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Already layed Stumbling Stones

Sally Jacobsohn * 1930

Hallerstraße 55 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)

1941 Minsk

further stumbling stones in Hallerstraße 55:
David Eldod, Eli Eldod, Judith Eldod, Naftali Eldod, Rosa Eldod, Walter Samuel Eldod, Bertha Jacobsohn, Dr. John Jacobsohn, Ernestine Jacobsohn, Eva Jacobsohn, Mathilde Jacobsohn, Rosalia Jacobsohn

Dr. John Jacobsohn (Jakobsohn), b. am 3.17.1894 in Altona, deported to Minsk on 11.18.1941
Rosalia Jacobsohn, née Michalsky, b. 12.14.1897 in Berlin, deported to Minsk on 11.18.1941
Ernestine Jacobsohn, b. 6.18.1923 in Hamburg, deported to Minsk on 11.18.1941
Bertha Jacobsohn, b. am 3.9.1924 in Hamburg, deported to Minsk on 11.18.1941
Eva Jacobsohn, b. 4.23.1927 in Hamburg, deported to Minsk on 11.18.1941
Sally Jacobsohn, b. 7.22.1930 in Hamburg, deported to Minsk on 11.18.1941
Mathilde Jacobsohn, b. 8.30.1934 in Hamburg, deported to Minsk on 11.18.1941

Hallerstraße 55

In 1890 in Altona, the father of John Jacobsohn, Jacob Jacobssohn, b. 10.19.1860 in Wittmund, married Bertha Meyer who was born on 6.23.1855 in Aschendorf, in the Administrative District of Osnabrück. He lived in Altona and was a lottery collector. Since 19 December 1906, Jacob Jacobssohn, his wife, and their two sons who were born in Altona, John (1894) and Werner (1897), lived in Hamburg at Bogenstrasse 15, where he ran a business dealing in bedding feathers; the business apparently flourished, judging from his taxable income. In 1913, he had his family name changed to Jacobsohn [one s] and in the same year, with his wife and children, he was formerly accepted into the Hamburg State Federation.

His son, John Jacobsohn, born in Altona on 17 March 1894, studied law. Toward the end of his studies, in 1915, he was called to military service during the First World War. For that reason, he could complete his preliminary law examination on 7 March 1916 in Rostock only on an emergency basis [Notprüfung]. It was accredited to him only after he acquired Hamburg citizenship on 10 March 1916 and had later finished the required number of semesters as verified by the seminars of the University of Heidelberg. For this purpose he was granted a furlough from military service. When his father died in 1917, he attempted, unsuccessfully, to be transferred to service in a Hamburg court, in order to be near his sick mother and to be able to help her in the business. He was informed that the court did not, at that time, need any articled clerks.

The report John Jacobsohn made on 6 July 1919 concerning his military service in the war later served as evidence for his classification as a frontline fighter: from May to October 1915, he was with the Replacement Infantry Battalion Landwehr No. 81 in the Hanau district; then, until June 1917, he was with the 116th Pioneer Battalion. In trench warfare he was occupied with the hauling of materiel for the construction of barracks and streets. As a station telephone operator, he learned the technical aspects the German railway operations. At the Battle of Verdun, he came for a time under the heaviest fire. In 1917, he became ill and was transferred to a reserve troop unit in Saarbrücken. While there, working as a censor of the field post, he gained insight into the gloomy mood of the population of Alsace-Lorraine. Assignment to an air defense unit, which raised tethered balloons for the defense of native industry, was his final posting in the war. In Hamburg, he was initially furloughed for a four- week judicial training program, and thereafter he was discharged from the army.

The evaluations of his academic teachers concerning candidate John Jacobsohn varied considerably. His diligence and honest efforts drew praise. His conceptualization was said to be rather slow, and his manner of speaking was faltering. Certain judgments, such as his "unclean” appearance,” suggest antisemitic feelings among his teachers. A few of his trainers mentioned that Jacobsohn was "of the strict Mosaic faith” and therefore could not perform his duties on Saturday. John Jacobsohn received his doctorate in "aleatory, especially licensing agreements according to Jewish law” in Frankfurt am Main on 7 January 1920. He passed the second juridical examination on 4 January 1921 with the grade of "good.” The [Hamburg] Senate informed him that he could become an assessor only if he was willing to work on Saturdays. Apparently, the candidate accepted this condition and, in any case, having taken the oath of service to the Reich Constitution and the Hanseatic City of Hamburg, was named assessor. However, a few months later, a housemate brought suit against him for libel, placing him in an embarrassing position. Even though he was able to show the low motives of the plaintiff, backed by witnesses, the incident threw a shadow on a judicial official, so that the President of the District Court suggested to him that he submit his resignation from state service. The legal conflict was settled by a preliminary injunction on 3 November 1921. Having completed his legal studies, he could now attempt to practice as an attorney. In regard to his inquiry, the Hanseatic Lawyers’ Chamber had no objection to the acceptance of Dr. John Jacobsohn. On 20 January 1922, his admittance to the bar with the Hanseatic Superior Court, the State Court, and the District Court was announced.

For the next ten years, the Hamburg directory listed Jacobsohn’s law practice at Grossen Bäckerstrasse 2–4, where from Monday through Friday, from 3 to 5 o’clock PM, he held consultation hours. Together with his wife Rosalia, née Michalsky, (b. 1897 in Berlin), he continued to live at Bogenstrasse 15. From 1924 to 1934, the couple had four daughters and a son. The daughters attended the Israelite Girls’ School on Carolinenstrasse.

If the course of Jacobsohn’s life already met with problems because of his Judaism, before the access to power by the National Socialists, it came to a climax in this regard after 1933. It started with the call for a boycott of "Jewish businesses, Jewish physicians, and Jewish attorneys.” This was strengthened by the demand of Prussian Justice Minister Kerrl, to drastically limit the presences of Jewish attorneys. The Hamburg Judiciary Senator Curt Rothenberger took care that as many Jewish attorneys as possible would have their licenses revoked. He was aided in this by the "Law concerning Admittance to the Legal Profession,” which rested upon the "Law for the Restoration of the Professional Civil Service.” According to this law, all attorneys of Jewish descent were to be withdrawn from admission to the bar, except for those who had already been admitted by 1 August 1914 or who had fought in the world war for Germany. Also exempted were attorneys whose fathers or sons had fallen in the war. By 31 May 1933, 71 Hamburg attorneys were removed on account of "non-Aryan descent,” among them, John Jacobsohn. He learned too late of the possibility of being allowed to remain because of his front line service during the war. The Judiciary Senator answered his petition with the fact that the status of front line soldier had to be confirmed by the Central Office for the Certification of War Casualties and War Graves or by registration in the war personnel roll. Yet even when Jacobsohn presented the required evidence, Rothenberger was unready to acknowledge that his activity in trench warfare or his presence at the Battle of Verdun constituted front line service. Jacobsohn’s renewed appeal was denied. Then, however, the Implementation Decree of 20 July 1933, concerning the Admission Law of 10 April, allowed an attorney whose front line service had been disputed to appeal directly to the Reich Ministry of Justice. In this way, Jacobsohn succeeded in having the State Judicial Administration retract its decision. In any case, the law office on Grossen Bäckerstrasse was no more; in the directory, only his private address at Bogenstrasse 15 appeared.

The kinds of restrictions placed upon Jewish attorneys in the following years are described by Heiko Morisse: exclusion from the Lawyers’ Association, now renamed the "Union of National Socialist German Jurists,” and from other associations, the elimination of mandates and representations, discrimination in the appointment to represent the poor and as public defenders.

The economic consequence was a perceptible lowering of income, even though the communal religion tax paid by Jacobsohn showed no dramatic decline. It cannot be established as to why the Jacobsohn couple apparently made no application to emigrate and also did not seize on any possibility of sending their daughter to a more secure foreign country. The children attended the Jewish School on Carolinenstrasse, where a friendly atmosphere prevailed and they were not too much aware of the many restrictions. The year 1938 and the Pogrom of November 9–10 was a watershed. John Jacobsohn, like many Jewish attorneys and hundreds of Hamburg men, arrested and hauled from the Fuhlsbüttel police prison to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. Parallel to this act of violence, the Jewish attorneys of Hamburg were struck the decisive blow. Article §1 of the Fifth Ordinance concerning the Reich Citizenship Law of 27 September 1938 decreed: "the profession of attorney is closed to Jews. So far as Jews are still attorneys, they are excluded from the bar … The Judicial Administration permits Jewish consultants to represent and advise Jews in legal matters. Front line soldiers among the excluded attorneys may, when necessary, receive revocable subsistence payments from the revenues of Jewish consultants.” On 28 January 1939, John Jacobsohn and Dr. Felix Hecht were issued a "revocation of authorization [to practice law].” In response to his humiliating application, he was granted a subsistence allowance of RM 250 per month. In addition, it was stated: "The Compensation Office is to be informed immediately concerning any alteration in economic or personal circumstances. The granting of the allowance can be revoked at any time. No recourse to the law exists.” From September 1941, the members of the Jacobsohn family had to wear the "Jewish star.” The family moved, presumably by coercion, to Ostmarkstrasse 55. It was there on 18 November 1941 that the couple and all five children received their deportation order for Minsk in the "Reich Commissariat Estonia.”

Only a few months earlier, in July 1941, the large Jewish community in Minsk was sealed off in a ghetto ¾ of a square mile in size. In order to make room for the deported "Reich Jews,” 12,000 inhabitants of the ghetto were shot and a special ghetto was erected. The new arrivals were assigned to the dwellings of the recently murdered. Approximately 1400 of those capable of work were distributed into jobs for the SS, German Army, or Organization Todt. Of the transport of November 1941 to the "German ghetto” of Minsk, five people survived. When and by what means John and Rosalia Jacobsohn and their five children were killed is not known. Even an application for reparations yields no clue. Filed and then broken off in 1970, the application by Asnath Stern, née Kahan (b. 1921), heir of her murdered parents and four siblings, as well as her Uncle John and Aunt Rosalia Jacobsohn, as well as their five children.

Translator: Richard Levy
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: September 2019
© Inge Grolle

Quellen: 1; 4; 6; StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinde 992 b; 992e Band 4; 2; StaH 241-2 Nr. 1815 Personalakte John Jacobsohn Justizverwaltung; StaH 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung_164413/113; StaH A 42 D weiße Steuerkarten; A 25 D Kultussteuerkarten; StaH 332-7 B III 121999 Staatsangehörigkeitsaufsicht; StaH 332-7 A I f 269; S. 242 Staatsangehörigkeitsaufsicht S. 242, mitgeteilt von Jürgen Sielemann; Morisse, Jüdische Rechtsanwälte; Hecht, Unsichtbare Mauern; Mosel, Wegweiser, Heft 1, S. 88.
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