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Simon and Mali Margulies: a Failed Flight

Simon Margulies and his daughter Mali belonged to a group within the Jewish community, which had to experience the whole brutality and contempt for mankind of the Nazi regime first: They originated from Poland and were no German citizens. Their police files tell the depressing story of their struggle for survival in a system which wanted to get rid of them first by deportation and finally by murder.

The salesman Simon Margulies was born February 18, 1887 in the Galician town of Korczyna. He lived in Germany since 1907 and operated a small shop together with his wife. The Margulies had five children: Leopold, Mali, Sigmund, Raphael and Mina. Although all of them were born in Nuremberg, they never were naturalized despite of their efforts, but remained Polish citizens.


Mali Margulies Simon Margulies

Mali Margulies (left) and Simon Margulies (right)

Simon Margulies legs were amputated because he was involved in a train accident in 1916. From then on his wife Sali had to run the family's shop at Kernstrasse supported by her relatives. When Sali died in 1932 Simon Margulies not only lost his wife but his only income, too. Since her adult brothers and sisters did not live in Nuremberg, Simon's oldest daughter Mali took care of her disabled father. The adult children financed the household of their father and sister.

Mali Margulies was born June 24, 1914 in Nuremberg. She lived in the parental household and attended on her disabled father after the death of the mother.

October 28, 1938 all Polish nationals who lived in the German Reich were deported to the German-Polish border. This measure aimed at Jews who had immigrated to Germany from Galicia during the first two decades of the century. Being born and raised in Germany most of them considered themselves as Germans, but they were refused German citizenship.

In Nuremberg also the Jews with Polish citizenship were arrested in order to be deported. Infamously they had to pay for the train ride to the border.

Simon and Mali Margulies were not arrested since they had no valid passport at the time the action took place. As the pencil note of the police officer Geng on the document shows, the handicap of the salesman also influenced this decision. It says in English: "Disabled, both legs amputated, can only move in a wheel chair"


Warrant of arrest against Simon Margulies of October 28, 1938

Warrant of arrest against Simon Margulies of October 28, 1938 (NCA C 31/III no.)

After father and daughter were allowed by the German authorities to stay in Germany until their emigration Simon and Mali tried hard to get immigration permits for England to join the rest of the family there. In the summer of 1939 the German Jewish Aid Committee in Manchester assured Mali and Simon Margulies of the approval of their applications in the near future. The German armed forces attacked Poland September 1, 1939. Great Britain's declaration of war to Germany destroyed their escape plans.


Letter of the German Jewish Aid Committee in Manchester to Simon Margulies dated July 4, 1939

Letter of the German Jewish Aid Committee in Manchester
to Simon Margulies dated July 4, 1939 (NCA C 31/III no. 149/3425)

Remarks in their police records indicate to the fact that even after the outbreak of war Simon and Mali Margulies tried to get out of Nazi Germany. But no country was willing to accept an old handicapped man and his daughter. Twice a year Mali had to typewrite an application for the prolongation of the her an her father's residence permit. Today's reader is shattered that she thought the Nazis could be touched by her statement "da ich in Nuernberg geboren bin" (because I was born in Nuremberg). In 1941 the executors of the racist Nazi ideology no longer thought of expulsion but mass murder.

The last application of January 14, 1942 Mali had to handwrite since Jews in Germany were not longer allowed to own a typewriter. One and a half months prior to this date the first train of deportation had left Nuremberg for the concentration camp Riga-Jungfernhof in Latvia.


Mali's application for the prolongation of her residence permit

Mali's application for the prolongation of her residence permit (NCA C 31/III no. 149/3424)

Simon and Mali Margulies were deported to Krasniczyn in the eastern Polish district of Lublin in April 1942. Both were killed there or in one of the nearby extermination camps.

The picture shows the last entries in Mali Margulies' police record. German bureaucracy filed the inhuman crime by using the partially pre-stamped cynical wording "nach dem Osten verschubt" (transferred to the east).


Final notes about the

Final notes about the "transfer" of Mali Margulies (NCA C 31/III no. 149/3424)


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