and rescue. They were liaison officers and social or medical aid workers.

Women such as Margarete, who went through the extermination system and survived, serve as historical witnesses to help re-write history.

Women, like men, were able to join the Nazi regime and participate in spreading propaganda. They could work in the concentration camps, supervising the deportees or in the SS quarters, but they were not involved in the extermination process.

5) How does your work contribute to keeping the memory of the deportation alive? And that of Margarete?

It has helped us to look for answers to today’s questions and to identify historical figures.

Institutions have been founded, such as the Women’s Studies Foundation, which collects information from various witnesses. Specialists analyze and facilitate the writing of their history, as does Jean Ringelhein, for example, who undertakes field studies.

We thus draw on several literary studies carried out by deportees in order to explain their experiences and what they had to suffer. Our work contributes by paying attention not only to the differences but also to the similarities.

Our work on Margarete focuses on tracing her past and understanding which individuals were associated with her.

6) Can you list some adjectives to describe Margarete’s life?

COMBATIVE, VALIANT, COURAGEOUS.

7) Which books in the library provide an insight into Margarete’s life?

  • Auschwitz, – Auschwitz, by Léon Poliakov, a comic strip in which the author is inspired by several testimonies of former deportees and recounts the train journey and life in the camps.
  • La Rose Blanche by Inge Scholl. This book explains the Holocaust and the Jewish genocide, and the main character, like Margarete, had to fight for her life in the camp.
  • Femmes en résistance, volume 2, by Marc Veber, in which a young student speaks out against the Nazi regime and is sent to jail: Sophie Scholl, the heroine, just like Margarete Alt, shared the same ideology of revolution and independence.
    Femmes en résistance, volume 3, by Marc Veber. Berty Albrecht was a woman who opposed the Nazis in France and was arrested by the Gestapo, as was Margarete.

=> Sources: 29

IV) The exhibition in the library: pooling and presentation of students’ work on all 6 investigations, school outings, testimonies, visuals, sources compared to historical silences.

 

V) Students’ observations :

 

VI) Investigation n°1 translated into German: Die Ermittlung N.1 ins Deutsche übersetzt:

1) Wie viele Archivalien standen am Anfang zur Verfügung? Was habt ihr damit herausgefunden? Welche Hypothesen habt ihr aufgestellt?

Convoi 77 hat uns 38 Dokumente zur Verfügung gestellt und nur eins war unleserlich. Das waren viele Archivalien sowohl auf Französisch als auf Deutsch, deswegen haben die Deutsch lernenden SchülerInnen uns dabei geholfen, eine erste Synthese zu fassen.

Wir hatten Fragen:

– Warum finden wir mehrere Familiennamen (ALT, OSMO, BOJMAN) und mehrere Adressen?

– Hat Margarete überlebt? Wir hatten nämlich ein Bild, auf dem sie zwar älter, aber lächelnd war.

2) Was habt ihr herausgefunden?

Wir haben Folgendes herausgefunden:

Vor dem Zweiten Weltkrieg:

Margarete Alt wurde am 6. Dezember 1921 in Wien geboren. Dokumente beweisen, dass sie die österreichische Nationalität hat und dass sie jüdischer Konfession ist.

Ihr Vater heißt Joseph Alt (am 17. Mai 1885 geboren) und ihre Mutter heißt Etela, geborene SPUTZ. Die Mutter ist Inhaberin eines Vorhanggeschäfts. Sie wohnen in Wien II, Rembrandtstr. 9.

Margarete besucht 3 Jahre lang (1935/1938) die Handelsakademie II. Im Mai 1939 muss sie die Schule abbrechen. Ihre Eltern verlieren das Geschäft: sie werden von den Nazis enteignet.

Während des Krieges:

Sie flieht mit ihrer Mutter und ihrem Stiefvater nach Westeuropa. Sie bleiben vom Mai 1939 bis zum Mai 1940 in Anvers (in Belgien). Sie versuchen ohne Erfolg ins Ausland zu gelangen. Sie entscheiden sich dafür, nach Frankreich auszuwandern und kommen in Lyon an. Elmir SOLAGHI und Joseph KURFLIK bestätigen, dass Margarete in Lyon gelebt hat.

Margarete kann die Sprache nicht; sie darf sowieso nicht arbeiten.

Im Mai 1940 findet sie eine Wohnung,7 rue Baudelaire, Villeurbanne (diese Adresse wurde vom Comité des oeuvres sociales de la résistance bestätigt). Es handelt sich um ein möbliertes, heruntergekommenes Zimmer, denn keiner will ihr eine Wohnung vermieten (wie sie es ihrem Rechtsanwalt, Jacob LECHNER, später erklärt). Sie lebt also versteckt in Lyon.

Sie tritt ab 1942 mit ihrem Stiefvater, Emile ZWEIGENTHAL, der am 30. Dezember 1885 in der Mähren (Österreichisch-Ungarische Monarchie) geboren ist, in eine Widerstandsgruppe (TAFIP) in Lyon ein. Paul KESSLER, ehemaliger Chef der österreichischen Widerstandsgruppe aus der Zone Sud MOI TA erzählt nämlich, dass er sich häufig nach Lyon begab, um sich dort mit den anderen Mitgliedern zu treffen. Der Docteur ZWEIGENTHAL, Margaretes Schwiegervater, setzte ihn jedes Mal mit den anderen Mitgliedern der Widerstandsgruppe aus Lyon in Verbindung. Paul Kessler brachte Propagandamaterial in die Wohnung mit. Ein anderer Zeuge, Ernest WEXBERG, berichtet dasselbe.

Die Francs-tireurs et partisans – main d’œuvre immigrée (FTP-MOI) waren eine Untergruppe der Organisation Francs tireurs et partisans (FTP). Die Gruppe gehörte während des Zweiten Weltkrieges zur Résistance. Die FTP-MOI bestand größtenteils aus Immigranten und war eine bewaffnete Gruppe, die Widerstand gegen die deutsche Besatzungsmacht in Frankreich ausübte. Die Main-d‘oeuvre immigrée war gewissermaßen die „Immigranten-Bewegung“ der FTP und eine Unterorganisation der kommunistischen Partei.

Die FTP-MOI zählte zu den aktivsten Gruppen der Résistance und ihre Mitglieder waren Ausländer und häufig Juden.  Margarete und ihr Schwiegervater werden -mitsamt 36 anderen WiderstandskämpferInnen – verraten. Emile wird deportiert und stirbt am 5. August 1944 in Auschwitz-Birkenau.

Margarete wird im Juli 1944 in Lyon verhaftet. Sie wird am 3. Juli mit der Nummer 25.262 ins Gefängnis nach Fresnes geschickt. Sie wird am 19. Juli 1944 nach Drancy deportiert, zwischen dem 31. Juli und dem 3. August mit dem Convoi 77 nach Auschwitz und Ende Oktober 1944 nach Kratzau deportiert.

In Drancy bekommt sie die Nummer 6519. Sie hat auch als Deportierte eine Nummer: 685.222. In Auschwitz-Birkenau wird sie tätowiert: sie trägt die Nummer 16.664.

Sie wird am 8. Mai 1945 frei gelassen und kehrt am 1.Juni nach Lyon zurück, nachdem sie durch Belgien gewandert ist.

Nach dem Zweiten Weltkrieg:

Sie lässt sich 1954 von ihrem ersten Ehemann, Izidor BOJMAN, scheiden.

Sie lebt zuerst 2 rue Gabriel Vicaire, in Paris (75003).

Dann zieht sie um. Ihre neue Adresse ist: 5/7 rue de Saintonge (3ème arrondissement de Paris). Sie wohnt dort mit ihrer Tochter, Liliane Bojman, und ihrem neuen Ehemann, Marcel Osmo.

1956 ist Liliane 8 Jahre alt; möglicherweise ist sie 1948 geboren. Marcel Osmo ist am 24. November 1923 in Alexandria, in Ägypten, geboren. Margarete leidet an zahlreichen physischen Folgen und Störungen, die schlimme Schmerzen verursachen. Sie wird als arbeitsunfähig erklärt.

Sie schreibt mehrmals an verschiedenen Abteilungen, um als Opfer und Widerstandskämpferin anerkannt zu werden und bekommt von 1959 bis 1979 Versorgungsbezüge. Sie gehört mehreren Vereinen an, wie zum Beispiel la fédération nationale des internés et déportés politiques, la fédération nationale des déportés et internés, et Résistants et patriotes. Sie stirbt am 24. Dezember 2017 in Paris.

Bemerkenswert ist die Tatsache, dass Margarete in anderen Biografien vom Convoi 77 erwähnt wird. Sie hat nämlich als Zeugin ausgesagt. Sie hat davon berichtet, wie Augustine WOLFF, geborene WITTGENSTEIN, in Lyon verhaftet und danach deportiert wurde.

Man kann auch ihren Namen auf der Website Mémoire des Hommes „titre, homologations et services pour faits de résistance“ finden.

Online-Treffen am 3. Mai 2022 mit dem Bundesgymnasium 19 (Gymnasiumstr. 83, 1190 Wien):

Die Wiener SchülerInnen des Wahlpflichtfachs Geschichte des G19 haben unter der Leitung von Martin Krist eine sehr hilfreiche Arbeit geleistet und uns bedeutsame Informationen weitergegeben.

Wir haben dank ihnen Folgendes erfahren:

– Margaretes Vater, Joseph Alt, ist Kaufmann von Beruf und stirbt 1936, so lässt sich erklären, warum wir keine Spuren von ihm gefunden haben.

– Margarete hat eine Schwester, Alice ALT, die im Alter von 8 Monaten gestorben ist.

– Ihr Stiefvater, Emil ZWEIGENTHAL, ist Zahnarzt.

Wir haben auch erfahren, dass es in Wien eine große jüdische Gemeinde gab. Die Juden wurden toleriert, beziehungsweise wurden sie nicht ausgegrenzt oder systematisch zum Opfer des Antisemitismus.

Hier ist eine Synthese, die Martin Krist uns am 10. Mai per Mail geschickt hat

Margarete Alt wohnte bei ihren Eltern Etta Alt, geb. 06. Februar 1897 in Banska-Bistrica (heute Slowakei), Mädchenname Sputz, und Josef Alt, geb. 17. Mai 1885 in Wien in der Rembrandtstraße 9, 2. Stock, Tür 7

Ein Foto des Hauses heute ist angehängt (das Haus dürfte unverändert sein). Die Heirat der Eltern fand im 09. Jänner 1921 in Banska-Bistrica statt. Die Mutter war von Beruf Geschäftsfrau, der Vater Kaufmann. Josef Alt verstarb am 7. Februar 1936.

Eine Schwester, Alice Alt, geb. 28. November 1925, starb nach acht Monaten im Karolinen-Kinderspital (9. Bezirk).

Am 7. Februar 1939 heiratete Etta Alt Emil Zweigenthal in Wien. (Siehe dazu die Hochzeitsanzeige aus der Neuen Freien Presse.) Emil Zweigenthal war von da an der Stiefvater von Margarete Alt.

Emil Zweigenthal, geb. 30. Dezember 1885 in Göding (heute Hodonin, Tschechische Republik). Sein Beruf war Dentist. Die gemeinsame Emigration von Etta und Emil Zweigenthal und Margarete Alt erfolgte am 3. Mai 1939 nach Belgien. (Siehe dazu die Meldezettel.)

ZUSÄTZLICHES ZU EMIL ZWEIGENTHAL

Es existiert eine Anzeige wegen „Rassenschande“, abgedruckt im Neuen Wiener Tagblatt (siehe Anhang)

ZUSÄTZLICHES ZUM GESCHÄFT DER MUTTER Etta Alt/Zweigenthal

Es findet sich im Adressverzeichnis Lehmann 1938 ein Eintrag zu Etta Alt zur Servitengasse 2: Geschäft für Spitzen. (siehe Anhang) Heute ist die Servitengasse eine Nobelgasse – ein Foto des Erdgeschoßes ist angehängt.

Allerdings gibt es keinen Arisierungs- oder Rückstellungsantrag. Auch im Antrag beim Hilfsfond 1957 gibt Etta Zweigenthal nichts dazu bekannt. Also dürfte das Geschäft schon vor dem sogenannten „Anschluss“ geschlossen worden sein.

Der Eintrag im Lehmann dürfte ein häufig vorkommender Übertragungsfehler aus früheren Jahren des Adressverzeichnis Lehmann sein.

Auch in einem Antrag des „Hilfsfonds“, den Etta Zweigenthal 1957 stellt, gibt sie dazu nichts an. Dem Antrag liegt ein Schreiben von Marguerite Osmo (das ist Margarete Alt) bei, in dem sie angibt, dass sie ihre Mutter Etta Zweigenthal erhalten/unterstützen muss. (siehe Anhang)

Diese bekommt schlussendlich ab 1958 eine Rente von monatlich 1095 Schilling (nach heutiger Kaufkraft ungefähr 500 Euro).

Quellenverweise:

Meldezettel: WStLA, Meldedatei

„Rassenschande“ Emil Zweigenthal: Neues Wiener Tagblatt, 12. April 1939, S. 3
Hochzeitsanzeige Etta Sputz mit Josef Alt: Neue Freie Presse, 06. Jänner 1921, S. 6

„Antrag an den Fonds zur Hilfeleistung an politisch Verfolgte, die ihren Wohnsitz und ständigen Aufenthalt im Ausland haben“ kurz „Hilfsfonds“: WStLA

3) Habt ihr euch vorgestellt, eine so detaillierte Biografie schreiben zu können?

Am Anfang haben wir daran gezweifelt, so viele Informationen zu finden.

Wir haben auch Pausen erlebt, als wir auf die Antworten warteten.

4) Inwiefern ist eure Arbeit wichtig?

Es ist eine Erinnerungsarbeit, denn wir haben entdeckt, was Margarete erlebt hat.

Wir haben Stückchen von ihrem Leben zusammengestellt.

BRAVO to Shaïma and Apoline as well as to the German-speaking 10th grade students, Warrick, Arone, Milco, Tijani, Ghani and the whole of the 11th grade HGGSP class, with the guidance of Ms. Laetitia Bouillon, their German teacher and Ms. Morgane Boutant, their History and Geography teacher.

1 Margarete’s birth certificate from 1946, reference AHF-ZI. 16.026, NHF (gr.)-ZI. 34.737, NHF.-IIZI. 9.788, in response to an e-mail sent by the students on January 11, 2022 to the Austrian National Archives in Vienna, according to Hubert Steiner.

2 Depending on the source, Margarete’s mother’s name is spelled three different ways: Etela, Etta, Esther.

3 Inventories of Alt family property dating from 1938, reference VA. 20.218, in response to an e-mail sent by the students on January 3, 2022 to the Austrian National Archives in Vienna, according to Hubert Steiner.

4 School certificate from the academy of Wien from 1965, reference AHF-ZI. 16.026, NHF (gr.)-ZI. 34.737, NHF.-IIZI. 9.788, in response to an e-mail sent by the students on January 11, 2022 to the Austrian National Archives in Vienna, according to Hubert Steiner.

5 Inventories of Alt family property dating from 1938, reference VA. 20.218, in response to an e-mail sent by the students on January 3, 2022 to the Austrian National Archives in Vienna, according to Hubert Steiner.

6 Official document attesting to the fact that Margarete was Jewish, reference AHF-ZI. 16.026, NHF (gr.)-ZI. 34.737, NHF.-IIZI. 9.788, in response to an e-mail sent by the students on January 11, 2022 to the Austrian National Archives in Vienna, according to Hubert Steiner.

7 Letters from the two witnesses Elmir Solagi and Joseph Kurflik, reference AHF-ZI. 16.026, NHF (gr.)-ZI. 34.737, NHF.-IIZI. 9.788, in response to an e-mail sent by the students on January 11, 2022 to the Austrian National Archives in Vienna, according to Hubert Steiner.

8 Letter from Margarete to her lawyer, Jacob Lechner, reference AHF-ZI. 16.026, NHF (gr.)-ZI. 34.737, NHF.-IIZI. 9.788, in response to an e-mail sent by the students on January 11, 2022 to the Austrian National Archives in Vienna, according to Hubert Steiner.

9https://www.memoiredeshommes.sga.defense.gouv.fr/fr/arkotheque/client/mdh/base_resistants/detail_fiche.php?ref=2606926&debut=0

10 Letter from Paul Kessler, former leader of the Austrian group of the Southern Zone MOI TA, a sub-group of the French resistance, dated July, 1986, ref 21 P 653 915, records from the Ministry of Veterans and Victims of War, provided by the “Convoi 77” association.

11 Letter from Ernest Wexberg, holder of a deported person’s card and a resistance fighter card, attesting to Margarete’s presence in Lyon, dated October 1, 1986, records from the Ministry of Veterans and Victims of War, provided by the “Convoi 77” association.

12 Margarete’s detention record from Fresnes prison, ref F/9/5676, Information obtained in response to an e-mail sent by the students on December 1, 2021 to the National Archives according to Matthias Millon.

13https://ressources.memorialdelashoah.org/notice.php?q=marguerite%20alt&spec_expand=1&sort_define=&sort_order=&rows=&start=0

14 Letter from Marie Friedkowski attesting to Margarete’s presence in Drancy and on Convoy 77 as well as the date on which she was liberated, May 8, 1945, dated January 28, 1990, ref 21 P 653 915, records from the Ministry of Veterans and Victims of War, provided by the “Convoi 77” association

15https://ressources.memorialdelashoah.org/notice.php?q=marguerite%20alt&spec_expand=1&sort_define=&sort_order=&rows=&start=0

16https://ressources.memorialdelashoah.org/notice.php?q=alt&spec_expand=1&rows=20&start=0

17 Information sheet about Margarete, including places where she was interned and deported to, reference 6.3.3.2 / 104609510, information obtained in response to an e-mail sent by the students on November 24, 2021, to the Arolsen archives, according to Elfi Pohlmann.

18 File of repatriated deportees who went via Belgium, ref 3.1.1.3 / 78793167, information obtained in response to an email sent by the students on November 24, 2021, to the Arolsen archives, according to Elfi Pohlmann.

19 Letter dated 1957 from P. PORTIER, the secretary of the coordinating committee of camp, prison and fortress friendly societies, reference AHF-ZI. 16.026, NHF (gr.)-ZI. 34.737, NHF.-IIZI. 9.788, in response to an e-mail sent by the students on January 11, 2022 to the Austrian National Archives in Vienna, according to Hubert Steiner.

20 Handwritten document allowing deported persons to obtain the allowances due to them, dating from 1956, reference AHF-ZI. 16.026, NHF (gr.)-ZI. 34.737, NHF.-IIZI. 9.788, in response to an e-mail sent by the students on January 11, 2022 to the Austrian National Archives in Vienna, according to Hubert Steiner.

21 Information obtained in response to an email sent by the students on December 1, 2021 to the French National Archives, according to Matthias Millon.

22 Letter dated 1958 from Dr. Henri Najdorf, reference AHF-ZI. 16.026, NHF (gr.)-ZI. 34.737, NHF.-IIZI. 9.788, in response to an e-mail sent by the students on January 11, 2022 to the Austrian National Archives in Vienna, according to Hubert Steiner.

23 Documents entitling her to receive her allowance by postal order from 1959 to 1979, reference AHF-ZI. 16.026, NHF (gr.)-ZI. 34.737, NHF.-IIZI. 9.788, in response to an e-mail sent by the students on January 11, 2022 to the Austrian National Archives in Vienna, according to Hubert Steiner.

24 Documents entitling her to receive her allowance by postal order from 1959 to 1979, reference AHF-ZI. 16.026, NHF (gr.)-ZI. 34.737, NHF.-IIZI. 9.788, in response to an e-mail sent by the students on January 11, 2022 to the Austrian National Archives in Vienna, according to Hubert Steiner.

25https://avis-deces.linternaute.com/nom/famille-alt

26https://convoi77.org/deporte_bio/augustine-wolff/

27https://www.memoiredeshommes.sga.defense.gouv.fr/fr/arkotheque/client/mdh/base_resistants/detail_fiche.php?ref=2606926&debut=0

28Sources from Martin Krist:

– Inscription form: WStLA,

– Newspaper announcement “Racial shame” mentioning Emil Zweigenthal: Neues Wiener Tagblatt, April 12, 1939, p.3
– Marriage announcement of Etta Sputz and Josef Alt: Neue Freie Presse, 6 janvier 1921, p. 6
-“Application to the fund for assistance to politically persecuted persons who have their place of residence and permanent abode abroad”, in short “relief fund”: WStLA

29 Sources about historical silences:

-Titiou LECOQ, Les grandes oubliées : Pourquoi l’Histoire a effacé les femmes, l’Iconoclaste, Paris, 2021. Chapitre 15 : Deuxième Guerre mondiale: le rôle des femmes minimisé.

-Michelle PERROT, Les femmes ou les silences de l’Histoire, Flammarion, Paris, 2020. Quatrième de couverture.

-Association MNEMOSYNE, Coordination Geneviève DERMENJIAN, Irène JAMI, Annie ROUQUIER, Françoise THEBAUD, La place des femmes dans l’histoire, une histoire mixte, Belin, Paris, 2010. Chapitre : Femmes et hommes dans les guerres, les démocraties et les totalitarismes (1914-1945).

-Simone de BEAUVOIR, Le deuxième sexe, Tome I, Gallimard, Paris, 1949. Quatrième de couverture.

-Jo-Ann OWUSU, Menstruation and the Holocaust, Published in History Today, Volume 69, Issue 5 May 2019 https://www.historytoday.com/archive/feature/menstruation-and-holocaust

-Isabelle ERNOT, Le genre en guerre. « Exécutrices, victimes, témoins », Genre & Histoire, numéro 15, mis en ligne le 30 septembre 2015. https://journals.openedition.org/genrehistoire/2218,

-Isabelle ERNOT, Le genre en guerre : « Women and/in the Holocaust » : à la croisée des Women’s-Gender et Holocaust Studies (Années 1980-2010) », Genre & Histoire, numéro 15, mis en ligne le 30 septembre 2015. http://journals.openedition.org/genrehistoire/2223

 

 

Contributeur(s)

Shaïma, Apoline and the German speaking 10th grade students, Warrick, Arone, Milco, Tijani, Ghani and all of the 11th grade HGGSP class with the guidance of their German teacher, Ms Laetitia Bouillon and their History and Geography teacher, Ms Morgane Boutant.
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