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Dr. Siegfried Korach * 1855

Hartungstraße 1 (Eimsbüttel, Rotherbaum)

1943 Theresienstadt
ermordet am 1.7.1943


Professor Dr. Siegfried Samuel Korach, born 30 June 1855, deported 23 June 1943 to Theresienstadt, date of death there 1 July 1943

Siegfried S. Korach was one of Hamburg’s best-known medical professionals. He sat his medical exams in Wrocław (Breslau), continued his training as a specialist for internal medicine in Cologne and three years later began his medical career at the Israelite Hospital in Hamburg. In 1880 as second assistant doctor, he became head of the department of internal medicine, shortly before the turn of the century, then advanced to head senior physician of the department of surgery, finally retiring from the hospital in 1930 after 44 years of service as chief physician.

During World War I, he was head of the reserve military hospital there. He demonstrated his openness to new methods, for instance in treating tuberculosis, and in 1917 received the title of professor for his scientific achievements. During the 1920s, Hamburg’s physicians voted him into the medical association. The specialist for nervous disorders and heart disease also was a strong supporter of nursing training and cared for the children at the Jewish orphanage and the residents of the old age home, even after his retirement.

Like other physicians, he was also stripped of his license to practice medicine in 1938. The well-off retiree lived with his wife Mathilde at Hartungstraße 1 – their only daughter, Mathilde, had died. The files of the Regional Finance Director show that he evidently generously helped out friends undergoing hardship with loans – as long as he was at liberty to dispose of his assets.

In 1939 the National Socialist government ordered the assets of the now 84-year-old be secured, giving the standard explanation. "You are a Jew. It can be assumed that you will emigrate in the near future. After our recent experiences with emigrating Jews, it is therefore necessary that dispositions of your assets only be allowed upon authorization."

In 1941 the Jewish Community calculated his church tax based on assets of RM 217,000, and in spite of all the taxes and special levies the National Socialist government wrested from the Jews, his assets still amounted to RM 127,000 in 1943. Siegfried K. and his wife, however, were only granted a monthly allowance of RM 900, from which they had to support and pay their domestic help as the couple was dependent on her services. A non-Jewish domestic worker looked after the couple. She had worked for them for decades: first as a doctor’s receptionist, later as a housekeeper she cared for the couple, above all for Siegfried K. who had gone blind in the meantime. He showed his gratitude by gifting her a generous sum of money for her 70th birthday and providing her with a life annuity which the Regional Finance Director authorized. The wealthy pensioner had to obtain approval for every massage, gardening help, even for the deposit and payment of balance for his funeral monument.

In Jan. 1943 the amount conceded for the three-person household to subside was reduced to RM 650, from which the 88-year-old blind man, his 80-year-old wife (born 2 June 1862) and the now 74-year-old housekeeper lived. As it became clear that the Korachs would be deported, in spite of their advanced age, and they would not be allowed to bequeath their wealth to their housekeeper as planned, they requested permission to gift her once again RM 25,000 for her 48 years of loyal service. Their request was rejected. The gift would have decreased the amount that those deported to Theresienstadt had to hand over in a "home purchase contract", as though they were buying into a retirement home.

Mathilde K. died on 19 June 1943, four days before their deportation. Siegfried K. was not spared the transport: On 25 June his train reached Theresienstadt. Five days later the ghetto doctor issued his certificate of death. His obituary from the ghetto shows that he was admitted to an infirmary (L 206) where he died in the "ailing room" (sic). The ghetto doctor gave the cause of death as "old age".

Translator: Suzanne von Engelhardt

Kindly supported by the Hermann Reemtsma Stiftung, Hamburg.

Stand: October 2016
© Beate Meyer

Quellen: StaH, 522-1, Jüdische Gemeinden, 992b, Kultussteuerkartei der Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde Hamburgs; ebd., 314-15, Oberfinanzpräsident, R 1838/3692; Nationalarchiv in Prag/Theresienstädter Initiative, Jüdische Matriken, Todesfallanzeigen Theresienstadt, Kart. 26; Galerie Morgenland (Hrsg.), "Wo Wurzeln waren ...". Juden in Hamburg-Eimsbüttel 1933 bis 1945, Hamburg 1993; Fritz M. Warburg, Rede, in: Das Krankenhaus der Deutsch-Israelitischen Gemeinde zu Hamburg, 1931; Mary Lindemann, 140 Jahre Israelitisches Krankenhaus in Hamburg. Vorgeschichte und Entwicklung, Hamburg 1981; 150 Jahre Israelitisches Krankenhaus in Hamburg, Hamburg 1997; Anna von Villiez, Die Verdrängung der jüdischen Ärzte Hamburgs aus dem Berufsleben 1933-1945, Magisterarbeit, Hamburg 2002; dies., Verfolgt, vertrieben, ermordet, in: Hamburger Ärzteblatt 12/05, S. 587; Deutsch-Jüdische Gesellschaft (Hrsg.), Wegweiser zu den ehemaligen jüdischen Stätten, Heft 2, Hamburg 1985; Hamburger jüdische Opfer des Nationalsozialismus. Gedenkbuch, Hamburg 1995.

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