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Sophie Loevy * 1886
Grindelberg 90 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)
Louise Loevy, born on 7 July 1881 in Pudewitz, deported on 6 Dec. 1941 to Riga, murdered
Sophie Loevy, born on 27 Mar. 1886 in Pudewitz, deported on 6 Dec. 1941 to Riga, murdered
The native city of the two sisters Louise and Sophie Loevy looks back on a turbulent history: In 1793, the Polish town of Pobiedziska was ceded to Prussia together with Posen (today Poznan in Poland) and the surrounding area and from then on, it was called Pudewitz. It then temporarily belonged to the Duchy of Warsaw and was returned to Prussia in 1815 following the Congress of Vienna. After the First World War, Pudewitz fell to the Second Polish Republic in 1920 as a result of the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles. Already in 1918/1919, there was a military uprising in the Province of Posen, which was about the incorporation of the mostly Polish-speaking province into the Polish state that had been rebuilt after the First World War. The uprising ended with a Polish victory. The largest part of the former Province of Posen was effectively separated from the German Reich even before the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles took effect.
Due to these political developments, Louise and Sophie Loevy’s father Simon (born on 22 Nov. 1853 in Crone an der Brahe, today Koronowo in Poland) decided to move to the German Reich, more specifically, to Hamburg, in 1920. Many German-speaking Jewish families from the Province of Posen took this course, not least out of fear of pogrom-like anti-Semitic riots. Sophie and Louise’s mother Rachel, also Renate (née Neufeld, born on 17 Jan. 1848 in Posen), had already died on 6 June 1917. Simon was a commercial employee and worked as a bank clerk. He rented an apartment in the upscale Harvestehude quarter, at Brahmsallee 6. Louise and her brother Richard, who was born on 27 Nov. 1883, also in Pudewitz, moved to Hamburg with him as well. Louise joined the Hamburg Jewish Community on 24 Jan. 1921, and two years later, Richard paid Jewish religious tax (Kultussteuer) in Hamburg for the first time. He had completed a banking apprenticeship and found employment in Hamburg at the M. M. Warburg & Co. banking house, which at the time belonged to Max, Aby, and Fritz Warburg as well as Carl Melchior. Perhaps Simon Loevy had paved Richard’s way through his contacts as a bank clerk. The date Sophie Loevy moved to Hamburg could not be determined. Her joining of the Hamburg Jewish Community as a paying member was not recorded until Aug. 1937.
Both sisters were not gainfully employed. Presumably, the father first took care of them, later the brother certainly did so. In 1932, Simon Loevy moved together with Louise and Richard to Bornstrasse 25 in the Grindel quarter. In 1938, only the three siblings were listed at this address. Simon Loevy had died and he was buried in the Jewish Cemetery in Ohlsdorf. At the end of 1938 Louise, Sophie and Richard moved again to an apartment at Grindelberg 90 that Richard rented. In the years between 1932 and 1939, the German Jews, and thus also the Loevy family, had witnessed the transfer of power to the Nazis and their almost immediate call to boycott Jewish shops, doctors’ practices, and law firms, the introduction and application of the Nuremberg Race Laws, anti-Semitic abuse and acts of violence on the streets, in stores and parks, and other anti-Semitic laws and ordinances that made life increasingly difficult for them. They may also have noticed the destruction of the Jewish Cemetery on Grindel and its abolition by the Nazis in 1939, and finally, the November Pogrom of 1938, in which the Jewish main synagogue at Bornplatz was devastated.
Richard Loevy was one of the Jewish men arrested in Hamburg on 10 Nov. 1938 as a result of the pogrom and taken to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp via the Fuhlsbüttel police prison. On 21 Dec. 1938, he was released from the Sachsenhausen concentration camp. A release was often made conditional on the person leaving Germany as quickly as possible. Richard Loevy departed for Britain on 18 Jan. 1939. He left his sisters behind in Hamburg.
In Jan. 1940, he granted both of them power of attorney over his pension from the Siegmund and Moritz Warburg Foundation with M. M. Warburg & Co. Louise and Sophie were to be able to dispose of it individually or jointly. He initially sent this power of attorney from Britain to the Swiss Federal Political Department (Eidgenössisches Politisches Department) in Bern, which conveyed it to the German Foreign Ministry with the request that it be forwarded to the Warburg Banking House.
After reading the power of attorney, however, the Foreign Ministry immediately wrote to the Reich Ministry of Justice that the document pertained to "the domestic assets of a German national living in an enemy foreign country” and that therefore it was first subject to examination as to whether permission ought to be granted. If not, "attempts to dispose of these assets is to be prevented.” A "suitable way” would then be the appointment of a so-called "administrator for absent heirs” ("Abwesenheitspfleger”). In fact, the main purpose of the administration for absent heirs was to deny emigrated Jews the right to dispose of their remaining assets in the German Reich, which were considered "enemy assets” as of early 1940.
In the case of Richard Loevy, the District Court (Amtsgericht) appointed Carl Wilhelm Schempp, the authorized signatory of the Warburg Bank, on 6 Mar. 1940, as an administrator for absent heirs for the purpose of "representing Loevy with regard to his alleged claim from the Siegfried and Moritz Warburg Foundation.”
Subsequently, the judiciary tried various bureaucratic tricks to delay the decision on how to deal with Richard Loevy’s assets. Louise and Sophie still owned two savings bank books with a total value of 1,200 RM (reichsmark) with the Hamburger Sparcasse von 1827 and the Neue Sparcasse von 1864. This corresponds to today’s purchasing power of about 6,000 to 7,000 Euros. As a result, they did not yet go hungry and could afford their rent. Nevertheless, their resources were shrinking. A one-off capital payment from their brother’s pension would have given them more financial security and possibly even enabled them to emigrate. This is exactly what the foreign currency office of the Chief Finance Administrator (Oberfinanzpräsident) intended to prevent. It feared that Louise and Sophie might take the money out of the country. Sophie and Louise Loevy together received 125 RM per month toward their living expenses.
On 6 Dec. 1941, Sophie and Louise Loevy were deported from Hamburg to Riga-Jungfernhof and murdered.
On 9 Apr. 1943, Carl Schempp, the administrator for absent heirs, applied to the District Court for the termination of his administrator’s function because the sisters had "outmigrated” ("abgewandert”). However, District Court reason did not accept this reasoning, for according to the court, Schempp’s task was the exercise of Richard Loevy’s pension claim against the M. M. Warburg Bank and that claim still existed. The Nazi judiciary thus ensured that the Nazi regime could further enrich itself with the assets of displaced Jews, because Richard Loevy was unable to assert his claim from a "hostile foreign country.”
Richard Loevy died on 8 Apr. 1954 in Manchester, Britain.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Frauke Steinhäuser
Quellen: 1; 4; 5; 8; 9; StaH 232-5 Amtsgericht Hamburg Vormundschaftswesen 988; StaH 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung 6861; Stiftung Brandenburgische Gedenkstätten/Gedenkstätte und Museum Sachsenhausen, Archiv-Sign. D 1 A/1022, Bl. 618 u. D 1 A/1020, Bl. 535; http://online-ofb.de/famre port.php?ofb=juden_nw&ID=I46269&nachname=NEUFELD&modus=gabriel&lang=no (letzter Aufruf: 20.6.2016).
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