Salinenstraße 40 (1916-1935)/ Theresienstraße (1935)/ Badgase 2 (1935-1939)/ Zwingergasse 5 (1939-1940)
September 1940 denounced and arrested for “causing public annoyance”
November 1940 deported to Ravensbrück
Klara Scher was born in Swienzani near Wilna/ Vilnius in Lithuania (which belonged to the realm of the Russian Czar then) on November 13, 1894. Her father Noah worked as a fisherman there. In 1899, he decided to move to Würzburg with his family in order to earn his living as a tradesman at markets and fairs. In 1903, the Schers opened a seasonal business for batch goods in Bad Kissingen. During the summer, they lived in Bad Kissingen, in the winter they stayed in Würzburg until they moved to Kissingen for good in 1916. As Jews from Eastern Europe they had a special status in the Jewish community of Bad Kissingen. In 1930, Klara Scher’s mother died and Klara and her father ran the shop from that time until their license was annulled in 1935.
After her father had died in 1935, Klara Scher tried to earn her living, by working in Jewish households and spa establishments. When her financial situation was extremely bad in the winters, she sold parts of the leftovers of her former business in order to buy food and fuel or pay for the rent. When Klara Scher offered several things on the Kissingen market in March 1936, she was forced by passers-by – citizens of Bad Kissingen – to clear her stall and leave the market. In the following years, Klara Scher depended on help from the Jewish Community to be able to survive.
August 14, 1940 was to change Klara Scher’s life dramatically. When she passed a newspaper box in Erhardstrasse in which the “Stürmer”(most famous and extremely aggressive Nazi paper) was publicly displayed, she became aware of a text of the Jewish author Stefan Zweig which intensely appealed to her. In the excerpt of Zweig’s drama “Jeremias” that describes the persecution of the Jews in the course of centuries she recognized her own situation in Nazi-Germany: “We are wandering through peoples, we are wandering through times,/ Along never-ending streets of misery,/ Eternally we are the externally defeated, (…) No brothers and sisters anywhere and agreeable to no one.(…)” As she had a piece of paper and a pen with her, she copied the text. When passers-by saw that, they got angry because a Jewish woman was standing in front of the “Stürmer” box and demanded of her she should leave at once. Klara Scher ignored their demand and continued copying the text by Zweig. Because of that the passers-by, among them Kissingen party-members (of the NSDAP), reported Klara Scher to the local group leader of NSDAP. He passed on the report to the Kissingen police and requested “a reprimand of the Scher” … “in order to prevent her from molesting the members of his local group (…) any longer”.
As a consequence of the report of the local group leader Metz, Klara Scher was interrogated by “Kriminaloberassistent” Glücker. She insisted on the legality of her conduct as the ““Stürmer” box had been mounted for everybody”. In the opinion of the policeman, there were not any rights for Jews in Germany. In his minutes, he defamed Klara Scher as “a very naughty Jewish shrew”. Because of her “ragged clothes”, Glücker argued, “she had been conspicuous before and, therefore, satisfyingly known to all Kissingen citizens”. There was no doubt “that the sheer appearance of the Scher at a place that - like the “Stürmer” box -served the purpose of highlighting the disgraceful deeds of the Jews and warning against them”…“roused public annoyance”. As a consequence, Würzburg Gestapo asked Kissingen “Landratsamt” (district administration) on September 9 to arrest Klara Scher and search her place for documents that could “serve atrocious purposes”. After her room had been searched, Klara Scher was delivered into the court prison of Bad Kissingen. On October 4, 1940, she was taken to the prison in Würzburg and interrogated by Gestapo four days later.
At the end of October, Würzburg Gestapo applied to Reichssicherheitshauptamt (Reich Security Main Office) in Berlin to order “Schutzhaft” (protective custody) for Klara Scher and send her “to a concentration camp for a longer period of time” as she “roused public annoyance everywhere because of her unwillingness to work, her dirty, insolent and Eastern Jewish appearance”. According to the public health officer’s expertise, she was “fit for imprisonment, camps, transport and not so had labor”. Actually, Klara Scher was critically ill of diabetes and had a heart disease. In the middle of November 1940, she was sent from Würzburg’s Gestapo prison to Ravensbrück Concentration Camp. Ravensbrück Concentration Camp had been established by the National Socialists as a concentration camp especially for women.
On March 2, 1942, the commander of the concentration camp informed the Gestapo in Würzburg that “the Jew Klara Scher who was imprisoned there since November 30, 1940 had died on February 28, 1942 from heart failure during Coma diabeticum”. Her sister Anna Barditschewski in Strasbourg “was to be notified of the death of ‘the Scher’ and of the fact that the corpse would be incinerated on the public’s dime”. This announcement blurred the actual circumstances of Klara Scher’s death. The truth is that she was one of the roughly 1,600 female prisoners who had been deported in about 10 transports to Bernburg/ Saale since the beginning of 1942 and murdered there. At the age of only 48 years, Klara Scher died in the gas chamber there, her remains were incinerated. Nothing was to be left to indicate the real reason of her death.
leicht verändert übernommen aus: Hans-Jürgen Beck, Jüdisches Leben in Bad Kissingen, ein didaktisches Konzept für Ausstellung und Exkursion; die Zitate stammen aus Sta Wü, Gestapo 12 166
Gedenkbuch Bundesarchiv Koblenz
Yad Vashem Zentrale Datenbank…
Meldeunterlagen Stadt Bad Kissingen
Sta Wü Gestapo 12166
© Bayerisches Staatsarchiv Würzburg, Gestapo 12166