Fanny Nagel, born 23.5.1864 in Posen

Stiftstr. 15, Do-West

Fanny Nagel was the oldest of four children of Isidor Elkeles, a master cooper, and his wife Bertha, née Prochownik. Throughout her life, she was especially close to her younger sister Helene (born 5 March 1866 in Posen, died 13 April 1941 in Dortmund), whose married surname was Behrendt. The two of them lived together for many years. A younger brother, Samuel Elkeles (born 12 October 1867 in Posen) died in 1935 in Berlin; he owned a factory that made barrels. The youngest brother, Leo Elkeles (born 4 April 1869 in Posen), an insurance agent, died on 22 May 1942 in Breslau.

According to the data in the residents’ register for Posen (now Poznan, in Poland), Fanny Elkeles left her home town for the first time in 1882 at the age of 18. In 1896, she was operating a hat shop in Gelsenkirchen, together with her sister Helene. In the following years, she changed her place of residence several times. Thus, it can be documented that she lived, among other places, in Herten, Dorsten, Castrop-Rauxel, Gelsenkirchen, and for longer periods of time in Essen and in Dortmund. Some time between 1906 and 1915, she married Friedrich Nagel, an architect (born 12 December 1862 in Röhlinghausen), who died on 1 November 1920 in Langendreer.

From 1906, though with biggish gaps, Fanny Elkeles is entered in the address directory for Dortmund as an insurance clerk and also as an office manager; according to reports passed down within the family by word of mouth, she temporarily managed the Dortmund office of her brother Leo, who also lived in Dortmund several times in the years between 1903 and 1924. From 1920 to 1922, she lived in the Polish town of Bromberg, which she then had to leave in the following year after opting for German citizenship. It is also possible that she continued to manage the insurance office of her brother Leo there after he moved away.

Latterly, from 1938 to 1942, she lived with her sister in Dortmund, at Stiftstr. 15, before being forced to move to the “Jew house” at Williburgstr. 6.

In the wake of the “Pogrom night” of 1938, Fanny Nagel was plundered financially by the Nazi authorities. Her pension was no longer paid out to her but transferred directly to the regional inland revenue office (“Oberfinanzdirektion”).
All that she had at her free disposal was a monthly amount of 150 Reichsmarks (RM). All her other financial assets were held on accounts to which she had no access.

In a handwritten letter that still exists, dated 17 March 1942 and addressed to the senior revenue authority (“Oberfinanzpräsidium”) for the province of Westphalia, she asks “humbly” whether she might have a monthly amount of RM 40 above her allowance to give to her “Aryan” sister-in-law Louise Elkeles, while she herself would forego an additional sum of RM 10 from the amount allowed to her. The request was granted in her favour on 4 May 1942. She also provided financial support for her other siblings and their families. Thus, according to a declaration of 30 January 1940, she allowed her “severely ailing” sister a sum of RM 40 monthly. She also appears to have helped her brother Samuel’s widow, who emigrated to England in 1937, to pay the “Reichsfluchtsteuer”, the Tax on Flight from the German Reich. At any rate, transfers were made on several occasions from changing addresses in Guatemala – the country of emigration of her eldest brother – under the keyword “Paula Elkes” onto the account she could not directly access. It can be assumed that these sums were intended as repayments.

On 29 July 1942, Fanny Nagel was deported on Transport X/1 to Theresienstadt, and then on 23 September 1942 from there to Treblinka extermination camp, where she was murdered. A letter from the family to Theresienstadt was returned bearing the notation “Moved to an unknown address”.

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