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Dr. Ludwig Freudenthal * 1885
Jungfrauenthal 37 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)
Dr. Ludwig Freudenthal, born on 4 Apr. 1885 in Gotha, deported on 19 July 1942 to Theresienstadt, deported further on 16 Oct. 1944 to Auschwitz
Ludwig Freudenthal was born on 4 Apr. in 1885 in Gotha (Duchy of Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha). His parents, the livestock dealer Karl (Kusel) Freudenthal (1856–1932) from Tann/Rhön and Lina Freudenthal, née Hellmann (1861–1942) from Mühlhausen/Upper Franconia, had married in Eisenach in 1884, although the bride still lived in her native town and the groom in Gotha. Both fathers (Aaron Freudenthal/Tann and Isaak Hellmann/Mühlhausen) were merchants. Witnesses to the marriage were the Nuremberg merchant Salomon Fröhlich (born approx. in 1839) and the Gotha livestock dealer Lewi Hermann (born approx. in 1849).
After the wedding, Karl and Lina Freudenthal resided in Gotha and moved to Erfurt in 1899. There they lived at Turniergasse 16 (1899–1902); Blumenthalstrasse 2, renumbered to no. 70, today Geschwister-Scholl-Strasse (1902–1912); and Scharnhorststrasse 22, today Stauffenbergallee (1912–1931).
They were able to finance their only son’s attendance of high schools in Gotha and Erfurt (1899–1904), law studies in Berlin (1904–1906) and Halle/Saale (1906–1908), as well as his doctoral studies in law in Halle. Ludwig Freudenthal had two younger sisters: Ada Freudenthal, married name Ledermann (1890–1942) and Bella Freudenthal, married name Wochenmark (1887–1944). The father died in 1932 and he was buried in the Erfurt Jewish Cemetery.
After passing his first legal examination in May 1908, Ludwig Freudenthal completed his legal traineeship at the District Court (Amtsgericht) in Weissensee/Thuringia, at the District Court in Stendal, and at the public prosecutor’s office in Stendal, as well as with the lawyers Glimm/Schwarze in Halle/Saale and the District Court in Halle/Saale. Ludwig Freudenthal’s doctoral thesis (in Dec. 1911) at the University of Halle dealt with the "Prerequisites for the default of the buyer in the purchase on call” (Voraussetzungen des Verzuges des Käufers bei dem Kauf auf Abruf). He then worked for around 18 months as an assistant counsel in Erfurt.
In mid–1913, he was licensed to practice as a lawyer at the Royal Regional Court and District Court (Königliches Landgericht und Amtsgericht) in Erfurt and opened a law firm in one of Erfurt’s main shopping streets: at Anger 64 in the building of the Schwan-Apotheke, a pharmacy (1913–1915). In July 1913, he announced this in the Thüringische Allgemeine with a large, double-framed advertisement. A little later, the address was Anger 14 (approx. 1915–1933).
In the law firm, which mainly dealt with criminal law, employees helped with the management of the work. Ludwig Freudenthal also appeared as a defense attorney in political trials, such as the 1925 trial of Alfred Schmidt (1891–1985), member of the Landtag for the German Communist Party (KPD) in Erfurt. It was therefore only logical that Freudenthal’s name appeared in a directory of lawyers of the KPD-related "Red Aid of Germany” (Rote Hilfe Deutschlands – RHD), founded in 1924.
Ludwig Freudenthal had not had to do his one-year military service, presumably because of his eight-month illness in 1905/1906, and he had not been drafted for the First World War.
In 1920, he married Else Badt (born on 17 Feb. 1893 in Schönlanke/ Province of Posen, today Trzcianka in Poland), who came from a wealthy Jewish family (see corresponding entry at www.stolpersteine-hamburg.de). Her parents Moritz (Moses) Badt and Cäcilie (Zerline) Badt, née Ehrlich (1868–1940), owned one property, among others, in Schönlanke, near Schneidemühl (today Pila in Poland), at Moltkestrasse 2. As dowry, Else Badt brought 100,000 RM (reichsmark) into the marriage, which remained childless. The Erfurt apartment of Ludwig and Else Freudenthal at Wilhelmstrasse 23 (1926–1935), today Wilhelm-Külz-Strasse, was furnished elegantly and luxuriously, in keeping with their financial means.
From 1927 to 1933, Ludwig Freudenthal was chairman of the Thuringia regional branch of the Central Association of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith (Centralverein deutscher Staatsbürger jüdischen Glaubens) and, from 1929, a member of the Erfurt Jewish Community’s Assembly of Representatives. He was a co-signatory of a "Declaration of German Jews,” which was printed in various major daily newspapers between 3 and 10 Oct. 1929, along with a list of supporters. The anti-Zionist formulation of the declaration read, "We profess to Judaism, but reject any Jewish nationalism. We consider ourselves with the vast majority of German Jews as members of the German people, not of a Jewish people. In the establishment of a Jewish national home, we see a false path that must endanger the emancipation work of the pioneers of German Jewry and the religious and moral task of Judaism in humanity. With the public declaration, the signatories responded to the call of the Jewish Agency for Palestine toward "aid through building up” ("Hilfe durch Aufbau”) The 276 prominent supporters included predominantly representatives of the Association of Liberal Judaism (Vereinigung des liberalen Judentums), members of the board of the Central Association, as well as members of the Berlin Reformed Community (Berliner Reformgemeinde), to which most of the signatories from the ranks of the Federation of National German Jews (Verband Nationaldeutscher Juden) belonged. A great number of the supporters were from Berlin, only two signatories came from the greater Hamburg area: Max Alexander (born on 19 June 1898), the general representative of Scherl Publishers (since 1916, part of the Hugenberg Group, close to the German National People’s Party [DNVP]) and Regional Court Director (Landgerichtsdirektor) Paul Oppenheimer (born on 1 June 1866), who emigrated to the Netherlands in 1939.
Since 1930, Ludwig Freudenthal also supported the "Society for the Promotion of the Crafts and Agriculture among the Jews” ("Gesellschaft zur Förderung des Handwerks und der Landwirtschaft unter den Juden” – ORT), a non-Zionist association that qualified young Jews in "manual” and agricultural work.
As early as 1933, Ludwig Freudenthal had his license to practice as a lawyer revoked by the Nazis because he was Jewish and did not fall under any of the exceptions. Starting on 1 Apr. 1933, he was banned from the court building in Erfurt and on 9 May 1933, he was banned from working as a notary. In the 1935 Erfurt directory, his name was followed by the professional title of "Rechtskonsulent” ("legal adviser”), who was only allowed to represent Jewish clients. For these defendants, however, the laws and jurisdiction of the Nazi dictatorship had developed in such adverse ways that Jewish lawyers were mostly tolerated for the sake of appearances only until 1938.
On 11 Mar. 1935, the couple moved from Wilhelmstrasse 23 on the ground floor to Futterstrasse 17 on the second floor, and on 30 Apr. 1936 to Paulstrasse 8.
In 1936, Ludwig and Else Freudenthal moved from Erfurt to Hamburg. The deregistration officially took place on 6 July 1936, but on 4 June 1936, 51-year-old Ludwig Freudenthal had already joined the Hamburg German-Israelitic Community and the liberal Temple Association (Tempelverband – T.V.). On his Hamburg Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) file card, "Syndikus im Central-Verein Beneckestrasse 2, Rechtsberater” (association secretary and legal adviser) and "Hilfsverein” (aid organization) were entered under occupation. Max Plaut (1901–1974), chairman of the Community, commented in 1958 on Freudenthal’s activities in Hamburg: "Dr. Freudenthal was appointed to Hamburg as managing director of the Central Association of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith. In this function he worked, as I recall, until 9 Nov. 1938. After this, the Central Association was liquidated and Dr. Freudenthal worked in the emigration department (formerly Hilfsverein der Deutschen Juden – Aid Organization of German Jews). He also completed other tasks within the framework of the Community. His income was probably about 600 RM [reichsmark] and then, according to the regulations, it was repeatedly reduced.”
Ludwig Freudenthal was also active in the administration of the Advisory Center for Jewish Economic Aid (Beratungsstelle für jüdische Wirtschaftshilfe), whose fields of activity included economic aid, occupational redeployment, and training courses. The counseling center was chaired by the lawyer Rudolf Samson (1897–1938), who suffered a fatal accident on 4 Sept. 1938 and who had served as chairman of the administrative advisory board of the "Central Association of German Citizens of the Jewish Faith.”
In Hamburg, the Freudenthal couple resided briefly, from June to Aug. 1936, at Sierichstrasse 84 (Winterhude), then as subtenants for a quarter of a year at Brahmsallee 6 on the second floor (Harvestehude) with the merchant Max Hoffmann (born on 6 Oct. 1885 in Hamburg) and his wife Henny, née Goldscheider (born on 3 Aug. 1889 in Hamburg), before they found a suitable two-and-a-half-room apartment at Klosterallee 35 (Harvestehude) on the fourth floor in Nov. 1936.
The niece of Else Freudenthal, Charlotte Bauchwitz, who lived in Hamburg from 1937 to 1939 and then emigrated to the USA, later described the Freudenthal’s Hamburg furnishings, which still came from the larger Erfurt house: The dining room furnishings were made of mahogany (oval pull-out table for 12–14 persons, chairs with leather seats, sideboard and buffet), in addition an octagonal tea table made of glass with two armchairs, as well as an oil painting and carpets; the living room was furnished with a desk, leather armchairs, a sofa, a smoking table, and carpets. Solid silver cutlery was available for 24 persons, and Else Freudenthal owned high-quality jewelry (platinum ring with diamonds, pearl necklace with diamond clasp, diamond brooch, and gold woman’s wristwatch). In 1939, they – like all Jews – had to surrender their jewelry as well as gold and silver objects to a state purchasing office in exchange for very little compensation.
On 10 November, Ludwig Freudenthal was imprisoned in the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp and then transferred to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, as were about 700 other male Jews from Hamburg.
In May 1939, at the time of the German national census in which Jews were recorded separately, the Freudenthals still lived at Klosterallee 35 on the fourth floor. This address is also given in the directories of 1940, 1941, and 1942. The last Hamburg address of Ludwig and Else Freudenthal was Jungfrauenthal 37, where they had to move on 28 Mar. 1942 according to the Klosterallee house registration file. This house was included by the Nazi regime as a so-called "Jews’ house” ("Judenhaus”) in the preparation of the deportations and was no longer a freely chosen accommodation.
Ludwig and Else Freudenthal were deported to the Theresienstadt Ghetto on 19 July 1942 and from there to the Auschwitz extermination camp on 16 Oct. 1944.
For them, Stolpersteine were laid in front of the house at Jungfrauenthal 37 in 2003.
Ludwig Freudenthal’s mother Lina Freudenthal, née Hellmann (born on 17 May 1861 in Mühlhausen/ Upper Franconia) lived from July 1937 to Aug. 1938 again in her birthplace Mühlhausen, where (her sister ?) Ida Rosenbach, née Hellmann (born on 5 July 1866 in Mühlhausen), resided as well at the time of the census in May 1939 with the address of Mühlhausen no. 64. Lina Freudenthal moved back to Erfurt in Aug. 1938 and to Emden in Mar. 1939. On 2 Jan. 1939, the records office in Eisenach noted on her marriage certificate the Jewish first name "Sara,” which had become compulsory for female Jews by then.
At the time of the May 1939 census, Lina Freudenthal lived in the Israelite retirement home in Emden (at Claas-Tholenstrasse 19). She visited her son and daughter-in-law one last time in Hamburg from 28 May to 10 June 1941, as the official in charge meticulously noted in the local house registration file.
Eighty-year-old Lina Freudenthal was deported from Emden via Berlin to the Litzmannstadt/Lodz Ghetto on 23 Oct. 1941, where she died on 7 Mar. 1942.
Her name, inscribed on a plaque on the wall of the Jewish Cemetery in Lodz, has been commemorating her since 2009.
Ludwig Freudenthal’s sister Ada Ledermann, née Freudenthal (born on 30 Nov. 1890 in Gotha) lived with her husband, the livestock dealer Art(h)ur Ledermann (born on 14 Sept. 1882 in Öhringen), in the north of Württemberg, Franconian I character, in the town of Öhringen (at Poststrasse 24) at the time of the German national census in May 1939. On 1 Dec. 1941, both were deported from Stuttgart to the Jungfernhof Ghetto in Riga, where they were murdered on 26 Mar. 1942: Under the code name of "Operation Dünamünde” ("Aktion Dünamünde”), around 1,800 camp inmates were shot on that day in the surrounding forests.
In Öhringen, Stolpersteine were laid for them at Untere Torstrasse 22 in 2011.
In 1916, Ludwig Freudenthal’s sister Bella Wochenmark, née Freudenthal (born on 14 Jan. 1887 in Gotha) had married in Erfurt the teacher of religion Joseph Wochenmark (born on 17 June 1880 in Rozwadow/ Galicia, Austria-Hungary), who taught at the high school in Crailsheim and from 1925 to 1933 at the Uhland-Gymnasium, a high school in Tübingen. In 1933, he earned his doctorate with a thesis on Die Schicksalsidee im Judentum ("The Idea of Fate in Judaism”). In Aug. 1934, the Wochenmark couple and their sons Alfred (born on 1917) and Arnold (born on 1921) moved to Schwäbisch Gmünd, in Jan. 1940 to Stuttgart. Their furniture was stored in an attic in Schwäbisch Gmünd; their sons emigrated to Switzerland and the USA. In 1941, the married couple resided in Stuttgart at Olgastrasse 75 and Joseph Wochenmark graduated from the Berlin School of Sciences with a rabbinate diploma. In 1942, they had to move into the building at Eberhardstrasse 1, which was designated to become a "Jews’ house” ("Judenhaus”). After receiving the deportation order, both saw only one way out – they decided to flee to their deaths on 8 Mar. 1943. Joseph Wochenmark succeeded in committing suicide. Bella Wochenmark survived and she was deported from Stuttgart to the Theresienstadt Ghetto on 16 Apr. 1943 and to the Auschwitz extermination camp on 16 Oct. 1944. Stolpersteine were laid for both of them in Stuttgart at Olgastrasse 75 in 2012.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: June 2020
© Björn Eggert
Quellen: Staatsarchiv Hamburg (StaH) 332-8 (Meldewesen), Hauskartei, Klosterallee 35 III (Freudenthal, Schalmayer); StaH 351-11 (Amt für Wiedergutmachung), 7667 (Dr. Ludwig Freudenthal); StaH 522-1 (Jüdische Gemeinden), 992b (Kultussteuerkartei der Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde Hamburg), Ludwig Freudenthal, Max Alexander, Dr. Paul Oppenheimer; Stadtarchiv Eisenach, Heiratsurkunde 58/1884 (Karl Freudenthal u. Lina Hellmann); Stadtarchiv Erfurt, Signatur 2/136-23 (Meldekarte 1913–1936 von Dr. Ludwig Freudenthal), Anzeige Thüringische Allgemeine Zeitung 6.7.1913, S. 59, Erklärung deutscher Juden; Stadtarchiv Emden, Liste der am 23.10.1941 von Emden über Berlin nach Lodz deportierten Juden, Gedenktafel an der Mauer des jüdischen Friedhofs von Lodz (Lina Freudenthal); Bundesarchiv Koblenz, Gedenkbuch, Ludwig Freudenthal, Else Freudenthal geb. Badt, Lina Freudenthal geb. Hellmann, Ada Ida Beate Ledermann geb. Freudenthal, Artur Ledermann, Bella Wochenmark geb. Freudenthal, Joseph Wochenmark; Gedenkbuch Hamburger jüdische Opfer des Nationalsozialismus, Hamburg 1995, S. 111 (Ludwig und Else Freudenthal); Europäisches Kultur- und Informationszentrum in Thüringen (Hrsg.), Juden in Thüringen 1933–1945, Erfurt 2000, S. 34 (Lina Freudenthal geb. Hellmann, Dr. Ludwig Freudenthal); Matthias Hambrock, Die Etablierung der Außenseiter: Der Verband Nationaldeutscher Juden 1921–1935, Köln 2003, S. 280, 282, 283; Jutta Hoschek, Ausgelöschtes Leben, Juden in Erfurt 1933-1945, Erfurt 2013, S. 133–137 (Biografie Lina Freudenthal geb. Hellmann u. Dr. Ludwig Freudenthal); Meyers Lexikon, Band 10, Leipzig 1929, S. 1435 (Schönlanke); Wilhelm Mosel, Wegweiser zu ehemaligen jüdischen Stätten in Hamburg, Heft 3, Hamburg 1989, S. 124 (Beneckestraße 2); Hamburger Adressbuch 1937, 1938, 1940–1942 (Ludwig Freudenthal); Altonaer Adressbuch 1910, 1916, 1920, 1924, 1929, 1932, 1936 (Dr. Paul Oppenheimer, Flottb. Chaussee 54); Hamburger Börsenfirmen, Hamburg 1926, S. 348 (Carl Gröschner, Inh. Carl Ludwig Max Gröschner, gegr. 1920 und Max Gröschner, Inh. Carl Ferdinand Max Gröschner, gegr. 1888, Agent und Makler); www.tacingthepast.org (Volkszählung Mai 1939), Ludwig Freudenthal, Beate u. Artur Ledermann, Ida Rosenbach geb. Hellmann, Bella u. Joseph Wochenmark; http://www.oehringen.de/stadt/stadtgeschichte/stolpersteine-oehringen.html (Arthur u. Ada Ledermann, Untere Torstrasse 22); https://www.stolpersteine-stuttgart.de/index.php?docid=797&mid=30 (Biografie Dr. Joseph und Bella Wochenmark); http://www.alemannia-judaica.de/oehringen_synagoge.htm (eingesehen 2.11.2017); Informationen von Dr. Jutta Hoschek.