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Sofies Parents

Esther Schneider

(née Adelski, 1864–1911)

Esther Schneider was born on 15 January 1864. The place of birth is (still) unknown. Esther was married in Sidra to Hillel Schneider and travelled to Leipzig with him and their older children in 1898, as Hillel took up the position of cantor in the Keilstraße body synagogue in that year.
Esther worked as a wig maker for Jewish women. It has been passed down to today’s descendants how Esther lovingly called for her daughters: “Zilla, Yda, Louisa, Sophie, Berta, Anna, Rosa, Zipora, Dora and Mina, come here, I have to cut off some of your hair because I am running out of hair for the wigs”.

Esther’s granddaughter Yiska said about Esther

Esther had the most beautiful eyes. Only one cousin has those
golden brown eyes. They were always smiling and ready. We
have some relatives in London from her side but we have never
made contact. Esther was always beautifully dressed in the
costumes of the period. She always wore a wig and she spoke a
cultured German Yiddish.

Esther died on 15 January 1911, at the age of 47. She was buried in the Old Jewish Cemetery in Leipzig (grave number 268).
The Old Jewish Cemetery at Berliner Straße 123, directly adjacent to the North Cemetery, was built in 1864. The Jewish population in Leipzig grew strongly, especially in the second half of the 19th century, which made it necessary to build a larger burial ground.
During the pogrom night in November 1938, the burial place was heavily vandalised. The New Jewish Cemetery at Delitzscher Straße 224, which was inaugurated in 1927, was not spared the pogroms. It also served as a burial place for Leipzig’s Jewish citizens during the nationalist tyranny .

In the early 2000s, when esther’s descendants from Israel (the Cozens) searched for Esther’s tombstone in the Old Israelite Cemetery, they found that it was no longer there. Tombs without a tomb are marked in the Israelite cemetery with paints bearing the Star of David in the mirror — including Esther Schneider’s grave.
Her relatives Miryam, Gideon, Batya, Ester and the families then collected money to have a new gravestone set for Esther Schneider.

Hillel Schneider

(05th October 1860 in Sidra – 1941 in Oslo)

Hillel Schneider was born on 05.10.1860 in Sidra/Poland. In 1898 at the latest, he emigrated with his family to Leipzig to take up work as cantor in the Brody Synagogue in Leipzig. He worked there from 1898 until his retirement in 1925 as head cantor, shochet (shepherd) as well as mohel (circumciser). In 1930, on the occasion of Hillel Schneider’s 70th birthday, the Jewish Community Gazette published an article in which his work as a former cantor in the Brody Synagogue and his commitment within the Jewish Community of Leipzig were honoured. The commemorative publication reads:

“He is carried by the love and veneration of a large congregation, which heartily wishes that he may remain with them in happiness and contentment and unbroken freshness for many decades to come.”

The Brody Synagogue, also known as the Tora Talmud Synagogue, was opened in 1904 at Keilstraße 4. The community rabbi Dr. Ephraim Carlebach (1879 – 1936), on whose initiative the Israelite School of Leipzig, also known as the Carlebach School, was founded in 1913, also held sermons in the Brody Synagogue. As the house of prayer was located in Keilstraße between two residential buildings, it was not set on fire by the Nazis on the November pogrom night of 1938, as they wanted to prevent the immediately adjacent buildings from being burnt down as well. Nevertheless, the interior of the synagogue was destroyed, and the religious sanctuaries were desecrated.

Hillel lived with his family at Lessingstraße 1, near his community synagogue in Keilstraße. After the death of his wife Esther Schneider in 1911, Hillel married her sister. However, the marriage was short-lived. Eventually he married a third time: Hillel spent the rest of his life with his third wife Ida. Ida Schneider, née Hans, came from Heiligenstadt/Thuringia and from then on also lived at Lessingstraße 1 until her emigration to Oslo in 1940.

Due to the acutely threatening situation of the Jewish population in Leipzig (and in all of Germany) by the National Socialists, many applied to the Reich Association of Jews in Germany to leave the country. For many Jews, emigration was only possible with great difficulty and luck, for some even impossible, due to a lack of financial means and the restrictive immigration policies of most states.

However, Hillel Schneider managed to emigrate to Oslo on 16 March 1939 to join his daughter Yda and her husband Jacob Fried (arrival according to passport: 22 March 1939). Shortly before his departure, Hillel applied to the Jewish Religious Community in Leipzig via the lawyer Dr. Walter Lippmann (Petersstr. 15) on 25 January 1939 for his pension of RM 250 per month to be transferred regularly to Norway after his departure. His son-in-law Jacob Fried, as a young cantor, received only a small income and could not pay for Hillel’s living expenses. In addition, Fried’s wife, Hillel’s daughter Yda, had already been seriously ill for some time, so that the family’s financial means were already exhausted. At the time of the application, Hillel Schneider was 79 years old and, according to his own statements, physically no longer able to work. The Jewish Religious Community agreed to continue paying the full pension in the event of a transfer. Nevertheless, the application was rejected (decision of rejection 18.02.1939), as it had been forbidden by law since 193__ to transfer private capital abroad. On the basis of this, Hillel issued a power of attorney on the day of his departure, 16 March 1939, that his pension should henceforth be paid monthly to his wife Ida and 50 RM each to his daughter Sophie, to cover her living expenses.

“The following is agreed between the cantor Hillel Israel Schneider and his wife Ida Sara Schneider: Mr Schneider, who was born on 5 October 1860, is entitled to payment of a monthly gross pension of RM 251.60, payable in monthly advance payments, to the Israelite Religious Community in Leipzig. He hereby irrevocably authorises his wife to receive the net amount of the pension on his behalf. Mrs Schneider undertakes to pay RM 50 per month from the pension to the joint daughter Sophie Schneider in Leipzig C 1, Lortzinger Str. 12, as soon as possible after receipt of the pension for her maintenance, as long as Ms Schneider lives in Germany. Mrs Schneider may use the remainder for her own living expenses. The power of attorney expires with the death of one of the spouses Schneider or with the emigration of Mrs Schneider from Germany. Leipzig, 16 March 1939” [signed by Hillel, Ida and Sofie]

The application was granted – a payment slip dated 14 April to a special account opened by Hillel at the Dresdner Bank Leipzig proves a pension payment of RM 1509.60 for the period April to September 1939. There are further approval notices for October 1939 to March 1940 and from April to September 1940 for RM 194.50 per month.
The pension entitlement was valid until 1941. On 30 December 1940, Ida Schneider instructed the Jewish Religious Community to stop payments due to her emigration:

“I, the undersigned Mrs Ida Sara Schneider, née Hans, hereby declare that I have power of disposal over the account to which my husband is entitled. I also have the power to dispose of the claims to payment of the pension due to my husband, effected from the Cultural Association. For this reason I declare the following: By virtue of the authorisation granted to me, I instruct the Israelite Religious Community to withhold an amount of RM 197.55 from the next monthly salary following my emigration. I also give my bank the irrevocable order to transfer the above amount to the Jewish Cultural Association of the Israelite Religious Community if the possibility of disposing of the pension entitlements should no longer exist after my emigration. The approval of the foreign exchange office will be submitted later, the costs will be borne by me.”

Ida emigrated to Oslo in 1941 to join her husband Hillel Schneider, Jakob and Ida Fried. Hillel’s daughter Sophie stayed behind in Leipzig – it is not yet known why she was denied emigration. Hillel died in Oslo in 1941 at the age of 81.