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Oscar Louis von Halle * 1886
Husumer Straße 10 (Hamburg-Nord, Hoheluft-Ost)
Oscar Louis von Halle, born on 1.10.1886, 1933 escape to Holland, 1943 deported to Auschwitz, murdered there on 31.1.1944
Hans Jürgen von Halle, born on 7.5.1921, 1933 escape to Holland, 1941 imprisoned in Mauthausen, murdered there on 27.9.1941
Husumer Straße 10, Hoheluft-Ost
Oscar Louis von Halle was born as the youngest of two children of the Jewish couple Siegmund von Halle and his wife Sophie von Halle, née Löwenhaupt, on Oct. 1, 1886 at Feldstraße 49 in Hamburg - St. Pauli. His parents had already lived in the city since 1881. (Siegmund von Halle died on September 10, 1921 in Rostock, Sophie von Halle shortly after her escape on January 20, 1941 in Amsterdam).
Oscar Louis von Halle attended high school in Hamburg and later took up the profession of architect. As one of his first commissions, he remodeled the commercial building at 46 Herderstraße on Uhlenhorst in 1912 - long before studying a specialist subject. In 1913, he was awarded the contract to remodel an apartment building at 18 Jägerstraße (today 18 Stahltwiete) in Ottensen.
He served in World War I from 1914 to 1918. We do not know where he was deployed. He was registered at Königstraße 6-8 in Altona from 1912 to 1918. After his military service, he studied architecture in Hamburg and specialized in the construction of department stores. As a result, he soon became well known in his field.
Oscar Louis von Halle married Gertrud Betty, née von Halle, in Hamburg on July 26, 1918 (they were not related). Gertrud Betty von Halle had been born in Berlin on February 11, 1899, the second of three children of the Jewish couple Bernhard Philipp von Halle and Charlotte von Halle, née Joseph. The marriage remained childless. Getrud Betty von Halle died in Hamburg on January 26, 1919, and was buried in the Ilandkoppel Jewish Cemetery.
Oscar Louis von Halle moved into a four-room apartment at 10 Husumer Strasse in the Hoheluft-Ost district in 1919. He used one room in the apartment as an office.
In his second marriage, Oscar Louis von Halle married Henriette, née Cohn, in Berlin on May 31, 1920. She had been born in Berlin on March 29, 1896, the fourth of five children of the Jewish couple Isaak (called Ignaz) Cohn and his wife Gertrud, née Sachs, and had grown up in a religious household. She worked as a nurse at the Schlesischer Bahnhof military hospital in Berlin during World War I, caring for German soldiers. She felt that nursing was a vocation (according to an entry in her compensation file).
Oscar Louis and Henriette von Halle had two children: Hans Jürgen (born May 7, 1921) and Gerd Siegmund (born Dec. 2, 1922), who later changed his name to Gerald. They were not brought up Jewish.
There are still a few traces of Oscar Louis von Halle in Hamburg's landscape of buildings. To give just one example, in 1923 he was involved in the remodeling of a commercial building for the company Gebrüder Koppe together with the architects Artur Fritz, G. Wellhausen and Krumbhaar & Heubel in Stubbenhuk at Schaarsteinweg 1.
On January 16, 1928, Oscar Louis von Halle bought a 528 m² undeveloped plot of land at Volkmannstraße 5 in Barmbek from the City of Hamburg for RM 14,000 in order to have an apartment building with 16 residential units built on it, although due to an erroneous calculation only 11 apartments could be built. Oscar Louis von Halle took out a non-interest-bearing loan of 65,000 gold marks and an interest-bearing one of 58,000 RM, repayable from July 1, 1928, and erected the building (The mortgage for the apartment building, still amounting to 14,000 RM, was assigned together with the interest to the Hamburger Sparkasse on January 1, 1941. The house was completely destroyed by bombs during World War II).
In addition, on August 28, 1928, he acquired an undeveloped residential property on the corner of Sülldorfer Heideweg/Kleine Marienhöh in Blankenese (today Marienhöhe), where he wanted to eract a residential building for his family. However, the intended house building did not take place.
The sons Hans Jürgen and Gerd von Halle developed a great talent for drawing. Their parents therefore decided to send them to a high school where this talent was encouraged. Oscar Louis von Halle hoped that his sons would support him in his profession as an architect in the future. His architectural office in Hamburg was doing well, generating 6000 RM profit per year.
Oscar Louis von Halle was considered a good planner whose proposals were always well thought out. He also frequently inspected his building sites. He involved his wife in negotiating with clients, conducting business, and work in the architect's office. To care for their sons, they hired a nanny and a domestic helper.
Like other Jewish architects, Oscar Louis von Halle was fundamentally affected by the National Socialist seizure of power: in order to practice their profession, they now had to become members of the Reich Chamber of Culture, or more precisely, the Reich Chamber of Fine Arts, which did not accept Jews. The Professional Association of German Architects, to which he had previously belonged, tried to take a leading role in Nazi architecture, but did not succeed; the association was brought into line with the Reich Chamber of Culture. Jewish members such as Oscar Louis von Halle were excluded.
Again, the family made do on its own: in the meantime, Henriette von Halle took over the role of breadwinner for her family and returned to her profession as a nurse. But this solution could not be permanent. The von Halle couple made a very conscious decision that their sons should not grow up under the National Socialist regime. So on December 28, 1933, the family fled to the Netherlands and settled in Amsterdam.
Officially, Oscar Louis von Halle was not allowed to work in the Netherlands. However, a relative of the von Halles owned a small private bank in Amsterdam and hired him anyway, illegally so to speak. Henriette von Halle built up a boarding house business in Amsterdam and thus contributed to the family's livelihood.
Overall, however, the family was left with little to live on. In Hamburg, Oscar Louis von Halle had been able to support a related couple who had fallen on hard times due to illness, but now the family had to cut back. They could no longer afford a car. Like their classmates, Hans Jürgen and Gerd von Halle rode bicycles to school. But - according to Gerd later - they were happy and content.
All family members were soon able to communicate fluently in Dutch. Dutch was also Gerd von Halle's favorite school subject. They kept in touch with other Jews through the Jewish community in Amsterdam. They had a loose friendship with the family of Anne Frank, who lived in the immediate neighborhood. Hans Jürgen and Gerd von Halle attended elementary and high school in Amsterdam from 1934. Hans Jürgen von Halle wanted to become an engineer. The school entitled him to attend technical schools (the Dutch engineer is comparable to the German Diplom Ingenieur). Gerd von Halle's career aspiration was dentist.
After the German Wehrmacht invaded the Netherlands on May 10, 1940, the family's life underwent another serious change. In 1941, Jews were forced to move to a predetermined neighborhood in Amsterdam. The family of Professor Inthout in Amsterdam Paramaribostraat 66 took the von Halle family in, and at first the sons continued to attend school.
However, the Gestapo arrested Hans Jürgen and Gerd von Halle along with 250 other students on the grounds of the high school in June 1941. This "second raid" in Amsterdam targeted Jewish youths and young men. Gerd von Halle was able to obtain his release because - on the advice of his brother - he stated that he was suffering from tuberculosis.
Hans Jürgen von Halle and the other arrested boys were deported to the Mauthausen concentration camp. There, medical experiments were performed on Hans Jürgen von Halle, and he - like other prisoners - had to perform forced labor in the quarry. Every day he went down the "notorious" death staircase with 186 steps, which led into the quarry, in order to bring up heavy boulders from the quarry. At the bottom, he stood in front of a huge granite wall from which boulders sometimes broke loose and buried the prisoners underneath. SS guards standing above often forced the prisoners from above to make a "parachute jump" without a parachute, as happened to Hans Jürgen von Halle on September 27, 1941. This cost him his life. The cause of death, however, was given as "phlegmon on the left shoulder blade, heart valve defect and general sepsis."
Meanwhile, Oscar Louis, Henriette and Gerd von Halle lived in hiding in Amsterdam, which they had to change several times, because only a few in the non-Jewish Dutch population showed willingness to support Jews at that time, which did not change until 1943, when repression was increasingly directed against them as well.
From April to October 1942, von Halles lived in hiding with the Boenders farming family in Arle-Rextel in the Limberg province near Amsterdam. The helpers also took in the Jewish couple Kahn. The farmer and Mrs. Kahn began an affair. When the farmer's wife found out about it, she reported to the Gestapo that the Boenders family was harboring Jews.
Then, during dinner, Gerd von Halle saw five Gestapo cars drive up. Immediately, those in hiding tried to get to safety: The Kahn couple took the back door, Oscar Louis von Halle fled to the attic, Henriette to the bedroom and Gerd von Halle to the bathroom.
The Gestapo seized the husband Kahn and Oscar Louis von Halle, who arrested them.
Oscar Louis von Halle was deported to the Herzogenbusch (Vught) concentration camp and on to Auschwitz in 1943, where he was murdered on January 31, 1944.
The Gestapo, however, could not find the women and Gerd von Halle, despite a thorough search. The latter had wisely placed a ladder against the wall of the house a few days earlier. With its help, Gerd and Henriette von Halle were able to secretly escape from the house, run to the stable and hide in the haystack.
But even after the Gestapo had left, Henriette and Gerd von Halle could not stay with Boenders under these circumstances. They were lucky and found shelter once again with the Inthout family in Amsterdam at Paramaribostraat 66, this time illegally. They now stayed here for two and a half years without ever leaving the house. Henriette von Halle suffered from starvation edema while in hiding and lost all her teeth. Mother and son lived in a very small room with no heating and a tiny window.
Shortly before the end of the war, around March 1945, Professor Inthout was arrested during an activity for a resistance organization and executed by the Gestapo four weeks later. Again, Henriette and Gerd von Halle had to leave their hiding place in great haste and find a new place to stay. They found it for the last four weeks before the end of the war with a teacher couple and two children. There they experienced the liberation.
Henriette and her son Gerd von Halle emigrated to the USA after the war in 1946. Henriette von Halle found work as a children's nurse and was - according to her son Gerd in an interview - very much loved by everyone. She did not enter into marriage again. She died on October 11, 1987 in the USA at the age of 91.
On the fate of Oscar Louis von Halle's siblings:
Gertrud von Halle (born May 4, 1884) had married Bernhard Rubensohn (born Aug. 31, 1881) on December 28, 1906, with whom she had a daughter Elisabeth Hildegard Rubensohn (born April 11, 1905). The latter married Erich Feige (born Febr. 4, 1903). The couple was deported from Berlin to Auschwitz in March 1943 and murdered.
Gertrud and Bernhard Rubensohn fled to the Netherlands. They were interned in the Westerbork camp, deported to Theresienstadt and Auschwitz in 1944 and murdered. They are commemorated by memorial stones in Rostock (https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liste_der_Denk-_und_Stolpersteine_in_Rostock).
Alice von Halle (born June 4, 1885) had married Ammon Hermann Witteboon (born May 31, 1883) on February 15, 1911 and had a daughter Gertrud Wilhelmina with him (born Jan. 24, 1920). The family fled to the Netherlands. Gertrud Wilhelmina died in Amsterdam on February 9, 1942. Ammon Hermann Witteboon was deported to Auschwitz in 1942 and murdered there. Alice Witteboon died in Amsterdam on January 30, 1947.
On the fate of the siblings of Henriette von Halle, née Cohn:
Michael Gabriel Moses Cohn died in Berlin as early as 1909.
Martin Cohn was able to emigrate to the USA.
Translation by Beate Meyer
Stand: February 2022
© Bärbel Klein
Quellen: StaH; 1; 2; 4; 5; 6; 8; Berlin 2324/1892 Geburtsurkunde; Berlin 800/1896 Geburtsurkunde; Berlin 1842/1897 Geburtsurkunde; Berlin 225/1899 Geburtsurkunde; Berlin 730/1909 Heiratsurkunde; Rostock 459/1906 Heiratsurkunde; Rostock 986/1921 Sterbeurkunde; Rostock 39/1911 Heiratsurkunde; 332-5_1438/1867; 332-5_1052/1867; 332-3_1962/1872; 332-5_2101/1876; 332-5_3252/1878; 332-5_1637/1880; 332-5_2124/1884; 332-5_2732/1885; 332-5_3617/1885; 332-5_159/1913; 332-5_4805/1886; 332-5_1506/1888; 332-5_760/1895; 332-5_496/1896; 332-5_1735/1912; 332-5_1687/1930; 332-5_197/1918; 332-5_182/1918; 332-5_326/1919; 213-13_3337; 213-13_3338; 213-13_31070; 213-13_31726; 311-2IV-D V I D 2 K XL III A Verkauf des Grundstückes Volkmannstraße (Grundbuch Barmbek, Blatt 366; 324-1_K 10053 Stubbenhuk Schaarsteinstraße 1; 324-1_K 9509 Herderstraße 42-48; 324-1_K 11021 Bau des Hauses Stahltwiete 18 (früher Jägerstraße Juli 1913); 332-7_12977 Bürgerbuch; 351-11_4612; 351-11_8454; 351-11_8455; 351-11_16081; 351-11_17549; 351-11_19120; 351-11_19621; 351-11_24735; Der Arzt von Hartheim, wie ich die Wahrheit über die Nazi-Vergangenheit meines Onkels herausfand, Mireille Horsinga-Renno, Reinbek 2006, S. 110; Interview mit Gerd von Halle v. 10.7.1999, USHMM, Oral History | Accession Number: 1999.A.0158 | RG Number: RG-50.549.02.0055; www.geni.com; www.ancestry.de, www.wikipedea.de (Einsicht am 01.11.2020); https://raumdernamen.mauthausen-memorial.org/index.php?id=4&p=3196 (Zugriff 8.8.1021); Anke Blümm, Der Architekt als "Wahrer und Mehrer der deutschen Baukultur"? Der Bund deutscher Architekten (BDA), die Reichskulturkammer und das Scheitern des Architektengesetzes vom 28. September 1934, einsehbar: https://www.academia.edu/42940263/Der_Architekt_als_Wahrer_und_Mehrer_ der_deutschen_Baukultur_Der_Bund (Zugriff 8.8.2021)
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