Search for Names, Places and Biographies

Already layed Stumbling Stones

back to select list

Ina Löwenthal (née Ascher) * 1873

Ifflandstraße 8 (Hamburg-Nord, Hohenfelde)

JG. 1873

further stumbling stones in Ifflandstraße 8:
Gertrud Hoffmann, Dr. Gustav Hoffmann

Ina (Henne) Löwenthal, née Ascher, b. 7.8.1873 in Doberan, Mecklenburg, deported on 7.19.1942 to the Theresienstadt ghetto, then to the Treblinka extermination camp on 9.26.1942, and murdered there

Ifflandstrasse 8

Cäcilie Löwenthal, née Philippson, b. 12.13.1866 in Lübeck, deported to the Theresienstadt ghetto on 19. July 1942, then to the Treblinka extermination camp on 9.21.1942, and murdered there

Heimhuder Straße 6, Rotherbaum

"Then there was an old lady ... I remember her well, as she often walked with a cane through the garden and was always very nice to the children.” The old lady was almost certainly Ina Löwenthal and the garden belonged to the private sanatorium "Villa Wilhelma,” situated idyllically in Uelsby on the Schlei inlet. It had been founded in 1907 by Ferdinand Schulze, physician for general medicine and psychiatry. He wanted, according to a brochure from that time, to make it possible for "emotionally and mentally ill women, who were in need of supervision” to have a dignified life in familiar surroundings, quite different from the customary establishments of the period. A grandson of Ferdinand Schulz later still remembered many of his grandfather’s patients, including Ina Löwenthal, as well as Lilly Nathan (see Both were among the few Jews in the Uelsby.

Ina Löwenthal was born the daughter of the businessman Theodor Ascher and his wife Henriette, née Weil, in Doberan (since 2000, Bad Doberan). Her father, economically well-off, directed an agency of the Mecklenburg Mortgage and Exchange Bank which had its headquarters in Schwerin. Three years before Ina’s birth, he had acquired a house and property from the hat-maker Heinrich Münz at Poststrasse 16 (today, Severinstrasse 13) in the small town on the Baltic Sea. In the upper floors of the house he lived with his family; on the ground floor he conducted his agency. Ina’s mother died early, and Theodor Ascher remarried. His second wife was Dora Jacobson and they had two daughters, Ina’s half-sisters. On 26 March 1881, Martha was born in Doberan, around six years later, on 2 February 1887, Henriette Hella.

On 27 March 1894, when Ina was 20 years old, she married in Doberan the Hamburg businessman Louis Löwenthal. He had been born in the Hanseatic City, the son of a Jewish couple, Wulff Levin and Jente Jette Löwenthal, née Cohn, and was therefore 13 years older than his future wife. Ina followed her husband to Hamburg and in the following year, on 23 June 1895, gave birth to their first child, a daughter. Ina and Louis Löwenthal gave her the name Henriette Hedwig, in memory of Ina’s mother who had died early. Two years later, on 2 November 1897, Hedwig received a brother, whom the parents named Martin Walther. Louis Löwenthal owned a commercial agency in the Dovenhof office building at the corner of Brandstwiete and Dovenfleet; in addition he had a booth in the Bourse, in front of pillars 15 and 16, where he also transacted business. Among his most important clients was the First German Virginia-Vaseline Factory, Carl Hellfrisch & Co. (1878) from Offenbach, Hesse, as well as Hauff Enterprises (photographic plates), from Feuerbach, a small town near Stuttgart. The Löwenthal family of four lived at Klaus-Groth-Strasse 4 in Hamm.

At the end of 1912, or by the latest early 1913, Ina’s half-sister Hella, together with her husband, the sales representative Siegmund Marcus, and their three-year old daughter Käthe, moved from Parchim near Schwerin, where they had lived until then, to Hamburg (see "Stolpersteine in Hamburg-Eilbek” und In December of the same year, Ina’s second half-sister Martha died at 31 years of age in Doberan. The Marcus family lived initially in the Hamburg Old City, on Mattenwiete Strasse, while the Löwenthal family moved in 1914 to Ifflandstrasse 8 in Hohenfelde.

Three years later in December 1917, Ina, Louis, and Hedwig Löwenthal received sad news: their son and brother Martin, a soldier in the First World War, had died from severe wounds. He was only 20 years old. Hedwig continued living with her parents on Ifflandstrasse. They had placed value on a comprehensive education for their daughter – no foregone conclusion for girls at the beginning of the twentieth century. Starting in 1902, and for nine years, Hedwig first attended a private school at Beim Strohhause 80 in St. Georg, relatively close to her parental home. Following that, she switched to the private higher girls school of Jakob Loewenberg at Johnsallee 33, in order to earn her university study certificate. Jakob Loewenberg had joined his school to the art education movement. This was part of the pedagogical reform program originating around 1900 which wanted to "fully reintegrate human beings, who had been alienated by industrialization, by means of art, music, literature, and physical education.” Thus, female pupils were instructed primarily in the esthetic fields, for which artistic performances were especially important. Girls of all religious denominations could attend the institution; approximately twenty percent of them came from Christian homes. Because Jakob Loewenberg placed great value on a close connection between the home and the school, Ina and Louis Löwenthal likely felt connected to the reform pedagogical ideas.

After finishing her schooling, her parents sent Hedwig to France for a year and a half, in order to learn the language. Then the outbreak of the First World War interrupted any further training. Because Louis Löwenthal was able to support his nineteen-year old daughter financially, she could work for several years, without pay, as a helper in the wartime soup kitchen started by Anna Wohlwill and Agnes Wolfsson in the Paulsen Foundation. The foundation was an "educational institute,” with a kindergarten and school, founded by the Hamburg social reformer, Charlotte Paulsen, to serve poor families. It was in existence since 1866 and in 1893 was on Bülaustrasse in St. Georg. That Hedwig Löwenthal was involved there during the war indicated that she was not only artistically inclined, but also aware of social inequities and wanted to be engaged against them.

The reform pedagogical education of the Löwenberg School also influenced Hedwig Löwenthal’s choice of a career. The "physical education” practiced there had nothing to do with performance-oriented gymnastics that was customary in the schools of the German Empire. In the art education movement, free form bodily movement in gymnastics was much more the focal point – and this apparently especially appealed to Hedwig. She began in 1916, still during the war and parallel to her voluntary work, a training course as a state gymnastics and swimming coach. This included a course in orthopedics, so that from 1919 onwards she gave instruction in orthopedic exercises in various Hamburg schools and thereby for the first time earned her own money.

At the beginning of 1923, she specialized in a field that she was even more attuned to: she completed an 18-month training course at the Hamburg Hagemann-Mensendieck Institute becoming a certified gymnastics instructor utilizing the system of the Dutch-American physician and gymnast Bess Mensendieck. The system was supposed to enable women to develop their bodies naturally and to stay healthy, by means of special exercises. The exercises were performed completely naked or almost so, in order to be able to control the movement of the muscles particularly well, but also because Bess Mensendieck regarded nudity among women as an expression of a modern female identity, with a new self-conscious sense of the body. Also in other ways, Hedwig adapted to the women’s movement of the period: "Think for yourselves!” was one of her guiding principles for her pupils. In Germany, Mensendieck gymnastics was very popular and "Mensendiecken” was a widespread concept in the practice of (naked) gymnastics.

In 1925, after her training, Hedwig Löwenthal established her own little Mensendieck Institute in her apartment. It was on the same floor as her parents’ apartment, on the second floor at Ifflandstrasse 8. For the sake of optimal organization of the institute, Hedwig had her own telephone line installed. The inquiries came quickly and she had on average 100 students of both sexes for courses with six to ten participants, in the morning, afternoon, and evening at Ifflandstrasse. In addition she gave courses in Fuhlsbüttel, in an inn, which was not unusual since there was a shortage of gymnastics halls for sports clubs; she also gave a course in the home of the educational scientist Julius Gebhard on Traunstrasse. Gebhard was a research assistant at Hamburg University, was among the representatives of the reform pedagogy, and was also engaged with the issues of the art education movement. In Fuhlsbüttel, Hedwig instructed larger groups of 15 to 20, adults as well as children. The demand for her courses was so great that she had no financial problems. On the contrary, she could afford to do what she pleased, and she made several extensive trips in those years, among other places, to Switzerland and Scandinavia. Nevertheless, she also supported less successful friends, as well as their parents and children, from her own income.

While Hedwig Löwenthal in those years was successfully building a professional existence that both suited her and which she enjoyed, it was going badly for her mother Ina, psychologically. Already in 1920, at 47 years of age, she came for the first time to the "Villa Wilhelma,” the sanatorium in Uelsby, mentioned above. The precise name then was "Home for Emotionally and Mentally Ill Women in Need of Supervised Care.” She remained there for eight years, until 1928. An improvement seemed to have succeeded, although she was once again admitted in 1929, but for only a maximum of one year. It was from this period that the grandson of the founder remembered her. Virtually at the same time as Ina, her sister-in-law Cäcelie was in a "sanatorium for nervous disorders” outside Hamburg; it was possibly the same institution, for both families were close to each other. Originally from Lübeck, Cäcilie Löwenthal, née Phillipson, was the wife of Louis Löwenthal’s brother Martin. He also was a commercial agent and shared an office with Louis in the Dovenhof building. He and his wife lived at Heimuderstrasse 6 in Rothenbaum; they were childless.

While Cäcilie Löwenthal was still being cared for in the sanatorium, in Hamburg Louis, Ina, Hedwig, and Martin Löwenthal experienced the takeover by the National Socialists and its swift consequences, the increasing humiliations, harassments, ostracism, and persecution of Jews. Hedwig Löwenthal was affected immediately. On 13 September 1933, she was arrested by the State Police (the later Gestapo) in her apartment, without being informed of the grounds, and brought in "protective custody” to the Fuhlsbüttel penal institution. A few days later she was resettled in the newly-erected Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp, the so-called Kola-Fu. On the advice of a female welfare worker, Hedwig Löwenthal requested, successfully, that she be returned to the pretrial detention center. On 6 December 1933, she was released. However, only temporarily, because the Hamburg judiciary, on grounds of a deposition from the State Police, opened criminal proceedings against her.

The trial took place on 22 December 1933 before the Hanseatic Superior Court at Holstenplatz. At its conclusion, Hedwig was sentenced to four months in jail minus six weeks of pretrial detention. She was convicted for violations of Paragraph 4 of the Ordinance of the Reich President for the Protection of the People and the State of 28 February 1933, the so-called "Reichstag Fire Ordinance,” in conjunction with the Hamburg Police Ordinances of 3.30 and 4.29.1933. On 3 July 1933, she was delivered to the Lübeck-Lauerhof women’s prison. The sentence was to end on 21 September 1934. On 7 August 1934, however, she was freed by an amnesty. This had been issued by the Reich government upon the takeover of the Reich President’s office by Adolf Hitler, following the death of the previous Reich President, Paul von Hindenburg on 2 August 1934.

Hedwig Löwenthal was probably arrested in September 1933 in the first place because the Gestapo had seen the famous painter and graphic artist Emil Kritzky, who had stayed in her apartment shortly before the arrest. Kritzky was a member of the KPD [German Communist Party] since 1924, and he was the co-founder of the Hamburg local group of Asso, the Association of Revolutionary Visual Artists of Germany. This consortium of communist artists was founded in Berlin in 1928, and in 1933 was put under a nationwide ban by the Nazis. Emil Kritzky had, as a child, lived in Hohenfelde on Reismühle Strasse, moved later to Hasselbrook and from there, together with his first wife Anneliese – likewise an active Communist – first to Barmbek-Süd and in 1933–1934 to Rahlstedt. After the Nazi takeover, he went underground and since then under a cover name was active as a liaison man to the Red Aid (closely allied to the KPD), of which he was formerly a board member. He had been arrested already in April 1933 and spent a month in Fuhlsbüttel.

According to the art historian Maike Bruhns, Hedwig Löwenthal also belonged to the KPD and since 1933 also worked underground for the party; in a detailed biographical text on Emil Kritzky, Bruhns writes: "After his release, he [Kritzky, FS], agitated with Hans Schröder on behalf of Red Aid, the Hamburg leader of which, Gustav Gundelach, was living illegally with a Jewish gymnastics instructor [that will have been Hedwig Löwenthal, FS], who collected dues. In September 1933, Kritzky sought out her apartment in Hohenfeld in order to launch a new organization and to distribute messages. When the announced third man by the name of Teufel failed to appear, the painter left the apartment, was then arrested and the file cards confiscated. With him a whole series of comrades were exposed.”

Just a year later, on 29 June 1935, the Gestapo arrested Hedwig Löwenthal again. This time because they wanted to extract information from her about Karl Meininger, who was already in jail, because he was alleged to have distributed the Brown Book Concerning the Reichstag Fire and the Hitler Terror. Karl Meininger was the Hamburg Chairman of the Association of Deck Officers (founded in 1911) and also had been the former President of the Society of Free-Thinkers, which in 1933, together with all of the nationwide free-thinker organizations still in existence, was banned; the brown book, a publication that appeared in Paris in 1933 as a publication of the KPD in exile, dealt with the Reichstag Fire Trial against Marinus van der Lubbe, the main accused, and four other accused Communists. Several hundred German anti-Fascist émigrés had collected evidence and documents for the book, in order to exonerate the accused Communists and to expose the actions of the National Socialists. Once again, at the end of June, Hedwig Löwenthal was brought to the Fuhlsbüttel concentration camp; on 5 October 1935, she was again released. In jail, she met comrades she knew well – among them, the later wife of Karl Meininger, Elisabeth Blättner, née Lindenmeyer, who had also been active in Red Aid, as well as Martha Semper, the sister of Emil Kritzky’s first wife, Anneliese.

After her release from Fuhlsbüttel, Hedwig Löwenthal hastened her flight out of Germany. Although she had already left the Jewish Congregation in 1931, she now emigrated to Palestine at the end of 1935 via Triest by ship. In April 1936, her parents gave up their apartment on Ifflandstrasse. They moved to Haynstrasse 13 in Eppendorf. Ina Löwenthal was 62, her husband Louis 75. The apartment was on the second floor and had 5½ rooms. The space was necessary, for Ina’s sister Hella and her husband Siegmund now moved in with them. Their daughter Käthe had meanwhile married. Hella and Siegmund Marcus had since 1931–1932 lived at Kippingstrasse 6 in Eimbüttel. Apparently, however, their common financial resources did not suffice to maintain the apartment. After both couples were forced to pay "a tax on Jewish assets,” probably directly following the November Pogrom of 1938, they were able only a few days later to sublease a room from the 53-year old Helena Rothenburg, née Kadisch. In July 1939, a further sub-lessee was added, the 19-year old Edith Jacobs.

Ina and Louis‘ sister-in-law Cäcilie Löwenthal was also once again living in Hamburg. She had spent altogether seven years, from about 1927 to 1934, in the sanatorium. Then the housekeeper, who had been employed by Cäcilie and Martin Löwenthal since 1925, fetched her back home, probably because Martin Löwenthal was already seriously ill – he died shortly after Cäcilie’s return on 23 August 1934. In his will, he had provided that the housekeeper, after his death, should remain "as support and caregiver,” in so far as both women agreed. Cäcilie Löwenthal, however, had become used to another caregiver at the sanatorium and brought her to Hamburg. Thus, the agreement with the previous housekeeper was dissolved, and she was let go with a monthly payment of RM 100.

On 8 January 1940, Ina and Louis Löwenthal, Hella and Siegmund Ascher, as well as Helene Rothenburg, moved together into the mezzanine floor of a large apartment at Haynstrasse 10. Hella and Siegmund Marcus, just as Helene Rothenburg, were sub-lessors from Louis Löwenthal, because their economic situation had again worsened. Edith Jacobs found different accommodations. In addition, Siegmund Levi moved into the apartment at no. 10; he had lived formerly on Heidestrasse. For a time, the married couple Hans und Alice Marum, née Moritzson, also visited. Both originated from Hamburg, but then lived in Berlin. Hans Marum had been in prison in Berlin in 1939; he was imprisoned again in Hamburg and sent to Fuhlsbüttel.

On 8 November 1941, Hella and Siegmund Marcus were deported to the Minsk ghetto and, in all probability, murdered there. Ina and Louis Löwenthal had to leave their Haynstrasse apartment on 27 March 1942 and move to the "Jew house” at Sonninstrasse 14 (today, Biernatzkistrasse) in Altona. Their apartment on Haynstrasse was taken over by C. H. Ernst Führmann, the business manager of the firm Witt & Führmann, fishing apparatus and sailing equipment. Just three months later, on 16 June 1942, Louis Löwenthal died, at the age of 81.

In the neighboring house, at no. 12, Ina Löwenthal’s sister-in-law, Cäcilie was settled. In September 1942, the chief financial authority appropriated her assets, including a piece of property at Steindamm 21.

On 19 July 1942, Ina and Cäcilie Löwenthal were deported to the Theresienstadt "old people’s ghetto.” Prior to that Ina Löwenthal, at the instigation of the Gestapo, had concluded a "home purchasing contract” with the Reich Association of Jews in Germany. Accordingly, she, like many other elderly Jews, transferred her remaining assets to the Reich Association – in her case, RM 2,521.01 – in the belief that she would thereby spend the rest of her life in Theresienstadt, free of charge, and that she would receive medical care, if necessary. In fact, the living conditions in the ghetto were characterized by overcrowded living arrangements, hunger, illnesses, epidemics, and inadequate medical treatment. The assets from the numerous home purchasing contracts later ended up with the Reich Main Security Office.

On 21 September 1942, Cäcilie Löwenthal was deported from Theresienstadt to the Treblinka extermination camp, and there murdered.

On 26 September 1942, Ina Löwenthal was deported from Theresienstadt to the Treblinka extermination camp, and there murdered.

Her daughter, Hedwig Löwenthal, died on 2 November 1981 at 86 years of age in Giv’atajim in Israel. On her 85th birthday, she had received a letter of congratulations from the then Hamburg mayor, Hans-Ulrich Klose.

Translator: Richard Levy
Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: December 2019
© Frauke Steinhäuser

Quellen: 1; 3; 4; 5; 7; 8; 9; StaH 131-1 II 131-1 II Senatskanzlei – Gesamtregistratur II 3557; StaH 332-5 Standesämter: 2365 u. 1569/1895; 2426 u. 2572/1897; 771 u. 926/1917; 5428 u. 816/1942; StaH 332-8 Meldewesen A51 A2364; StaH 351-11 Amt für Wiedergutmachung 17648; StaH 522-1 Jüd. Gemeinden 390 Wählerliste 1930; StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden 992 d Steuerakten Bd. 21; StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden 992 e 2 Band 5 Transport nach Theresienstadt am 19. Juli 1942, Listen 1 u. 2; StaH 522-1 Jüdische Gemeinden Abl. 1993, Ordner 10 Heimeinkaufsverträge; Landeshauptarchiv Schwerin; Projektgruppe "Kriegsgräber" 2014, Was bleibt …? Opfer des NS-Regimes in Mecklenburg und Vorpommern, Rövershagen, 2014, S. 40–45; Archiv Sanatorium Dr. Schulze, Uelsby, Hausprospekt, S. 27–30, mit herzlichem Dank an Frau Martina Ostrowkski, Uelsbyholz, und Frau Dr. Jutta Matz, Flensburg; in Erinnerung an Heike Johannsen, Langballig; Bernd Wedemeyer-Kolwe, Der neue Mensch. Körperkultur im Kaiserreich und in der Weimarer Republik, Würzburg, 2004, S. 45ff.; Maren Möhring, Marmorleiber. Körperbildung in der deutschen Nacktkultur (1890–1930), Kölner historische Abhandlungen, Band 42, Köln, Böhlau, 2004, S. 71ff.; Karl Toepfer, Empire of Ecstasy. Nudity and Movement in German Body Culture, 1910–1935, Berkeley, 1997, S. 39–44; Maike Bruhns, Emil Kritzky, in: Dies., Künstlerlexikon Hamburg 1933–1945. Verfemt, verfolgt – verschollen, vergessen, Kunst in der Krise, Bd. 2, Hamburg, 2001, S. 245–249; Maike Bruhns, Otto Gröllmann, ebd., S. 169; Jan Valtin (i. e. Richard Krebs), Tagebuch der Hölle, Neuaufl., Nördlingen, 1986, S. 215; Kim Wünschmann, Before Auschwitz, Harvard, 2015, S. 107; Reiner Lehberger, Jakob Loewenberg, in: Institut für die Geschichte der deutschen Juden (Hrsg.), Das jüdische Hamburg. Ein historisches Nachschlagewerk, online auf: (letzter Zugriff 20.7.2015); Rita Bake, Charlotte Paulsen, in: Landeszentrale für politische Bildung Hamburg (Hrsg.), Hamburger Frauenbiografien-Datenbank, online auf: (letzter Zugriff 20.7.2015); (letzter Zugriff 25.6.2014).
Zur Nummerierung häufig genutzter Quellen siehe Link "Recherche und Quellen".

print preview  / top of page