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Dr. Wilhelm Blitz * 1876
Werderstraße 65 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)
DR. WILHELM BLITZ
FLUCHT 1938 ENGLAND
Wilhelm Blitz, born on 2.3.1876 in Leer/ East Frisia, 1938 imprisoned in Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp, 1938 escape to England, died there on 4.1.1940 as a result of imprisonment
In March 1939 Wilhelm Blitz sent the chronicle of the Blitz family to his son-in-law Herbert Paul Hochfeld with the words "... that he brought about my liberation from the concentration camp in November 1938 and took me into his home. May England become a new home for him and his descendants, may the ideas of freedom and human dignity keep away from them in the future the sufferings which were inflicted on us and our co-religionists in our former homeland by hatred, greed and cruel passions."
But let us look back at the family's lives: Wilhelm Blitz grew up with three older sisters Ida (1864 -died 1941 in Minsk), Annette (1868-1936) and Emma (1871-died 1942 in Theresienstadt) in Leer in East Frisia. Four other siblings died as infants. The two years older brother Adolf Eduard, did not survive World War I.
The father, Eduard Blitz, born in Wittmund in 1840, settled in Leer at an unknown time. There he was very active in the Jewish community and for many years as a teacher at the school there. Then he turned to business and founded the local consumer cooperative. He focused on offering high-quality clothing en masse at low prices, and was successful in doing so. No clues were found about the mother, Therese Thekla Blitz, née Eller.
For unknown reasons, the family decided to leave Leer around 1886. Hamburg became their new home. The family first settled in Hamburg-Neustadt, where the father ran a banking business. A few years later, they moved into a new apartment in the Grindelviertel, in Heinrich-Barth-Straße. The Blitz parents died in 1893 and 1914, respectively, and were buried in the Ilandkoppel Jewish Cemetery.
Wilhelm Blitz continued his school education, which had begun at the "Königliches Gymnasium Leer”, today's Ubbo-Emmius-Gymnasium, in Hamburg at the "Gelehrtenschule Johanneum”, from which he graduated. His subsequent law studies took him to the universities of Berlin and Greifswald, among others. At the turn of the century, he took his law examinations in Stettin (today Szczecin/Poland).
His legal clerkship took him to the Hamburg District Court in 1898, where he gained practical and theoretical experience in various fields of law. He completed his studies at the University of Greifswald in December 1898 with a doctorate on the subject of "Ueber die Ansprüche des Betrogenen aus dem Betruge beim Vertragsabschlusse".
His studies ended with his admission to the bar in Hamburg on July 31, 1901. Wilhelm Blitz began his professional career in the law office of Raphael Cohen, which was last located in Büschstraße/Neustadt.
Wilhelm Blitz also found happiness in his private life: He married Helene Heimann (1880-died 1950 in Sweden), born in Wandsbek, on March 16, 1903. She had grown up with three siblings in the banking family of Isaac from Hamburg and his wife Margaretha, née Levy, who came from Magdeburg: Helene's older sister Harriet (1878 - died 1941 in Riga-Jungfernhof , see www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de), was married to the pharmacist Joseph Peyser (1866-1931); her brother Hans-Siegbert, four years younger, who met an early death in 1915 in World War I, and Betty Heimann, born in 1888, about whom no further traces were found.
The Blitz couple had four children: Thea Elisabeth (1905 - died 1975 England), Hans Egon (1906 - died 1959 USA), Edith Margarethe (1907) and Eduard Edgar (1910 - died 1988 Sweden). Initially, the family lived in Rothenbaumchaussee until the mid-1910s, when they moved into their own apartment building at Werderstraße 65/Harvestehude.
After the death of Raphael Cohen, Wilhelm Blitz continued the firm. Daughter Thea also studied law, initially at the University of Hamburg, where she took her law exams. She completed the winter semester 1924/1925 at the University of Freiburg, where she possibly met her future husband Herbert Paul Hochfeld (1903 Lemgo - died 1990 England). He had given up his studies, which he had begun in 1922, for a short time in 1924 in order to earn money, and continued them in 1925.
The young couple married on November 4, 1930, and both successfully completed their studies and joined the firm in the early 1930s, after receiving their licenses. Up to this point, everything seems to promise a relatively carefree life until April 1933, when the "Law on Admission to the Bar" enacted by the National Socialist Reich government hit them. The admissions of the "Jewish" lawyers were revoked. Only Wilhelm Blitz was allowed to continue working, since he had already practiced law before 1914.
But despite this break, there was also a small ray of hope: Helene and Wilhelm Blitz became grandparents for the first time. The eldest daughter Thea was pregnant and on Sept. 28, 1933 Günther Leopold was born. The second grandchild was stillborn in October 1937.
The youngest son of the family, Eduard Edgar Blitz, also studied law. His studies took him to the universities of Berlin, Grenoble/France and Hamburg, among others. During his legal clerkship, in the early 1930s, he was employed at various courts as well as at the public prosecutor's office. His superiors attested to his good performance in each case. His dissertation was completed in June 1933: "Die Beleihung des Versicherungsscheines in der Lebensversicherung" ("The Lending of the Insurance Certificate in Life Insurance") at the University of Erlangen.
Barely a month later, however, he received notice of dismissal from the state judicial administration because of his "Jewish" origin. Previously, he had been supposed to make a declaration regarding his "Aryan" ancestry. This he could not do, as he truthfully stated, because he was a German of Jewish descent and faith, but: "I am not applying for dismissal from the service," he added. Thereupon the president succinctly informed him of his dismissal. The basis for this was the "Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service," which had been enacted a few weeks earlier.
Wilhelm Blitz, who was allowed to continue working, had to give up the office in Büschstraße for financial reasons. The residential building in Werderstraße was also sold far below its value. From then on, he lived as a subtenant at Lenhartzstraße 1. However, he still maintained his office and rented a room for it with the widow of the lawyer Ernst Goldmann at Colonaden 36. His last office address was Fuhlentwiete 28.
Then a client accused him of "racial defilement". At the beginning of 1938, Wilhelm Blitz stood trial as a defendant. According to the Nuremberg Laws passed in 1935, extramarital sexual intercourse between "Jews" and "non-Jews" was considered a criminal offense. The trial ended with an acquittal. However, the Gestapo imprisoned him for nine months in the notorious Kolafu. This was not without health consequences. At the end of the year Wilhelm Blitz was released from prison with the request to emigrate as soon as possible.
Thanks to the mediation and financial means of his daughter Thea and her husband Herbert Paul Hochfeld, who had fled to England in the meantime, Wilhelm Blitz succeeded in doing so in December 1938. For Helene Blitz, these means were not sufficient; she emigrated to Sweden to join her son Eduard.
After arriving in England, Wilhelm Blitz was under constant medical treatment. In addition to the physical suffering came the psychological, because, as his children described after 1945, "his life's work, his practice, his family life ..., everything lay in ruins, even the possibility of living together with his wife". The "experiences of persecution were extraordinarily severe," according to the attending physician. Wilhelm Blitz died of the serious consequences of imprisonment in a London hospital on January 4, 1940.
Let us look at the traces of the Blitz children: Hans Egon emigrated to the USA in the mid-1930s with his wife Evelyn, née Brüll (Brull), who was born on July 19, 1916. There their son Harald (Harry) Peter was born on Oct. 24, 1948. Harry's parents, however, died in 1959 and 1961, respectively, and from then on Harry lived with his uncle John Peter Brull.
The unmarried Edith Margarethe worked since the late 1920s as a certified kindergarten teacher. She set up an after-school care center in the basement of the apartment building and initially looked after six children. Word of her good work spread. She considered expanding the program and taking on more staff, as the popularity among parents was very high. The National Socialists prevented this. As of 1934, she was only allowed to care for Jewish children. Edith Blitz gave up the kindergarten in 1936, and now hardly any children came to her. She herself emigrated to London/England in March 1937 and made a living as a domestic helper or as an unskilled worker in tailor shops.
Eduard Edgar found a new home in Stockholm/Sweden, where he fled in June 1936. In Sweden it was not possible for him to work as a lawyer. For many decades he worked as a business manager in various industries. He married in 1938 and became the father of three sons. After 1945, in the reparation proceedings, he obtained recognition of his professional loss as a civil servant for life from 1940. Eduard Edgar Blitz died in 1988.
After initial difficulties in England, Thea and Herbert Paul Hochfeld worked in the company of a relative. Over the years, Thea Hochfeld changed her professional orientation and began training as a teacher according to Rudolf Steiner's method. She then worked as a curative teacher with a very low income.
The results of the biographical search for traces on the three Blitz sisters Ida, Annette and Emma Blitz see www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de.
Translation by Beate Meyer
Stand: February 2022
© Sonja Zoder
Quellen: 1; StaH 241-2 Justizverwaltung-Personalakten A 1278, A 1394, 1395 + P 1720; StaH 241-3/51 Handakte Hülfskasse für deutsche Rechtsanwälte; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 8623-88/ 1903, StaH 351-11-460 + 3117 + 4610 + 27409 + 30218 + 32396 + 35725 + 55776 AfW; StaH 741-4/ A 251 Fotoarchiv; div. Hamburger Adressbücher; Meyer, Die Verfolgung und Ermordung der Hamburger Juden 1933-1945, S. 192, 222, Hamburg 2007; Ladwig-Winters, Anwalt ohne Recht: Schicksale jüdischer Anwälte in Deutschland nach 1933, S. 203, 206, Berlin 2007; Johe, Schicksal jüdischer Juristen in Hamburg im Dritten Reich, S. 11, 12, Hamburg 1985; Morisse, Ausgrenzung und Verfolgung der Hamburger jüdischen Juristen im Nationalsozialismus, Bd. 1, S. 128, 145, 146 und Bd. 2, S. 89; Göttingen 2013; Beykirch, Jüdisches Lernen und die Israelitische Schule Leer zu Zeiten des Nationalsozialismus, Oldenburg 2006; Bakker, Sporen van het joodse leven in Ostfriesland, 2013; UAG, Jur.Diss. I-210 Universitäts-Archiv Greifswald, Mail von B. P. vom 15.12.2016; Obenaus, Hist. Handbuch der jüd. Gemeinden in Niedersachsen und Bremen, Band 2, S. 942, 946, Göttingen 2005; Ubbo-Emmius-Gymnasium Leer, Mail von M.P. vom 16.03.2017; URL: https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/J%C3%BCdische_Gemeinde_Leer am 30.07.2016; https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gesetz_%C3%BCber_die_Zulassung_zur_Rechtsanwaltschaft am 21.11.2016; http://www.online-ofb.de/famreport.php?ofb=juden_nw&ID=I99657&nachname=BLITZ&lang=de am 04.01.2017;
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