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Bruno Cohn * 1890
Grindelallee 132 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)
Bruno Cohn, born 27 Sep. 1890 in Lübeck, deported 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk, murdered there
Clara Cohn, née Laser, born 12 July 1888 in Wongrowitz, Posen, deported 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk, murdered there
Bruno Cohn’s parents were Moritz and Sara Cohn, née Cohn. He married Clara Laser in 1919 (for Clara Cohn, see Stolpersteine in Hamburg-Harburg und Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg and www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de). They had one daughter, Hildegard, born on 2 Oct. 1920 in Harburg. Bruno Cohn had a men’s clothing store, Modehaus Sala, at Lüneburger Straße 28 in Harburg. The store was first entered in the commercial register on 4 November 1920, after the Chamber of Commerce submitted a complaint to the district court, so it had existed since before then. The block of buildings where the store was located no longer exists, as post-war construction re-routed the city’s streets.
The boycott of Jewish businesses after 1933 left its mark on Bruno Cohn's store. The family remained in Harburg for five years, then moved across the Elbe on 4 Apr 1938 to Grindelallee 132. On 26 Sep. 1938, the Harburg/Wilhelmsburg Chamber of Commerce requested that the company be removed from the commercial register. On 29 Oct 1938 Cohn requested an extension, but then acquiesced, since he had declared bankruptcy on 23 Aug. 1938. He requested exemption from payment of the fee for removal. On 14 Nov. 1938, four days after the November Pogrom, he was taken into "protective custody" for no apparent reason other than the arbitrary persecution of Jewish shopkeepers. For the entire time that he was in prison, his wife Clara had no idea where he was. A roster of inmate names at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp dated 6 Jan. 1939 lists him under prisoner number 10798. On January 9, 1939 he was released from custody and admitted to the Israelite Hospital in Hamburg, apparently a broken man.
On 2 Mar. 1939, the district court declared with respect to the commercial register: "Company defunct, no income or assets". A court order dated 9 Mar. 1939 has a remark: "no costs due to poverty." The property on which Cohn’s business stood was sold to Otto Bretschneider & Co in Hamburg-Harburg.
It is doubtful that the sale was truly aboveboard. The records of the Foreign Exchange Office of the Chief Tax Authority are anything but clear as to the details of how the Cohn family were dispossessed of their (real estate) assets, but the tone of the correspondence between the Harburg tax office and the Foreign Exchange Office is indicative of the opaque procedures used in the "Aryanization" of Jewish property. On January 20, 1942, the Harburg Tax Office wrote to the Foreign Exchange Office: "The Jew Bruno Cohn, born 27 Sep. 1890, formerly residing at Grindelallee 132, still owes property taxes for the Harburg property Lüneburger Straße 28 from the fiscal year 1937, at a total of 240.60 Reichsmarks. It has come to our attention that Cohn is said to have been deported to the East. I suspect that Cohn is still in possession of some assets here that are being held by the Foreign Exchange Office. If this is the case, I request that the above-mentioned tax arrears of 240.60 Reichsmarks plus a surcharge of 4.80 Reichsmarks for overdue payment, in total 245.40 Reichsmarks, be deducted from the seized property and paid to the undersigned." The letter bears the signature of the chief tax inspector of the city of Harburg. The Foreign Exchange Office’s reply, dated 26 Jan. 1942 reads: "The Jew Bruno Cohn ... left the country for Minsk on 8 Nov. 1941. This office has no information as to the financial circumstances of the above-mentioned Jew."
The Cohns’ daughter Hildegard survived the Holocaust because she was able to emigrate to England in 1939. She submitted a Page of Testimony to Yad Vashem in 1977, which she signed as Hilda A. Everall, resident in Vancouver, Canada.
A second Stolperstein for Clara Cohn is at Vogelhüttendeich 40 in Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg.
Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Dieter Wolf
Quellen: 1; 2; 5; 8; StaH 314-15 Oberfinanzpräsident R 1942/25; StaH 430-64 Amtsgericht Harburg VII B 759; Digitales Archiv IST Bad Arolsen, Teilbestand 188.8.131.52, Dok ID 4092164 und 4092172 – Listenmaterial Sachsenhausen; Teilbestand 184.108.40.206, Dok.ID 11197708 – Transportlisten Gestapo; Günther: Biographie, S. 294f.; Meyer: Das "Schicksalsjahr 1938", S. 26f.; Dies.: "Sie bringen uns wohl nach Warschau", S. 91f.
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