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Henry Esriel Kohn * 1879

Jenischstraße 13 (Altona, Osdorf)

JG. 1879
ERMORDET 4.2.1945

Henry Esriel Kohn, born 16.1.1879 in Hamburg, imprisoned in the Fuhlsbüttel police prison, deported to Auschwitz, further deported via the Groß-Rosen concentration camp to the Dachau concentration camp, murdered there on 4.2.1945

Jenischstrasse 13, Osdorf

Zipora Sophie Heiden, née Kohn, born on 8.6.1875 in Hamburg, deported on 19.7.1942
to the Theresienstadt ghetto, liberated

Kleiststrasse 10, Wandsbek

Henry Esriel Kohn and Zipora Heiden, née Kohn, were two of the eleven children of the Jewish merchant Joseph Berkowitz Kohn, who was very well known in Hamburg in his time, and his also Jewish wife Guetel, called Auguste, née Gabrielsen.

Henry Esriel Kohn was born in Hamburg on 16 Jan. 1879 and murdered on 4 Feb. 1945. Zipora Heiden, called Sophie, was born in Hamburg on 8 June 1875; she survived the Theresienstadt ghetto.

In order to understand both persecution stories, an overview of the entire Kohn family is necessary.

The father of the family, Joseph Berkowitz Kohn, and his twin brother Henrik were born on 15 Apr. 1841 in Łęczyca, about 40 kilometers north of Łódź in the Kingdom of Poland (Russian Poland), which was then under Russian control. They came from a wealthy Polish-speaking Jewish merchant family in which education was a high priority. The family was committed to the Jewish Enlightenment. Joseph Berkowitz and Henrik Kohn had three other siblings: Michael Israel, called Isidor, born 11 Apr. 1844, Saul, called Sally, born around 1854, and Machalina (or Michalina), born 11 Dec. 1857. All of them lived in Hamburg, at least temporarily.

Joseph Berkowitz Kohn participated in various national-Polish emancipation struggles against the Tsarist Russification policy, most recently in the suppressed January 1863 uprising. After its failure, he was induced by the local uprising committee to leave the country because this seemed most reasonable for him with his knowledge of foreign languages. He was to take the responsibility for the rebellion upon himself. So, on 12. Oct. 1863, Joseph Berkowitz Kohn fled from his native town of Łęczyca, first to Warsaw, then, under the alias Joseph BRAK (the initials of the Hebrew name Ben Reb Aron Kohn) and disguised as a postal conductor in a railroad mail car, further to Prussia (Thorn, Danzig, Bromberg, Berlin).

On 20 Apr. 1864, Joseph Berkowitz Kohn arrived in Hamburg. He first tried his hand as a lottery ticket seller with little success. Then he began an apprenticeship. He took over goods from his master at a reasonable price and started a business in shoemaker supplies.

On 2 May 1867, Joseph Berkowitz Kohn married Auguste Guetel Gabrielsen, who was also Jewish, first in a civil ceremony, then ritually on 5 May in the High German Jewish Community (Hochdeutsche Israeliten Gemeinde) in Altona. Auguste Guetel Gabrielsen was born as the daughter of the schoolteacher Pincus Gabrielsen and his wife Eva on 3 Feb. 1842 in the then Prussian city of Altona. The young couple lived at Görttwiete 14, a now-defunct extension of Hopfenmarkt street in Hamburg's old town. According to the address book of 1868, Joseph Berkowitz Kohn ran an agency and commission business.

At Görttwiete 14, Auguste Guetel and Joseph Berkowitz Kohn had their first of eleven children on 16 Aug. 1868, a girl who, although called Emma in daily intercourse, was entered in the birth register of the High German Jewish Community of Altona as Esther. Esther was the so-called synagogue name, Emma the common first name in the non-Jewish society. Most of Joseph Berkowitz Kohn's children additionally received such profane names. Esther Kohn lived not quite three months, she died on 12. Nov. 1868.

According to the Hamburg address book of 1870, Joseph Berkowitz Kohn had now specialized in the trade of leather and shoe fabrics. His area of activity included Hamburg and also the neighbouring cities. The business developed so well that he was able to move into larger business premises and the family into an apartment at Neuer Wall 31. The family changed their residence in Hamburg at least nine times until 1905.

Joseph Berkowitz Kohn's brother Michael Israel, called Isidor, also settled in Hamburg. According to the Hamburg address book of 1872, he had a leather shop at Alter Steinweg 62. Parallel to their own business, the brothers founded, according to the Hamburg address book, a joint company in 1873 under the name Kohn Brothers (Gebr. Kohn), but this was soon dissolved. The brothers now ran their business independently, Joseph Berkowitz as sole owner until the late 1880s, but he continued to operate under the name of the company Gebr. Kohn at what was then Woltmannstraße 15 b in Hammerbrook, Michael Isidor a shoe and boots store at what was then Langereihe 21 (today Rambachstraße) in Neustadt.

In response to increasing Antisemitism, Joseph Berkowitz Kohn founded an association with Polish members, in which Christians and Jews cultivated their national language. He was also a member of the Jewish association B'nai B'rith (from 1887 Henry Jones Lodge). According to its self-portrayal, the Jewish organization, which still exists today, was dedicated to the promotion of tolerance, humanity and welfare, as well as education about Judaism and within Judaism.
From the mid-1870s, Joseph Berkowitz Kohn became involved in Hamburg's Social Democracy. At the end of the 19th century, he played a leading role at the foundation of the Consumption, Construction and Savings Association "Production" (Konsum-, Bau- und Sparverein "Produktion"), one of the most important socialist consumer societies.

On 9 May 1873, Joseph Berkowitz Kohn acquired Hamburg citizenship, his brother Michael Israel on 10 May 1887.

At the end of the 19th century, Joseph Berkowitz Kohn withdrew from the leather trade, in which he had been engaged for many years. In the later years of his life, he again concentrated on the agency and commission business.

Joseph Berkowitz Kohn died on 3 Apr. 1905 in his apartment at Alstertwiete 28 in St. Georg. The funeral service must have been a significant event. A constable of the political police, sent out to observe, reported: "More than 100 people had gathered at the death house at Alstertwiete 28. The coffin was followed by 85 persons, including 5 women. Among the cortege were [Louis] Grünwaldt, [Franz] Laufkötter, [Erdmann] Dubber, Grosse, A. Junge, Thieme and several other [Social Democratic] greats. In addition, the coffin was followed by 9 Landauer coaches and a cab. A red flag with black pile was carried by Dubber, likewise several wreaths, including one with a red ribbon, were carried. The whole funeral service was according to Jewish usage, even the bearers were Jews."

Auguste Guetel Kohn continued to run her husband's business, until son Ahron Arnold took it over in about 1907. The widow died on 28 Sept. 1920, last living with her daughter Zipora at Eilbeker Weg 183 in the Eilbek district.

The children of Joseph Berkowitz and Auguste Guetel Kohn, following Esther Kohn who died very young, were born between 1870 and 1886. In detail: Saul, called Leo, on 11 Feb. 1870, Nachum, called Georg, on 26 July 1871, Rosalie, called Rosi, on 26 Apr. 1873, Zipora, called Sophie, on 8 June 1875, Pincus Nathan, called Paul, on 15 July 1876, Isidor, called Max, on 11 Dec. 1877, Henry Esriel, on 16 Jan. 1879, Minna, on 29 Apr. 1880, Ahron, called Arnold, on 26 June 1883, Betty, on 6 Nov. 1886.

The fate of the children of Joseph Berkowitz and Auguste Guetel Kohn
The above-mentioned children had to suffer severely under the Nazi persecution. Eight of them survived under the protection of their non-Jewish spouses or by leaving Germany in time. Henry Esriel Kohn's and Zipora Heiden's fate is described in detail below:

Henry Esriel Kohn
Henry Esriel Kohn was born on 16 Jan. 1879, at Fuhlentwiete 18/19 in Hamburg-Neustadt. The Kohn family lived there since at least 1874. We know nothing about his childhood and youth. From 1 Apr. 1904, he worked as an elementary school teacher, including at the boys' school Hopfenstraße in St. Pauli. On 7 May of the same year, he married Gretchen Jantzen, a Lutheran bookseller's daughter, born on 18 Sept. 1882 in St. Georg. The couple had two children, Charlotte, born on 5 Oct. 1906, and Johannis Wolfgang, named John, born on 11 Oct. 1908.

During World War I, Henry Esriel Kohn served as a soldier. Decorated several times, including EK I and EK II, the Hanseatic Cross and the Austrian Order of Merit, he returned, promoted to lieutenant.

Parallel to his profession, Henry Esriel Kohn also worked as a journalist for the "Hamburger Fremdenblatt”. He was also a member of the SPD. The "Hamburger Fremdenblatt”, one of Hamburg's most important daily newspapers, was expropriated by the Nationalsocialist state in 1936.

On 7 Apr. 1933, the "Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service" (Gesetz zur Wiederherstellung des Berufsbeamtentums) came into force. The name was misleading. It was intended to disguise the aim of removing Jews and politically undesirable persons from state and state-related service. According to Section 3 (1) of the "First Regulation for the Implementation of the Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service" civil servants who had only one Jewish grandparent in their family tree were considered "civil servants of non-Aryan descent," even if they did not consider themselves Jewish. They could be dismissed or, as long-serving civil servants from the period before 1914, retired early. This is what happened to Henry Esriel Kohn. At the end of 30 Nov. 1933, he was granted early retirement as a Jew with a pension of RM 311,38 per month. After he reached the age of 65 in 1944, his pension was reduced from 78% to 75%, i.e. to RM 299,50 per month.

After the dismissal from the teaching profession and the following drastic reduction in income, the family could not keep their apartment at Oderfelder Straße 1 in Harvestehude. They moved to Preußerstraße 11 in Othmarschen on 11 Aug. 1934, to Johnsallee 67 in the Rotherbaum district for four months on 24 July 1937, and then to Klein Flottbek at Lünkenberg 1 for the next six years, beginning 22 Nov. 1937. According to statements by Gretchen Kohn, the family had to leave the apartment after it was confiscated by the Gestapo on 28 Sept. 1943. They now moved into Gretchen Kohn's parents' house at Jenischstraße 13 in Osdorf. In the meantime, this apartment building belonged to Gretchen Kohn's stepmother Clara Jantzen, the second wife of Gretchen's father. On 11 Feb. 1944, Henry Esriel Kohn was arrested by two Gestapo officers and imprisoned in the Fuhlsbüttel police prison (known as the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp, KolaFu). The apartment was searched, letters and books confiscated. Gretchen Kohn suspected a denunciation of a neighbour who occupied the basement rooms. The presumed reason for the arrest were anti-state articles that Henry Esriel Kohn had written. No further details are known. Gretchen Kohn was allowed to visit her husband only once.

In June 1944, Henry Esriel Kohn was deported from Fuhlsbüttel to Auschwitz. His prisoner number was 189543. From the Auschwitz concentration camp, Henry Esriel Kohn was able to make letter contact with his wife. Gretchen Kohn later reported that she was still in possession of his last seven letters.

During the dissolution of the Auschwitz concentration camp, Henry Esriel Kohn was probably deported via the Groß-Rosen concentration camp to the Dachau concentration camp in winter of 1944, where he had to wear the prisoner number 140252. He arrived there on 28 Jan. 1945 and died on 4 Feb. 1945.

Gretchen Kohn was informed about her husband's death only two years later. She continued to live at Jenischstraße 13 in Osdorf and then, in 1948, she traveled to New York to join her son Johannis Wolfgang, who now called himself John Hakon. This son had fled to France in late 1933 and emigrated to the United States in late 1937. After her return in late 1949 or early 1950, Gretchen Kohn’s last address was Witts Park Street 28 in Blankenese. She died on 30 March 1963. Henry Esriel and Gretchen Kohn`s daughter Charlotte survived in Switzerland.

Henry Esriel`s death was recorded later by the special registry office in Bad Arolsen on 29 Aug. 1952 (certificate number 1739/1952). He is commemorated by a stumbling stone at Jenischstraße 13 in Osdorf.

Zipora Sophie Heiden, née Kohn
Henry Esriel Kohn's older sister Zipora Kohn was born on 8 June 1875 in Hamburg, Neuer Wall 31. The Hamburg birth register contains only Zipora as first name. Her parents added as common name Sophie, which was also noted in her marriage register entry and was later found in the Hamburg address book, too.

Zipora Sophie Kohn graduated from high school in Hamburg and trained as a teacher. She initially worked as a civil servant elementary school teacher from April 1894 until the end of March 1909, as well as in the secondary education school system. The school inspector for the commercial school system certified her outstanding teaching skills as a teacher at the "Staatliche Fortbildungsschule für weibliche Handelsbeflissene" (Commercial College) for the period from 1904 to 1909.

On 30 March 1909, she married Johannes Hermann Rudolf Heiden, a non-denominational trade union secretary, born 1874 in Demmin, Mecklenburg. The marriage was divorced in early 1912. Johannes Heiden died in 1916.

At the beginning of 1910, Zipora Sophie Heiden resumed her former teaching position in Hamburg, but now not as a civil servant, but as a salaried employee.

After her divorce, she lived with her mother first at Wikingerweg 10 in Borgfelde and then at Eilbekerweg 183 in the Eilbek district. This address was probably chosen because her brother Saul Kohn, called Leo, had his family residence only about 100 meters away at Kleiststraße 10. Zipora Sophie Heiden remained in Eilbeker Weg 183 even after her mother's death, until about 1933 when she found an apartment at Schlankreye 13 in Eimsbüttel, near her school, the Schlankreye Higher Commercial School (Höhere Handelsschule Schlankreye).

Although Zipora Sophie Heiden declared herself "faithless", she had to join the Jewish Community and to pay dues like all "fully Jewish" persons from 1939 to 1942.

After a total of almost 40 years of service as a teacher, she was retired at the age of 59, on 30 June 1934, "due to permanent incapacity for service." Apparently, she could no longer perform her teaching duties for health reasons (but would also have been dismissed otherwise for "racial" reasons).

In the following years, Zipora Sophie Heiden lived with the family of her brother Saul Leo Kohn at Kleiststraße 10 in Eilbek, until she was deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto on 19 July 1942 in a transport with 771 Jews.

She survived the time of captivity. On 5 May 1945, the Nazis evacuated Theresienstadt. The International Committee of the Red Cross took over the care of the prisoners. On 8 May 1945, the Red Army entered the city and Soviet and Czechoslovak doctors began to care for the survivors.

Since there was no transport facility, Zipora Sophie Heiden did not return to Hamburg until 1 Aug. 1945. The seriously ill woman was immediately admitted to the reopened Jewish Hospital Schäferkampsallee. The diagnosis was cancer. Zipora Sophie Heiden died on 11 Nov. 1945, and was buried in the Jewish Cemetery at Ilandkoppel in Ohlsdorf.

She is commemorated by a stumbling stone at Kleiststraße 10 in Hamburg-Eilbek.

On the fate of the relatives Saul Leo Kohn

After Esther, who died very young, Saul Kohn was born on 11 Feb. 1870 in Hamburg, Neuer Wall 31. Entered in the birth register as "Saul", he was in fact always called "Leo".

Saul Kohn was recorded for the first time in the Hamburg address book of 1888. He ran a shoe store at Steindamm 41. In 1896, at the age of 26, he acquired Hamburg citizenship. On 1 July 1900, he made the following request concerning his name: "I take the liberty of addressing a high senate with the humble request that the first name Leo be added to my name, so that in the future my name would be Leo Saul Kohn. Since my birth I have always been called Leo by relatives, friends and acquaintances, at present, due to a misunderstanding, only the first name Saul has been entered in the birth register. Since now, when entering into civil law relationships, this divergence can easily cause discord in the future, as was the case before, I hope that a high senate will grant my request."

The request was successful. On 14 Nov. 1900, the additional first name Leo was finally added to the first name Saul in the birth register.

On 18 Apr. 1902, Saul Leo Kohn married the non-Jewish Marie Franziska Nissen, born on 12 Aug. 1874 in Hamburg. Both were entered in the marriage register as non-denominational. The couple had as their only child Reinhard Nissen Kohn, born on 3 March 1903.

In 1903 Saul Leo Kohn gave up his professional independence, and in the following years he worked as a commercial assistant in various companies. By 1915 he made it to the position of authorized signatory. Since then, the family lived in a well-furnished 4 1⁄2 room apartment at Kleiststraße 10 in Eilbek.

In mid-1938, the foreign exchange office of the Hamburg Chief Finance President suspected Saul Leo Kohn to intend to emigrate with his family. Therefore, their passports were confiscated and an overview of their assets was demanded in order to prepare a "security order". In August 1938, Saul Leo Kohn submitted a list of assets, according to which he owned an inherited weekend house in Horst (then the district of Winsen). The assets also included shares and bonds at a nominal value of RM 21,000 as well as mortgage and loan claims of RM 20,766, plus a loan of RM 1,600 to his brother Henry Esriel Kohn. He had transferred his previous property at Amsinckstraße 9 to his son Reinhard Nissen, who was in need of support at the time, by way of donation.

Saul Leo Kohn now received a restraining order on his assets. In the meantime, he had lost his job and had no longer any income. He was only allowed to withdraw RM 400 per month from his bank balance for maintenance and taxes. The donation of the property in Horst to the grandchildren, the children of Reinhard Nissen Kohn, was approved.

As his share of the "Judenvermögensabgabe" (Jewish property levy), cynically called "expiation payment" after the November pogrom in 1938, for "the hostile attitude of Jewry towards the German people", Saul Leo Kohn had to pay RM 5,850.

Thanks to the "privileged mixed marriage" Saul Leo and Marie Franziska Kohn survived the time of the Nazi dictatorship. At the end of the war they lived in the little house in Horst.

Saul Leo Kohn's son Reinhard Nissen was also suspected to want to leave Germany. In 1930, he had married his childhood friend Gerda Böckmann, born in Oldenburg on 18 July 1905, and had children with her, Elsbeth, born on 2 Oct. 1933, and Jürgen Nissen, born on 26 Apr. 1936. The family lived at Rübenkamp Street 128 (Barmbek North).

Reinhard Nissen Kohn attended lectures in economics from 1921, parallel to his training as a merchant's assistant. In 1932, he successfully completed a law degree, but was initially only accepted into the Hamburg civil service as an auxiliary employee in the land tax administration. He belonged to the SPD and the Reichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold. For this reason, his house was searched shortly after the Nazis seized power, and books were confiscated. As the son of a Jew, the lawyer was dismissed from the civil service on 31 Aug. 1933, in accordance with the "Law for the Restoration of the Civil Service”.

In 1937 he spent nine weeks in police custody or pre-trial detention on suspicion of preparation for high treason. The proceedings were discontinued without charges being brought.

As a "Jewish Mischling of the first degree" he had to perform forced cleanup work from 18 Jan. 1945, to 23 Apr. 1945.

After the war, Reinhard Nissen Kohn first worked as a scientific employee at the building authority and then he became a senior government councilor in the labour and social welfare authority. When the State Social Court was re-established in 1954, he was appointed Senate President and Deputy President at the State Social Court.

Nachum Kohn, called Georg
Nachum Kohn, called Georg, was born on 26 July 1871, at Neuer Wall 31. In his memoirs, Joseph Berkowitz Kohn mentions that an uncle in New York had wished to take one of his sons away from him, and Georg had left for the New World at the age of 13, "cheerfully and without any clue." The genealogy database ancestry has an entry that "Nachum G Kohn" married "Adele Gaum" on 20 Oct. 1895 in Manhattan, New York. The entry probably refers to Joseph Berkowitz Kohn's son Nachum. Without further confirmation, however, this must remain a vague indication. Ancestry research on Adele Gaum came to nothing.

Rosalie Kohn, married Seeliger
Rosalie Kohn was born on 26 Apr. 1873. She was also born at Neuer Wall 31 and always called only Rosi. She became a teacher, and on 11 July 1901 she married the non-Jewish Ewald Gerhard Hartmann Seeliger, born on 1 Oct. 1877, in Rathau, Kreis Brieg, in what was then the province of Silesia.

In 1902 their son Heinz Wolfram was born. After working as an elementary school teacher in Silesia and Genoa, Ewald Gerhard Hartmann Seeliger worked in the Hamburg school service since 1900. At the same time he was very successful as a writer in Hamburg and then in Wedel. After 1933 he was temporarily in "protective custody" for "denigration of National Socialism".

After his release from teaching, he feared being imprisoned again and lived temporarily in Switzerland. He returned to Germany in 1935 and finally to Hamburg. In 1936 he was expelled from the Reichsschrifttumskammer because of his Jewish wife Rosalie.

In 1940, the Seeliger couple moved in with their son in Cham in the Upper Palatinate. The couple, who lived according to Nazi criteria in a "privileged mixed marriage", survived the Nazi period there in great seclusion.

The son Heinz Wolfram, classified during the Nazi era as a "Jewish Mischling of the first degree", was sent to the Schelditz-Rositz concentration camp in Thuringia, which presumably meant the "Rositz forced labour camp", which was occasionally also referred to as the "Schelditz forced labour camp”. There, interned "Jewish Mischlinges" had to do hard forced labour. Heinz Wolfram, however, was able to escape. We do not know any further details.

Pincus Nathan Kohn, called Paul
Pincus Nathan Kohn, called Paul, was born on 15 July 1876, at Fuhlentwiete 18/19 in Hamburg-Neustadt.

He married the Protestant Elise Hanchen, née Hinz, widowed Heinemann, in Hamburg on 8 June 1922. She was born on 28 Feb. 1890 in Hamburg, Eichholz 53, as the daughter of the Ewer shipmaster (Ewer = sailboat type with flat bottom) Johann Franz Wilhelm Hinz and his wife Bertha Johanna, née Runge. In her first marriage she was married to the quay worker Max Ferdinand Heinemann, who had died on 11 Nov. 1913.

The marriage produced three children: Auguste Kohn, born 10 Feb. 1921, Luise Kohn, born in 1922, and Josef Kohn, born 1 Oct. 1928.

In 1923, Pincus Nathan (Paul) Kohn moved the family residence to Bargteheide for health reasons, as he later explained in the reparation proceedings. Pincus Nathan (Paul) Kohn had gone to sea until the end of 1913. As a result of an injury in World War I, he had to have a forearm partially amputated in 1917. Because of his involvement in the revolutionary events of 1918, he was imprisoned for a time after the end of war. At the beginning of 1919, he found employment at the Hamburg Labour Office. However, he lost this job in May 1933, citing the fact that he was Jewish.

Before that, he had already been imprisoned from 3 March to 5 May after a house search during which writings and manuscripts had been confiscated. In further house searches in 1934 and 1935, about a thousand books from the field of the workers' movement and a radio set were confiscated.

Despite political and "racial" persecution, the family survived the Nazi period apparently due to its classification as a "privileged mixed marriage." Pincus Nathan Kohn, called Paul, died in Bargteheide on 29 Dec. 1950. The daughter Auguste emigrated to Argentina in 1948, Luise Kohn, married Sussmann, went to Sweden. The son Josef Kohn remained in Bargteheide as a boat builder.

Isidor Max Kohn
Isidor Max Kohn was born on 11 Dec. 1877 at Fuhlentwiete 18/19 in Hamburg's Neustadt. He was married in his first marriage to Maria Sophia Böge, a Lutheran, born on 16 March 1882 in Lägerdorf in Schleswig-Holstein. The couple had two children: Hermann Erich, born on 11 Jan. 1907, and Leonore Martha Hella, born on 17 July 1913, both born in Hamburg. Maria Sophia Böge died on 3 Feb. 1918, at the Hamburg Institute for Obstetrics, Finkenau Street.

On 20 Dec. 1919, Isidor Max Kohn and the non-Jewish Johanna Maria Ingeborg Böge, born 6 Jan. 1897 in Lägerdorf, entered into marriage. She probably was a cousin of his deceased wife. Two children were born of this marriage: Maria Johanna Auguste, born on 21 Dec. 1920, and Hans Hermann, born on 20 June 1922.

Isidor Max Kohn was a soldier in the First World War. After his demobilization, he worked for a short time as a clerk; from April 1919, he found employment with the former Hamburg State Employment Office, the Northmark State Employment Office in Hamburg and the Hamburg Employment Office, respectively.

Like some of his relatives, Isidor Max Kohn was a member of the SPD, until the party was banned in 1933. After the National Socialists seized power, he was not immediately dismissed, because the "Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service" did not apply to him as a ”Frontkämpfer” (war veteran). Initially, his salary was reduced, and he received notice of termination on 31 Dec. 1933. From the beginning of 1934 until 1938, he received unemployment benefits, and from the beginning of 1938, after reaching the age of 60, an old-age pension.

Isidor Max Kohn's family lost their apartment at Hasencleverstraße 34 in Hamburg-Horn and now lived in a summer house in Sasel, Am Berner Wald 7 (today allotment garden association 582 "Am Berner Wald").

In 1936, the family was given an apartment which, however, they had to leave in December 1943 with fourteen days' notice by order of the Gestapo. The daughter Maria Johanna Auguste was expelled from school because she was considered a "Jewish Mischling of the first degree". The son Hans Hermann Kohn was denied studies for the same reason. Instead, he had to learn a trade and was conscripted into forced labour starting in October 1944.

Isidor Max Kohn suffered a stroke in July 1944, which confined him to bed for two years. In February 1945 he received the deportation order to Theresienstadt, but this was not carried out due to his inability to be transported. He died on 15 June 1946.

Hermann Erich Kohn, the elder of the two sons, was, among other things, together with Hans Leidersdorf (see a leading member of the "Left Opposition," a Trotskyist group expelled from the KPD. He was arrested by the notorious "Kommando zur besonderen Verwendung" on the night of 24/25 July 1933, and imprisoned in the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp until 31 Aug. 1933, then in the Fuhlsbüttel women's prison until 12 Sept. At the end of 1933, he fled first to Denmark, then in 1937 on to Norway, and after the German occupation of the country in April 1940 on to Sweden.

Isidor Max Kohn's younger son Hans Hermann was denied an engineering education as a "Jewish Mischling of the first degree ". Like other "first-degree Mischlinge" he was conscripted from 1944 onward to work in the petroleum port, in Waltershof and Georgswärder (today Georgswerder), and to clean up after bombing raids, mainly in Harburg. Among other things, the conscripts had to guard prisoners of war from Poland.

Hermann Erich Kohn emigrated to Brazil in 1951.
His sister Maria Johanna Auguste followed him in 1955.

Minna Kohn
Minna Kohn was born on 29 Apr. 1880, at Hohe Bleichen 8. When she applied for a passport in New York she declared to have lived continuously in New York from 1893 to 1920. So she seems to have emigrated to the USA at a very young age.

Minna Kohn married the Jewish merchant Eduard (Edward) Ehrlich, born in Bohemia on 9 Sept. 1877, U.S. citizen since 1920. The marriage took place in New York on 10 Feb. 1907. The marriage produced two children: John (year of birth unknown) and Evelyn, born about 1914.

Ahron Arnold Kohn
Ahron Arnold Kohn was born on 26 June 1883, at Thalstraße 59, house no. 2 (today Talstraße) in the St. Pauli district. His marriage to the Jewish Emma, née Kohn (not related to the Kohn family described here), born on 14 May 1882 in Altona, produced two children: Else, born in 1909, and Gerda, born in 1912. Else later became a doctor, Gerda a stenotypist.

Ahron Arnold Kohn belonged to the Jewish community of Hamburg until he emigrated in 1939. The family lived in their own house in Hamburg-Blankenese, Kahlkamp 1a, until 1938. After its sale they lived with Emma Kohn's sister-in-law Emma Elise Pauline Kohn at Curschmannstraße 2 in Hoheluft-Ost.

Ahron Arnold Kohn worked at the Wholesale Purchasing Cooperative of German Consumers' Associations (Großeinkaufsgenossenschaft Deutscher Consumvereine GEG) from 1903, first as an account clerk, then as a department manager, and finally as an authorized signatory in 1927, interrupted only by military service.

As a Jew, Ahron Arnold Kohn was dismissed without notice on 1 Apr. 1933. On the other hand, in an excellent reference, dated 30 June 1933, it is said: "Mr. Kohn is leaving his position in our company after decades of service as a result of changes that have become necessary." Ahron Arnold Kohn fought in vain against the dismissals triggered by the "Law on the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service". In connection with the reparation proceedings (Wiedergutmachungsverfahren), the GEG confirmed in 1954 that Ahron Arnold Kohn had been dismissed for "racial" and political reasons.

The daughters Else and Gerda Kohn also lost their jobs because of their Jewish descent. Emma Kohn set up a boarding house for Jewish guests in her home in Blankenese, Kahlkamp 1a. She was harassed, among other things, with the claim that she rented to "Aryans" and that "racial defilement" was taking place in the house. Her guest, the pedagogue Josef Feiner, also faced this accusation. He committed suicide there on 11 March 1938 (see Despite repeated house searches, no evidence could be found for the accusations against Emma Kohn.
Based on the experience he had made at the GEG with the marketing of artificial honey, honey and syrup, Ahron Arnold Kohn tried in 1936 to set up his own trading company for these goods at Meißnerstrasse 15a in Eimsbüttel.

On 9 Nov. 1938, the day of the November pogrom, Ahron Arnold Kohn and his nephew Herman Erich Kohn, a son of Isidor Max Kohn, were guests in a hotel restaurant in Stade. Both men were arrested and, as they later reported, imprisoned in Bremerhaven. They were released in mid-January 1939 on condition that they leave the German Reich by 1 Apr. 1939; otherwise, they were threatened, they would be imprisoned again.

During Ahron Arnold Kohn's imprisonment Emma Kohn sold the property in Blankenese. Until they left Germany, the family stayed with Emma Kohn's sister-in-law, the widow Emma Elise Pauline Kohn at Curschmannstraße 2.

Ahron Arnold Kohn's wife managed to leave the country on 10 Jan. 1939, and Ahron Arnold Kohn also managed to flee Germany.

The Kohn couple emigrated to Brazil. They arrived there penniless, having been allowed to take only RM 10 with them. In the early days, both received allowances from the local Jewish community. After a year, Ahron Arnold Kohn had learned the language enough to work as a salesman. Emma Kohn contributed to the family's upkeep by renting rooms with boarding house care.

The daughters had already left Germany in 1936 (Gerda) and 1937 (Else). In September 1936, Gerda Kohn married Walter Theodor Silberberg, a Jew who had emigrated to Brazil in early 1936. Else Kohn, a doctor, was only allowed to work as a nurse in Palestine. She married Heinz Lehmann, about whom we do not know any details.

Betty Kohn
Betty Kohn, the youngest child of Auguste Guetel and Joseph Berkowitz Kohn, was born on 6 Nov. 1886 at Thalstraße 59. On 16 Sept. 1921 she married Hermann Meyer, a merchant, born on 28 Dec. 1895. The couple left Germany in April 1923 and lived in the U.S. together with their daughter Helen, who was born at the end of 1923.

Translation: Elisabeth Wendland

Stand: August 2023
© Ingo Wille

Quellen: 1; 4, 5; 6; 7; 9; Joseph Berkowitz Kohn: StaH 332-5 Standesämter 546 Sterberegister Nr. 632/1905 (Joseph Berkowitz Kohn), 7006 Sterberegister Nr. 605/1920 (Auguste Kohn).

Henry Esriel Kohn: StaH 314-15 Oberfinanzpräsident FVg 4661 (Johannis Wolfgang Kohn (John Hakon), 332-4 Aufsicht über die Standesämter 1611 (Henry Esriel Kohn), 332-5 Standesämter 1950 Geburtsregister Nr. 350/1879 (Henry Esriel Kohn), 2020 Geburtsregister Nr. 3881/1882 (Gretchen Jantzen), 113254 Geburtsregister Nr. 3086/1908 Johannis Wolfgang Kohn, 3016 Heiratsregister (Nr. 380/1904 Henry Esriel Kohn/Gretchen Jantzen), 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung 4107 (Erbengemeinschaft Henry Esriel Kohn), 32877 (Johannis Wolfgang Kohn (John Hakon), 35895 (Gretchen Kohn); Arolsen Archives, Sterberegister Nr. 1739/1952 (Henry Esriel Kohn).

Zipora Heiden: StaH 131-10 I Senatskanzlei-Personalabteilung 1934 Ma 2/16 Anrechnung einer Vordienstzeit beim Ruhegeld der Lehrerin Sophie Heiden, 1934, 332-3 Zivilstandsaufsicht A 204 Geburtsregister Nr. 4309/1875 (Zipora Kohn), 332-5 Standesämter 8198 Sterberegister Nr. 958/1945 (Zipora Heiden), 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung 2667 (Zipora Heiden); Hessisches Hauptstaatsarchiv, Wiesbaden, Bestand 903, Heiratsregister Nr. 194/1909 Johannes Hermann Rudolf Heiden/Zipora Kohn.

Esther Kohn: StaH 332-3 Zivilstandsaufsicht A 54 Geburtsregister Nr. 4486/1868 (Esther Kohn)
Saul Leo Kohn: StaH 314-15 Oberfinanzpräsident R 1938_1395 Kohn, Saul Leo) 332-3 Zivilstandsaufsicht A 84 Geburtsregister Nr. 931/1870 Saul Kohn, A 183 Nr. 5281/1874 Marie Franziska Nissen, 332-4 Aufsicht über die Standesämter 2308 Saul Kohn, später Saul Leo Kohn, 332-5 Standesämter 13919 Geburtsregister Nr. 435/1903 Reinhard Nissen Kohn, 8617 Heiratsregister Nr. 223/1902 Saul Leo Kohn/Marie Franziska Nissen, 13486 Nr. 77/1930 Reinhard Nissen Kohn/Gerda Böckmann, 10057 Sterberegister Nr. 1872/1954 Saul Leo Kohn; Zugriff am 26.1.2023.

Nachum, genannt Georg, Kohn: StaH 332-3 Zivilstandsaufsicht A 114 Geburtsregister Nr. 4510/1871 (Nachum Kohn).

Rosalie Kohn: StaH 332-3 Zivilstandsaufsicht A 153 Geburtsregister Nr. 2888/1873 (Rosalie Kohn), 332-5 Standesämter 2960 Heiratsregister Nr. 569 (Ewald Gerhard Hartmann Seeliger/Rosalie Kohn).

Pincus Nathan Kohn: StaH 332-5 Standesämter 1884 Geburtsregister Nr. 3293/1876 (Pincus Nathan Kohn), 2225 Nr. 1102/1890 (Elise Hanchen Hinz), 3207 Heiratsregister Nr. 585/1912 (Max Ferdinand Heinemann/Elise Hanchen Hinz), 6601 Heiratsregister Nr. 492/1922 (Pincus Nathan Kohn/Elise Hanchen Heinemann), 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung 3030 Pincus Kohn, 12809 Pincus Kohn.

Isidor Kohn: StaH 332-5 Standesämter 1914 Geburtsregister Nr. 5748/1877 (Isidor Max Kohn), 14947 Geburtsregister Nr. 47/1907 (Hermann Erich Kohn), 6564 Heiratsregister Nr. 760 (Isidor Max Kohn/Johanna Maria Ingeborg Böge), 8202 Sterberegister Nr. 509 (Isidor Max Kohn); 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung 19404 Isidor Max Kohn, 31707 Hermann Erich Kohn; Einwanderungskarten Rio de Janeiro 1900-1965, FHL-Filmnummer 004567106 (Maria Johanna Auguste Kohn), 4864338 (Hans Hermann Kohn) (Zugriff 10.2.2023).

Minna Kohn: StaH 332-5 Standesämter 1978 Geburtsregister Nr. 2157/1880 (Minna Kohn). Heiratsindex, New York, USA, Nr. 4961/1907 (Minna Kohn/Edward Ehrlich); Sterberegister 1912-2014, Virginia, USA, Urkunde Nr. 1966014491 (Minna Kohn Ehrlich). USA, Reisepassanträge 1795-1925, Nr. 69549 (Minna Ehrlich).

Ahron Arnold Kohn: StaH332-5 Standesämter 2056 Geburtsregister Nr. 3154/1883 Ahron Arnold Kohn, 113796 Geburtsregister Nr. 888/1909 (Else Kohn), 5972 Heiratsregister Nr. 204/1907 (Arnold Kohn/Emma Kohn), 314-15 Oberfinanzpräsident FVg 7321 (Emma Kohn), R 1939_0005 Arnold Ahron Kohn, FVg 7321 (Emma Kohn), 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung 5903 (Emma Kohn), 6737 (Ahron Arnold Kohn), 37755 Teil 1 und Teil 2 (Walter Silberberg), 741-4 Fotoarchiv A 257 Haftkarteikarte (Aron Arnold Kohn); Einwanderungskarten Rio de Janeiro 1900-1965, FHL-Filmnummer 004798850 (Emma Kohn), FHL-Filmnummer 004568727 (Ahron Arnold Kohn), (Zugriff 10.2.2023).

Betty Meyer geb. Kohn: StaH 332-5 Standesämter 2133 Geburtsregister Nr. 5322/1886 (Betty Kohn), 6595 Heiratsregister Nr. 505/1921 Betty Kohn/Hermann Meyer; Sammlung US-Volkszählung 1930 Betty (Zugriff 10.2.2023). Manfred Alexander, Kleine Geschichte Polens, Stuttgart 2003, S. 186 ff. Ulrich Bauche, Biographien im Spannungsfeld zwischen ethnischer und sozialpolitischer Exponiertheit: jüdische Mitstreiter in der Hamburger Arbeiterbewegung in: Volkskundlich-Kulturwissenschaftliche Schriften: VOKUS – Hamburg: Inst. für Volkskunde/ Kulturanthropologie der Universität 1988-2012, S. 16 ff.; Wolfgang Benz, Theresienstadt Eine Geschichte von Täuschung und Vernichtung, München 2013, S. 198; Reinhard Saloch/Dieter Thiele: Gerda Kohn – Ein tätiges Leben, Hamburg 1995; Hamburger Jüdische Opfer des Nationalsozialismus Gedenkbuch, StaH 1995; Gertrud Pickhan, Ulrich Bauche (Hrsg.): Joseph Berkowitz Kohn. Ein Leben als polnischer Freiheitskämpfer und hamburgischer Sozialdemokrat 1841-1905, München 2006; Reinhard Saloch/Dieter Thiele, Gerda Kohn: Ein tätiges Leben, Hamburg 1995.
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