“Do you look up at the stars every night and think of me. To this day I have done that every evening [...]”

Henriette Arndt to E. Heilbut

Henriette Arndt to E. Heilbut front side

Henriette Arndt

worked as a teacher in Hamburg for many years. After the National Socialist party seized power in 1933, she was no longer allowed to practice within her profession; she was considered to be Jewish. Her living situation in Hamburg became more and more difficult under the increasing persecution. She decided to emigrate to England but Hamburg authorities rejected this.

On 25th October 1941 Hamburg police officers brought 49-year-old Henriette Arndt to the Hannoverscher Bahnhof. There she had to board a train to the Litzmannstadt Ghetto.

From there, she wrote postcards to be in touch with her friend Charlotte Beug. They were former colleagues, lived with each other for a time and also went on vacations together. However, some cards never reached Hamburg and stayed in the ghetto's post office. The reasons were very strict postal regulations. Reading Henriette’s postcards, the two women had an intimate relationship. Both never saw each other again. German SS members murdered Henriette Arndt in May 1942 at Kulmhof extermination camp.


Henriette Arndt to E. Heilbut reverse side

Postcard transcription:

Henriette Arndt
Litzmannstadt Ghetto
Mühlgasse 25 Room 2

Mrs. E. Heilbut
Hamburg 21
Fährstr. 29

My dear Lotti,

Thank you for your lovely letter on 30.11. I’m very sad that you are ill and I ask you to take good care of yourself. Remember the promise we made to each other when we said goodbye. Do you look up at the stars every night and think of me. To this day I have done that every evening at nine o’clock. I am always with you in my thoughts and that remains the case. Get an advent wreath and light it with good friends. Männe writes that he has to beg us for a lot. They sent me 30 RM today. I still do not have a job. I give young girls, who are nearing the end of their schooling, a few German lessons. That doesn’t bring much money in. They can only pay me a little bit. Speak with Dr Bacher about my pension and also about my bank account. When you are healthy, please could you get a certificate from Dr Jonas for me.

Kisses from,

D. 5.12.41

*For the benefit of readability, amendments were made in transcription

Further research options:

TikTok video: The last postcard of Henriette Arndt
Stolperstein initiative: https://www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de
Further research tool: https://collections.arolsen-archives.org/