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Jonas (Jona) Fränkel * 1874
Gneisenaustraße 5 (Eimsbüttel, Hoheluft-West)
am 16.07.1942 in Lodz gestorben
Jonas (Jona) Fränkel, born 12 Oct. 1874 in Drohobycz (today in Ukraine), deported 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz, died there 16 July 1942
Jenny Fränkel, née Lewinski, born 29 July 1879 in Marienwerder, deported 25 Oct. 1941 to Lodz
When Jona Fränkel was born in Drohobycz in 1874, the town belonged to Austrian-Hungarian Empire’s Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, which existed from 1772 until 1918. At the age of 14, Jona, called Jonas, moved to Hannover as an apprentice at a store for household goods. After his apprenticeship, he worked in Hamburg and then Wilhelmshaven, where he opened his own store. Two of his brothers joined him in Wilhelmshaven, and he and his eldest brother Moritz (Moses) (*1873) founded the Fränkel Bros. Company in 1900. The family ran a large store for household goods and furnishings with 20 employees at Marktstraße 36, and they opened a second store on Göckerstraße.
Jenny Fränkel, née Lewinski, was born on 29 July 1879 in Marienwerder, where her parents ran a department store. After attending a girls’ school, she apprenticed in her parents’ store, became the business manager and headed the department for ready-to-wear clothing. She remained at the store until she married in 1903. She had at least one sister (*1893).
After their marriage, Jenny Fränkel worked in her husband’s store in Wilhelmshaven as a cashier. The couple had three children, Bertha Margot (*1904), Ruth (*1906), and Bernhard. Bernhard was born lame. His parents spared no expense for his treatment, taking him to renowned physicians in Berlin, but he died before 1933.
The family lived in a nine-room apartment at Viktoriastraße 21. They had household servants, so that Jenny could continue to work after the children were born.
Beginning in 1931, Jonas Fränkel was the Chairman of the Wilhelmshaven Jewish Community. In 1933 the Jewish population of the city was just above 100; by 1938 most of them had moved away. In the 1930, 1932, and 1933 Reichstag elections, the number of votes for the Nazi Party in Wilhelmshaven was considerably higher than the Reich-wide average. The anti-Semitic sentiment was correspondingly high.
In December 1938, the Fränkel family sold the property at Marktstraße 36 for 107,500 Reichsmarks. It was owned in equal parts by the Fränkel Bros. Company and Frieda (Fanny) Fränkel, the wife of Jonas’ brother Moritz. Jonas Fränkel and his wife Jenny had moved to Gneiseaustraße 5 in Hamburg one year earlier. Moritz and his wife had moved to Hamburg in the 1920s and lived at Klosterallee 78. Frieda Fränkel, née David, was originally from Hamburg. On 2 Juni 1939, Jonas and Jenny Fränkel were forced to move from their apartment at Gneisenaustraße 5 to Rothenbaumchaussee 60 I.
Moritz and his wife fled to Belgium in 1939. In 1941 they lived in Brussels at Avenue Charles Woeste 53. Neither of their names are listed in the Memorial Book, and it appears that they survived.
In Hamburg, Jenny and Jonas Fränkel lived from their not inconsiderable fortune. As a wealthy Jew, he was forced to pay the "Jewish Property Levy.” His assets were declared at 18,000 Reichsmarks, of which he was to pay 4,500 RM in five installments. In January 1939, he was investigated on the suspicion of smuggling money out of the country. His accounts were frozen, and Jonas Fränkel had to request permission to withdraw enough money for his monthly living expenses. The records show that Jonas and Moritz had a brother named Adolf (Aron) in Berlin, who was destitute. Jonas Fränkel sometimes paid the expenses of a niece Eva Fränkel in Berlin, who was perhaps his brother Adolf’s daughter.
Jonas and Jenny Fränkel’s names were on the first deportation list. Jonas died nine months after his arrival in the ghetto. All traces of Jenny are lost.
Both of their daughters worked in the store in Wilhelmshaven. Bertha Margot married in 1929 (married name Schulsinger) and emigrated to Palestine in May 1935. Ruth, whose married name was Amson, survived and lived in the US.
Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Susanne Lohmeyer
Quellen: 1; 2 (R1939/262); 4; 5; StaH 351-11 AfW, AZ 121074 und AZ 290779; StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden, 992e2 Band 3 Deportationsliste; http://www.alemannia-judaica.de/wilhelmshaven_synagoge.htm; Obenaus, Juden in Niedersachsen, Bd. 2, S. 1551ff.