Natan Schoenberg

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Natan and his family were some of the members of our family that lived at ul. Marszalkowska 101, right in the centre of Warsaw; almost none of those living in those luxury apartments survived the war.

A grand uncle of mine, Natan Schoenberg[1.202] lived in the middle of Warsaw, right in front of the main railway station. His address was ul. Marszalkowska 101; this was a building called "Willa Marconiego" built in the XIX century that contained luxury apartments and shops; several other members of the Schoenberg - Skowronek family lived in the same building or had at some time their address. Natan was married to Ryta Przepiorki[1.203] and had two sons: Khone[1.204], who died before WWII began, and Lusio[1.205], who was a student seemingly at the University of Warsaw and died in 1941. Based on the date of birth of his wife (1890) it is reasonable to assume that he was born about the same time, so he would have been in his early fifties in 1940; the same goes for his death, which would have taken place around 1942.

One of the last phone books from before the war states that the number 6 16 93 corresponds to Nuta or Natan Szajnberg (which is Schoenberg); the address given is ul. Rynkowa 3, which exists in Ursus, then a suburb located on the south west of Warsaw and now part of the city. This address corresponds to a packaging plant of unstated dimensions - could be a relatively small wholesale shop or a fairly big business - where tea, cocoa, coffee and similar products where fractioned and packed.

Alive at the time were two Natan Schoenbergs, related to one another, but in my view, the owner of the packaging business was this Natan from ul. Marszalkowska for various reasons.

One of them is that while Ursus is relatively far away from the centre of Warsaw, it was easily reachable by train or by going along Al. Jerosolimskie, which crosses ul. Marszalkowska right at number 101 - Willa Marconiego was located at what is arguably the top corner of the city.

Then, while I don't know yet about the wealth of the other Natan Schoenberg, it is fairly certain that this Natan lived pretty well and was close to the banking business of the family: Abraham Skowronek, one of the bank owners of our family, also lived for a while at ul. Marszalkowska 101, so at any rate these were pretty costly apartments because while trying to be discrete in general, Jewish bankers went to great lengths to keep an image of solvency in order to show with their acts that that they were not "cheap" in any way. Thus, they were the kind of luxury things that the owner of a really prosperous business could only afford, ad the fact that the packaging plant had a telephone at that time means that business should have been good indeed.

Willa Marconiego was bombed during September 1939 and partially damaged but it survived the conflict despite that all other three corners of the intersection between ul. Marszalkowska and Al. Jerosolimskie were completely destroyed; however, Willa Marconiego was demolished around 1950 to make way to an expansion of ul. Marszalkowska.

Naturally, as Natan and his family were Jews they were sent to the ghetto; we do not know the exact date but in general, wealthy Jews were sent in or killed the latest, as the real goals of the Nazi leaders were not ideological but to plunder and rob the rich and they needed to extract from them the relevant information. The Nazi thugs of lower ranks, of course, were keen on carrying out the killing business and for them it was probably more important to destroy and cause pain than getting to the gold, but this means that before being assassinated, Natan and his family would have been stripped out of everything, including his business. It was common that industries confiscated to Jews were later given to German entrepreneurs. What happened then with the tea packing business is still unknown to us.

Wartime accounts describe some crimes committed by the Nazis in the area, such as executions and one occasion in which an SS member drowned a child in a sewer, as well as heavy combats in the area during the 1944 Warsaw uprising. Only one nearby building survives to these days: the Hotel Polonia, still open to business. The other reminiscence of the pre-war period is the tramway stop right in front of the spot now empty, where once Willa Marconiego existed. Nevertheless, a new central railway station - Warszawa Centralna - exists nearby, as well as the Centrum subway station, turning the intersection into one of the most active areas of the city these days.

The owners and former occupants of Willa Marconiego, like Natan, were even less lucky: Neither him nor his wife or son survived the war, and witnesses reported that at least two other members of the family, Frederick Skowronek and one of his daughters were shot right across the street in 1944, possibly after having escaped from the Warsaw ghetto (see Yad Vashem Pages of Testimony and Kamienica Banku Handlowego at ul. Ceglana 10 - and after being found hiding in their former home by the Nazis.

ul. Marszalkowska 101, where Natan Schoenberg and his family lived.
Ul. Marszalkowska 101, where Natan Schoenberg and his family lived, now an empty spot[94.41].

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