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Emma Cohn, geb. 1874, als junge Dame
Emma Cohn, geb. 1874
© Nishiura-Cohn

Emma Cohn * 1874

Bornstraße 16 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)

1941 Minsk

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

Emma Cohn, born 2.10.1874, deported to Minsk on 18.11.1941

Bornstraße 16 (Rotherbaum)

Around 1845, the sons of Hirsch Isaac Hirschel (born 1760 in Schleswig), a municipal official from Schleswig, Magnus Hirschel (1810-1886) and Tobias Hirschel (1816-1876), moved to Hamburg. In 1846, the name Hirschel was noted for the first time in the Hamburg address book in connection with Hirschel's Hòtel and Restauration at Mühlenstraße 39 (Neustadt), located between Zeughausmarkt and Michaeliskirche.

In 1855, the pub continued to exist, with (another brother ?) H. (presumably Hertz/Heinrich Hirschel 1807-1869) named as the proprietor. As early as 1852, the innkeeper Magnus Hirschel acquired Hamburg citizenship, which indicates secure economic circumstances; his brother Adolph Hirschel (1825-1891) received citizenship of the Hanseatic city five years later. In 1855, Magnus Hirschel ran a "restaurant and inn" at Kohlhöfen 36 (Neustadt) and in 1860 a "private logis" (guest room) at Mühlenstraße 12 (Neustadt), after which he was listed in the address book as the sexton of the New Synagogue (Kohlhöfen) from 1863 to 1880, among other things; his private apartment was at Holstenstraße 1 (1872-1880).

Magnus Hirschel was married to Friedchen Cohen (1822-1898, daughter of the Hamburg watchmaker Marcus Moses Cohen and Mina née Deitz), they had five children including Johanna (Hannchen) Hirschel. Harry Cohn (1847-1901), a plaster and fashion merchant born in Schleswig, and his Hamburg cousin Johanna (Hannchen) Hirschel (1848-1926) were married in Hamburg in 1872; Harry Cohn's mother was Henriette Cohn née Hirschel (married to Marcus Cohn). The "civil marriage" was followed four weeks later by the wedding ceremony in the synagogue by the chief rabbi of the German-Israelite community Anschel Stern (1820-1888). The witnesses were the 61-year-old sexton M. Hirschel (Holstenstraße 1) and the 47-year-old "Hotelwirth" A. Hirschel (Wexstraße 23).

Their five children Siegmund (1873), Emma (1874), John (1875), Martin (1880) and Minna Cohn (1886) were born in Hamburg. Harry and Johanna Cohn lived with their children at Alter Steinweg 16 (Neustadt) around 1880 and at Marktstraße 6 (St. Pauli) from 1885 to 1888. Later the residential addresses were II. Durchschnitt 16 (1889-1893), Laufgraben 25 in Eimsbüttel (1893-1894), II. Durchschnitt 14 (1894-1900) and Rentzelstraße 14 (1901-1902). After Harry Cohn's death, his 53-year-old widow lived with their two unmarried daughters and one unmarried son at Grindelallee 7 (1903-1910), Behnstraße 13 (1911-1918), and Grindelallee 176 (1919-1926), among others.

Emma Cohn remained single and worked as a bookkeeper. The photograph above this biography was taken in late 1912 at the Kindler & Co. photo studio on St. Pauli (Reeperbahn 164) and printed as a postcard. In January 1913, she sent this postcard, which showed her as a lady in a wide-brimmed hat, to her brother Siegmund Cohn in Leipzig. Since 1924 Emma Cohn was listed as an independent member of the Jewish Community in Hamburg. She continued to live in the apartment of her mother, who died in 1926, at Grindelalle 176 (Rotherbaum) until 1930. Her subsequent residential addresses were Isestraße 98 (Harvestehude) with telephone connection from 1931 to 1935 and Lenhartzstraße 3 (Eppendorf) from October 1935 to September 1938. Since 1931, the single Jenny Pincus (see, who was three years older, lived as a subtenant with Emma Cohn, with whom she was friends and who worked as head of the household department in the Tietz department store (Jungfernstieg).

With the transfer of power to the National Socialists in 1933, their anti-Semitism was gradually translated into state guidelines and laws. From 1934, Emma Cohn received a monthly pension of 69 Reichsmarks. The stigmatization, exclusion and financial plundering increased year after year.

In 1941, the 77-year-old pensioner Emma Cohn was completely destitute. From September 1938, she lived together with Jenny Pincus in a room at Bornstraße 16/corner of Grindelhof (Rotherbaum) in a building that had been declared a "Judenhaus". There they both received the deportation order. The deportation train with 407 people left the Hanover train station (Hannoverscher Bahnhof) in Hamburg on November 18, 1941, and two days later reached Minsk, which was occupied by German troops. An escort team of the SS rode along in a coupled special wagon.
Already 10 days earlier, a first transport from Hamburg had arrived, which also included her sister Minna Meyer née Cohn. Of the approximately 7,000 German-Jewish prisoners in the Minsk ghetto, not even a dozen survived the starvation, infectious diseases, and the SS firing squads.

The exact circumstances and date of the death of Emma Cohn and those of Jenny Pincus are not known.

Her brother Martin Cohn (born 19.3.1880) was a commis (commercial employee) or merchant, living in Berlin for several years (including 1913) and was temporarily (including 1921-1931) the owner of the company Carl Kaiser & Co. Bürobedarf und Schreibwaren (office supplies and stationery) (Düsternstrasse 22). The company does not seem to have regained its footing after the inflation year of 1923, because for the period from 1926 to 1932, Martin Cohn's religious tax file with the Jewish Community does not show any payments of contributions, which indicates low income.

Martin Cohn had been unemployed since October 1935. Since 1913 he had been married to Ottilie "Tila" née Heimann (born 20.9.1880 in Plau/Mecklenburg), daughter of the merchant Julius Heimann; they had no children. They lived in Hamburg at Isestraße 50 (1921), in the new housing developments Hohe Weide 25 (1922-1937), Grindelallee 116/Rotherbaum (1938-1939) and finally Grindelhof 2 with Bruno Seelig, who had just moved in (1939). In July 1939 they emigrated to Colombia. His brother-in-law and best man Max Heimann (born 1869) had been a merchant in Tumaco/Colombia.

Some of the items on the "removal goods list" provide information about the interests of the couple, such as the three opera glasses, the three cigar cutters, the gaming table and the games Poch, Halma and Skat. The dining room accessories taken with them attest to the family's genteel, stylish dining culture: spoon basket, knife banks, ice cream scoop, grape dishwasher, Roman wine glasses, lemonade service, and tea table.

Emma's brother Siegmund Cohn (born 13.8.1873) was a student at the Hamburg Talmud Torah School, then became a commis (commercial clerk), temporarily (among others 1898-1903) resident in Bucharest/Romania and since 1905 in Leipzig as insurance agent general agent of Viktoria Versicherung.

He was active in the Jewish religious community in Leipzig as a synagogue servant and synagogue commissioner (including 1931/32). In addition, he was for many years a member of the board of the Hilfsverein Israelitischer Gewerbetreibender, editor of the journal of the Hilfsverein, and in the 1920s also managing editor of the "Leipziger Jüdische Zeitung". He was married in his first marriage to Lina Bruckstein and after her death in his second marriage to her sister Betty Bruckstein (1876-1934).

His three children emigrated to South America by 1937. At the time of his youngest son's emigration, 63-year-old Siegmund Cohn had not yet been ready to leave Germany. Sensing the danger, father and son agreed that the phrase "I am ill" in a letter meant that the son should get his father out of Germany quickly.

Siegmund Cohn was arrested four days after the November pogrom ("Reichskristallnacht") on November 13, 1938, for "racial reasons" and, according to the prisoner's diary of the Leipzig police headquarters, was committed to a homeless shelter the same day. In fact, according to Siegmund Cohn's later testimony, it was a kind of barracks where they tore out his white beard and demanded that he sing "Weißt Du wieviel Sternlein stehen" for hours with his arms raised. A member of the guards, who as the son of the janitor had lived in the same house with Siegmund Cohn, recognized him. On his own initiative and with acted gruff behavior he made sure that Siegmund Cohn could leave the camp. After these violent experiences and the fear for life and health, Siegmund Cohn wrote the agreed cue in his letter to Peru; he succeeded in emigrating to Peru on one of the last ships from the Netherlands.

Here his son Heinz-Harry Cohn (born 1908) lived in Lima since his emigration on April 11, 1937. Heinz-Harry Cohn had received ship passage to Lima from his employers, the brothers Moritz Held (1882-1968) and Albert Held (1880-1946), who ran the "Gebrüder Held" department store in Leipzig until 1937, because they did not want to leave there themselves. Their daughter Rosa Lina Cohn (born 1906), who had married Richard Mansbach from Paris in 1933 and then lived in Barcelona, had also emigrated to Peru. The son Edgar Cohn from his first marriage went to Colombia, changed his family name to "Corn" and ran a hotel in Cali. A Jewish exile community was formed in Peru. Heinz-Harry Cohn had obtained Peruvian citizenship, married a Peruvian woman and built up an import and export business in Lima. His father Siegmund Cohn died in Lima and was buried there in the Jewish cemetery.

Emma's sister Minna Meyer née Cohn widowed Seckel (born 5.2.1886) was married in 1930 in first marriage to Bernhard Seckel (died 1932) and since 1935 in second marriage to the merchant Leo Meyer. Minna Meyer lived in Opladen before 1936, from 1937 to 1939 in Hilden near Düsseldorf, in August/September 1939 for four weeks as a subtenant in Opladen (Hindenburgstrasse 74 at Meier, today Kanalstrasse), then from September 26, 1939 in Cologne (Kyffhäuserstraße 29) and Düsseldorf. Their father-in-law, the cattle dealer Nathan Meyer (born 1861 in Erkrath), was so badly maltreated during the November pogrom in Hilden that he died on November 12, 1938 in the Düsseldorf Naval Hospital. Leo Meyer was also mistreated in his home by National Socialists. He took his severely injured father to the hospital in Düsseldorf and then went into hiding for fear of further assaults (presumably Leo Meyer fled from Hilden to Belgium and later on to France). His wife tried to find shelter with relatives and friends; her plan to emigrate to Ecuador failed. Minna Meyer was deported from a Düsseldorf "Judenhaus" (Steinstraße 59) to the Minsk ghetto on November 10, 1941, together with her daughter Edith Hannelore Cohn (born January 24, 1933 in Elmschenhagen near Kiel). Stolpersteine were laid for all three in Hilden at Gerresheimer Strasse 189/ 191.

Emma Cohn's brother John Cohn (born Sept. 1875) was noted, among other things, in 1892 on the Hamburg residents' registration card as an apprentice upholsterer and subtenant of the upholsterer Richard Ahrens at Gärtnerstraße 15 (Uhlenhorst). From 1895 to 1896 he lived in Berlin, where he is also said to have died in 1923 and where his three daughters were born.

His wife Bertha Cohn née Korytowski (born 1.11.1878 in Czempin/Tschempin) was deported from Berlin to the Lodz Ghetto on 27 October 1941 and from there to the Chelmno (Kulmhof) extermination camp on 5 May 1942.
Her three daughters were also murdered in the concentration camp: Ruth Korytowski née Cohn (born 1908, married to Alfred Korytowski) with her children as well as the twins Helga Cohn and Helene Cohn (born 23.12.1910 in Berlin); only the son Harry Cohn survived in occupied Belgium.

For Ruth Korytowski née Cohn, Alfred Korytowski (born 1894 in Czempin), Horst Korytowski (born 1929 in Breslau) and Renate Korytowski (born 1931 in Breslau), Stolpersteine were laid in Berlin. Alfred Korytowski was deported from the Drancy collection camp near Paris to the Auschwitz extermination camp on August 10, 1942. His wife and two children were deported from Mechelen/ Melines in Belgium to Auschwitz on October 24, 1942 and murdered. There are also Stolpersteine for Bertha Cohn née Korytowski and her twins Helga and Helene.

Harry Cohn, a nephew of Emma Cohn, emigrated to Belgium. After the German occupation of May 18, 1940, he joined the Resistance here. The Resistance consisted of many different groups whose actions ranged from passive resistance to the creation of weapons camps and acts of sabotage. Harry Cohn seems to have gone into the armed underground and cut off contact with friends and family for security reasons - he hardly spoke about this time. His willingness to risk his life in the resistance was also acknowledged by the Belgian state.

Translation by Beate Meyer
Stand: January 2022
© Björn Eggert

Quellen: Staatsarchiv Hamburg (StaH) 314-15 (Oberfinanzpräsident), FVg 6048 (Martin Cohn, Auswanderungsakte); 332-3 (Zivilstandsaufsicht 1866–1875, Vorläufer der Standesämter), B Nr. 49 (2452/1872, Heirat Harry Cohn u. Johanna Hirschel); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 7 u. 1582/1876 (Sterberegister 1876, Tobias Hirschel); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 1976 u. 1382/1880 (Geburtsregister 1880, Martin Cohn); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 2124 u. 668/1886 (Geburtsregister 1886, Minna Cohn); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 203 u. 1307/1886 (Sterberegister 1886, Magnus Hirschel); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 298 u. 2688/1891 (Sterberegister 1891, Adolph Hirschel); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 7916 u. 1462/1898 (Sterberegister 1898, Friedchen Hirschel geb. Cohen); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter) 7945 u. 1836/1901 (Sterberegister 1901, Harry Cohn); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 8690 u. 260/1913 (Heiratsregister 1913, Martin Cohn und Ottilie Heimann); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 8085 u. 192/1926 (Sterberegister 1926, Johanna Cohn geb. Hirschel); StaH 332-7 (Staatsangehörigkeitsaufsicht), Bürger-Register 1845–1875 G-K, Magnus Hirschel (Gastwirt, geb. 8.12.1810 in Schleswig, 7.1.1853 Hamburger Bürger), Adolph Hirschel (Lumpenhändler, 32 Jahre, geb. in Schleswig, 14.8.1857 Hamburger Bürger); StaH 332-8 (Alte Einwohnermeldekartei 1892–1925), K 4338, Friedchen Hirschel geb. Cohn, Harry Cohn, Minna Cohn, Siegmund Cohn, John Cohn; StaH 522-1 (Jüdische Gemeinden), 992b (Kultussteuerkartei der Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde Hamburg), Emma Cohn, Martin Cohn; StaH 522-1 (Jüdische Gemeinden), 992e (Deportationslisten); Israelitische Religionsgemeinde Leipzig, Mitgliederkartei 1935 (Siegmund Cohn) und Angaben aus Publikation von Ellen Bertram, Menschen ohne Grabstein, 2001; Stadtarchiv Hilden, Meldeunterlagen/ Einwohnerrolle (Minna Meyer, Edith Hannelore Cohn); Stadtarchiv Leverkusen, Meldekartei Opladen (Minna Meyer); Staatsarchiv Leipzig, Gefangenentagebuch des Polizeipräsidiums (Siegmund Cohn); Beate Meyer (Hrsg.), Die Verfolgung und Ermordung der Hamburger Juden 1933–1945, Hamburg 2006, S. 62–64 (Deportationsziel Minsk), S. 174 (Kurzbiografie Emma Cohn); Bundesarchiv Koblenz, Gedenkbuch, Opfer der Verfolgung der Juden unter der nationalsozialistischen Gewaltherrschaft in Deutschland 1933–1945 (Emma Cohn, Minna Meyer geb. Cohn; Bertha Cohn geb. Korytowski, Helene Cohn, Alfred Ludwig Korytowski, Ruth Korytowski geb. Cohn, Horst Korytowski, Renate Korytowski); Staatsarchiv Hamburg, Gedenkbuch. Hamburger jüdische Opfer des Nationalsozialismus. Hamburg 1995, S. 67 (Emma Cohn), S. 290 (Minna Meyer geb. Cohn); Arbeitskreis Stolpersteine, Steine gegen das Vergessen, Stolpersteine in Hilden, Hilden 2008, S. 16/17 (Minna Meyer geb. Cohn verw. Seckel, Nathan Meyer, Edith Hannelore Cohn); Adressbuch Hamburg, Straßenverzeichnis (Marktstraße 6) 1885, 1886, 1888 (ohne Berufsangabe); Adressbuch Hamburg (Cohn) 1889, 1890, 1900, 1902, 1921, 1925, 1927, 1928, 1930, 1932, 1933, 1935, 1936, 1939–1941; Adressbuch Hamburg, 1870, Abschnitt IV (Behörden u. a. Körp.), Kirchen (darunter auch die Neue Synagoge); Fernsprechbuch Hamburg 1930–1933 (Emma Cohn); Jürgen Sielemann, unveröffentlichte Recherchen zum Stammbaum von Familie Hirschel in Schleswig-Holstein; Stammbaum von Familie Hirschel im Internet (; Telefonate mit Frau N., August 2013, September 2013, April 2014, Juli 2014.

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