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Louis Blumenthal * 1888
Heußweg 11 (Eimsbüttel, Eimsbüttel)
29.10.1942 in Hamburg gestorben
Louis Blumenthal, born on 30 Nov. 1888 in Angerburg/East Prussia (today Wegorzewo in Poland), died on 29 Oct. 1942 in Hamburg
Selma Blumenthal, née Cohn, born on 12 Dec. 1897 in Altona, deported on 10 Mar. 1943 to Theresienstadt, deported on 15 May 1944 to Auschwitz and murdered there
Louis Blumenthal was a native of Angerburg (today’s Wegorzewo in Poland) in East Prussia, a small town, which at the time he was born had a population of about 4,000. His father was the religious official Jacob Blumenthal and his mother Rosa’s maiden name was Cohn. Louis’ wife Selma, on the other hand, was a native of Hamburg or of Altona, respectively. Her parents were Moritz and Rosa Cohn, née Nathan, and they lived in Altona at Eulenstraße 2 when their daughter Selma was born.
Louis Blumenthal and Selma Cohn got married in Altona on 30 Jan. 1920. At the time, Louis Blumenthal lived at Mendelssohnstraße 10 I (today’s Schopstraße) in Eimsbüttel and Selma in Altona at Marktstraße 53 with her parents. Later the couple moved with their two children Heinz Joachim (born in 1920) and Liselotte Ruth (born in 1922) to a three-bedroom apartment on the third floor at Heussweg 11. Louis Blumenthal ran a store for women’s clothing at Osterstraße 177 and then at number 153a, between a drugstore and a bakery. The houses at Osterstraße 151/153, including the rear houses 1–4, belonged to him since the 1920s. For some time, a widow by the last name of Nathan – perhaps a relative of Selma – was co-owner, but subsequently the houses belonged to Louis Blumenthal exclusively. The Blumenthals were quite well-off. Apart from the properties on Osterstraße, they owned additional real estate in Hamburg. The children attended secondary schools, with Liselotte enrolled in the liberal Loewenberg-Realschule in Johnsallee, where Jewish and Christian children were taught jointly.
Many residents of Eimsbüttel knew Louis Blumenthal and held him in high regard. Like many German Jews who had fought in World War I, he also wore his Iron Cross with pride. Louis Blumenthal had paid a high price for it, having lost a leg in the war and belonging to the ranks of the war-disabled.
In Nov. 1938, the store became the target of Nazi attacks, and Louis Blumenthal was deprived of his assets, which were put under "security order” "("Sicherungsanordnung”) and withdrawn from his free disposal. The proceeds from the (forced) sales of his property and of his business had to be deposited in blocked accounts, from which had to be paid various special taxes and capital levies imposed on the Jewish population. The family was allowed to dispose of only 500 RM (reichsmark) a month.
The way in which the family was plundered and degraded by the National Socialist regime was portrayed in more detail based on the existing records by Astrid Louven in her book entitled ‘Wo Wurzeln waren.’ Juden in Hamburg-Eimsbüttel 1933 bis 1945. Louis Blumenthal had to sell his clothing store in 1938. At the end of Nov. 1938, a sales contract was concluded for the property at Osterstraße 151/153a as well; the sale was approved in 1939. However, the family again was not permitted to dispose of the proceeds from the sales.
In the spring of 1939, the family made preparations for the two children to emigrate to Britain. After the tax office had provided the Gestapo with the tax clearance certificate of Liselotte Blumenthal, who worked as a trainee nurse, Louis Blumenthal received permission to withdraw 500 RM (reichsmark) for his daughter’s emigration. At the same time, however, he had to pay a Gold Discount Bank duty for the emigration amounting to 335 RM. In mid-June 1939, he applied with the foreign currency office for 800 RM toward his son Heinz Joachim’s emigration, which was granted without any reduction. He did have to produce a list giving evidence of expenses though. Both children reached Australia via Great Britain.
In Sept. 1939, Louis Blumenthal again had to provide full disclosure regarding his assets. According to this, the couple still had so-called net assets just short of 40,000 RM. However, they were permitted to dispose of only 400 RM per month, since the children were no longer part of the household.
Jan. 1940 saw a change to the authorization process concerning "security orders” ("Sicherungsanordnungen”). The areas permit-free as of that date now included not only the monthly allowance but also other payments, such as duties, taxes, charges, fees to doctors, lawyers, hospitals etc. The new regulations also made it possible to effect purchases related to emigration.
It was now necessary to make all payments by direct transfer via banks, which had to add a payment reference. This approach was aimed at preventing illegal transfers of funds abroad. In Dec. 1941, Louis Blumenthal sold a property at Billhorner Röhrendamm 162/164. The purchase price was deposited in his blocked account.
Probably in 1942, Louis and Selma Blumenthal had to give up their apartment at Heussweg and moved to the Jewish Hospital and Nursing Home at Schäferkampsallee 25/29, which had been declared a "Jews’ house” ("Judenhaus”). Louis Blumenthal worked there as a male nurse, possibly as the home’s director. Whether he was already seriously ill when moving to Schäferkampsallee or fell sick with cancer of the bladder only after arriving there is not known. He died of respiratory arrest during the operation in the Jewish Hospital on 29 Oct. 1942. However, even apart from that, he would have had little chance of surviving this illness. For one thing, the means of treatment were far worse than today, and secondly, by then medical care for Jews was possible only to a limited extent.
Deportations of Jewish fellow citizens had been under way for half a year already, which meant only a short reprieve for Selma Blumenthal, too.
A report by the Reich Association of Jews in Germany (Reichsvereinigung der Juden in Deutschland) dated 21 Dec. 1942 stated that the employment office had held out the prospect of allocating employees to the Jewish Hospital and Nursing Home. Five employees were supposed to replace five retired or retiring employees, respectively. Among them was Selma Blumenthal, who took the place of her late husband.
Before being deported to Theresienstadt in Mar. 1943, Selma Blumenthal was forced to sign a "home purchase contract” ("Heimeinkaufsvertrag”) for 40,000 RM. Thus, the plunder of their property came to a conclusion. One year after her deportation, Selma Blumenthal was deported further from Theresienstadt to Auschwitz, where she was murdered. She reached the age of 46. In Hamburg, her household was sold off by public auction on 8 June 1943. The auction was advertised in the Hamburger Tageblatt and in the Hamburger Fremdenblatt. The gross proceeds from the auction amounted to 6,185.80 RM.
Translator: Erwin Fink
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.
© Susanne Lohmeyer
Quellen: 1; 2, (3643/38; R1938/3643); 4; 5; 8; StaH 214-1, 163; StaH 331-5, 2 Journal 1942/1943; StaH 332-5 Standesämter, 6179 und 1284/1897; StaH 332-5, 8179 und 511/1942; StaH 332-5, 6049 und 89/1920; StaH 351-11 AfW, AZ 301188; Bundesarchiv Berlin R8150/51, Bericht RVJD an RSHA vom 21.12.1942; HAB II 1926 und 1939; HAB IV 1921, 1926 und 1937; Brief von Matten Meitzel vom 20.2.1990; Astrid Louven in: "Wo Wurzeln waren", S. 133ff.