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Emma Katz and her family lived at Braunstraße 6.

An undated photo of Braunstraße 6 [1]
An undated photo of Braunstraße 6 [1]

Emma Katz (nee Cohn) and her family lived at Braunstraße 6 from 1934 to 1938.  She was born in Lübeck on 1 October 1880 into a long time resident and many branched Jewish family.  Her husband, the salesperson Max Moses Katz (also known as Katzenfuß) was born in Preußisch Holland (today: Paslek, Poland) near Elbing in West Prussia on 6 December 1876 and came to Lübeck in 1902.  Since her husband was stateless, Emma Katz lost her Lübeck citizenship when she married him and herself became stateless.  Likewise all of their children would be deemed stateless.

Their marriage was recorded in the Jewish Congregation registry of birth, marriages and deaths as follows:  

                                                 No. 242 = 136

Heute, Mittwoch den siebzehnten August Ein Tausend neun Hundert und vier ward von meinem Stellvertreter, dem Rabbiner Dr. Löwenthal aus Hamburg, nach jüdischem Gesetz hier in Lübeck getraut der Kaufmann                                              

                                              Max Moses

geboren am 6.Dezember 1876 als Sohn der unverehelichten Marie Moses und des Klempners Josef Katzenfuss (genannt Jacob Katz) in Pr.Holland, [Josef Katzenfuss hat sich als Vater bekannt und als solcher eintragen lassen, das Kind ist auch in seinem Hause geboren, und 1879 hat er sich auch standesamtlich trauen lassen.] wohnhaft in Lübtheen i.M. mit der Jungfrau                                               

                                                    Emma Cohn

wohnhaft in Lübeck, geboren daselbst am 1.Oktober 1880, als Tochter des Lazarus Selig Cohn und dessen Ehefrau Rosa geborene Hopp, nachdem die bürgerliche Trauung am Tage zuvor hierselbst unter No. 420 vollzogen worden war                                                                        

                                                                            Dr. Carlebach, Rabbiner  

Translation of the above entry: 

Today, Wednesday, the seventeenth of August nineteen hundred and four were the salesman                                                            

                                                Max Moses

resident in Lübteen i(n) M(ecklenburg)  born on 6 December 1876 in Preußisch Holland, the son of the unwed Marie Moses and the master plumber,Joseph Katzenfuß (also known as Jacob Katz) [Josef Katz declared that he was the father of Max Moses and was so registered as such.  Also the child was born at his residence and he married the mother in 1879 in a civil ceremony]  and the maiden                                                        

                                                     Emma Cohn

resident in Lübeck, born here on 1 October 1880 the daughter of Lazarus Selig Cohn and his wife, Rosa, nee Hopp, married in my place by the Rabbi Dr.Löwenthal from Hamburg, according to Jewish Law, the day after their civil marriage (Register number 420) had been performed .                                                                                          

                                                                       Dr. Carlebach, Rabbi

The two eldest children of Emma and Max Katz, namely Marie 1905 and Felix Selig 1908, were born in Lübtheen in the western part of state of Mecklenburg.  Their remaining three children, Ruth Rebekka, 1913, Berthold Aron, 1915 and Josef, 1 April 1918, were all born in Lübeck.

Starting in 1913 the Katz family lived at Hüxstraße 105.  Max’s business was doing well.   Besides selling cobblers supplies Max Katz had opened three while-you-wait shoe resoling shops at Hüxstaße 109, Fleischhauerstraße 8 and Moislinger Allee 10.  In 1916 he applied to have his business listed in the registry of companies.  “Having made the request stating the business had good prospects” the chamber of commerce had no objection to the application and it approved the listing of his business.  In 1917 the company was sold to Johanna Wetzler, nee Katzenfuß.  She was a sister of Max Katz and lived in Berlin.   Her brother administered the company as the company secretary, while at the same time traveling to the state of Mecklenburg and to the southern part of the state of Schleswig-Holstein up to the Schlei Fjord promoting the company’s products. 

The Obituary Notice for Max Katz 3 January 1922 [2]
The Obituary Notice for Max Katz 3 January 1922  [2]

All of a sudden the family was hit by a terrible twist of fate.  On 30 December 1921 Max Moses Katz died unexpectedly of a heart attack in Altona at the age of 45.  

Now Emma Katz was left all alone to care for her five children, with the youngest, Josef, being only 3 years old.  As a widow she was surely dependant on the help which she received from her relatives.  Her attempt to start up her own furniture business apparently had little success since the business, located at Hüxstraße 105, was listed in the address directory only in 1923.  Her eldest child, Marie now 16 years old, became responsible for the needs of her family.  She worked in the Globus Department Store on Breite Straße, while her younger siblings went to school.

Report card/school report for Josef Katz completed by Dora Arp in 1930 [3]
Report card/school report for Josef Katz completed by Dora Arp in 1930 [3]

Berthold and later Josef Katz attended the interdenominational school on Domkirchhof.  It was a school, which at that time used what was considered a modern educational concept.

Berthold Katz’s Interdenominational School leaving certificate/diploma [4]
Berthold Katz’s Interdenominational School leaving certificate/diploma [4]

Although Berthold Katz received a leaving certificate/diploma from the school he once again attended the school in 1931 in the Secondary School division, which was also located on Domkirchhof.  In his class were two other Jewish students, Ephraim Lexandrowitz and Max Fränkel.

Emma Katz and her children had an especially close relationship with their relatives, who lived at Fischergrube 22.  Emma’s younger sister, Caroline (born in 1887) also known as Linchen, was married to Bruno Katz (born in 1880 and also known as Katzfuß), the brother of the deceased Max Moses Katz.  Caroline had four children, Mirjam (1910), Werner Seling (1912), Josef (1916) and Rosa (1922) who were similar in age to Emma’s children.

A 2010 photograph of Braunstrße 6 [5]
A 2010 photograph of Braunstrße 6 [5]

In the 1935 Lübeck address directory one finds the following listing:  Braunstraße 6 on the ground and second floor, Emma Katz, Widow, Leather Wares Felix Katz, owned by the inheritors of the Estate E. Kayser  (E Kayser Erben).  In 1934 the family Katz rented a flat on the second floor of Braunstraße 6 as well as renting the ground floor for their business.  The eldest son, Felix, managed the leather shop, while Josef began vocational training in commerce in Witzenhausen (near Kassel, Germany).   In the meantime Marie married and thereby became Marie Luckmann.  Her husband was not Jewish.

At this point in time the horrors of the Nazi regime had become clear to the family and were definitely experienced by them.  In his book Erinnerungen eines Überlebenden (there is no English translation of this book but a possible English title would be Memories of a Survivor) Josef Katz described the events of 1 April 1933:  “Boycott.  Large yellow posters are pasted on the windows of all the Jewish owned stores and shops.  In front of our small leather wares shop stand SA people, storm troopers.  They stop customers from entering.  One SA man hits my brother in the face with a closed fist, as my brother is trying to enter.   He is greatly depressed when he comes home and says to my mother, ‘It is now completely over for Jews.’” (pages 13 and 14)

The 1928 Youth Football/Soccer LSV Lübeck (Berthold Katz is first from the right and his cousin, Josef Katz, is third from the right) [6]
The 1928 Youth Football/Soccer LSV Lübeck (Berthold Katz is first from the right and his cousin, Josef Katz, is third from the right) [6]

Berthold Katz and his cousin, Josef, were enthusiastic football/soccer plays.  Both of them were dismissed from the Lübecker 1913 Spots Club even though Berthold Katz had played with the Club for 12 years.  Even in old age Berthold remembered what exactly transpired that day:  “One day – it was in Neustadt/Holstein – after we had changed into our uniforms the coach came to me before the game began and said, that I had been dismissed from the club effective immediately.   I returned to the dressing room, changed into my street clothes and wept bitterly.  Even that did not give me any comfort . . . It is an emotion, that cannot be described, as if one is suddenly declared an outlaw.”  

Already before 1933 his uncle, Bruno Katz, Emmas brother-in-law, had been talking to his children and relatives about leaving Germany and thus the family had already been intensively researching the possible ways one could immigrate to Palestine and even the United States.  Felix Katz was supposed to have had already obtained exit documents for himself and his mother, when he was killed in a motorcycle accident on 8 May 1934.  After this additional heavy loss Emma Katz remained in Lübeck.  She became the official owner of the business, so that her 17 year old son, Berthold, could run it and thereby assured that the family would have enough to live on.  In turn, Berthold ‘s schooling came to an abrupt end.

Just like his older brother Berthold Katz drove a motorcycle and often took his girl friend out for a ride on his BMW 200.  “One day I received a notice from the Gestapo, that I had to immediately appear at the Parade Street Gestapo Station.  The notice stated that I had taken an Aryan girl for a ride on my motorcycle and that was  Rassenschande (race defilement)!   After a short interrogation I was locked up in a dark bunker like cell, where it was not possible to sit or stand.  Only when it was determined that without a doubt it was a Jewish girl, who rode with me, was I released.

In August of 1937 the business on Braunstraße was robbed.  A large mob of young men in street clothes crowded into the store, destroying furnishings and goods, looting the cash register, and hitting and abusing Berthold Katz.  He later recalled this traumatic event:  “I was driven down the Braunstraße, Hüxstraße, Königsträße, across the Market Square toward Pfaffenstraße where the tram used to run.  It was there someone threw me onto the tracks . . . I do not know how long I had laid there.  I suffered several broken ribs.  I was covered in blood and was being driven to the Mengstraße police prison where I was greeted with the question, ‘Mr. Katz, has someone done something to you?’  Then I was thrown into a cell, where Max Blumenthal, Oskar Zipper and Julius Wagner already stood.   Their clothing was also stained with blood.”  

Berthold was able to escape physical abuse at a later attack at his newly furnished leather shop at Fleischhauerstraße 26 by hiding in a garbage can.

In the fall of 1938 without any explanation he was placed into “Schutzhaft“ (protective custody*).  He found himself being held in the Marstall Prison on Burgstraße for about four weeks.  His brother, Joseph, contacted the Jewish Agency for Palestine in Berlin and was able to secure for himself and his now imprisoned brother two places at a Hachschara, a preparatory course for immigration to Palestine conducted by the Zion Youth Movement.

Beginning in the night of 9 November 1938 into the early hours of the next day a new round of destruction of shops and flats occurred.   For the time being Josef Katz was able to avoid being arrested.  Therefore, his mother was to be arrested in his place.  To prevent this from happening, he turned himself in.   He was incarcerated in the Lauerhof Prison until his release on 20 December 1938.

In the spring of 1939 both brothers started a many month long horticultural vocational training at the Ellguth Estate in the state of Silesia (90% of which now is part of Poland).  When their time of training had been completed there was a test, which Berthold Katz passed.  Therefore, he was able to save himself by immigrating to Palestine.

His sister, Ruth Rebekka, and her husband, the hat maker Szlama Jeremia Hozblatt who came from Warsaw, were able to immigrate to Shanghai.  Josef Katz, who was unable to immediately pass the horticultural test at the Ellgut Estate, immediately enrolled in another course in Paderborn (230 km north of Frankfurt Am Mein) to enable him to immigrate to Palestine.  Indeed, because of his sisters’ efforts he could have immigrated to Shanghai but he decided against it for his mother’s sake, since she would have been unable to tolerate the climate there.

By the end of 1938 not only had Emma Katz closed her business but was also forced to leave the flat on Braunstraße.  She found lodgings in a building at St. Annen-Straße 7 which belonged to the local Jewish community and already had many other Jewish people living there.  It was here that she received her “evacuation” notice.  In order that his mother might not travel alone, Josef Katz returned to Lübeck, and obtained permission to voluntarily be part of those transported to Riga, Latvia. 

Again his 1945 book Erinnerungen eines Überlebenden is an important documentation of the 6 December 1941 deportation to Riga and some of his recollections deal with his mother and his relatives, his Aunt and Uncle, Caroline and Bruno Katz.  “We were allowed 50 kg (110 pounds) of luggage.  My uncle had quickly bought a wood stove, because he believed it would be cold in the east.  We also took our sewing machine, since my mother thought that she could earn some money there with her sewing.”  (p. 23)

In Oldesloe (25 km/15 miles south west of Lübeck) people awaited our arrival.  After Senior Rabbi Carlebach saw my mother through the window of our carriage/car he had to time and again hold on to his hat as he kept pace with the carriages/cars so that he did not lose sight of her.  ‘Hello Emma,’ he said.  ‘We have not seen one another for quite awhile.’  After they had greeted one another, my mother said, that she could not imagine ‘what the Reschoim (Christians) wanted to do with us in our old age.’   The Senior Rabbi replied, ‘Whatever one is going to do with us, Emma, we must hope for the best.’  At that he shook her hand and left . . . My mother then told me, that they were classmates in school.” (p. 24)

Immediately upon arrival at the Skirotova train station near Riga Josef Katz was forcibly separated from his mother.  He writes:  “In the meantime I have gently helped my mother down from the carriage/car steps and assisted her with her back pack.  We stand in the middle of a mass of chaos. . . ‘Hold onto tightly to my arm, Mum!’  . . .  ‘Leave the suitcase here.   It makes no sense at all to lug it any further.’  Thus we are slowly pushed towards the platform’s exit.   We reach a vacant space in front of the buildings of the train station.  Suddenly from one side of us a SS man bellows ‘Come here!’  I must leave my mother to make it on her own.  Slowly she walks to be beside my uncle.  It is a walk of indescribable distress.“   (pp. 26 & 27)

In December Josef Katz is able to see his Mother a few times in Camp Jungernhof.  “One evening I was able to enter the women’s barracks for the first time to look for my mother  She is lying on a thin layer of straw which separates her from the dirt floor.   Like sardines in a can the women are packed together.  One can cut with a knife the thick smell of so many people in the former horse barn.  On the walls there are still the mangers.  Now they are used to hold people’s hand luggage . . . There is no place for the women to wash up . . . My mother asks me for a blanket.  It is strictly forbidden, to approach the luggage, which was left outside and where a guard makes his rounds. . .  Somehow I am able to steal away a feather quilt cover, with which I am able to provide my mother a little warmer place to lie on the cold dirt floor.  Then I accompany her to the latrine, which is a few hundred meters (700 feet) away.  She takes my arm, so that she does not slip and fall on the frozen ground.”  (pp. 33 & 34)

Emma Katz [7]
Emma Katz [7]

In January Josef Katz is taken to a different camp.  At this camp on 22 January 1942 a note is slipped to him, which reads: “My dear Josef, yesterday evening your dear mother died in the arms of Senior Rabbi Carlebach after suffering a stroke.  She was still able to say ‘Shmach Jisroe!’ (Hear O Israel). She did not suffer. In the afternoon she suddenly became ill. A short time later she was dead. Carlebach said that she died a pious women. She is surely that.  I am to greet you on behalf of all those here.  Your dear Aunt Linchen.”  (page 44)  

Emma Katz was 61 years old when she lost her life on 21 January 1942.

Marie Luckmann of Untertrave 63 II – heart felt greetings and many, many kisses, your brother, Josef [8]
Marie Luckmann of Untertrave 63 II – heart felt greetings and many, many kisses, your brother, Josef [8]

Josef  Katz survived the years in Latvia in different work details and camps.  One time he was able to let his sister know he was still alive.  He accomplished it with the help of a sailor and a note hidden in a match box. 

Identification card of Marie Luckmann of Lübeck [9]
Identification card of Marie Luckmann of Lübeck [9]

Marie was able to continue living in Lübeck due to her “mixed“ marriage status and was spared from being deported though it did not spare her from harassment and hard forced labour in a burlap factory in the Wickedestraße.  Working in the burlap factory ruined her health, because she had been issued a doctor’s certificate after a difficult abdomen operation, that she was not capable of the duties in any Jewish women’s work detail.  

In July 1943 Marie Luckmann took in her Onkel Alfred Cohn, her mother’s brother who was born in 1877, and his wife, Sophia Maria, nee Hohl.  The childless couple were also deemed a “mixed” marriage.  They had been “bombed out“ as their identification papers stated and therefore had moved from Hamburg to Lübeck.

One of Emma Katz’s brothers, Selig Lazarus Cohn, his wife, Luise, nee Lychenheim and his son, Luise step-son, Siegfried Selig, were able to flee to London in 1939.  Luise, who was not Jewish, divorced her husband after they had fled and returned with their son, Alfred Erich, to Lübeck to live with her parents.

Berthold Katz on his 80th birthday, 11 December 1995, with his wife, Anneliese and Heidemarie Kugler-Weiemann [10]
Berthold Katz on his 80th birthday, 11 December 1995, with his wife, Anneliese and Heidemarie Kugler-Weiemann [10]

After his liberation in 1945 Emma Katz’s son, Josef, returned first to Lübeck then left Germany for the United States.  In 1950 his brother, Berthold, returned to Lübeck from Palestine/Israel at the request of his gravely ill sister, Marie.  Berthold opened a leather shop in Lübeck, first in the Engelsgrube, then at Fleischhauerstraße 2.  For many years he was the cantor of the Jewish congregation located at St.-Annen-Straße, where he and his wife also lived.  He died on 19 July 2000 and is buried in the Moisling cemetery.

Photo Credits

[1] Museum für Kunst und Kulturgeschichte der Hansestadt Lübeck

[2] Lübecker Generalanzeiger vom 3.1.1922

[3] Archiv der Hansestadt Lübeck, Schulen 03.08-2.2/3 Gemeinschaftsschule

[4] ebenda

[5] Foto Heidemarie Kugler-Weiemann, 2010

[6] zur Verfügung gestellt von Berthold Katz, veröffentlicht in: Stolz, Gerd, Von Lübeck fort und nach Lübeck zurück - Der Lebensweg des Kantors Berthold Katz, In: Der Wagen, Ein Lübeckisches Jahrbuch 1997/98, S. 169ff

[7] aus Katz, Josef: Erinnerungen eines Überlebenden, Kiel 1988

[8] aus Albrecht Schreiber, Zwischen Davidstern und Doppeladler, Illustrierte Chronik der Juden in Moisling und Lübeck, Lübeck 1992, S. 143

[9] ebenda, S. 127

[10] Foto von NN

References in Addition to Standard Reference Materials:

  • Adressbücher und Meldekartei der Hansestadt Lübeck
  • Archiv der Hansestadt Lübeck:
    • Staatliche Polizeiverwaltung 8, 25, 108,109, 110,131;
    • Schul- und Kultusverwaltung 375; Schulen 03.08-2.2/3 Gemeinschaftsschule;
    • Personenstandsregister der Israelitischen Gemeinde;
    • Liste des Ordnungsamtes von 1963 über den Verbleib jüdischer Menschen;
    • Amtsgericht zu Lübeck: Handelsregisterakte 1752/694
  • Buch der Erinnerung, Die ins Baltikum deportierten deutschen, österreichischen und tschechoslowakischen Juden, bearbeitet von Wolfgang Scheffler und Diana Schulle, München 2003
  • Bundesarchiv: Gedenkbuch, Opfer der Verfolgung der Juden unter der nationalsozialistischen Gewaltherrschaft in Deutschland 1933-1945,
  • www.bundesarchiv.de/gedenkbuch
  • Datenpool JSHD der Forschungsstelle “Juden in Schleswig-Holstein” an der Universität Flensburg
  • Goldberg, Bettina, Abseits der Metropolen, Die jüdische Minderheit in Schleswig-Holstein, Neumünster 2011
  • Goldberg, Bettina/ Paul, Gerhard, Matrosenanzug - Davidstern. Bilder jüdischen Lebens aus der Provinz, Neumünster 2002
  • Guttkuhn, Peter, Kleine deutsch-jüdische Geschichte in Lübeck, Von den Anfängen bis zur Gegenwart, Lübeck 2004
  • Katz, Josef, Erinnerungen eines Überlebenden, Kiel 1988
  • Klatt, Ingaburgh, “...dahin wie ein Schatten”, Aspekte jüdischen Lebens in Lübeck, Lübeck 1993
  • Lübecker Generalanzeiger
  • Memorbuch zum Gedenken an die jüdischen, in der Schoa umgekommenen Schleswig-Holsteiner und Schleswig-Holsteinerinnen, hrsg. v. Miriam Gillis-Carlebach, Hamburg 1996
  • Paul, Gerhard / Gillis-Carlebach, Miriam (Hrsg.): Menora und Hakenkreuz, Zur Geschichte der Juden in Schleswig-Holstein, Lübeck und Altona 1918-1998, Neumünster 1998
  • Schreiber, Albrecht, Zwischen Davidstern und Doppeladler, Illustrierte Chronik der Juden in Moisling und Lübeck, Lübeck 1992
  • Stolz, Gerd, Von Lübeck fort und nach Lübeck zurück - Der Lebensweg des Kantors Berthold Katz, In: Der Wagen, Ein Lübeckisches Jahrbuch 1997/98, S. 169ff
  • Yad Vashem, The Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names
  • Zeitzeugengespräche (Conversations with contempories of Emma Katz)
  • Zwischen gestern und heute, Erinnerungen jüdischen Lebens ehemaliger Schleswig-Holsteiner, zusammengestellt von Gerd Stolz, Heide 1991, darin: Josef Katz, Erinnerungen eines deutschen Juden, S. 61-65

Heidemarie Kugler-Weiemann, 2012

Translation:  Glenn Sellick and Martin Harnisch, 2012

*In the Informationen zur Schleswig-Holsteinischen Zeitgeschichte (AKENS 2008) (Information on Schleswig-Holstein Contemporary History) Reimer Möller explains among other things in his article "Schutzhaft" in der Innenstadt, Das Konzentrationslage Glückstadt 1933/34 ("Protective Custody" in the City Centre, The Glückstadt Concentration Camp 1933/34) that "The heads of the district authorities, who had meanwhile all become NSDAP-followers could impose "protective custody" - a security and political repression measure which allowed indefinite custody and was subjected to no judicial scrutiny, The affected persons had no legal recourse against it. This radical curtailment of personal liberties - found in the "order of the president of the Reich for the protection of people and state" which also became known as "Reichstagsbrandverordnung" (The Reichstag Arson Order" was named such, since it was passed just after an arsonist set the German Parliament on fire)". In the course of the National Socialist rule the "Schutzhaft" measures were broadened by decrees and as an "arbitrary measure of the Gestapo" acquired a "general preventive character in the beginning of 1938." (Taken from Susanne Schledt-Önal's February 2012 biographical material "Krausestraße 1 - Martha Hindel" which is also found at www.stolpersteinee-luebeck.de.)