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Siegmund Cahn * 1888
Hammer Straße 8 (Wandsbek, Marienthal)
further stumbling stones in Hammer Straße 8:
Carla Cahn, née Kuh, born on 8 Sep.1895, deported on 11 July 1942 to Auschwitz
Siegmund Cahn, born on 9 Aug. 1888, deported on 11 July 1942 to Auschwitz
Hammer Straße 8
Siegmund Cahn was born in Hamburg on 9 Aug. 1888 as son of Chaim Cahn and Hanna, née Simon. His parental home was located at Brüderstraße 3 in Hamburg Neustadt, an area mainly occupied by the urban lower class and middle class Jews. He had two younger siblings, Bertha (born in 1891), and Selig (born in 1892). Like many Jews owning agencies or small trade businesses in the area close to the city centre, Cahn's father ran his hosiery-wholesale trade from their home’s first floor.
The family was religious and belonged to the Synagogenverband of the German-Israelitic Community Hamburg (Deutsch-Israelitische Gemeinde Hamburg ) and seems to have attended services at the synagogue Kohlhöfen or Bornplatz. Siegmund Cahn paid tax to the community since implementation of the tax register in 1913, except from time of absence during the First World War. In this year he also worked at his father's company. Due to that, he worked at Holstenhof at the nearby Kaiser-Wilhelm-Straße 85 in a commercial house with different agencies and companies. 1920 he married Ester (Else), née Lievendag; she was born 1899 in Hamburg and came from a dutch family. Two children resulted from the marriage: Erich (born 1922) and Hannelore (born 1923).
In the meantime, Siegmund Cahn had started a bank business which he also ran at Brüderstraße 3, later at Schubertstrasse 6. The family lived not far away at Mundsburgdamm 35. In the mid 1920s - as reflected in the community taxes - his income was very unsteady. 1928 the marriage was divorced. The son now lived with his father, the daughter with her mother. Ester Lievendag used her birth name again and worked as a doctorate dentist at Bundesstraße 86. A later address was Kaiser-Wilhelm-Straße 115. In 1931 Siegmund Cahn married again, his new wife was Carla, née Kuh, from Altona. She was born 1895, her parents were Philipp Kuh and Regina, née Goge. The Cahn family moved to Grindelhof 64. At the Grindelviertel, Siegmund got the opportunity to work as a cantor in addition to his original business. Apparently, he needed this job at the community's cultural institution as a second source of income.
At the same time, the Jewish community of Wandsbek was also looking for a cantor and an auxiliary prayer leader. Transitionally, auxiliary cantor Gustav Bleiweiß and later cantor P. J. Schapira carried out this work. When the vacancy was published in the widely read newspaper "Israelisches Familienblatt", it received approximately 60 responses from all over Germany. The community's reeve Benny Beith and Rabbi Bamberger decided in favor of Siegmund Cahn. Apparently, he met all the criteria for this side job better than other applicants. Many of them did not live in the Hamburg region and would have liked to work close to the city, but would not have been able to live solely of this small side job.
In early 1934, Cahn started his work in Wandsbek and initially moved to an apartment at Lübeckerstraße (today Wandsbeker Marktstraße). Since 1935, he lived at Hammerstraße 10, probably together with his family. His main income came from his work as a sales representative. Since 1935, he was again able to pay community taxes; his financial situation seems to have consolidated.
For four years, Siegmund Cahn accompanied the community members as a cantor during hours of prayer and services. These took place either at the synagogue at Lange Reihe (today Königsreihe), or at the besides located, so-called weekday-synagogue which was used for smaller gatherings.
On 1 Jan. 1938 - within the implementation of the Greater Hamburg Law (Groß-Hamburg-Gesetz) - the Jewish community Wandsbek lost its independent status and was incorporated into the forcibly established Jewish Religious Organisation (Jüdischer Religionsverband). The contract between the communities of Hamburg and Wandsbek from 26 Oct. 1937 secured the position of the community's administration, its tax status, and the position of its servants. Thus, Siegmund Cahn was from then cantor in Hamburg. He now worked at the community-synagogue Beneckestraße and earned what seems to have been a salary of 600 RM per annum. In early 1938 the family moved to Rothenbaumchaussee 22 for a short while, one month later they moved to Isestraße 30. The household held amongst others a library of approximately 500 items containing Judaica, German classical literature and music supplies.
Son Erich attended the Jewish secondary school Talmud Tora Realschule at Grindelhof. But he had to stop his education, however, since "he came to England as a pupil with the Kindertransport in December (1938). He only took the clothes required with him in a small suitcase", as Carla Cahn declared to the department for foreign currency.
Daughter Hannelore was also brought out of the country. She left Hamburg together with her mother and her mothers second husband Siegfried (Salomon) Lievendag, they emigrated on the 5th of May 1938 to Amsterdam, where relatives lived.
Also the parents Cahn seem to have planned to emigrate. A field "left" on the community tax card notes: March '39 Belgium/ USA. This, however, never happened, we do not know, why.
Carla and Siegmund Cahn now lived on their own, carving their existence under increasingly worsening conditions. Siegmund Cahn did not have a job anymore; he lived in retirement being only in his early 50's. He nevertheless paid his community fees every month. The dues were gradually lowered to a minimum, reflecting the precarious situation.
In early 1942 the Siegmund and Carla Cahn had to move again; they were forced to live as subtenants in a so-called "Jews' house" (Judenhaus) at Dillstraße 15. This was their last address. From there they were deported on 11 July 1942 to Auschwitz; there, scent is lost.
Hannelore attended a Jewish girls school in Amsterdam and learned Dutch, what she soon spoke fluent. After she managed to evade being arrested at the beginning, she was detained at the Westerbork transit camp on 20th of June 1943. There she belonged to a group of young women, who had to sing and dance in front of the camp administration, well aware of the fact, that they only would be not deported as long as they provided good entertainment. Hannelore was engaged to Rob de Vries, a jewish actor and member of the resistance, after her detention he was hardly able to take care of her. The older Hans Eisinger from Austria was an inmate himself at Westerbork, as a member of the jewish Camp Police, which also collocated the deportation lists, he put Hannelore under his protection. But one day Rob de Vries appeared again and persuaded her to escape from the Camp. The escape was successful and they hid at a family in Amsterdam. Because of Hannelores escape Hans Eisinger now came under pressure. The Camp Administration ordered him to bring her back, otherwise he would be deported. He negotiated the promise, that Hannelore would not have to fear reprisals when returning. He wanted to be responsible for her, therefore he intended to marry her. The Camp Administration agreed, likely to hush up the escape, which revealed grievances in the Camp System. Hans had no choice than to rely on the promise and to find Hannelore. From a fellow inmate he got a tip so that he was able to find her. He succeeded in persuading her to return to the Camp. Back in Westerbork she had to go through interrogations, but it seems that no other negative consequences followed. After her mother, who was detained at the Concentration Camp Vught (Herzogenbusch) together with her husband, agreed to the marriage of her under-age daughter, the wedding took place in March 1944 in Westerbork.
On the 12th of April 1945 the camp was liberated by Canadian troops. At that point of time approximately 900 Jews remained in the Camp, among them Hannelore and Hans Eisinger. In these days Hannelore also met her Brother Erich Cahn again, he was working as an interpreter for the Canadian Troops.
Hannelore’s mother and stepfather also survived the Camp and the Deportation. Siegfried Lievendag got sick with typhus and died a year later. His wife Ester relocated later to the United States. Eventually, when she got sick she went back to Amsterdam and was taken care of in a home where she reached the age of 75. She was buried in Amsterdam as well.
In the end of 1945 Roy, the son of Hans and Hannelore Eisinger, was born in Amsterdam. The family relocated to the United States at several points, finally all together in 1951. 1960 her daughter Vera was born in New York City.
In 1956 Hannelore’s brother Erich Cahn applied at the Amt für Wiedergutmachung. He was then living in Southport/ England; he was married and had two children. He was becoming a Rabbi and was reverend at Southport synagogue. A basic requirement for this post had been his commitment to continue and finish his studies at university. This was, however, not possible for him without financial support. Therefore, he applied for restitution for missed chances for a higher education. In the late 1960s Erich Cahn moved to Australia where one of his cousins was already living. In 1999 he created a memory paper (Gedenkblatt) at the Yad Vashem homepage with the names of his father and his stepmother.
Erich Cahn, who was a Rabbi throughout his whole life, died in 2006 in Australia.
Hannelore Eisinger Cahn died in March 2014.
Translator(s): Paula A. Oppermann / Jonas Stier
Translation kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg
© Astrid Louven
Quellen: 1; StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden 992e; 2 FVg 3704; StaH Meldewesen 332-8 K 4408; AfW 090888; 8; AB 1913 II; AB 1924 II; Leo Baeck Centre for progressive Judaism, Auskunft von Ruth Jacobs, Administative Secretary, LBC, E-Mail vom 8.5.2007; Jahrbuch 1933/34 Nr. 5 S. 48; 1934/35 Nr. 6 S. 67f.; 1937/38 Nr. 9 S. 140; Ina S. Lorenz, Gründung in: Peter Freimark u. a. (Hrsg.) Juden, S. 81–115; Astrid Louven, Juden, S. 44f., 65; Wikipädia. Stichworte Westerbork und Vught; Hinweis von Miriam Keesing, associated researcher des Netherlands Institute for War Documentation, E-Mails Oktober 2014; StaH Personenstand 332-5 3371 v. 1069/20 und 332-5 13578 v. 14/1931; AB 1932 I+II; Steffie van den Oord, Westerbork Girl, Berlin 2010; Auskunft von Steffie van den Oord, E-Mail vom 17.11.2014; Auskunft von Vera S. Eisinger, E-Mails November/Dezember 2014; Auskunft von Jose Martin vom Archiv Westerbork, Mail vom 2.12.2014.
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