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Already layed Stumbling Stones
Louis Böhm * 1863
Isestraße 69 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)
further stumbling stones in Isestraße 69:
Liesel Abrahamsohn, Johanna Adelheim, Henry Blum, Rosalie Blum, Gertrud Böhm, Bertha Brach, Hillel Chassel, Irma Chassel, Michael Frankenthal, Erna Gottlieb, Ella Hattendorf, Frieda Holländer, Gertrud Holländer, Henriette Leuschner, Elfriede Löpert, Helene Löpert, Walter Löpert, Ella Marcus, Ernst Maren, Josephine Rosenbaum, Günther Satz, Selma Satz, Else Schattschneider, Gottfried Wolff, Lydia Wolff
Louis Böhm, born 19 Aug. 1863 in Gross-Dombrowska, Posen, deported 18 Nov. 1941 to Minsk
Gertrud Böhm, née Cohn, born 30 Mar. 1866 in Berlin, deported 15 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, died there 6 Aug. 1942
Helene Löpert, née Böhm, born 29 Oct. 1901 in Proekuls, East Prussia, deported 18 Nov. 1941 to Minsk
Walter Löpert, born 30 May 1934 in Altona, deported 18 Nov. 1941 to Minsk
Elfriede Löpert, born 30 Nov. 1936 in Hamburg, deported 18 Nov. 1941 to Minsk
Pharmacist Louis Böhm had moved from East Prussia to Hamburg-Altona with his wife Gertrud and their two children Isak Walter and Helene to take over the Hirsch Pharmacy, which also served the hospital, at Grosse Muehlenstrasse 102 in March 1905. [Translator’s note: Many pharmacies in Germany have names; in this case, the "Deer Pharmacy.”] Jews had categorically been forbidden to run pharmacies until 1861; now, it was possible. The Böhm family soon lived in an urban villa at Gottorpstrasse 54. Their son Isak Walter fought in World War I and died on 20 July 1916 at age 18. A memorial plaque in St. Paul’s church in Hamburg-Altona commemorates him and the other soldiers from Altona who were killed in action.
In 1933, Louis Böhm hired pharmacist Lothar Löpert from Gleinitz, who married Helene, the Böhms’ daughter, soon thereafter. Louis Böhm made his son-in-law a partner in the Hirsch Pharmacy. In 1934, Helene and Lothar had a son whom they named Walter, possibly in memory of Helene’s deceased brother. At the same time, the Nazis were curtailing Jewish Germans’ civil rights.
As early as 22 Apr. 1933, a short time after the beginning of the Nazi dictatorship, the German Pharmacists’ Association (Deutscher Apothekerverein) had included the "Aryan Paragraph” in its statutes. From December 1934 on, the government no longer permitted Jews to take the pharmacist’s certification examination. This directly impacted the livelihood of the pharmacist’s family when all Jewish pharmacy owners were forced by law to lease their pharmacies to "Aryans.” Louis Böhm was the first Jewish pharmacy owner in the area belonging to Hamburg today who put his pharmacy up for sale. Real estate agent Ernst Zobel brokered the sale to Hans Brockmann, who was not Jewish. Ernst Zobel was later to specialize in contracts of sale between Jews and "Aryans.” Hans Brockmann ran the pharmacy until it was completely destroyed by bombing attacks in the "Operation Gomorrha” in July 1943.
Louis Böhm was already seventy-two when he had to give up his profession, but his son-in-law was only at the beginning of his career and no longer saw career prospects for himself in anti-Semitic Germany. He wanted to emigrate with his family to Palestine. He completed vocational training as a gardener to improve his chances for obtaining an entry visa. In November, 1936, Helene and Lothar Löpert’s daughter Elfriede was born.
Löpert’s application for permission to emigrate to Palestine was rejected. In December, 1937, Lothar Löpert bought a book titled "1,000 Spanish words” ("1000 Worte Spanisch”); he was now trying to get an entry visa to Uruguay and was learning Spanish in preparation. However, the family again had to accept the fact that they would not receive an entry visa. In the meantime, Louis Böhm found himself forced to sell the family’s house on Gottorpstrasse to non-Jews. A married couple by the name of Kess purchased the property. Böhm used part of the proceeds to pay his debts on the so-called Jews’ tax ("Judenabgabe”). The remainder was paid into a blocked account; the Böhms could withdraw funds only with the permission of the foreign currency office at the Chief Finance Administrator (Oberfinanzpräsident). In early 1939, Lothar Löpert fled to Shanghai by sea; Shanghai did not require an entry visa. His wife Helene and the children were to follow by land.
In February, 1939, Louis Böhm moved to Isestrasse 69 with his wife Gertrud, his daughter Helene, and the two grandchildren Elfriede and Walter. Gertrud Böhm was in very poor health. In 1940, Walter started school at the Talmud Torah School (Talmud Tora Schule) in the Grindel neighborhood. Just one year later, at age seven, he had to wear a "Jews’ star” ("Judenstern”) clearly visible on his clothing, as did his Jewish relatives. In 1940, his father Lothar Löpert finally received the papers to have his family follow him to Shanghai, but Germany’s attack on the Soviet Union in 1941 made this plan impossible. In November, 1941, Louis Böhm, Helene Löpert, and the children Walter and Elfriede received deportation orders to Minsk. Gertrud Böhm was 75, and her deportation was deferred because of her frail state of health. Her husband still managed to make a financial gift to her three days before his forced departure. She was admitted to a Jewish old-age home at Sedanstrasse 23 and was deported to Theresienstadt only in July 1942, where she died after just a few days, in August, presumably because of the strains of the transport and a lack of medical care.
Louis Böhm, his daughter Helene Löpert, and his grandchildren Walter and Elfriede were murdered in Minsk.
Lothar Löpert survived the Shoah in Shanghai, but Jews were not safe from persecution there, either: for one thing, there were established German immigrants who were organized Nazis and had clubs and societies in line with Nazi ideology, for another, there was the Japanese army, whose ultranationalist officers were anti-Semitic because they believed that the Jews’ support of the Soviet Union was an expression of a Jewish conspiracy against Japan. For example, in 1943, the Japanese army and navy established a ghetto in the Hongkew district, where Jewish refugees in particular were detained. Due to poor hygienic conditions and a lack of food, Lothar Löpert contracted a serious eye condition there which meant that he could never again practice his profession. After the war, he went to Israel.
Robbed of his family and with no career prospects, he had to struggle for a long time with the German authorities to receive even a small amount of compensation.
Translator: Sandra H. Lustig
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Maike Grünwaldt
Quellen: 1; 2; 4; 8; AfW 211296; ITS/Arch/18.104.22.168., Ordner 17, S.19; Frank Bajohr, "Arisierung" in Hamburg, Hamburg 1997, S. 113; Bruno Blau, Das Ausnahmerecht für die Juden in Deutschland, Düsseldorf 1965, S. 27, 35, 89; Esther Hell, Jüdische Apotheker im Fadenkreuz, Hamburg 2008, S. 28, 48, 130, 162; Astrid Freyeisen, Shanghai und die Politik des Dritten Reiches, Würzburg 2000, S. 401ff.; http://www.denkmalprojekt.org/verlustlisten/vl rfj wk1 orte a.htm, Zugriff am 16. Juni 2009.
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