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Israel "Max" Brand * 1886
Kremper Straße 2 (Hamburg-Nord, Hoheluft-Ost)
LODZ / LITZMANNSTADT
further stumbling stones in Kremper Straße 2:
Israel ("Max") Brand, born 15.8.1886 in Jastrzabka, deported to Lodz 25.10.1941, died there 12.9.1942 (?)
Olga Brand, née Jotkowitz, born 3.12.1886 in Hamburg, deported to Lodz 25.10.1941, murdered in Chelmno 5.7.1944
Kremper Straße 2 (Hamburg-Nord, Hoheluft-Ost)
The original family of Israel Brand, who later on called himself "Max" and will be called "Israel Max" in the following, as well as the family of his wife Olga, née Jotkowitz, came from the eastern part of Europe. Israel Max (born on August 15, 1886) had left the small village of Jastrzabka Stara, his birthplace near Tormow in Galicia (Austria territory from 1792 to 1920, Polish since then) for Hamburg around 1905. His parents were the Jewish couple Moses Brand (born on July 19, 1853, died on February 04, 1931), a lumber trader, and Blima Brand, née Brand (sic!) (born on November 2, 1863, died on December 17, 1936).
Olga´s father, Marcus Jotkowitz (born on July 19, 1853, died on February 13, 1926) came from the small town of Miechowitz (Miechowice) near Beuthen (Bytom) in the formerly Prussian region of Silesia (Polish since 1945). His parents were David Jotkowitz and Pauline, née Koppel.
At age 22, Marcus Jotkowitz settled down as a wine merchant in Hamburg in 1876 and, in the same year, married Betty Schwabe (born on March 12, 1851, died on February 04, 1918) who belonged to the Jewish Community in Moisling, near Lübeck. In 1887, Marcus Jotkowitz also bought a book-printing company in Hamburg where he published, aside from his usual business, special supplements ("Extrablätter"), written by himself. They were highly successful murder stories, sensationally made-up, in the style of the future yellow press.
Israel Max Brand and Olga Jotkowitz (born on December 31, 1886 in Hamburg) got married on July 29, 1909 in Hamburg. They had no children.
Israel Max Brand about whose childhood and schooltime we do not know anything had the profession of a decoration painter. He had two brothers and a sister: Pinkus Brand (born on July 17, 1891) was a decoration painter as well; Lipa Leopold Brand (born on December 20, 1893) was a glazier; Ryfka Brand (born on October 9, 1906) was a domestic servant most of her time. All four of them were still born in Jastrzabka/Galicia and had moved to Hamburg by and by.
Olga, Israel Brand´s future wife, was a clerk, a business administrator. She had eight siblings: Wilhelm (born on August 7, 1877, owner of a printer´s company in Hamburg), Dorothea (born on June 12, 1879, kindergarten teacher), Leopold (born on September 1, 1880, businessman), Jenny (born on January 29, 1883), Julius (born on August 15, 1885, owner of a kosher restaurant in Hamburg), Nathan (born on April 28, 1888, died on November 18, 1888), Dina (born on January 11, 1890, died on January 27, 1890) and Benno (born on February 12, 1892, businessman).
Israel Max Brand´s painter´s business slowly, but constantly became more and more successful over the course of the years. From 1914 on, he had a telephone connection at Bismarckstraße 24. In 1917, he opened a specialist shop for colours, gloss paints and diverse household goods at Gosslerstraße 17. (Today this is at Eppendorfer Weg 235, Hoheluft-Ost, on the corner of Neumünstersche Straße, opposite the church of St. Markus). This area was well-frequented even then, with a variety of different shops in the nearby neighbourhood. The rooms of Brand´s painter´s business still function as a shop which is more fashionable, though, with respect to its range of goods and its furnishings than in the days of "Colours and Gloss Paints" ("Farben und Lacke").
Isreal Max Brand´s business continually took a turn for the better. On the one hand, this can be seen in the tax amount he had to pay to the Jewish Community which depended on his income and which he paid regularly (in 1917: 15 German marks, in 1920: 25 German marks, in 1922: 50 German marks, in 1923, the year of the inflation, 3000 German marks). On the other hand, it can be substantiated that he permanently had several employees for practical paintwork or for selling articles in the shop. Olga Brand was the head of business in the Gosslerstraße shop.
The Brands` apartment was in the same house on the floor above the shop. A few steps away from that, in the basement of Neumünstersche Straße 5, there were the workshop and the storage space. Brand´s business survived the inflation and the world economic crisis, everything seemed to be flourishing.
With the National Socialists coming into power in 1933, Brand´s business went downhill rapidly. The appeals for boycott and other manifestations and antisemitism organized by the German state ruined Max and Olga Brand`s existence. Already in 1933 and 1934, the Jewish Community excluded Max Brand from having to pay the annual tax because his income had become too small. The taxes that were due in the following years were not paid by Israel Max Brand, contrary to his former habit.
From 1935 on, his business ("Farben und Lacke") is not mentioned in the official directory of Hamburg. It had been liquidated 15 or 16 years after its establishment. Meanwhile, the Brands had also given up their apartment above the shop and had moved into a more modest apartment on the ground floor of nearby Kremper Straße 2.
The couple lived there for six years. In 1938, "Painter Israel Brand" was registered as living at Grindelberg 1, on the corner of Beim Schlump, on the first floor. At least, the official registry still mentions a telephone connection.
In 1940/41, during the war, the Brands obviously tried to escape to the USA because at the Jewish Transmigration Bureau in New York City there exist two index cards (registered as Case Nr 1453) containing the information that Mr. Benjamin Theemann had paid 600 dollars for the "passengers Israel Brand and Olga Brand, Hamburg, Grindelberg 1". The index cards also contain the note "Feb. 27, 1942, refund 600 dollars" and the stamp CLOSED. The procedure had been stopped. Olga and Max Brand´s attempt at an escape had failed.
In 1941, the Brands moved to another place again: to Parkallee 12 (Harvestehude), ground floor, as subtenants to the Jewish widow Fanny Fränkel, née Samson (born on May 26, 1862 in Hamburg). Also living with here for a considerable time were the two unmarried Jewish sisters Henny Hirsch (born on December 3, 1856 in Hamburg) and Rosalie Hirsch (born on May 16, 1867 in Hamburg). All five of them did not survive the National Socialist era. The Hirsch sisters were deported to Theresienstadt on July 15, 1942. 85-year-old Henny died there after less than three months, on October 12, 1942. Rosalie Hirsch, at the age of 76, died there a year later, on October 10, 1943.
Already in October 1941, Israel Max and Olga Brand as well as Fanny Fränkel received their order of deportation. On the first train of deportation with North German Jewesses and Jews order of (most of them from Hamburg, 1034 persons all together) that left the Hannoversche Bahnhof (at Lohseplatz, situated in what nowadays is Hamburg´s Hafen City) at 10:10 on October 25, 1941, they were deported to the ghetto of Litzmannstadt/Lodz in Poland which was occupied by German troops.
According to the registration card of the ghetto administration of Litzmannstadt, the Brands (probably after two weeks in one of those agonizingly overcrowded collective ´accommodations´ that were unbelievably dirty too) were put up at Richterstraße 2, apartment 19. That was one room for seven persons, without a kitchen. Israel Max Brand´s official job title was "painter", Olga Brand is registered as being "without occupation". To have a job was absolutely necessary for survival in the ghetto, a protection against starvation, but also against being sorted out as "unnecessary" ("überflüssig") and then being murdered at the extermination site of Chelmno near Lodz through inhaling the gas from specially prepared trucks. Israel Max Brand could soon find a job as a painter. Olga Brand could not, for the moment.
In May 2 to 15, 1942, a major "expulsion" took place in the ghetto, i.e. the forceful transportation of more than ten thousand ghetto inhabitants, who did not have a job or were incapable to work, to Chelmno where they were murdered. Israel Max Brand wrote a petition to the "evacuation committee" ("Aussiedlungskommission"), probably out of fear and despair, in order to describe his wife who had no job as a useful person with working abilities by attributing to her certain skills (knitting, doing embroidery) which might be attractive in Litzmannstadt, a city with a large textile industry. His petition read:
"Ghetto of Litzmannstadt:
I, the painter Israel Brand, 55 years old, am employed by the painter master Jacob Knebel, Talweg 29. We work exclusively for the construction department. My wife Olga Brand, 55 years old, experienced in knitting and doing embroidery, has just received a request for leaving the place ("Ausreise-Aufforderung") on May 04, 1942. I held the opinion that because of my occupation my wife was protected from being sent away. I ask you politely to withdraw the request and to provide my wife with a job.
Thanking you very much in advance I remain with deep respect
Litzmannstadt, May 02, ´42."
The committee´s answer read: "Exceptional decision: uwzglednione" (in German: berücksichtigt" = "granted").Olga Brand was saved, for the moment.
But, still in the same year (1942), Israel Brand died, he who up to that time had provided a certain protection for Olga, as the success of his petition to the "evacuation committee" seems to indicate. The notes on the index cards of the ghetto administration and of Hospital Nr. 4 are irritatingly contradictory: On the one hand, the day of Israels Brand´s death is put down as September 12, on the other hand on September 13. We also find "December 9" with the absurd appendix: "Date of publication: September 13." "Heart failure" is given as the cause of Brand´s death.
In this context, it must be mentioned that during the days between September 2 and 12, 1942, an outrageous catastrophe hit the ghetto and especially the hospitals: Under the order of the Germans, armed "militiamen" ("Milizionäre") and "orderlies" ("Ordnungskräfte") of the ghetto selfgovernment raided the hospitals, chased and pulled the patients out of their beds, threw them onto trucks and drove them to Chelmno where they were instantly murdered. After about an hour later, the trucks returned for the next transport. Furthermore, living quarters were combed for sick or infirm people or for patients who had fled from the hospitals and were in hiding.
To those in power, the sick were useless mouths to feed, they occupied too much space in the overcrowded ghetto and were an obstacle to the reception of new trains of deportation. (The "Chronicle of Lodz", written in the ghetto, calls these events a "typhoo that swept away about 15.000 persons from the surface of the ghetto", volume 2, pp. 452 ff.)
These events and the confusing registration notes make it impossible to pin down the exact date of Israel Max Brand´s death. He became 56 years old.
Olga Brand did find a job, though, at a time, however, that was life-threateningly late in the ghetto. In June 1943, she was registered as a worker (nr. 57018), on December 5, 1943, she was assigned to Factory Nr. 58, Chemical Laundry III, Richterstraße 11, as a porter. So she found a job right next to where she lived.
Her "standard of living" improved immensely: In June, 1943, she moved into a single room all by herself after having lived in one room with seven, then six other people (Richterstraße 13, apartment 7). Here she stayed until July, 1944.
The last trace that is left of her is her deregistration, the "notification of a change of address" ("Abmeldung"). On that specific index card, issued at July 21, 1944, it says among other things: "The person mentioned above left her apartment in the Richterstraße on July 5, 1944… new place of occupation outside … New address: outside the ghetto". "Outside the ghetto" – that was a new mass grave on the premises of the former agricultural estate of Chelmno near Lodz.
From June 23 till July 14, 1944, this was the place where SS-units, almost day after day, transport after transport, carried out their mass murders. According to the statistics of the "Council of the Elders of the Jews in the Ghetto of Litzmannstadt" ("Ältestenrat der Juden des Getto Litzmannstadt"), during these three weeks 7196 "evacuees" ("Ausgesiedelte") were killed. It was the last mass murder at Chelmno. Other murders were committed at other places until there was no one left in the ghetto.
Fanny Fränkel, the Brands´ landlady at their Parkallee address, who was deported to Lodz with them on October 25, 1941, had already been murdered on May 10, 1942, during that large murder action that Olga Brand was saved from.
About the fate of the family members
In the Brand family, apart from Israel Max, his brother Lipa Leopold Brand (born on December 12, 1883) became a victim of the Shoa too. His attempt to flee to Shanghai failed; he was deported to Minsk on November 8, 1941, and died there.
Israel Max Brand´s brother Pinkus Brand escaped to Tel Aviv.
His sister Ryfka who during the so-called "Polish Action" ("Polenaktion") had been deported to the Polish border on October 28, 1938, and driven into no man´s land there, was able to return to Hamburg and managed to arrive at Southampton/England on August 22, 1939, by ship.
Olga Brand´s brother Wilhelm Jotkowitz (born 1877) was deported to Minsk on November 8, 1941, and was murdered there (for his biography, look at: www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de).
Her sister Dorothea (born in 1879) fled to Cuba in 1938.
After the night of the pogrom on November 9, 1938, Olga Brand´s brother Leopold (born in 1880) was detained at the concentration camp of Sachsenhausen for several months and was heavily tortured there. He escaped to Australia in January, 1939.
Olga Brand´s sister Jenny (born in 1883) whose husband Eduard Jammer (born in 1875) was murdered at the concentration camp of Buchenwald in September, 1941, managed to cross borders illegally, first to Belgium, then to France. She survived.
Olga´s brother Julius (born in 1885) emigrated to London in 1936 and was followed by his wife and their three children in 1938.
The numerous descendants of the Jotkowitz family nowadays live in various parts of the world, from North and South America to Israel and Australia.
Translated by Helmut Lüttmann
Stand: July 2022
© Johannes Grossmann
Quellen: StaH 351-11_9019 (AfW, Israel Brand); StaH 314-15_FVg 5457 (Ryfka Brand); StaH 314-15 R 1939/2882 (OFP, Ryfka Brand/Jean Lengel); StaH 213-13_32432 (AfW, Ryfka Brand/Jean Lengel); StaH 213-13_22087 (AfW, Ryfka Brand/Jean Lengel); StaH 351-11_31629 (AfW, Ryfka Brand/Jean Lengel); 314-15_FVg 2121 (Lipe Leopold Brand); 351-11_6473 (AfW, Erbengemeinschaft Lipe Brand; StaH 332-8 (Meldewesen), 741_4, K 4282, K 4593, K 4693, K 2429, A 46 D; StaH 332-5_9533 (Standesämter Hamburg), Urkunde 370 (Heirat Israel und Olga Brand); StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden, 992b Kultussteuerkartei der Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde (Brand, Israel); StaH 522-1, Jüdische Gemeinden, 992 e 2, Bd. 1 (Deportationsliste Litzmannstadt, 25.10.1941), ebd. Bd. 2 (Deportationsliste Minsk, 8.11.41); Archivum Panstwowe w Lodzi, digitaler Zugriff: Namensliste der Bewohner aus Hamburg, sygn. 1173; https://www.szukajwarchiwach.gov.pl/en/jednostka/-/jednostka/2796890; - Einquartierungsliste, sygn. 997; https://www.szukajwarchiwach.gov.pl/en/jednostka/-/jednostka/2798153; - Meldekarteien, sygn. 1011; https://www.szukajwarchiwach.gov.pl/en/jednostka/-/jednostka/2796721; - Hausmeldekarte, sygn. 1012-1026, 1028 -1063;
=&_Zespol_tytul=meldunkowa&_Zespol_data_od=&_Zespol_data_do=; - Hausmeldekartei Hamburger Straße 42, sygn. 1027;
=1027&_Zespol_tytul=&_Zespol_data_od=&_Zespol_data_do=;-Postkarten, sygn. 2316-2325; https://www.szukajwarchiwach.gov.pl/en/zespol?p_p_id=Zespol&p_p_lifecycle=0&_Zespol_id_zespolu=28211&_Zespol_nameofjsp=jednostki&_Zespol_sygnatura
=&_Zespol_tytul=karty+pocztowe&_Zespol_data_od=&_Zespol_data_do=; Krankenlisten, sygn. 1580; https://www.szukajwarchiwach.gov.pl/en/jednostka/-/jednostka/2797321.www.ancestry: Israel Brand, Olga Brand (Anmeldung, Abmeldung, Sterbeverzeichnis Lodz); www.Lodz Ghetto DeportationsandStatistics - JewishGen; Hamburger Adressbücher und Branchenverzeichnisse 1910-1945; Hamburger jüdische Opfer des Nationalsozialismus/Gedenkbuch, Hamburg 1995; Komar, Karen: Faksimile der Eingabe Israel Brands an die Aussiedlungskommission in Lodz (Privatarchiv); Komar, Karen: Eulogyfor Wilhelm Jotkowitz, Unveröffentlichtes Manuskript, 2016; Komar, Karen: Summary ofmyfamilyhistoryandflight, Unveröffentlichtes Manuskript, o.J.; Komar, Karen: mündliche und schriftliche Auskünfte an den Autor, 2016-2021; Sielemann, Jürgen: "Extrablatt! Extrablatt!", Aus der Geschichte der Familie Jotkowitz in Hamburg, in: Liskor – Erinnern/ Magazin der Hamburger Gesellschaft für jüdische Genealogie, 015/Sept. 2019; Sielemann, Jürgen, Aus der Geschichte der Hamburger Familie Gumprecht, in: Liskor, 016/Dez. 2019; Die Chronik des Gettos Lodz/Litzmannstadt, hrsg. von Sascha Feuchert etc., Fünf Bände, Göttingen 2007; Meyer, Beate (Hrsg.): Die Verfolgung und Ermordung der Hamburger Juden 1933-1945, Hamburg, 2.A. 2007.