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Der Koffer mit Ludwig Louis Bermanns Namen in der Gedenkstätte Auschwitz
© Ingo Wille

Ludwig Louis Bermann * 1886

Parkallee 22 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)

1942 Theresienstadt
1944 Auschwitz

Ludwig Louis Bermann, born 26.12.1886 in Schildberg, deported 19.7.1942 to Theresienstadt, further deported 28.10.1944 to Auschwitz

Parkallee 22 (Harvestehude)

Ludwig Louis Bermann was born in 1886 in Schildberg (Polish: Ostrzeszow), a town in district Posen, annexed by Prussia since 1795. He was the son of the merchant Benjamin Bermann (died before 1912) and Jette, née Horn. Like his father, he also took up the profession of merchant.

Ludwig Bermann married Adele Lina Luise Prein (born Aug. 23, 1890 in Hagen/Westphalia), who was a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, in Hagen in 1912. Witnesses to the marriage were Friedrich Schlöter (born. ca. 1885), a factory official living in Hagen, and Julius Prein (born ca. 1889), a private in the 1st Company of Railway Regiment No. 3 (1. Kompanie des Eisenbahnregiments No. 3) living in Hanau. The bridegroom's mother, (he signed the marriage certificate as "Louis Bermann,") may also have traveled from her new residence in Karlshorst near Berlin.

The couple lived in Hagen/Westphalia and had three children there: Ilse (1912), Rudi (1915) and Anneliese (1920). Since 1912 Ludwig Louis Bermann was a "business traveler" or commercial agent (traveling salesman) for articles of men's and women's ready-to-wear, fabrics, tailoring supplies, etc. He traveled through the Rhineland, Westphalia, Berlin and Hamburg for the tailor's wholesale company Julius Baer (Wuppertal-Elberfeld, Königstraße 83), the wholesale company for posament lining fabric and tailor's articles Adolf Rosenthal (Magdeburg, Kantstraße 11), a cloth company from Aachen as well as another German and an English company. For this purpose, the Julius Baer company temporarily provided him with a car and driver. In 1913 Ludwig Louis Bermann joined the Union of Salaried Employees and in 1923 the Association of Traveling Merchants.

In February 1931, the Bermann family moved from Hagen/Westphalia (Fliegerstraße 96) 180 km northeast to Bad Pyrmont and in April 1934 another 230 km north to Hamburg. The exact reasons for the moves are not known, but in the case of the last change of residence, it is likely to have been in connection with anti-Jewish measures.

In June 1934, Ludwig Louis Bermann joined the Jewish Community of Hamburg. On his religious tax card, the religion of his wife and children was noted as Protestant, his residential address was Parkallee 22 I. Floor, the occupation was representative. But even in Hamburg the Bermanns did not find easy living conditions: The nationwide boycott on April 1, 1933, had affected Jewish businesses, lawyers' and doctors' offices; in 1935, street actions by the SA followed in some parts of the city; the Nazi press incited against Jews.

In Hamburg, Ludwig Louis Bermann registered his business ("representation in textile goods") for the address Parkallee 22 on January 4, 1935. However, the income decreased also because of targeted governmental obstructions. He was not listed in the Hamburg address books until 1937; presumably he lived with his family as a subtenant for the first four years. For the first time in 1938, the entry "Bermann, Ludw., Kaufm., Werderstr. 5" appeared in the address book; the property management company Claus Hinrichsen was listed as the owner of the Harvestehude residential building, but it is also conceivable that the company only managed the property.

In the five-story residential building at Werderstraße 5, there were extensive changes of tenants in the mid/late 1930s. Between 1936 and 1940, according to the Hamburg address book, the I. to IV. floors were completely re-rented. Martha Ruben, née Israel (born May 23, 1873 in Hamburg), widow of Albert Ruben, who was deported from Kielortallee 22 on July 15, 1942, lived on the raised first floor from 1938 to 1941. On the third floor, in 1938 and 1939, the widowed Johanna Hirschfeld, née Katz (born January 1, 1878 in Kassel), who was married to the commercial employee Meyer Max Hirschfeld (1872-1932) and who succeeded in emigrating to the USA in April 1939, was listed. In the adjoining building at Werderstraße 7, two institutions of the NSDAP district Hamburg 2 moved in in 1939 in place of the first floor stores of the chemical representative Ernst Alsberg (founded 1919) and his company Paul A. G. Scholz (founded 1925): the office for civil servants and the district court. The merchant Ernst Alsberg (born June 8, 1879 in Kassel) was deported together with his wife Gertrud Alsberg, née Feiss (born January 15, 1895 in Mußbach) on 15 July 1942 to the Theresienstadt ghetto and later on to the Auschwitz extermination camp.

In the course of the November pogrom in 1938, Ludwig Louis Bermann was arrested in the Sachsenhausen concentration camp (prisoner block 60, prisoner no. 10675). He was released on December 6, 1938, with the condition that he kept silence about the events in the camp. He had been forced to give up his professional activity on September 30, 1938, because the companies for which he sold goods as a commercial agent were either boycotted themselves or terminated the contract with him. Company Julius Baer, founded about 1907 by Julius Baer (1870-1927), had been dissolved in 1935/36. (The wife of the company owner, Irma Charlotte Baer, née Baum (born May 24, 1882 in Elberfeld) was deported to Izbica (Poland) on April 21, 1942, her date of death is not known). Adolf Rosenthal Company (Magdeburg), founded by Adolf Rosenthal (1830-1901), who was also a member of the Board of Representatives of the Magdeburg Synagogue Community as well as the Jewish Sick Support Society and the Jewish Funeral Society, continued after his death by his son Hermann Rosenthal (1870-1943) and two other partners, was closed on December 27, 1938. (Hermann Rosenthal died in March 1943 in the Theresienstadt ghetto.) The "Regulation for the Implementation of the Decree for the Elimination of Jews from German Economic Life" of November 23, 1938, definitively prohibited Ludwig Louis Bermann from continuing his professional activity.

Adele Bermann, née Prein had died of kidney failure in May 1935 in the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf. In September 1935, the "Law of German Blood and German Honor" officially prohibited new marriages between "Jews" and "German-blooded people"; the previous "mixed marriages" were not annulled by the Nazi state. Due to the death of his non-Jewish wife, however, Ludwig Louis Bermann was not granted the status of a "privileged mixed marriage" in December 1938, which would have exempted him from some serious measures. The only protection he now had was the upbringing of his underage daughter; when she came of age on July 15, 1941, Ludwig Louis Bermann was threatened with compulsory labor and subsequent deportation.

At the "Gummi-Berufsschuhwerk-Großvertrieb Rasch & Jung" (Große Bleichen 31), Ludwig Louis Bermann, like Walter Hess (see biography Louise Hess, née Mecklenburg, see, was employed as a warehouse worker in a "Jewish working group". Responsible for the forced labor was Willibald Schallert (Hamburg Labor Office, Department for the Deployment of Jews). The loading and unloading of wagons and ships, as well as the stacking of collis (general cargo) was physically demanding work.

From September 19, 1941, Louis Bermann was forced to wear the yellow Jewish star on his outer clothing; the deportations began at the end of October 1941. As a former member of a mixed marriage, Ludwig Louis Bermann was initially deferred until the transports to the "preferential camp" began, the Theresienstadt ghetto.

On July 19, 1942, 55-year-old Ludwig Louis Bermann was deported there on Transport VI/2. He was allowed to take one suitcase with a maximum weight of 50 kg with him, which he clearly marked with his name, date of birth and the transport number "VI/II.42".

From Theresienstadt, after 27 months, he was deported to the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp on October 28, 1944. He also took his suitcase with him on this deportation transport. It is not known exactly when he was murdered in Auschwitz, presumably immediately after arrival; the Hamburg District Court retroactively declared him dead in 1957 on May 8, 1945.

The suitcase with his name still commemorates him today in a large display case at the Auschwitz Memorial. In 1991, the suitcase was brought back to the Hanseatic city for some time as a loan for the exhibition "400 Years of Jews in Hamburg."

Translation by Beate Meyer
Stand: February 2022
© Björn Eggert

Quellen: Staatsarchiv Hamburg (StaH) 332-5 (Standesämter), 9876 u. 734/1935 (Sterberegister, 1935 Adele Bermann geb. Prein); StaH 351-11 (Amt für Wiedergutmachung), 9415 (Ilse Bermann); StaH 351-11 (Amt für Wiedergutmachung), 9416 (Rudi Bermann); StaH 351-11 (Amt für Wiedergutmachung), 9417 (Anneliese Bermann); StaH 352-5 (Gesundheitsbehörde – Todesbescheinigungen), 1935, Standesamt 3c, Nr. 734 (Adele Bermann geb. Prein); StaH 522-1 (Jüdische Gemeinden), 992b (Kultussteuerkartei der Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde Hamburg), Ludwig Louis Bermann, Ernst Siegfried Alsberg, Martha Ruben, Johanna Hirschfeld; Hamburger Adressbuch 1938, 1939, 1941, 1942, 1943; Stadtarchiv Hagen/Westfalen, Heiratsregister 1912 (Nr. 381/12); Stadtarchiv Magdeburg, Adressbuch 1902, 1930, Magdeburger Zeitung 20.9.1901 (Nachruf Adolf Rosenthal), Geburtseintrag/Altstadt Paul Rosenthal 1876; Stadtarchiv Wuppertal, Adressbuch Elberfeld 1907, 1926, 1935, 1938, Sterberegister 1927, Einwohnermeldekarte Irma Baer, Wiedergutmachungsakte 615969 Charlotte Newhouse geb. Baer, Gedenkbuch Wuppertal; Gedenkstätte und Museum Sachsenhausen, Datenbankeintrag (D 1A/1022 Bl.701, D 1A/1020 Bl.468); Yad Vashem; Bundesarchiv Koblenz, Gedenkbuch, Opfer der Verfolgung der Juden unter nationalsozialistischer Gewaltherrschaft in Deutschland 1933–1945; Hamburger Börsenfirmen, Hamburg 1935, S. 15 (Ernst Alsberg), S. 766 (Paul A. G. Scholz); Frank Bajohr, "Arisierung" in Hamburg, Hamburg 1998, S. 115–119; Beate Meyer, "Jüdische Mischlinge", Rassenpolitik und Verfolgungserfahrung 1933–1945, Hamburg 1999, S. 30–31; Harald Vieth, Hier lebten sie miteinander in Harvestehude-Rotherbaum, Hamburg 1993, S. 49 ("Ein Koffer in Auschwitz"); Hamburger Abendblatt 23.12.1991 ("Die stummen Zeugen des Holocaust"); Hamburger Morgenpost 27.1.2015 (Olaf Wunder, "Hamburger Weltkriegs-Held Ludwig Bermann: Von ihm blieb nur dieser Koffer übrig"); (eingesehen 22.2.2017).

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