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Already layed Stumbling Stones

Pauline Wolff * 1870

Jungfrauenthal 8 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)

Freitod 14.07.1942

further stumbling stones in Jungfrauenthal 8:
Iwan Hesse, Anna Messias, Martha Meyer, Ruth Meyer, Lothar Meyer

Pauline Wolff, née Koppel, born 30 Jan. 1870 in Leer, suicide before deportation on 14 July 1942 in Hamburg

Jungfrauenthal 8

Pauline Koppel was born on 30 Jan. 1870, in Leer, East Friesland, as the daughter of Moses Jacob Koppel (1822–1888, parents: Joseph Koppel and Bella, née Meyer), a merchant and senator (from 1879) who had moved from nearby Norden, and Johanne "Hanchen” Koppel, née Kauffmann (1837–1895, parents: Aron Joseph Kauffmann, 1793–1878, and Pauline, née Fürst), who was born in Schwerin and grew up in Hamburg. Before her, sister Golde "Adele” (born on 21 July 1865, married name Hammerschlag starting in 1886) and Bertha (on 14 May 1867) had been born in Leer. Two other siblings had already died in childhood: Jacob "Max” Koppel (1863–1870) and Julius Max Koppel (1872–1873). In 1857, the father had made a "most obedient request” to the magistrate of Leer for the granting of citizenship, which was approved. In 1859, the Koppel brothers applied for "permission to trade in finished clothing.” In 1861, Moses Koppel appeared in a list of house residents as an unmarried occupant; in 1862, he married Johanne Kauffmann in the Schwerin synagogue.

Together with his brother Meyer Koppel (around 1818 to before 1878), Moses Koppel owned in Leer the "Gebr. [Bros.] Koppel” yard goods and fashion shop at Pfefferstrasse 5/34, later 5/32 (starting in 1894, on Rathausstrasse). Moses Koppel was also active in the Israelite Community of Leer, where he served, among other things, as one of its heads from 1872 to 1886. Passing away in 1888 of a "brain stroke,” he was buried in the Leer Jewish Cemetery. The simple tombstone, written by the stonemason in German on the front and in Hebrew on the back, still stands there today. His widow continued the business on a transitional basis, as an entry in the city of Leer directory from 1890 documents.

In Aug. 1892, 22-year-old Pauline Koppel moved to Hamburg together with her mother. There her married sister Bertha had been living for almost a year with the merchant Emanuel (Manus) Oppenheim (born on 26 Nov. 1853 in Warburg/Westphalia) at Grindelallee 107. Emanuel Oppenheim’s first marriage had been with Friederike Wolff (born in July 1863 in Dannenberg, parents Salomon and Sophie Wolff), who had died in 1889 when their son Paul was born.

Pauline Koppel became an orphan at the age of 25; her mother died in 1895 at the age of 58 in her apartment at Hoheluftchaussee 14. In 1899, Pauline Koppel’s residential address in Hamburg was Hallerstrasse 4 (Rotherbaum); the merchant E. Oppenheim also lived in this house, i.e., she lived with her sister’s family. At this place, she probably also met Emanuel Oppenheim’s brother-in-law, Albert Wolff. Also residing in Hamburg was her uncle Joseph Kauf(f)mann (born in about 1832), who was a merchant.

In Aug. 1899, Pauline Koppel married in Hamburg the merchant Albert Emanuel Wolff (1862–1913), born in Dannenberg, son of the merchant Salomon Wolff (died before 1898 in Dannenberg) and Schwerin-born Sophie, née Kauf(f)mann (1830–1898, parents Aron Kauf(f)mann and Pauline, née Fürst). The district town of Dannenberg was located in the east of the Prussian Province of Hannover. Albert Wolff had lived in Leer (in the northwest of the Province of Hannover) working as a sales clerk until 1882, when he moved to Hamburg.

The Albert Wolff agency and commission and, respectively, commercial agent (for large weaving mills), founded by Albert Wolff in Hamburg in 1893, operated its offices at Grosser Burstah 9 on the third floor (Hamburg-Altstadt), very close to the Hamburg Stock Exchange. Meyers Lexikon, an encyclopedia, described this two-part business model as follows: "Commercial agents are independent merchants who permanently represent the interests of one or more trading companies. They differ from commercial brokers in that they are in a permanent contractual relationship with the principal; from commission agents in that they do not conclude their transactions in their own name, but as authorized representatives in the name of the principal.”

Before his second marriage, Albert Wolff lived at Grindelallee 17 (1891–1893), Bundesstrasse 4 (1894–1898), and Grindelallee 115 (1899–1900). After the second marriage, the residential addresses were Grindelallee 152 (1901–1903) and Parkallee 18 on the second floor (1904–1913); they were initially located in the Rotherbaum quarter and finally in Harvestehude.

After the death of her 50-year-old husband in 1913, Pauline Wolff and her son Willy moved into an apartment at Hochallee 27 (Harvestehude). The company was continued by the 43-year-old widow and she took in Paul Oppenheim (born on 9 Mar. 1889 in Hamburg), the son of the husband of her sister Bertha Oppenheim, née Koppel, from her first marriage. It is possible that her son Willy Wolff had also planned to join the company at a later date; however, he died only a few years after her husband when serving as a soldier in World War I.

After his return from the war in 1918, Paul Oppenheim became the sole owner of the Albert Wolff Company (representing large weaving mills). Around 1930, he founded a company under his own name for the production and sale of bed linen and household linen. His residential address was Bieberstrasse 9 (1926–1938). His wife took over the bookkeeping and correspondence as well as acting as a deputy during his business trips. Paul Oppenheim joined the Hamburg German-Israelitic Community in 1921 and belonged to the liberal Temple Association (Tempelverband). Due to his Jewish descent, most weaving mills terminated their contracts with him at the end of 1938, thereby destroying the economic basis of the two companies and of the Oppenheim family. In May 1939, Paul Oppenheim emigrated with his wife Bertha Oppenheim, née Heymann (born on 10 Jan. 1891 in Osnabrück), and their two children Hildegard (born on 21 May 1918) and Walter (born on 17 Apr. 1923) to La Paz in Bolivia.

In the Hamburg directory, widowed Pauline Wolff was registered under the name of her deceased husband as "Widow Albert Wolff,” a name assignment customary at the time. In 1932/33, she moved from Hochallee 27 to Isestrasse 15 (Harvestehude). Even at the time of the German national census in May 1939, which recorded Jews separately, she still lived at Isestrasse 15 on the second floor. Then the "Law on Tenancies with Jews” ("Gesetz über die Mietverhältnisse mit Juden”) dated 30 Apr. 1939 abolished their rent protection in order to vacate their apartments. In early June 1939, Pauline Wolff moved in as a subtenant to the formerly self-employed merchant Iwan Hesse (born on 31 Jan. 1872 in Hamburg) at Jungfrauenthal 8 on the third floor. In Sept.1939, Iwan Hesse explained his expenses to the foreign currency office of the Hamburg Chief Finance Administrator (Oberfinanzpräsident) (U 26, Dr. Howe): "I still live together with two more parties, which explains my monthly share of 67 RM for rent & heating etc. I employ the domestic worker together with one of those parties; the food, laundry, etc. for the domestic worker is included in the living expenses.” The neighboring apartment of Iwan Hesse’s sister, Anna Messias, née Hesse, was also taken care of by the non-Jewish domestic worker, "Miss” Dannenberg.

According to police regulations, as of 19 Sept. 1941, Pauline Wolff was also forced to wear a yellow "Jews’ star” ("Judenstern”), positioned clearly visible on her left chest. Presumably, in late Oct./early Nov. 1941, after the suicide of her landlord Iwan Hesse, she was accommodated at Bogenstrasse 27 on the second floor, a building of the "Z. H. May und Frau-Stiftung,” a residential home that was declared a "Jews’ house” ("Judenhaus”) by the Nazi regime, featuring residential home apartments (built in 1913). From there, the residents were deported to the ghettos and later to the extermination camps of conquered Eastern European countries. The Nazi regime had stopped the emigration of Jews from Germany at the end of 1941 and initiated deportations.

In July 1942, Pauline Wolff also received an "evacuation order.” Since this was the sixth deportation transport to leave Hamburg, she must have already learned of various suicides, possibly also of the conditions in the camps and the false promises made by the deportation bureaucracy. Conceivably, she already had thoughts of suicide at the time and put aside pills for this purpose. On 14 July 1942, one day before the scheduled date of deportation, she and her sister Bertha took an overdose of sleeping pills at Bogenstrasse 27 (Eimsbüttel). Although both were admitted to the Israelite Hospital at Johnsallee 68, they died there a short time later.

The criminal investigation department made a note in lapidary style on the form entitled "Leichensache” ("Corpse matter”) for Pauline Wolff: "1.) A police report has not arisen. 2.) Motive of the suicide: evacuation.” The criminal investigation department immediately informed the Hamburg Gestapo, which organized the deportations, of these deaths. On behalf of the Jewish Community, the "funeral provider” ("Beerdigungsübernehmer”) Von der Walde (at Grossneumarkt 56) took care of the burials. Pauline Wolff was buried next to her husband Albert in the Hamburg-Ohlsdorf Jewish Cemetery.

Bertha Oppenheim, née Koppel (born on 14 May 1867 in Leer) found her final resting place next to her husband Emanuel (until 1906 Manus) Oppenheim (1853–1914) in the Hamburg-Ohlsdorf Jewish Cemetery. The couple had married in Leer in 1891, residing for an extended period at Hallerstrasse 4 on the second floor (1896–1912). The widower had brought his son Paul Oppenheim (born on 9 Mar. 1889) into the marriage. Their son Walther Oppenheim was born on 23 Aug. 1896 in Hamburg). A war volunteer, he died on 1 Mar. 1915 as a member of the Replacement Battalion of the Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Dessau Infantry Regiment (1st Magdeburg Regiment) No. 26 on the western front in the military hospital in Hénin from a serious grenade injury. Paul Oppenheim had also taken part in the fighting of the First World War. In 1932/33 (according to the directory) or in Nov. 1935 (according to the Jewish religious tax card file), Bertha Oppenheim had moved to Isestrasse 35 on the second floor. A few years later, due to systematic economic damage and state policies of marginalization, she had to live at Isestrasse 21 as a subtenant of the teacher Recha Lübke (born on 6 Mar. 1880 in Altona), who had been forced into retirement. In Mar. 1942, she was quartered in the "Jews’ house” at Bogenstrasse 27. A Stolperstein in front of the house at Isestrasse 35 commemorates Bertha Oppenheim.

Paul Oppenheim founded a small bag and cardboard factory in La Paz (Bolivia). After his death in Feb. 1947, his widow moved to Montevideo-Carrasco (Uruguay) as a housekeeper and in 1958 relocated to the USA to join her cousin Dr. Emil Herz (born on 5 Apr. 1877 in Essen, died on 7 July 1971 in Rochester N.Y.).

Residing in exile in Argentina, Dr. José (Joseph) Koppel (born on 28 Oct. 1897 in Norden, son of the banker Hermann Koppel), had been licensed to practice law in Hamburg in 1922. Having served as a legal advisor to the Albert Wolff and Paul Oppenheim companies, he was a long-time friend of the Oppenheim family. From 1924 to 1933, he had run a joint practice with Dr. Michael Floersheim (born on 27 Dec. 1888) at Grosse Theaterstrasse 34/35, and he was removed from the list of Hamburg lawyers in Apr. 1933 on the instructions of Nazi Senator of Justice Rothenberger.

In front of the four-story apartment building at Jungfrauenthal 8 (Harvestehude), Stolpersteine were also laid for Anna Messias, née Hesse, and her brother Iwan Hesse. Before his deportation, Iwan Hesse committed suicide in Hamburg’s city park on 25 Oct. 1941.
Anna Messias was deported to the Theresienstadt Ghetto on 15 July 1942, and then to the Treblinka extermination camp on 21 Sept. 1942, where she was murdered.

Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: December 2020
© Björn Eggert

Quellen: Staatsarchiv Hamburg (StaH) 213-13 (Landgericht Hamburg Wiedergutmachung), 19613 (Paul Oppenheim); StaH 241-2 (Justizverwaltung Personalakten), A 1421 (Dr. Joseph Koppel); StaH 331-5 (Polizeibehörde – unnatürliche Sterbefälle), 1942/1157 (Pauline Wolff geb Koppel); StaH 331-5 (Polizeibehörde – unnatürliche Sterbefälle), 1942/1156 (Bertha Oppenheim geb. Koppel); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 51 u. 1312/1878 (Sterberegister 1878, Aron J. Kauffmann); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 9044 u. 246/1889 (Geburtsregister 1889, Paul Oppenheim); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 7838 u. 322/1889 (Sterberegister 1889, Friederike Oppenheim geb. Wolff); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 7893 u. 1281/1895 (Sterberegister 1895, Hanchen Koppel geb. Kauffmann); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 9122 u. 1518/1896 (Geburtsregister 1896, Walther Oppenheim); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 7917 u. 1559/1898 (Sterberegister 1898, Sophie Wolff geb. Kaufmann); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 8596 u. 411/1899 (Heiratsregister 1899, Albert Wolff u. Pauline Koppel); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 8015 u. 150/1913 (Sterberegister 1913, Albert Wolff); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 8025 u. 189/1915 (Sterberegister 1915, Walther Oppenheim, mit Angabe der militärischen Einheit); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 8180 u. 346/1942 (Sterberegister 1942, Bertha Oppenheim geb. Koppel); StaH 332-8 (Meldewesen), K 6691, Alte Einwohnermeldekartei (1892–1925), Emanuel Oppenheim; StaH 332-8 (Meldewesen), A 24 Band 191 (Reisepassprotokolle 1897–1929), Nr. 8665/1919 Pauline Wolff; StaH 351-11 (Amt für Wiedergutmachung AfW), 13300 (Bertha Oppenheim); StaH 351-11 (AfW), 20239 (Dr. Joseph Koppel); StaH 352-5 (Gesundheitsbehörde – Todesbescheinigungen), 1895, Sta. 3, Nr. 1281 (Hanchen Koppel geb. Kauffmann); StaH 352-5 (Gesundheitsbehörde – Todesbescheinigungen), 1913, Sta. 3, Nr. 150 (Albert Wolff); StaH 522-1 (Jüdische Gemeinden), 992b (Kultussteuerkartei der Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde Hamburg) Pauline Wolff, Bertha Oppenheim geb. Koppel, Emanuel Oppenheim, Paul Oppenheim; Jüdischer Friedhof Hamburg-Ohlsdorf, Gräberverzeichnis (Albert Wolff, Grablage B9-25, Pauline Wolff geb. Koppel B9-26, Bertha Oppenheim geb. Koppel ZY10-20, Emanuel Oppenheim ZY10-20, Abraham Koppel ZY10-20, Walther Oppenheim B12-157, Friederike Oppenheim geb. Wolff ZY11-31); Niedersächsisches Landesarchiv Standort Aurich, NLA AU, Rep. 248, Nr. 978 Norden (Geburtsregister Jüdische Gemeinde Norden: 5.8.1816 Rachel Koppel, 12.3.1820 Rebecca Koppel), NLA AU, Rep. 15, Nr. 12573 (Vorsteher der Synagogengemeinde in Leer Moses Koppel 1858-1877), NLA AU, Rep. 15, Nr. 4336 (Gesuch der Gebrüder Koppel zum Handel mit Kleidungsstücken 1859); Stadtarchiv Leer, Hausliste von 1861 für Pfefferstr. 34 (Moses Koppel), Heiratsregister 56/1891 (Bertha Koppel u. Emanuel Oppenheim), Abmelderegister 1892, Jüdischer Friedhof Leer (Grab Moses u. Johanne Koppel); Franz Bömer (Hrsg.), Wilhelm Gymnasium Hamburg 1881-1956, Hamburg 1956, S. 121 (Abitur Ostern 1916: Joseph Koppel); Meyers Lexikon Band 1, Leipzig 1924, S. 184/185 (Agent); Meyers Lexikon Band 6, Leipzig 1927, S. 1608 (Kommission); Heiko Morisse, Jüdische Rechtsanwälte in Hamburg, Ausgrenzung und Verfolgung im NS-Staat, Hamburg 2003, S. 128 (Dr. Michael Flörsheim), S. 139 (Dr. Joseph Koppel); Wilhelm Mosel, Wegweiser zu ehemaligen jüdischen Stätten in Hamburg, Heft 2, Hamburg 1985, S. 52-53 (Bogenstraße 25/27); Reichsbund Jüdischer Frontsoldaten, Gedenkbuch, Hamburg 1932, S. 377 (Walter Oppenheim, Hamburg, geb. 23.6.1896, gest 1.3.1915, 8/Infanterie-Regiment 26); Unterrichtsmaterialien der APA, Archivpädagogische Schriften, Daten zur jüdischen Bevölkerung der Stadt Leer im 18., 19. und 20. Jahrhundert, ohne Datum, S. 20 (Antrag auf Bürgerrecht von Moses Koppel, Moses Koppel Vertreter der Gemeinde), S. 34 (Abmelderegister 1882, Albert Wolff), S. 42 (Abmelderegister 1892 Witwe Moses Koppel mit Paula), S. 71 (Adressbuch 1871, M. Koppel u. Gebr. Koppel Manufactur- u. Modewaren, Pfefferstr. 5/32), S. 72 (Adressbuch 1890, Witwe Moses Koppel, Inhaber Firma Gebr. Koppel); Hamburger Börsenfirmen, Hamburg 1910, S. 721 (Albert Wolff, Großer Burstah 9); Hamburger Börsenfirmen, Hamburg 1926, S. 1134 (Albert Wolff, Inhaber Pauline Wolff u. Paul Oppenheim); Hamburger Börsenfirmen, Hamburg 1935, S. 931 (Albert Wolff, Inhaber Paul Oppenheim); Hamburger Adressbuch (Albert Wolff) 1891, 1893–1895, 1897, 1898–1901, 1903–1907, 1910, 1913; Hamburger Adressbuch (Wwe Albert Wolff) 1914, 1920, 1928, 1930, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1936; Hamburger Adressbuch (Albert Wolff, Firma) 1933–1935; Hamburger Adressbuch (Paul Oppenheim) 1926, 1927, 1930, 1932, 1934, 1937, 1938; Hamburger Adressbuch (Emanuel Oppenheim) 1899; (Volkszählung Mai 1939), Pauline Wolff geb. Koppel, Bertha Oppenheim geb. Koppel, Recha Lübke; (Anna Messias geb. Hesse, Iwan Hesse).

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