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Hermann Epstein * 1857

Zesenstraße 15 (Hamburg-Nord, Winterhude)

1942 Theresienstadt
ermordet 28.09.1942

further stumbling stones in Zesenstraße 15:
Herbert Epstein

Hermann Epstein, born on 20 Feb. 1857 in Hamburg, deported on 19 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, died on 28 Sept. 1942 in Theresienstadt

Zesenstrasse 15 (Winterhude)

Founded in 1876 in Hamburg, the M. Epstein soap and perfume plant, being a family business, significantly shaped the lives of several generations of the Epstein family. With the company named after its founder Moses Epstein (1830–1912), his son Hermann joined the management in 1885 and his grandson Herbert in 1923. An L. Epstein was also a co-owner in the early stages of the company until 1883. Hermann Epstein’s brother-in-law Hermann Norden (1857–1924) became an authorized signatory in the soap and perfume plant in 1913, which produced perfumery and cosmetic articles, exporting them to West Africa, India (British), and the Straits Settlements (= Malay Peninsula with Singapore, British). The company kept its own recipe books and had a registered trademark. In the 1930s, Herbert’s brother Kurt Epstein (born in 1899) was a ‘silent partner’ (financier not active in the company) with a one-fifth share in the profits and losses. The company set up its first production premises at Alter Steinweg 42 in the middle building/intersection of Grossneumarkt (1879–1889), then moved to Wilhelmstrasse 2 (1890–1900), as well as briefly to Mercurstrasse 2 (1901–1903), and finally to Kleiner Grasbrook (Steinwerder) near Reiherstieg, at Werftstrasse 10 (1904–1935), a municipal property. As of 1936, the M. Epstein Company was no longer listed in the Hamburg directory – having ceased production in Dec. 1934, it had been deleted from the company register in June 1935.

The company founder Moses Epstein (born on 9 Sept. 1830), who was born in Gehaus (Thuringia) and had his first name abbreviated in all Hamburg directories, had moved to Hamburg before 1850 with his parents Baruch Epstein and Mine, née Baum. At that time, many residents, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, had left the village of Gehaus, where they could no longer make a living.

In the Hanseatic city of Hamburg, Moses Epstein was commercially successful, thus enabling him to acquire citizenship there in 1855. It was not until 1849 that Jews, too, had been able to obtain citizenship in Hamburg; to do so, they had to prove an annual income of 1,200 marks for five consecutive years.

The marriage of Moses and Pesse Betty Epstein, née Koppel (died before 1883), produced the following children: Julie (in 1855), Hermann (in 1857), Albert (in 1862), and Rosa (in 1872). The family lived at Alter Steinweg 42 (including 1882–1883), where an L. Epstein was already listed as the main tenant from 1861, and at Parkallee 15 (1884–1898). Moses Epstein then moved in with his daughter Rosa Gutmann, née Epstein, at Hansastrasse 14 (1898–1899) and Eichenallee 54 on the second floor (1899–1912), which was later renamed Brahmsallee 18.

Hermann Epstein attended a secondary school in Hamburg until 1875 and was thus eligible for the shortened one-year military service. He was struck off the Hamburg mustering register in 1877, but there were no more specific references to a possible ineligibility for military service.

In 1885, he became co-owner of his father’s perfume plant, and in 1887, he acquired Hamburg citizenship. For many years, he was friends with the owner of the M. A. Frischmann "drug wholesaler,” David Frischmann (born on 20 Apr. 1864 in Brody/Galicia). His brother Albert Epstein (1862–1928) was also a co-owner of the business from 1903 to 1919, until he founded his own import and export company in 1920.

Hermann Epstein (born in 1857) and his wife Minka Epstein, née Norden (born on 13 Sept. 1860 in Hamburg), had married in 1883 and had four children: Betty (born on 7 Sept. 1884 in Hamburg), Paula (born on 27 June 1887 in Hamburg), Herbert (born on 20 Sept. 1892 in Hamburg), and Kurt (born on 13 Dec. 1899 in Hamburg). The residential addresses of the family were: Alter Steinweg 36/ Hamburg-Neustadt (1884–1886); 2nd Durchschnitt 24 (renamed Rentzelstrasse in 1899)/ Rotherbaum (1887–1888); Schlump 18/ Eimsbüttel (including from 1889 to 1891); Hohe Weide 9/ Eimsbüttel (including from 1893 to 1895); Grindelberg 9a/ Harvestehude (1896–1898); Klosterallee 27/ Harvestehude (a seven-room apartment, from 1899 to 1932, where the Grindel high-rises are located today); Loogestieg 17/ Eppendorf (a five-room apartment, from 1933 to 1934); Zesenstrasse 15/ Winterhude (1935–1938); and Jungfrauenthal 28 (1938–1941, first a three-and-a-half-room apartment and later an attic apartment).

Since at least 1927, Herbert Epstein (see was also listed in the directory with the same residential addresses as his father; his mother Minka Epstein passed away on 26 Oct. 1932.

Hermann Epstein reportedly was a leading member of the Jewish Henry James Masonic Lodge in Hamburg of the independent order B’nai Brith. Founded in Hamburg in 1887, the Lodge converted the residential building at Hartungstrasse 9–11 (today the Hamburger Kammerspiele) into a "lodge home” in 1903. David Frischmann was also a member of the Henry Jones Lodge (as well as on the board of the Jewish Community). The Lodge was banned and disbanded in Apr. 1937. (David Frischmann emigrated to the USA in June 1939 with his wife Lea (Louise) Frischmann, née Nadel, born on 30 Apr. 1865 in Odessa, and their children).

Son Herbert Epstein attended the private Wahnschaff secondary school until 1911, was trained as an export merchant (in Britain, among other places), and participated in World War I starting in Oct. 1914 as a soldier in the Infantry Regiment 76 Replacement Battalion.

Since 1922, he belonged to the German-Israelitic Community as an independent member. He married non-Jewish Hertha Doeling (1903–1985) in 1931.

After the closure of the M. Epstein soap and perfume factory in 1935, Herbert Epstein found temporary employment at the M. A. Frischmann drug wholesaler (at Neuer Wall 54), until this company, too, was economically damaged in the course of the Nazi "Aryanization policy” and finally forcibly deleted from the company register. He then worked for the Landauer Company in 1938/1939. From 1939 onward, he was unemployed.

During the November Pogrom (9/10 Nov. 1938), Gestapo officers appeared at the door of the apartment at Jungfrauenthal 28 to pick up Herbert Epstein. However, he was already hiding in Fallingbostel in the Lüneburg Heath with his sister-in-law Anna Weberling, née Doeling, and her husband Friedrich "Fritz” and he did not return to Hamburg until three weeks later. Under pressure from the Gestapo, the couple divorced in 1941. Herbert Epstein, who had then lived in the "Jews’ house” ("Judenhaus”) at Agathenstrasse 3, was deported to Theresienstadt on 15 July 1942, and he died there on 6 Dec. 1942.

Hermann Epstein was committed to the former Paulinenstift Israelite orphanage (at Laufgraben 37), which had been converted into a retirement home in 1942. Four days after his son Herbert, he was deported to the Theresienstadt Ghetto on 19 July 1942, where he was quartered in building Q 418 (= Neue Gasse 18). He died there on 18 Sept. 1942, officially of old age.

Along with Herbert Epstein, his aunt, Hermann Epstein’s sister Rosa Gutmann, née Epstein (born on 12 July 1872), was deported to the Theresienstadt Ghetto on 15 July 1942, together with her husband Manfred (Mannas) Gutmann (born in 1869 in Hamburg-Eimsbüttel). Manfred Gutmann died there already on 15 Aug. 1942, Rosa Gutmann on 5 Mar. 1943. Stolpersteine commemorate them in front of the residential building at Jungfrauenthal 28 (Harvestehude).

The daughter of Hermann Epstein, Paula Lisser, née Epstein, married the merchant Carl Lisser (born on 31 Jan. 1876 in Hamburg, died on 17 Feb. 1927), owner of the Alfred Friedheim Nachf. [Succrs.] Company for upholstery materials (at Kleiner Burstah 10), lived at Haynstrasse 28 (1908–1911), Brahmsallee 16 (1912–1927), Brahmsallee 12 (1928–1930), Hansastrasse 55 (1931–1933), Zesenstrasse 5 on the third floor (in 1934), Alsterdorferstrasse 98 on the third floor/ Winterhude (including from 1935 to May 1939), and Isestrasse 30 with Wilhelm and Hedwig Fränkel (including in 1941). Their daughters emigrated: Edith (born in 1908) to South Africa and Gerda (born in 1913) to Britain. Paula Lisser tried unsuccessfully in 1939 to emigrate to Johannesburg/South Africa to join her daughter; she was deported to Lodz on 25 Oct. 1941, to the "Litzmannstadt” Ghetto established there by the German occupation forces. In May 1942, she was further deported to the Chelmno extermination camp and murdered.

Hermann Epstein’s daughter Betty Samson, née Epstein (born on 7 Dec. 1884 in Hamburg) was married to the banker Bernhard Samson (born on 19 July 1875 in Hamburg) since 1907. His banking business had eventually rented business premises at Schauenburgerstrasse 2 (Schmiedehof). His clientele included the firms M. Epstein and Geb. [Bros.] Baumann, lawyer Ernst Kaufmann, Walter Rappolt and Hans Rappolt, as well as Albert Baumann and Paula Lisser. The anti-Jewish measures of the Nazi dictatorship damaged Bernhard Samson’s banking business and drove him and his family into emigration. In Mar. 1934, he signed a contract with Bankgeschäft Mertz & Co. (a bank owned by Georg Salb) for joint transactions, and in Nov. 1936, the banking houses entered into a five-year contract with a one-time cash payment to Bernhard Samson and monthly payments to Paula Lisser (authorized representative: Fritz Samson), as well as profit distributions to Mathilde Samson. In 1941, Georg Salb took over the banking business as owner according to the contract. Betty and Bernhard Samson emigrated to Haifa-Hadar (Palestine) in Jan. 1937, where Bernhard Samson died in 1950. Betty Samson passed away in Berlin (West) in 1954.

Hermann Epstein’s sister Julie Epstein (born on 6 Mar. 1855 in Hamburg) had married the merchant Hermann Norden (born on 27 July 1857 in Hamburg) in 1882. The couple had two daughters. The family lived for a very long time at Bornstrasse 1/ Rotherbaum (1901–1914) and Curschmannstrasse 15/ Hoheluft-Ost (1914–1924). Hermann Norden passed away in 1924; Julie Norden, née Epstein, died in Hamburg on 27 Feb. 1939, and she was buried in the Hamburg-Ohlsdorf Jewish Cemetery. Her daughter, Käthe Kaufmann, divorced name Eggeling, née Norden (1886–1943), had been married to the lawyer Ernst Kaufmann (1880–1944) since 1926. The couple was deported to Theresienstadt on 9 June 1943, where Käthe Kaufmann perished already on 1 Aug. 1943. Ernst Kaufmann was deported to Auschwitz on 9 Oct. 1944 and murdered there. Stolpersteine commemorate the couple at Hochallee 75.

Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: May 2021
© Björn Eggert

Quellen: Staatsarchiv Hamburg (StaH) 213-13 (Landgericht Hamburg, Wiedergutmachung), 19610 (Paula Lisser geb. Epstein); StaH 231-7 (Handelsregister), A 1 Band 18 (M. Epstein, HR A 4834); StaH 231-7 (Handelsregister), A 1 Band 32 (M. A. Frischmann, HR A 7970); StaH 314-15 (Oberfinanzpräsident), F 2072 (Bernhard u. Betty Samson); StaH 314-15 (Oberfinanzpräsident), FVg 5622 (Paula Lisser geb. Epstein, 1939); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 2644 u. 1301/1882 (Heiratsregister 1882, Hermann Norden u. Julie Epstein); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 2655 u. 669/1883 (Heiratsregister 1883, Hermann Epstein u. Minka Norden); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 2082 u. 4188/1884 (Geburtsregister 1884, Betty Epstein); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 8589 u. 72/1898 (Heiratsregister 1898, Manfred Gutmann u. Rose Epstein); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 13091 u. 2566/1899 (Geburtsregister 1899, Kurt Epstein); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 8640 u. 348/1905 (Heiratsregister 1905, Bernhard Samson u. Betty Epstein); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 8650 u. 231/1907 (Heiratsregister 1907, Carl Lisser u. Paula Epstein); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 8012 u. 578/1912 (Sterberegister 1912, Moses Epstein); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 8723 u. 252/1918 (Heiratsregister 1918, Albert Epstein u. Frieda Schwarz geb. Noafeldt); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 920 u. 342/1927 (Sterberegister 1927, Carl Lisser); StaH 332-7 (Staatsangehörigkeitsaufsicht), A I e 40 Bd. 5 (Bürger-Register 1845-1875 A-F), Moses Epstein (16.2.1855 Nr. 152); StaH 332-7 (Staatsangehörigkeitsaufsicht), A I e 40 Bd. 9 (Bürger-Register 1876-1896 A-K), Hermann Epstein (10.6.1887 Nr. 13744); StaH332-8 (Meldewesen), Alte Einwohnermeldekartei 1892-1925, K 6047 (Moses Epstein); StaH 332-8 (Meldewesen), K 6677 (Alte Einwohnermeldekartei 1892-1925), Hermann Norden; StaH 342-2 (Militärersatzbehörden), D II 7 Band 1 (Hermann Epstein); StaH 342-2 (Militärersatzbehörden), D II 147 Band 2 (Epstein); StaH 342-2 (Militärersatzbehörden), D II 27, Band 1 (Albert Epstein); StaH 351-11 (Amt für Wiedergutmachung), 10052 (Paula Lisser geb. Epstein); StaH 351-11 (Amt für Wiedergutmachung), 27613 (Herta Epstein); StaH 351-11 (Amt für Wiedergutmachung), 13367 (Frieda Epstein geb. Noafeldt); StaH 351-11 (Amt für Wiedergutmachung), 2841 (Bernhard Samson); StaH 351-11 (Amt für Wiedergutmachung), 928 (David Frischmann); StaH 522-1 (Jüdische Gemeinden), 992b (Kultussteuerkartei der Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde Hamburg), Albert Epstein, Herbert Epstein, Paula Lisser; StaH 741-4 (Fotoarchiv), Rollfilm L 21/4 (ursprünglich StaH 621-1/84, Firmenarchiv Ernst Kaufmann, 88 Nachlassabwicklung Julie Norden, 1939); Jüdischer Friedhof Hamburg-Ohlsdorf, Gräberverzeichnis (Moses Epstein, Grablage C 9-9); Nationalarchiv Prag, Institut Theresienstädter Initiative, Todesfallanzeige Ghetto Theresienstadt (Herbert Epstein, Hermann Epstein); Bad Fallingbostel, Einwohnermelderegister (Friedrich und Anna Weberling); Handelskammer Hamburg, Handelsregisterinformationen (M. Epstein, HR A 4834; Albert Epstein, HR A 24598; M. A. Frischmann, HR A 7970); Hamburger Börsenfirmen, Hamburg 1910, S. 168 (M. Epstein, gegr. 1876, Parfümerie-Fabrik für Exp., Kleiner Grasbrook, Werftstr. 10, Inhaber: M. u. H. Epstein), S. 564 (Bernhard Samson, gegr. 1901, Bank- u. Wechselgeschäft, Prokuristen: H. Samson Jr. und Carl Emil Rosenthal, Gröningerstr. 28); Hamburger Börsenfirmen, Hamburg 1926, S. 260 (M. Epstein, gegr. 1876, Parfümerie-Fabr., Kleiner Grasbrook, Werftstr. 10, Inhaber: Herm. u. Herbert Epstein, Prokurist: Herm. Norden), S. 290 (Alfred Friedheim Nachf., gegr. 1882, Heede, gesponnene Roßhaare u. Polstermaterialien, Inhaber: Carl Lisser, Prokurist: Hermann Epstein, Kleiner Burstah 10), S. 891 (Bernhard Samson, gegr. 1901, Bank- u. Wechselgeschäft, Prokurist: Jos. Wechsler, Mönkedamm 7); Hamburger Börsenfirmen, Hamburg 1935, S. 211 (M. Epstein, gegr. 1876, Parfümeriefabrik, Kleiner Grasbrook, Werftstr. 10, Inhaber: Hermann u. Herbert Epstein); Hamburger Börsenfirmen, Hamburg 1935, S. 211 (Albert Epstein, gegr. 1920, Im- u. Export, Steinstr. 10, Inhaber: Frieda Epstein Witwe geb. Noafeldt u. Ad. Noafeldt, Prokurist: Hermann Epstein); Adressbuch Hamburg (L. Epstein, ohne Berufs- oder Firmenangabe, Alter Steinweg 42) 1861-1863, 1865, 1870; Adressbuch Hamburg (Firma M. Epstein) 1879, 1880, 1882-1893, 1895-1905, 1908, 1911, 1913; Adressbuch (Hermann Epstein) 1884-1891, 1893, 1895-1898, 1900-1905, 1908, 1911, 1913, 1920, 1927, 1930, 1932-1936, 1938; Adressbuch (Herbert Epstein) 1927, 1930, 1932-1936, 1938; Adressbuch Hamburg (Carl bzw. Paula Lisser), 1908, 1910-1912, 1927-1930, 1932-1936; Frank Bajohr, "Arisierung" in Hamburg. Die Verdrängung der jüdischen Unternehmer 1933-1945, Hamburg 1998, S. 356 (M. A. Frischmann, Drogerieartikel-Großhandel, Neuer Wall 54); Horst Beckershaus, Die Hamburger Straßennamen, Hamburg 1997, S. 85 (Durchschnitt), S. 299 (Rentzelstraße); Anne Frühauf, Fabrikarchitektur in Hamburg, Hamburg 1991, S. 75 (Seifenfabrik Julius Peters/ Altona), S. 137 (Seifenfabrik Georg Dralle), S. 144 (Seifenfabrik G. H. Lange, J. J. Lundius Nachf.); Ina Lorenz, Die Juden in Hamburg zur Zeit der Weimarer Republik, Hamburg 1987, 2 Bände, S. 1408 Fußnote 94 (David Frischmann); Wilhelm Mosel, Wegweiser zu ehemaligen jüdischen Stätten in Hamburg, Heft 3, Hamburg 1989, S. 54-72 (Hartungstraße 9-11); Wilhelm Westermann, Gefallene – Verwundete – Kriegsgefangene des Ersten Weltkriegs, Hrsg. Wolfgang Brandes, Stadtarchiv Bad Fallingbostel, 2015, S. 25 (Fritz Weberling, geb. 20.6.1898, Angaben zu Verletzungen und Gefangenschaft); (Todesfallanzeige Ghetto Theresienstadt, Käthe Kaufmann); (Baruch Eppstein).

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