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Betty Cohen * 1936
Breite Straße /Ecke Kirchenstraße (Altona, Altona-Altstadt)
Leon Daniel Cohen, born on 12.8.1893 in Altona, deported on 19.7.1942 to Theresienstadt, deported on 28.9.1944 to Auschwitz extermination camp, murdered
Adele Cohen, née Tannenwald, born on 20.6.1907 in Thüngen/Bavaria, deported on 19.7.1942 to Theresienstadt, deported on 28.10.1944 to the extermination camp Auschwitz, murdered
Daniel Leo Cohen, born on 28.3.1935 in Hamburg, deported on 19.7.1942 to Theresienstadt, deported on 28.10.1944 to the Auschwitz death camp, murdered
Betty Cohen, born on 24.6.1936, deported on 19.7.1942 to Theresienstadt, deported on 28.10.1944 to the Auschwitz extermination camp, murdered
Breite Straße/corner of Kirchenstraße (Small Papagoyenstraße 1)
Leon Daniel Cohen was born in 1893 as the sixth child of David Cohen (called Daniel) and his wife Betty, née Wagner. His father, the son of tobacco manufacturer David Isaak Cohen and his wife Sara, née Cohn, worked for the Jewish community as a community treasurer and head sexton until he passed away in 1914 after a long illness; his mother died in 1933.
As a soldier in World War I, Leon Daniel Cohen sustained multiple wounds. With his wife Adele, née Tannenwald, and their children Daniel Leo and Betty, born in 1935 and 1936, he lived in Altona's Old Town at Kleine Papagoyenstraße 1 (the street no longer exists). At Lerchenstraße 61 (formerly Altona, now St. Pauli) he ran a store for leather and shoemaker's supplies.
The Cohen family was involved in Jewish community life. They had been residents in Altona for several generations; already around 1740 the ancestor Elias, son of Isaac Cohen, had moved there, probably from Walsrode. The graves of him and his wife Gittel Cohen as well as other family members are located in the Altona Jewish cemetery in Königstraße.
As a result of the boycott actions against Jewish-owned businesses in 1933 after the National Socialists came to power, Leon D. Cohen had to give up his leather shop. He took over the administration of an old people's home of the Jewish community in Blücherstraße 20 (from 1942 Graf-Blücher-Straße).
In 1938 Leon Daniel and Adele Cohen planned to leave their home in Altona. Leon Daniel Cohen wrote in a letter on September 18, 1938, probably addressed to the Möller family, who had already emigrated to Palestine: "For your l[ieb] last letter you or l[iebe] Jacob expect a detailed answer. This has become superfluous due to the circumstances, which I already foresaw when I wrote to you a few months ago that I have to deal with emigration thoughts. Where to! Doesn't matter today, unfortunately, is no longer a question for us, only 'Out'."
But the plans for emigration could not be realized. From the beginning of the war in September 1939, legal departure from Germany was hardly possible.
The second-to-last address listed on Leon D. Cohen's Kultussteuerkarte of the Hamburg Jewish Community was Sedanstraße 23, an old people's home run by the community which had to call itself Hamburg Jewish Religious Association now. The last address of the Cohens was the old people's home "Nordheim-Stift" at Schlachterstraße 40/42 near Großneumarkt, which had been built in 1882 by the Jewish entrepreneur and benefactor Marcus Nordheim as a residential home with free apartments for 27 poor Jewish families. Leon D. Cohen also worked there as an administrator. From 1942 on, the Nordheim-Stift was used as a so-called "Judenhaus” under Gestapo control.
On July 19, 1942, the Cohen family was deported to Theresienstadt together with other residents from the home at Schlachterstraße 40/42. Leon D. Cohen sent a message via the Red Cross to his parents-in-law, who in the meantime were living in Palestine: "We and Heim (i.e. the residents of the Schlachterstraße) are being transferred to Theresienstadt today. All well."
In the ghetto, the Cohens were able to maintain correspondence with family members through the Red Cross and received food parcels from acquaintances. In June 1945, Adele Cohen's parents, still hoping for a reunion, received news from a family friend named Cilli who had returned from Theresienstadt. She informed them that despite difficult conditions in the ghetto, the Cohens had settled in to some extent and the children had not suffered from hunger: "Adele did the washing and the flattening for families who were considered 'prosperous' as a result of rich parcels." Leon D. Cohen had worked as a caretaker and had been "a good support" to his wife. At last, the family had been able to live in a room to themselves. In September 1944, Leon Cohen and a few weeks later his wife and their children were transported. She had no further news: "I, too, am anxiously awaiting."
On September 28, 1944, Leon Daniel Cohen was deported to the Auschwitz death camp; a month later, on October 28, 1944, Adele Cohen followed him with nine-year-old Daniel Leo and eight-year-old Betty. The family was murdered in Auschwitz.
Translation by Beate Meyer
Stand: February 2022
© Birgit Gewehr
Quellen: 1; 4; 5; 8; Stadtteilarchiv Ottensen, Bestand Jüdisches Leben in Altona, Sammlung Felix Kahn; AB Altona und Hamburg; Korrespondenz mit David Harel, Neffe, April/ Mai 2015.
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