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Julius van Cleef * 1879

Brahmsallee 14 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)

1941 Minsk

further stumbling stones in Brahmsallee 14:
Clara Jaffé

Julius van Cleef, born on 25.12.1879 in Emden, deported to Minsk on 8.11.1941

Brahmsallee 14

The city of Emden had become Prussian after the death of the last East Frisian prince in 1744. The Prussian reforms enforced at the beginning of the 19th century now also applied in East Frisia, including the Edict of 1812 concerning the civil status of Jews. It stipulated that Jews were to be "respected as nationals and Prussian citizens". A prerequisite, however, was that they had to register with the police authorities and give a permanent surname. The choice often fell on the men's place of origin. This resulted in some genealogical confusion. For example, five families that came from Kleve were given the name "van Cleef" without being related to each other.

So it happened that in the 1930s in Hamburg there were two men named Julius van Cleef, both from Emden, and both deported to Minsk on the same day. Perhaps they did not know each other at all. For Julius van Cleef, born on Febr 2, 1877, a Stolperstein was laid in Maria-Louisen-Straße (biography see

In front of the house at Brahmsallee 14, a Stolperstein was dedicated to Julius van Cleef, who was two years younger. His parents, the merchant Meyer van Cleef and his wife Bertha, née Josephs, lived in Emden, Hofstraße 2. Julius attended the elementary and secondary school in Emden, did a commercial apprenticeship there and worked for several years in the Emden textile company I.M. Falk & Söhne.

One of his nephews remembered him as a man with an intermediate education who was exceptionally well versed in commercial matters, especially in the textile industry. Julius van Cleef represented six companies in Hamburg and the surrounding area; from the 1920s he also lived in Hamburg. He was a member of the trade association "Handelsvertreter und Handelsmakler". Because his agency company could not be registered with the commercial court, the Association of North German Textile Retailers had no records of him from the years before the war.

Julius van Cleef remained single, living successively in Grindelallee, Heinrich-Barth-Straße 17, Klosterallee 24 and finally in Brahmsallee 14 with Jaffé. As an overall impression of Julius van Cleef's circumstances and lifestyle, his nephew recorded: In a three-room apartment with good middle-class furnishings, he lived together with an aunt, sister of his mother, whom he supported and who kept house for him.

The amount of the cultural tax to the Jewish community he paid suggests a very good income. As a result of the National Socialist restrictions, his income fell sharply, so that as early as 1936 he was forced to be extremely frugal. After the November pogrom in 1938, like many Hamburg Jews, he was briefly imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, where a good acquaintance from Emden met him. The pogrom marked the beginning of the total disenfranchisement and economic ruin of the Jews. Julius van Cleef "ceased his trade on 10.11.1938" was the note on his tax card.

Julius van Cleef had to join the second large transport of Hamburg Jews on November 8, 1941, which was to take a thousand people to the Minsk ghetto. No further sign of life came through from Julius van Cleef.

Two nephews who were able to emigrate remembered their kinship with Julius van Cleef. They came forward as his heirs in the 1950s with claims for restitution. They were: Joseph Meyer, born 1909 in Prenzlau/Brandenburg, rabbi, living in St. Agatha-des-Monts, Quebec Province, Canada, and the dentist Max van Cleef, born 1909 in Goslar, from Nathania in Israel.

Translation by Beate Meyer
Stand: January 2022
© Inge Grolle

Quellen: 1; 4; 5; StaHH 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung 4418; Eggert, Stolpersteine in Hamburg-Winterhude, S. 68–71; Edikt betreffend die bürgerlichen Verhältnisse der Juden in den Preußischen Staaten vom 11.3.1812 in: Gay, Geschichte, S. 128; Auskunft von Dr. Rolf Uphoff, Stadtarchiv Emden vom 19.8.2013 über die Familien van Cleef.
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