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Ernst Goldschmidt * 1875
Hegestraße 39 (Hamburg-Nord, Eppendorf)
Ernst Goldschmidt, born on 3 Oct. 1875 in Dortmund, deported on 6 Dec. 1941 to Riga
"Jamaica, New York, 26 June 1941
Dear Cousin Ernst Goldschmidt,
I have now in my hands all of your letters and also your telegram. I immediately began work on preparing the necessary papers and documents, and now I have them. I assume you know that both consuls were instructed by Germany and the USA to close off [the borders]. I enclose a clipping of yesterday’s newspaper. So what shall I do now? Will it do any good if I send you the affidavit with all of the required papers? I am afraid you did not receive my last airmail letter. In it, I wrote that the home [office] will accept you but refuses to give that in writing. You do not have to worry about that because I am certain that my affidavit shows that I am in a financial position to provide you with a roof over your head and with food, enabling you to make a living. I also sent you a telegram address, ‘DASANN.’ Now this letter. They have withdrawn most remaining ships from Lisbon, and traveling to the USA is becoming more difficult every day. Let me know if there is anything I could do.
In the meantime, I remain with best regards,
Your Cousin David E. Cole”
Ernst Goldschmidt received this letter by his second cousin, showing willingness to help but holding out little hope, in the summer of 1941. David E. Cole had already obtained for him a valid affidavit for immigration to the USA in 1938. We do not know why his emigration failed nonetheless.
Ernst Goldschmidt, the son of Isidor and Fanny Goldschmidt, née Katzenstein, was born in Dortmund. Together with his uncle Adolf, his father operated an "agency business dealing in home produce.” (Agenturgeschäft in Landesprodukten) Ernst, called Selmar, grew into the enterprise and was entered in the Dortmund directory as an authorized signatory of the company in 1899, at the age of 24. In the following years, he worked for the firm in a managing position mainly in the North German region, while his brother Hermann Goldschmidt was in charge of the Osnabrück area.
Before World War I, he lived and worked in Bremen and Hamburg. As one can read in the family register (Hausstandsbuch) of his parent’s home in Dortmund, he returned from Bremen to Dortmund in Aug. 1911, subsequently moving to Hamburg in Oct. 1912. During the First World War, he was probably not a soldier but organized supply logistics for the army. After the end of the war, he moved to Hamburg again in Mar. 1919. He was 50 years old and unmarried when he joined the Hamburg Jewish Community in 1925. Together with Georg Jacoby, he set up an office at Brandstwiete 2/4, working there as an independent grain trader in the Goldschmidt Ernst G. & Jacoby HR Company. Business flourished, enabling Ernst Goldschmidt to rent apartments on Magdalenenstrasse and later at Jungfrauenthal 28.
After the National Socialists assumed power, it became increasingly difficult for Jewish men and women to carry on any occupation. Ernst Goldschmidt attempted to evade the anti-Semitic laws and mounting persecution. By then aged 62, he made futile efforts toward emigration to the USA. His financial situation also deteriorated noticeably. In Aug. 1941, he had to move as a subtenant to the second floor of Hegestrasse 39, which resulted in the separation from Marie Arlt, who had managed his household for nearly 20 years. In Nov. 1941, he made over to her all of his life insurance claims vis-a-vis the Alte Leipziger Lebensversicherung "in case of emigration or evacuation.” These claims amounted to 776.50 RM (reichsmark) every quarter. The same apartment, at Hegestrasse 39, also accommodated the former teachers Pauline Sternberg and Henriette Meidner (see corresponding entries) as subtenants. They had also just moved there in the summer and fall of 1941. On 28 Nov., eight days before his deportation to Riga, Ernst Goldschmidt sent his lawyer, the Jewish "legal adviser” ("Konsulent”) [a Jewish lawyer whose admission to the bar had been revoked under Nazi legislation] Ernst Kaufmann, a note regarding questions on settling his estate. In it, he mentioned that though his affidavit had expired, it could be renewed any time because he had a firmly assured place at the B’nai Brith home in Yonkers, New York. Thus, until the very end, he had not given up hope to reach the USA after all.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Maria Koser
Quellen: 1; 5; 6; 8; StaH 621-1/84 Firma Ernst Kaufmann 22; Recherche und Auskunft Dieter Knippschild, Stadtarchiv Dortmund vom 12.7.2010.
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