historical researches
Regensburg 02.12.2011

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Text 7

The Jordan's – Family Traces

On April 2 nd , 1942 the Jordans, a family of five, with a number of other Jewish families had to betake themselves to the site of the former synagogue at Am Brixener Hof. The Nazi regime allowed them one suitcase and one rucksack each - as well as garden tools since the purported reason for the trip was the relocation of the Jews to Eastern Europe .
It was to be their final farewell to Regensburg; the journey – the first deportation of Jewish citizens from Regensburg - ended in Piaski, a death camp in eastern Poland.
Seven-year-old Inge Jordan was not only the Jordan's youngest daughter, but also the youngest passenger on this journey to death. She and her sisters Klara and Annelore were in all likelihood unaware of their destination.
It was only a short walk for the family since they lived on Schäffnerstraße 22, in the vicinity of the former synagogue, which had been burnt down in 1938.

Julius Jordan (born in 1891) was the owner of a sweetshop. Born into a well-known Regensburg merchant family, Julius was drafted in the First World War. During the 1930s, the member of the liberal Jewish party refused to emigrate. Nevertheless, he and his family fell victim to the Nazi's anti-Jewish policies. He had to sell his shop in 1938 at a dumping price; his daughters were barred from the public school. Nevertheless, the Jordan's could consider themselves lucky because they were allowed to remain at their home.
What is more, the grandmother Jette Gutmann, who had lost her husband in 1931, was allowed to move in with them.
After the beginning of the Second World War in 1939, life became even harder for Jewish citizens. They had to hand in their radios, shopping was restricted to only four shops (two grocers and two butchers) which were open for Jews only during lunch hour. In addition, many supplies could be bought only with food stamps. Access to the public sphere was more and more restricted for Jews: they were barred from visiting public parks or swimming pools, were not allowed to use the tram, to go to the cinema or a café. Accordingly, Jews were forced to live an increasingly restricted life and many of them were barely able to make ends meet. The Nazis even forced them to change their names: Jewish women were required to adopt the name "Sara", men the name "Israel" as a sign of their Jewish descent.
Bus of postal service ordered by Gekrat to transport sick and disabled patients to the Nazi killing centers

In March 1940, Jette Gutmann was committed to the psychiatric clinic Karthaus-Prüll. On September 14 th, 1940 she and eleven other Jewish patients were taken to the clinic Eglfing-Haar near Munich; from there, after only a few days, they were transported to the psychiatric clinic of Grafeneck in one of the gray buses of the GEKRAT (Gemeinnützige Krankentransport Gesellschaft mbH), a company that was notorious for the transport of patients. There, Jette Gutmann and her fellow patients were murdered to prevent so-called “racial pollution” (Rassenschande).

In contrast to the proceedings in the later murder of non-Jewish psychiatric patients, the Jewish patients were not registered in 1940. Diagnosis, duration of illness or ability to work had no bearing whatsoever on their selection.
In order to make the search for their relatives more difficult, the families of the murdered patients received forged death notifications that were supposedly issued by a mental institution in Chelm, Poland, which by the autumn of 1940 had ceased to exist. In order to pretend the existence of that clinic, some of the death certificates were actually sent to the occupied part of Poland, where they received the postmark of the city of Lublin. In all likelihood Jewish patients from Bavarian institutions were taken to the psychiatric clinic of Grafeneck <in order to be murdered>.

My special thank goes to those passengers of Viking River Cruises who, in October 2011, donated the money for Jette Gutmann's stumbling stone. The artist Gunter Demnig visited Regensburg in November, 2011 to lay 20 more stones – six of them for the family of Julius Jordan.

Reproduction by courtesy of the Regensburg City Archive

Reproduction by courtesy of the Regensburg City Archive

copyright © 2011 Sylvia Seifert