Tsvi or Harry or Hirsch Herzenberg

Male 1920 - 1941  (20 years)


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  • Name Tsvi or Harry or Hirsch Herzenberg 
    Born 24 Oct 1920  Liepaja (Libau), Courland, Latvia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died Jul 1941  Liepaja (Libau), Courland, Latvia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Person ID I3940  Petersen-de Lanskoy
    Last Modified 21 Jan 2014 

    Father Willy Gabriel Herzenberg,   b. 23 Mar 1878, Aizpute (Hasenpoth), Courland, Latvia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 17 Feb 1942, Liepaja (Libau), Courland, Latvia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 63 years) 
    Mother Sarah Hellman,   b. 6 Mar 1880, Talsi (Talsen), Courland, Latvia Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Abt 1941, Liepaja (Libau), Courland, Latvia Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 60 years) 
    Married Bef 1912  of Liepaja (Libau), Courland, Latvia Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Family ID F1624  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • RESEARCH_NOTES:
      1. Courland (Kurzeme in Latvian, Kurland in German) is the historically distinct area of modern day Latvia bounded by the Baltic Sea to the west, Lithuania to the south, and the Dvina River (now Daugava) to the North. Its historic capital was Mitau (now Jelgava). It had ice-free Baltic ports with commercial and strategic importance. At its height Courland was a prosperous and cultured German-speaking Duchy. Courland was a separate Gubernia (Province) of the Russian Empire from 1797-1918. 50-60% of the Jews living in Riga just north of Courland had family roots in Courland. The names of the various towns have changed now that the area is part of Latvia (new-old as of early 1900s):
      Aizpute-Hasenpoth
      Jelgava-Mitau
      Kuldiga-Goldingen
      Liepaja-Libau
      Piltene-Pilten
      Talsi-Talsen
      Ventspils-Windau

      2. Rootsweb.com 28 Jul 2007 Worldconnect database "bjephart" of Betsy Thal Gephart . She notes that Harry Herzenberg was b. 24 Oct 1920 in Liepaja, Latvia and was killed in the same place Jul 1941. He was a locksmith. She provides the following sources:
      A. "Jews in Liepaja, Latvia, 1941-45," by Edward Anders, http://www.ej-anders.com/,2002, note A50-004-leg.
      B. Chart from Abraham Blumberg, Israel, note G50-001-leg.

      3. Website of Peter Bruce Herzenberg of London, England (since relocated to South Africa). Website is no longer functioning as of 7 Aug 2007. Copies of much of his data from the website in my possession. He indicates references by codes, which pertain to the original source and file held in his database, which I have not seen. I have no key to the sources except HL is Leonardo Herzenberg, HG is Gail Herzenberg, PC is probably Piltene Cemetery records, LA is probably Latvian Archives, FA is probably Aleksandrs Feigmanis (Latvian researcher hired by Harold Hodes), and YL is Len Yodaiken (Israeli researcher hired by Harold Hodes); however, he lists the main researchers and their contributions in a lengthy report which I include in full in the notes of the earliest Herzenberg of this database.
      Also note that Peter has the following children of Willy and Sarah: Freida, Jacob, Josef, Eliezar, and Zvi Harry. [I have Frieda, Lazar (Eliezar), Joseph, Harry or Hirsch, and Tzvi.]
      Peter also notes a "Photo" shows Eliezar and Zvi Harry. Estimate Eliezar b. abt 1915 and Zvi Harry abt. 1922. Peter includes the following footnote noting that both Eliezer and Zvi Harry are present in a group family photo supplied by Gail Herzenberg but not mentioned in her father Gabriel William's records. Due to the composition of the photo and estimated ages, these two individuals have been placed as the sons of Gabriel Willy subject to confirmation. He also notes that Jacob H. is mentioned elsewhere in the records, but not present in the group photo possibly making Jacob and Eliezer as one and the same.
      [Addendum 4 Aug 2010: I now have a copy of the above photo and I am of the opinion that Tsvi and Harry are the same person.]

      DEATH:
      1. The following accounts are copied from JewishGen.Inc and report the holocaust actions of Libau which affected many Herzenbergs. It was also typical of many of the nearby areas as well:
      A. Translation of an Excerpt Relating to Libau, From the Book Published by Mr. Mendel Bobee in Yiddish
      "With the outbreak of hostilities in the East, Libau was bombarded on 22.6.41 [June 22, 1941]. A very small portion of the local population could flee the next day because the trains were overloaded with the children and families of the officers and civil servants serving in Libau.
      Before the war the Russians organised "Workers Guards" in which many Jews participated. These Guards were the first to see action. The first attack on the town was repulsed, but in this first action the number of casualties was very high and, as it happened, most of the casualties were Jewish boys.
      The Germans occupied Libau on 29.6.41 [June 29, 1941]. The radio stations of Koenigsberg, Danzig, and Memel broadcast in Latvian highly inflammatory tirades against the Jews. With the entry of the German Army in Libau the Nazis distributed a pamphlet in Latvian to revenge the acts of "the bloodthirsty Jews who have expelled the good sons of the Latvian People to the USSR" The Latvian military and police forces under the command of the Latvian Generals Dankers and Bengersky joined the German forces and gladly participated in their infamous propaganda.
      Orders were published to hand over all valuables, radios and other means of communications. The meagre food portions were cut and the infamous "Aizsargi," in their alleged searches for weapons, invaded Jewish homes and robbed, beat up and killed. With the conquest of Libau by the Germans the Jewish population counted 9,000 souls and immediately the systematic extermination started. The first victims were 33 Jewish workers who reported to work the next morning after the occupation. They were killed the same day in the "Rainis Park" in Neu-Libau.
      Another order was published saying that all Jewish males between the ages of 16-65 had to come every morning to the "Hauptwachplatz" from where they were dispatched to different stations of work, accompanied by beatings and curses. No one was sure he would return home at night, as indeed many did not. The Jews were commanded to dismantle with their own hands the Great Synagogue - "The Chor-Schul" - and to destroy the Sifrei Tora. After the destruction of the building the Latvian Press claimed that the cellars of the Synagogue contained hidden weapons and Latvian property.
      In these first weeks around 2000 Jews were killed and on the 24th [of] July, 3000 more men were assembled on the "Hauptwachplatz" and after their papers and valuables were taken from them, they were transported to a small fishing port near the Lighthouse at the entrance of the Port. They were all killed then and there. The Jewish population of the smaller surrounding towns like Grobin, Hasenpot, etc. were all killed in their different small towns, and only a few were deported to Libau. The murderers took special satisfaction when they killed on Yom Kippur Day 50 old men and women. After complaints from Latvians living near the Lighthouse about the noise, the executions there were stopped.
      Soon another order was published saying that Jews were not to leave their homes on the 15th and 16th [of] December. They were then told by Latvians to dress warmly as they were about to be sent to work in distant places. The truth was they did not go far, only 7 kilometres, to Shkeden, and there on the beach another 3000 Jews were massacred. It was later reported that some of the killers could not bear any more the sight of these bestialities and literally went crazy. The German Commissar named Laze heard about these massacres and asked Berlin either to stop these or change the means of exterminations. He argued that the killings were disrupting his plans for the work the Jews were carrying out for the German Army. The laconic reply he received from Berlin was "economic considerations are not to be taken into account in solving that problem."
      Another 375 Jews were killed on 12.2.42 [February 12, 1942] and by the end of June 1942 the Ghetto of Libau was founded. On the 1st of July the Ghetto was entirely cut off from the remaining population, and in the Ghetto, 816 people including 175 males were settled. Eleven houses were prepared for the inmates, and the preparation of the buildings, etc. was made by Jews especially selected for their good physical condition. In spite of overcrowding in the Ghetto houses, the inmates led an orderly life which was mostly due to the devotion of Mr. Israelit, a senior Jewish functionary in the town, who was assisted by Mr. Kagansky, the lawyer. Life as such in the Ghetto, with a small synagogue, a library and a small ambulatory clinic was not too difficult. The German Commander named Kretscher was rather an exception between the thousands of German officers, and treated the Jews relatively humanely. The Ghetto existed 18 months and was dismantled on the 18th of October 1943, when all were packed into railway cattle cars and transported to the "Kaiserwald" Camp near Riga. Of those who were sent there, 360 people were sent to the Auschwitz Crematorium. From the "Kaiserwald" Camp many were also sent to the "Riga-Reichsbahn," "A.E.G." and other camps in and around Riga. With the Russians approaching Riga, most of the Libauers were evacuated to Germany through Danzig and Stutthof, and were dispersed between the camps in Germany itself.
      When Libau was liberated, 40 living Jews were found out of the 9000 who had lived there until 1941."

      B. Libau Revisited, by Raya Westermann-Mazin
      "My first visit to Libau was in 1945, less than 2 months after the end of the war. At that time it was a closed city and the special laissez- passer had been difficult to obtain. I found eleven Jews in town, who had survived by miracles. After having dug up all the details available about the destruction of my family and friends, I listened for long hours to their stories, to the whole chronicle of the past 4 years, enveloped and absorbed in a nightmare in a nightmare for which there were hardly any adequate words in any human language. When I left I was sure that this was for good.
      In 1961 I came with my family from Odessa to Riga for a summer vacation. It was good to meet old friends, to enjoy the cool Baltic summer, to bathe in the sea and to linger in the white sand of the Riga Bay under the high fir trees. What suddenly made me lose my piece of mind was the last news about Libau: the city had been declared open by the Soviet authorities, with no need for a laissez-passer any more. Even Shkeden, the place in the "Kriegshafen" where the "Aktionen" had taken place, was open territory now; the centres of gravity of the naval port had evidently been moved elsewhere. Human bones had been found in the area of 8 kilometres where the shooting had taken place. The mass graves had been so close to the beach that the sea, penetrating the shallow sands, had washed them up to the surface. The authorities had permitted the Jewish community to take the bones to the cemetery and to bury them. There had been a memorial service, a gravestone had been put up.
      The plane which took me to Libau in 45 minutes hardly deserved the proud definition of an aircraft. It was a primitive little thing, not soundproofed, which held 15-20 passengers who sat lulled and dulled by the deafening noise of the engine. It had been raining and the plane was bumping up and down from one cloud to the other. Only at noon when we landed the sun broke through.
      Libau had changed. Sixteen years ago the whole centre and the adjoining streets had been a vast heap of ruins with mutilated skeletons of houses sticking out here and there, the grass sprouting out of the dust which had cemented the stones in the four years of the war. I had felt shaken then but I had not felt stranger. It still had seemed a part of myself - this beautiful, small Baltic town. That it looked victimised, violated and ruined was an integral part of the tragedy which had happened to it and to me.
      This time, venturing out into the city of my hotel at the Rosenplatz, I felt like a tourist in a strange town. The roses on the square, all shades from white to pink to purple, looked as lush and well groomed on their long stems as before, but now there were some renovated buildings and Russian-style cafeterias around the square. New modern houses were making up a new Weidenstrasse and part of the Kornstrasse which had been destroyed, but these were completely new streets, awakening no memories whatsoever. The names of the streets had been changed, the signs were in Latvian and Russian. There were many uniforms, mostly naval.
      "You go straight down the Ulichstrasse till the entrance to the "Fisherhafen," I had been advised by old Libau friends. The street had not changed. Although it looked much smaller and narrower than in my memories, the wide branches of the old lime and acorn trees still cast the same deep shadow over the sidewalk, with the breeze rustling lightly in their ample foliage. The entrance to the "Fisherhafen" was changed: some new stone houses had been put up. The plaque I had come to see was on one of the walls. There was an inscription in Latvian and in Russian: "To the victims of Fascism" killed during the German occupation. One cannot put flowers on a wall, so I put mine down on the ground - to my father and to all the others.
      It was already rather late in the afternoon but there might still have been time to drive down to the cemetery. Only...I didn't feel like it. Nobody I had come to visit here had been quietly put to rest in that peaceful place. Then, all of a sudden, I knew where I really wanted to go.
      To admit the truth, I have no recollections whatsoever of the 8 or 10 kilometres' drive from Libau to Shkeden on that summer day of 1961. Never during all the coming years would even a single memory surface or a single vision arise of the surrounding landscape. The taxi might have been speeding through a vacuum as far as I was concerned. The last thing which stuck in my memory was hiring it at the stop near the Central Market Place where I had bought a huge bunch of red roses. The driver was a Russian and I had felt relieved that he was not a Latvian. "This is a long drive," he said giving me a strange side-glance as I slipped into the seat beside him. But he didn't ask any questions and we drove in silence.
      It was a sunny day but I didn't feel it. In my mind I was in snow and cold and winter, back to all I had been told of this last journey - the death march of the Jews of Libau. This way they had gone in buses in December 1941, and in sledges and carts or more primitive vehicles in February 1942. As many times before I tried to imagine what my mother must have thought and felt, or my aunts, or my friends or other people I had known. I don't think I even came close to it, but there was no getting away from it, neither from the stories I had heard, nor from the photographs I had seen in Libau in 1945, fresh from the lab, pictures of people on the snow, stripped naked, in the background the Latvian "aizsargi" with their rifles, the earflaps of their caps down, and the collars of their uniforms up against the biting cold...
      The driver had stopped the car. "Well...?" he said turning to me, "That's as far as we can go." "Leave your taximeter on," I replied getting out of the car.
      The vast terrain was unbelievably quiet. One could hear the humming of the insects flitting by in the sun, or a sudden shriek of a seagull from the nearby sea. There was only a very light breeze, the blue surface was scarcely rippled by tiny waves, only far away there were a few white crests. A couple of old wooden watchtowers showed that this had been maritime border region some time ago. The dunes were very low and when I turned away inland from the sea they stopped altogether. The ground was sand everywhere, only a few clusters of sharp grey-greenish sea grass were growing here and there.
      I saw the obelisk from afar. It was a simple unspectacular four-edged cone of white limestone. When I came up to it, I read the stereotyped inscription in Russian and Latvian dedicated to the "Victims of Fascism" during the war. This time there was a number of the people killed. I don't remember it exactly but it was unbelievably high. There had never been so many Jews in the whole Baltic states. I had, however, heard that Eichmann's twisted bookkeeping had brought the Hungarian Jews to die on this sandy beach, and probably there had also been others. The word "Jew" was mentioned nowhere on any inscription. By now, however, I was used to this sort of Soviet post-mortem discrimination.
      As I had done the day before, I here, too, put down my roses and resumed my wandering. There were many empty cartridge cases of different calibre's on the ground. I bent down to look at them but I did not pick them up. Then I found the bone. It was an ulna, one of the two bones connecting the wrist with the elbow. It looked very dry and frail, it was small, that of a child probably not older than ten or twelve years. I don't know why I saw a little girl before me, it could as well have been a little boy. I took it back to the obelisk and started to dig a hole in the ground having no other instruments than my bare ten fingers. As I could not find a stone on the sandy ground I put some roses on the tiny grave and rose to my feet.
      It was a long walk back to the car. If the town had looked much smaller in comparison to what I had remembered, this sandy plain felt vast and endless and larger than life.
      A few hours later I was on my way back. Strapped to my seat in the same little bee of a plane I looked down at the city vanishing quickly beneath the wings. There was no regret or nostalgia that this was, I knew, the last time I would be seeing it.

      C. Witness for the Prosecution, by Arnold Engel
      "I waited a long time for this day. I thought the day would never come. The room in the new hotel - Intercontinental in Hanover - was spacious, warm and well lit. I got up early on this Friday, April 3rd, 1970, shaved and gave a look at my watch.
      It was 7:30 in the morning. One more hour. One more hour and I will face him. Will I recognise him? Will I be able to look into his eyes? I opened the curtain and looked outside. The new, modern television tower looked yellowish, as the sun was rising, and the light snow from the night before was starting to melt.
      I had a cup of coffee and hailed a taxi-cab: "Zum Landesgericht bitte."
      It was a ten minute ride. A police car rushed by blowing its horn, which sounded exactly as the Gestapo horns: pipi-pipi-pipi-pipi, the same sound of the police van which picked up Anna Frank and millions of others.
      The guard on duty at the court house directed me to the court room. It was early. I and "his" attorney were first. The court session was called for 8:30. Two minutes before, they started to come. One by one, in groups of three or four.
      Then I saw him. I recognised him at once. How could I have ever thought that I would not remember him? Aged, but still tall, slim, blondish and his trade-mark: cool, murderish, motionless eyes.
      The court clerk called to order. The judges entered. The jury looked bored. The defenders looked somewhat nervous, the defendant tried to remember if he ever saw me. He whispered something to his lawyer. Everything became quiet in the court room No. 127.
      Who is this man? It was said that he was once so powerful, that he helped to wipe out a whole town, he killed Children, shot hundreds of old people, young people, men, women, Jews and others all in one day, and managed to wash his bloody hands, have a few drinks and spend that evening joking or dancing, playing games or reading a newspaper - as if nothing had happened that day.
      After stating my name, address and birthday I was asked by one of the judges:
      "Mr. Engel, do you recognise any of these gentlemen?"
      "I do, sir."
      "Please point out, whom do you recognise?"
      "Him, Erich Handke."
      "Please tell us what do you know about Erich Handke?"
      For twenty-nine years I had dreamed about having the opportunity to testify against this brutal man - Handke. I knew that he was alive somewhere in Germany. One week after Hitler attacked the USSR, the Wehrmacht entered our small town of Libau on the Baltic Sea. Close to 9,000 Jews lived in Libau before the war - out of a population of 56,000.
      Libau had a rich Jewish community with two noted synagogues, a Jewish trade school, a Yeshiva, a Jewish private school, high school and a Jewish sports stadium, a yacht club and all the usual organisations, including the known sport club "Maccabi"." There were very few real rich Jews, but also very few were poor. Always a shipping and trading city plus its location at the white sandy Baltic seacoast, the city did its share of progress in tourism, in export and in import.
      Soon after the Wehrmacht, the Gestapo arrived, under leadership of SS-Obersturmfuehrer Dr. Fritz Dietrich, SD-leader Wolfgang Kigler, and Erich Handke who seemed to be in charge of everything, but mainly to solve the Jewish question.
      The first mass destruction of the Libau Jews took place on the hot summer day of July 27, 1941. The Jews were ordered to appear on the Hauptwachplatz. Known as ever law-abiding, the Jews obeyed the orders. At the square they had to stay at attention. Many were beaten up and had to undergo terrible treatment by the SS-men.
      Erich Handke was on the warpath. Kicking, shouting and slapping, he ordered hundreds of Jews to be thrown on ready brought trucks. As the number of Jews present diminished, he noticed a tall handsome, grey- haired gentleman, who was none other than Dr. Schwab, a well known local physician. Handke killed him in a brutal manner; this murder was witnessed by the hundreds of Jews who were still standing at attention on the square, where I used to come as a child and watch the fire engines being cleaned. During that day, on a hot July, over three thousand Jews were executed near the lighthouse in the vicinity of the sandy beach, where people used to bathe.
      Handke did not stop here. He was everywhere. Almost daily he would appear somewhere. Wait for them with their yellow rag, marked Jews marching from work, tired from their slave labour, hungry from not eating - and with a "blitz" he would start to attack.
      It would take up this and many more journals to describe all the "heroic deeds" of this bloodthirsty murderer. When a day passed by and he did not destroy a human life, he would order one of his Jewish slaves to find some pigeons and bring them to him in a hurry. Once they brought him the pigeons, he would take them, one by one and squeeze their heads off, by placing the birds between the door of his office and pulling the door shut.
      By 1942, one year later, there were only 800 Jews alive. A Ghetto was created and the 800 moved into it on the 1st of July, 1942. The Libau Ghetto was liquidated on the 6th of October, Yom Kippur day, and the inmates were sent to the Kaiserwald near Riga concentration camp, and when the number dwindled to less than 500 they were sent to the Stutthof death camp near Danzig.
      Today, there are less than 80 Jews who survived the war, the camps and Handke. Many do not have the strength to testify against the Scharfuehrer (Staff Sergeant) Erich Handke, born 10 November, 1914 (SS #371241) in Lisa, Germany; many do not recall the exact dates, locations or even if Dr. Schwab was attacked at the Firemen's Square or in the women's jail (where the Jews were once more screened before being sent to their death). The German court at Hanover tried their best to have Erich Handke with his eight other cohorts convicted, they have travelled to the USA and Israel, and were permitted to interview survivors now residing in the USSr.
      But, because of the time elapsed, the reasons I gave before, Erich Handke may be walking the streets a free man at Tailfingen. I do not regret that I went to Hanover, that I once more faced this mass-murderer Handke. I am glad, that I was able to be a witness for the prosecution."

      PHOTO:
      1. I have on file a photo of Lena (Kramer) Herzenberg and her descendants taken circa 1927 from Ron Lapid per his email dated 3 Aug 2010 . (Ron's ancestor was the sister to Lydia Raivid and he is not of direct Herzenberg descendancy). The photo is originally from Gail J. Herzenberg and apparently is the same one Peter Bruce Herzenberg references in his notes from Gail. Names are penciled in by Ron after his analysis and in corroboration with Gail. I have a copy of the photo on file. Ron notes: After studying the photo and estimating the ages, I concluded that this photo was taken about 1927 and not 1920 as previously thought. (Lina is in the photo, who died 27 Nov 1929 - but Lydia, who died 8 Sep 1926 is not there.). He also makes the sober comment that everyone in the photo dies in the Holocaust except Tauby who is still alive. Included in the photo are:
      -Lena (at an advanced age).
      -Lena's sons (missing Max Mordechai and Edward):
      -Adolf (Avraham) with no wife but with adult son Leon standing behind Adolf resting a hand on Adolf's shoulder. Leon's name is an error and the son is confirmed by Gail as her father Willy Gabriel.
      -Willy Gabriel, wife Sarah Hellman, dau. Frieda, sons Eliezer, Joseph, Zvi (Harry).
      -Joseph Jacov, wife Rachel Freudberg, children Klara, Taube, Nichole, Bernie, Judith; son Willy is missing from photo.
      -Lena's daughter Sarah Levenstein (seated) and unidentified girl standing behind her with resting an arm on Sarah's shoulder who could be Sarah's daughter Hinda. No husband shown (deceased?) for Sarah. Both seem to be wearing black in the photo (perhaps a sign of mourning?).
      -One unidentified adult male sitting on Lena's immediate left (Adolphe sitting in same position on opposite side of Lena). By looks, he appears same age as other brothers. Could this be Max Mordechai (without his wife and Children) or even Edward (on a visit back from the US)?