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Gertrud Hahn (née Lasch) * 1893

Werderstraße 43 (Eimsbüttel, Harvestehude)

1941 Riga

further stumbling stones in Werderstraße 43:
Gerhard Dohme, Senta Dohme, Max Hahn, Martha Helft, Bernhard Neustadt, Henriette Neustadt

Gertrud Hahn, née Lasch, born on 14 July 1893 in Halberstadt, deported to Riga-Jungfernhof on 6 Dec. 1941, murdered in Riga
Max Hahn, born on 22 Apr. 1880 in Göttingen, deported to Riga-Jungfernhof on 6 Dec. 1941, murdered in Riga

Werderstrasse 43

Expelled from their hometown of Göttingen by the Nazis. Deprived of their right, humiliated and persecuted, Gertrud and Max Hahn found accommodation in Henni Neustadt’s guesthouse for one year and eight months after their arrival in Hamburg. What remained of a successful and busy entrepreneurial life?

Let us look back on the lives of Gertrud and Max Hahn in the university town of Göttingen: Max Hahn’s father, Raphael (1831 in Rhina–1915 in Göttingen) with his wife Hannchen, née Blaut (1837 in Geisa–1908 in Göttingen), was considered the founder of the family business. These included the fur and gut wholesaler Raphael Hahn, which mainly exported raw hides overseas, as well as the Gallus shoe factory. Max Hahn grew up with several older siblings.

The oldest brother Nathan (1868 in Göttingen–1942 in Treblinka), married to Betty Grünbaum (1883 in Wannbach/Bavaria–1942 in Treblinka), was already working in the company when Max joined a few years later. After the father was no longer actively involved in the company but occasionally looked after the business, the brothers managed the business together. After the death of their father, they inherited not only the company, but also numerous properties in Göttingen as well as an extensive collection of Jewish religious objects made of silver (this collection has been considered lost since 1945).

The passion for collecting continued in Max Hahn and he expanded the collections, among other things, with etchings, Chinese embroideries and much more. Apart from that, he found time to be active in the Jewish Community as its long-standing chairman.

However, personal life was not neglected amidst these numerous activities. On 20 June 1917, Max Hahn married the trained seamstress Gertrud Lasch (1893 in Halberstadt–1941 in Riga) in Halberstadt. Gertrud had grown up with two brothers in a Halberstadt entrepreneurial family. The Lasch family owned a prestigious glove factory and leather dyeing works, where at peak times up to 200 employees found work.

Soon a new generation appeared on the scene: Rudolf was born on 3 Dec. 1919 and Hanni on 29 Mar. 1922 in Göttingen. By that time, the family lived in an elegant villa, which remained their home until 1940. The two children grew up in a cultivated, stylish home. The family spent holidays on the North Sea and Baltic Sea, with a nanny by the name of Toni taking care of the children. Regular stays in the spa town of Marienbad (today Marianske Lazne in the Czech Republic), which was a very popular destination at the time, were part of the program, as were trips to the major European cities to take part in arts and culture events.

Together the married Hahn couple engaged themselves in the Moritz-Lazarus-Loge, a Masonic lodge. Women had no access to the lodge, but in the affiliated sisters’ league, they were allowed to be active. Gertrud Hahn acted as its chairwoman around 1933. The lodges and associated leagues worked in a charitable manner, and in this context, the Jewish welfare office deserves mention.

A few years earlier, the world economic crisis of 1929 hit Göttingen as well, causing some companies to close. The hardships people experienced increased. Already at this time, attacks on Jews, synagogues and rabbis took place. In Jan. 1932, the Hahns had their windows smashed. A few days before the Reichstag elections in July 1932, Adolf Hitler spoke in Göttingen, where about 20,000 people listened to him. In the elections, 51% voted for the Nazis. The assumption of power on 30 Jan. 1933 also took place smoothly in Göttingen. At the beginning of Mar. 1933, the swastika flag flew on city hall. The nationwide boycott day against Jewish businesses, doctors, and lawyers planned for Apr. 1 took place in Göttingen at the end of March. The citizens watched as shop windows were smashed and Jews were physically attacked.

In Apr. 1935, an SA unit marched up in front of the Hahns’ house and chanted, "Max Hahn, may you croak.” Thereupon Max Hahn filed a complaint and gave the name of a party involved. However, the person in question denied everything. Along with the harassment of Jews, there were signs of a continuous decline in business, which also affected the Gallus shoe factory, which declared bankruptcy.

However, in these dark times there was also a ray of hope. A young rabbi took office in Göttingen in mid-1935: Hermann Ostfeld (1912 in Hamborn–1996 in Tel Aviv), who later called himself Zvi Hermon. He was very well received. Hermann Ostfeld was very fond of the people and immediately engaged in communication with the chairman of the Jewish Community, Max Hahn. This resulted in regular meetings. Moreover, the young members of the Community, such as Hanni Hahn, had a good "connection” with him. A friendship developed with Hanni Hahn, which only ended with Hanni’s death in 1985. Starting in Jan. 1938, Hermann Ostfeld stayed in Palestine for several weeks. After his return, it was clear that he would be a research student at the University of Jerusalem. The generous Hahn brothers gave him 5,000 RM (reichsmark), toward his new life in Palestine. After 1945, he paid the money back to the Hahn children.

In Oct. 1938, about 220 of the former 500 Jews from Göttingen were still living in the city. They had no idea what would happen in the night of 9 Nov. to 10 Nov. 1938. Almost without exception, they became victims of the brutal attacks of "people’s wrath,” in addition to the destruction of synagogues, buildings, and stores. The devastation continued over the next two days. The Hahn families were in the special focus of the Nazis. SS men stormed their home at night and devastated it. The brothers and their wives were arrested. Gertrud and Betty were released the next day, Nathan a few days later. Max Hahn remained imprisoned for the longest time, only in July 1939 did he return.

The Nazis used the long period of imprisonment for their purposes. For instance, they had him taken out of custody several times to extort signatures for prepared purchase contracts in order to advance the systematic plundering. Houses and land changed hands, shops and businesses were "Aryanized” and/or liquidated. The Hahns’ operations ceased to exist as of 1 Mar. 1939.

Already by this time, Max and Gertrud Hahn were using their chosen, supposedly "Jewish” first names, Raphael Ruben and Tana. In this way, they evaded the order to adopt the compulsory first names of "Israel” and "Sara” as of 1 Jan. 1939.

For reasons unknown to us, Max Hahn stayed in Frankfurt/Main at the end of 1939. On leaving a synagogue, he was arrested and detained for a month. The couple was very worried about their belongings and Max Hahn in particular about his valuable, already confiscated Judaica collection. However, bureaucratic hurdles made it impossible for him to save the collection.

The two Hahn children, Rudolf and Hanni, who had lived in Hamburg since mid-1938, found refuge in Britain at the end of Jan. and May 1939. In the summer of 1940, the couple fled to Hamburg, where their brother and sister-in-law had already been living for a year. Initially, they hoped to experience less harassment in the big city, and so close to the port, escaping abroad might be successful after all, provided that all formalities were available stamped and approved. However, with the beginning of the war in Sept. 1939, it had become almost impossible to find a host country. Around 1940/1941, the couple succeeded in shipping extensive documents in several containers to Sweden and Switzerland. However, they themselves were unable to follow.

With the transport on 6 Dec. 1941 from the Hannoversche Bahnhof train station, the Nazis deported Gertrud and Max Hahn to Riga. It is not possible to reconstruct exactly when the couple died there.

What traces were found on the siblings of Max and Gertrud Hahn?
The oldest sister Mathilde (1861 in Göttingen–1936 in Regensburg) married Rabbi Meyer Seligmann (1853 in Reichelsheim/Odenwald–1925 in Regensburg). Since 1881, he had been working as city and district rabbi in Regensburg and in 1893, he was co-founder of the Bavarian Rabbinical Conference.

Rosalie Hahn (1863 in Göttingen–1953) was married to Moritz Friedeberger (1862 in Schrimm/Province of Posen–1951 in London). Their daughter Dorothea was born on 8 June 1900 in London, where she found her final resting place in 1993. Her husband Maxwell Fraser (born in 1896 in Edinburgh) died in Portsmouth in 1982.

Minna Hahn (born in 1865 in Göttingen) married Felix Lazarus (1865 in Petershagen/Westphalia–1945 in London). Until his retirement in 1930, he held various positions, including director of the eight-grade Jewish elementary school (Volksschule) in Kassel starting in 1921. In July 1938, the couple left Kassel and moved to Frankfurt. Thanks to the support of her sister Rosalie, Minna and Felix Lazarus managed to emigrate to Britain before the war began in Sept. 1939.

The youngest sister, Marianne Hahn (born in 1871), married Leopold Haas at an unknown date. Her husband died in 1926 and Marianne Haas emigrated to the USA with her three children; later she followed her daughter to Argentina.

Hermann Hahn (1874 in Göttingen–1942 in Kulmhof) lived in Cologne. He married Renate Tannenbaum (born in 1889 in Gehaus), who came from Thuringia. Sister Rosalie, living in Britain, had already prepared everything for Hermann’s emigration, but it was too late. On 22 Oct. 1941, Hermann Hahn was deported to the Litzmannstadt/Lodz Ghetto, and from there, on 12 May 1942, to the Kulmhof/Chelmno extermination camp, where he was murdered in early June 1942.

Renate Hahn lived in Erfurt after her divorce. With the transport on 10 May 1942 from Weimar, she was deported to the Belzyce Ghetto/Poland in the Lublin district. After that, all traces of her disappear.

Gertrud Hahn’s older brother Alfred "Freddy” Lasch (1885 in Halberstadt–1949) married Hildegard Fellchenfeld (1905–1988) from Cologne in 1924. Their son Herbert Philip was born in 1927. The family managed to emigrate to the USA in 1940.

The younger brother Siegfried "Friedel” Lasch (1900 Halberstadt–1973 New York/USA) studied medicine, emigrated early to the USA, and established his own practice there. Siegfried Lasch married Ilse Danziger in 1937.

The extensive collection of documents sent out in 1940/1941 did not reach the heirs until the end of 1946, but in the meantime the historian Sharon Meen has been working on processing the family history.

The Deutsches Theater Göttingen commissioned the author Gesine Schmidt to write a play about the "Aryanization” in Göttingen. This resulted in Die Nutznießer – Arisierung in Göttingen ("The beneficiaries – Aryanization in Göttingen”), in which, among other things, the fate of the Hahn family is recalled. The granddaughter of Max and Gertrud Hahn, Diana, was in the audience with her husband for the performance on 20 June 2017.

The Göttingen Municipal Museum acquired furniture from the Hahn family, among other things, as part of the "Aryanization” in 1938. On 8 Nov. 2014, it was to be returned to the grandchildren. This did not happen, as the family had decided to give them to the museum on permanent loan. At the same time, a commemorative plaque was erected on the former home of the couple at Merkelstrasse 3, the current headquarters of the Hogrefe publishing house.

In memory of the Hahn family, Gunter Demnig laid several Stolpersteine in Göttingen at the beginning of 2018 in the presence of their relatives.

Thanks to the meticulous search by the provenance researcher Christian Riemenschneider, a Kiddush cup from Max Hahn’s collection believed lost was found in the Hamburg Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (Hamburg Museum for Arts and Crafts). This was handed over to the family on 7 Nov. 2018 during a small ceremony.

Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: July 2020
© Sonja Zoder

Quellen: 1; 4; 5; 6; 8; 9; 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung 1350, 5025, 34347, 45621; div. Hamburger Adressbücher; Ein Gedenkbuch, Die jüdischen Bürger im Kreis Göttingen 1933–1945, Göttingen 1992; Von der Preußischen Mittelstadt zur südniedersächsischen Großstadt, Göttingen 1866–1989, Band 3, S. 726, Göttingen 1999; Göttinger Gedenktafeln, Ein biografischer Wegweiser, S. 5, 89, 90, Göttingen 2015; Ferera/Tollmien, Das Vermächtnis des Max Raphael Ruben Hahn, Göttingen 2015; Hermon, Vom Seelsorger zum Kriminologen, Göttingen 1990; Schmidt, Gesine, Deutsches Theater Göttingen: "Die Nutznießer. Arisierung in Göttingen", Göttingen 2017; URL:; am 30.07.2017;;;; jeweils am 31.07.2017; am 20.08.2017; am 27.08.2017;,hallonds42556.html Zugriff am 08.07.2018;;,hayden106.html; Zugriff jeweils am 20.10.2018.
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