Stolpersteine Lengerich

Researching the lives of fellow citizens Leonore Kaufmann and Albert Abrahamson from Lengerich provides insights into the harrowing details of their lives and how they were murdered.

Life of

Born in Lengerich/Westphalia
on 13 December 1902



Elementary school, then private girls’ school


Municipal Lyceum, Osnabrück


Girls’ grammar school, Stuttgart


Annette von Droste-Hülshoff School, Münster, with school-leaving certificate

Legal studies / Civil Service


Study of law in Münster and Freiburg

12 July 1929

First state examination in law, until

29 December 1929

Traineeship at the public prosecutor’s office, Hamm

1930 to 1931

Local and regional court, Münster, until

29 March 1932

Higher regional court, Hamm, until

12 May 1933

Training with judicial council Cohn in Münster

31 May 1933

Forced to forego second state examination

4 September 1933

As a Jew, dismissed from the civil service in line with the “Gesetz zur Wiederherstellung des Berufsbeamtentums” (Law for the Restoration of the Civil Service)

Parental home at Bahnhofstraße 17; collection, Fotohaus Kiepker


(Transcription of the handwritten resume) I was born on 13 Dec. 1902 to the businessman Salomon Kaufmann in Lengerich/Westphalia, where first I attended 4 years of elementary school and then 4 years at a private girls’ school. In Easter 1917, I joined the third class of the municipal lyceum in Osnabrück, where I obtained my school-leaving certificate in Easter 1920.

I then spent ¾ of a year at home, before going to a girls’ grammar school in Stuttgart, which I had to leave after 2¼ years in January 1923 due to financial difficulties caused by inflation. From January 1923, I attended the Annette von Droste-Hülshoff School in Münster, which I could reach daily from my parents’ home. I obtained my school-leaving certificate In Münster in February 1924.

I then devoted myself to the study of law and political science at the universities of Münster and Freiburg from the summer term of 1924 until the winter term of 1927. For more details about the course of studies there, please see the enclosed document. Since the winter term of 1927, I have been preparing for my exams.

Leonore Kaufmann

Letter from Leonore Kaufmann
to her brother, read by Marlene Alich,
pupil at the Hannah Arendt grammar
school, Lengerich

Fictional letter of Leonore from the sanatorium and nursing home in Bendorf-Sayn. Drawing and text: Marlene Alich, pupil at the Hannah Arendt grammar school, Lengerich, 2020

Precarious work and illness


Lady’s help in Werther, and later in Berlin

May 1938

Sanatorium and nursing home, Düsseldorf-Grafenberg; moves to brother Richard in Saarbrücken in autumn 1938

26 December 1938

Sanatorium and nursing home, Bendorf-Sayn

15 March 1939

Dr. Jacoby diagnoses schizophrenia

2 May 1939

Koblenz Hereditary Health Court decides on forced sterilization; Leonore lodges an objection

29 August 1939

Decision of the Koblenz Hereditary Health Court: forced sterilization is suspended Zwangssterilisation wird ausgesetzt


(Transcription of the patient’s file)

16 XIII 94/39. Decision. The Hereditary Health Court in Koblenz decided in its session of 2 May 1939: Leonore Sara Kaufmann, from Lengerich, Westphalia, born there on 13.12.1902, at present in Dr. Jacoby’s sanatorium and nursing home, is to be sterilized. Reasons: the health authority responsible in Koblenz has filed the application for sterilization. According to the expert opinion attached provided by the head of the institution, K. suffers from schizophrenia. The Hereditary Health Court made further inquiries, in particular consulting the medical records of the Grafenberg asylum and hearing the patient in person, as well as discussing the clinical picture in detail with the head of the institution. The patient herself described her delusions to the Hereditary Health Court. She tells of the voice that she hears and that has called out to her: “I am your God”. This voice still accompanies her. When the voice forbade her to do something, e.g. to say her name, she could not do it. This convinced her of the power of the voice. The voice also told her that she was a daughter of the house of David. At first she thought that the voice was that of Rabbi Nusbaum in Berlin. More details can be found in the hospital records of the Grafenberg asylum. If the diagnosis of schizophrenia could not be made with certainty during the first episode of the illness, there can be no doubt about the presence of schizophrenia after the further course of the illness, especially the new outbreak in December 1938. It is the paranoid form of this illness. The formal intellect is barely disturbed, so that K. can manage her property affairs well herself. In the experience of medical science, there is an acute danger in schizophrenia of passing the illness on to the offspring. Sterilization is therefore required according to the Law for the Prevention of Offspring with Hereditary Diseases.

Signed Arntz, signed Dr. Federhen, signed Dr. Kilb

Scan of a typed archival document.
Patient file of Leonore Kaufmann – Source: Koblenz state archives, holding 512,001, file no. 2568

Deportation and murder

15 June 1942

Deportation on transport DA 22/Koblenz – Cologne – Düsseldorf, to Sobibor concentration camp, where she was murdered

Brass-colored “Stolperstein” (stumbling block) for Leonore Kaufmann
Stolperstein for Leonore Kaufmann

“A person is only forgotten when the name is forgotten”.


Black and white photograph of a place with cars and bicycles
Parents’ house at Rathausplatz 11 – Source: Lengerich municipal archives

Life of

Born in Lengerich/Westphalia
on 11 March 1896

School and education Not yet known

Not yet known

26 May 1917

First World War, “slight wounds”


15 June 1932

Confinement in provincial sanatorium, Lengerich

Deportation and murder

17 September 1940

Transferred from Lengerich to the Wunstorf sanatorium and nursing home as part of Action T4 (the so-called “euthanasia programme”)

21 September 1940

Wunstorf sanatorium and nursing home, then deportation to Berlin-Buch sanatorium and nursing home (collection point for Jewish patients)

27 September 1940

Albert murdered in the T4 Brandenburg Euthanasia Centre
Scan of a typed archival document.
Transports 1940-1941; source: LWL archives, file 840-22
Transporte 1940 – 1941 – Quelle: LWL-Archivamt, Akte 840-22
Stolperstein for Albert Abrahamson
Four-storey brick building with barred windows; two entrances; in the front a fenced lawn
Brandenburg Euthanasia Centre; source: memorials, Brandenburg an der Havel

Method of murder

The patients are murdered immediately after their arrival in Brandenburg. Separated by gender, they have to undress. Then they are given a mark on the chest. Their personal details are checked. Finally, they are presented to a doctor, who invents a natural cause of death for the death certificate, photographed, and then taken to the gas chamber. A doctor feeds carbon monoxide into the room and watches the killing through a small window. After the killing is completed, SA or SS men remove the gold teeth from the corpses, and take the bodies to the incinerators.

From: 1940 T4-Brandenburg Euthanasia Centre, memorial to victims of euthanasia, SBG Website: / accessed: 12 October 2020

Hitler’s order from October 1939 on the “euthanasia” programme (backdated to 1 September 1939), with a handwritten note by Reich Justice Minister Gürtner. Philipp Bouhler was SS-Obergruppenführer and Chief of the Chancellery of the Führer (KdF).

Scan of a typed archival document with written comments and a seal.
Hitler’s order from October 1939 on the “euthanasia” programme

Cessation of Action T4

Joseph Goebbels’ diary, 31 January 1941:

“Discussed with Bouhler question of tacit liquidation of mentally ill. 40,000 are gone, 60,000 still to go. This is hard but also necessary work. And it must be done now. Bouhler is the right man to do it”.

Quoted from: Ralph Georg Reuth: Joseph Goebbels – Diaries, Volume 4, Munich 1998

Idea and text: Klaus Adam, Bernd Hammerschmidt
Photos and sources: Fotohaus Kiepker; North Rhine-Westphalia state archives, Münster; Marlene Alich, Hannah Arendt grammar school; Lengerich municipal archives; LWL archives; Brandenburg an der Havel memorials; memorial to the victims of the euthanasia programme, SBG website:; Joseph Goebbels – Diaries, Volume 4, Munich 1998; Wikipedia; Hitler’s order – in the public domain, Wikipedia Creative Commons CC0 Licence