The Sevilla Dance Palace – Arthur Lefebre

Logo of The Sevilla Dance Palace

At Christmas time in 1927 the “most elegant amusement establishment of the South” opened its doors at Oranienstraße 68, near the Moritzplatz. Arthur Lefebre, born in 1899, was the owner of the Sevilla, while his father, Wilhelm, owned the building.[1] Initially, the dance hall was booming, with up to 400 guests at a time being catered for by bar staff and cooks and being entertained by the house band. As a result of the economic crisis, however, revenue began to sink. What’s more, the business was attacked by brown-shirted Nazi “Storm Troopers” (SA).

In April 1932, Lefebre felt forced, for the time being, to shelve the business. He hoped that “the excesses of the SA and the discrimination of the Nazi regime would prove to be temporary.”[2] When the situation did not improve, Lefebre initially leased out the dance palace and then, in October 1935, tried to continue the business as a purely Jewish amusement venue – hiring 22 Jewish employees. Lefebre approached the Police President for permission to offer “public dances for Jewish guests only.”[3] Despite the worsening conditions, Lefebre managed to continue this way until the November Pogrom. After being forced to adopt a “Jewish-sounding” name, Lefebre was then forced to liquidate the business in February of 1939.

Lefebre was not able to flee Germany. At the beginning of March 1943, he was rounded up as part of the so-called “Factory Action” and deported to Auschwitz where he was murdered.


(Christoph Kreutzmüller)


[1] Berliner Adressbuch, 1929, part IV, p. 745.

[2]  Letter from Klaus Kuntzmann to the regional court of Berlin, 2nd of September 1959, Compensation Authority of Berlin, 15757 Arthur Lefebre.

[3] Letter from Arthur Lefebre to the Police President, 22nd of February 1936, Compensation Authority of Berlin, 15757 Arthur Lefebre.

Odenheimer & Fink Wine Wholesaler and Distillery

The Odenheimer & Fink Wine Wholesaler and Distillery was entered into the Berlin commercial register in 1921 and could be found in the Schöneberg district of Berlin, at Eisenacherstraße 103. Initially, the company had been called the Fränkische Weinkellerei B. & D. Silbermann but the name was changed on the 19th of October 1922 once Siegfried Fink and Hugo Odenheimer had taken over the business.[1] Despite the company keeping this name up until its liquidation in 1938, Siegfried Fink would become the sole proprietor of the business on the 26th of August 1924.[2] Fink likely lived nearby at Mühlenstraße 8, with his wife Selma, née Süsskind.[3]

Berliner Adressbuch 1933, Part I, p. 1933.

In March 1938, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry was asked by the District Court to confirm that Odenheimer & Fink was still a registered trader and that the details of the business were up to date. The reply came on the 10th of May 1938 that the business had actually been a small trade enterprise for many years (most likely due to ever harsher anti-Semitic measures) and an application for the business to be struck from the commercial register was made. This termination would occur on the 8th of August 1938. By 1939, the couple was living in Reppichstraße 22.[4]

Tragically, on the 25th of October 1941, both Siegfried and Selma took their own lives. Considering the first deportations of Jews from Berlin began a few days before, on the 18th of October, it is likely that this decision was influenced by a sense of fear and desperation directly caused by Nazi antisemitism. It is known that two neighbours from the same house, Charlotte and Paula Rogozinski, would be deported to Riga on the 31st of August 1942 and murdered on the 8th of September.[5] By taking their own lives Siegfried and Selma used the only means at their disposal to prevent their lives from being taken from them. For this reason, the World Holocaust Remembrance Centre Yad Vashem quite rightly classifies their deaths as murder.[6]

Bethan Griffiths


[1] Erste Zentral-Handelsregister-Beilage zum Deutschen Reichsanzeiger und Preußischen Staatsanzeiger, Nr. 246, 31st of October 1922, p. 1.

[2] Erste Zentral-Handelsregister-Beilage zum Deutschen Reichsanzeiger und Preußischen Staatsanzeiger, Nr. 209, 4th of September 1924, p. 1.

[3] Zentral- und Landesbibliothek Berlin, Jüdisches Adressbuch für Groß-Berlin Ausgabe 1931/1932, p. 94, URL: https://digital.zlb.de/viewer/image/34039536_1931_1932/212/ [Accessed: 15.5.2022].

[4] Tracing the Past e.V (Ed.), Mapping the Lives, “Selma Fink, geb. Süsskind”, URL: https://www.mappingthelives.org/bio/4b1639c5-5c5e-4f75-a313-61aa347d3773 [Accessed: 15.5.2022].

[5] Tracing the Past e.V. (Ed.), Mapping the Lives, “Paula and Charlotte Rogozinski” (date given here: 5.9.1942); Statistik-des-Holocaust.de notes that although the date 5th of September 1942 is often cited this is, in fact, the date given on the letter from the Berlin Police to the Chief Finance President of Berlin Brandenburg. The actual date of the 19th “Osttransport” was in fact 31st of August 1942: statistic-des-holocaust.de, Statistik und Deportation der jüdischen Bevölkerung aus dem Deutschen Reich, “19. Osttransport”, URL: https://www.statistik-des-holocaust.de/list_ger_ber_ot19.html [Accessed: 15.5.2022].

[6] World Holocaust Remembrance Centre Yad Vashem (Ed.), The Central Database of Shoah Victims’ Names, “Siegfried Fink”, https://yvng.yadvashem.org/index.html?language=en&s_lastName=fink&s_firstName=siegfried&s_place=&s_dateOfBirth=&cluster=true [Accessed: 15.5.2022).

Search OpenEdition Search

You will be redirected to OpenEdition Search