Abraham & Edith Morpurgo

JG. 1882
ERMORDET 25.1.1943
Registration form of the Abraham Morpurgo family
Registration form of the Abraham Morpurgo family

Hans-Prodinger-Straße 19

Bechinsky, Hermine Morpurgo, Abraham Morpurgo, Edith

Abraham MORPURGO was born in Amsterdam on August 23, 1882. He was one of the eight children of the Jewish couple Izak MORPURGO and Vogeltje MORPURGO, neé Beddekoper. His parents were buried in the famous Sephardic Jewish cemetery Beth Haim in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel near Amsterdam.

On Dezember 26, 1911 Abraham MORPURGO married Elsa KLEIN in the Salzburg Synagogue. Elsa KLEIN had been born in Bohemian (Cesky) Brod [at that time part of Austria-Hungary and now in the Czech Republic] on September 24, 1887. Elsa was the youngest of the three children of the Jewish couple Johanna KLEIN, neé Drucker, and Moritz KLEIN – who owned a sawmill in Bergheim just north of Salzburg. The KLEIN family had lived in the city of Salzburg since 1892 and had full city residents’ rights under the Austrian Heimatrecht laws. They lived at 15 Markus Sittikus-Straße in Salzburg’s Andrä quarter. Moritz KLEIN died there at age 72 on April 17, 1923 – the only member of the KLEIN-MORPURGO family whose grave can be found in the Jewish cemetery in Salzburg-Aigen.

Elsa and Abraham MORPURGO’s daughter Edith was born in Salzburg on November 20, 1912. The MORPURGO family lived at 19 Schlachthofgasse /15 Rainerstraße in the Elisabeth-Vorstadt neighborhood – just a few blocks away from Elsa’s parents’ home. Abraham MORPURGO was a businessman, and until the violent year of 1938 he was the proprietor of a trade, insurance, and general agency called »the Anchor« located at 6 Lessingstraße /17 Rainerstraße. Both buildings on the Rainerstraße (previously called the Westbahnstraße) had belonged to the Jewish couple Gottlieb und Hermine Winkler [see the postscript for information on expropriation, restitution and the renaming of the Schlachthofgasse].1

A building contractor and a dentist were the beneficiaries of the expulsion of the MORPURGO family from the two buildings in1938. Abraham MORPURGO, who was still a citizen of the Dutch Netherlands, fled to Amsterdam in June 1938 with his wife Elsa, daughter Edith, and mother in law – the 78 year old widow Johanna KLEIN. On April 27, 1939 26 year old Edith MORPURGO married Julius Jakob David ESSINGER in Amsterdam. ESSINGER had been born in Munich on April 21, 1902, and had owned a movie theater there before he fled to Amsterdam in 1937. The ESSINGERs had two children born in Amsterdam, Eveline Franziska, born on February 15, 1940, und René, born on April 20, 1942.

The last residences of the MORPURGO-KLEIN and ESSINGER families in Amsterdam were at 1045 Prinsengracht and 119 Vijzelstraat, and they were arrested and interned some time after the beginning of the German occupation of Holland (though the specific dates are unknown). What is known from the Dutch Databank Community Joods Monument and the Shoah-Databank at Yad Vashem, is that Abraham MOPURGO, his mother-in-law Johanna KLEIN, his daughter Edith, her husband Julius ESSINGER and their daughter Eveline were all deported to Auschwitz.

The 29 year old Edith MORPURGO ESSINGER, her husband Julius Jakob David ESSINGER und their two year old daughter Eveline were murdered in Auschwitz on August 31, 1942. Edith’s 60 year old father Abraham MORPURGO was murdered in Auschwitz on January 26, 1943, as was her 83 year old grandmother Johanna KLEIN on February 12, 1943.

Johanna KLEIN’s two sons, Karl und Hugo, managed to flee to Shanghai. Karl died in Shanghai in 1947, while Hugo move on to Israel and died in a pulmonary hospital there in 1956. Researchers in Holland have determined that their sister Elsa, Abraham MORPURGO’s wife, died in Amsterdam at age 55 on October 28, 1942 – shortly after her daughter Edith was murdered in Auschwitz along with Elsa’s granddaughter and son-in-law. Thanks to the research of the Munich City Archives we know that Edith’s son René was taken in and hidden by a Dutch family and was able to survive the Nazi terror (see the Munich Jewish Memorial Book – Gedenkbuch der Münchner Juden).

After many inquiries we received a report at the beginning of 2012 that of Abraham MORPURGO’s seven siblings, four were also murdered: his brothers Jacob and Joseph in Sobibor, his brother Moses and his sister Sippora (whose married name was FRANK) in Auschwitz.

In March 2014 the »Daily Mail« newspaper reported, that Edith MORPURGO received a number of passionate and sexually suggestive love letters from Ian Fleming (the author who invented the character James Bond-007 in the 1950s) in the mid-1930s.

1 The two Salzburg properties, 6 Lessingstraße/17 Rainerstraße and 19 Schlachthofgasse /15 Rainerstraße, were owned by the Jewish couple Gottlieb und Hermine Winkler from 1913 and 1914 to 1922. After the death of Gottlieb in 1922 they belonged to the widow Hermine Winkler. After her death in 1937 the two buildings were supposed to go to her heirs: Hugo Winkler; the Mensa Academica Judaica; the Chewra Kaddischa (the Salzburg Jewish burial society); and the Jewish Institute for the Blind. But before the transfers could be entered in the property register the two buildings were confiscated in 1939 (6 Lessingstraße was turned over to Liselotte Niedermüller-Zojer, and 19 Schlachthofgasse was turned over to Lorenz und Olga Deutschmann). Between 1950 and 1955 they were restored in steps to Hugo Winkler and to the official Jewish Community of Vienna (property register Salzburg-Froschheim EZ 225 and EZ 228).

In 1960, at the request of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP), the Salzburg City Council voted unanimously to rename the Schlachthofgasse as the Hans Prodinger-Straße because Hans Prodinger had lived at 15 Schlachthofgasse from 1925 to 1928.

Who was Hans Prodinger?

Hans Prodinger was born in Villach, Carinthia in 1887. He was a window dresser and a notorious Antisemite who was the early leader of the Nazi Party in Salzburg. He was a strong advocate of merging Austria with Germany and he represented the National Socialist Party in the Salzburg provincial assembly until he and some of his followers left the Party in a dispute with Adolf Hitler about how the Nazis should win power – Prodinger wanted to form electoral alliances with other Antisemitic parties at a time when Hitler was committed to seizing power by force. After 1928 he led a Greater Germany Party and represented it in the Austrian Parliament in an alliance with other right wing parties. When democratic government was suspended in Austria in 1934 he joined the Austro-Fascist Fatherland Front of his Christian Social Party parliamentary allies and headed their Clerical Employees’ Union and the Clerical Employees’ Insurance Organization. After the Nazi Germany absorbed Austria in 1938 he was severely persecuted for his role in the Austro-Fascist state which had imprisoned and persecuted the Austrian Nazis after they had murdered the Austro-Fascist Chancellor Dollfuss in a failed attempt to seize power in 1934.

Since March 1988 there has been an entry on a memorial tablet in the Austrian Parliament for the victims of Nazi persecution that reads : »Greater Germany Party member of Parliament Hans Prodinger, 11/14/1887 – 9/5/1938, died in the Dachau concentration camp«.

It took another twenty years before the Holocaust victims of Salzburg were also named in memorials.

Author:Gert Kerschbaumer
Translation:Stan Nadel

Nearby Stumbling Blocks

Lessingstraße 6 44m 44m, 0°  Eisenberg, Berta
Eisenberg, Paula
Eisenberg, Leah
Plainstraße 8 89m 89m, 318°  Braunwieser, Walter
Markus-Sittikus-Straße 15 109m 109m, 155°  Klein, Johanna
Bulla, Elsbeth
Ernest-Thun-Straße 13 113m 113m, 207°  Brandstätter, Maria
Markus-Sittikus-Straße 23 130m 130m, 120°  Steinberger, Philomena

Stumbling Blocks

Laid 2011-07-07 at Hans-Prodinger-Straße 19, Salzburg