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Already layed Stumbling Stones

Jenny Pincus und Emma Cohn
© Nishiura-Cohn

Jenny Pincus * 1871

Bornstraße 16 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)

1941 Minsk

further stumbling stones in Bornstraße 16:
Emma Cohn, Sophie Oljenick, Gertha Pincus

Jenny Pincus, b. 1.17.1871, deported to Minsk on 11.18.1941

Bornstraße 16 (Rotherbaum)

Jenny Pincus was the firstborn child of the Hamburg auctioneer and merchant, Jeremias Pincus (1838–1896) and his wife and cousin, also from Hamburg, Fanny Pincus, née Jacobsohn (1841–1891). The couple performed an official civil marriage on 1 February 1868 in Hamburg; on 23 February 1868, they were married in the synagogue by Chief Rabbi Stern. The grandparents, the master tailor, hat maker, and furrier Pincus Levin Pincus (1808–1884), who was originally from Moisling-Lübeck, and Betty Pincus of Hamburg, née Mathias (1807–1890), as well as the businessman Jermann Jacobsohn (1804?–1876) and Philippine Jacobsohn, née Philip (1805–1892) had all lived in Hamburg, although the Hamburg directory of 1842 did not yet list the Pincus family name. After the birth of Jenny Pincus at Elbstrasse 45, there came into the world her siblings, Gertha (1.5.1872), Rosalie (12.24.1872), and Leo (2.14.1877). The family lived from 1867 to 1880 at Grossneumarkt 42 (Neustadt). The mother Fanny died in 1891. The rest of the family moved in the 1890s, first to Annenstrasse 5 (St. Pauli), where they lived in simple circumstances in the basement, then to Mathildenstrasse 5 I (St. Pauli), then to the 2nd district at Durchschnitt 11–13, the ground floor of House no. 4 (Eimsbüttel), and then to Peterstrasse 28, 2nd floor (Neustadt) as sub-letters of the businessman Elkan Gattel (1853–1909). Within walking-distance at House no. 17a was, between 1853 and 1919, the synagogue United Old and New Klaus; since 1859, in the nearby street at Kohlhöfen 17–18, was the main synagogue of the German Israelite Congregation. The father died in March 1896 in the Israelite Hospital and was buried in the Jewish cemetery at Ohlsdorf next to his first wife, Fanny. He and his second wife, Dora Pincus, née Unna (b. 5.22.1849 in Rendsburg) eventually separated; she died in Hamburg in 1900.

Jenny Pincus attended the Israelite girls‘school to her fourteenth year (that is, 1885). Still a student, she experienced the dedication of the new school building at Karolinenstrasse 35 in April 1884. Subsequently, in 1886 she began an apprenticeship with the Heilbut Brothers firm. Afterwards, she worked as a sales person and later as a buyer and manager in the household goods section of the Tietz Department Store (from 1897 at Grossen Burstah and from 1912 on Jungfernstieg); she remained there for 28 years. She received, for a woman, the considerable monthly salary of RM 450, plus bonuses. She was friendly with the bookkeeper, a single woman, Emma Cohn (b. 10.2.1874 in Hamburg), who is on the left in the above photograph taken around 1937–1939. (See her biography.)

After the Nazi seizure of power, the Jewish-owned Tietz Department Store became the target of the first great antisemitic actions, not only because it was owned by Jews but because of the Nazi campaign directed against department stores in general. On 11 March 1933, members of the SA blocked the entrance to the Tietz store; the police stood aside. On 1 April 1933, there was a centrally directed boycott campaign in Hamburg against Jewish businesses, physicians, and attorneys; their establishments were smeared with slogans such as "Don’t Buy from Jews." Starting on 1 April 1933, the Tietz, Karstadt, Woolworth, and EPA (the One Price Company) department stores were hit with a 20% business tax penalty ("Department Store tax") by the Hamburg Senate. The severe decline in demand that followed in the wake of the economic crisis of 1929 had resulted in a massive drop-off in sales, leading in turn to liquidity shortfalls.

The debt relief plan of March 1933 was already clear in its National Socialist orientation, aiming at the displacement of the Jewish business leaders and majority shareholders Georg Tietz (Berlin), Martin Tietz (Berlin), and Hugo Zwillenberg (Berlin). On 8 September 1933, the Commercial Register crossed out the names of the managerial Jewish employees and replaced them with "Aryan.” The veteran Jewish employees were the first to be let go. The Dresdner Bank, Deutsche Bank, as well as, the Commercial and Private Bank acquired the shares of the Tietz family. The state-owned Dresdner Bank, which maintained good contacts with the Nazi Party, took responsibility for the "coordination of the central administration" of the Tietz department store group of Berlin (founded in 1897), along with its branches in Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart, Karlsruhe, Strassburg, Gera, and Weimar, including its approximately 18,000 employees. As a consequence, the Jewish former majority shareholders left the concern and Germany, as well. In 1935, all Jewish employees were fired, among them, in the Hamburg branch, Jenny Pincus and Hermann Simon Hirsch (see biography). In this way, the department store group went through a "cold Aryanization.” Under two new "Aryan” directors, Georg Karg (1888–1972) and Max Friedland, as well as a new names for the branches (in Hamburg "Alsterhaus,” in Gera "Union,” in Weimar "Hans Kröger) the department store group carried on. With the active support of the Dresdner Bank, the former central director of textile purchasing for Tietz, Georg Karg, was able to buy the department store chain in 1939–1940. Only with the provision of bank credits was this quasi-legal "Aryanization” of a great department store possible.

Like her Jewish colleagues, the unmarried Jenny Pincus lost her job in 1935; in October 1935, she moved with her friend Emma Cohn, with whom she lived, from Isestrasse 98 (Harvestehude district) to Lenhartzstrasse 3, second floor (Eppendorf district). Also on the second floor of this house lived the businessman Carl Löwenberg (1869–1942); a commemorative stone for him lies in front of the house. From March 1938, because of her many years of work for the concern, Jenny Pincus received a pension just short of RM 90; beginning in June 1941, it was raised to RM 95.60.

Beginning on 15 September 1938, Jenny Pincus lived in the building at Bornstrasse 16 (declared a "Jew house”). In the mezzanine floor she lived with her friend Emma Cohn. From here both women were deported to the Minsk ghetto. The deportation train left the Hanover Railroad Station in Hamburg on 18 November 1941 and arrived in Minsk, the capital of White Russia, two days later. An SS detachment traveled in a separate car. The first transport from Hamburg had taken place 10 days earlier. Of the approximately 7,000 German Jewish prisoners in the Minsk ghetto, not even a dozen survived the hunger, disease, and SS firing squads. The circumstances and the exact date of the death of Jenny Pincus are not known. "Jenny Sara Pincus" was listed in the Hamburg directory of 1942 at the Bornstrasse 16 address, long after she had presumably died or been murdered. The Hamburg District Court declared her dead on 31 December 1945.

Her older sister Gertha Pincus (b. 1.5.1872 in Hamburg) was deported from the Langenhorn psychiatric hospital to the Brandenburg euthanasia center on 23 September 1940. Her precise date of death in the Nazi "Euthanasia” program is not known. In May 1953, the Hamburg District Court declared her dead, fixing her time of death as the "end of 1945.”

Her sister Rosalie (Rosa) Pincus (b. 12.24.1872 in Hamburg), also worked as a salesperson; in 1901 she married Isaac Siegmund Cohen (b. 1.2.1872 in Altona) and lived with him in Hamburg, where their daughters Hedwig (1904) and Ruth (1909) were born. The family emigrated to Palestine where Rosalie Cohen died in 1950 in Tel Aviv.

Her brother Leo Pincus (b. 2.14.1877 in Hamburg) was a store clerk (salesman), later a buyer, and from 1920 worked in his own firm as wholesaler of textile goods (among others to the ribbon weaver H. A. Nierhaus). In 1906 he married Mathilde Hübener (1880–1965); they lived from 1910 to 1928 at Gosslerstrasse 65 (Eppendorf) and from 1929 at Innocentiastrasse 47 (Harvestehude district). Leo Pincus had been drafted as a soldier in 1915. Since 1913, he belonged to the Israelite Congregation as well as the Orthodox Synagogue Association. The economic obstacles put in place for Jewish enterprises by the Nazis led to a palpable decline in business for Leo Pincus. He moved with his wife from a 4½ room house at Innocentiastrasse 47 into a 3½ room house at Bornstrasse 28 (Rotherbaum district). During the course of the November pogrom ("Night of Broken Glass”), he was on 9 November 1938 shipped off to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp where he was mishandled. He was released at the end of December 1938. On 29 November 1939, the Pincus couple emigrated on an Italian line ship from Genoa to Valparaiso, Chile. A cousin of Mrs. Pincus, who lived in Santiago de Chile, took them in. They lived in financial need. It was only in 1941 that Leo Pincus earned a little as a debt collector. The climate and the traumatic experiences in Nazi Germany took noticeable toll on their health; Leo Pincus died in 1946 in Santiago de Chile from a persecution-induced heart attack. His widow, Mathilde, returned to Hamburg in 1951; she also did not take to the climate in Chile and suffered from asthma.

A distant family relationship to the four siblings of Martin Pincus (see his biography), Selma Pincus, Ella Valk, née Pincus, and Rieckchen Weil, née Pincus, is possible since both branches of the family originated in Moisling- Lübeck.

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

Stand: February 2018
© Björn Eggert/Ingo Wille

Quellen: 1; 4; 5; 9; AB; StaH 133-1 III Staatsarchiv III, 3171-2/4 U.A. 4, Liste psychisch kranker jüdischer Patientinnen und Patienten der psychiatrischen Anstalt Langenhorn, die aufgrund nationalsozialistischer "Euthanasie"-Maßnahmen ermordet wurden, zusammengestellt von Peter von Rönn, Hamburg (Projektgruppe zur Erforschung des Schicksals psychisch Kranker in Langenhorn); 231-7 Amtsgericht Hamburg, Handels- u. Genossenschaftsregister B 1995–76 (Zweigniederlassung Hermann Tietz, 1896–1935); 332-3 Zivilstandsaufsicht 1866–1875 B 16 Heiratsregister Nr. 150/1868 Jeremias Pincus/Fanny Jacobsohn, A 103 Geburtsregister Nr. 380/1871 Jenny Pincus, A 123 Geburtsregister Nr. 145/1872 Gertha Pincus, 332-5 Standesämter 17 Sterberegister Nr. 2649/1876 Jermann Jacobsohn, 161 Sterberegister Nr. 524/1884 Pincus Lewin Pincus, 275 Sterberegister Nr. 1300/1890 Betty Pincus geb. Mathias, 297 Sterberegister Nr. 2130/1891 Fanny Pincus geb. Jacobsohn, 327 Sterberegister Nr. 3602/1892 Philippine Jacobsohn geb. Philip, 395 Sterberegister Nr. 444/1896 Jeremias Pincus, 466 Sterberegister Nr. 893/1900 Dora Pincus geb. Unna, 1904 Geburtsregister Nr. 847/1877 Leo Pincus, 8610 Heiratsregister Nr. 490/1901 Rosalie Pincus/Isaac Siegmund Cohen, 8644 Heiratsregister Nr. 50/1906 Leo Pincus/Mathilde Hübener; 332-7 Staatsangehörigkeitsaufsicht, Bürger-Register 1855 (Schneidermeister Pincus Levin Pincus); 332-8 Alte Einwohnermeldekartei 1892–1925 Jeremias Pincus, Rosalie Pincus; 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung 1391 Jenny Pincus, 5007 Mathilde Pincus geb. Hübener, 3422 Leopold Bernstein, Tietz-Angestellter; 352-8/7 Staatskrankenanstalt Langenhorn Abl. 1/1995 Aufnahme-/Abgangsbuch Langenhorn 26. 8. 1939 bis 27. 1. 1941; Jüdischer Friedhof Ohlsdorf, Gräberkartei (Jeremias Pincus, Fanny Pincus geb. Jacobsohn, Pincus Lewin Pincus, Betty Pincus geb. Mathias); Stadtarchiv Gera, Auskunft vom 31. 3. 2014 zur Namensänderung des Tietz-Kaufhauses; Stadtarchiv Weimar, Auskunft vom 22. 4. 2014 zur Namensänderung des Tietz-Kaufhauses. Meyer, Beate, Die Verfolgung und Ermordung der Hamburger Juden 1933–1945. Geschichte. Zeugnis. Erinnerung, Göttingen 2006, S. 62–64 (Deportationsziel Minsk), S. 174 (Kurzbiographie Jenny Pincus). Bajohr, Frank, "Arisierung" in Hamburg, Hamburg 1997, S. 55–57 (Kaufhaus Tietz). Enzensberger, Hans Magnus (Hrsg.)/Bischoff, Ulrike, Omgus. Ermittlungen gegen die Dresdner Bank 1946, Frankfurt 1986, S. XXXV (Tietz-Konzern). Hamburger Börsenfirmen, Hamburg 1935, S. 663 (Leo Pincus, Agent für Textilwaren, Lange Mühren 9), S. 852 (Hermann Tietz & Co.).
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