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Eugen Gowa als junger Mann (o. J.)
Eugen Gowa als junger Mann (o. J.)
© Yad Vashem

Eugen Gowa * 1904

Glockengießerwall / Ferdinandstraße (vormals Glockengießerwall 23) (Hamburg-Mitte, Hamburg-Altstadt)

JG. 1904

further stumbling stones in Glockengießerwall / Ferdinandstraße (vormals Glockengießerwall 23):
Julia Schwarzwald

Eugen Gowa, born 28 July 1904 in Hamburg, imprisoned in 1938, deported 14 Jan. 1943 to Auschwitz

Glockengießerwall 22
at corner of Ferdinandstraße (Glockengießerwall 23)

Eugen Gowa came from a Jewish family long established in Hamburg who had been merchants in the paper trade for generations. His father Siegmund Simon Gowa was co-owner of the company E. Michaelis & Co. at Admiralitätstraße 74, one of the oldest paper wholesalers in Hamburg. The company had been founded in 1804, exactly 100 years before Eugen’s birth, by Eduard Michaelis (born in 1771, died in 1847), a friend of Heinrich Heine, as a small stationary store at 1st Elbstraße 38 (today Neanderstraße). Henry Joseph Gowa (born on 17 July 1801), the great-grandfather of Eugen Gowa, became a partner in the company in 1834 after he had been employed by Eduard Michaelis. Henry Gowa lived with his family on streets in the traditional Jewish neighborhoods like Neustädter Fuhlentwiete 27, Groß Neumarkt 40 (today Großneumarkt), 1st Elbstraße 36 (today Neanderstraße) and Alter Steinweg 42 (above the retail shop of E. Michaelis & Co). Once Jews were granted equal civil rights and the accompanying freedom to choose where they lived, they left Neustadt and moved into a house at Eimsbüttlerstraße 43a in the suburb of St. Pauli in 1866. Henry Gowa belonged to the Jewish community and served as a member of the board of directors in 1859 for the opening of the new main synagogue on Kohlhöfen Street. When he passed away on 6 July 1880, he was buried at the old burial ground in the Jewish Grindel Cemetery. His wife Adelheid, née Bauer, was laid to rest next to him on 4 Jan. 1896.

Eugen’s father Siegmund Simon Gowa was the son of Ferdinand Philipp Gowa and Rosa, née Lilienfeld. He was born on 16 Feb. 1871 at Annenstraße 5. In 1872 Ferdinand and Rosa Gowa moved to Wilhelminenstraße 42. That same year Henry Gowa took his son Ferdinand into the company. Financial success made it possible for Ferdinand Gowa to move to Colonnaden 13 in downtown Hamburg in 1884. From 1888 to 1892 they lived in Grindel District at Grindelallee 43, then they lived at Admiralitätstraße 74 until 1896.

Eugen’s parents Siegmund Simon Gowa and Therese Polack had married on 10 Sept. 1899. Therese Polack was born in Hamburg on 3 Aug. 1878, daughter of the merchant Hermann Polack and Fanny, née Rothgiesser. Siegmund and Therese Gowa had five children. Their eldest sons Ferdinand and Hermann, named after their grandfathers, as well as Eugen and their younger daughters Ilse Johanna and Hilda were all born between 1900 and 1909. Siegmund Simon Gowa purchased the urban villa at Sophienterrasse 4, where the family was already living, in 1905. The address book lists him as co-owner of the company E. Michaelis & Co as of 1908. After World War I, the family moved to their own villa in the "Hochkamp Villa Estate” at Kaiser-Wilhelm-Straße 6 in Blankenese-Dockenhude.

Eugen attended the private boys pre-school Thedsen, at Jungfrauental 13, and later the prestigious high school Wilhelm-Gymnasium until finishing his diploma. First he completed commercial training with a paper merchant and studied several semesters of "paper engineering” at the Technical University in Darmstadt. After finishing his studies, he returned to his home town.

In 1931, at the age of 29, Eugen Gowa became an independent businessman with his own paper company. His first shop was located at Ferdinandstraße 29. Eugen Gowa possessed unusual knowledge of his wares, as his former accountant Hermann Rodecke later recalled. After 1933 he was able to compensate the financial losses he suffered from the call for a "Jewish boycott” by specializing in especially exquisite types of paper, for instance handmade paper and genuine Japanese paper. His customers included not just printers and book binderies but official services too continued to buy from him. In 1934 Eugen Gowa left the Jewish community in Hamburg. In Apr. 1937 he opened a second store in Berlin at Lützowstraße 96. His main store remained in Hamburg at Glockengießerwall 23, where he also lived as of Apr. 1935 after leaving his home at Heidberg 62 in Hamburg-Winterhude. He spent his free time on the weekends at his heathland house in Seppensen near Buchholz.

In spring 1938 Eugen Gowa was arrested for alleged "racial defilement”, a frequent charge made against Jewish entrepreneurs to drive them out of business. He was accused of having extramarital affairs with "Aryan women”, including with a childhood friend who he happened to run into on the street in 1932, long before the Nuremberg Laws were enacted. Once the "Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor” of 15 Sept. 1935 made their relationship illegal, they separated so as not to endanger themselves.

On 26 Sept. 1938 the Main Criminal Chamber of Hamburg’s Regional Court sentenced Eugen Gowa to eight years in prison, which he served in Bremen-Oslebshausen. His stores in Berlin and Hamburg were liquidated in Sept. 1938, his heathland house had already been confiscated by the Gestapo on 15 May. Before the end of his prison term, Eugen Gowa was transferred to Auschwitz on 14 Jan. 1943 in the course of the deportation of Jewish prisoners, where he was killed.

Eugen’s mother Therese Gowa was listed as a widow in the 1932 Hamburg address book, living at Ebertallee 37. Evidently she then left Hamburg with her daughter Hilda (born on 14 Mar. 1909). Her granddaughter René was born in the south of France in Cannes on 4 July 1933. In 1937 they were said to be living in Florence. According to the census in May 1939, they lived in Constance at Wilhelmstraße 8. In Sept. 1939 she returned to Hamburg, for reasons we do not know. Therese Gowa, who had already left the Jewish community in 1932, now was forced to be listed as a member of the Reich Association of Jews in Germany. Her recently created religious tax card, like that of her daughter Hilda, noted: "Moved here from Constance” and "nonreligious”. Only 194 Jewish residents were still living in Constance in 1939. Perhaps the Gowas hoped they could blend in to life more easily in the big city of Hamburg.

On 25 Oct. 1941 Therese Gowa, her daughter Hilda, with the occupational title "seamstress”, and her grandchild René were deported from Eppendorfer Landstraße 36, where they were living as lodgers, to Litzmannstadt Ghetto in Lodz. They were given accommodation at Sulzfelder Straße 5. Therese Gowa died on 18 Feb. 1942 in the "ghetto hospital” from a perforation of the stomach. In early May 1942, Hilda Gowa received her "departure order”. In a letter to the Jewish ghetto administration’s "Office for Resettlement”, she requested that the departure order be revoked because she was Catholic. Her request was rejected. Hilda and René Gowa were both deported on the 6th transport on 9 May 1942 along with 260 other "non-Aryan Christians” to Chelmno (Kulmhof) and, like all others upon arrival, were led into mobile gas vans and killed.

Her eldest brother Ferdinand Hermann Gowa (born on 24 June 1900) studied German literature, philosophy, art history, law and political sciences in Frankfurt on the Main, Munich, Freiburg, Cologne and Hamburg.

On 5 Oct. 1926 he married the Munich-based artist and set designer Anna/Anny Wildberg (born on 28 Oct. 1905).

He passed his first law exam on 5 Dec. 1929 and took the second exam on 10 May 1933. He received his doctorate from the University of Hamburg on 31 July 1933.

Early in 1934 he and others founded the Jewish Society of Art and Science, later renamed the Jewish Cultural Association of Hamburg e.V., where his wife Anna also worked as a stage designer. The couple lived with their children Peter (born in1927) and Ruth (born in 1931) at Graf-Spee-Straße 3 in Hamburg-Nienstedten.

In 1937 Ferdinand Gowa became managing director of the Jewish Community Building Ltd. on Hartungstraße.

In Nov. 1938 he was arrested by the Gestapo and taken to Buchenwald concentration camp. He was pressured to give up the independence of the cultural association. Following his release, he immigrated to Sweden on 21 July 1939 and from there on to the USA in Feb. 1940. Ferdinand Gowa died in 1972 in Nashville, Tennessee.

His younger brother Hermann Gowa (born on 25 May 1902), who later went by the name Henry, had founded a theater group in high school, and after studying philosophy, literature, theater and art history in Munich, he began studying art at the Heinrich Knirr School. In 1924 he made a name for himself as the youngest stage designer, later as the Technical Director and staff member of the Munich Staatstheater, at the Frankfurt Schauspielhaus, the Altes Theater in Leipzig as well as in Berlin and Schwerin. In 1929 he married Sabine Spiero in Frankfurt on the Main. They divorced in 1936. Hermann Gowa’s last position in Germany was at Stadttheater Schneidemühl in Posen. On 31 Mar. 1933 he immigrated via Berlin and Switzerland to France. In 1934 he moved from Paris to Nice. In 1939 at the outbreak of war, he was initially interned there as a German immigrant. After his release in July 1940, he returned to Nice where he joined the Résistance. In Sept. 1940 he married the French painter Annie Roussel. The couple had three children, Patrick, Chantal and Anne Sabine. When German troops advanced into the unoccupied territories of the Free Zone, he fled to the small mountain village of Le Broc in 1943 where he survived the end of the war under the protection of the village mayor. From 1954 to 1964 he was Director of the Werkschule in Offenbach (today Hochschule für Gestaltung). Henry Gowa, bearer of the Federal Cross of Merit, died on 23 May 1990 in Munich. His legacy, which includes over 1200 of his own works of art, is now held at the Jewish Museum of Frankfurt.

We were unable to determine when his sister Ilse, married name Brignone (born on 19 Aug. 1907), immigrated to France. In 1994 her daughter Therese Brignone left memorial sheets for her family at Yad Vashem in Israel.

Translator: Suzanne von Engelhardt
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: April 2020
© Susanne Rosendahl

Quellen: 1; 2; 4; 5; 8; 9; StaH 213-1 OLG Abl. 8, 143 E, L 4a; StaH 351-11 AfW 29152 (Gowa, Eugen); StaH 351-11 AfW 34722 (Gowa, Hilda); StaH 351-11 AfW 3670 (Gowa, Therese); StaH 351-11 AfW 26186 (Gowa, Hermann Henry); StaH 351-11 AfW 23953 (Gowa, Ferdinand Hermann); StaH 314-15 OFP, R 1938/3292; StaH 314-15 OFP, F 789; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 1955 u 86/1880; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 395 u 30/1896; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 8596 u 438/1899; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 13500 u 613/1901; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 14186 u 1986/1904; StaH 332-5 Standesämter 7982 u 340/1905; StaH 232-3 Testament Henry Gowa H 7301; StaH 241-2 Justizverwaltung Personalakte A 1310; StaH 731-8, A902 Michaelis & Co.; StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden 161 Hochdeutsche Israelitische Gemeinde in Altona, Mitgliederliste 1924–1926; StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinde Nr. 992 e 2 Band 1; USHMM, RG 15.083, 299/752, Fritz Neubauer, Universität Bielefeld; Lodz Hospital, Der Hamburger Gesellschaft für Genealogie zur Verfügung gestellt von Peter W. Landé, 2009, USHMM, Washington, bearbeitet von Margot Löhr; Yad Vashem, Zentrale Datenbank der Namen der Holocaustopfer Eugen Gowa (Gedenkblatt); Yad Vashem, Zentrale Datenbank der Namen der Holocaustopfer Therese Gowa (Gedenkblatt); Yad Vashem, Zentrale Datenbank der Namen der Holocaustopfer René Gowa (Gedenkblatt); Yad Vashem, Zentrale Datenbank der Namen der Holocaustopfer Hilda Gowa (Gedenkblatt); Das Buch der alten Firmen der Freien und Hansestadt Hamburg, S. 22 IV; Bruhns: Kunst, Band 2, S. 161; Ritter (Hrsg.): Künstler, S. 195; Gossler: Papierverkäufer, S. 31; Morisse: Ausgrenzung, Bd. 2: Juristen, S. 119; Riedel: über Henry Gowa, (Zugriff 5.3.2015); (Zugriff 26.7.2015); (Zugriff 26.7.2015); diverse Hamburger Adressbücher.
Zur Nummerierung häufig genutzter Quellen siehe Link "Recherche und Quellen".

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