Erich Tobias and Maria Langendonk

Erich Tobias was a tailor from the Ruhr district. He fled with his non-jewish wife Maria Langendonk to Limburg. From the Dutch labor camp Overbroek he was taken to Westerbork and deported direction Auschwitz in October 1942. Again he was selected for labor and ended up in the camp of Wüstegiersdorf where he died after the liberation. Maria passed away in Limburg in 1953.

Erich Tobias was a tailor and married a non-Jewish woman named Maria Johanna Langendonk of Herne in 1922. They lived in Recklinghausen for a few years, but moved to Essen in 1927 after Erich’s business failed. He re-opened a new shop in Essen.

In 1937, the Gestapo accused Erich and Maria of “Rassenschande” – sexual relations between Jews and non-Jews were prohibited since 1935 and called “race-shame.” The ex-husband of Maria’s sister had told the police that a Jewish customer of Erich, Gustav Salomon, and his Aryan girl-friend Else sometimes had spent the night at their apartment and the two couples even changed partners. Both Maria’s sister as well as Erich and Maria denied these allegations. Gustav Salomon and his girlfriend obviously emigrated to the Netherlands before the bill of “race-shame” became law in 1935. Maria’s ex-brother-in-law could not prove his assertion and so the lawsuit was abandoned.

During the interrogation, Maria had told the officers that she converted to Jewish faith. This was a very dangerous statement, because now she was exposed to the same persecution like her husband and she couldn’t protect him anymore. They decided to emigrate to the Netherlands as well.

Erich went to Den Haag first. Maria was arrested for helping her husband to cheat his suppliers in 1938, but was released after a while. She followed Erich to Den Haag and both of them were expatriated. Later they moved to Maastricht where Erich was registered as a member of the Jewish community.

In 1940, after the German occupation of the Netherlands, they applied for passports to flee once more. But the German authorities denied issuing the papers because they were not considered German citizens anymore.

Erich was interned at the dutch labor camp Overbroek. In 1942 he was taken to Westerbork and on October 23, 1942 deported direction Auschwitz. At Kozle, one train stop before Auschwitz, he was again selected for labor. At the end of the war he was in Wüstegiersdorf, a satellite camp of Groß-Rosen, Silesia, where he died on May 27, 1945, three weeks after the liberation. We don’t know how his wife Maria survived, but she is buried in Elsloo, Netherlands, where she died on May 18, 1953.

Here you find the story of Erich's family: