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Hans Cohn * 1925
Grindelhof 64 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)
Carl (Karl) Cohn, born 9 July 1858 in Nordhausen, deported 17 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, died there 25 July 1942
Julius Cohn, born 23 Sep. 1896 in Hamburg, deported 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk, murdered there
Carmen Cohn, née Wagner, born 14 Aug. 1896 in Seville, Spain, deported 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk, murdered there
Hans Cohn, born 26 May 1925 in Hamburg, deported 2 Nov. 1941 to Minsk, murdered there
Carl Cohn was the son of Julius and Fanny Cohn, née Cahn. He and his second wife Rosa Burger (*25 Jan. 1871), who was Catholic, had two children, Julius (*23 Sep. 1896) and Margarethe (*5 Sep. 1898). Carl Cohn was co-owner of Cohn & Bundheim, an ivory brokerage.
Julius, who was named after his grandfather, was married to Carmen, née Wagner, and also worked as an ivory broker in his father's company. Beginning in 1930, however, the company showed no significant revenue, and Julius had to apply for subsidies from the welfare office to pay for a special diet for his son Hans, who was ill, new footwear and a suit. The agency balked, but it finally agreed to minimal subsistence payments. In 1932 Julius was reported to the welfare agency for earning money under the table as a waiter. It was also alleged that he earned some money working for the election campaign of the Deutsche Staatspartei (German State Party) in the summer of 1932. The party was a merger of the left wing, liberal Deutsche Demokratische Partei (German Democratic Party) with the conservative, anti-Semitic Volksnationale Reichsvereinigung (Peoples’s National Reich Association) for the 1930 election campaign. Its first Hamburg chapter chairman, Curt Platen (Hamburg Labor Minister), told Paul Neumann (Hamburg Welfare Minister) that the allowances Julius Cohn had received were "not worth mentioning". The Staatspartei had provided a letter of surety to his landlord for his rent (60 Reichsmarks a month), and it had paid his outstanding rent. Whether Julius Cohn was a member of the Staatspartei cannot be determined, because member lists from that time were destroyed as a precautionary measure. Still, it is worth noting that the party chairman spoke up for Julius Cohn.
Because Cohn's wife Carmen was Protestant, the Jewish Community denied him any financial support. On 14 Apr. 1936, Julius Cohn withdrew his membership in the Jewish Community and submitted a request to be classified as a Mischling (half-breed) based on the fact that his mother was Catholic. She was considered to be a "full Jew", however, even though she had only converted to Judaism after she married.
The 40-year-old welfare recipient Julius Cohn was conscripted to forced labor at the beginning of the Nazi regime. He was assigned to heavy labor at various locations. In 1935, particular construction projects were designated as workplaces for Jewish welfare recipients. In Waltershof they had to work on a silt field building sports fields and playgrounds for a day care and kindergarten facility. In addition, the welfare office demanded repayment of any subsidies granted from 1930 to 1936.
The welfare office records on Julius Cohn contain a letter he wrote to the Hamburg Reich Governor Karl Kaufmann, dated 16 Apr 1936:
"I would like to submit the following complaint: I receive welfare benefits from the Welfare Agency XIII, file number C 2857, district 323. Today I was ordered to report for yet another compulsory labor assignment. After a compulsory labor assignment last year at the airport, I fell ill with sciatica, and the doctor has only now pronounced me again fit for work. I am thus again able to fulfil my compulsory labor duties. I have been assigned to Waltershof, although, as I informed the official, I am a Mischling, with full-Aryan grandparents on my mother's side. In addition, I worked temporarily, in compliance with the regulatory statues, at the airport until I became ill again. To my objection to working at Waltershof I received the reply that it had already been decided and I would have to work there. I was told that I should continue to work in the airport until I had proof of my racial heritage. I politely asked the welfare agent who would cover the costs for the documentation, since, with a welfare subsidy of only 17 Reichsmarks per week for me, my wife and my child, I would not be able to afford it. To this the official replied: I should not coast through life at the expense of the welfare agency.
I find this reply insulting, for I was not reduced to accepting welfare through my own fault, but rather by the inflation that cost my father his fortune and me my inheritance. The agent's words are all the more offensive to me in light of the fact that I am a veteran of the First World War. When I pointed this out to the agent, I received the reply: Veterans had surely heard worse. After this reply I found it impossible to negotiate with the agent and I left the premises."
Julius Cohn asked Kaufmann to investigate and, if possible, accelerate the matter. However, he expected that his wages would be "suspended on Thursday, the 16th of the month." The file contains the notation: "to special service B-900", which indicates further separation of Jewish welfare recipients and "compulsory labor."
Five years later, on 8 Nov. 1941, Julius, his wife Carmen and their son Hans were deported to Minsk and murdered.
Julius Cohn’s father Carl and his wife Rosa were living in a residential trust at Bogenstraße 65 for 4.50 RM rent per week. Rosa Cohn died at the age of 71 on 22 Apr. 1942. Three weeks after his wife’s death, on 19 July 1942, the 83-year-old Carl Cohn was deported to Theresienstadt. He died there six days later, on 25 July 1942.
Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Dieter Wolf
Quellen: 1; 5; StaH 351-14 Arbeits- und Sozialfürsorge – Sonderakten 1047; StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden 992 e 2 Band 5; Digitales Archiv IST Bad Arolsen, Teilbestand: 126.96.36.199. Dok. ID 111197709, 11197724, 11197726, 11198006 Transportlisten Gestapo; Teilbestand 188.8.131.52. Dok. ID 4966731; Meyer: "Jüdische Mischlinge", S. 96–113; Lohalm: Völkische Wohlfahrtsdiktatur, S. 403–409; https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamburger_Senat_1919–1933, (letzter Aufruf: 28.11.14); Auskunft von Dr. J. Froelich, Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung für die Freiheit, Archiv des Liberalismus, Gummersbach, am 18.11.2014.
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