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Martin Cobliner
© Yad Vashem

Martin Cobliner * 1892

Grindelallee 81 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)

JG. 1892

further stumbling stones in Grindelallee 81:
Alma Israel, Chaim David Kellmann, Leni Evi Kellmann, Rosa Emma Kellmann

The "suicide” of Martin Cobliner
by Jürgen Sielemann

[The following appeared in "Eine verschwundene Welt – Jüdisches Leben am Grindel” by Ursula Warmser and Wilfried Weinke – see Literature]

Music played a large part in the lives of many Jewish families in Hamburg. Attending concerts and playing music at home were favorite activities, and parents ensured that their children learned to play an instrument.

Martin Cobliner, a respected piano teacher, had lived as a boarder with Dr. Salomon Klein on the fourth floor of the building at Grindelallee 81 since 1937 1). He had come to Hamburg around 1921, and had first worked in an office before he obtained his music teaching certificate in 1925. He intended to give private music lessons rather than run a music school. 2)

Little is known about Martin Cobliner, other than that he was born on 9 December 1892 to Isaac and Ottilie Cobliner in Posen. According to his passport, he was of medium height, had dark blonde hair and blue eyes. 3)

On 10 November 1938, when the Hamburg Gestapo and police swarmed out to arrest "as many healthy, male, non-elderly Jews” as would fit into the prisons 4), two police officers stormed the fourth floor of the building at Grindelallee 81 to arrest Dr. Klein. They submitted the following report on the same day: 5)

"The orders stated that Dr. Salomon Klein, listed as No. 381, born 3 Feb. 1898 in Chrzanow, residing at Grindelallee 81 III., was to be arrested today at 7:15 a.m. by Officers Balhorn and Heck. Klein, however, proved to be suffering from a serious psychological condtion, and the officers desisted from arresting him. When the apartment was searched, a locked door was found, with the key in the lock from the inside. When asked, Frau Klein explained that this room was rented to the unmarried musician and Jew Martin Cobliner, born 9 Dec. 1892 in Posen, resident at this address since 2 Mar. 1937.
Frau Klein could not say, however, whether Cobliner was in the room or if he had already gone to the synagogue, as he did nearly every morning.

We demanded loudly that the door be opened. Despite several attempts by both us and Frau Klein, the door was not opened. In fact, we noticed that the key was turned again from the inside. It was therefore obvious that Cobliner was unwilling to open the door. After several more demands that the door be opened, Frau Klein hammered in an approximately 10 cm disc over the door handle.

We then opened the door and saw that Cobliner had jumped out of the window. He was only lightly clothed. The 25th precinct was immediately contacted and an ambulance was called to transport Cobliner to the Hafenkrankenhaus.

Cobliner showed no life signs. The Hafenkrankenhaus pronounced him dead on arrival. A search of his room produced no incriminating evidence. Cobliner’s registration papers were found, and are attached. The room was locked and sealed (key enclosed). Time constraints prevent further investigation into the suicide of Cobliner. Commissioner Struwe was informed by telephone.

A Stolperstein for Martin Cobliner was placed at Grindelallee 81 in February 2003.

Translator(s): Amy Lee

Translation kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg

© Jürgen Sielemann

1) Einer seiner besonders begabten Schüler war Manfred van Son (geb. 1916). Vgl. Jürgen Sielemann, Aber seid alle beruhigt. Briefe von Regina van Son an ihre Familie 1941-1942, mit einem Vorwort von Miriam Gillis-Carlebach. Hamburg 2005, S. 39.
2) Staatsarchiv Hamburg (im Folgenden StHH), Meldewesen, A 24 Bd. 274, Nr. 21750, Reisepassprotokoll 1922; StHH, 376-2 Gewerbepolizei, Zentralgewerbekartei 1915-1930).
3) StHH, 332-8 Meldewesen, A 24 Bd. 326, Nr. 13279, Reisepassprotokoll 1925.
4) So lautete der um 1.20 Uhr der Gestapo übermittelte Befehl Reinhard Heydrichs. Vgl. Jürgen Sielemann, Fragen und Antworten zur "Reichskristallnacht" in Hamburg. In: Zeitschrift des Vereins für Hamburgische Geschichte, Bd. 83/1. Hamburg 1997, S. 497.
5) StHH, 331-3 Polizeibehörde - Unnatürliche Sterbefälle, 1939/170.

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