Walter Michel Poppert, born 26.3.1914
Gertrud Poppert, née Schönborn, born 29.6.1914
Hohe Str. 61 1/2, Do-West
Walter Michel Poppert was the son of Siegmund and Selma Popperts (for more on them, see the Stolperstein for Meissenerstr. 12). Born in Dortmund, he spent much of his early childhood, which fell within the time of the First World War, in the Netherlands.
Walter presumably met his later wife, Gertrud, in Dortmund. Gertrud was the daughter of a Catholic merchant, Anton Schönborn, and a Jewess, Selma Schönborn, née Rosenbaum. As well as Gertrud, the Schönborns also had another daughter, Mathilde Hilde (born 1910). Both Gertrud and Mathilde Hilde worked as office clerks. The daughters of the Catholic-Jewish couple also followed the Jewish faith, like their mother.
When and where Walter and Gertrud got to know each other in Dortmund is now no longer known. At any rate, she followed Walter in 1938 to the Netherlands, where they married in the same year.
Gertrud’s parents and sister remained in Dortmund. Although Anton Schönborn made enormous efforts to protect his Jewish wife from the persecution of the Nazi regime, Selma was deported in 1944. Anton died shortly afterwards of a heart condition.
Selma survived the deportation and the Holocaust. She returned in 1945 to Dortmund, where her daughter Mathilde Hilde and the latter’s husband, Salomon Fränkel, were also living. Mathilde’s husband, whose Jewish parents had converted to the New Apostolic Church, had also adopted this denomination, like his parents. Mathilde must also have given up the Jewish faith after 1934. This gave them at least some degree of protection from persecution, and they survived the Holocaust.
Gertrud and Walter Poppert lived until 1943 in Amsterdam. They were then sent to Westerbork, from where they were deported to Sobibor.
In Sobibor, Gertrud and Walter were given the task of sending postcards to family members, and in this way of deceiving relatives, friends and organizations back home about the reality of the extermination camps.
Walter was also responsible in Sobibor for procuring wood for cremation of the bodies, while Gertrud looked after the rabbit hutches.
Walter and Gertrud Poppert died during the uprising in Sobibor. They were both shot.
Gertrud acquired a place in the literature about Sobibor and the uprising there: The leader of the revolt, a lieutenant in the Red Army named Alexander Petsjerski, regularly writes in his reports about a woman known as Luka. This Luka was most likely Gertrud Poppert.