Born on 20th February 1894, Marie Helene Margarethe Batzke, know as Greta, in Straiipitz. She was not Jewish but Evangelical (Protestant). She became Hermann’s second wife in 1930, she was a professional photographer, his first marriage was a rash and unhappy one to Luba Lowinski in January 1926, they divorced in April 1928, a Jew, and as far as I can work out was from a Zionist background, but I have no other real information. If anyone reading this has any information, photographs etc. to add it would be of great interest in building a more complete picture.
Hermann Fechenbach wrote of his hopes to move to Palestine, "My wife and I also had certain plans to emigrate, and had already registered to go to Palestine in 1936. Since I was a 70% disabled war veteran and also could not raise the necessary capital funds, I continued to wait in hope for my certificate to arrive. Even a three month trip in February 1938 to Palestine could not accelerate the emigration process, although everyone appeared ready to help out and gave us the good advice simply to remain illegally in Palestine. Since we had too many responsibilities to leave behind, we returned home in the middle of May. On the ship we made the acquaintance of an English Quaker lady, who gave us her address so that we could call on her in any emergency for help when required." This chance meeting on their return to Germany was to prove a lucky one as it paved the way for Greta, and later Hermann, to escape to England.
One of the many photos taken by Greta (February to May 1938)
This is one of Greta's photographs taken between February and May 1938, it shows the city of Haifa in northern Israel (then Palestine). After the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel on 14 May 1948, Haifa became the gateway for Jewish immigration into Israel.