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Ilo Levy * 1882
Loogestieg 13 (Hamburg-Nord, Eppendorf)
Ilo Levy, born 11/29/1882 in Schleswig, deported to Lodz on 10/25/1941, deported on to Chelmno on 05/11/1942
Ilo (Isidor) Levy’ parents, Jacob Michael Levy (born 1840) and Henriette (née Meyer Selig, born 1852) moved from Friedrichstadt to Schleswig, where his father started an advance money and Lombard business in 1876; in 1881 he additionally opened a tobacco and cigar factory. In 1879, he became the head of the Israelitic Community in Schleswig.
Ilo left Schleswig in April 1899 at the age of 17 when he had finished school and entered a commercial apprenticeship in Aschersleben in Saxony-Anhalt; commerce and industry were booming in the town since the middle of the 19th century – it was the right place for an ambitious young man.
He specialized in the grain and mill products trade, made good money and married the Jew Dorothea Dawidowicz. On November 29th, 1914, a son, Ernst-Jacob, was born. The family moved to Berlin, Klopstockstrasse 20 in the center of the city. The marriage ended in divorce, Ilo left town, mother and son stayed in Berlin.
At the latest since 1924 Ilo Levy maintained close contact to the Jewish Community in Hamburg. In 1926, he moved here and officially joined the Community. His now widowed mother and his unmarried sister came from Schwerin to join him; the Levys settled at Neumünstersche Strasse 5 in Eppendorf. In 1934, Ilo Levy was registered as a trader of mill products, in 1936 he was accredited at the Hamburg grain exchange – it is unclear if he acted independently or as an employee.
It is conspicuous that Ilo Levy, who first settled at Jungfrauenthal 12 when he arrived in Hamburg, moved seven times in the following 15 years up to his deportation to Lodz. He always stayed in the Rotherbaum/Eppendorf area, and always lived as a sub-tenant, e.g. in 1937 at Loogestieg 13 ground floor with Bleier, or in 1939 at Beim Andreasbrunnen 9 third floor with the Karl Kaufmann family (father, mother, three children, four and a half rooms). The frequent change of residence may have been due to Levy’s financial problems that began in the big crash of 1929 and severely worsened after the Nazis’ rise to power. In any case, Ilo Levy, who initially had substantially supported the Jewish Community, from 1929 was exempt from the culture tax, or the payment of due amounts was waived. Later, being a Jew, he obviously lost his job, as in March, 1939, he gave his profession as "last self-employed in the same trade” in a "questionnaire for emigration.” This corresponds to a note of 1937: retail business for flour and mill products in Hamburg 13.
Emigration was an issue for the Levys ever since the Nazis came to power, Already in 1934, Ilo’s mother and his sister Ida had fled to Antwerp in Belgium, where another sister lived. In 1935, his 20-year-old son Ernst-Jacob had left Berlin and finally landed in Brazil.
At the beginning of 1937, Ilo Levy, now 55 years old, seriously began preparations to flee from Germany. In April, 1937, he obtained permission from the Currency Bureau of the Tax Office to travel to Belgium (Antwerp) and to the Netherlands (Rotterdam, Amsterdam) to look for opportunities to work in his profession somewhere. The trip was a flop. The search in Holland had to be dropped entirely because, as Ilo Levy wrote in a terse and bitter postcard to the Currency Bureau on April 23rd, 1937: "The currency permission did not arrive”. Without such permission, he, as a Jew, was unable to change money into Dutch guilders.
His arrest in the aftermath of the pogrom night of November 9th, 1938 shows how exigent it had become for him to get to safety; he was detained at the Sachsenhausen concentration camp as "protective prisoner” until December 21st.
His efforts to escape from Germany are documented in the emigration records from February, 1939 on. He wanted to reach Cuba via Belgium. His sisters in Antwerp would bear the cost, because he himself was completely destitute, had had "no income for years, neither assets nor insurance policies, no [precious] metals, no receivables, etc. …nothing.” (Financial statement of February 23rd, 1939). He wanted to leave Germany with "five or ten RM”) in his pocket "in order not to arrive in Belgium without any money.”
On March 21st, 1939 at 11:00 a.m., a telegram was dispatched to Ilo Levy from Brussels with the message: "Mama passed away last night. Try to come here.”
Two days later, the Currency Bureau of the Chief Finance Administration declared: No objections to emigration. The settlement of further formalities dragged on and on. On September 1st, 1939, the German army attacked Poland. Emigration was now no longer possible.
Ilo Levy was deported to the Lodz ghetto on October 25th, 1941. The entry in his ghetto records for May 11th, 1942 reads: "Evicted.” A euphemism. On that day, a transport left Lodz for the Chelmno extermination camp.
Translated by Peter Hubschmid
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: March 2017
© Johannes Grossmann
Quellen: 1; 2; 4; 5; 8; StaH 314-15 OFP, Fvg 5567; StaH 332-8 Meldewesen A 51 (Levy,Ilo, Levy, Levy Henriette, Levy, Ida); Archiwum Panstwowe, Lodz (Getto-Archiv), Melderegister PL-39-278-1011-13945 und 13946; Auskünfte Dr. M. Schartl, Kulturstiftung des Kreises Schleswig-Flensburg, E-Mail vom 3.2.2010.
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