Augsburg, Hochfeldstraße 31
A remembrance post was placed for the Farnbacher family at 31 Hochfeld Street on June 30, 2022.
Ernst Farnbacher was born in Augsburg on March 1, 1925, as was his twin brother Rudolf. His parents were Frieda Farnbacher, née Reis, originally from Munich, and the Augsburg wholesale businessman Fritz Farnbacher. 1 Fritz Farnbacher was co-owner of the well-established toy wholesaler "Wernecker & Farnbacher, Kurz-, Galanteriewaren- und Spielzeughandlung" at Hermanstrasse 11. 2 The company traded in notions, fashion accessories and toys. Their mother, a trained child carer, was culture-loving, took French lessons and attended lectures and presentations on art history. 3 Their sister Gertrud, born in 1919, attended Maria-Theresia-Gymnasium after primary school. 4
The family lived at Hochfeldstrasse 31 in Augsburg. The Farnbachers had bought the house a few weeks before the brothers were born. Ernst displayed an interest in technology, liked to make things with his hands, and in this respect differed from his brother Rudolf, who was described as "thoughtful," "sensitive," and "less technically interested”. The brothers grew up in a protective setting and were often looked after by their grandparents at the grandparents' home. 5
The brothers enjoyed sports, although, as their sister reports, they were not endowed with impressive athletic talent. Ernst and Rudolf spent a lot of time at the sports field of the Jewish community.6 When, in 1938, their father's company was forcibly sold off as part of the National Socialist aryanization, the prestigious business premises on Hermanstrasse, including the apartments on the upper floors, fell into the hands of the National Socialists. At that time the brothers were just thirteen years old.7
Escape from Germany and a completely new beginning now became the family's declared goal. Gertrud, almost twenty years old already, was able to use the connections she had made during several longer stays abroad and fled to a friend in Great Britain after the Reich pogrom night of November 9, 1938. There she was employed as a maid.8
A year later, in 1939, their father Fritz, together with his brother Otto, was arrested and held for several weeks in the Gestapo prison "Katzenstadel".9 Since it was becoming increasingly unlikely that the family could depart as a group, Gertrud, sobbing and begging the responsible authorities in England for the last remaining places, organized her brothers’ escape with a "Kindertransport" to England. 10 As two of a total of 10,000 children who were able to escape to England via the Netherlands by means of the Kindertransporte from 1938 to 1939, 11 the twins thus narrowly managed to leave Germany on August 23, 1939 - only one week before the last Kindertransport departed from Germany. On September 3, England entered the war against Germany. 12 The twins never saw their parents again.
Ernst and Rudolf arrived in Great Britain at the age of 14, utterly penniless, having only a rudimentary knowledge of the language, without any social ties and without any concept of what their future might hold. The knowledge of their parents' precarious situation and their fear for their father and mother weighed heavily. The older sister, who had had to change jobs several times, was, for financial reasons, not even able to meet her brothers at the train station; they did not see each other again until 1940.13
After their arrival in England, fortunate circumstances enabled the twins to attend a boarding school in Kent together for almost two years. This was presumably the "New Herrlingen" boarding school run by Anna Essinger, a reform educationalist from Ulm.14 After the end of their schooling, the twins went their separate ways: Rudolf beginning an apprenticeship as a baker in Birmingham, Ernst attending an ORT institution in Leeds, where Jewish youths were given practical training in preparation for a life in Israel.15
Soon afterwards - probably on May 12, 1941 - Ernst Farnbacher took his own life. At that time, he was not yet 18 years old.16 For financial reasons, it was impossible for the other two siblings, who lived in different locations in England, to attend the funeral.17
In 1946 or 1947, Rudolf, too, put an end to his life.18
This is an excerpt from the biography compiled by Alexander Weidle in the winter semester of 2013/2014 at the University of Augsburg. Alexander Weidle participated in the proseminar "National Socialism in Augsburg. Verfolgungsgeschichte im Spiegel von Lebensgeschichten Augsburger Juden" given by Dr. Benigna Schönhagen in the Department of European Ethnology/Volkskunde.
Translation: Michael Bernheim
Wolfgang Benz u.a. (Hg.), Die Kindertransporte 1938/39. Rettung und Integration, Frankfurt am Main 2003.
Claudia Curio, Verfolgung, Flucht, Rettung. Die Kindertransporte 1938/39 nach Großbritannien, Berlin 2006.
Rebekka Göpfert, Der jüdische Kindertransport von Deutschland nach England 1938/39. Geschichte und Erinnerung, Frankfurt am Main, New York 1999.
Gernot Römer, In der Fremde leben meine Kinder, Augsburg 1996.
Gernot Römer (Hg.), „An meine Gemeinde in der Zerstreuung.“ Die Rundbriefe des Augsburger Rabbiners Ernst Jacob 1941–1949 (Material zur Geschichte des Bayerischen Schwaben, Bd. 29), Augsburg 2007.
http://www.aer.ul.schule-bw.de/index.php/schulgeschichte/anna-essinger (aufgerufen am 20.11.2015)
http://www.datenmatrix.de/projekte/hdbg/spurensuche/index_extern.html (aufgerufen am 17.11.2015)
http://www.jewishgen.org/jcr-uk/community/leeds/cemeteries/hill%20top%20cemeteries/burial_992.htm (aufgerufen am 20.11.2015)
http://ortuk.org/about-us/history (aufgerufen am 20.11.2015)
http://www.thejc.com/community/community-life/36118/old-boys-remember-leeds-school (aufgerufen am 20.11.2015)