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Lea Neumann, née Zucker

(Jaraczewo 1875 - Auschwitz 1943)

"Jiskor! Buch der Erinnerung" ["Yizkor! - book of commemoration"] is the title of a slim volume that was forgotten immediately after it was inventoried in our library. Its fragile condition is probably due to the fact that it has stood unnoticed in the stockrooms for over 35 years. Hardly any book in our collection contains as much family data as this one, and the return to the descendants of the last owner now enables them to resume the tradition of commemoration associated with the book. As a historical testimony to the Shoa, it also opens up another level of remembrance that goes beyond family commemoration.
The book, printed in Berlin in 1894, contains prayers and explanations of religious practices related to the days of the deaths of the deceased. In the back are pre-printed tables in which mourners could and did enter the names of the deceased as well as the dates of death. The anniversaries of the passing, also called the Yahrzeit, are calculated in Judaism according to the Jewish calendar. Thus, when the civil calendar is used in everyday life, it is necessary to determine the anniversaries for each year as a Gregorian date. For this purpose there were corresponding tables or conversion formulas or one let oneself be supported by knowledgeable side thereby.
On the completed pages we read as follows:

Jahrzeit meiner sel. geliebten Mutter Minna Zucker gestorben den 10. April 1916, hebräisches Datum den 7. Nissan 5676 ruht an d. Seite uns. geliebten Vaters, Feld W. 14 Reihe 32326 [A list of anniversaries from 1917 to 1960 follows]

Jahrzeit meines sel. Bruders Isaak Neumann, gestorben den 11. Mai 1909, hebräisches Datum den 20. Ijar 5669, Grab No. 289 [A list of anniversaries from 1917 to 1960 follows]

Jahrzeit meines sel. Vaters Salomon Zucker gestorben den 16. September 1907, hebräisches Datum den 8. Tischri 5668, Feld W. 14 Reihe 32325 [A list of anniversaries from 1908 to 1957 follows]

Jahrzeit meines sel. Vaters Meier Kallmann Neumann gestorben den 29. Juli 1904, hebräisches Datum den 17. Ab 5661[?] [A list of anniversaries from 1905 to 1954 follows]

In addition to the mention of the names, there are the dates of death of both calendar systems, the days of remembrance for the following 50 years, as well as notes about the grave sites that we can assign to the cemetery in Berlin-Weißensee. On the last two pages of the book, the names of other family members were noted and their grave sites in Weißensee were designated. The last entry dates from 1939, which means that the book was in active use for a period of over 35 years. Based on further traces of use, we can even surmise that the book was carried along during regular visits to the gravesites. This is because the most intensely used pages contain the prayers said at the gravesite.  
The names that appear suggest who the owners of the book were - they were the Berlin couple Lea Neumann, née Zucker (born in Jaraczewo, Poland) and Leo (Froim) Neumann (born in Chorzele, Poland). In 1899, the two became engaged in Jaraczewo and the marriage took place in Berlin in October of the same year.  Possibly the young couple received the book for this occasion. Their only child - Wally Neumann - was born in 1901. At that time the family lived at Chausseestraße 67 in Berlin. In some documents Leo Neumann is mentioned as a merchant, but beyond the official registration data we have so far only few further references to the family.

Wally Neumann married the factory owner Erich Grünbaum in 1920. The couple, which was already divorced in 1929, had two sons, Emil (born in 1922) and Georg (born in 1923). After Wally's father Leo died in 1937 (Lea Neumann also noted his death in the Jiskor book, see on the right), Wally probably lived with her mother. For herself and her son Georg, Wally applied for a visa to leave the country for the USA in 1938. Emil was probably already able to leave the country at that time. He died in Israel in 2015. Ultimately, it was a Kindertransport with which Georg first reached England. In 1954 he emigrated to the USA and called himself George Garrington. His estate in the Leo Baeck Institute in New York - he died in 2014 - contains moving correspondence with his mother, who also sent him photos. Meanwhile, she herself took care of her mother Lea and possibly earned her living with medical foot care, at least a diploma (today also in the Leo Baeck Institute) proves that she had taken a corresponding course with the physician Dr. Betty Wiener in 1938.

On September 14, 1942, Wally's mother Lea was taken to Theresienstadt on a so-called old-age transport (Alterstransport). It can be assumed that she had carried the Jiskor book with her and had to leave it behind when she was deported from there to Auschwitz in December 1943. Wally was sent directly to her death from Berlin to Auschwitz in February 1943.
In 2023, we were able to return the book to the descendants of Emil (Ephraim) Grünbaum, who would like to donate it to the Yad Vashem Archives along with other family documents.


For research assistance, we thank Shulamit Rosenthaler of the Israeli Magen David Adom, Dr. Hermann Teifer of the Leo Baeck Institute New York, and also Carole Meyers who befriended George Garrington in his final years and saved his written legacy for posterity.


Link to the book in the Looted Cultural Assets database

Transport list and deportation data regarding Lea Neumann

George Garrington Collection, Leo Baeck Institute New York

Förderverein Jüdischer Friedhof Weißensee (Support association)

In the database, various official registration data can be found (e.g.: Marriage Leo/Froim Neumann and Lea Neumann, née Zucker, birth Wally Neumann, marriage and divorce Erich Grünbaum and Wally Grünbaum, née Neumann)

Especially the databases and contain relevant information on kinship relations

Documents on the deportation of Wally Grünbaum in the Arolsen Archives

Missing person report of Wally Grünbaum and Lea Neumann, in: Neues Deutschland of 22.01.1949, page 6

(Text: Ph. Zschommler)