Exiner & Ehrenfried – Ladies’ Clothing

The Exiner & Ehrenfried ladies’ clothing company was established on the 1st of October 1905 and was named after the company’s owners, Hugo Exiner and Leo Ehrenfried. By 1926, the clothing store could be found on the Hausvogteiplatz, known as a hot spot for the fashion industry. It would move just before Hitler was named chancellor, but only a few minutes away, to the corner of Kronenstraße/Charlottenstraße.

Letterhead for Exiner & Ehrenfried, 26th of October 1935, LArch: A Rep. 342-02, Nr. 40350

It is highly unlikely that the Jewish-owned business would be able to go unscathed during the anti-Semitic blockade which took place two months after Hitler became the German chancellor. This blockade on the 1st of April 1933 would be one of the first of many policies introduced to force Jews out of business and out of German society as a whole. Soon after the company was transformed into an open trading company in January 1938, Ehrenfried would leave the partnership on the 4th of April and Exiner continued to manage the company alone.

A letter dated 13th of January 1940 from the district court informed Hugo Exiner that his partner’s exit from the company would warrant an audit, the result of which arrived on the 15th of August the same year, declaring that the business had ceased operation since January 1939.[1] The Chamber of Commerce and Industry, therefore, decided to remove the company from the commercial register. On the 5th of December 1940, the company was liquidated. In the meantime, the district court had been attempting to find Exiner’s current address and was informed in September 1940 that he was registered at Sächsischestraße 72.

Although their son, Herbert, was able to flee to Haifa and their daughter Gerda was able to escape the country and go to London (thanks to the help of a close relative working at the Palestine and Orient Lloyd GmbH travel company), Hugo and his wife Erna were unable to leave the country in time.[2] A total of 44 people, Hugo and Erna among them, were deported from this address, making it likely that this final address was a “Judenwohnung” – a forced accommodation closely connected to the Nazi plans to permanently remove the Jewish population from Germany.[3]  They were both deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau on the 26th of February 1943 where they were murdered. There is a “Stolperstein” (stumbling stone) to them at their former non-forced apartment in Jenaerstraße 18.

Bethan Griffiths

[1] Letter from Chamber of Commerce and Industry to the district court, 15th of August 1940, LArch, A Rep. 342/02, Nr. 40350.

[2] Rosemarie Jacobsohn, “Erna Exiner (born Wolff)”, in: Stolpersteine in Berlin, URL: https://www.stolpersteine-berlin.de/en/biografie/8152 [Accessed: 15.5.2022].

[3] Transportliste v. Hugo und Erna Exiner, / Doc ID, ITS Digital Archive, Arolsen Archives.

 [FJ1]This reference is missing in German version

Oscar Winter – Departement Store

Oscar Winter’s textile department store was entered into the commercial register in 1927 after Winter bought an already established company, E. David & Co., to save it from bankruptcy. After a little trouble with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s initial resistance to Winter’s use of the label “Kaufhaus” (department store), the Oscar Winter Kaufhaus was established. This store “sold everything that was sold in such general textile stores, namely, ready-to-wear ladies’ clothing, underwear, gentlemen’s items, clothing material, linen, haberdashery, woollens and all similar goods.”[1] The company was initially located in the Friedrichshain district of Berlin, at Grünbergerstraße 11, but would later move down the road to number 71.[2]

Signature of Oscar Winter, 25th of July 1925, Landesarchiv Berlin, A Rep. 342-02, 43644

Despite Oscar Winter’s hopes of expanding the company, the business began to struggle after Hitler was named chancellor and anti-Semitic policies were brought into place as a consequence. Winter was eventually forced to change his name to Oscar “Israel” Winter, due to the Nazi anti-Semitic law introduced in August 1938, and then sell his business to Siegfried Tembrock in December 1938. By the time of the popular census in May 1939, Oscar was living in the building next to his former business, at Gabriel-Max-Straße 6, before managing to emigrate to Santiago.[3] The company was liquidated on the 9th of January 1939.

After his death, Winter’s family would claim compensation for the damages done by the Nazi regime, including the forced sale of the business.

(Bethan Griffiths)

[1] Letter from Dr. jur. Leonard Holz to the district court, 25th of July 1927, LArch: A Rep. 342-02; Nr. 43644, p. 8, [tranl. BG].

[2] Letter from Chamber of Commerce and Industry to the district court, 19th of October 1938, LArch: A Rep. 342-02; Nr. 43644, p. 25.

[3] Tracing the Past e.V. (Ed.), Mapping the Lives, “Oscar Winter”, URL: https://www.mappingthelives.org/bio/9e4d3bba-b840-4790-a0db-3d6ad4c05492 [Accessed: 15.5.2022]; Landesarchiv Berlin, database for the Berlin Restitution Offices (WGA), 64 WGA 233-235/57 and 64 WGA 1034/60.

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