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Ilka Feis (née Hess) * 1896

Fernsicht (Hamburg-Nord, Winterhude)

1941 KZ Fuhlsbüttel
deportiert 1941

Ilka Feis, née Hess, born 17 Sep. 1896 in Hamburg, deported 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz

Ilka Alice Hess was born in 1896 at Alsterkamp 13 in Hamburg- Harvestehude, the youngest child of the real estate agent Julius Hess (1853–1936) and his wife Gertrud, née Levy (1871-1944). Her father had been granted Hamburg citizenship in February 1889, and married three months later. The children Lothar, Richard, and Felix were born between 1890 and 1894. Shortly before the end of the year in 1904 the family moved to Abteistraße 14 (Harvestehude). Julius Hess was a partner in the Anton Emden & Julius Hess Real Estate Agency at Große Bleichen 46 until 1907.

The family lived at Isestraße 121 (Harvestehude) from 1917 until 1920.
In 1925, Ilka Hess married the banker Albert Feis. He was born on 1 Oct. 1888 in Spiesen near Saarbrücken to Moses Feis, a butcher, and had lived in Hamburg since 1908. He had been the sole partner in a private bank in Hamburg since 1915 (1919-1930: Große Bleichen 31/Kaufmannshaus, 1931-1938: Neuer Wall 42, 2nd floor). He became a member of the Hamburg Deutsch-Israelitic Community in March 1919.

Ilka and Albert’s daughters Ellen-Ruth and Marion were born in 1925 and 1927. The four-member family lived at Rothenbaumchaussee 20 until 1927. After the birth of their second child, Albert Feis bought the house at Fernsicht 5, on the corner of Blumenstraße (Winterhude) from the widow of the businessman and philanthropist Buchholz. The house was built in 1905-06 by the architect August Ott for the businessman Sophus Koch. Albert Feiß had it modernized, which included installing warm running water and building a garage.

In 1935 Ilka Feis inherited "considerable assets” from her father, and spent about 24,000 marks to convert the single-family dwelling on Fernsicht into a multiple-family dwelling. The conversion created four apartments in the building – one each in the basement, on the ground floor, the second floor, and in the converted attic.

Only a few years later, the Nazi’s anti-Jewish laws and regulations destroyed the family’s finances. In 1936, Feis’ application for the reinstatement of his license to conduct currency transactions was denied. He had held this license from 1914 until 1932. In 1937 his bank made a loss of 6,000 Reichsmarks. In September 1938 an inspector from the Currency Office spent three days investigating the bank’s financial situation as well as that of the family. Four weeks later the Customs Investigation Office charged Feis on the suspicion of "unreported property held abroad,” but the charges could not be substantiated.

One of the Feis daughters later described the closing of the company and the harassment of the family to the restitution office: "The company was liquidated in November 1938, because Feis had received orders from the Gestapo to leave Germany by 10 February 1939. The company had already lost its license to trade on the Hamburg Stock Exchange in June 1938, because its representative on the Stock Exchange was not Aryan.” The firm was removed from the register of companies on 30 December 1938.

On 17 December 1938 and 14 January 1939 the Feis family received notification that they were to pay the "Jewish property levy” in the amount of 27,500 Reichsmarks. They were also required to pay a fee of 3,200 Reichsmarks for their childrens’ emigration. At this point, however, the couple’s assets had been placed under a security order (7 November 1938), which allowed them to withdraw only 2800 Reichsmarks per month from their accounts.

At the end of July 1938, the house at Fernsicht 5 had been sold to Frau Elisabeth Thomsen, née Voss, at the real market value of 117,500 Reichsmarks. The outstanding mortgage payments, which amounted to about 2/3 of the selling price, were deducted. The telephone book lists the retired District Attorney Willy Johs Thomsen, partner of the Lehmann & Voss & Co. Chemical Plant, as the building’s tenant after 1940.

The Feis family moved to the second floor of the building at Haynstraße 9 in Eppendorf. A second piece of property belonging to the Feises and located in St. Pauli was auctioned off on 19 January 1939. After their financial affairs had been settled, the Feis family attempted to emigrate to South America. Albert Feis bought a steamer trunk with his monogram painted on it at the Klockmann luggage store near the main railway station, as well as clothing suitable for the climate in South America. Everything that was to be taken out of the country had to be listed with its value and approximate date of purchase. The lists and the objects were inspected in the apartment by an agent from the Customs Investigation Office. Albert Feis was then charged a "levy on property being taken out of the country” of 437 Reichsmarks, to be paid to the Deutsche Golddiskontobank.

Problems arose in obtaining permission for the daughters and Ilka Feis to emigrate. Their emigration had not been approved by the date of Albert Feis’ departure on 19 February 1939. The 11- and 13-year-old daughters were finally granted a restricted certificate of clearance for emigration on 27 April 1939, making their emigration to England possible. In the 1950s, one of the daughters described the events to the restitution board:

"Albert Feis emigrated from our hometown of Hamburg via Boulogne to Brazil. Before his departure our parents decided that my sister Marion and I should be sent to England to attend school in Oxford, and then travel to Brazil once our father had settled in. About 2 or 3 weeks after our father’s emigration we left for Oxford, where we attended the Headington School for Girls. Besides our linens and clothing, we each took a complete bedroom and living room set with us. In the fall of 1940 we received notification from our father to come to Brazil. He transferred a certain amount of money in pounds for our 1st class passage, and we went on board the Highland Princess of the Royal Mail Line in Liverpool. (…).”

The children were also allowed to take a gramophone and records (a present from their grandmother Gertrud Hess, née Levy) as well as an oil portrait of their mother with them to England.

Ilka Feis was not able to leave Germany. Her brother Felix Hess (*17 Aug. 1894, Isestraße 139) had taken his life after the pogrom on 9 November 1938. In May 1939 a "Reich flight tax” of 29,000 Reichsmarks was demanded from Ilka Feis. In September 1939 she moved to Lenhartzstraße 3 in Eppendorf. In 1940 she was quartered in a "Jews house” at Heimhuder Straße 17 (Rotherbaum). She was arrested in May 1941 after attending the cinema, an activity from which Jews had been banned. She was sent to the Fuhlsbüttel Concentration Camp on 22 May 1941, and then to the Hamburg Gestapo headquarters on 12 June 1941. She was deported to the Lodz Ghetto on 25 October 1941. There all traces of her are lost. Ilka Feis, née Hess, was declared dead by the Hamburg District Court on 17 April 1950.

Her 70-year-old mother Gertrud Hess was deported from her rooms in the "Jews’ house” at Bogenstraße 27 (the former Z. H. May & Wife Trust) to Theresienstadt on 15 July 1942. On 15 May she was transferred to Auschwitz and murdered.

There is also a Stolperstein for Ilka Feis at Heimhuder Straße 17.

Translator: Amy Lee

Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

© Björn Eggert

Quellen: 1; 4; 8; AfW 170996; StaHH, 314-15, Akten des Oberfinanzpräsidenten, F 502; StaHH, 741-4, Alte Einwohnermeldekartei; StaHH, 221-11, Entnazifizierungsakte J (c) 1095; Archiv der Forschungsstelle für Zeitgeschichte in Hamburg (FZH), 35363 Fuhlsbüttel Häftlingslisten; Bezirksamt Hamburg-Nord, Bauamt/Bauprüfabteilung, Fernsicht 5; AB 1904, 1920, 1926, 1936, 1937, 1941; Amtliche Fernsprechbücher Hamburg 1895–1908, 1910, 1914, 1918–1920, 1926-1931, 1939–1941, 1943; Hamburger Börsenfirmen 34. Auflage, Hamburg Februar 1933, S. 223; Standesamt Neunkirchen/Saar, Geburtsurkunde von Albert Feis; Telefonat mit Herrn G.H. (Neffe von Ilka Feis), Hamburg, 3.5.2007; Gespräch mit Herrn G. M. (ehemals Blumenstraße 33), Hamburg 16.6.2007.

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