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Alexander Cohen * 1871
Karolinenstraße 35 (Hamburg-Mitte, St. Pauli)
Alexander Cohen, born 7 May 1871 in Hamburg, deported 19 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, died there 5 July 1944
Jenny Cohen, née Hescheles, born 1881 in Bitterfeld, deported 19 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, transferred 9 Oct. 1944 to Auschwitz, murdered there
Karolinenstraße 35 (Carolinenstraße 35)
Alexander Cohen was born in Hamburg on 7 May 1871 to Ichel and Gitel Cohen. It is not known where and when he met and married Jenny Hescheles, who was born in Bitterfeld. According to a niece, she had lived "in the Dutch East Indies for many years before she married, from where she brought many valuable objects, like carpets, ivory and wood carvings, etc. back with her." The Cohen’s only child, Gerda, was born in 1909 in Düsseldorf.
By the early 1920s, Alexander Cohen and his wife and child were back in Hamburg, where he ran a commission business, first on Hegestraße in Eppendorf, and later on Eppendorfer Landstraße. The Cohen family's apartment on Hegestieg was described as "elegantly furnished." The Cohens had brought many valuable items back to Hamburg from their numerous trips abroad.
As Alexander Cohen's niece recalled, he "gave up his business and apartment [in Eppendorf] in 1934 because of the growing persecution of Jews, and moved to Markt 22 in Barmbek, where no one knew him. He asked my mother to become a partner in his business, so that he could use her Aryan name [Jentzsch] on his company sign. This was an attempt to divert the attention of the general public and the authorities from himself and his highly-laden name."
In Barmbek, Alexander Cohen opened a hat shop. He withdrew from the Jewish Community in 1929, giving "no religion" as his reason. He was forced to re-join in 1938, and was forced to give up his business in the same year. With no income of their own, Alexander and Jenny Cohen moved in with their daughter and son-in-law. They had an apartment at the Israelitic Girls School at Karolinenstraße 35, where they worked as caretakers. When the school was closed June 1942, the Cohens were forced to move out and were assigned rooms in the "Jews' house" at Kielortallee 24. They received their deportation orders just a few weeks later, and were "evacuated" on 19. July 1942 to Theresienstadt. Alexander died there nearly two years later, on 5 July 1944.
Most of the ghetto was liquidated beginning on 28 September 1944. In the following days, more than 17,500 Jews were sent from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz. Alexander's wife Jenny was among them. She was sent to Auschwitz on 9 October 1944, and was, in all likelihood, murdered in the gas chambers immediately upon arrival, as was the case with the vast majority of Jews who were sent there. Their nine-year-old granddaughter Ruth Meyer was on the same transport and suffered the same fate. Jenny and Alexander Cohen's daughter, Gerda Meyer, was deported with her parents to Theresienstadt and died there on 30 April 1944.
Although Alexander and Jenny Cohen lived in Eppendorf and Barmbek for many years, their Stolperstein was placed at the address where they lived with their daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter, and from which they were all deported to Theresienstadt.
See also: biographies of Ruth, Gerda and Julius Meyer.
Translator(s): Amy Lee
Translation kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg
© Gunhild Ohl-Hinz
Quellen: 1; 4; 7; 8; StaH 314-15 OFP, Abl. 1998/1 J7/517/19; StaH 314-15 OFP, Abl. 1998/1, J7/72+75; StaH 351-11 AfW, Abl. 2008/1 070714 Jentzsch, Ilse; StaH 522-1 Jüd. Gemeinden, 992 d Band 5 No. 11365; Staatliches Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau (Hrsg.), Sterbebücher, 1996.
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