What We Know:
Family name: Mansfeld
Given name: Elli
Date/place of birth: 18. Mai 1906, Lüchow/Lower Saxony
Date/place of death: Exact date/place of death unknown
Age: 36 years old at deportation
Elli Mansfeld was the third and final daughter of Siegmund Mansfeld (born 11 September 1869 in Lüchow) and Johanna Mansfeld née Löwenstein (born 18 January 1870 in Wusterhausen in Brandenburg). She had two older sisters—Ottilie, b. 1900, and Margarete, b. 1903—and a younger brother, Walter, b. 29 June 1910.
Mansfelds had lived in Wustrow (also in Lower Saxony) for almost 150 years before moving to Lüchow. With his brother, Willi, Siegmund Mansfeld ran “a thriving business in furs, raw products and metals” in Lüchow. Willi’s wife was Karolina Holländer, and they had a daughter, Elisabeth, b. 1920 in Lüchow.
Margarete Mansfeld, who survived the Holocaust and World War II, described her family as liberal. “Her mother cooked non-kosher food, but didn’t eat any of it. […] The Jewish holidays were still celebrated at home, and her father did not smoke on Shabbat. On high holidays people, the family drove to Salzwedel to visit the synagogue of the small Jewish community. Many relatives lived in Salzwedel, which, along with Hitzacker and Dannenberg, also had the only Jewish cemetery in the area.”
“My older sister was born in 1900, I in 1903, my sister Elly in 1905 and my brother Walter in 1910. Our family had a thriving business in furs, raw products and metals. Our property consisted of a large residential building at the end of the village, with two apartments and storage attics, stables with four horses and outbuildings. The large garden was half an acre in size. On New Year’s Eve 1931 our house burned down together with the stables. It was never determined if it was arson. The house was not rebuilt. My father bought another property.
We played a lot of music and did sports. I myself was a member of an athletics club and won many prizes in the 100 meter run…
As you can see from our first names, we all felt like Germans of the Jewish faith…. We were all allowed to learn a trade. My sister Ottilie was a shorthand typist and my sister Elly worked in a law firm. In Meiningen she later managed the office for emigrating Jews…. I managed the household of a Jewish family in Halberstadt….”
Elli met furrier Alfred Lind through the Jewish tradition of marriage brokerage. Alfred was born in 1897 in Walldorf a/d Werra in Thuringia, son of Bruno and Amalie Lind (née Frankenberg). She moved to Walldorf (375 km south of Lüchow) to be close to her fiancé.
In January 1933, when the Nazis formed the government, the Mansfelds were in Germany. Elli and Alfred were in Walldorf; her parents, and her brother and his wife, Ursula, lived in Lüchow. Will and Lina Mansfeld, and their daughter Elisabeth (called ‘Liesel’ by the family), b. 1920. On 8 August 1937, Ottilie Mansfeld gave birth to a son, named Heinz (also Heini and Heino). His father was non-Jewish, and he and Ottilie were not married (in 1937, the law prohibited Christian-Jewish marriages). According to Lydia, a young girl at the time, Margarete Führmann was in Halberstadt.
Elli and Alfred planned to marry and emigrate as a married couple. They published their intent to marry on 10 March 1938. But, although the law did not prohibit marriage between Jews, the local registrar prevented them from marrying. Every time they requested official registry office appointment, he hid himself.(2) Only Alfred was able to save himself; on 22 October 1938, he acquired a visa to enter the United States, and on 28 October, he left Europe, sailing from Rotterdam to New York City. On the ship’s manifest for immigration into the States, Alfred identified “E. Mansfeld, fut.[ure] wife,” as his contact person in Germany. She was living at Kleffelgasse 130 in Walldorf.
The Mansfeld shop was attacked in the Reichspogromnacht of 9/10 November 1939. Alfred was unable to bring Elli from Germany. (This would have been easier as a married couple.) In late 1941 and into spring 1942, Elli did forced labor in the Veilsdorf Abbey porcelain factory; on 9 May 1942, she was first transported with five other Jews from Walldorf to Weimar and then on to Belzyce ghetto on 10 May 1942.
Between 1941 and 1942, ten relatives of Elli Mansfeld were deported. They all perished in the Shoah. Elli’s parents were deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto, and her brother Walter and his wife, Ursula, to Riga-Jungfernhof. Ursula Mansfeld was murdered there; Walter was transported from Riga-Kaiserwald to the Stutthof concentration camp on 6 August 1944 and then on to the Buchenwald concentration camp on 16 August 1944. He was formally declared dead after the war.
In the USA, Alfred Lind first lived in New York but then moved to Fairfield, Connecticut where he worked as a clerk for the Federal Fur Company. In April 1942 he registered in the American army’s Fourth Registration, often referred to as the ‘Old Man’s Draft.‘ After that we lose his trail.
The stumbling block for Elli Mansfeld is laid in Lüchow with the stones for her parents and brother.
(1) The placement of the Stolpersteine for Ottilie and Margarete Mansfeld in Lüchow suggest that both were the daughters of Siegmund Mansfeld.
Elke Schwerda. ,,Chronik jüdischen Lebens in Walldorf.“ In: Hans Nothnagel (Hg.): Juden in Südthüringen – geschützt und gejagt. Bd. 3 Suhl 1999 S. 197-232.
Arolsen Archives, Elli Mansfeld, 128450615
Jahr: 1938; Ankunft: New York, New York, USA; Seriennummer des Mikrofilms: T715, 1897-1957; Gesellschaft: 1; Seitennummer: 86 (Ancestry.de)
National Archives at St. Louis; St. Louis, Missouri; WWII Draft Registration Cards for Connecticut, 10/16/1940-03/31/1947; Aufzeichnungsgruppe: Records of the Selective Service System, 147; Archiv: 244 (Ancestry.de)