Search for Names, Places and Biographies

Already layed Stumbling Stones

back to select list

Cornelia de Haas (née de Haas) * 1897

Weidenallee 12 (Eimsbüttel, Eimsbüttel)

JG. 1897

further stumbling stones in Weidenallee 12:
Ernst de Haas, Adolphe de Haas, Alice de Haas, Edith de Haas

Ernst de Haas, born 23 Oct. 1899 in Hamburg, deported 18 May 1943 from Westerbork to Sobibor, murdered there 21 May 1943
Cornelia de Haas, née de Haas, born 15 June 1897 in Semarang, deported from Westerbork to Auschwitz, murdered there 2 Nov. 1942
Adolphe de Haas, born 20 Mar. 1924 in Hamburg, deported from Westerbork to Auschwitz, murdered there 2 Nov. 1942
Alice Renate de Haas, born 7 Aug. 1925 in Hamburg, deported from Westerbork to Auschwitz, murdered there 2 Nov. 1942
Edith de Haas, born 21 Aug. 1926 in Hamburg, deported from Westerbork to Auschwitz, murdered there 2 Nov. 1942

Weidenallee 12

Ernst de Haas was born in 1899 in Hamburg, the son of Emile de Haas (27 Oct. 1856 – 7 Feb. 1935) and his wife Bertha de Haas, née Heilbut (*27 Oct. 1863, murdered in Sobibor 30 Apr. 1943). His parents had previously lived in Altona, where Ernst’s older sister Anna (married name Simson) was born on 2 September 1895. By the time Ernst was born, they had moved to Hamburg, where they lived at Rappstraße 24 the in Grindel Quarter. In the 1930s, Anna, her husband Max, and their two sons, Heinz (*2 Feb. 1927, murdered at Dachau 9 Feb. 1945) and Adolf Wilhelm (*29 Mar. 1924, murdered 23 Aug. 1942 in Auschwitz) also lived at Rappstraße 24.

Ernst lived with his parents until he married in 1922. He became a member of the Jewish Community in the same year. In November he married Cornelia de Haas, who had been born in the port city of Semarang on the island of Java, which at that time was part of the Dutch East Indies. She thus had Dutch citizenship, as did Ernst. She brought a considerable fortune into the marriage – the sum of 17,000 Dutch guilders (at that time worth 29,000 Goldmarks) in addition to valuable wedding presents from her relatives. The couple had three children – a son, Adolphe, and two daughters, Alice Renate and Edith.

Like his father Emile, Ernst de Haas became a businessman. The registry office records of 1922 list him as a sales clerk, and the tax records of the same year list him as a businessman. Ernst de Haas’ son Adolphe attended the Grone Trade and Language School, Schanzenstraße branch, in 1938, probably in preparation for a commercial profession. In the 1930s, Ernst and Cornelia de Haas were partners in the Alfred Elias OHG import company, which traded in hides. Cornelia held 50 percent of the shares. The third partner was the butcher Alfred Elias (*1879 in Waldbröl, died 1941 in the Lodz Ghetto). The shares may have been in Cornelia’s name because a business owned by Ernst de Haas in the 1920s had failed.
On 1 April 1938, Ernst de Haas’ business was "Aryanized,” and the family lost its means of existence in Germany. In a letter to the Chief Tax Authority dated 5 April 1938 he wrote: "Because of the current attitude toward Jewish companies, it has become impossible for the Alfred Elias company to remain in business. The company has been Aryanized by sale.” The sales price was 20,000 Reichsmarks.

In March 1937 Ernst de Haas began preparations for his family to emigrate to the Netherlands. On 24 March he submitted a request to the Chief Tax Authority for the transfer of 15,000 Reichsmarks from his wife’s assets. Because the Nazi regime had established measures to withhold the assets of those who emigrated, de Haas declared that he was not emigrating, but rather returning to the Netherlands. The funds he requested were to serve as the basis for a new existence in the Netherlands, and were thus necessary for him to be able to leave the country. On 5 May 1937 the Chief Tax Authority approved the transfer of 10,000 Reichsmarks, on the condition that Ernst de Haas and his family leave the country within two months after the money was deposited in the Nederlandschen Bank. De Haas transferred the money on 15 June 1937, but it was only credited to his account one year later, on 14 June 1938. He and his family thus had until 13 August 1938 to leave the country.

In the meantime, Ernst de Haas, with the help of his attorney Henry Minden (born 28 Mar. 1890 in Hamburg, died 7 Dec. 1971 in Hampstead), was required to fulfil other bureaucratic conditions for the emigration, such as the issuing of a clearance certificate by the Chief Tax Authority, which de Haas requested on 22 March 1938. He continued to prepare for the family’s move to Holland. In 1937 the family had moved into a rented apartment at Weidenallee 12. He had acquainted himself with the dimensions of a typical Dutch residence, in order to determine how much of the family’s furnishings could be taken with them. As a result he sold several pieces, like the piano and the dining room furniture, and made some new purchases. In August 1938, he submitted an inventory of the items to be taken to Holland to the Foreign Exchange Office. The items were inspected by the Customs Office before they were packed. In the inventory, de Haas had painstakingly listed all items according to the rooms in the apartment on Weidenallee. It was divided into three parts: the first part listed the items that de Haas had purchased especially for the new residence in Holland; the second listed the items that had been purchased after 1 January 1933; and the third listed those that had belonged to the family before 1933.

In early July 1938, Ernst de Haas and his family took a summer vacation to Scheveningen, a seaside resort in Holland. They stayed for a few days in the Grand Hotel, then moved to the Hotel Victoria. In early August they moved again to a bed and breakfast in The Hague. De Haas had rented a house there, but the family could not yet move in because their belongings had not yet arrived. The family had planned to return to Hamburg in early August 1938 to say good-bye to friends and relatives and to organize their move. Ernst de Haas returned in mid-August alone, his wife and children remained in the Netherlands. However, because the authorities had not yet cleared his belongings for transport, and because he was required to leave Germany by 13 August 1938, he had to return without having achieved anything.

While he was in Scheveningen, de Haas had been in contact with his attorney and the authorities in Hamburg about clearing his belongings for transport. The authorities repeatedly delayed the transport by changing the conditions and stipulations. The family had only taken summer clothing with them on their holiday, and would soon need warmer clothes. These clothes were among their belongings, however, which were still in Hamburg and which the authorities had not yet cleared for transport. By September 1938, Ernst de Haas had begun to feel that he was completely at the mercy of the authorities, as can be seen in a letter to his attorney dated 3 September 1938: "Although I submitted my inventory list as prescribed on 4 August 1938, I’m sitting here more than four weeks later and still don’t know what’s going on. I have met all of the official requirements, and I expect the German authorities to do the same for me, a foreigner.” After numerous attempts by his attorney to have the shipment cleared had failed, Ernst de Haas personally contacted the authorities from Holland in mid-September. He was told that the Foreign Exchange Office had accused him of wrongfully making use of the travel agreement when he and his family went on holiday to the Netherlands, because his real purpose had been to emigrate. For this reason the authorities were charging him with smuggling currency out of the country to Holland.

On 22 September 1938 the Foreign Exchange Office finally granted clearance for a part of the shipment to be transported. All of the newly purchased items were to remain in Germany. The Foreign Exchange Office justified its decision with the fact that Ernst de Haas had transferred a large sum of money out of the country and that he had made large purchases in the country, although he had declared bankruptcy with his business. Ernst de Haas countered that this long past situation had nothing to do with his emigration. In addition, the purchases for the new residence and the transfer of funds out of the country were made from the estate of his wife, who had brought a much larger fortune into Germany when she immigrated than the sum which had been transferred to Holland. He further stated that the Foreign Exchange Office had orally agreed to the sum of 4,000 Reichsmarks for the purchase of new items for the emigration. After his attorney’s attempts to appeal the authorities’ decision had failed, Ernst de Haas turned to the Dutch Consulate General in Hamburg. In a letter to the Consul General dated 7 October 1938, he wrote: "I am convinced that my attorney, Henry Minden, has done everything that he, as a Jewish lawyer, can possibly do. At the same time I am also convinced that his influence with the authorities is so minimal, that an intervention on his part is inexpedient.”

In early October 1938 the Foreign Exchange Office demanded that Ernst de Haas pay a fine of 500 guilders into his secured account for the unlawful use of currency stipulated for travel expenses. In response, de Haas wrote a five-page statement, dated 28 October 1938, to his attorney. He closed it with the words: "I have done everything a man can do to settle this matter quickly and with good will. I have even sent you a check for the 500 guilders, although I am unaware of any wrongdoing on my part, and although I explicitly pointed out, in my cover letter on 12 October, that I remain convinced that I have only done that to which I have every right.” De Haas also issued an ultimatum to the Foreign Exchange Office that the items cleared for transport on 22 October 1938 be released by 4 November 1938. If these conditions were met, he would deposit the 500 guilders demanded by the Foreign Exchange Office into his wife’s secured account. The Foreign Exchange Office consequently demanded that Henry Minden allow them access to de Haas’ file. Ernst de Haas agreed to this demand in order to emphasize the fact that he had nothing to hide.

On 25 November 1938 Ernst de Haas wrote a letter to his attorney, telling him that the cleared belongings had arrived in the Netherlands, and asked him to request clearance for the rest. Beginning in December 1938, de Haas’ case was handled by the attorney Herbert Samson (*26 Mar. 1898 in Hamburg, died of starvation in Bergen-Belsen, 5 Jan. 1945), who had taken over Henry Minden’s office in November 1938 when Minden emigrated to Holland. From there, Minden fled to Great Britain. In April 1939 Herbert Samson also emigrated to Holland. On 30 March 1939, the Dutch Consulate General informed the Chief Tax Authority of Ernst de Haas’ complaint. The Chief Tax Authority issued a statement on 18 June 1939, and granted permission for the items stored with the Jacoby company (Hoheluftchaussee 151) to be shipped to the Netherlands. In 1939 Ernst de Haas was represented by the lawyer Otto A. Ritter, who had been involved in the case since he worked in Minden’s office. In July of that year, Otto Ritter initiated the transport of the newly purchased furniture which the Foreign Exchange Office had finally cleared after the intervention of the Consulate General. The records contain a notification that the items were shipped on 17 September 1939. It had thus taken more than one year for Ernst de Haas to procure the release of the furniture he had bought for his emigration.

After they emigrated, the family lived in The Hague. When a portion of their furniture arrived in January 1939, they could finally move into the house they had rented at Galvanistraat 97. Cornelia de Haas and the three children, Adolphe, Alice Renate, and Edith, were still living at this address in April 1942. Cornelia had begun to work as an elementary school teacher. The youngest daughter, Edith, attended a city trade school until September 1941, when she was forced to transfer to the Jewish Lyceum.

In Holland, Ernst de Haas worked as a perfumer. Ernst and Cornelia de Haas had divorced in Hamburg in September 1938, for unknown reasons. In April 1942 Ernst de Haas was also living in The Hague, at Ohmstraat 74, with his mother Bertha de Haas-Heilbut, who had emigrated to Holland in August 1939. The family of his sister, Anna Simson, had emigrated to Holland in December 1938. Ernst de Haas remarried in Holland – his second wife and their child survived the war and the Shoah.

The systematic persecution and extermination of Jews began in the Netherlands in July 1942. Cornelia de Haas and her three children were sent to the Westerbork Transit Camp, then deported to Auschwitz in November 1942 and murdered.

Ernst de Haas and his mother Bertha de Haas-Heilbut were deported from Westerbork to Sobibor in 1943. She was murdered in the extermination camp on 30 April 1934, he on 21 May.

The last mention of the de Haas family in the Hamburg records is a request from the Vereinsbank in Cornelia de Haas’ name, dated 9 September 1941, that 30 Reichsmarks be transferred every month from her secured account to Else Rösel Nissensohn (*25 Oct. 1894, deported 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz, died there 4 May 1943).

Translator: Amy Lee

Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: October 2016
© Hannes Mürner

Quellen: 1; 2 (F 850; R 1938/ 2600); 4; 5; 8; Personenstandsbuch Hamburg 332-5 8767 und 625/1922; Digital Monument to the Jewish Community in the Netherlands,; Heiko Mo­ris­se: Jüdische Rechts­anwälte in Hamburg, S. 147 und 155; Björn Eggert, Biografie von Herbert Siegfried Samson, in: Ulrike Sparr, Stolpersteine in Hamburg-Winterhude. Biographische Spu­rensuche, S. 229–231.

print preview  / top of page