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Ludwig Boas * 1866

St. Benedictstraße 12 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)

JG. 1866

Ludwig Boas, born 14 Oct. 1866 in San Francisco, USA, committed suicide on 22 Aug. 1942 in Hamburg

St. Benedictstraße 12

The freight agent Ludwig Boas was born on 14 Oct. 1866 in San Francisco and grew up in the USA with his brother Richard. We know nothing about their parents, nor do we know exactly when the brothers moved to Hamburg. Richard was first registered in the Hamburg address book in 1898 and Ludwig in 1902. During the following years, Ludwig lived in Uhlenhorst on Averhoffstraße.

His future wife Friederike Klingelhöfer was born on 2 May 1875 in Rotterdam in the Netherlands. We were also unable to find any indication of her family background, education or training. One file merely made mention of a sister Margaretha and her daughter Margot.

Ludwig and Friederike Boas, who was not Jewish, were married on 20 Nov. 1923 in Hamburg. Richard Boas and Siegmund Hesslein acted as their witnesses. Starting in the 1930s, the couple lived in Rotherbaum and Harvestehude.

The Boas Brothers’ ancestors had founded the company C. B. Richard Boas & Co. in the USA in 1827 which initially operated as an agency assisting Europeans wanting to immigrate. They took care of the bureaucratic and financial formalities and kept close contact with the agents at the German emigration ports. This led them to found their own agencies in Hamburg and Bremen. Over the course of the decades, their business continuously expanded until it developed into the company Richard Boas & Co. Overseas Shipping Agent. In the early 1920s, the company registered with the shipping employers’ association Verein Hamburger Spediteure e.V. to become a member. That association was founded in 1884 and it still exists today, representing the interests of carriers at regional, national and international levels as well as with respect to other associations, in politics and in the public realm. At the same time it acts as the negotiating partner for the labor union in their industry.

The brothers Richard and Ludwig Boas managed the carrier company as owners. Their official office had been in Old Town Hamburg since 1921 in "Richardhaus”, which belonged to Richard, at Schauenburgerstraße 14. The neighborhood was dominated by multistory office buildings in which various industries (small businesses, publishers, lawyers) had their offices. The space on the ground floor usually contained hairdressers, pastry shops or tailor shops. At the same time, their shipping company also owned a freeport warehouse on Kehrwieder until around the mid 1930s.

After the National Socialists came to power, the Boas couple’s life changed dramatically. Friedericke Boas described it thus after 1945: "My husband’s business suffered significantly from 1933, as a consequence the losses were great, and my husband was very depressed due to the anti-Semitism of Hitler’s government.” The company’s annual gross income was around 25,000 RM until 1933. We do not know whether the company was a target of the boycott on 1 Apr. 1933, but at that time, professional associations were also subjected to enforced conformity, including the shipping association Verein Hamburger Spediteure, which was renamed the "Reich Carrier Group for Shipping and Storage” (Reichsverkehrsgruppe Spedition und Lagerei). At the end of Aug. 1938, the "Reichsverkehrsgruppe” turned to the chief finance president, requesting clarification as to "whether the shipping agents not regarded by the National Socialists as Aryan possessed a general foreign currency authorization”. A list of thirteen shipping agents was attached to the letter, including Richard Boas & Co. All of these companies then received a letter from the "Reichsverkehrsgruppe”. They were to disclose their assets, balance sheets and private financial situation of the managing directors and authorized representatives. The Boas company supplied the requisite documents, however the owners did not provide an accounting of their private finances. They were an exception in this regard.

The "Reichsverkehrsgruppe” summarized the results of that "survey” in a report from 27 Feb. 1939 with the title "De-Jewing Hamburg’s Shipping Companies of Foreign Jewish Owners” which they sent to the chief finance president. The report states among other things: "The owner of this company, Mr. Boas, is an American and has refused to allow the company to be Aryanized.” In the meantime, however, the Bremen branch director Fischer Senior had been made owner, and thus the company had indeed been "Aryanized”.

Alongside the shipping business, Ludwig Boas had founded the company Albert’s Remedy Company Ltd. at the end of the 1920s which sold pharmaceutical compounds.

From 1937 the Foreign Currency Office of the chief finance president was authorized to seize accounts if it suspected assets were being moved. They regularly harbored that suspicion when it came to Jewish companies that traded internationally. Since Ludwig Boas was an American, his company was not among those that had to close or be "Aryanized” by Jan. 1939. Yet mid May 1941 he received a letter from the chief finance president which imposed conditions on him. Presumably it involved a "security order” that was to be imposed on him. Ludwig Boas turned to the American Consulate General for counsel. In response to the letter, he inquired of the chief finance president on 27 May 1941, "what ordinances or paragraphs the conditions were based on, or whether it concerned discrimination against a certain ethnic group”. At the same time he referred to the fact "that the German trade agreements still forbade discrimination”. Furthermore, he informed the chief finance president "that the Reich Governor quickly revoked such conditions imposed on me because they were issued under false pretext”. A hand-written note by the authority on 5 June 1941 shows that they had refrained from a "security order”.

Just a few months later, Hamburg’s Jews began being deported to the East with the transport on 25 Oct. 1941. The Boas Brothers, as Jewish US citizens, were not affected by the transport. Ludwig also came under the protection of his marriage with a non-Jewish woman.

Yet after the USA declared war on Germany on 11 Dec. 1941, the Boas Brothers were classified as foreign enemies. One day later Ludwig Boas was "arrested in the bathtub”, as his wife later reported, and taken to Hütten police prison in Neustadt. The old jail had, in the meantime, been expanded and was used to detain political opponents.

After four weeks of detention, Ludwig Boas was transferred to an internment camp in Laufen, Upper Bavaria. Initially British and American officers were interned there, but now British and American civilians were being held there. Ludwig Boas became severely ill as a consequence of his imprisonment and was moved to the Laufen hospital. Friederike Boas learned of her husband’s illness from a telegram and journeyed to Bavaria. Thanks to her presence and care, Ludwig Boas rapidly recovered, much to the surprise of his doctors. After his recuperation, he was released and placed under the supervision of the Gestapo in Hamburg. According to her own account, Friederike Boas was repeatedly pressured to leave her apartment and move to the "Jewish quarter”.

These dramatic circumstances caused her anxiety which led to depression. Ludwig Boas saw no way out for himself and ended his life on 22 Aug. 1942 in his apartment, where his wife found him.

His body was taken to the pathology department of the port hospital. The attending pathologist Koopmann wrote: "Man, 176 cm tall, about 56 kg in weight, body of an old man”, and he did not forget to mention: "large hooked nose (Jew’s nose)”. Permission for burial was issued on 26 Aug. 1942. However, for reasons not known, the urn burial did not take place until 20 Apr. 1943 at the Ohlsdorf Cemetery.

The National Socialists did not ease up. They exerted massive pressure on the new owner of Richard Boas & Co., Fischer Senior because he refused to change the company’s name. Even the Reich Governor weighed in (in Jan. 1944) and criticized his officials, asking "why has nothing happened yet?” The shipping company’s financial situation was bad. Only three of the original thirteen employees remained, but the company was still afloat.

Richard Boas was married to Edith, née Bucknam. Their daughter Gertrud(e) was born on 9 June 1895 in New York, USA. She later married the American Frederick Irving Blake, born on 12 Dec. 1879 in Searsport, USA as the son of Daniel Henry and Emma Nora, née Ford. Their wedding took place on 26 Sept. 1914 in Hamburg. He worked as the managing director. The couple shuttled back and forth between the USA and Europe (Hamburg). When they were in Hamburg, they stayed on the Eppendorfer Landstraße, among other places, with Gertrud’s parents on Parkallee and at the end of 1914 at Hotel Atlantic. They returned to the USA in time for the birth of their daughter Mildred on 8 Sept. 1915. Two years later, their son Frederick was born on 4 Oct. 1917 in New York, USA. The hotel register shows that the couple last stayed in Hamburg from May to Oct. 1921. We found no mention of later stays.

Richard Boas probably died in the mid or late 1930s, due to emotional turmoil caused by persecution measures. We found no trace of Widow Edith Boas’ further life. She may have moved back to her family in the USA. In his testament, Richard Boas named his daughter Gertrud as heir of the property at Schauenburgerstraße 14. The "Reich Commissioner for the Treatment of Enemy Assets” subsequently determined in Sept. 1942 that the property was under "enemy ownership”. Then the courts became involved. The Hanseatic District Court decided in Oct. 1942 to place the property under the "administration” of a lawyer. "Richardhaus” was completely destroyed during the war.

After 1945, the company, which still existed, moved into new offices at Levantehaus on Mönckebergstraße, later changing to Raboisen Straße. In the early 1970s, Fischer Junior took over the contracts. Until the company filed for bankruptcy in the early 1990s, the shipping company was based on Pelzerstraße.

Friederike Boas died on 8 Apr. 1948 in Hamburg. Her urn was buried at her husband’s grave on 21 Apr. 1948. She made her niece Anna Maria Margot Adrian, née Klingelhöfer, her heir. Margot Adrian was born on 22 Apr. 1900 in Altona as the daughter of the cashier Margaretha Klingelhöfer. We were unable to find any information about her life or that of her mother. Margot married the Altonian Hermann Adrian on an unknown date, and the couple later lived in Grumberghoven, Cologne where Margot Adrian died on 19 June 1986.

Information as of May 2016

Translator: Suzanne von Engelhardt

Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: November 2017
© Sonja Zoder

Quellen: 1; 2; 4; 5; 8; StaH 232-5 Amtsgericht Hamburg – Vormundschaftswesen 2398; 314-15 OFP Oberfinanzpräsident R 1939-2314, Band 3/ R 1941/103; 331-5 Polizeibehörde – Unnatürliche Sterbefälle 3 Akte 1942/1-1607; 332-5 Standesämter 13459-1141/1900 Altona, 8698-355/1914, 6614-797/1923, 8180-436/1942; 332-8 Meldewesen 741-4 K 4247; 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung 2611, 54598; AB Altona und Hamburg; Hamburger Friedhöfe, Beratungszentrum Ohlsdorf Mail von Manuela Ehrhardt am 8.3.2016; Franz Determann Mail vom 1.4.2016; URL:ßneumarkt;üttel;; jeweils am 11.01.2016. Der ehemalige Mitarbeiter in Bremen, Franz Determann, überließ uns freundlicher Weise obige Visitenkarte.
Zur Nummerierung häufig genutzter Quellen siehe Link "Recherche und Quellen".

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