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Dr. Leonhard Lazarus * 1899
Grindelallee 6 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)
Dr. Leonhard Lazarus, born 6 July 1899 in Altona, deported 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk
Hedwig Lazarus, née Süsskind, born 24 May 1892 in Gehrden, deported 8 Nov. 1941 to Minsk
Leonhard Lazarus’ parents:
Joseph Lazarus, born 2 Apr. 1869 in Altona, died 8 Mar. 1948 in Montevideo, Uruguay. Profession: metal goods salesman. Emilie Lazarus, née Pilatus, born 1 Apr. 1880, died 31 Mar 1954 in Hamburg. Joseph and Emilie Lazarus were Jewish.
"I see the much greater freedom of the individual as an advantage, on the condition that it is implemented correctly and not abused. Another advantage of democracy is that it hinders catastrophic governmental policies.” Leonhard Lazarus wrote these words in his dissertation, Plato’s Ideal State as Compared to Modern Democracy. The Law and Political Science Faculty of Hamburg University gave his dissertation a score of "satisfactory,” and granted him his doctoral degree on 1 March 1922.
Leonhard Lazarus, born in 1899, was the eldest of three children. He attended the Christianeum, where he graduated early, on 5 June 1917, because he had been called to serve in the First World War. After the war he studied law and political science for five semesters in Kiel and Tübingen, and then transferred to the university in Hamburg on 15 October 1920. While he was a student he lived at Gerlingweg 15 in Elmshorn.
On 12 July 1924 he married Auguste Franziska Hamann (*8 Nov. 1895 in Elmshorn), a hat-maker. She was Protestant. The couple had no children.
Leonhard Lazarus worked from 1926 to 1929 as an accountant in Hamburg. It is unclear as to why he did not work in the law field – perhaps because of the general economic situation, perhaps because he lacked the necessary connections. In 1929 he was charged with the suppression of documents and sentenced to one year in prison on 15 May 1929. The sentence was reduced by the time spent in pre-trial detention, and he was released on 31 December 1929.
The time he spent in prison put the family into a financial crisis. Leonhard Lazarus not only lost his job, but the couple could no longer pay the rent for their two-room apartment. They had to sell most of their household belongings and move into rented rooms. Maria Lazarus’ mother Johanna helped them out financially, but Leonhard’s father Joseph was not able to give then any support, as documented by the Welfare Agency.
Leonhard Lazarus remained unemployed until 3 July 1930, when he found a job as an accountant with the Seresin company in Hamburg-Dovenfleth. This job lasted for two years, after which he was again unemployed for two years. During this time he was sued for outstanding rental payments. The case was settled with a compromise agreement. The couple changed addresses several times, always living in rented rooms.
In October 1934, Leonhard Lazarus took over a kiosk on Jägerstraße in Altona, but gave it up again when it proved to be unprofitable. One year later he was working in his father’s metal-goods business, which at that time was at Müggenkampstraße 5 in Hamburg-Eimsbüttel. On 16 June 1938, Leonhard Lazarus was arrested in the Juni-Aktion, a wave of arrests within the framework of the operation Arbeitsscheu Reich (work-shy Reich). This particular wave of arrests targeted Jews with police records, such as Leonhard Lazarus. He was sent to the Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp.
The depressing social situation and the escalating persecution of Jews left its mark on the marriage. In June 1937 the couple divorced, and in 1938, while her ex-husband was in Sachsenhausen, Auguste submitted a request to have the marriage annulled. The Nazis had amended the marriage laws to allow the non-Jewish partner to request a divorce on "racial” grounds. The new laws allowed Auguste to declare that the consequences of marrying a Jew were not clear to her until the National Socialist "enlightenment,” and especially until her husband’s arrest. She added that the name Lazarus stigmatized her in her search for work, and that, unlike her husband, she by no means wanted to leave the country. Leonhard Lazarus could not be present at the hearing, but could only respond by letter from the concentration camp that he consented to the annulment. With the annulment he lost what little protection the mixed marriage had offered him.
At about the same time, Leonhard’s father Joseph Lazarus submitted an emigration request for himself, his wife, and his son. They intended to emigrate to Paraguay. In answer to the question about what he intended to take with him, Leonhard replied, or rather his father replied for him: "When I emigrate to Paraguay I intend to take the following items with me: 2 coats, 3 suits, underwear, and 1 portable typewriter.”
The clearance certificate was approved on 25 October 1938. Leonhard’s parents left for Uruguay in the fall of that year.
The records contain no information as to why Leonhard Lazarus did not leave the country, despite having permission to do so, after he was released on 28 January 1939. Perhaps he did not want to go alone. In any case, he married Hedwig Süßkind on 6 April 1939.
Hedwig was a kindergarten teacher. She was born in Gehrden on 24 May 1892, and had lived in Hamburg since 1924. She was a member of the Jewish Community. She requested permission to emigrate in April 1939, and referred to her husband’s approved application. The costs for her emigration would be covered by the Jewish Relief Organization. She was granted a certificate of clearance. At this time the couple was living at Dillstraße 20, c/o Mayer. According to the Social Services Office, Leonhard Lazarus was released from forced labor in April 1939, since he intended to emigrate to Shanghai. Apparently South America was no longer an option, and Shanghai was the only place to which German Jews could travel without a visa. Leonhard Lazarus declared that he intended to leave within 4 to 5 weeks. His father had left him some money. But he never emigrated.
In mid-1939, Leonhard Lazarus, as a recipient of welfare benefits, was conscripted to forced labor as an excavation worker. In March 1941 he was working as a press operator for the Holst & Schultz company, when he was injured on the job.
The couple was living in the "Jews’ house” at Grindelallee 6 when they received their deportation orders. Leonhard and Hedwig Lazarus were deported to Minsk on 8 November 1941. They never returned from the ghetto.
Leonhard Lazarus’ parents were able to emigrate to Montevideo, where they opened a small dairy store. Joseph Lazarus died there, shortly before his 79th birthday.
His mother Emilie Lazarus returned to Hamburg via Israel, and lived in the Jewish home for the elderly on Sedanstraße until her death on 1 April 1954. She died in the Jerusalem Hospital. Despite the pressure put on the Restitution Board by her lawyer to expedite the proceedings, she did not survive to see her restitution claim granted.
Moritz Walter Lazarus, Leonhard’s younger brother (*1902), his wife Fanny (née Falck, *12 Oct. 1910) and their two children Vera and Edith Beate were deported to Riga on 6 December 1941. The children were eight and four years old when they were deported. None of the family survived.
Leonhard Lazarus’ sister Therese Gertrud Senft (*7 Feb. 1901 in Altona) was able to emigrate to Israel. She died there on 13 September 1965.
Translator: Amy Lee
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
Stand: March 2017
© Christine Zinn-Lührig
Quellen: StaH, 351-11, Amt für Wiedergutmachung, Abl. 2008/1; StaH, 314-15, Oberfinanzpräsident, R1938/2261; StaH, 314-15, Oberfinanzpräsident, FVg 4767 und FVg 7807; StaH, 522-1, Jüdische Gemeinden, Kultussteuerkartei der Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde Hamburgs; Archiv Landgericht Hamburg, Urteil 6 R 243/38, S. 2f; Wolfgang Ayaß: "Asoziale" im Nationalsozialismus. Stuttgart 1995; Beate Meyer (Hg.): Die Verfolgung und Ermordung der Hamburger Juden 1933 – 1945. Geschichte. Zeugnis. Erinnerung. Hamburg 2007, 2.Auflage; Patrick Wagner: Volksgemeinschaft ohne Verbrecher. Konzeptionen und Praxis der Kriminalpolizei in der Zeit der Weimarer Republik und des Nationalsozialismus. Hamburg 1996.