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Adele Cohn (née Isaak) * 1881
Heinrich-Barth-Straße 25 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)
Adele Cohn, née Isaak, born on 17.6.1881, deported on 25.10.1941 to the Lodz Ghetto, died there on 11.2.1942
Julius Michael Cohn, born 3.3.1904, deported on 25.10.1941 to the Lodz Ghetto, died there on 21.10.1942
Berthold Cohn, born on 28.4.1905, deported on 25.10.1941 to the Lodz Ghetto, died there on 5.2.1942
Adele Cohn was born on June 17, 1881, the only daughter of the teacher Daniel Isaak and his wife Rosalie, née Cahn, and was thus the second of three children. Her brothers were Isidor, two years older, and Michael Isaak, seven years younger.
Both parents were originally from Hesse: Daniel Isaak had been born in Kesselbach in 1840, Rosalie Cahn in Rüdesheim in 1856. Presumably they moved to Hamburg in the early 1860s, as the husband Daniel taught at the renowned Talmud Torah School from 1864. This had been founded in 1805 as a school institution for the sons of destitute Jews, but gradually expanded into an academically recognized Oberrealschule in the Grindelviertel until it was forced to close under Nazi rule on June 30, 1942, like all Jewish schools in Germany.
Daniel Isaak, who had completed three years of training at a Jewish teachers' seminary in Hanover prior to his apprenticeship, was responsible for the school's first-year students and sometimes looked after more than 70 pupils per class.
He taught them to read German and Hebrew, and was considered indispensable by the staff. The students considered him a particularly good-natured teacher, to whom they gave the affectionate nickname "Kindermädchen" (nanny).
Just as the teaching institution had to move several times over the years due to the steadily increasing number of students, the Isaak family also changed their place of residence several times. Thus, Adele experienced several moves during her youngest childhood. At the time of her birth, her parents lived on the second floor of Fuhlentwiete 17, from 1884 to 1887 in Brüderstraße 26, and until 1890 finally in Bornstraße 31. The family thus moved from Neustadt to the district of Rotherbaum, which from the end of the 1900s became one of the main residential areas of Hamburg's Jewish population. Adele spent most of her youth there at Rutschbahn 31.
Before Daniel, the father of the family, died in 1914 at the age of 74, he had been able to celebrate his 50th anniversary as a teacher. Under his name, a donation was submitted to the Talmud Torah School to be used for books and teaching materials.
By this time, the family was already living at 20 Parkallee, but Adele and her older brother Isidor had left their parents' household in the meantime.
Adele had married the Hamburg merchant Marcus Cohn on December 12, 1901. The latter had been born on October 15, 1866, to Elias and Esther Cohn. The newly married couple probably moved to Grindelallee 159 between 1902 and 1903, where they also had their first child, Esther, on December 24, 1902. Over the next seven years, four more children were born, sons Julius Michael and Berthold on March 3, 1904, and April 28, 1905, and daughter Regina on October 19, 1906. The youngest child, Martha, was born on September 16, 1909, after a move to the house at Grindelallee 157. There the sons and daughters of the Cohn couple spent a large part of their childhood. Adele not only took care of the children's upbringing and the household, but a short time later she also served as co-owner of her husband's business.
"M. Cohn & Co." advertised the sale of animal hides and skins and was operated by the couple from 1916, at their new home address at 25 Heinrich-Barth-Straße.
In addition to her own children, her mother Rosalie also lived under one roof with her daughter and son-in-law for some time after her husband's death, but had moved out again before she died on April 6, 1936.
The remaining relatives lived not far away. Both brothers initially remained in Hamburg with their families. The brother Isidor married Lea, née Gradenwitz, and with her had the three children Felix, Heinz Daniel and Hanna Isaak. He worked for Bankhaus M .M. Warburg, which had been founded by a Jewish family in 1798 and was run by Max M. Warburg until the Nazi era when it was aryanized. The anti-Jewish measures of the Nazi regime drove the Warburg family into exile in the USA (they resumed business after the war period).
Adele's younger brother Michael served as a soldier in World War I and later worked as a sales representative. He also married and had four children with his wife Pauline, née Sealtiel: Daniel, Jenny, Ruth Regina and Max Isaak.
The daughters of the married couple Adele and Marcus Cohn gradually left the parental household and partly also the city. The first to move out of Heinrich-Barth-Straße was probably daughter Esther: She married the self-employed salesman Theodor Adler and moved with him to his hometown of Frankfurt am Main. After a prison sentence there from March 18 to May 14, 1932, possibly due to a deposit evasion, Theodor Adler saw his reputation too damaged to continue working in his home country, however. After his release, he registered with the Jewish community of Hamburg on May 25, 1932, and initially moved into Blücherstraße 27 with Esther as a subtenant. The rent of 28 RM per month was difficult for the couple to afford. Theodor Adler was already without employment in the same year and had to receive welfare from May 30, 1932. The Adler couple initially received 14 RM per week for support. This amount later increased to 18 RM, as their living situation deteriorated further when Theodor Adler was found unfit for work from 1934 due to diabetes and heart problems. His wife also did not engage in gainful employment, at least not one that could have ensured their survival. Although Theodor Adler was able to take advantage of free examinations in the practice at Eppendorfer Landstraße 12 of the doctor and former schoolmate Hugo Meyer, there was no support from the family.
Only Esther's siblings came to their aid. Esther and her husband could not expect any financial support from their mother Adele and father Marcus. On the one hand, the relationship between her father and his son-in-law Theodor Adler was extremely strained, and on the other hand, her parents were no longer able to bear the monthly rental costs - presumably 100 RM, or 60 RM in the case of a sublet - on their own, despite running their own business. They therefore had to be financially supported themselves by their other four children.
Especially their son Julius Michael, who had been working as an insurance agent since 1929 at the latest, and son Berthold were of great help to the parents in this regard. The merchant worked for the synagogue association at the same time, but was unable to continue in his main profession from 1935.
In addition, the daughters Martha and Regina moved out of the remaining children. Martha, a bookbinder by trade, lived at Hansastraße 64 with her husband Isaak Lange, who came from Frankfurt am Main, from October 1, 1935. Regina, who worked as a kindergarten teacher in a day-care center, moved in 1937 because of her marriage to Leo Plessner from Nuremberg in December of the same year to his hometown, where she later gave birth to their son Solomon.
Only the two unmarried sons Berthold and Julius Michael remained in the parental household, even after the family had moved into the second floor of Grindelhof 68 in April 1938 - a move that was related to the family's deteriorating financial situation. In the meantime, daughter Martha and her husband Isaak moved back in with the parents.
After the private and economic situation of most Jews had already deteriorated from 1933 onwards with the takeover of power by the NSDAP, the Jewish commercial enterprises had to be "Aryanized" or closed down at the end of 1938. Adele and Marcus Cohn were also affected by this and now had to give up their business for good.
Another heavy blow of the "year of destiny" 1938 was the November pogrom on the night of November 9-10, in which synagogues, stores and also private homes were demolished or destroyed in Hamburg and all over the Reich; the main synagogue on Bornplatz was also damaged. As a result of the pogrom, numerous Jews were arrested by November 16 and, in the case of those from Hamburg, imprisoned in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Since the concentration camp was not prepared for such mass incarceration, there was a severe shortage of space; as if the conditions were not devastating enough, the inmates faced numerous humiliations during their detention.
Julius Michael, who was imprisoned in Sachsenhausen until December 17 of that year, was also arrested in all likelihood as part of the Pogrom Night.
With the beginning of the Second World War in September 1939, further laws followed that restricted the Jews in their daily lives. The Cohn family, like all Jews in the German Reich, had to wear the "Jewish star" from September 1941.
Father Marcus Cohn did not live to see this. He died of natural causes on February 9, 1941, in his apartment at Grindelhof 68.
Before the first deportations of German Jews at the end of 1941, many Jews were already relocated to the newly created "Judenhäuser". The aim of these institutions was the social isolation and better surveillance of the Jewish population. One of the Hamburg "Judenhäuser" was located at Laufgraben 37. The building was originally the Jewish Girls' Orphanage and the so-called Paulinenstift, in honor of Pauline Jaffé, the late wife of the founder. The institution had provided a home for numerous Jewish girls until, under instructions from the National Socialists, it had to serve as a "Judenhaus" and "Jüdisches Alters- und Pflegeheim" (Jewish old people's and nursing home) in order to gather there mainly the elderly and sick Jews for the upcoming deportations. Martha Lange, presumably with her son Michael, was also temporarily housed at Laufgraben 37 and had possibly also worked at the Paulinenstift before she left for Holland in January 1941 - her husband had already been there since February 1939. The Lange couple and their son were later deported from the Westerbork transit camp to Theresienstadt and on to Auschwitz, where they were murdered in October 1944.
The Nazis had begun the systematic deportations of German Jews to Eastern Europe in October 1941. The first deportation transport from Hamburg starting on October 25 went to the Lodz ghetto in occupied Poland. Adele Cohn and her two sons were among the deportees, although they had initially been on the "omitted list." This held 200 people "in reserve for possible failures" for the transport to Lodz. Of the 1034 people who were finally deported from Hamburg to Lodz, 1016 lost their lives.
After their deportation, the Cohns' household effects in Hamburg were confiscated by the Chief Finance President and auctioned off on January 2, 1942 for proceeds of 2,196.30 RM, while the Cohns moved into apartment No. 10 at Sulzfelderstraße 62 in the Lodz ghetto without any furnishings. This was a single room, which the three of them had to share. The mortality rate in the ghetto was very high due to the heavy forced labor and poor living conditions. In addition, the ghetto was overcrowded beyond measure.
A last ray of hope for the Cohn family was the marriage of Julius Michael to Ernestine Kahan on December 8, 1941. At various times, official weddings were performed in the ghetto by rabbis, and later by the ghetto administration itself.
In the spring of 1942, both mother Adele and brother Berthold died in the ghetto hospital of starvation and heart failure, respectively.
Between April 4 and 15, 1942, the inmates of the ghetto who were no longer considered fit for work were issued "resettlement orders," which provided for further deportation to the extermination camps. This also affected Esther Adler and her husband Theodor, who had also been deported to the ghetto on October 25, 1941. They had initially had to move into apartment No. 58 at Cranachstraße 24.
Theodor attempted to escape "resettlement" when he submitted a letter on May 2 to which he attached two medical certificates from Dr. Elsa Rosenbaum and Dr. I. Schumacher. In them they had endeavored to save the couple from further deportation. Schumacher mentioned in his certificate that Esther had just suffered the tragic loss of her mother and brother. Elsa Rosenbaum's certificate states that Theodor Adler was bedridden due to his illness and unable to carry luggage, for which reason "an exemption from resettlement would be medically recommended". The Adlers' application was nevertheless rejected, and they even went so far as to provide a carriage for Theodor Adler to transport him to the deportation train.
Julius Michael Cohn also applied for exemption from further deportation in an application dated April 1, 1942, in which he particularly emphasized his previous zeal for work. The application was granted, as was the second letter of April 10, 1942, in which he also requested the restitution of his wife Ernestine, enclosing a copy of the marriage certificate as proof of their marriage. With the said applications he enabled them to live for another few months in the ghetto. However, his wife died of malnutrition on September 1, 1942. A short time later, on October 21, Julius Michael also died, presumably as a result of the same cause.
Almost all the relatives of Adele Cohn and her children suffered similar fates. They were in various ghettos, transit and extermination camps at the time of the war, where they became victims of the Nazi regime until 1944.
Translation by Beate Meyer
Stand: January 2022
© Lisa Vanhoefer
Quellen: StaHH 314-15 Oberfinanzpräsident, J1/160/62; StaHH 332-5 Standesämter, 8137 187/1936 Sterbeurkunde Isaak, Rosalie und 8174 47/1941 Sterbeurkunde Cohn, Marcus; StaHH 351-14 Arbeits- und Sozialfürsorge - Sonderakten, 870 Fürsorgeakten Adler, Theodor; StaHH522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden, 992b, Kultussteuerkartei der Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde Hamburg, Kultussteuerkarte Adele, Berthold, Julius Michael, Marcus und Regina Cohn/Daniel, Isidor, Michael und Rosalie (geb. Cahn) Isaak/Isaak und Martha Lange; StaHH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden, 992 e 1 Band 1und 2; Hamburger Adressbücher (HAB) 1881–1941;Archiv Lodz, div. Dokumente; Gedenkstätte Sachsenhausen, Archiv, Sign. D 1 A/1020, Bl. 517; USHMM, Lodz Hospital; USHMM, Lodz, Sign.301/443-444, Sign. 299/75-77; Yad Vashem, Page of Testimony/div. Gedenkblätter; Beate Meyer (Hrsg.): Die Verfolgung und Ermordung der Hamburger Juden 1933–1945. Geschichte. Zeugnis. Erinnerung, Hamburg 2006; Beatrix Piezonka u. Ursula Wamser: Von der Neustadt zum Grindel, in: Wamser/Weinke (Hrsg.): Eine verschwundene Welt. Jüdisches Leben am Grindel, Springe 2006; Ursula Randt: Jüdische Schulen am Grindel, in: Wamser/Weinke (Hrsg.), ebd.; Ursula Randt: Die jüdischen Waisenhäuser, in: Wamser/Weinke (Hrsg.): Ebd.; Ursula Randt, Die Talmud Tora Schule in Hamburg 1805 bis 1942, Hamburg 2005; E. Rosenbaum und A. J. Sherman: Das Bankhaus M.M.Warburg& Co. 1798–1938, Hamburg 1976; Auskunft Fritz Neubauer, E-Mail vom 12.6.2014 und 14.7.2014.