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Dr. Ernst Moritz Rappolt * 1868

Rissener Landstraße 24 (Altona, Blankenese)

Freitod am 9.4.1942 Hamburg

Dr. Ernst Moritz Rappolt, b. 5.12.1868 in Hamburg, suicide on 4.9.1942

Ernst Moritz Rappolt was the third of five sons born to the businessman Joseph Rappolt and Luise Rappolt, née Hertz. His family owned a second-generation textile enterprise Rappolt & Sons with its headquarters at Mönckebergstrasse 11. Ernst Moritz Rappolt studied medicine, at 24 received his license to practice, and three years later in 1895 established a general practice. In 1908, he married Wilhelmine Marie Fischer, a non-Jew twelve years younger than himself. Since the end of 1918, he lived with his unmarried brother, the businessman Otto Rappolt, in a house at Grottenstrasse 25 in the Gross Flottbek quarter. In 1922, for reasons unknown, Ernst Rappolt gave up his practice at age 54. In 1927, his wife died. Three years later, in 1930, the widower moved to Rissener Landstrasse 24 in Blankenese.

Jewish doctors were pushed out of professional life in the Third Reich. In September 1938, licenses for Jewish doctors lapsed; the seventy year old Ernst Rappolt has his certification withdrawn. In December 1939, like all men of Jewish descent, with the exception of those who lived in a "privileged” mixed marriage, Ernst Rappolt, as a "Jew” in the sense of the National Socialist state, had to become a member of the Reich Association of Jews in Germany.

In March 1941, officials from the office of the Upper Finance President issued a security ordinance against Ernst Rappolt‘s accounts that left him with as little control of his estate of approximately 8500 RM as his interest income of just barely 500 RM from a life insurance policy. The National Socialist state allowed him 300 RM per month for his living expenses.

From April 1942, all those subject to the label of Jew were resettled in so-called Jew houses, where they had to live under extremely straitened circumstances. This thrusting into compulsory ghettoization was apparently too much to take for Ernst Rappolt. On 8 April 1942, he was found unconscious by police officials in his home on the Rissener Landstrasse. He had injected himself with sleeping drugs. Neighbors were alerted by the fact that the blackout curtains were not opened even during the day. Ernst Rappolt was transported to the Israelite Hospital where he died on the following morning.

His neighbor said: "Dr. Rappolt constantly became easily depressed. He once told me that suicide was the last thing he had control over.”

His brother, Franz Rappolt, who lived in Hamburg, had met with him a few days earlier in order to discuss the details of the approaching move. He explained to the police, who were investigating an "unnatural deadly fall,” the possible reason for Ernst Rappolt’s suicide: "He did not suffer economic need. He owned properties that made possible a carefree life. He felt well here in free nature and probably felt the order to move to the old people’s home in the city as extraordinarily painful. I received the same order from the state police. We were given the option of sharing a room in the old people’s home at Benekestrasse no. 6. My brother, as I already said, could not resign himself to this and, apparently in a bout of depression, made an end to his life voluntarily.”

Ernst Rappolt was buried in the Rappolt family crypt in the Ohlsdorf cemetery.

His estate, intended for his brother Franz, was auctioned off after his death. The North German News for 22 April 1942 announced a "voluntary estate auction in Blankenese at Rissener Landstrasse 24.” Two days later one could snatch up "diverse used Jewish estate items,” on the cheap, no doubt.

Franz Rappolt was deported to Theresienstadt on 15 July 1942 and lost his life there.

Translator: Richard Levy
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: October 2018
© Günter und Waltraud Grassau, Birgit Gewehr

Quellen: 1; 4; Auskunft des Staatsarchivs Hamburg aus der Hausmeldekartei; StaH 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung, 1293 (Rappolt, Dr. Ernst Moritz); StaH 331-5 Polizeibehörde – Unnatürliche Sterbefälle, 1942/ 552 (Dr. Rappolt, Ernst); Angaben von Björn Eggert und Sabine Boehlich.
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