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Bernhard Gerechter * 1897

Rutschbahn 8 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)

1941 Riga

further stumbling stones in Rutschbahn 8:
Amalie Gerechter

Bernhard Gerechter, born on 23 Apr. 1897 in Hamburg, deported on 6 Dec. 1941 to Riga

Rutschbahn 8

Bernhard Gerechter was born on 23 Apr. 1897 in Hamburg as the son of Leopold Leib and Rosa, née Goldschmidt. In 1890, the family moved from Borek, Province of Posen, to Hamburg. He had three younger siblings: Jenny (born on 28 Dec. 1899), Hedwig (born on 30 Aug. 1902), and Gustav (born on 20 Oct. 1904).

As a child, Bernhard attended the Talmud Tora Realschule and passed his one-year voluntary exam ("Einjährig-Freiwilligen-Prüfung”) with the intermediate secondary school certificate (mittlere Reife). After that, he entered a commercial apprenticeship with the R. Liefmann & Söhne Company at Brandstwiete 28, which traded in clover and grass seeds. He displayed a special talent for accounting and other financial matters. After completing his training period, he began studying business and trade policy at the University of Hamburg. Parallel to his university education, he continued to work for Liefmann & Söhne.

In the First World War, Bernhard was, despite many appeals by his employer, who regarded him as irreplaceable for the company, drafted and sent to the front, where he was used as an interpreter due to his excellent knowledge of French. In the two years immediately after the war, he was employed at the M. M. Warburg banking house but soon become active in other areas. He worked for the Lilienthal electrical company, where he earned 150 RM (reichsmark) a month, and started his own business in 1920, selling electro-technical consumer goods.

During this time, Bernhard traveled extensively to build up his business. For instance, he attended trade fairs in Kiel, Flensburg, and Leipzig. Frequently his sister Hedwig, who did an apprenticeship with him until 1923, would accompany him. Generally, Bernhard maintained a very considerate relationship with his sisters, whom he would delight ever so often with little gifts. He also hired his younger brother Gustav to work in his company as a commercial clerk for a while.
In 1924, his mother Rosa passed away.

After Bernhard had dared to go the route of self-employment, he tried to expand his enterprise. In 1930, he acquired the Eugen Bauer Company at Gröninger Strasse 6. One year later, however, he had to file for bankruptcy despite his best efforts. Subsequently, his father Leopold, who owned a company manufacturing underwear, which also offered classes on the fabrication process, took over his son’s company, Bernhard Gerechter Spielwaren-Grosshandlung, a toy wholesale.
Shortly after the Nazis assumed power in 1933, Bernhard Gerechter’s business was already in decline. Although the company was not ultimately liquidated until 1939, even years before Bernhard ceased to earn a living from its revenues. He became unemployed and only in 1936 found a position as a department manager at the Union Hermann Abraham department store in Itzehoe. In this job, he earned a relatively good income and got back on his feet again financially. Due to his role as a representative of the department store in Hamburg, he managed to earn up to 400 RM a month. He lost this position again, however, because of the anti-Jewish measures in the fall of 1938.

The family was now in a difficult situation. Brother Gustav had emigrated to Palestine in 1935, starting a family there. Sisters Jenny and Hedwig drew similar conclusions and went to San Francisco, USA, in 1939. Bernhard, his father and his aunt Amalie, with whom he also shared the apartment at Rutschbahn 8, stayed behind in Hamburg.

In early 1939, Bernhard worked as an accountant for the Jewish "legal adviser” ("Konsulent”) [a Jewish lawyer whose admission to the bar had been revoked under Nazi legislation] Siegfried Urias. In this capacity, he issued official papers Jews required for emigration. Bernhard Gerechter stayed in this position until shortly before this deportation, and on the side, he worked for the Jewish Community.
His father Leopold died on 20 Oct. 1941 at the age of 80.

On 6 Dec. 1941, Bernhard and Amalie Gerechter were deported to Riga. Like most Hamburg Jews, they did not survive the time in the Jungfernhof external concentration camp.

Status as of Oct. 2014

Translator: Erwin Fink

Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

© John S. Will

Quellen: Bundesarchiv, Gedenkbuch, online unter: (Zugriff: 25.7.2014); StaHH, 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden, Kultussteuerkartei der Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde Hamburg, Kultussteuerkarte Leopold Leib Gerechter; StaHH, Aufnahme-Register von 1890–1896 A-H, S. 443 f.; StaHH, 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung, 20054, Bernhard Gerechter, S. 16 und 29260, Gustav Gerechter, S. 1, 7 und 27; Handelsregister Hamburg, Abteilung A, 12045, in StaHH, 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung, 20054, Bernhard Gerechter, S. 20, Volkszählung Hamburg, 17.5.1939; Hamburger Adressbücher 1910 und 1933.

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