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Moses Horenstein * 1860

Flemingstraße 3 (Hamburg-Nord, Winterhude)

1942 Theresienstadt
ermordet 23.11.1942

further stumbling stones in Flemingstraße 3:
Braina Horenstein

Moses Horenstein, born 11.2.1860 in Odessa, deported on 19.7.1942 to Theresienstadt, died there on 23.11.1942

Fleming Street 3

Unfortunately, there are almost no meaningful documents about Moses Horenstein in the Hamburg State Archives. The few known facts about him are not really sufficient for a biography. With the help of supplementary information on the living environment as well as the political and economic upheavals, an attempt will nevertheless be made to give a rough idea of Moses Horenstein's life situation.

Moses (actually Moische) Leibovich Horenstein was born in 1860 in the tsarist Black Sea metropolis Odessa as the son of Leib Hornstein and Achse, née Smoira. The names of his parents were found on his Hamburg cultural tax card, but we do not have any further information about them.

By means of customs privileges (1819-1849) Odessa with its port experienced a strong economic upswing, especially in the trade sector; the significant Jewish population of Odessa played a decisive role in this. In 1897 a representative stock exchange building was erected in the city. From 1903 to 1905, hundreds of Jewish pogroms occurred in Russia, including in Kishinau (Chişinău), Odessa, Kiev, Lodz, Zhitomir, Poltava, Podolia, Bialystok, and Siedlce. The result was tightened laws against Jews and emigration of hundreds of thousands of Jews from Russia.

Probably this was also the reason for Moses Horenstein and his wife Breina Horenstein, née Schechter (born 10.11.1870 in Odessa) to leave their homeland. Odessa's population shrank from 600,000 (1904) to about 315,000 (1923) due to anti-Jewish measures, war, civil war and famine, of which "over 1/3 were Jews". In which Russian city Moses and Breina Horenstein last lived is not known to us, nor is the year of their marriage and the names of family members.

Due to the rare family name, however, family connections can be assumed. For example, the merchant Abraham Horenstein (1845-1919) and his wife Marie Horenstein, née Ettinger (1876-1942) emigrated with their children from Russia to Königsberg/East Prussia in 1905 or 1906 and on to Vienna in 1911. Abraham Horenstein was born in 1845 in the Ukraine as the son of Naftaly Hakohen Horinstein (1825-1900) and from 1876 to 1894 was a merchant of the 1st guild (= highest level of entrepreneurs, calculated by capital) in Kiev. Whether these were relatives of Moses Horenstein could not be proved so far.

On April 20, 1907, Moses Horenstein was registered for the first time by the Hamburg residents' registration office. His private address was Mönkedamm 7 (stock exchange hotel), only a few steps away from the stock exchange. And his "business premises" were also located only about 400 meters from the hotel on the 3rd floor of Pickhuben Street in the Freeport area.

In 1908, Moses Horenstein was listed for the first time in the Hamburg address book as the main tenant at Parkallee 18 (Harvestehude). Hermann Rothschild (1838-1907), a partner in the trading house for office utensils, typewriters and duplicating apparatus Rothschild, Behrens & Co. (founded in 1864), had a share in the property, and his widow lived next door to Horenstein's on the first floor. Julius Josias, owner of the Spielmann & Wagener hat factory, lived on the 2nd floor. Although it is not known how Moses Horenstein learned about this rented apartment, the choice of his first Hamburg apartment nevertheless says something about him. In a well-off Hamburg district with a high Jewish population and Jewish infrastructure, he chose the house of a Jewish landlord in which about half of the tenants were Jews.

From 1910 Moses Horenstein's address was Brahmsallee 11 (Harvestehude) and from 1916 Isestraße 5 (Harvestehude). At the end of the war, he decided to move from Harvestehude, which was close to the city center, to Winterhude, which was still partly rural and had only been elevated from a suburb to a district of the Hanseatic city in 1894. From 1919, the Horenstein couple lived at Flemingstraße 3, mezzanine floor (Winterhude), and from 1935 at Flemingstraße 2, first floor. The undeveloped Winterhude pasture and meadow area between Dorotheenstraße and Sierichstraße had been developed and built on around 1910, and the Sierichstraße elevated train stop was opened there in 1912. The five-story plaster buildings on Flemingstraße, which were erected between 1910 and 1916, exhibited a homogeneous architectural style despite slightly different design elements. The house at Flemingstraße 3 had been built in 1912/1913 according to designs by the architects Ulrich Pierstorff and Carl Plötz; for a time, the house belonged to the department store owner Rudolf Karstadt. The last monthly rent of 85 RM paid by Horensteins around 1939 indicates an apartment size of about three rooms.

Moses Horenstein registered his business as a merchant in Hamburg on April 22, 1907, and in 1907, 1908, or 1909 (sources differ here) he established a company in Hamburg for Russian imports to Germany and German exports to Russia. In 1910 he joined the Jewish Community in Hamburg. For the period until 1915, no naturalization including Hamburg citizenship was found for him in the register volumes of the Hamburg State Archives.

At the beginning of the First World War, the 54-year-old Moses Horenstein therefore still possessed his Russian citizenship. The "Kaiserl. Russische Gesandtschaft und Konsulat" (Imperial Russian Legation and Consulate) at Gurlittstraße 11 (St. Georg) was still responsible for him. The First World War and the Russian Revolution may have complicated Horenstein's economic situation and his exile status. After the October Revolution of 1917, Russians living in exile had to apply for Soviet citizenship if they did not want to become stateless. Whether Horenstein applied for it is questionable.

Nevertheless, according to the trade directory, Moses Horenstein continued to trade with the young Soviet Union. Based on his cult tax paid to the Jewish Community, it can be understood that Moses Horenstein made good company profits in the years 1915 to 1917, but the years 1918 and 1919 brought a massive drop in profits to only 20% of the previous years. In November 1918, official diplomatic relations between Germany and Russia were broken off. After a provisional bilateral trade agreement was agreed in May 1921, Germany was again Russia's most important trading partner by 1922. Moses Horenstein's cult tax payments reached a good level again in 1920 and 1921, but were extremely volatile in the following years. In 1923, only a reduced amount was paid, and no payments at all were recorded for 1926, 1928, and 1929.

In the 1920s, there seems to have been no change in Horenstein's citizenship; in the period up to 1929, no issuance of a German passport could be determined for him in Hamburg. That Moses Horenstein intended to settle in Hamburg is proven by the reservation in 1929 for a double grave for himself and his wife at the Jewish Cemetery Hamburg-Ohlsdorf (grave sites S 4 No. 183 and No. 184). However, the times were not in favor of returning home either, a chain of global hindrances stood against it, which extended over the First World War (1914-1918), the Russian Revolution (1917) and the following civil war (1917-1920) with competing ruble currencies and hyperinflation, the economic blockade against the Soviet Union (1917-1921) as well as economic crisis (from 1919) and hyperinflation (1923) in Germany and the global world economic crisis (1929/1930).

In addition, Moses Horenstein had reached an age where he probably avoided a risky move across national borders as much as possible. The purchase of a Hamburg property in his wife's name suggests at least a medium-term perspective. In 1942, a "Kontrollabschnitt Fremdenpass No. 222, ausgestellt vom Pol. Präs. Hamburg" - Moses Horenstein had thus lost his Russian citizenship.

The residential and business addresses in Hamburg since 1908 indicate secure economic circumstances for Moses Horenstein. He also seems to have mastered the turbulences of the 1920s and 1930s financially. However, he continued to operate his business beyond his retirement years. In 1932, the entry in the yellow pages of the Hamburg address book under import businesses read, "Moses Horenstein (see also Export), Flemingstr. 3, import of Russia and peripheral countries, articles: Drugs and raw products." (Drugs at that time were herbal drug products.) According to the 1914 and 1918 trade directory, raw products exported by Moses Horenstein to Russia included mainly herring and sardines, as well as colonial goods. However, trade relations between the German Empire and the Russian Tsarist Empire were interrupted during the First World War. In the Hamburg Stock Exchange, Moses Horenstein had his trading place at pillar 13 B; he had set up a current account and securities account at the Deutsche Bank. The shares of Russian banks, which were also admitted for trading on German stock exchanges at that time, were still from the pre-socialist period, because they had been "nationalized" in December 1917.

From 1933 on, Moses Horenstein was systematically disadvantaged and hindered as a Jewish entrepreneur in the German Reich. The denial of import and export quotas by the Monitoring Office for Import Licenses (Berlin) in the state-controlled economy of National Socialism was a simple and silent instrument to deprive businesses of Jews of their livelihood. It can be assumed that Moses Horenstein was also deprived of customers, sales and economic reputation in this way.

As a result of a "security order" issued by Regierungsrat Fritz Klesper of the Foreign Exchange Office of the Hamburg Chief Finance President, the assets of Mr. and Mrs. Horenstein were frozen as of February 1939. Although the monthly expenses of Moses Horenstein amounted to about 560 Reichsmark, the foreign exchange office approved only 325 RM in monthly expenses from the checking account.

Starting in December 1938, the Horenstein couple also had to pay a Jewish property levy ("Sühneleistung") of 5,000 RM (= 25% of their assets) in five installments - a systematic robbery of the Jews in Germany that was makeshiftly disguised as a levy.

The 50% share of the wife Breina Horenstein in the property Tresckowstraße 38-42 (Eimsbüttel), together with the import and export merchant Moritz Weis (see, was also subject to a block on sale, which the foreign exchange office of the Chief Finance President informed the land registry.

According to the address book, the building complex at Tresckowstrasse 38-42 consisted of two four-story apartment buildings as well as a block of five terraced houses in between (No. 40). For the first time in 1924 Moritz Weis appeared in the address book as the owner of the houses, also in 1925, 1930 and 1939 only his name and not also that of Breina Horenstein was noted in the address book. In April 1939, under the pressure of the lack of company sales as well as punitive taxes and compulsory levies for Jews, the house was sold of necessity by the owners Weis and Horenstein. In the 1940 address book, a Mrs. Anna Werth from Blankenese (Mühlenberger Weg 59) was listed for the first time as the owner of the property; the street name had been changed from Tresckowstraße to Marschall-Vorwärts-Straße in 1939/40.

In December 1940, Wilhelm Flohr was appointed "trustee" of the Moses Horenstein company by the Nazi Reichsstatthalter (signed by the Reichsstatthalter's economic commissioner Wilhelm von Allwörden) with clear instructions: "Your task is to continue the business for the time being and to bring about its liquidation. They are authorized to carry out all judicial and extrajudicial transactions and legal acts necessary for the liquidation." In March 1941, the company was deleted from the commercial register.

Three times the couple Horenstein had to move in the course of the separation of Jews: to Bundesstraße 35 Haus A (Rotherbaum) and to Papendamm 3 (Rotherbaum); the last Hamburg residential address of Mr. and Mrs. Horenstein was Rutschbahn 25a, Haus 1, II. floor (Rotherbaum). The Minkel Salomon David Kalker Foundation (founded in 1878) had acquired the building in Rutschbahn in 1904 and set up free apartments in it for needy Jews. From the spring of 1942, the house was declared a "Judenhaus" and included in the preparations for the deportations. Moses Horenstein had only been able to take part of his library there, including 82 volumes of a Russian encyclopedia, another 20 Russian books as well as French and English books - they were all auctioned off by bailiff Bobsien in the spring of 1943 for 22.50 Reichsmark - the whereabouts of the apartment furnishings from Flemingstraße are unknown.

Two weeks after the first deportation of Hamburg Jews to occupied Poland on October 25, 1941, the Horensteins deposited their wills with the syndic of the Jewish Community of Hamburg, Nathan Max Nathan (1879-1944), according to a note on the grave card. We have no information about the contents.

Moses Horenstein was deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto on July 19, 1942, together with his wife and the couple Moritz Weis (born March 14, 1871 in Mainz) and Sarah Weis, née Blimowitsch (born October 30, 1888 in Minsk). In the completely overcrowded former Habsburg barracks Moses Horenstein was quartered in building Q 310 (= Badhausgasse 10).

Here he died only four months later on November 23, 1942; "old age" was entered as the official cause of death on his death notice.

His wife Breina Horenstein was deported from the Theresienstadt ghetto to the Auschwitz extermination camp on December 18, 1943, where she was murdered.

Translation Beate Meyer

Stand: February 2023
© Björn Eggert

Quellen: Staatsarchiv Hamburg (StaH) 213-13 (Landgericht Hamburg, Wiedergutmachung), 17195 (Jewish Trust Corporation für Moses Horenstein, gemäß Globalabkommen 1957 Antrag zurückgenommen); StaH 214-1 (Gerichtsvollzieherwesen), 363 (Bücher von Moses Horenstein, Lagerb. C65/1943); StaH 314-15 (Oberfinanzpräsident), R 1939/0466 (Sicherungsanordnung 1939, Moses u. Braina Horenstein); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 7988 u. 439/1907 (Sterberegister 1907, Hermann Rothschild); StaH 332-5 (Standesämter), 8668 u. 158/1910 (Heiratsregister 1910, Moritz Weis u. Sarah Blimowitsch); StaH 332-8 (Meldewesen), Altes Einwohnermelderegister, Sara Blimowitz, Louis Schechter; StaH 376-2 (Gewerbepolizei), Spz VIII C 72 (Gewerbeanmeldeschein 914/1907); StaH 522-1 (Jüdische Gemeinden), 992b (Kultussteuerkartei der Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde Hamburg), Moses Horenstein; Jüdischer Friedhof Hamburg-Ohlsdorf, Gräberkartei (Reservierungen), Moses Horenstein, Braina Horenstein; Meyers Lexikon, Band 8, Leipzig 1928, Spalte 1566/1567 (Odessa); Handelskammer Hamburg, Handelsregisterinformationen (Moses Horenstein, HR A 23170; Wilhelm Flohr Bankgeschäft, HR A 1243 und HR A 41883); Hamburger Börsenfirmen 1910, S. 302 (Moses Horenstein, gegr. 1909, Import von u. Export nach Russland, Inhaber Moses Horenstein, Brahmsallee 11); Hamburger Börsenfirmen 1926, S. 477 (Moses Horenstein, gegr. 1908, am Pf. 13 B, Im- u. Export, Flemingstr. 3); Hamburger Börsenfirmen 1935, S. 233 (Wilhelm Flohr, gegr. 1901, Vorgängerfirma seit 1878 Flohr & Gerdtzen, Bankgeschäft, Inhaber: J. M. C. Flohr u. Rudolf Carl Stuhlmann, Jungfernstieg 2); Hamburger Börsenfirmen 1935, S. 391 (Moses Horenstein, gegr. 1908, am Pf. 13 B, Im- u. Export, Flemingstr. 2); Hamburgs Handel und Verkehr, Illustriertes Export-Handbuch der Börsen-Halle 1912-1914, S. 156 (Moritz Weis); Adressbuch Hamburg (Horenstein) 1908-1910, 1912-1920, 1932, 1934-1936; Hamburger Adressbuch (Mönkedamm 7, W. Grötz, Inhaber Witwe Auguste Grötz, Börsenhotel) 1907; Hamburger Adressbuch (Branchenverzeichnis Import, Export) 1914, 1918, 1922, 1927, 1932; Telefonbuch Hamburg 1914 (M. Horenstein, Kaufmann, Brahmsallee 11); Telefonbuch Hamburg 1920, 1931 (M. Horenstein, Kaufmann, Flemingstr. 3); Adressbuch Hamburg (Treskowstraße 38/42) 1924, 1925, 1930; Telefonbuch Hamburg 1914 (Russische Gesandtschaft); Martin Lutz, Siemens und die Sowjetunion nach dem Ersten Weltkrieg, Grundlagen und Rahmenbedingungen für die Geschäftsbeziehungen, Magisterarbeit der Universität Konstanz, Fachbereich Geschichte und Soziologie, 2004; Wilhelm Mosel, Wegweiser zu ehemaligen jüdischen Stätten in Hamburg, Heft 3, Hamburg 1989, S. 73-76 (Rutschbahn 25a); Denkmalliste Hamburg, Bezirk Hamburg-Nord, ID 21620 (Flemingstraße 3); (Todesfallanzeige Ghetto Theresienstadt, Moses Horenstein); (Moritz Weis); (Volkszählung Mai 1939: Moses Horenstein, Braina Horenstein; Flemingstraße).

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